As the economy run its course, the video game industry managed to take a good share of it. Being one of the most wanted entertainement whether it'd be the price of your home console or your pc, it will cost you just to get access to the game. Then you'll have to purchase the game and sometimes pay to play online (internet fee or/and subscription fee for your game), but lucky as we are, some games are totally free to play.
Those games usually allow us to play them for free or to spend some money to get some cool bonuses or to speed things up and has opened a variation of the free to play called: pay to win, where the game usually is so hard that you have to actually buy stuff to get through a level/boss/whatever in order to keep playing.
While MHO is based on a free to play model and is actually far from the pay to win, it is still trying to find its place in a world where video game are free for the gamers, but still costly to create.
Achieving balance is always tricky and many questions are to be asked as how the game will deal with the financial aspect that the developers need to implement and can heavily affect on the succes of the game, which is the difference between an all time success, or a deep burning fail.
Free to play?
While every game in this category tends to describe themselve as Free 2 play games, we actually need to take in consideration multiple things. A true free to play game needs to be free for the gamer and needs to be something you can play.
Most games tend to forget that and as they still need to make money out of it, go crazy on making you pay for a lot of things. As an example: they might put some high level bosses to make people pay for booster or enhancement in order to continue playing the game.
While (so far) i didn't encouter this practice in MHO, I had to admit that in some way, the game is holding you back. Not in the intent to make you pay, but in the intent to slow you down so you won't finish the game when you want to.
The monsters are clearly not that hard to beat, especially if you've known the game for a while but tencent put in place some mechanics that prevent you from finishing the game early on and the first thing you'll notice while playing the game is the EXP level.
As this is a brand new mechanics we never saw before in any monster hunter, it has allowed tencent to do multiple things.
The first huge holdback is the level cap. Let this be clear tencent: you need to get rid of this thing ASAP!
Concretly this means that you could play all day long, you wouldn't be able to gain more EXP once you have reached the daily limit. It doesn't seems like much but consider this: once you have reached the cap, playing the game is purely USELESS!
You wouldn't make any progress this way. You could play, but you wouldn't be leveling up, BUT: you need to level up to face new monster and master weapons and the skills attached to it. So playing the game once you hit the level cap is totally a WASTE of your time. And I'm putting an emphasis on it because it is really important to remember this since: the quests, the skills, the items, and pretty much everything you can do is tied to your level.
No i'm not, and you are gonna learn why my friend!
So, like many other free to play games, you have a limited amount of time you can play. Just like candy crush and other little game of the sort, you need "lives" "stamina" or in our case "Hunting tickets" to actually play the game.
Even if you didn't reach level cap for the current day, if you don't have any tickets, you can't go on a hunt, thus making the game more useless to play once you have reached the cap and as I said before, with only the cap you could think that you could loot and just hunt, but it's not the case since you'll just be using your tickets in the wind and not gaining anything of value.
In the end you are better off not playing until you have your new level cap and your ticket to hunt refilled, but wasting them and not gaining any EXP is worthless in the end.
So here we already have 2 reasons not to play the game 24/7. In my opinion, this is already a huge downside of the game, as it breaks the rythm. It doesn't allow me to play when i want when i could just pick up my 3ds and MH4 to play some epic quests, and is not making me want to play the game because it appears more like a task, kinda like:
You actually don't play because you want to play. You play because you have to, in order not to waste time and make the best out of your play time. The game is becoming a task you have to fulfill everyday on a fixed scheduled. And once you are done?…Well there is not much to do left but to just wait for your tickets to refill and your cap to go up.
In Monster Hunter, there was never such thing as "leveling". It was merely a theoretical notion where you actually learn the game yourself and improve your style. But the game mechanics didn't pack it with a EXP bar and such. Everything was available from the beginning except for weapons and armors that where unlocked as soon as you had the materials to craft them.
The gameplay was complete from the start, no big finishing move or special skills you could use. But in MHO, the EXP bar also allows for this to happen.
You now have access to more move for the weapon, but you need to unlock those by leveling up and then buy them. Even worse, you can't unlock those unless you have reached the specific level for each move, level which you can't reach if you hit your cap for today or if you are out of tickets.
Speaking of the weapons, don't think you could just choose a weapon and go hunt with it. You need to unlock the ability to use them first! And for that, you need to gain Red Coins by doing long daily playing session. You'll receive some also on various occasion but you actually need 20 coins and they are gained at a rate of 2 every now and then. So…you don't like SnS?…Well too bad for you, you are stuck with them for a while. And sorry to bring you that you will only have the Tachi after that. So if you want that GS, you'll have to wait to have the 20 red coins you need.
So, despite being a good game and mixing well some MMORPGs with the universe and gameplay of Monster Hunter, the free 2 play model for this game needs to be tweaked in order not to bore the gamers. In my sense, and I wish to point out that this is only my opinion and that everyone can have their own, tencent really need to get rid of those barriers that hold back the gamers from literaly enjoying the game.
If a game is a free to play, it means the gamer is to expect that he could play for free and don't have to pay anything, and althought this is the case with most F2P games, too much of them are making this kind of bad decision so the game will be "slow" to play and will make the player come back for some tedious pointless tasks (yeah i'm looking at you dear MHO Manor! ).
In the end you can't play when you want, or else you'll just waste a big amount of time questing for nothing. It is still possible to enjoy the game since essencially, it IS free, so i don't see any reason why people shouldn't play. But I also don't see any reason they SHOULD keep playing afterward.