Mark Jacobs, now president and creative director of City State Entertainment, discussed his thoughts on the F2P model and real-money trading.
Jacobs is best known to gamers for his previous roles with Mythic Entertainment and Electronic Arts on such games as Dark Age of Camelot and Warhammer Online, and his opinions on the subject of gold-farming are infamous, possibly even extreme. We can't be the only ones who remember the early days of WAR when a crusading, irony-immune Jacobs spammed players' screens with popups whenever gold-spammers were banned. But in this interview, Jacobs aimed to set the record straight: He's against gold-farming specifically and how gold-farming hurts legitimate players, not the free-to-play model.
I've never been against F2P. What I was and still remain strongly opposed to is gold farming in games, especially MMOs that weren't designed from the beginning to handle those kind of transactions, and also to the groups that seek to profit from such transactions. What I really dislike isn't so much the gold farming/selling itself, but certain behaviors that occur in games where this happens.He goes on to suggest that the F2P model has surged to prominence due to the weak economy and "a lack of really interesting MMOs," noting that we're due for a shift in the market but that the success of Star Wars: The Old Republic (and its "license to print money" IP) will determine the viability of the subscription model in the future.
Jacobs has plenty more to say in the full interview over at MMORPG.com.