P2W economy in MMOs #1

For anyone who has played MMOs(Massively multiplayer online games) before, you probably fall into one of two categories: the PvP(player vs player) lovers and the ones who dislike and avoid PvP altogether. In some cases, PvP becomes essential as it becomes the only way to get stronger since they become the source to the game’s best gears and materials. Other non-MMOs could also have an optional PvP route such as Pokémon where the player can choose to take if they want to but it is not necessary to enjoy the game.

One way to have an advantage in PVP is becoming a P2W(pay-to-win) player. Mind you, there are exceptions to this. Not every game gives an advantage to P2Ws. But if you look at this market, 90% of MMOs are P2W friendly. They give a lot of advantages to paying players which can make the games stressful to F2P(free-to-play) players

Looking at the economy of games, the P2W system seems a necessary part as it is the primary way how these games earn money. It’s no surprise they would model the game with the pay-to-win approach. This creates a controversial topic. Taking away skill, patience and dedication. Games will stop being games and start being businesses (Darakjian). On the other hand, this system caters to people with money so this draws a clear line between F2P players and P2W players and may make the F2P feel excluded and not part of the community.

F2P players normally do not invest money into their games because they do not think it is worth it to spend real money into games and this may be less invested in such games, further pushing them away from their game community.


Darakjian, S. (2015). Online Gaming and the Pay-to-Win Problem: Legal Deterrence or Industry Self-Regulation. Loyola of Los Angeles Entertainment Law Review, [online] 36, p.213. Available at: https://heinonline.org/HOL/LandingPage?handle=hein.journals/laent36&div=15&id=&page=

MMOHuts. (2009). Top 5 Most PvP Intensive Free MMORPGs. [online] Available at: https://mmohuts.com/news/top-5-most-pvp-intensive-free-mmorpgs/

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