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Free of freemium!

01-28-2017, 04:12 AM
Joined: Dec 2009
Location: U.S.A., earth
Posts: 268
Free of freemium!

I've delved into a few freemium titles since I first got my Ipod Touch 3 back last decade, and Samsung Galaxy s2 in 2011.

Many of them were either ones I've played via demo models of phones at retailers (Best Buy, Target, Apple Store)), like Temple Run 1 & 2.

I've downloaded and played a few like Mole Escape for iOS, but deleted right away. Ditto with Robot Unicorn Attack 2 (iOS)

Others I downloaded and played for weeks to to years before just forgetting about them like Metal Slug or Angry Birds Star Wars 1 & 2 for Android, or Contra Evolution for iOS

The one that had the 2nd most staying power was Castlestorm: Free To Siege. This one's unique to me as it's one game where I played both the Steam/PC version AND the mobile version (I was introduced to this game on Wii U at a vg con). The PC version costs $15 (I was a bit bummed I wasn't a bit more patient to get this at half off, but it's something you reflect on for a few minutes, and then not lose any sleep over). Especially when the PC version only had gold (as opposed to freemium currencies), mouse and keyboard inputs, and larger screen (a luxurious 22" on my monitor). NO GRINDING!

The freemium currencies are gems and pearls. Whereas everything was gold in the PC version, for upgrades the first few levels of the basic ones would cost gold, but then later on required gems. Pearls were a 2nd freemium currency that you earn from playing "daily challenge levels online". These levels were bad because:
--they required constant online connection
--were 3 parts per day, with the next part requiring you to wait 4 or 6 hours after completing the one before
--incentive in the form of bonus if you complete all 3 parts in the same day
--you can skip over to a later part (no time meter) by paying Gems
--conversion rates of Pearls to Gold or Pearls to Gems encouraged you to get more "bang for the buck" by turning in larger numbers of them.
Illustrative example (as I can't recall the exact values anymore...
10 Pearls gives you 2 Gems, but 100 Pearls gives you 50 gems

I'm glad to have paid a 1-time $5 for double XP and no in-game ads between levels, but having to be online a lot on an IpT (in other words, near wifi), and watching ads to grind for gems was what got me to quit in due time.



The one that had the most staying power was Plants Vs. Zombies 2: It's About Time. I still remember this when it came out around 2013/2014... you had to grind for keys to unlock Plants, and the next world. I quit it then, and went to it when they revamped large portions of the game.

IIRC, I've been playing this for a good 2+ years. This was one of the better ones, as you can (in theory) go through the entire game without spending any $$. However, having gold was helpful for boosts. Gems were nice to buy the few premium plants that costed that (as opposed to real $$) and for fun experiments in boost upgrades. At first, I was woefully short on them, but eventually accumulated up to 500K gold (which I'm down to 300K after I quit... it's fun to go on a spending spree with in-game freemium currency cool ). Gems, I'm up to around 1291 (as there's not much to spend here once the plants were no longer for sale via this).

What kept me coming back?
--at first, they were adding new main content, namely the levels themselves
--The Daily Pinata levels. Get prizes (like any other game following this model), but the nice thing was, these levels only required initial internet connection. So I could start a level with wifi, and then finish the rest of it on the road.
--They also added stuff like Travel Logs (like "kill x number of zombies for a prize"), which I did for a long while
--premium plants that cost real $$ went on sale. With the exception of one at full price, all the others were purchased 40% to 75% off normal price. I wanted to try out these new plant combinations on various levels (where the Travel Log came in)

What got me to stop?
--I'm bored with all of the bullet points I mentioned above, or in the case of new main content... no updates in ages
--Daily Pinata levels were taking over my mornings or small chunks of my day. The timing, like with other freemium models, was annoying. I talked to another gamer who just quit cold turkey. I saw myself becoming like him one day. I just haven't gotten to where he was yet, as I was still enamoured with the Daily online levels.
--Even as early as with Castlestorm: Free To Siege, this game was eating away at my 3.5 year Ipod Touch 5 battery. Important change this time around was with the IpT6 still having the same dinky 4" screen, for the first time, the next IpT was no longer a "must buy". I still have plenty of iOS games left on there to finish, so let's conserve batt. life for those

TOTAL MONEY SPENT HERE: I'm too lazy to look up my records at this point, but I'd say around $30 to $45.

No regrets, especially since some spend far more.
01-29-2017, 05:34 AM
I can't stand online requirement and special events (or other kind of mechanics that you feel compelled to play). I don't want to feel that the world is evolving and that I stay behind if I can't play much. Also, dual currencies and things like that are annoying.

I want to pay because I want to, not because I have to in order to enjoy the game. I don't mind paying for time removals (or the like) and doubler coins. But currencies are a bit too much to me, even more if the game is designed to force you into that.

There's a difference between playing say WS levels millions of time because it is fun to do so an doing that on a game that force you to do exactley the sameunless you pay. Devs spend more time on monetization mechanics than game design.

But freemium is here to stay. In fact, different people enjoy different things and many like this kind of stuff and that is okay. It is just not my cup of coffee.

Also there are many freemiums that are very fair, like Punch Quest.
01-29-2017, 07:25 AM
I simply decided that the odds of me disliking a game simply because of freemium elements are so high that I don't bother trying them. For me, time is limited, I want to enjoy any time I am playing. Grinding and/or wondering whether I suck or the game is excessively difficult takes away enjoyment.

I scan through reviews here at TA, deciding on premium games; the only free games I will try are of the "free to try" type - either by "pay for full game unlock after trying the first stage" (which I prefer) or the ad-removal type.

Since marketplaces tend to gravitate towards stuff that gives biggest, or at least reasonable, return on investment, it is very clear that as long as people like me are in the minority, freemium shenanigans will be there. On the other hand, as long as there remains a critical mass of people with spending patterns similar to mine, games will be released in that niche market. In 2016, dozens of interesting games for me were released that I did not find time to try.

In short, vote with your wallet.

I just wish our government would do something about the freemium elements that are dangerously close to gambling in games marketed towards children. That's really my only beef.