The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly: Free To Play Games.

With the advent of online gaming, and software sharing applications such as Steam, we are gaining a newer and greater modes of gameplay.  The most recent earth-shaking revelation has been ‘free to play’ gaming, or FTP.  Games of this nature follow the trail of microtransactions, a model by which you play the entirety of the game for free, but pay for level cap increases, extra equipment, more experience, more in-game cash, or the like.With these new payment options, new games are available for nothing more than download time, and Steam is a great place to get them.  I’ll be showing you, now, the good, the bad, and the ugly of Free To Play games.

The Good: Team Fortress 2

What is there to say about Team Fortress 2 that hasn’t already been said?  The game is still fun after all these years of playing, and now it’s free for whoever wants it.  Sure, it’s only got a handful of maps and seems to have constricted weapons compared to something like Modern Warfare 3 but it’s considerably less expensive than something like that, and still incredibly fun, and at least a little different from the standard millitary shooter.

I don’t even enjoy multiplayer games but I love TF2 like nobodies business.  I cannot think of a single reason, aside from not having a computer, for you to not go out and get this game immediately, it’s free, it’s fun, it’s casual, it’s simply great.

The Bad: DC Universe Online

It’s pretty immediately obvious why this isn’t as good as TF2, it’s an rpg, and the problem with Free To Play rpg’s is that you can just buy the best equipment, so the richer of us have an immediate and permanent advantage to the point that it’s almost ridiculous.

Like PVP? Too bad, because everyone else who does too is going to buy all of the best gear and kill you in something of 5 seconds.  It’s not an easy gig, being a poor guy in an FTPMMORPG.  I might have to find a better abbreviation for that.

The Ugly: Global Agenda

So, I was saying about how a shooter in a free to play environment is innately better because there can’t be a significant gameplay modification, and how rpgs can’t work because of gameplay alteration, so Hi-Rez grabbed completely the wrong end of the stick, which turned out be a stickbuck which flew away afterwards and decided to make a shooter RPG.

They had never seen how completely terrible Tabula Rasa turned out to be, or perhaps they thought that they could outfox one of the most successful game designers in history, Richard Garriot, and make the same game, and do it well this time.

If you weren’t able to tell, it didn’t work.  Global Agenda looks bad, plays bad, is designed bad, and just generally IS bad.  I’m not sure who birthed Hi-Rez Entertainment but they must be ashamed after seeing this game, It’s really difficult to stress how poorly made this game is.

As you can see, Free To Play is what we would call ‘A Double Edged Sword’ in that it can be fantastic and great, like Team Fortress 2 or it can be awful like Global Agenda.  I could also talk about APB: Reloaded but I choose not to relive those memories, if I can avoid it.