Peak F2P, or how there isn't enough time in a day to collect all the 'rewards'

There are good F2P implementations (Warframe, LOTRO, Devillian), there are bad (SWTOR), there are “Meh” ones (TESO) and then there are neutral (Rift, Firefall) and many many others…

One thing is common for many of them, and I don’t know if it is a good thing or a bad thing:
They want you to login every day, and to get you to do that they offer incentives, and for some you get better incentives the longer your “upkeep” your login streek, and then if you miss out a single day, you’re set back to zero.

I’ll divide the reward systems into some sub-categories: “Palm”, “Palm and Fist”, “OCD” and “Its complicated”

In the “Palm” category you find:
Warframe (Digital Extremes/Canada)
you login and get a ‘login reward’. After X number of login rewards you can obtain a higher tier (I assume, as I am still 20 days off it).


LOTRO (Turbine)
you get a daily hobbits gift, and a weekly one, that may contain utter crap, or something quite nice.


Rift (Trion)
you get a daily gift that contain an artifact you might not have collected yet,
And you get a weekly gift that contains several artifacts.

In the “PAlm and Fist” category you’ll find:
Devillian (Trion)
Here you get +2 points to your ‘account’ (or +3 if subscriber) as well as a +1 per consecutive day point, both of which can be used to buy some materials use to upgrade gear or change cosmetics (and as a subscriber your can also get bag space). The consecutive day reward goes up to 21, where the best reward is. But if you fail to login a single day, you are reset to 0.


Star Conflict (Gaijin)
Every day you login you get a free crate with some materials and possibly nice materials used for crafting,
each consecutive day you login you get better rewards and if you login 5 days in a row you can get a nice item. If you fail to login one of those days, you’re reset to 0.


War Thunder (Gaijin)
Pretty much exactly the same as in Star Conflict, no surprise since it is the same company.


In the OCD category:
NeverWinter (Perfect World)
When you play you can say a prayer to a deity, which will give you several rewards, xp and coin.
The first time you pray you can redo it after 15 minutes, then 30, and hour, and longer. Each time the buff you get is better.

Neverwinter also has a companion adventure mode on their web page where you pick your companions and send them on a short ‘adventure’. Basically you pick a mission, then fight 6-8 battles using your companions stats to get a random assortment of dice rolls, which are then used to fight the opponents. If you clear the adventure you get Companion XP and some other rewards.

You can also visit the Neverwinter web page to complete Crafting missions with your crafting companions, which may take a few minutes up to several hours. As you complete these crafting missions and level up, you unlock more ‘crafting mission slots’ to send your minions on.


Rift (Trion)
Rift also has a Minion “minigame” where you can send your pet out on an adventure to gather loot, including Artifacts or Resources.
These missions have various time limits and “cost”. It basically means that, as you play you send your minions on short missions for XP and when you eventually logout you send them on a 8+ hour mission for better rewards.


Star Conflict (Gaijin)
Has a mission style that require you to send several of your “inactive” ships on missions that take several hours, for faction rewards that you can use to buy stuff.


“Its Complicated”
Guild Wars 2:
So much to do every day.

Some of the daily login rewards are also very sneaky, in particular in Neverwinter Nights Online. Where you might get a reward that gives you 20% discount in the $-Store, provided you buy something within 1 hour. Warframe has something similar where you get a big discount, and this reward also times out in a short time frame. Funnily enough, these two games (+ rift) are the only F2P games I’ve spent more than 30$ on.

In Warframe I’ve probably spent more than 300USD (primarily for the Prime frames I wanted to not grind), Rift was closer to 400 euro for “Subscription” that lasted several years, you could buy it in ‘bulk’ and also get “Loyality Points” that in turn gave you additional in game bonuses - even if I only played for 10% of the total subscription time I paid (up front) for. And Neverwinter they have ‘tiered’ VIP that give you additional bonuses, rewards, that ‘stick’ to your character even after your subscription runs out. which so far has cost 99$.

Looking back at the cost of these games, the 200$ I spent on a Lifetime Subscription to LOTRO 8 years ago seems to have been the best investment. Even after the game went F2P the “Subscription” features are intact. That said, with 900 hours played on Warframe, that isn’t a very high $-per-hour cost.

The downside is of course that just trying to keep up with all the daily login requirements, consecutive login requirements and “minion-missions” that repeat every 8-12 hours, there isn’t any time to play all of the games, and with all the “rewards” you kinda feel forced to do it, or you’re missing out.

The morale of the story is to focus on just one or two games, and if you ever decide to take a break from them - delete everything - that way the ‘obstacle’ to return will be that much higher, and you’ll be happier on the other side.

“And another thing”.

Rift, Defiance and Devillian are run from the Trion app launcher Glyph with shared account
Neverwinter and Star Trek Online is run from the PW app launcher Arc with shared account
Warframe has a steam launcher, then its own, then its own login
Star Conflict and War Thunder can be launched from Steam but each have their own account system to login.
LOTRO has its own launcher and login
SWTOR has its own launcher and can also be run from Origin with its own login/launcher system
TESO has its own launcher and account system

I guess it is a good thing to not have EVERYTHING on Steam, due to monopoly and whatnot, but, having to install and run so many launcher isn’t “cool” :). At least when the company has several properties tied to the same account you could sort-of understand them having their own launcher.

Well this is deliberate. No F2P publisher wants you to have time to play any other game. You might spend money on that other game that otherwise they could have. And also…lets not just think that F2P does this. I spent extra time yesterday playing Star Wars Battlefront because it was a ‘double XP weekend’…

Dunno, it seems the 30€ I used in Smite to unlock all the gods were a better investment than paying 300 usd in Warframe :P.

But I wonder if some of their implementations are such that you only login to get the rewards, then you’re off to get the other rewards, so by having login “rewards” that demand that you keep it up every day, you’re eventually turning people off the “game” entirely, as the player feels that the game puts too many “demands” on them, and with all the other “demands” from other games, it just becomes an annoyance eventually.

Neverwinter alleviates that somewhat by letting you complete the adventure/crafting through web page and/or app, so you can do it on your commute to work for example. Course, when all the other games also have their own apps/web pages you’ll be looking at having 4-5 “gaming apps/keyfobs” on your commute.

“Double XP weekends” etc I see also in many games; And events centered around ‘mark days’ such as Valentines, Xmas, etc. I suppose Star Wars does it for upkeep of the player base which in turn might attract new players.

So unless it is programmed into the code, I would guess they stop doing it after a while ?

Blade and Soul also has a crazy amount of stuff to do every day

And you didn’t even mention rotating events that want you to log in for even more, usually daily, rewards!

For instance, Trion, already mentioned above for Rift and Devilian:

Defiance: holiday events. Currently Valentine’s Day. Special event-only Arkfalls that drop gear with a synergy (stat) that is only available from the gear that drops during these Arkfalls.

Trove: regularly (about once/month) cycling dragon mount chases. You need 100 souls to get the top-tier of the current mount. You are guaranteed one soul per day. You can run additional challenges every hour to try and get additional souls. It’s a little more involved and slightly less grindy than it sounds.

Oh, and these two games currently have a cross-promotion going on for Valentine’s day. If you participate in the Defiance event and kill 50 of a certain mob, you get a mount in Trove. If you engage in the horrible Trove pvp for a bit, you can get a crappy weapon in Defiance. (They did something similar when Trove released its last class: you could do something in Rift to get the class for free in Trove. Still can afaik.)

Marvel Heroes also has a crazy amount of daily/weekly stuff.

I avoid games with daily chores. As I’ve become a more casual gamer, I expect games to meet me on my own terms. Sometimes I have lots of free time and I binge. Sometimes I don’t play for a few days or weeks. Sometimes I leave and come back five months later. If the game is designed to punish that behavior, then that game is not for me.

Ditto. I know a lot of people liked the recent WoW stuff with building etc, but it really rubbed me the wrong way. I don’t mind getting a bonus for logging in etc, but a lot of these things very quickly start to feel like jobs to me.

Usually these sorts of systems push me to a point that after a while, I stop, and then I never come back.

I’m worried Street Fighter 5 might go down this rabbithole very hard.

They do it because it works, don’t expect anyone to stop

I don’t terribly mind these systems in games like GW2, because you’ve already paid for the game. It is merely an extra bonus for playing. It somewhat applies to LOTRO as well, because everyone has to buy expansions/areas. Warframe is generous because they implement this model without any upfront cash.

What I do hate is systems where you are reset to 0 for missing a day. If I don’t play for 2 weeks, and I was at day 20 of 21? Come on. I’m only “hurting myself” by not having played for 2 weeks, there is no reason to also penalize me a further 3. If the rewards are ‘too good’, then make it take longer than 21 days. If they are really that vital, I’ll either play more to ensure I don’t miss day so I earn my reward faster, pony up the cash, or stop playing anyway.

I’m with Daagar. A daily bonus system like GW2’s is fine. If a game punishes you for not logging in daily, then I’m liable to write that game off.

War Thunder has added some new stuff recently to encourage actually playing as well as just logging in.

The game now auto-generates missions for you and the completion of these gives you tickets which can be spent in cut down version of the War Thunder shop to buy boosters, cosmetic items or even premium vehicles.

Each time you complete a mission you get a new one, but the level requirements of the new mission is higher than the one before and despite the fact that I have a few hundred hours in the game, I can only do the first two missions in a series.

The third mission always need vehicles of at least level 4 and as someone who likes playing all the nations, my advancement has been way, way more broad than deep. I have level three vehicles for every nation, but no fours anywhere.

Without the level 4s, (and presumably 5s for the subsequent mission), it’s almost impossible for me to play enough to earn tickets to buy vehicles, but I can at least buy a specific booster, rather than hoping for it in the random daily drops.

The first month this was available I had a good go at earning tickets, so I could buy one of the cheaper premium tanks, (I really enjoy playing the game at level 1, where the tanks are usually fast and undergunned, with armour made of wet paper), but continually stalling out on the third mission’s level requirements meant I got nowhere near enough tickets, which just left me feeling “ah… this competition isn’t for me.”

As a result, now in the second month if a mission aligns with what I’m trying to do then I’ll complete it and claim the tickets, but if it asks me to use one specific kind of vehicle or has some other very specific goal then I mostly just ignore it. As a result, the attempt to entice me to play more has led to me playing a little bit less, because unless my kids suddenly left home there’s simple no chance I can earn enough for the better rewards.

One of my friends now spends 3-4 hours a day just doing dailies in various games.

Part of the Problem™.



I know in a bunch of recent mobile F2Ps they don’t reset your login streak if you miss a day. Resetting after missing a day is a really stupid system. In P&D when I missed my login streak one day the game made me feel like shit and then removed my incentive to come back. The second time I missed it, I ended up quitting the game (not entirely because of that system, but it’s one of the reasons I kept doing something else instead of turning it on). When games don’t reset your streak, it feels more like they want you back. I’m curious how conscious developers are of the difference between these systems. When the system restarts on missing a day, it seems like the game is looking for a short-term consistent player-base, whereas not restarting seems like the game is looking for a longer term perhaps less consistent player-base. F2P companies put internal metric goals for games and judge them based on how they achieve those (whether they’re perhaps short-sighted or not). It could be stupid metrics are driving companies to use a system that can’t possibly be better for the longterm life of a game. Or it could be a last second addition to the game that was poorly thought out and just copied the closest reference point.

I quite like Blizzard’s approach in HoTS and Hearthstone of giving missions every day. In the ideal scenario, you’re finishing a mission every day so you can empty a mission slot for the next daily mission to refill. But if you miss a few days, no big deal, you’ll come back with a full roster of missions to complete.


Login to Neverwinter:
Do the 15 minute Prayer buff on 4 characters, start the crafting dailies on all 4 characters.
Login to the first character and do the 30 minute buff on all 4 characters.

Login to Wrframe and claim login rewards
Launch Glyph then Login to Devillian and claim login rewards, then Login to rift and claim rewards + send my minions on 8h mission.
Login to Star Conflict and claim login reward, send ships on a mission
Login to WAr Thunder and claim login reward,

Have 15 minutes available to play before having to start Neverwinter for 45 hour Prayer.

Etc. :-)

This all sounds horrendous, and completely antithetical to the reason I play games.

Not all of it. The Guild Wars 2 daily bonuses are just that. They’re literally small packages of XP boosters or crafting loot or something cosmetic added to your account every day that you log in for the first time that day. When you log in, there’s a chart that pops up showing you what you’ll get every time. If you don’t log in for days or weeks later, it’s no sweat. You’ll still get whatever bonus was scheduled to be next on your chart.

Some games punish you by setting your progress back if you miss a day. Those are the login bonuses schemes that suck.

I’ve kind of come to the conclusion that if I’m excited at all about a game giving me any rewards for anything other than directly playing the game, I probably should stop playing that game and play something more intrinsically rewarding. If Witcher 3 gave me a free level up or something every day I launched it I’d be pretty angry - stop it, I want to enjoy the game!