Free To Play MMORPGs
This table compares the Free-to-Play offerings and implementations of a range of mainstream big-budget MMORPGs.
Updated 1st November 2012 to update SWTOR’s F2P details.
|Game||SWTOR||LotRO||D&D Online||EQ2||DC Universe Online||Age of Conan||Star Trek Online||Champions Online||City of Heroes|
|Company||Bioware/EA||Turbine||Turbine||SOE||SOE||Funcom||Perfect World||Perfect World||NCSoft|
|Premium Level (1)||Y||Y||Y||Y||Y||N||N||N||Y|
|Vanity Microtransactions (2)||Y||Y||Y||Y||Y||Y||Y||Y||Y|
|Functional Microtransactions (3)||Y||Y||Y||Y||Y||Y||Y||Y||Y|
|Subscriber Stipend? (4)||Y||Y||Y||Y||Y||Y||Y||Y||Y|
|Restricts character abilities||N||Y||Y||Y|
|Restricts guild creation||Y||Y||Y||Y||Y||Y|
|Restricts cosmetic options||Y||Y||Y||Y|
|Restricts customer support and/or forum access||Y||Y||Y||Y||Y||Y|
|Other restrictions||Restricted space missions, UI, crafting, emotes,||Restricted rest XP, limited crafting options||Shorter AFK logout, restricted buyback history||Restricted quest journal slots||Restricted DLC||Restricted alternative advancement, mounts, veteran rewards||Restricted mission creation, respecs, veteran rewards||Restricted veteran rewards||Restricted guild access, server transfers, mission creation, veteran rewards|
The listed restrictions are in comparison to a full subscription account. If a subscriber doesn’t get the feature for free, I haven’t listed its lack for F2P accounts as a restriction.
- “Premium” options generally apply to players who’ve spent money on the game in the past but who don’t have an active subscription.
- Vanity microtransactions are wardrobe items, non-combat minipets, titles and other non-functional cosmetic items.
- Functional microtransactions are items that have a gameworld effect (eg “experience potions”, equipment, etc) or an effect on your account (eg extra character slots, access to new content, etc.)
- Games with a cash shop for microtransactions almost always offer subscribers a monthly stipend of store currency.
It’s also worth noting that almost all F2P MMOs promise “priority login!” for subscribers, which is pretty much a non-event as login queues are very unusual in almost every game, so I didn’t bother listing it as a real limitation.
City of Heroes is no longer in operation; I’m leaving its details here for now for comparison’s sake.