Failbetter tweeted that they were having some server issues this weekend, but they're all resolved now. I like the app better too, but for certain things like trading in items for higher tier items, the browser interface is better.The iOS version was hanging on the 'checking for content updates' screen for me, so I used the browser version this weekend. Blimey, that's an ugly and clunky experience. I was pleased when the app started working again so I could go back. The design and appearance is so much better. Yes, there are rough edges, and the notifications/red dot numbers seem a bit random, but it's a much nicer experience. I appear to have stalled out on major storylines at the moment, however, so I'm being louche around Veilgarden and hoping that boosting stats or possessions opens something up.
Agreed on the F2P aspect - it's not intrusive at all, which is nice. I've bought some Fate, mainly to explore some of the storylets and I purchased some of the older Exceptional Friends storylines. I'm waiting for my EF to run out and I'm pretty sure I'll do the 12 month subscription - it's significantly less expensive than purchasing month to month, if you're sure you want to commit to it for that long.I am still playing FL via iPad app. I will in all likelihood buy another month's pass in June as an 'Exceptional Friend'.
For all my enthusiasm, Geigerm is essentially correct: the actual mechanisms in play do not differ greatly from other F2P apps in as much you spend a limited number of daily actions that replenish over time, to accomplish goals in the game via storylets that can raise your statistics, provide items that can be used to obtain improved items (in transactions of diminishing returns), et al.
The major difference with FL is how the developers have used these common F2P mechanisms to create a deeply rich storytelling experience, and allowing players considerable freedom (or the illusion of) to explore FL and develop their characters in a variety of different ways.
Another difference is the lack of intrusion of arm-twisting you to spend cash to accomplish goals. No annoying pop-ups, ads, etc. Monetary transactions (buying Fate / subscribing) are neatly hidden away in the settings menu and rarely intrude upon gameplay. The odd storylet may require a certain amount of Fate (obtained via cash transaction), but these are few and far between and are highlighted to be obvious.
The one aspect that must be mentioned is subscribers receive double the amount of action points: 40. This is not insignificant because certain options in storylets may require a set number of actions depending on level of risk (risky options require less actions). In one storylet, the safe option required 5 actions! This isn't common but does occur at certain stages and is necessary to generate more storylets and increase your stats.
FL is an hauntingly evocative title that uses F2P mechanisms to create a wonderful storytelling experience. Just be aware that the mechanisms do exist. The difference is in how the developers use such mechanisms to hang on a world rich in atmosphere, rather than gouging their customers' wallets until they suck up lint.
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