The Real Cost of F2P MMO Item Malls versus P2P Video Games

rpg artwork

 Here's the thing about video games - unless you're a pirate, they cost money. Lots of money. It's not that video games have become "more expensive", because those cheap little plastic Nintendo cartridges cost $50 in 1994. Remember, the ones you had to blow on before you tried to play? These numbers haven't changed in 2011. It doesn't matter if you're buying a physical retail copy of a sandbox MMO or purchasing it via digital distribution, like Steam. Let's take a quick rundown of the most popular titles on Steam today;


How Much Do P2P Games Cost?

Call of Duty 3 - $59.99

Dead Island - $49.99

Red Orchestra II - $49.99

Two Worlds II - $24.99


 Now, my Steam library is about 31 online games. Granted, a few of them have been bought during super Summer sales, but at an 'average' price of $30 per game, that's over $1,800 spent on video games in just a couple years. Now, how much playtime have I gotten out of my "most played" collection?


Battlefield 2 - 150 hours played

Borderlands - 48 hours played

Grand Theft Auto 4 - 24 hours played

Call of Duty 4 - 20 hours played


Total = 242 hours, or 10 full days of play time. I have spent $1,800 to be entertained for less than 2 weeks. How does this compare to my Iron Realms text game addiction? A quick look at my character's STATUS shows the answer;


"You have played for a total of 150 days, 12 hours and 39 minutes."


 By no means impressive, but this is only on the character I've been playing for 3 years. I've been playing the addicting games from Iron Realms for about 10 years now, so you can imagine what those numbers are actually closer to. Now, how much have I (entirely optionally, without any pressure from game administrators) spent on Iron Realms?


Initial character investment = $300 (because I wanted all the pimptastic goodies right from the start)

Optional elite membership for extra perks = $300 ($25/mo, had for about a year)


 Of course, I have purchased some other 'perk' items here and there. Stuff to increase my maximum health pool, etcetera. But even if I calculated those in, it's still nowhere near $1,800. It always cracks me up a little when friends say, "I can't believe you spend money on those text games", when they have a collection of Xbox games to rival any GameStop store! They can't imagine how in the world I get any entertainment value from a text game. It's funny because, one of my friends who says this kind of stuff was an avid Dungeons & Dragons player in middleschool. You wouldn't guess it now since he's joined the Army and beefed up, but if you couldn't find him during lunch, you just had to check the Dungeons & Dragons corner in the lunchroom.


Are Item Malls Unethical?

 Moving on,  I'd like to quote a comment from a videogame developer, regarding Iron Realm's business model; "That's not a business model, it's an enabled addiction." 


 While some folks decry Iron Realms for their "pay for perks" model, insisting that it's "unethical" to not shout from the top of a mountain that players can purchase slight advantages, all of us Iron Realms players know the truth; your characters progress is only limited by how much time you're willing to invest. Anything in the item mall can be bought entirely through hard work in-game. I've gotten so much more out of them than any shooter the big name companies put out every year. War doesn't change, but Iron Realms only constantly improves.


Editor: Tony Celentano


Entirely too much on videogames, especially considering I suffer from "videogame ADD", in that I CANNOT play the same videogame for more than an hour. My girlfriend always complain that I buy games for the both of us and then get bored when shes finally learning the controls, and its like...Im sorry, the tunnel vision is killing me :(

I also have spent too much on video games, and gotten less entertainment I suppose, in terms of hours / money spent than Achaea. Since I haven't spent any money on Achaea, just yet! 

For me, I feel the need to do everything in a game so if it is a good game, it can easily 30% longer for me than most people so it makes up its worth. It is always nice to have mudds to come back to though!

I know that feeling, try telling that to your wife!



I normally wait for games to price drop to around 19.99 before I buy them, doing this saves me a lot of money!

It is true though, for the amount of time you put into Achaea or other IRE games buying a few credits isnt that bad of a deal.

Yeah, I like to play the waiting game, but only for the things I'm not anticipating to come out. If it's a big game or whatnot, the extra $20 isn't so bad. It can take months for the price to drop that much.

This is a very competent article and definitely demonstrates some legitimate examples with regards to monies spent and time played. However..what the hell is up with that illustration?

When you hover your mouse cursor over it




really funny and really true




The only games I'll now buy right at release is some pokemon ones. My play time and fun from them can't even compare to how much I enjoy IRE's games

THere should be a command to show how much you spent dollar wise on a character. I've spent way too much but at least I get my fun out of it.

This would be neat, actually.

Agreed. I would have liked to see an actual refutation of the "enabled addiction" line, too.

with all of the above

I think the numbers would be scary.

Sorta like when you look at how long you've been playing on your character and it's in the hundreds of days...


If I had the money I'ld buy a memebership.



One of the first pleasure items I intend to get when I get a job is the membership package.

Same here!

The membership is defintely the way to go.

Haven't yet put money into the game... but did get dragon so anything N gets here on out is just gravy :)

The membership is great

I liked it!


10 USD on Achaea! And that was just to get my character permanent. It was also during a promotion so I got an iron giftbag with an artefact, so I was really lucky there. I just don't feel like it is worth it to spend so much on an IRE game since, they are very generous with daily lessons, bound credits and stuff. :)

Same here. I think quite a lot of people just buy to make their character permanent first, and then eventually buy more credits when promos kick in. There weren't many daily lessons and monthly freebies back then, but now that there are I pretty much don't have to buy credits anymore.


I agree with your sentiment but if we don't put a little money into it then they will eventually have to stop the goodie giveaways.

I was early posting the comment


I used to say I'd never pay for a text game, but recently I spent abit, just so I didn't have to grind vermin all year, heh.

I don't think games that -everyone- has to pay for is the same as a 'free' game.

It's like going to the movies.  You spend $20 after all said and done on tickets, food, and drink, and don't think twice about it.  About two hours worth of entertainment.  If you pay for games, perks, what have you, it is not much more, and the entertainment value tends to last a lot longer than a movie.

Buying credits is alluring, especially during the sales. I think the elite membership is a good way to ration it out.

I quite like the Membership as well. Compared to the hours you get out of it, it's really cheap. Also, Bonus XP rock!

Even when I had the money for credits, I always felt weird about buying them. My grandparents really drilled thriftiness into my head.


Of course, credits are still worth it.

I can only justify a $20 package once a year or so. But it's definitely money well spent!

THe "Pay for Perks" is a model that keeps me from spending too much and still allows me to have fun.

I am a self-admitted cheap ass, so Iron Realms' model works very well for me.

It works well indeed ^.^

Not that much

Great read!

I'm about due for a new game..  Means I should probably buy some credits right?  good idea

Spending money on Achaea (or any other MMO honestly) is a very good investment, time-per-dollar wise. As hobbies they're more than worth investing in.

I usually justify entertainment purchases on RPG level of $60/40 hrs, or $1.5/hr. That makes way, way too many credits. x_x


Your equation means I don't buy enough credits!!

It almost always justifies more credits. I am not sure it is a good equation. Or the best one?

Well cheaper than time at a casino.

I've put a fair amount of money into Achaea (though, likely not as much as Penwize! :)  but I still, at this point, have put more money into my D&D books. Just looking at my bookshelf, I've probably got $2k of various D&D books purchased new (admittedly, I've gotten a fair number at secondhand bookstores - many before the advent of eBay.)



ok, no wonder i'm still not a dragon. i thought i put in a LOT of hours, having 45 days under my belt. But the author of this article says s/he is at an unimpressive 150 days, that blows my mind! I better get playing more!

I think I've only spent 150-200 on Aetolia, with almost 100 days put into the game! Thats three or four video games which I only play until I beat (which doesn't take long) then they rust. <3 you Aetolia, you make my life better :3

I spend a lot, but there is more value you spending on certain text based games, especially  from IRE.



All the games I've bought and nothing compares to the amount I've spent on Achaea credits.

investing in storyline.

Best article I've read on the website so far, few games give me as much entertainment value as IRE games, I've spent about 10 days on Black Ops alone, other than WoW it's the only game that kept me playing  but still now close to Achaea.

Great article


This is too true. I've spent a lot of money on viedo games that I play for a few days, then set aside never to play again, or I beat them so hard that they are not fun anymore and sit the corner collecting dust. 


At the moment I haven't spent any money on IronRealms games, but I do plan to soon. 

I did not know they cracked the ps3, kick ass.

This, this, this so much! I don't own a TV, because I hadn't used it in over a year, so I sold it, and I don't miss it.


I've put a lot of money, totally by choice, into IRE games, and I will probably put in a little more. Not because I HAVE to, but because I WANT to do so.


My own sister doesn't get it. "Why do you want to pay money for things that don't exist?" and when I open a drawerful of video game discs and cartridges, she explains that it's different, she can resell them if she needs, they entertain her and my 12-year-old nephew.


"Well, having extra abilities for my character entertains me," I explain, having simplified mayan coins, credits, artefacts, and lessons down to that.


The only thing that makes sense to her is that the servers cost money.


I've spent almost $4000 between Imperian, Achaea, Lusternia, and MKO, with about $3K of that at Lusternia.


They should add a HONORS line for that :)

I vote that it be:

<(S)he> has paid for x months of <game's> operating costs

Ooooh, that'd be really cool!


That's a lot, for sure! Worth it?

I liked playing WoW better. 15 dollars a month to play and I had the same perks as everyone else, and it came down to skill and what stats your computer had, rather than artifacts and skills. You pay IRE 25 dollars a month for the optional elite membership, which I find sort of ridiculous. They haven't got roughly 3,000 employees to pay, they have perhaps 100, quite possibly less. They do have a much smaller playerbase and it is a free to play game, which is where I'm guessing that extra ten dollars gets added on. I do wish the elite membership gave more, or allowed you to reap benefits to characters in other IRE games rather than just one game overall.


When I think about it I used to spend much more on IRE than I ever did on WoW, even with WoW's expansion packs. Even now it's very difficult not to pull out my credit card and buy 300 dollars worth of credits just for the fun of it, but this is how online RPGMMOs go, you always have something to aim for (like in WoW, rather than saving up for artifacts, you'd go race against RNG for achievements).


It's got its good and bad, so you can't really complain.

I was just thinking that nobody had commented on WoW yet when I scrolled down and read this. I've never played WoW or other such games, but it seems like a much more appropriate comparison.


The thing is that the $15/mo of WoW is mandatory and their playerbase is massive. The IRE membership cost has to take into consideration that it's optional. I'm sure there's much more to it than that, but it all comes down to what different people are willing to put in to certain games. I like having the option, especially since there are times of the year when I just can't log in regularly enough for it to be worth it.

Interesting article, and helpful when one's trying to justify buying credits. :) 


Absolutely hilarious article. Let's see why certain people stick to comparing apples to oranges despite complete inanity of such comparison.  

"Let's take a quick rundown of some MMORPGS today;"  (you know, online RPGs like IRE games):

Age of Conan - $14.99/month

City of Heroes - $14.99/month

Lineage II - $14.99 /month

World of Warcraft - $14.99 /month

(four because I'm lazy, but looks like there is a trend.) 


IRE game "elite membership" -  $24.99/month 

OH WAIT, proper comparison doesn't  look that good, that's why we pretend that MMORPGs don't exist and make some BS comparisons to Dead Island or Two Worlds. (Call of Duty? Really? Why don't you compare IRE games to pizza? I ate pizza and still hungry at next morning, but I can eat, er, play IRE game for years.)

Now, I have absolutely no problems with IRE games being pay-to-win games and financially worse deal than most other games. I understand that rich kids also need some games where they could log in,  slay a bunch of freeloaders with their credit card and get this warm fuzzy feeling. There is nothing inherently wrong with IRE games being such games. May be I'll buy 10K credits tomorrow to get these "slight advantages" (ROFL, did you have straight face when typed about "slight advantages"?) and start to pwn people left and right  (or may be not). What I don't understand is why should you lie about it. Are you afraid that people will be less willing to join the game if you won't deceive them about required investment? Just look at any F2P game, no matter how obviously pay-to-win it is, there is always a bunch of apologists who will claim that they can play for free, outperform any paying player yadda yadda.  You can be completely honest and they will play the game anyway.



You neglected that on top of the subscription fee, you have to purchase the physical copy of those games before you start paying for their monthly subscription.


Lineage II - $50

City of Heroes Complete Collection - $30

WoW Cataclysm - $25


Sure, investing in IRE is pricier, but it's optional and completely up to me whether or not I want to give them my hard earned money. As for "slight advantages", I was a rajamala monk with 0 artefacts and I used to win duels against people with $10,000 worth of artefacts.


Skill >>> $$$

Yes, you have to buy a client with 3D graphics, sound and stuff. Something that is absent in MUDs by obvious reasons. However there are MMORPGs with free client and $14.99 subscription fee. 

 As for duels winning and "optional" investing, I have adressed it already in previous post. Just look at this:

"Invest time or money. The more money you invest, the less time you're required to invest to compete with others. The more time, the less money."

"I know players with 9s they bought using in-game gold. Of course it's a grind, for sure, but it's free!"

"its not really pay to win, i can kill a warrior my lvl with lvl 4 runes (which i won in contests, $0 spent on runes so far), and for a PvE scout thats sayin something"

That's from Allods Online forums, another pay-to-win game. I don't know why, but every pay-to-win game has apologists. 



10 grand is a lot of money to spend on a game

Someone sounds bitter...

It's not like you have to buy it every month


Nothing so far, but I hardly ever buy other games, either.

While IRE's games certainly fall under the "Pay for Perks" category, I'm not sure I'd actually lump them in with other games of that genre. After all, in plenty of MMO's it's physically impossible to attain those particular "perks" otherwise.

The way I see it, it's a win/win business model for all involved. Either you pay for your perks and IRE gets the money, or you work for them and Achaea is enriched by your consistent presence. Someone who buys a chunk of credits up front keeps the servers paid for, but someone who's logging in every day is likely to train a few newbies along the way, so everyone, IRE included, wins both ways.

Well said

Most videogames I buy are at heavily discounted prices. It means I will play them later than others, but I don't mind. Don't have the time to play all those I like anyway.

Not sure if anyone has taken note of this since I haven't read all the comments, but:


"Now, my Steam library is about 31 online games. Granted, a few of them have been bought during super Summer sales, but at an 'average' price of $30 per game, that's over $1,800 spent on video games in just a couple years."


31 * $30 = $930. Not $1800.

31 * $30 does indeed = $930, which would be a correct correction would they have just been talking about one year. However, "... in just a couple years." implies at least two, which would be double $930, so...


$930 * 2 (years) = $1860, or, over $1,800.


Better now?

I stand corrected.


A great article.

I've been a member for 3 months and think it's pretty good value for money. Now if only Ishapian tokens could be used for something useful!

This was topic of an older article, explaining how good the third currency was, the second currency is well-planned too. I find credits can be necessary to increase chances of winning/hunting up more credits, so there are more than just a perk if one wants to do well, which I think most people realise on some level.

The games are priced in a very smart way. A few hundred bucks for a MMO that can give you years of enjoyment is a great deal. Some people, being the competitive rascals that they are, will spend far more on all the top gear for their race/class. But, many people can play with a smaller initial investment. In some cases, you can work hard in-game, maybe trans out one skill tree out of game, then bash in-game for the rest of what you need. You wont be the top, top of the fighters or tanks or whatever, but you can definitely still have a hugely successful character that way.


I must hand it to IRE, in a way they've created a platform with a lot of variety and options for advancement, among new and old players alike. That is far more than I can say for many F2P (with IG perks, microtransactions) games out there.


Certainly one of the "best bang for your buck" games around, when you consider you don't even -need- to spend to enjoy, its remarkable more people don't join in.


If only we had kill-streaks, or the ability to farm cattle.

I think that the membership after all is a good deal. It is expensive when compared to other online games, but the text games are inherenlty better than those, and that's why I play them! Also, advancing in level and gaining ranks in the House does not require any real money investement, after all. Therefore paying for credits it is just out of game addiction. Where gaming addiction tho IRE games is good or bad I wish not to debate, as long as people enjoy that. There are so many worst things I could do with my money. That's why the mebership is a good balance, it allows myself to keep things under control. Why IRE does not display how much money you spent on your avatar? because you will probably stop.

IRE games are always in a state of flux. The story keeps on moving forward and depending on how involved your character is you can flow with the game or go at your own pace. Unlike an MMO, if you don't have money you can still play your character which I think is what attacts a lot of people.


I like that you can pay at the start and then play for however many months without spending any more, if you wish. 

One wonders how often this is case though. That is one benefit of ongoing updates, IRE creates more reason to buy and keep up.

Yep, nothing wrong with spending money on text-games!

Text games would be a big hit if more people online had the imagination to try it. Once they see text they just shrug and close the window.

I never really sat down and did the math, but yeah definitely spent less on MKO than my video game library. I still like sitting down for a good console game even now and have a mildly impressive collection. I won't go into the numbers of how much I've spent on my console games, but in MKO I've had the Iron Membership for about 14 months, so... $350 there. The rest of my credits I've earned in game (somehow or another) or had gifted to me on one occasion. $350 isn't too bad at all for over a years worth of gaming!


Once wouldn't be accurate, BUT he has earned the mass majority of his credits through dedicated work in game and not through purchases.

His gaming addiction is more tangible than mine is *eyes the wall of video games*, but I've found mine to be far more rewarding. I've been able to fund a lot of projects from credit purchases, and when I look at the cash I've put into it I can at least say I've spent it on something that not only gives me hours of game-play but also hours of social interaction and loads of good feelings.
If I'd spent it elsewhere, it would have gone to more expensive food for office pot lucks that got walked past anyways (I dig things like Sushi and trying new foods... people at the office pot lucks tend to like hotdogs and chicken wings), or more fancy coffee through the day.... or junk food for my desk drawer.

... Hey IRE Thanks for keeping me from gaining inches where I don't want them <3

Id rather put my money here than other games. good word

Professions transed: monk, runeguard, mage, bard, renegade, summoner, deathknight, wytch


Artifacts: Two surcoats, one diadem, one flood ring, one noctu pendant, one ivory figurine, two collars of taming, one artifact flask, one awesome phantom mask for 801 credits.


And a crap load of other skills transed. So yeah, a lot.

At least there are good clients for free that you can use for MUDs so there is that expense you can ignore. I really like mudlet, it's been really good to me.

I've definitely spent a lot less on achaea than on video games and the various consoles to go with them with much more play time for much less investment.

Players should spend money on something they enjoy. As long as you're not cutting back on your grandmother's food allowance to get the cash to pay for credits, you shouldn't feel guilty paying for fun. :)

I agree! If it's your entertainment, do what makes you happy! One night out, dinner, drinks, parking, then clubbing is way over $100 a night and then I'm hungover for the entire day after.. gaming has saved me tons of money (and headaches!) so I will pay whatever if it's what I'm into at the moment.

No surprise that we all pay for a hobby. It's just a different kind of hobby, we have so much potential to accomplish rather than sit and glue an airplane together! (no offense to airplane builders haha)

I actually agree with this article for once.


I used to tear myself apart over wanting to buy credits, until I realized that IRE games have taken the place of all the console gaming I used to do, and much more cheaply.


When will we have articles that are about what makes the IRE games good, rather than stressing about how free they are, or how you can use them to fake your work resume?

I actually have a catagory in my checkbook that is for "video games" and lets just say I avoid looking at it. Between me and my husband and console, computer, and Imperian games we spend a bit too much.

More than I'll ever admit!



I don't even know why I play any more. I just do because I do. I guess?

and I am not going to check the totals. Some credits here and there, probably more often than I can remember, and my most used excuse is "It's cheaper than smoking".

...and I'm not eager to find out! I think the Elite membership has been the best purchase because the consecutive bonus/value month over month is darn handy. Considering I started as a troll with racial exp gain handicapped to no penalty *and* the bonus from membership, I should have made dragon a few years ago!


I just find the stigmatism associated with buying text-things funny. I've got at least 300 days played out over my last 5 years with IRE. That's much more than I would get for any console game, and I've enjoyed most of my time.

I have had a PS2 since it came out, still have it, still play it.  I pay about $3-5 per game at garage sales, then I have a few credits in Aetolia, I'm poor....and cheap.

I have had a PS2 since it came out, still have it, still play it.  I pay about $3-5 per game at garage sales, then I have a few credits in Aetolia, I'm poor....and cheap.

too much?

Definately on a dollar/hr basis it's not a bad deal, especially when you consider how much time I've spent that WASNT done so online. The best coding was done while not logged in anyways!

I've had the same experience. Coding is the main reason I play.

It's a lot nicer than coughing up thousands of dollars to get new systems and games every year!

on IRE is money well spent.


I'm pretty sure I've only bought 5 globes and a few lessons.

hehe nice draw and article! 

I've been playing freeware games for so long I don't remember the last time I actually spent money on a game. Big game companies haven't had an original idea in about a decade. Small companies like Iron Realms is where the fun is really at.

Because of the constantly changing game world, Achaea doesn't "run out" like almost every other game does, and you can have fun on even a very small (or even zero) budget.


i can't imagine a life without computer games. and achaea is the only one i'm willing to spend years on.


Pay-for-Perks vs. Pay-to-Win...I dunno, sometimes I feel like some of the more expensive (horrendously expensive) artifacts veer towards paying-to-win, but I mean, they're disgustingly expensive for a reason. I just shrug and ponder the first purchase I'll make with credits that aren't converted to lessons (because it'll be a while before that happens).

My first credit purchase outside of lessons was definitely for my Rune of Sustenance.

Never needing to sleep or eat doesn't sound like a lot, but DAMN it's so nice to have.

IRE, pioneers of microtransaction addiction impulse buying goodness.

I'm almost omnitrans, with a few class changes. I don't want to think about how much I spent. Nothing approaching Jugathug or Patek though


I usually play a few months then quit for abit when it gets boring then I always come back... been like this for over 10 years

I just don't tell my girlfriend that I spend money on text based games.

Play to Pay games are well-established in the land of getting customers in on the paying part... Does that even make sense?

WoW addiction has made a lot of headlines. I would wager that the rate of WoW addiction and the rate of IRE game addiction is about the same, but there are way more WoW addicts because way more people play WoW.


No one is denying that investment in computer games can become profoundly destructive, but a few people's destructive tendencies shouldn't keep the majority from enjoying healthy participation.


WoW addiction probably has less potential to put a dent in your pocketbook, because it's a low monthly fee. It can still get up there, with WoW, though, because of buying multiple memberships and gold.


I like that Achaea is pretty much "pay what you will"; it allows a niche game to have a lot of money and time invested, and it allows people like me without that much disposable income to ride the coattails of the people that can drop $10k on it.

'Healthy' participation? There are many people who've played more than 5 hours a day for several years. That can't be good for the rest of their life.

Compared to how much true wow addicts play, it's still minimal

Once, I logged in to play a standard day, mostly idling, and I kept playing during 19 hours because of raids and other things ...

Moreover, if you want to correctly use an experience orb, you need to play 24 hours in a row :)

That's true, IRE encourages playing for long durations to maximum use out of double xp promotions or with orbs. This can appeal to those with obsessive tendencies, but I guess it is also a controlled addiction at times, as these burst of activity can be far and between.


and play MKO. It's cheap!

That's why you get a modded console =D


That of course must be compared to autofishing

Excellent article and well put.

I have paid IRE my fair share of money but that is only because the benefits were worth it and I had enjoy MANY MANY hours of entertainment and thought I should throw them a few bucks. Just like tipping your waiter for good service - you can't beat the service (read: game design/administration/imagination/many other things) of IRE.


Well, let's see... been playing on and off since the end of January in 2000, and...

You have played for a total of 759 days, 23 hours and 18 minutes.


Averages out to, and I'm estimating here, about $500/year paid in, or about 7 dollars per hour played.


Factor in the grammatical skills I picked up, the typing skills I polished, and the logic/programming languages from scripting, and I got a sweet deal.


Membership FTW.


I've only spend 50 some dollars on Achaea! :D

Though, I'm not even level 50 yet. :\


Stupid jobs..

I have not spent any money on iron realms, but may consider it eventually.

I've spent somewhat more then 100, I believe

You can be completely successful for less then you would pay for WoW, so there's that

I haven't spent any money on Iron realms but I'm still addicted to it. Achaea is a great game and there's still a lot of fun in playing it with friends. I'm perfectly happy with having 1 bound credit every day.

I've spent so much money on credits already... ahhh

almost nothing on these addicting games but I have a fantastic time anyways and the staff never treats me any differently then the paying members

I'd much rather spend my hard earned cash on IRE credits than .. oh .. Farmville ones. Why buy a pink flamingo that looks like the one on everyone else's farm when I can have one that, upon hearing the word "siren", goes into a fit of angst. Well worth the investment, to be certain!

I would never spend money on the stupid Facebook games.

Why isn't there an artefact that will make me supreme ruler of the continent or master of a House?


Wand of Politicians

2,000,000 Credits

<Name>, nose in the air, wields a Wand of Politicians in his/her left hand.

With just a WAVE of your WAND OF POLITICIANS you will be granted power to surpass all mortals, ruling with an iron fist or a gentle hand. All will bow down before your political prowess and any combatants will be overwhelmed by your 1000 vs 1 army at NoT.

and hesitant. How easy is it to become elite one month every three or four months? One month at a time? Are the benefits still growing or must the membership months be following one another?

The main purpose for me buying credits and the like, especially with a new character is to make them permanent if they are worth making it. Then I only periodically buy credits, depending on what is available to me in-game to make money from.

love the little picture, it's adorable

Far too damned much.

I've put absolutely no money into Aetolia and I still have a blast with a few artifacts and extra skills padding my characters. I love the credit market and Bardics/Artisanals, especially when there's a generally good cheer amoung those competing.


Honestly, though, I've been considering buying some just to offer some support to the company with added perks.  Been playing IRE for little less than a decade so I don't think that I'd feel guilty putting a few twenties in.

I will probably spent some money on credits to trans my class skills.

I've spent about $50 on Achaea.


I've spent about 1400 hours playing Counter Strike:Source on my steam account. Oh much time...


I will never tell anyone how much I have spent, haha.

I think I have spent a total of $40 on Achaea and countless hundreds on consol games and other pc games. Achaea definately has the superior edge when it comes to replayabiltiy.

I've spent nothing, and will continue spending nothing. I have nothing to spend.

yay for double posts... And boo for lacK of delete options.



Alright, so maybe I have a problem. It may not be one I particularly want to fix. However the point remains that IRE games carry an addiction factor much higher than other games. I'm a longterm player who averages around 100USD a month. That really friggin adds up. Factor in time spent playing, and other things...


Well, there's a longrunning joke in a lotta the skype groups, OOC clans, etc, that I'm a part of that are IRE centric.


"IRE and crack are a lot alike. They both leave you pale, twitchy, and obsessed over getting more. The only difference is that crack is cheaper."


I'm not saying this is a bad thing. But I'm saying that for some of we poor sorry IRE addicts, this article doesn't gel. We don't have -time- for platform games...


Damn this comment has gotten too long. I'm getting withdrawals. Must... play... more...

They probably picked that up from here

I've spent a bomb, period

More than I probably would have liked to..

I've spent over time and it's kept me from spending so much on other things, like the video games I don't really play anymore.


Even if I still played video games, this is a comparable hobby to anything else. They all cost.

I get addicted to videogames pretty easily, but none have more of an effect on me than Iron Realms games. However, Iron Realms games are neat in that you can still have a good time without ever spending too much money on credits... Sure, you won't get any artifacts and probably won't get lessons anywhere near as fast, but you can still get a political position, a guild position, work on your House tasks, build a family... The whole roleplaying experience is free.


I usually only spend around $20 or so every month, and not every month. It's enough to give my character a nice little boost, without really draining my wallet too much. There's still so much to enjoy in the game that costs nothing.


I've definitely gotten more play out of IRE games than any other game I have spent money on


I've probably spent quite some cash on videogames during the years (not to mention how hot guitar hero etcetera was when it got out). However, it always goes in the same direction. I can play a videogame for 2 weeks without getting bored, I can even play it for a month! If its a good game. But in the end I get bored, and I realize I've done everything already and head back to IRE. Even though you achieve things like #1 you still have tons of things to achieve.

Way too much. Worth it though.

Yeah, we seem to spend a lot of time in Achaea. However, I have school soon, so I can't really indulge myself in Achaea, as that would affect my performance both out and inside Achaea...

nothing, student = little disposable income so i don't feel bad about never investing rl money.


Considering character value vs spent $ I've spent almost nothing during the years of fun. There is alot of ingame events and whatnot to join and win for free creds!

the cost value between what i've spent and the amount of times i've played a game have never come close with other games than the few years i've spent with Iron realms. I really do agree with the article.

IRE membership 24.99 a month... which only works out to be like 30NZD.... and I get SO much more enjoyment than a lot of things I buy for that much a month. So many awesome benefits as well. I will keep putting money into something as awesome as Lusternia!

Time for another credit

I have spent a large amount of money playing WoW for a bit, with very little reciprocation on the part of the game in itself. Once you make it to the top tier levels it gets pretty boring and I was paying monthly to do very little in the game since I had worn out most of the content.

The opposite is true for Xbox live games like Halo and Black Ops where you pay for more content but it is on top of the original game and you don't always know what you are going to get. The last map pack was pretty lame, being all zombie levels which I don't play. Yeah, I didn't have to buy them, and I didn't, but it would be nice if you could purchase certain maps instead of a pack where you don't want or need certain ones.

IRE games allow me a large pool of options with the Elite Membership to do what I please with the lessons and credits.

Seems to me you just make bad investments. It should be obvious that you don't buy a game unless you intend on playing it a lot. 1800 dollars 2 weeks or less of entertainment sounds like a gambling addiction.

The price vs. time spent on the game isn't the only factor.  It's also the quality of the experience for the actual time you play on it.  For those that only have a limited amount of time to play, it's the quality of the experience that matters.



You are also forgetting the promotions some of the ire games host on a monthly basis. Free credit a day for spending 10 minutes in-game, or login once everyday for so many days for a free artifact. So far what I have for my character I've (mostly) earned and still havn't sunk a penny into him. Granted I also take advantage over the credits I'm given and  immedietly turn them into lessons, instead of putting them in the bank (not sure if it cost gold to store credits or what have you.)

Factual Digg Article is Factual......I did not read one piece of this that was incorrect and I have experienced it all first hand...


Well written.  Go IRE!

But it's going to take a while for me to get to those levels. Purchases before Iron Elite came along were more than 300 bucks

Interesting point here, now I feel bad for spending so much on my ps3.. but my addiction level to both Imperian and my console games is equal enough, I just keep spending money on both.

All hase some cost.

150 days in three years??? That's a lot. It is a fun game though.

still wish they would lower the cost of credits though

This one is free, how much lower do you want it?

I haven't found any other game that could keep me for this long. Buying credits isn't the worst thing in the world for that much entertainment.

Total $ spent on video games = $ 0.00


Total $ spent on Achaea = ?


However I do know this from an in game syntax, (auction escrow build)


All of your artefacts give you the ability to have 11020 credits in escrow.

So while I do not know what I've spent in game on what I wear, which doesn't include what I have on mounts et cetera I'd guess. I don't know how they figure that number out. I still have fun with what I have and don't make it a point to act any differently about it. It's just fun items to have and that's it. I love the idea that I don't -have- to spend anything to have fun however. I also love the idea that they offered the Elite membership, which is worth it in the long run for all that you get, it's also cheaper than if you were to try to purchase those credits separately as well as the lessons you gain.




To be truthful, I've played many Iron Realms games for about 3 years now.. just trying to find the one that fits me. And to be completely honest, I've spent all of maybe $30 to get what I want, the rest is just comments and having fun in game! Its so easy and I enjoy every moment of it!


My wife about blew a gasket when I told her the money I spent was for lessons for my character...

My wife forbids me to spend our real money on virtual goods, but I do just fine.

you said blew

Hehehe :P just joking ;)



This article has successfully convinced me that the monetary cost of Achaea is lower than it would be for an equivalent devotion to video games. The same cannot be said of the cost in hours wasted when I should have been writing papers. :(

Actual non-text MMOs do need those high prices mainly because of the graphic artists. Making a 3D rendering of even just a person walking is hard enough!


However, as it is, the credit deal is very, very much worth the price, even if you add the Elite membership in. You get to have more freedom in your RP/activities since you can get your skills transed with less bashing, and the EXP bonus and all is good as well.


I'm considering getting credits once I get my credit card! I know it's very much worth it.

I have spent more on Lusternia than any other computer game I've ever played. :D

Over the years I've spent some on Achaea, but no where near what I've spent on video games. THe possibility does exist that I've spent more time in Achaea then on the videos games.

I think it's fine! After all, you buy because you want it, so even though the game is free, its worth it to you to put in that extra buck and get more out of it.

I find that you don't really need to spend much money to be fairly happy. And anything you really do want, you can buy in game if you spend enough time for the gold.

All I know is that if IRE games had a sub of, ooh lets say £8.99 per month, o par with WoW ad threw in lets say 50 credits per month for the pleasure and that this was the only payment option for IRE games then I would be around 3k better off in the last 18 months alone. I didn't even realise it lol.

..your fault completely for not denying my innocent self that 3K *nod* *whipping noise*

TBH I'd probably consider investing if they halfed the Iron Membership deal


Instead of $24.99, get 100 credits, have $12.49 , get 50 credits


(On a student budget $25 a month can be a hefty chunk of your budget)

For me, it has been 100 percent free. Anything I have purchased with credits has been through in game currency.

Trans in two skills and near trans in two others.


me too. trans'd five skills, and 820 lessons away from trans forging.

unethical?  How is a business model that has a play for free, pay for perks set-up immoral?

Don't know how much these can be compared. Also, games played before the steam update for play time tracking.  I mean, considering I would guess you didn't spend a large amount of time sitting around in your chair chatrooming or afk when you were playing GTA4.

wish I could play dnd

I didn't know anyone, until now, who would purchase a new game every 10 days for years at the time.  I didn't even know that there are so many worthwhile games out there to entertain me for more than few moments.

Of course if you have all this spare cash, by all means spend it on any games or any other entertainment you want, but don't tell me, please, that this is a great excuse to sink thousands of $$s into IRE.

Justifying buying credits because it is such a great deal is immature and not very convincing.

Lol, silly people who actually spend money on video games...

Credit comment.

maybe one of these days, i should go on sick leave and just hunt...

wow. never thought that way, but still. Hard to comment

i spend a lot on my other hobbys muds not so much i bought the elite membership and thats about it . so it is good value for the entertainment i get out of it.