There is hope!
I am not inherently against free-to-play games. While some of them are designed just like South Park describes, as sleazy bait and switch schemes, a number of F2P titles are fair, and you’ll actually get a ton of playtime for nothing.
The developers of the PC strategy game AERENA, however, says that their fans were tired of it, so it’s moving away from the practice in the form of the “Masters Edition.” Now, there will be no more microtransactions, “faster” progression, and no more “artificial limitations.” It’s interesting to see a dev just come out and plainly state those last two mechanics in the open, implying that many F2P games make their systems grindier to elicit purchases (they often do).
Existing owners of the original version can still play for free, or “upgrade” and get all the new fixins. The Masters Edition is live right now on PC, but the mobile version is coming on February 17.
Funnily enough this game is now on my radar because of the shift.