How NOT to rip off players in F2P games

Recently, I downloaded another ‘free to play’ game for iPad. I thought I would give it another try after being disappointed a lot of times, by poor gameplay or cheap ‘engagement’/payment -tricks. And also because I was looking for a decent tactical / strategy game.
So what do you do when you’re looking for a good game? You surf the web, read reviews and download a game developed by a team you know and a publisher that is known for ‘relatively’ great games, right? I know I loved ‘Cut the Rope’ recently and ‘Command & Conquer’ in the old days, so why not take a change with ‘Modern Command’ developed by Level Eight and published by Chillingo (Cut the Rope) and EA (C&C and many other titles).
You would expect to have a decent gameplay experience for at least a day without having to buy in-game stuff right? Wrong! Here’s how the game works.

To be able to progress in the game you need to fight off bad guys in different settings with different guns and munitions. Sounds good. In order to keep up with the increasing difficulty you need to do research and produce your guns, sound logical and excellent to keep the flow going. For this you need researchers, time and money. It all makes sense. But you also need STARS… There is only two ways to gain stars. One is by winning battles, but you need to develop your gear in order to be able to win battles. The other one is buying stars. So this is what we call a ‘catch 22’. You neeed to level up from soldier to sergeant to gain (1 start per level) stars, but you need about stars for every single usefull gameplay element. Whether it be ‘repairing your base’ or ‘replenishing your load out of defensive guns’ or to repair quicker, or to do research, even to buy some decent weaponry you need stars. And the only way to progress in the game – eventually – is to buy more stars….

Now this all would not have been a problem to me if I was able to buy stars for a ‘reasonable price’. You would expect that if you invest 30 dollars in a ‘iOs-game’ you probably bought everything you need. But that’s not the case in this game. You need to buy much more if you want to be able to win more battles with decent guns and amunition. Believe me – I don’t mind waiting for researching items, getting my weapons reloaded over-time, but PLEASE Chillingo and Electronic Arts – let the player choose to play for free (and give a decent play-experience in the game) or let me buy the game in full for 9,95 dollars. Instead of trying to rip off kids. I am an adult and I can pay for hundreds of stars, but that’s not going to improve my playing experience. It will only give me a bad taste in my mouth when I am done playing the game through… rethink the payment structure and do us a righteous proposal a.s.a.p. because I will make sure this message will spread throughout the web… Don’t get me wrong I would even be prepared to ‘pay-per-bullit’ as I proposed to Activision and EA in a previous post, but I don’t want to ‘pay-for-progress’…The hardest part is of course to determine a ‘fair price’ for players… but apparently EA has been giving it some thought – although players do not respond in a positive way (see the comments below).

Below some screenshots of the gameplay elements that I think are not right and righteous for players. If you want to know a good example how ‘F2P’ (free to play) works really well in my opinion: Download MMO Justice for iPad or 99Bricks by Weirbeard.

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