Free to be Super

Champions Online goes Free to PlayAnother game switching to the Free to Play model isn’t really surprising.  I’m pretty sure that most companies are realizing what most players figured out a long time ago: players aren’t going to subscribe to a bunch of different MMOs.  At best, subscription games get tourists, people who love one game but are burned out so go looking for something new to reignite them… and then they go back to the one game they love.  The elephant in the room is that World of Warcraft is that one game for millions of people.  Free to Play lowers the barrier for the tourists down to its minimum (at worst, a big download and install; at best, a tiny download and install followed by streaming out content to you while you create your character and play around in the introduction areas), and then pelts you with bonuses you can buy for tiny amounts.  And earning a few dollars from hundreds of thousands of tourists is better than earning a box sale from a small percentage of that number.  You also avoid people being able to say “the game just isn’t worth the monthly fee” because there isn’t one.  Now you just have to avoid them saying “the game just isn’t worth playing, even for free”.

I’ve always wanted to try Champions Online, but the cost kept me out.  I played City of Heroes for three years, and if that was free to play I’d be there in a heartbeat, but it isn’t.  At least not yet.  Looking over the Champions F2P Features list, it looks like they’ve put a good foot forward and the free parts will be worth playing.  Since Champions doesn’t have separate servers, they immediately avoid the pitfall of EQ2 in separating their F2P players from the rest.  Sure, EQ2 is reporting growth, but I hated that as a F2P player I couldn’t play my old characters from when I was a subscriber and I couldn’t play with my old friends.

Anyway, as far as I’m concerned, this is nothing but good news.  I’ll be looking forward to donning in game spandex next year when they convert.

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