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* ''VideoGame/RunesOfMagic'': You will never be as good as the guy sitting next to you who buys the in-game currency, without either paying the same amount or more, or spending a ridiculous amount of time. Assuming you choose the latter, you need to farm 10 turn-ins of whatever Daily Quest you choose, turn those in, and get 100 tokens which are basically a free version of the diamonds, but with half the item selection at like 5-20 times the price they cost in diamonds. A Purified Fusion Stone (6 of which are needed to make the best gear possible) costs a whopping 1100 tokens vs. 55 diamonds[[note]]and that's when they're ''not'' on sale, when they cost as low as 25 diamonds (in a 5 pack)[[/note]]. That's 11 days for one stone, 66 for one piece of gear.

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* ''VideoGame/RunesOfMagic'': You will never be as good as the guy sitting next to you who buys the in-game currency, without either paying the same amount or more, or spending a ridiculous amount of time. Assuming you choose the latter, you need to farm 10 turn-ins of whatever Daily Quest you choose, turn those in, and get 100 tokens which are basically a free version of the diamonds, but with half the item selection at like 5-20 times the price they cost in diamonds. A Purified Fusion Stone (6 of which are needed to make the best gear possible) costs a whopping 1100 tokens vs. 55 diamonds[[note]]and that's when they're ''not'' on sale, when they cost as low as 25 diamonds (in a 5 pack)[[/note]]. That's 11 days for one stone, 66 for one piece of gear.


* ''Ikariam'''s "Ambrosia" system rings of this trope, but is subverted; all it really does is make the game a little more ''convenient'' to play, by offering overall views of ResourceGathering, research, military operations, and the like (things anyone can already do by checking their colonies individually). It eventually became [[GameBreaker gamebreaking]] however when it became possible to outright buy resources with Ambrosia, effectively allowing players with spare real-life money to just buy supplies rather than gathering them.

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* ''Ikariam'''s ''{{Videogame/Ikariam}}'''s "Ambrosia" system rings of this trope, but is subverted; all it really does is make the game a little more ''convenient'' to play, by offering overall views of ResourceGathering, research, military operations, and the like (things anyone can already do by checking their colonies individually). It eventually became [[GameBreaker gamebreaking]] however when it became possible to outright buy resources with Ambrosia, effectively allowing players with spare real-life money to just buy supplies rather than gathering them.


* ''VideoGame/PathOfExile'' is an RPG wherein you can have multiple characters on the same account, all sharing the same bank, called a stash. The game gives 4 stash tabs, each tab containing 144 cells in a 12x12 configuration. This sounds like plenty, until you realize that the items use up multiple (from 1x1 for the hundreds of gems, jewels, currency, and cards to 1x2 to 2x4 for weapons, gear, and armor)cells, and 144 cells suddenly aren't as many as you think. the 4 tabs is plenty for a single character if you get rid of your noob gear as you progress, but if you want multiple characters, or the ability to level new characters easily, the stash becomes cramped very quickly. Nobody ever only has one character, due to the sheer amount of possible builds, all of which require a unique build and skill tree path, and the temporary leagues every 3 months, which get added to the main game when the league ends. The solution? Give Grinding Gear Games 3USD per stash tab. If you want a separate tab that can hold up to 5000 each of the 20+ different types of currency(each of which has a max stack between 10 and 30 before you need to use a different cell), the 30+ essences, and the 100+ divination cards, just give them 7.50USD, 4USD, and 5USD, respectively.

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* ''VideoGame/PathOfExile'' is an RPG wherein you can have multiple characters on the same account, all sharing the same bank, storage, called a stash. The game gives 4 stash tabs, each tab containing 144 cells in a 12x12 configuration. This sounds like plenty, until you realize that the items use up multiple (from 1x1 for the hundreds of gems, jewels, currency, and cards to 1x2 to 2x4 for weapons, gear, and armor)cells, armor) cells, and 144 cells suddenly aren't as many as you think. the The 4 tabs is plenty for a single character if you get rid of your noob gear as you progress, but if as you want multiple characters, or continue to collect items of value and progress through the ability to level new characters easily, post-game, the stash becomes cramped very quickly. Nobody ever only has one character, due The fact you can't list items to the sheer amount of possible builds, all of which require a unique build and skill tree path, and public market API with the temporary leagues every 3 months, which get added regular stash tab doesn't help either. If you want to the main game when the league ends. The solution? Give hold onto low level items for other characters or your precious currency for future crafting or purchases or sell items, give Grinding Gear Games 3USD per some money (~$3-10 USD, depending on the tab). You could buy more 12x12 stash tab. If you want a separate tabs for cheap, but specialized tabs like the currency or maps tab that can hold up to 5000 contain plenty of space for each of the 20+ different types of currency(each of which has a max stack between 10 item type and 30 before you need to use a different cell), the 30+ essences, and the 100+ divination cards, just neatly organize them give them 7.50USD, 4USD, and 5USD, respectively.the most bang for your buck.


For a small fraction of the player base, these games are very susceptible to becoming SeriousBusiness, with some players spending astronomical sums just to get the best equipment and CharacterClass. Game design jargon calls these players Whales (a term used by gamblers to describe someone who spends extravagant amounts of money on his favorite game) -- they are usually the major source of a game's income and how badly you should milk them is a permanent ethical question for any game company. There's also the need to maintain a balance so that the whales don't become ''so'' overwhelmingly powerful that they drive everybody else out of the game...which in turn can lead to the whales themselves also moving on to another game after the "massively multiplayer" portion of your MMO is gone.

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For a small fraction of the player base, these games are very susceptible to becoming SeriousBusiness, with some players spending astronomical sums just to get the best equipment and CharacterClass. Game design jargon calls these players Whales (a term used by gamblers originating from casinos to describe someone who spends extravagant amounts of money on his favorite game) money) -- they are usually the major source of a game's income and how badly you should milk them is a permanent ethical question for any game company. There's also the need to maintain a balance so that the whales don't become ''so'' overwhelmingly powerful that they drive everybody else out of the game...which in turn can lead to the whales themselves also moving on to another game after the "massively multiplayer" portion of your MMO is gone.


* ''VideoGame/AliceInTheMirrorsOfAlbion'' can technically be played completely for free, but unlocking locations, collecting keys to explore said locations, and finding relevant items needed for the quests are extremely difficult/time-consuming to accomplish without gold coins, crystals and "cash", which requires real money to pay.r a banner that you actually need, or if you're a new player, then pick a banner with the easiest learning curve available (according to veteran players of the game).

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* ''VideoGame/AliceInTheMirrorsOfAlbion'' can technically be played completely for free, but unlocking locations, collecting keys to explore said locations, and finding relevant items needed for the quests are extremely difficult/time-consuming to accomplish without gold coins, crystals and "cash", which requires real money to pay.r a banner that you actually need, or if you're a new player, then pick a banner with the easiest learning curve available (according to veteran players of the game).



* ''VideoGame/DragonProject'': Technically, you can play this game for free without paying a single cent and breeze through the content with a decent build, assuming that RandomNumberGenerator is kind enough to give you good magi and the behemoth that you want. However, the game's nature encourages players to spend money on more gems to get a better chance at getting more gear. This is why it's best to save up your gems and summoning tickets fo

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* ''VideoGame/DragonProject'': Technically, you can play this game for free without paying a single cent and breeze through the content with a decent build, assuming that RandomNumberGenerator is kind enough to give you good magi and the behemoth that you want. However, the game's nature encourages players to spend money on more gems to get a better chance at getting more gear. This is why it's best to save up your gems and summoning tickets fofor a banner that you actually need, or if you're a new player, then pick a banner with the easiest learning curve available (according to veteran players of the game).


* Creator/{{Nintendo}} markets all of its own mobile games as "free-to-start" in an admitted attempt to be more transparent about the existence of micro-transactions in titles like ''VideoGame/AnimalCrossingPocketCamp'' (Leaf Tickets) and ''VideoGame/FireEmblemHeroes'' (Orbs).[[note]]This {{insistent terminology}} also extends to any "free-to-play" released by other developers on their consoles' eShops.[[/note]] These in-game currencies can be slowly collected by completing in-game tasks, so it ''is'' possible, if slower, to get by without paying a single real-world dime.

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* Creator/{{Nintendo}} markets all of its own mobile games as "free-to-start" "free-to-''start''" in an admitted attempt to be more transparent about the existence of micro-transactions in titles like ''VideoGame/AnimalCrossingPocketCamp'' (Leaf Tickets) and ''VideoGame/FireEmblemHeroes'' (Orbs).[[note]]This {{insistent terminology}} also extends to any "free-to-play" released by other developers on their consoles' eShops.[[/note]] These in-game currencies can be slowly collected by completing in-game tasks, so it ''is'' possible, if slower, to get by without paying a single real-world dime.

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* ''[[VideoGame/PuyoPuyo Puyo Puyo!! Quest]]'' is a standard "gacha" type mobile game that encourages the use of real-world cash to secure more chances to draw characters.








* The free apps ''VisualNovel/ShallWeDate'' series is this. You can pay for coins (the premium game currency), which can get you premium items that allow you to access extra stories and/or [=CGs=] or allow you to go through the main story without waiting. Coins can also be earned for free, but it's very tedious, you'll eventually just run out of free offers.

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* The free apps ''VisualNovel/ShallWeDate'' series is this. You can pay for coins (the premium game currency), which can get you premium items that allow you to access extra stories and/or [=CGs=] or allow you to go through the main story without waiting. Coins can also be earned for free, but it's very tedious, and you'll eventually just run out of free offers.offers.
* The developers of ''Shall We Date'', NTT Solmare Corporation, are also behind ''VisualNovel/MoeNinjaGirls'', which functions similarly in terms of progression. However, rather than free offers being limited, it separates currencies into "diamonds" and "coins", with the former being much slower to earn freely and used to access more features.


** There is a more recent "feature" called the Squeal of Fortune that, while it can be used for free once a day (twice a day for members), requires payment of real money to use enough to get halfway decent rewards outside of lots of luck. Aside from potentially granting ''two hundred million gold'', it can also grant unique (albeit terrible) weapons and armour, as well as copies of very high-grade armour.

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** There is a more recent "feature" called the Squeal of Fortune (later replaced with the similar but less annoying Treasure Hunter) that, while it can be used for free once a day (twice a day for members), requires payment of real money to use enough to get halfway decent rewards outside of lots of luck. Aside from potentially granting ''two hundred million gold'', it can also grant unique (albeit terrible) weapons and armour, as well as copies of very high-grade armour.


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*** Due to complaints about this, Jagex later changed it so that auras used in combat can be obtained by playing. Non-combat auras still are only available through loyalty points though.


* The Japanese-language MMO C21 is particularly excessive with this; the game's world spans several planets; beyond the first, 99% of what's for sale in robot shops(where you'd get your newer/better hardware outside rare drops) costs cash-shop currency. And while there's occasional events to swap normal ingame money for cash points, they're capped so you won't be able to buy anything worthwhile anyway. And the ratio of cash to points is ''insane''. A few units from the cash side of things have free versions... But their configurations are locked. Which is lethal to their usefulness in a game where customizing a unit is ''essential''; you can't even re-arm them.

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* The Japanese-language MMO C21 is particularly excessive with this; the game's world spans several planets; beyond the first, 99% of what's for sale in robot shops(where shops (where you'd get your newer/better hardware outside rare drops) costs cash-shop currency. And while there's occasional events to swap normal ingame money for cash points, they're capped so you won't be able to buy anything worthwhile anyway. And the ratio of cash to points is ''insane''. A few units from the cash side of things have free versions... But their configurations are locked. Which is lethal to their usefulness in a game where customizing a unit is ''essential''; you can't even re-arm them.


* The later versions of ''VideoGame/BloonsTowerDefense'' have these, but even then the game is extremely winnable without these premium upgrades, unless you want to complete certain maps on harder difficulties as some maps like Tar Pits are impossible on Hard or above without premiums.

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* Cautiously avoided with ''VideoGame/BloonsTowerDefense''. The later versions of ''VideoGame/BloonsTowerDefense'' have these, but even then games are 5-10 dollars upfront, and everything in-game is completely free. The only thing you can't get through simply playing the game is extremely winnable without these premium upgrades, unless you want to complete certain maps on harder difficulties as some maps like Tar Pits are impossible on Hard or above without premiums.a purposely overpriced Double Cash Mode; an intentional GameBreaker that's out-of-the-way and banned in the hardest game modes.

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* Very downplayed with ''VideoGame/AlterEgo2018''. Upon completion of the game, you can pay some real money to unlock bonus scenarios based on each of the game's three endings. However, since all that you get is basically a chunk of text and the entire rest of the game is playable to completion without paying a single cent otherwise, the bonus scenarios are essentially a thinly-veiled "support the developers" button. You can also buy some upgrades with real money, but they are completely unnecessary unless you're trying to get HundredPercentCompletion a little faster.


* Skewered in ''VideoGame/ThereIsNoGameWrongDimension'', specifically the chapter "[[ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin Free2Pay]]". After plodding your way through a standard ''[[Franchise/TheLegendOfZelda Zelda]]''-esque ActionRPG, the antagonist Mr. Glitch modifies said game into a [[StylisticSuck deliberately awful and nakedly exploitative]] [=Free2Play=] clicker game and forces you to replay it all over again. This version of the game is filled with ads and ProductPlacement, and the original gameplay mechanics have been replaced with tedious [[MoneyGrinding coin farming]], lootboxes (containing more ad) and microtransactions for "optional" quality-of-life upgrades such as "a halfway-decent walking speed" or "the SwordOfPlotAdvancement". Naturally, the entire chapter is one long vicious TakeThat against the [=F2P=] model, and many of the puzzles are about circumventing the arbitrary progression-blocking paywalls without actually paying.

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* Skewered in ''VideoGame/ThereIsNoGameWrongDimension'', specifically the chapter "[[ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin Free2Pay]]". After plodding your way through a standard ''[[Franchise/TheLegendOfZelda Zelda]]''-esque ActionRPG, the antagonist Mr. Glitch modifies said game into a [[StylisticSuck deliberately awful and nakedly exploitative]] [=Free2Play=] clicker game and forces you to replay it all over again. This version of the game is filled with ads and ProductPlacement, and the original gameplay mechanics have been replaced with tedious [[MoneyGrinding coin farming]], lootboxes (containing more ad) ads) and microtransactions for "optional" quality-of-life upgrades such as "a halfway-decent walking speed" or "the SwordOfPlotAdvancement". Naturally, the entire chapter is one long vicious TakeThat against the [=F2P=] model, and many of the puzzles are about circumventing the arbitrary progression-blocking paywalls without actually paying.


* Skewered in ''VideoGame/ThereIsNoGameWrongDimension'', specifically the chapter "[[ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin Free2Pay]]". After plodding your way through a standard ''[[Franchise/TheLegendOfZelda Zelda]]''-esque ActionRPG, the antagonist Mr. Glitch modifies said game into a [[StylisticSuck deliberately awful and nakedly exploitative]] [=Free2Play=] clicker game and forces you to replay it all over again. This version of the game is filled with ads and ProductPlacement, and the original gameplay mechanics have been replaced with tedious [[MoneyGrinding coin farming]], lootboxes (containing more ad) and microtransactions for "optional" quality-of-life upgrades such as "a halfway-decent walking speed" or "the SwordOfPlotAdvancement". Naturally, the entire chapter is one long vicious TakeThat against the [=F2P=] model, and much of the set challenges are about circumventing the arbitrary progression-blocking paywalls without actually paying.

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* Skewered in ''VideoGame/ThereIsNoGameWrongDimension'', specifically the chapter "[[ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin Free2Pay]]". After plodding your way through a standard ''[[Franchise/TheLegendOfZelda Zelda]]''-esque ActionRPG, the antagonist Mr. Glitch modifies said game into a [[StylisticSuck deliberately awful and nakedly exploitative]] [=Free2Play=] clicker game and forces you to replay it all over again. This version of the game is filled with ads and ProductPlacement, and the original gameplay mechanics have been replaced with tedious [[MoneyGrinding coin farming]], lootboxes (containing more ad) and microtransactions for "optional" quality-of-life upgrades such as "a halfway-decent walking speed" or "the SwordOfPlotAdvancement". Naturally, the entire chapter is one long vicious TakeThat against the [=F2P=] model, and much many of the set challenges puzzles are about circumventing the arbitrary progression-blocking paywalls without actually paying.

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