Sparta: War of Empires

Neverwinter Age rating

NeverwinterGame Name:

and Perfect World

Platform: PC

Year: 2013

Players: Solo (MMO though)

Ages: 13+

Retail Price: Free to play

Category: Fantasy MMORPG

Neverwinter Character CreationNot being one of the millions of people enamored by massive multiplayer online games I don’t spend a tremendous amount of time in front of my computer invested in the goings on of fantasy or science fiction realms alongside tons of other players. This isn’t to say I have anything against the MMORPG genre, or the people who play them, but simply don’t “get” the games for the most part; spending countless hours grinding away to find particular elements to complete quests or craft items isn’t my bag of tricks.

I have given some of the popular titles a try over the years simply because I thought there just has to be something to the genre that maybe I just wasn’t getting. Along with a few other releases I World of Warcraft for a couple of months – which left me completely indifferent to the game – and even ran a character up to level 40 in Perfect World. In the end I realized my enjoyment and, more importantly, my progress in these games was always tied to having to play with other people. Obviously I love to sit down at the table with a bunch of folks and tackle a game or three in an evening so it isn’t as if I don’t like a crowd but the MMORPG experience is quite a different animal altogether. I like to feel as if I’m accomplishing something with my time and, with many of the MMORPGs, once you hit a certain point of your character progression, if you aren’t part of a team you can’t advance past certain quests leaving you to while away the hours grinding.

Over the past few years many established MMORPGs have abandoned the monthly fees to go to what is known as a free to play model. That is, there’s no upfront charge for the game but micro-transactions within the game make up the revenues. You’d like a speedy mount to traverse the landscape? That’ll be $20. Want to guarantee those enchantments you collected bind to your magic sword you’ve crafted? That’ll be $3. The reality is there are almost as many ways to “pay to win” as there are ways to play. I don’t have an issue with the business model because the game is free to play in the first place and the players themselves determine how important it is to have the speedy mount or special weapon. When I have an issue is when you hit a ceiling where you can’t realistically move forward without shelling over cash left and right.

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