The Reciprocal Ed Value
I’ve been playing a lot of Free to Play games recently: League of Legends, Wizardry (though not for long), Warframe, and Planetside 2. I’ve documented my playing of others here in the past, as well. We’ve seen a few shut down recently, too, due to lack of funding; Glitch and City of Heroes come to mind. Every time a F2P game shuts down, we hear the same two cries: “Why is it shutting down? I love this game!” and “Yes, but did you ever spend any money on it?”
My buddy and I have taken a big jump into Warframe. From what I can tell about 10 hours in, it’s a Vindictus-style FPS game, meaning it’s got a central lobby for stage choice and character development and a series of procedurally-generated boards that you and a few friends can play. We can argue some other time whether that makes it a multiplayer ARPG or a MMORPG, but for today’s sake I’m going to refer to it as an ARPG, which is how Steam categorizes it (seemingly proving me wrong, I might add).
We’re 10 hours into a relatively fresh F2P game, and I have to say it’s the second best F2P I’ve encountered, only topped by LoL. That is to say, then, that it’s LEAPS and BOUNDS above most F2P games. It’s got intense firefights, a fair amount of character development, randomized loot drops, and crafting.
I got to thinking about LoL and the hours I’ve played (probably 50+ by now) and Warframe and the probable hours I’ll play (though Vindictus grabbed a lot of my attention and then faded VERY suddenly). My buddy and I were joking about “It’s been worth every penny,” mostly since we’re becoming penny-pinching game misers who refuse to pay full price for games regardless of the fact that we badly want to play them. That’s a very unflattering phrasing, but intentionally so.
I’ve mentioned before the “Ed Value,” an idea that originated from a friend of my buddy’s and mine who was otherwise kind of a sleazebag. The idea is that a game should provide at least X hours of entertainment, where X is the cost in dollars. Well, with a F2P game, you’re always getting your Ed Value for the game, even if you hate it and uninstall it immediately. But how does that interact with the F2P business model? Should my thinking, perhaps, adapt to the CoH and Glitch deaths and create something that works the other way, too?
Hence the Reciprocal Ed Value. I propose spending money in F2P games for the amount of time one’s been playing them. I haven’t decided on the exact amount, but I’m going to suggest to my buddy that it be 1/2 X calculated every 20 hours of play time, so 10 bucks or so every 20 hours, up to a cap of 50 or 60 bucks over the long term, which is generally the very top-end of game prices. I expect he’ll scoff and refuse, of course, but you never know.
What do you think, dear reader? Is it foolish to buy the cow when you’re getting the milk for free (a nice reappropriation of an otherwise sexist old phrase)? Do you ever spend money on F2P games?
Stubborn (and inching back into WoW – played 5 or 6 hours from Fri to Sun)