Ever heard that there is no such thing as a free puppy (NSTaaFP)? Sure, the puppy is free, but the food is not, veterinarian bills don't pay themselves, and that poop in the back yard isn't going to clean itself up. Nothing is ever free; there is always a price to pay.
With my real life churning at an incredible rate (baby on the way, new job, new rank in the military reserves, and a less than stellar economy), I am having to adjust my gaming habits. Gone are the days of shelling $30+ monthly for multiple MMO accounts and having dozens of hours to play weekly. Arrived are the days of 30 minute gaming sessions and better-things-to-spend-my-money-on-than-games.
Fear not, for I will NEVER give up online gaming. What I am giving up are overpriced, bloated, and value-depressed gaming habits. An MMO subscription may be a bargain, but that same $0.50 per hour of gameplay is a lot more valuable put into chewing gum most of the time. Plus, in the long run, a good non-subscription game is going to prove far more value-profitable for my time spent.
That is not to say that a good subscription-based MMO isn't worth the money, but the B-rate subscription MMOs with half-ass launches and lackluster gameplay are now off the table for me. I can get the same crappy gameplay from free games that force no commitment upon me. Hell, I may even warm up to the idea of micro-transaction games.
Also, this probably means any game costing $50+ better be damn good if it wants my money (and they better not require hardware upgrades). When I can buy games like Team Fortress 2 for $20 ($10 when its on sale!), game developers will never again convince me to spend $50 for a game if there is any chance the game will falter. However, I hold the right to waffle on that statement as I am susceptible to hype (bad Heartless_, bad).
I am damn well sure that I am not upgrading my hardware for any game. The beauty of most free to play games is that they shoot for wide audiences and run on practically anything. Fortunately, some "real game developers" are getting the clue. For example: Valve does a great job with their Half Life engines, which run well on most up to date PCs. Epic Games does not with their Unreal engines, and some four year old games are still impossible to run on your average gaming PC today.
Here is my short list of Free to Play games I am going to hit up:
1. Quake Live
2. Maple Story
3. Battlefield Heroes
Any more suggestions? Hit up the comments.