May 5, 2009

H is for Hypocrite and Heartless_

Yes, I am playing Free Realms. Yes, I still hate SOE, but I simply can't argue with a quality free games. Yes, I just referred to SOE, game, and quality in the same sentence without any curse words.

After a couple hours of play, I like the basics of Free Realms: do whatever you want, whenever you want. There is competitive, co-op, and solo play galore. Free Realms boils down to a bunch of mini-games connected via a hub world.

So far, I have not run into anything in-game asking for a credit card number, but then again, I was side tracked at the race track with the destruction derby mini-game for most of my playtime. I know micro-transactions are out there and that the card game (which is of great interest to me) relies heavily upon real cash.

I am skeptical that the micro-transaction model can generate enough revenue to support, what seems to be, a traditional game with a significant development footprint. Especially when a lot of game is available free of charge.

My other concern, after a few hours of play on US Server #1, is the lack of socialization in Free Realms between players. I found myself wandering aimlessly, rarely meeting another player in the hub world. In the destruction derby competitive mini-game, it wasn't very clear how to identify other players or how I could communicate with them. On top of that, Free Realms encourages players to always be doing something, which makes it hard to socialize properly.

Oh well, look for me online as Heartless Gamer, male of the human variety.