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