I don't have any issues with the payment model a game chooses, if the developers feel like it's the right choice for their game. Free-to-play, buy-to-play, subscription ... they all have their merits and their downsides. What I don't agree with is when devs claim they're choosing a model because of the downsides of another model -- which are still a possibility in their model.
Bless Online was announced earlier this week as being a buy-to-play title, not free-to-play. That's cool, and there could be plenty of reasons why Neowiz decided to go that route. Naturally, that was the first question MMORPG.com's Suzie Ford asked the team in an interview. The answer:
"First, B2P would create a pleasant gaming environment by preventing bots from flooding the servers and disturbing the players. Second, we decided against F2P to prevent us, the developers, from being tempted into P2W. And of course, we also looked at our community’s opinions and requests."
It's that second sentence that makes me itch a little bit. Bless isn't F2P, in part, "to prevent us, the developers, from being tempted into P2W." Way to have a whole lot of faith in your decision-making, guys, not to mention making it sound like you're doing us a favor by not taking advantage of us. "We could have offered you this deal, but we would have just screwed you over in the end. So isn't it great that we're not screwing you over? Buy our product!"
That said, what's the main source of pay-to-win in any game? The cash shop! Since Neowiz is so concerned about their inability to not implement P2W in Bless, does that mean they won't --
"Yes, Bless Online will have a cash shop."
Now, before I get eviscerated in the comments for claiming that Bless is/will be pay-to-win, I'm not making that claim. Nor do I think Bless shouldn't have a cash shop. It's just hard to reconcile the notion that the developers were so concerned about being pay-to-win that it was a major factor in determining their business model, while also putting in something that will greatly tempt them into making the game P2W. It's almost as if the part about "being tempted into P2W" isn't really about the players and is more just PR/marketing talk to justify their decision and try and sell copies of the game.
Also, if Bless ever does go free-to-play? Let's hope the devs find the inner strength to avoid P2W that they seem to be lacking right now.
About the Author
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.
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