Free to play - Forever?

There's a new trend originating from asia, and it's slowly growing in support. Free to play, some of them supposedly forever.

I'm sure you've heard of them or seen the advertisements here 'n there. Most of them will be showing off a banner with a large breasted scantily clad girl so you will most likely not remember the title of the game. I'll forgive you if you can't remember any either, it took me a while too...

Here's a small list of such games.
Some of the more well known (or rather, better advertised) ones are
* Fiesta
* Fly for fun
* Gaia online
* Nostale
* Rappelz
* Red Stone
* Tales of Pirates
And there are countless more.

If at any time you've considered playing such a game, you should keep keep in mind a very important things.
Firstly, "free to play", is just that. It's free to play, but definitely not forever.
* The game is likely in a beta phase, and the company that created it wants to attract customers in order for the game to grow big and popular. Once they are satisfied with the product the game subscription may change without warning.
* The game likely doesn't offer you all features, and the company will most likely have a form of "item shop" where you can buy items that may improve your game experience in a variety of ways.
* If the number of players at any time is too low, they can shut down the game completely in a matter of days or weeks.
* Customer support is generally poor or simply non existent.
* Botting, hacking and scamming are well known issues which are often poorly battled by the Game Masters.
I remember playing Ragnarock for some time, and if you remember the amount of cheating going on in Diablo 2, well. there you go. I definitely can't recommend it unless you enjoy playing an incomplete poorly supported game with 12-14 year olds all day.

Secondly, "free to play-forever" is basically the same as the first type but with a few subtle differences.
* Customer support is even worse. Companies that make games such as these have as little staff as possible in order to keep the game profitable.
* The "forever" part only means "for as long as we make a profit out of it", if the game is no longer profitable they'll simply pull the plug. Just because they say it's forever doesn't mean it's usually very long. Just have a look over at GU Comics and pay attention to the notoriously funny fly zapper.

I'm sure it's all great and fun for the casual gamer, but if you value your time i urge you to avoid putting any serious amounts of time into such games.

Knowing all that, you could imagine the shock of most wow players when a certain rumour started circulating about WoW possibly picking up such a Free-to-Play model in China.
Don't fear, because suposedly that rumor was said to be quite false.

You can't help but wonder though, what if they "did" go down the free to play road?
Looking at the (previously subscriber based) game Anarchy Online, i just don't see it being a good sign if wow were to do that. Let's hope for the sake of our game that it's a very far and distant future.

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