I’ll admit it wasn’t until recently that I discovered the wonder that is Steam; the handy gaming interface that let’s players connect with each other, demo and purchase new games digitally, and even try out an assortment of F2P titles. Thanks to their partnership with numerous companies and developers, Steam operates as an optional hub for many great F2P titles such as Vindictus, Lord of The Rings Online, and Spiral Knights. However, one category of F2P games offered by Steam seems to be catching on more than others: the F2P shooter.
It was just yesterday that Blacklight: Retribution, one of the most popular F2P shooters on the market, was added to the Steam library, joining other famous F2P titans such as APB: Reloaded, Super Monday Night Combat, Tribes: Ascend, and, of course, Team Fortress 2. For Steam users with an itchy trigger finger and some time to kill, it would seem the golden age is indeed upon us.
Naturally, some may scoff at the means of income for these and other F2P titles; the infamous cash shop. While the cash shop serves as a great alternate source of revenue for companies that develop F2P games, the stigma that is often associated with them has to do with the dreaded “P2W” (pay to win) pitfall that some F2P titles have fallen into in the past in which game-breaking items, power ups, and weapons can be purchased for real cash, thus giving players with deeper pockets an unfair advantage.
Fortunately, the team behind Blacklight: Retribution and other popular F2P shooters are adamant about keeping the playing field level for all players regardless of their economic commitments. It’s become pretty standard for F2P shooters to ensure that any gear that can be purchased for real green backs can also be earned with in-game currency, albeit at a much slower rate.
Blacklight: Retribution uses a similar system in which gear that is unlocked or purchased doesn’t increase stats more than lower level gear but instead “trades out” one stat for another, thus keeping things fair and allowing players to remain somewhat evenly matched regardless of their level/gear loadout. Team Fortress 2 allows players to either purchase cosmetic gear and weapons or find them in-game during matches, eliminating the need to purchase new gear entirely for dedicated players.
With an already great selection of F2P titles, both shooter and otherwise, a large and easily accessible community of players, and an overarching philosophy that F2P doesn’t have to mean P2W in order to be successful, now is as good a time as ever to hop right into the Steam community and get your frag on.