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Someone in a Discord group I'm in mentioned "Top Up" games as being even worse than Diablo Immortal and other Gacha games in their microtransactions, but when pressed he couldn't explain the term "Top Up" beyond that it was even worse than Diablo Immortal. I tried googling for it, but the only article I could find that wasn't from a site that was trying to sell them said as the very first line "you probably already know what a top up is, so I'm not going to explain it" which didn't help me at all.

So what does it mean for a game to be a "top up" game?

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    The best(?) thing I could find is this and this, however I couldn't find any other concrete sources. It seems to be synonymous to games with microtransactions, but the way it's used seems to indicate it's more than just microtransactions Jun 24, 2022 at 13:19
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    "Top up or buy game credits/voucher". There are sites that let you buy discounted diamonds/items/skins/coins for top-up games. So yeah, microtransactions.
    – pinckerman
    Jun 24, 2022 at 15:58
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    And for fun - because English is a confusing language - "Top Up" games have nothing to do with being an opposite to "Top Down" games Jun 24, 2022 at 16:14

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I've heard "topping up" referring to two types of actions:

  1. In games where you have an ever expiring premium account (with added benefits such as extra XP per game) and you buy extra days
  2. Where you have an in game commodity (or multiple commodities, like gold, silver, energy or mana) and you're buying extra ("topping up")

I've not heard this being referred to as a specific type of game, perhaps that someone was using it as an ad hoc label without much thought.

In any game that features microtransactions, there tends to be resentment towards those players who are 'paying to win' especially the proverbial 'whales' (the counterargument usually being that these fund the game's upkeep and development). This is probably the general sentiment of the statement. The specific term 'top up game' however seems to be uncommon at the very least (as Wondercricket has also pointed out in comments).

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    The Discord poster confirmed he was talking about the ever expiring premium account.
    – Nzall
    Jun 26, 2022 at 18:56
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My understanding is that they are the games where you have energy that is drained by actions such as missions. To be clear, the actions are core game loop things, not purchasing new characters or gear. The energy(or whatever the resource is called) recharges slowly but you can pay for more. So instead of waiting 3 hours for more energy to run a raid, you instead drop money.

They are interesting in that they are normally multiple smaller purchases which will be repeated by constant players. The player is not able to buy enough to ever not need to buy more and the more they play, the more they need to buy.

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