East vs. West in MMORPGs

There are a lot of cultural and game-play difference between Eastern and Western MMORPGs. World of Warcraft, the planet’s biggest MMORPG, is the West’s crowning glory and is the epitome of all things “western”, i.e. subscription, gameplay, style and theme. For us Asians, we embrace the F2P (free-to-play) business model, Item Mall and (to some extent) grinding.

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Join me as I examine the many difference between Eastern and Western preference(s) in online gaming…

Here’s a simple table to illustrate;

Let’s examine the differences in detail…

  • Business Model – Westerners are more used to the subscription business model. This is partly due to the fact that majority of their users play from home. Most of the MMORPG publishers in the Southeast Asian region make their money from users playing in Internet Cafes/shops. Although developed countries such as Japan and Korea have a great broadband infrastructure, most of their neighbors still have to play catch-up. Another fact is that credit card use over the web is “normal” to the west vs. the “caution” that we Asians seem to exhibit, hence the widespread favor of the F2P model over the monthly subscription fees.
  • Items - Since Western MMORPGs are subscription based, you can get the best gear by either being good (or lucky) at major boss/dungeon raids OR shelling out real cash and buying it online. Even mundane regular items have to be farmed. Meanwhile, the Item Mall is the medium of choice for Asians. Some games even sell expensive and uber-rare items via the online mall. Crafting materials and Exp-modifying items account for majority of the sales.
  • Quest vs. Grind – By design it seems, there is MORE GRIND in Asian MMORPGs than Western games. When you go to various forums or blogs, you’ll hear the common phrase “Life begins at 70″… simply put, there really is more content at the zenith of the level cap in western games vs. Asian MMOs. I’m not saying that ALL Western games or ALL Asian games are so. There are, of course, exceptions.

In the US or Europe, it seems that they frown upon or “look down” on Free-to-Play games and see them as “second rate”. As polar opposites, businesses try to find opportunities to test their games at either side of the globe. But I kinda think that it will be quite difficult to convince a majority of Asians to adopt and fall in love with a new subscription-based game. Though not by preference alone, there are a number of F2P games out there that can knock the socks off any MMO from the West.

Being an Asian, I still prefer the games from this part of the world.

What about you?

(c) 2008 http://gmtristan.com

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  • http://metrogamer.wordpress.com Shiro

    It would be more prudent to include Lord of the Rings Online or EVE Online than Age of Conan. AoC has tanked something fierce albeit all the marketing hype.

  • fatman

    I am sick to death of grinding.

  • http://ragnaboards.levelupgames.ph/index.php p0nyet@

    p0nyeta…GM T!!!!!.
    kala ko ba permanente na yang 75/week na yan…mukang inuuto nyu lng ata kaming mga loyal gamer nyu ah!!!….paulit2 ang ginagawa nyu…
    ng twag pa kayu ng mga old player just to say..”ei guys..nid namin back up!…nalulugi na kami e…PONYETA KAYU!!!>>>?????!!!!!

    d man lang kayu naawa samin…gagawa ako ng campaign para ipabagsak ang LU…so stay tune,,,bwisit!!!!

  • winwin

    IMO mas maganda ang P2P kaysa sa F2P. kasi ang P2P ang ingame items ay pinaghihirapan kunin kaya masaya itong laruin tapos ang F2P ay advantage ang mayayamang tao dahil kaya nila bilhin kahit anong items sa items malls kaya hindi to fair sa mga taong walang pera.

    kaya gus2 ko P2P

  • bRO player

    I couldn’t express my most sincere opinion without using that 4 letter word. And I see I was censored. Too bad..

  • http://www.mmotaku.com/ Joel

    Whether free to play or pay to play, or whether Western or Asian made, just as long as quality is in the minds of MMO developers and operators, any online game is fine.

  • Trylle

    mas maganda parin nag p2p.. best example is RFonline.. nang dahil libre e2 mas madaling gumawa ng dummy char/account para gumamit ng CE(cheat engine)

  • nothin

    ponyet@ ka GM T…..

  • http://www.mikegotgame.com/ Mike

    To “some” extent? Come on, Tristan. You know as well as I do that Asian MMOs are all about grinding, that you prefer the Asian MMOs because that’s the part of the world where you reside in, and that an Asian MMO publisher is paying for your salary.

    I don’t mean any offense, but you can’t exactly be the most credible source when you say that Rohan can “knock the socks off” any MMO from the West since you’re a marketing manager for a company that publishes Rohan.

  • http://metrogamer.wordpress.com Shiro

    lol @ Mike. Touche.

  • nothi

    terrible post….-5

  • http://n/a hourgazer

    Para sa kin, mas gusto ko pa din ung P2P… kahit nung nasa shop pa ako naglalaro eto n tlaga gusto ko… kc based on my experience, mas konti ang dummy/troll account na naeencounter ko atsaka mas nageenjoy ako na habang tumataas lvl ko mas lalong ang makakasama mo e ung tlagang nagloload para lang makapaglaro (dedication sa point of view ko). Based nun chaos-odin days ko sa pRO at sirius days ko sa pROSE… the best pa din ang P2P… and kahit ung mga pinsan ko P2P din ang gusto eh… and humbly I do believe… na pumangit ang online gaming industry nung naging F2P… ewan ko o baka nasabay lang tlaga sa pag BOOM ng mga laro… I mean andami n ngaun dba… dami choices…

  • dingusfungus

    Aion is a pay to play MMO right??

    west mmo has better MMO’s, well majority..

    West MMO’s can really offer P2P because they deserve that based on the game quality, services and gameplay..

    GRINDING is about botting!!! that is why many people like it.. and its basically nonsense to kill monsters without any definite reasons..

    but QUESTING on the other hand is the real MMORPG..

    so whether it is P2P or F2P it depends, but western MMO’s deserves it.

  • bRO player

    As I see no one commenting about this, how do pRO players feel about P2P + item mall?

  • http://www.linqedpotatoes.com LinQed Potatoes

    me, either of the 2. i spent a lot with f2p than p2p. with p2p, i only pay for my electric bill, internet bill, and 1 month game load. while f2p, requires a lot of game load to get the desired item or level.

    what matters most is the game quality, sometimes even though it’s p2p or f2p once i don’t like the sounds, graphics, grinding or leveling mode, farming, and the story (this is the quest) i let go of the game.

  • Henie

    Less jologs at P2P than F2P

  • Arc

    I don’t really discriminate games. I just play what’s there and what’s fun. But really, I should think that all games, East or West, are the same at the core. I’ve been playing MMOs for over eight years now. P2P or F2P, there will always be those gamers who ruin the game. Then, there are also those who complain about the services. Oh, right, let’s not forget the fanboys/fangirls either (especially for a certain MMORPG). Then again, there are those people you make friends with along the way. Great stuff, great stuff. Still, fanboys/complainers/griefers suck.

  • http://gmtristan.com GM T

    Agree with you, Arc.

    Just like in real life, there are those that ruin the experience for you. Oh well… at least there are real people that we can call true online friends.

    Thanks for dropping by and for the comment. Hope to see you here often.

    Happy Holidays!

  • Xenon

    first off, Great blog…

    I have never seen a asian mmo that could knock the socks off of any of the top 5 western mmos. I have seen some that could rival or match them…

    The thing that gets me is the controls… click to move… now that is just wrong!

  • http://gmtristan.com GM T

    Thanks Xenon. Hope to see ya here regularly

    GM T

  • Fulgrim

    Being a pinoy, i still choose to play western mmo’s, WoW is really good and has lots of content and blizzard services are the best. P2P, keeps out unruly players. I still play PWph from time to time though. RF is also not bad, i heard some western players also plays that game..

  • Tancred

    With the release of Wrath of the Lich king, and Warhammer Online,Age of Conan is already going extinct only fanboys are left playing that game. And one more western game worth mentioning is the Runes of Magic, its really a good game…f2p ^^ but hey each game has it ups and downs, not every game is a WOW CLONE…

  • Steven

    Most of what comes out of Asian territories sucks anyway.

    -Movies
    -Porn (Japan cencoring LMAO!!!!!!)
    -Music
    -Games both online and offline.

  • http://lunarmyst.blogspot.com lunarmyst

    continent of the nine or c9 online beat the hell out of any western mmo

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    I could of sworn I read about this before. I forgot what website I’ve seen this on but nevertheless nice post.

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