Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Improvements to F2P LOTRO and EQ2X

Two news tidbits from September's two big Free To Play conversion stories today.

LOTRO Lowbie Sale
Via Syp comes news of a major one day sale in LOTRO - the three lowest level quest packs are all going 75% for one day only on 10/13.  I got 245 TP for new deeds that were added in the F2P launch, and I can now convert these points into two entire zones worth of content at discounts far steeper than anything that I've seen in LOTRO or DDO. 

Though Turbine is obviously fond of sales, my guess is that they're really looking to lower the entry barrier to those first paid areas as they try to convert more of the new players who have come in with free to play into actual paying customers.  The thing I'm wondering now is how it makes sense to have players who take this deal (a single $6.50 purchase of 400 TP - the worst exchange rate and one that I would ordinarily never recommend - will cover it) own most of the content from 1-40 (you're missing part of the Trollshaws) and then most of the content from 50-65 with the mandatory expansions.  Sales of content might not be the game's primary source of revenue for this to make sense. 

EQ2X Broker Purchase Access
Meanwhile, over in EQ2X, non-subscribers who pay for the one-time "silver" account upgrade are now permitted to purchase stuff from the broker at no additional charge. Silver players were originally not permitted to use the broker at all, and an earlier compromise required the use of a broker token (about 15 cents per) to either buy or sell anything. 

In practical terms, this change removes one of the major roadblocks to playing the game normally as a nonsubscriber.  Any player may now pick up a pair of bags (such as the 40-slot mottled leather backpack or sumac strong box) for a relatively attainable amount of gold.  Useful items such as crafting/harvesting tools and mastercrafted weapons are now also available without a real money token purchase. 

At the same time, subscribers (and silver members who pay to sell stuff) win because this dramatically increases the market of players who are able to (and therefore interested in) purchasing their wares.  Sony might even see more token sales with this change - before, it did not matter that I had a bunch of sellable stuff sitting in my bank because I had no way to spend the gold I could get if I did manage to sell anything.  Now, I have an incentive to list my goods so that I can turn around and use the gold to buy other things that I want. 

This everyone-wins approach is how free to play models are supposed to work, and it's really encouraging to see SOE taking a step in the right direction on this front. 


Carson 63000 said...

That broker change is absolutely the biggest thing SOE could have done with EQ2X to persuade me to play some more.

The LOTRO sale.. well, as I said on Syp's post, would be awesome news if I wasn’t currently in the middle of 30 days of VIP as a result of applying a Mirkwood product key I had lying around that I’d never used.

Yeebo said...
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Yeebo said...

The only thing I was using tokens for was to buy items from the AH. I think SOE got this one backwards. It's still not worth paying 15c per listing to put most items up for sale on the AH.

In contrast, being able to buy crafting mats that would take you around an hour to gather yourself was certainly worth 15c RL cash and few in game silver or gold. It's almost like the ones making decisions don't play the game they adjudicate.

I would almost never have sold anything under the old scheme, that remains unchanged. Under the old scheme I at least would have used tokens to buys stacks of cheap crafting mats. Now I don't have to spend anything. Awesome for me, not following the financial logic however.

Yeebo said...

On reflection, and after some rest, I can see that if nothing else providing a bigger market for sellers is a good financial incentive for SOE. It keeps golds happy, and makes it more reasonable to contemplate trying to sell something if you are on a Bronze or Silver account (though for the reasons I stated, I likely still won't).