F2P: Ones 2 Watch (Part One)

As mentioned in yesterday’s opening post, this week at TheSixthAxis we’re checking out some of the most promising F2P titles to launch in 2012. We’ve already gone hands on with BioWare Mythic’s superb competitive online RPG, Wrath of Heroes and Zombie Studios’ Blacklight Retribution, with more in-depth previews to come. Throughout the week we’ll also be bringing you bitesize quick-looks at more F2P titles, the spotlight primarily focused on releases that will appeal to your inner gamer.

By the time Vanguard launched in early 2007, Blizzard behemoth, World of Warcraft, was already revelling in the genre’s unprecedented surge in popularity. In fact, just two weeks prior to the release of SOE’s promising MMORPG, WoW drew in a record-breaking legion of players with its first major expansion, The Burning Crusade.

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For more than five years Vanguard has been sitting on the periphery. Despite bringing a myriad of character customisation options to the table as well as the unique “Spheres” system, World of Warcraft had already latched onto the once un-enlightened masses and continues to reign as king to this very day.

However, the MMO scene is changing rapidly. Since the phenomenal success of WoW, the genre is now at breaking point with studios from across the globe pounding out MMO after MMO; no matter your taste, there’s definitely an entry to the genre that will suit you to the ground whether that be steampunk, sci-fi, fantasy, racer, shooter and so on.

With such overwhelming choice, MMO gamers are probably the most spoiled of the lot, advantaged further by the advent of “free to play.” Like many before it, including Lord of the Rings Online and City of Heroes, Vanguard will step into the F2P realm this Summer, a passionate team of developers on-hand to deliver a persistent flow of updates and content.

Donning the tagline “AAA4Free” Warface is looking to revolutionize the way core gamers perceive the freemium online shooter. Developed by three Crytek studios around the globe, the game’s most discernible feature is its visual presentation. The CryENGINE 3 is arguably as good as it gets for contemporary gamers, and will be used to powered Warface when it launches sometime in the near future.

Though it’s easy to get caught up in the visuals, Crytek is no stranger when it comes to delivering stunning FPS gameplay either. Warface will encompass a dynamic class system which is said to go hand-in-hand with the gallery of available PvP modes. Straddling the line between contemporary warfare and future technology, Warface may seem a little more gritty than rival, Ghost Recon Online, also setting itself apart with the surprising inclusion of mechs.

Something we don’t often see in free-to-play online shooters is the addition of co-op play, mainly due to the additional resources acquired in moulding enemy AI and mission design. However, Crytek is promising an immersive squad-based mode that relies just as much on teamwork as individual skill, dishing out a plethora of substantial rewards. The online co-op will also be subject to constant updates and extensions by the team.

Browser-based games have seen a massive hike in popularity over the last few years, reeling in core and casual gamers alike. One sub-genre in particular, the real-time resource management sim, has proven particularly popular, giving rise to such titles as Farmville, Cafe World, and Mafia Wars.

EA is no stranger to social gaming, having released The Sims Social and Dragon Age Legends. This time around the publisher is hoping to swat two birds with one stone, attaching itself to the popular social genre whilst dragging the Command & Conquer series back into the spotlight. Developer Phenomic has already achieved such a feat with Lords of Ultima, so it shouldn’t be as hard second time round, right?

Though resource gathering is still the main aim here, Tiberium Alliances is looking to set itself apart by ushering in a comprehensive battle system. Within an hour or so, you’ll go from a single deserted refinery to a militarised complex, preparing to expand into enemy territory. Players can expect a broad gallery of units, fulfilling both offensive and defensive purposes which can also be distributed to aid other allies you meet in-game.

Currently in beta, Tiberium Alliance will launch later this year, hoping to bridge the void between core gamers and anything even faintly related to Farmville. On release, the game will be available exclusively through the Tiberium Alliance website, which seems like an odd oversight, though a Facebook/iOS launches seems likely at some point.

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10 Comments

  1. Tried to play Tiberium Alliance but it was buggy as hell, nothing worked at all for me. Will give it a go again sometime though, C and C always deserves another chance.

  2. i remember trying the beta test of Vanguard.

    it barely ran on the pc i had then, and back then the 20 gig install seemed pretty outrageous.

    i’d like to give it another try when it goes free to play.

    the C&C game sounds interesting too, i’ll give that a try.
    i’ve always been a bit of a fan of the that series.

  3. Seems like a wave of games and betas at the moment. Loving it…

  4. Guild Wars, 5 years ago was one of the first non subscription based MMO’s which offered the whole of the game to everyone, without needing to enter a credit card. You bought the game once, like any other game, and played it! No level cap, or any other cap for that matter. The things offered in there online store are really not essential for the game at all. It’s rich MMO experience, and one which truely enjoyed. I just cracked it last week actually for the frst time in a few years and its still good! less people though… Anyone wanna play?

  5. Guild wars, 5 years ago was one of the first games to offer a non subscription based fully fledged MMO to the masses. Without needed to enter any credit card, you had full access to all of the games features, no level cap, nothing! You just bought the game like any other, and played it! Once your account is up and rgistered, you can re download the client anywhere on any or as many machines you wanted. This is the sort of MMO I want. Not free to play and only a small portion for a small period, or so you cannot compete. Lets hope Guild Wars 2 follows the same model as the first. Only a couple days ago after a couple years break, i redownloaded the client, and gave it a go again and its still good! Less people though…. Anyone wanna play? TSA Guild in Guild wars!

    • Pre-ordered Guild Wars 2 earlier cant wait for it! Hopefully loads of TSAers get it also and we can get a decent guild together!

  6. I really don’t like the idea of F2P, I mean back in RuneScape days you would play all the free quests before you would be a paying membet to get all newer quests and skills. Now with games like DC Univetse and Free Realms the way to get extra stuff(like earning trophies) you have to subscribe, free to play just isn’t as good as it used to be.

    • That isn’t the case with all F2P games. People have to remember that devs need to turn a profit on these games, or at least scrape enough money together to keep servers/maintenance going.

      Subscriptions, as we’ve seen, are being phased out and substituted for micro-transactions. It’s not ideal, though usually it means that people only pay for the bits they want.

    • there are some good free to play games out there.

      the best ones will give you a whole game to play but are supported with optional items that are either a way of getting good gear without all the grinding or they’re cosmetic items that look cool but don’t make those who buy them overpowered.

      there are plenty of them that the, let’s say, frugal gamer can play for free.

      if you can live without the glowing flying mount then it’s totally possible. ^_^

  7. The only F2P game I plan on playing is Phantasy Star Online 2.
    Admittedly I was of the impression that F2P meant low quality gaming but times have changed and I’m glad PSO2 will be F2P. That way I don’t have to feel like I’ve wasted money whenever I have a busy month without much time to play videogames. I’d probably dip back into FFXIV if it was still free. I really liked it but don’t have enough time to justify the monthly fee.

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