Tagged: F2P

Let’s Talk About “Free to Play & Play & Play & Play” with Fwends [Episode 002]

On Episode 2, Rob & Shawn almost finally get the intro right. And then talk about the free-to-play lifestyle, its perils, and how we feel about all that. It’s a real premium episode, one that’ll make you subscribe and follow along while we grind our way to the level cap, err, Episode 3.

Some of the games covered include Crossout, Marvel Heroes 2016/Omega, Spelunker World and Ace Combat Infinity (naturally), and some free-to-play MMOs like ArcheAge, Star Wars: The Old Republic and Allods.

Leave a comment wherever you hear the show and let us know what you think or what you’d like to hear us talk about next.

Of 2016: The Dailies

Of 2016: The Dailies

I barely touched a “daily login bonus” in 2014, I got sucked into a few of them in 2015 but in 2016 I became a connoisseur of the one-day-at-a-time slow-grind to completion. I’ve been juggling at least 2 of them at a time for most of the year, some returning favorites from 2015 and some brand new.

Nintendo Badge Arcade (Nintendo 3DS)
By the end of 2015 I was bragging about collecting a measly 100 badges in Nintendo’s free-to-play claw catcher “game” but by springtime 2016 I was at nearly 400 of the frivolous stamps. My devotion trailed off pretty hard after that but good ol’ Badge Arcade and its patron saint, Arcade Bunny, still deserve a nod for 2016.

Spelunker World (PlayStation 4)
Also worthy of note is Spelunker World. While I ditched the Japanese version entirely in 2016 I was still going pretty hard on it every day through May once they opened up 25 new stages, the game’s finale and a new character.

Guitar Hero Live (PlayStation 4)
Another 2015 title that I was hot and heavy on early in 2016 was Guitar Hero Live. For those jumping from last year’s recap you can rest assured that my daily login bonuses did start tracking and by May I’d maxed out all of my stats. I continued to  load it up almost every day for a few more bonus coins and to see what new songs would pop up in the always-on GHTV mode. And honestly, I was expecting Activision to announce the end of the service at any moment but it kept up through the year.

Ace Combat Infinity

Ace Combat Infinity (PlayStation 3)
In July I spotted a 500gb slim PS3 on Craigslist that I transitioned my Delisted games to. I also wanted to check out Ace Combat Infinity because it’s been kicking around since 2014 and I thought, for sure, it would be going away soon. Just like Spelunker, Infinity is full of esoteric upgrade systems, consumable currencies and endless grinding up the numerous tiers of the aircraft tree. Naturally, daily logins dole out bonuses and if you manage to make it to the 10-days-in-a-row mark you end up with a few nice rewards. They even throw you some hefty currency packs if you meet the 10 days before they reset the counter which makes it feel like you’re getting one over on them. It’s also a fantastic Ace Combat experience that only feels better and better as you improve your stable of aircraft.

Big City Stories (PlayStation 4)
Finally, a real 2016 release! I’d been checking in daily since the game’s rocky launch in late August but not for the typical bonuses. Big City Stories is like “SimCity lite” and it’s all about timers and renewing resources. I wasn’t about to get up in the middle of the night when I had a fresh batch of workers to start a new building but it did keep me checking in every day for months. It’s also the only free-to-play game that I spent money on in 2016. I eventually bought their $10 pack of gold coins to generate workers at double the speed. Otherwise I’d still be grinding towards Level 50 and while the game is fun and satisfying, it’s not that fun.

Let it Die

Let it Die (PlayStation 4)
Lastly, right at the end of the year, was Let it Die. It turns out the only way I can finally engage with a Suda 51 joint is when it’s a free download. With no monetary investment (and practically no knowledge of it ahead of time) I dove into its mysterious and terrifying world described as “Dark Souls meets Free-to-Play”. Sure enough, the game is chock full of convoluted systems, upgrade paths, consumable resources and currencies you can buy with real money.

Every day offers up a sparkling box to rip open for a free reward (sometimes invaluable, frequently junk) and a chance to see who raided your inventory. At first it was frightening to think players could rob me blind and it motivated me — as I’m sure it was designed to — to level up my roster of defenders as quickly as I could. Turns out, the losses aren’t extreme and now I keep coming back to push my way a little farther up the Tower of Barbs’ 40 floors. Unless something major absorbs me in 2017 I’ll probably still be working on this one well into the year.

Of 2015: The Dailies

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I think Trials Frontier was the only game I played in 2014 with a daily login bonus. But as free-to-play design continues to seep into console games it was only inevitable that even I — the type who avoids MMOs and Multiplayer Modes — would get sucked in by their promise of free junk. I know the idea is to get me hooked on a boost or a bonus and for me to then spend a bunch of money chasing the high, like they’re some kind of e-Pusher. But I can play the long con too and I’m content to load up a game every day to eek my way towards upgrades and bonus currency. Here are the ones I ran into most frequently.

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Nintendo Badge Arcade (Nintendo 3DS)
The winner for the most addictive, most elaborately designed Daily has to be Nintendo Badge Arcade. It’s a whole experience designed around playing claw/catcher games to win badges to decorate your 3DS Home screen. I don’t even do anything on my 3DS anymore in order to see my Home screen but I’m still hooked on taking a shot at the free Daily Play.

You don’t just go straight at it either; you play a practice catcher once a day and if you nab enough wooden practice badges the shopkeeper gives you a free play for keeps. It’s definitely the most satisfying Daily because the entire thing exists just to suck a few dollars out of your eShop wallet. I’ve collected over 100 badges and even had some mysteriously topple out of the machine without spending a single e-Penny. It’s the virtual equivalent of banging on a vending machine or running up the Skee-Ball lane when no one’s looking and it feels just as great here. So to that end Nintendo deserves credit for creating a realistic and devious arcade experience… but not my credits.

Guitar Hero Live (PlayStation 4)
One of the reasons I was interested in the new Guitar Hero was for the always-on streaming music video mode. It should have been no surprise to see them doling out increasing amounts of daily coins with each login but it did make me pause the first time it popped up. The surprise that continues to linger is that I can never get it to progress passed the first daily login bonus. Loading it up every day for a week, the game still thinks I’m on Day 1.

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Spelunker World/Minna de Spelunker Z (PlayStation 4)
Forget what I said about Nintendo Badge Arcade, Spelunker’s daily login bonuses were downright crucial to helping me understand the game. With only the busted engrish of Google Translate, it took a long time to figure out how the various upgrade/synthesis systems worked in the game. Each Daily would reward me with another freebie to experiment with. At the time I had no way to put real American dollars into this Japanese game to buy upgrades or currency so the free daily bonuses felt especially useful.

As I continued to play, and with the release of Spelunker World in English, I would realize the Dailies were just like any other Free-to-Play game; hooks. It’s totally possible, even fun, to play the game without paying for big chance draws of gear, using the daily bonuses to slowly fuel your upgrades.

Metal Gear Solid V (PlayStation 4)
This one was just a bonus as I fully expected to be online and playing Metal Gear every day for weeks anyways. I didn’t expect to be hit with so many news messages and event notices before I even got to the title screen but none of the F2P hooks so much as grazed me. It’s also memorable for having some of the weirdest daily bonuses like handfuls of flowers, Rare Earth Elements and free Men.

Four Kings Casino & Slots (PlayStation 4)
Very, very last minute was Four Kings which we discovered shortly after Christmas. It’s a Free-to-Play virtual casino world that’s almost a replacement for PlayStation Home. It’s full of ugly 3D models, terribly overpriced costumes, and it would love to take all your real world money in exchange for chips. Along with a daily spin of the fortune wheel, every 15 minutes you’re logged in the game dishes out a few hundred chips and even hides some around the casino to hunt down. There are also daily/weekly lists of objectives and free games that all reward you with free chips and currencies. It’s almost overwhelming how many ways you can get free stuff in the game; it’s been surprisingly captivating even for a gambling hater like myself, and we’ve stopped back a few times over the last week of 2015.

Total Real World Dollars Spent on Free-To-Play Games in 2015: $0.00