Rants tag

Rants, ruminations, and rambling remarks from my mad, muddled, meandering mind.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Are We Talking About This Again? Sub-Only Rears Its "Ugly" Head

So The Elder Scrolls Online has "thrown in" with Wildstar and the Sub-Only Crowd. (Sorry, Wildstar. As TAGN said, you can't claim to be F2P with the same model as EVE). I've seen some pretty reasonable posts; I've seen some inexplicably self-satisfied ones. Even Syp is getting smug with Smedley.
Just a couple months ago we were hashing over whether F2P was going the way of dodo (TL;DR: It's not). Now Syncaine is gloating over his "impeccable" sense of prophecy. Then again, I have a feeling "smug" may be Syncaine's default emotion. Given the recent history of "AAA" MMOs not called WOW or EVE, I think Mogsy might have a more accurate bead on what's going here. Time will tell.

L2P, F2P!

TAGN and others are pointing to perhaps poorly designed F2P models as the epitome of the business model and the reason they want to keep sub-only. I say they have only seen it done badly. Trust me, I have too. But I have also seen it done well. Games where I don't feel I have to go buy something to fully enjoy the content of the game. Games where they reward players for subscribing, but don't punish players for not subscribing. Guess what? I'm actually playing those games. I do pay for stuff when I am so inclined, when I think it's worth it. And I don't feel like I'm paying for content I'll never see, because I lack the time to do so.

Arguments about the quality of the community in free-to-play MMOs don't hold water for me, either; since I've seen the groups of people that pass for "communities" in subscription-based games. Frankly, they're about the same regardless of business model. I've only ever found true communities in smaller subsets of the gaming population, like Mercy Gaming, Beyond the Veil, and House Stalwart.

No Problem with Subscriptions

Just this morning, Belghast was saying he'd happily throw his money at a subscription based TESO. Here's his chance. Unlike Bel, I have no history with The Elder Scrolls franchise, so I am less inclined to buy the box or subscribe to TESO. Like Bel though, I don't have an issue with subscription model itself. I just don't see any games (current or upcoming) that are worth it to me. Not when there are quality F2P options.
Come to think of it, I tried WoW originally only due to the free 10-day recruit-a-friend trial they had running back in 2006. If I'd had to buy the box and commit to a subscription sight unseen, I never would have even started playing. The only game I have preordered without playing at least a beta weekend was SWTOR, and that ended up a disappointment for me.

Are there things that annoy me about F2P? Sure—*cough* lockboxes *cough*—but there is plenty to annoy me about subscriptions, too, including the nagging feeling in the back of my mind that I have to "maximize the value" by playing as much as I can for that monthly fee. Honestly, it's the same reason I hardly ever go to a buffet restaurant.


  1. You should read Tobold this morning!

    As I used to say quite often on F2P proselytizer Beau Hindman's blog back when he still let me comment there, how we pay for our MMOs is probably the least interesting thing about them.

    It's funny how in all this current palaver hardly anyone's mentioning FFXIV, which launches this weekend with a subscription-only model. I've bought it, chances are I will stay subscribed at least until EQ Landmark appears. Square Enix will almost certainly never go F2P. Everyone just ignores them because, presumably, they are SE and SE is a law unto itself.

    For my money (literally) I will decide on the MMO not the payment model. If it's something I want to play I'll subscribe if I need to to play. The payment model neither makes me more nor less interested in any MMO. although it clearly impacts my desire and ability to take a glance at ones in which I'm not all that interested.

    My main objection to subscriptions is that it makes it harder or more expensive for me to play roving reporter and find new MMOs to blog about. There are generally free trials/weekends and betas for that, though.

    1. I happily played games that required subscriptions for years, beginning with WoW. On the other hand, because of my tendency mentioned at the end of my post, subscribing to one game becomes a barrier to playing other games. I tended to play them in succession rather than concurrently. You're right, the revenue model is the least interesting part of a game. But I am less inclined to take on a new game with such barriers to entry, when there are games that hold my interest for far less monetary commitment.

    2. I just started writing what amounts to a wall-of-text, and then realized I have my own blog for that. :P Short story, the payment model does matter to me, as I liken it to relationships. To ignore the finances behind your relationships would cause failure in any relationship, and it's such a big part of what makes an MMO an MMO that it can't be ignored. ... I don't think I'm talented enough to write said post, but hey, I'll give it a shot.

      Also, Bhag, you have expanded my vocabulary. I never even heard the word "proselytizer" until today. Thanks. :)