Free-to-Play Maths

I thought that the game's second birthday might be a good time to take stock of how much money I've spent on it. After all, free-to-play games claim to be free or at least cheap, yet among experienced gamers they also have a reputation for tricking you into spending much more than you would have paid under a different payment model.

According to my records, I've spent a total of €153.94 on the game since its launch. (Incidentally, I don't know why they charge me in euros when I live in the UK, but that's neither here nor there.) €49.99 of that was spent on buying the Knight of the Feywild pack straight from Perfect World's website, and the rest of it was spent on Zen.

To put things into perspective, of the 24 months that the game has been live, I spent about

- 7 actively playing the game,
- 10 not playing the game at all,
- 7 logging in to invoke and work on professions but not spending any time with what I would consider active play.

So if you only consider the months of active play, they came in at about €22 each, making the whole deal almost twice as expensive as your average sub.  This seems fair if we're working under the assumption that I wouldn't pay a sub for a game just to log in and do "chores". If you do include the months of minimal activity in the count however, I spent about €11 per month, making it almost equal to a subscription. What I can take away from this is that I'm certainly not a freeloader, but that I seem to be able to manage my spending reasonably well and refuse to get suckered into shelling out huge amounts of money for cash shop items.

I still prefer the subcription model though (even if the game also has a way of playing for free), because my sub in SWTOR makes me feel like I've got everything covered. In Neverwinter, despite of having spent just as much or even more money per month played, I always feel like I'm behind and would have to spend lots more to be able to fully enjoy some aspects of the game.

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