In the Land of the Free…MMO
MMORPGâ€™s are something that have always caught my attention, even as a kid (when I was running a not–gaming–oriented–at–all Dell PC). I always looked up at the obvious choices like World of Warcraft and EverQuest – it was popular at the time. I swear. I tried World of Warcraft but I could barely run it on my PC. I was heartbroken, having the WoW box just sitting on my computer desk, taunting me. After awhile, I forgot about World of Warcraft and went back to playing Kingdom Hearts or Dark Cloud, until one day my very optimistic friend told me about something that to this day, I will never forget: MapleStory.
For those of you that donâ€™t know, MapleStory is a free-to-play (F2P) MMORPG, developed by Wizet, and it doesnâ€™t ask much in terms of your computer. I was ecstatic when my friend told me that not only is the game not very spec-demanding, but it was free too -Â another thing that turned my parents off about World of Warcraft. This was about 7 years ago, making me 11 at the time, and at that time F2P MMOâ€™s were not really heard of. Besides MapleStory there was only a handful of other F2P online games.
So I went on to play MapleStory for a year and a half or so, but then I was blessed with a new computer and finally convinced my parents to pay $15 a month for World of Warcraft. After venturing into Azeroth, my days in MapleStory had come to an end, and my time and attention belonged to WoW. At the time I didnâ€™t know too many people my age that played WoW, so while I had many online friends to chat with, I didnâ€™t have any friends in the real world to talk to about WoW, which caused me to stop playing WoW on and off. I found a friend that played online PC games, and asked him if he had ever played WoW. He said he wanted to, but couldnâ€™t afford the subscription fees. He told me about some F2P MMOâ€™s he played instead, and I decided to join him.
We picked a couple of different MMOâ€™s. F2P MMORPGâ€™s had evolved heavily at this time, from the 2D side scrolling MapleStory and limited 3rd person 3D games like Runescape, to promising, almost World of Warcraft-like (in terms of quality, mind you) games like Silkroad Online and DOMO. It was interesting to play F2P MMOâ€™s at the time since there were a lot more of them, and many of them were actually pretty good, too. I soon became tired of the F2P MMOâ€™s and convinced my friend to join me in World of Warcraft. We spent a few more years playing WoW, and by the time high school came around, we were raiding endgames and conquering PvP. But then, a F2P game unlike any Iâ€™ve ever seen came around: League of Legends.
Now Iâ€™m sure most of you know what League of Legends is, but to elaborate, League of Legends is a F2P online game in which players pick Champions and team-up in multiplayer matches that usually consist of each team trying to infiltrate the enemy base and destroy the enemy’s Nexus (a giant crystal located in the center of each teamâ€™s spawn). League of Legends has prospered since itâ€™s original release, now becoming a game with a huge professional following. League of Legends makes its money, and has stayed afloat, by what is essentially a Cash Shop where players can spend actual money to buy new champions, skins, and other items.
League of Legends has become extremely successful, and has shown that a F2P game can prosper and become as big successful as pay-to-play (P2P) online games. League of Legends has 32 million registered users, and clocks in 12 million average users a day. Since then, more and more F2P games have been released and and may play and look similar to League of Legends, as it has become the poster-boy for F2P’s success.
It seems as if thereâ€™s more F2P MMOâ€™s and MMORPGâ€™s than ever now, and I firmly believe that it’s because of long running games like MapleStory and the intelligent gameplay of League of Legends. Legends has not only survived and won 4 awards, itâ€™s the centerpiece of many MMO tournaments, with pro-gamers battling it out for huge cash prizes. Legends is a perfect example of what a free MMO can do and also that a paid subscription is not necessary for an online game to be successful. Good gameplay, great lore and depth, and a commitment to quality is what makes a game, and as long as F2P games can fully award these elements to their players: P2P, I believe your time is limited, and personally, you won’t be missed.