What Games Did Free To Play Right, Then Wrong?

Jason Winter
By Jason Winter, News Editor


Trion Worlds is taking a lot of heat recently for the changes it's made to the cash shops in Rift and Trove. It's been a while since I played Rift with any regularity, and I've only dipped a toe in Trove, but for the longest time, I was under the impression that those games did a fine job with their cash shops, with only the occasional grumble from players.

I felt the same way about The Lord of the Rings Online's cash shop, which was lauded as a great system when LOTRO first went free-to-play, but has since lost its luster like the One Ring in a muddy riverbed. I was wondering what other games MMOBomb readers might have similar feelings about: free-to-play games whose cash shops started out great but then slowly -- or maybe not so slowly -- deteriorated in your eyes.

Note that I'm not talking about games whose shops looked dodgy from the start, like SWTOR's or ArcheAge's, but ones that seemed good and probably were good for a while before taking the plunge. What games would you include on this list?

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In this article: SWTOR, RIFT, Trion Worlds, ArcheAge, Trove, LOTRO.

About the Author

Jason Winter
Jason Winter, News Editor

Jason Winter is a veteran gaming journalist, he brings a wide range of experience to MMOBomb, including two years with Beckett Media where he served as the editor of the leading gaming magazine Massive Online Gamer. He has also written professionally for several gaming websites.

More Stories by Jason Winter

Discussion (16)

Lerch2000 7 years ago
As far as what games did f2p (Free to Play) right, I would have to say Star Trek Online. Yes STO has a in game store with a lot of P2W (Pay to Win) items, but they thought of a way to give anyone who does not have the funds to invest into the game (for what ever reason) directly to buy from an in game exchange service for the in game currency. The current problem with the setup they are either getting greedy (the grind has become god awful) or they are not pulling in a large enough new player base with the current releases.

Brochim 7 years ago
I still say Snail Games Age of Armour was the entire reason the game eventually shut down. When it came out is was one of the most successful mech mmo's out there (not like there was alot of competition) but the servers were packed and active.

Over time they changed cash shop items to be none transferable killing a huge part of in game economy. But the killer was the chips witch you put into your chest armour where top tier ones would costs something like £300 each. Leaving players to spend over £1,200 just on there chest piece. The game literally became P2W With the only guilds able to hold city's being the 2 or 3 that had CS whales in them and over 99% of the player base had no chance

Aaron 8 years ago
To add to the list. Combat arms never was pay to win until they started selling overpowered characters to use which broke the game. Ghost recon wasnt pay to win until they started selling overpowered cashshop guns.

As for great shops. Path of exile makes the list. Soldier front 2 (which is now shutdown D:) Unturned. Warframe was always fair when i played it.

Gahen 8 years ago
I like Lord of the Rings, therefor I played LOTRO for a very long time (70 some levels if I remember correctly), but the cash shop was an insane annoyance. Paying to unlock the quests for every map, when you get outside of the beginner territories is an unbelievably terrible concept. Not to mention that while the player can get some Turbine points completing certain deeds, good luck for anyone grinding thousands of points for new regions, while also starting new characters, because these deeds are not repeatable on a character. I finally created a strategy to get them a little faster, by focusing only on reputation points, grinding some fast attainable trophies and using them on new characters. Grinded tonnes of items, but never got to actually use them, since to that point I already lost all of my interest for that game. The whole game system is outdated, there is no focus on low level regions and the newest levels are unconvincing. I get the feeling that this game is already dying.

Fortegs 8 years ago
I would give my heart and soul to Allods again if they at least revamped or just got rid of the rune/patron system, everything went to hell after all that.

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Todoran 8 years ago

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Razer 8 years ago
Quite a lot of good games have been corrupted by greed. In no particular order:
War Thunder
Realm of the Mad God
Ghost Recon Online (Phantoms)
Planetside 2
Combat Arms (believe it or not)
My list of ethical F2P games is even smaller than ever.

LokiFM 8 years ago
Phew this is gonna be a thing...

DISCLAIMER : Part of what is said in the following section is LokiFM's opinion. This by no way means that you have to agree or that he is a massive turd.

Warframe : Listen me out on this one, I love Warframe and even though everything (and more) can be gained through gameplay, it is actually becoming gradually harder and harder for a newer player to be able to unlock NEW items. If you want a newly specific released Warframe or Weapon there is a good chance that you'll need literal hundreds of hours before you can even access the quest/planet to be able to start trying to get the blueprints+items to get those Warframes/weapons. - This doesn't mean the game has become "P2W", but it does mean that the game has become gradually more and more unfair for new players looking for specific side-grades of gameplay. In turn reducing the enjoy-ability for some people because of the lack of "reach-ability" of new items.

Heroes and Generals : When the game just released a fairly minimal amount was able to be bought with gold. Therefore the impact was relatively small. The main thing you could buy was an instant trained soldier, for example a Tank Driver, which would've normally taken a couple hours for you to get through gameplay. But now-a-days you can buy yourself everything with gold and prices of items that used to have a very reasonable silver (ingame currency) price are now increased to a ludicrous amount, just to make the gold purchase seem even "cheaper". The main crime committed here is that they consistently make Silver earning lower, Silver prices higher and therefore in-game progression has become slower over time. --- On top of that they have also added more tiers of attachments which cost more to sustain, meaning that the upkeep cost to keep using those attachments is impossible to get by just playing with ingame currency.

Crossfire : A game turned more pay2win then it already was. Back in the day Crossfire used to (and still does) have "Gacha" balls. Opening these balls could give you items which were objectively better than other weapons, all be it not by much (3% extra damage still takes 4 shots to kill most of the time). But since last year they now have turned SUPER serious pay-2-win. They have done this by the selling of "VIP weapons". Weapons which have depending on the version you have 20%-100% extra ammo per clip & 10% more in every stat (compared to their normal counterpart), a permanent 100%-300% bonus XP/GP to the wearer and a couple of more bonuses (like looking pretty bad-ass). Now you'd be wondering how much do these "VIP guns" cost? Well they only retail for 100$-200$ each. They release new ones every other patch... and the weird thing... The active community seems to kind of like these weapons. You'd be hard pressed while in the game to find people being very opposed to these OBJECTIVELY better weapons while you actually do find a VIP Weapon user in almost every match.


There are more examples, but these are the ones I could think of off the top of my head.

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Aaron 8 years ago
Rift is on that list now sadly with ear slots. Years ago i really enjoyed allods in obt and it went to crap with blatantly selling power. Tera did it in an indirect way with +15 gear. Neverwinter started selling overpowered gear through loot boxes which broke pvp. Warface sells the best guns in game through cashshop boxes. All my games are going down the drain D;

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