Heh. You may be getting biased opinions considering many of us are playing PoE.
I will share that my budget and behaviour for PC gaming has changed dramatically from when I first got into it 25 years ago. Back in the day, the only real medium for PC games was through a box off the shelf, which contained a dozen or so 1.44" disks that would have to be inserted in turn after launching the installer on the first disk. Then came CD-Roms. Then came the internet.
Suddenly, media could be delivered instantaneously through the ether right into my PC via an internet connection. No more physical boxes, no more instruction manuals, no more installation media. My thinking about this process brought about a gradual change in my purchasing behaviour. Because I no longer ‘get anything physical’, I no longer had an impetus to spend anything, as I was factoring in the cost of access to the internet through my ISP as my ‘entertainment budget’.
With the advent of the free-to-play model, suddenly what was traditionally the realm of demos or pirated copies of software, I could now play full-fledged games without spending a cent. Frankly, I haven’t purchased a game with a retail MSRP in almost 10 years. That being said, I have contributed over $600 to Path of Exile, frankly because I was enamoured with what was the only up and coming (back in 2011) that could scratch that ARPG gaming ‘itch’, and because I was involved in the closed beta and had frank discussion about gaming mechanics while the game was still being built, I felt my contributions were having an actual impact on the game I would eventually play.
Over the years, due to their constant iteration and evolution, and most importantly to me, Quality of Life and Polish updates, I have continued to support them, at a rate of about $100 per year, simply because I consider it to be money I would have spent had I had to purchase the game off the shelf.
In contrast with that experience, I was very close to pre-ordering D3 due to the hype, but as I learned more and more about what had changed in the game, and how the mechanics and game changes screamed ‘console port!’ I only purchased it a weeks after launch, and that was with reservations… I did shell out for the expansion, but it really soured my taste for games I have to pay up front for. I still play ActiBlizzard games simply because they have a large house and have adopted free-to-play for a couple of their titles (HotS/Hearthstone/StarCraftII), but I haven’t contributed anything to any of the other titles (Overwatch/D3 Necro) because I no longer believe in the company as a developer with a gaming in mind, but as a for-profit enterprise, which I refuse to support on principle.
I am also turned off by ‘fremium’ games (basically demo with pay to unlock features/additional content that I consider to be part of the ‘core’ game), and games that sell power directly (exclusive $$$ items and/or xp boosts, though over time, I am beginning to see the value of xp boosts in a time-value-money equation, and how it may not necessarily be a power boost, expecially in a game where there is little to no PvP content.
Long story short: Ethical free-to-play model. Hopefully, the game will stand on its own merit and attract a core base of supporters that will both advocate and influence and provide direct financial support.