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MMOG Subscription Model Changes

Zonk posted more than 9 years ago | from the can't-imagine-why dept.

Role Playing (Games) 36

Blue's News has details on changes to popular MMOG subscription plans. Star Wars Galaxies has been folded into the Sony Online Station pass, which now allows gamers to pay one fee for all of Sony's Online offerings (EQ, EQII, PS, SWG, and the Station Games). In related news, the folks behind Anarchy Online also announced today that they're extending their subscriptionless service plan out until early 2006. Good news for folks wanting to try some new games.

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36 comments

The Sad Days of Modern News (4, Interesting)

Altizar (736406) | more than 9 years ago | (#11366947)

Oh joy, a link to a link that is a word for word copy of a press release.
Why cant someone just link to the orginal press release?

Well the only good thing about this is maybe some fools with think the all access pass is worth their money now.

Anyone else notice? (5, Interesting)

Squatchman (844798) | more than 9 years ago | (#11366971)

The games that are going into "subscription bundles" or having subscriptionless options are usually under-performing compared to the opposition? Seems like this is more of a last ditch effort than a wave of future tidings.

Re:Anyone else notice? (1)

will_die (586523) | more than 9 years ago | (#11393246)

That is not really the solution they are tring to solve with this, considering that EQ2 was just released and is doing really good.
For the majority of MMORPG players, they only play one game, and will cancel the previous one. At that point only 5%(10% is considered really high) of the quit players will ever come back. With the subscription thing, SOE is gambling that people will be willing to pay the $10 extra just on that off chance they will go back to thier old game(covered by subscription) or they will think that if they want to take a break from thier current game they can just purchase a $20 copy of the retail box for another game and they already have the subscription.

The silence (-1, Flamebait)

lobsterGun (415085) | more than 9 years ago | (#11367033)

This story has been poster for over 20 minutes....

Only three comments.

The silence is deafening.

Do people give a shit about mmogs any more?

Re:The silence (3, Funny)

rhettoric (772376) | more than 9 years ago | (#11367761)

I think there are so few comments because the people who do care about mmorpgs are playing them instead of reading /. comments.

No there just following Microsoft example (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11367070)

Why make people create new account and pay you multiple times for the same service. This way they make it up in selling multiple games. Just look buy 4 games at $50 a piece , plus one subscription is more money.

Re:No there just following Microsoft example (1)

Donjo (797935) | more than 9 years ago | (#11369173)

The only SOE game that is still 50 dollars retail is Everquest 2. SWG and it's expansion are 20 dollars each. Planetside is 7 dollars and it's expansions are 20 dollars a pop or less. Everquest 1 can be had with all expansions (minus the newest which is now 20)for 20 dollars.

I don't get it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11367140)

Does this mean that my SWG subscription fee is going to go up? Or will it only change if I decide that I actually want access to all of these games?

Re:I don't get it (4, Insightful)

xTown (94562) | more than 9 years ago | (#11367252)

I was wondering this, too, but it looks like the Station Access thing is separate--in other words, if all you want is SWG, you just pay for SWG at the SWG rate.

Bundled subscriptions feel like a waste of money (5, Insightful)

Mofo196 (155076) | more than 9 years ago | (#11367181)

Am I the only one who has trouble focusing on more than one MMORPG at a time? With a bundled subscription, you not only are paying for each game (with expansions for it to be worth anything) and then an elevated fee to basically ignore the other games.

I tried to do Planetside and Everqest at the same time and it just didn't work for me. I felt I was being spread too thin.

I suppose the only way this could work is if you went in on a subscription with some friends who all play a different game. I would imagine that SONY has some kind of safeguard against this though. It almost certainly violates the EULA.

I would rather pay $14 a month to play one game than $24 a month to ignore 3 others.

Re:Bundled subscriptions feel like a waste of mone (1)

Dachannien (617929) | more than 9 years ago | (#11368085)

I suppose the only way this could work is if you went in on a subscription with some friends who all play a different game. I would imagine that SONY has some kind of safeguard against this though. It almost certainly violates the EULA.

You are correct. [sony.com]

Re:Bundled subscriptions feel like a waste of mone (1)

Donjo (797935) | more than 9 years ago | (#11369079)

I am probably going to do it on one of my accounts. I play SWG now (I have 3 accounts), but wouldn't mind playing EQ2 also on certain occasions. I liked EQ2 but found myself spending a lot of time looking for groups through the week in the middle of the day when I just wanted to play. EQ2 sucks for soloing so I quit. I always wanted to try planetside (I have done their 2 week trials before) and I think it would be a pretty fun game if I spent some time with it.

Re:Bundled subscriptions feel like a waste of mone (1)

cgenman (325138) | more than 9 years ago | (#11369691)

I've always felt like that the $10 dollars a month should grant you access to the whole kit and kaboodle, for the reasons you have just stated. You shouldn't have to change subscription plans and payment schedules if you're just jumping from EQ to EQ2, and

I'm personally waiting for the MMPORPG umbrella payment corporation, whereby you give someone 15 dollars a month and get access to most of the MMPORPG's out there, who recieve money based upon usage. That way I don't lose my level 90 elf if I decide to try out Anarchy Online, and I feel it is worth it to keep paying because I'm getting new experiences.

I was hoping for "suspended" months (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11367582)

I was hoping that some MMORPG vendor will eventually allow you to suspend your account for a couple of months while you can't play the game. I wouldn't mind having to pay say a $1/month to keep my characters active.

But having to pay full price for months I won't get to play - forget that.

How to other MMORPGs handle that? I know that if you decide to drop Square's Final Fantasy XI for three months, they permently deactive your account so you'd have to buy another copy of the game to play again (!). Do any companies allow you to suspend your account and pay a small fee for the duration while it's inactive?

Re:I was hoping for "suspended" months (1)

Mofo196 (155076) | more than 9 years ago | (#11367704)

Final Fantasy XI's 3 month policy is only one in a long list of things ridiculously wrong with that game.

I agree though. I would have gladly paid a few bucks a month to keep characters alive.

Re:I was hoping for "suspended" months (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11367971)

How to other MMORPGs handle that? I know that if you decide to drop Square's Final Fantasy XI for three months, they permently deactive your account so you'd have to buy another copy of the game to play again (!). Do any companies allow you to suspend your account and pay a small fee for the duration while it's inactive?


Most seem to just "not guarantee" that your character will still be there when you come back. They reserve the right to purge it, but most don't actually do so.

WoW keeps your characters around for you (2, Informative)

DJ Wipeout (139210) | more than 9 years ago | (#11368096)

Blizzard explicity states [blizzard.com] that they won't delete your characters if you stop paying for your account.

Re:WoW keeps your characters around for you (2, Informative)

Mike Buddha (10734) | more than 9 years ago | (#11368876)

So does EQ. In the early day so of the game, Verant did a wipe of inactive characters and accounts and had the community up in arms because all of their Mules were gone...

They don't do that any more.

Re:I was hoping for "suspended" months (1)

UziBeatle (695886) | more than 9 years ago | (#11369052)

Well, I know with Dark Ages of Camelot they have not deleted any accounts to date no matter how long inactive. I quit that game on two occasions, well make that three, the last time I think will be permanant for me. Hah. Quit 3rd time last July and haven't looked back since. ANyway, the 2nd time my account was inactive/nonpayed for 8 months almost. Characters were all there when I returned. Mythic has stated they have no intention of deleting old inactive accounts YET. That may change though I'm sure at some point.

Re:I was hoping for "suspended" months (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11373616)

"they permently deactive your account so you'd have to buy another copy of the game to play again (!)"

No, they just permanently delete your characters.

Re:I was hoping for "suspended" months (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11380421)

I've never heard of an MMO that deleted chars (although someone mentioned FFXI does). I've been away from my account for over a year before with EQ1, and everything was all still there, happy as can be. I've been away from other games for 4-5 months before sometimes, and still had all my chars there.

Frankly, any MMO company that culls chars is being foolish. You want people to reactivate their accounts. When you bring in new content, a lot of which will be high level, you don't want to make people go through the low levels again to see it. It's just a wall to coming back.

WoW (1)

superpulpsicle (533373) | more than 9 years ago | (#11368164)

I dropped the idea of Matrix Online since so many beta testers complained about the experience.

I was going to try World of Warcraft since I heard nothing but positive feedback. But this kind of buffet subscription plan is really making me think twice.

Re:WoW (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11370132)

So, you'd rather pay $24 a month and purchase copies, to play Planetside, Everquest, SWG and EQ2, rather then pay $12 (or $14) for a much, much better game then any of those?

Give WoW a shot before jumping over to Sony. The reason they're doing this in the first place is because they've had such a hard time keeping their fanbase.

Why all the hype for WoW? (1)

Yngwarr (561129) | more than 9 years ago | (#11380537)

I don't know what all the hype about WoW is for. I rarely can't log on to EQ2 (only once in over 2 months, when they had a bad update), but oftentimes, the WoW login server is down, or the server's lagged horribly when I go there. This has happened continuously since opening, and happened as recently as last Friday night. As for the game quality, I guess it's subjective, but even without the server problems, WoW was just okay. If you like to solo most the time, or you're hardcore into MMO PvP, it's a pretty good choice I think. EQ2 and CoH are both in my opinion better, but everyone looks for different things.

Re:WoW (1)

will_die (586523) | more than 9 years ago | (#11393218)

Check the boards, one is having a survey of players and if they would recommend WoW to friends over 40% would not.
WoW servers are having a major problem, and while the game is good it can be a major hassle to get online, even on low population servers.
Check the server you plan to join and its average login queue for the times you want to play before you start.

Economical but what maze must we go through? (1)

mabu (178417) | more than 9 years ago | (#11370276)

Having multiple EQ and SWG accounts, and not playing much anymore, I was considering cancelling things. Now if I can fold these accounts into a single subscription, that would be great. The problem I have is how easy will Sony make this? If I have an EQ and a SWG account, do you honestly think that as long as they're getting paid two separate monthly fees, they're going to make subscribers aware they can save money by folding this into a Station Pass account? I doubt it. If anyone has details, let us know.

Pretty simple, actually (1)

404 Clue Not Found (763556) | more than 9 years ago | (#11371947)

I doubt you could fold multiple EQ and SWG accounts into one single Station Access account, but even if you needed like 2-3 SA accounts, it should be cheaper than having 4-6 totally separate accounts.

It's not hard to do. With the release of EverQuest 2, I signed up for a SA account and my old EQ account (which I haven't touched in months) immediately became active again. It's just that simple.

Not only are they not hiding it, they're quite actively advertising it. For example, a SA account also gives you additional benefits in EQ2 that regular subscribers don't get: Additional character slots, included/free access to paid dungeons to be released in the future, etc. It seems that they actually want people to merge their accounts (that, or entice people who only play one game to pay for the full SA price).

HOWEVER... it only works that well if all your games use the same Station account. For example, I used the same username for EQ1 and EQ2. If you use a seperate account for each game, I don't know what kind of trouble you'd have to go through to merge them into one username before you can upgrade that into a SA.

Re:Pretty simple, actually (1)

mabu (178417) | more than 9 years ago | (#11374933)

Actually, this is a brilliant idea... because there are many people who haven't moved to EQ2 from EQ. They don't want to go through the trouble of having to build up another character, so if for the same price you have access to both EQ and EQ2, it's more of an impulsive decision to buy the software knowing you don't have to pay any more monthly fees. A pretty clever way for Sony to encourage more people to play EQ2 and their other games.

Re:Economical but what maze must we go through? (1)

cthellis (733202) | more than 9 years ago | (#11373049)

It's simple, easy, and extensively encouraged right now. (Just step onto any of their front pages and you see the Station Access badge, and any time you enter a billing area it will ask you if you want to join directly.)

I joined the instant EQ2 came out (well... after the free month ran out) because I considered it a value just for EQ2 and Planetside and the ability to keep in touch with my EQ friends (and play EQ whenever I felt like it). Adding SWG is just a dream come true. ^_^

The only real problem you'll have is if you signed onto different games with different Station names for some reason... You can only attach the Station Access payments to one account. (Well, you can buy another, but you'll be paying two full SA subscriptions.)

It looks like SOE's going to try to get more clever in drawing profits now, which isn't altogether a bad thing. They draw people into ALL of their games, and then start specifically targetting optional content and enhancements at people that they can pay for how they want. While that has its good sides and its bad sides, I think overall by being able to track what people like and do not like directly will let them better shape MMO's around their audience. Not to mention it will vastly reduce the risk in pursuing one enhancement over another, which should afford them more room to experiment and ultimately filter out to the main sections of the game.

H.A.W.T. (1)

cthellis (733202) | more than 9 years ago | (#11373002)

...and absolutely encouraging that it's SOE that's leading the charge in cheap and extensive MMO-bundling (as they're the ones who would usually be seen as most likely to try to soak as much as possible from people). If SOE does it, everyone else would be absolutely foolish not to follow.

I am curious just what deal they made with LucasArts to be able to bundle SWG in with their other games, though. I figured they might have been able to make a "Station Access Plus" pass which would add LucasArts' cut of the monthly charges on top. It's beyond my expectations that they just roll it in completely!

Hourly subscriptions? (1)

MagicDude (727944) | more than 9 years ago | (#11376246)

I wish that MMORPG's would offer a subscription based on the number of hours you play in a month. Similar to how Compuserve worked long ago, where you'd buy X number of hours a month with which you could use the service. My MMROPG of choice is City of Heroes, however in a given 2 month period of time, I only play for maybe 10 or 12 hours, and most of that happens in one weekend where I happen to not have any work to do. Yet I'm still paying a decent amount for continual monthly service. If there was someway to purchase a 48 hour pass for an MMORPG, that would be awesome. I would gladly pay $3 to play for a weekend, rather than having to pay $15 for a month, espically since I can go 1-2 months without playing the game at all.

Re:Hourly subscriptions? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11379816)

Nobody really wants that. Back when parents would get $200 monthly AOL bills because of their teenagers this got to be a sticky situation and a billing nightmare.

"What do you mean you're charging me $300 for one month! That's rediculous, I'm cancelling my account."

Nobody wants to deal with that. You'd lose money on hiring more customer service and lost customers that get pissed off over billing disputes. NOT WORTH IT. Just simplify billing and charge a flat monthly fee for unlimited access.

Now, one thing that XM Radio does that's pretty slick is that you can buy a big subscription plan at a hefty discount. Then you can cancel it and they'll give you back the balance for the remaining months. Result: They get more money up front, some people decide to wait out the subscrition anyway, and customers don't feel like they're making a risky commitment by paying in advance.

Also, I think MMORPGs should start offering a "lifetime" membership. Charge like $300 to $500 (depending on base rate) for access over the lifetime of the game, not including expansion pack costs. For someone that plans to play for 3 or more years this would be a deal. Would also protect against subscription rate increases which are doubtlessly inevitable ($18 per month is on the horizon). Could also bundle some other perks that would normally cost extra for subscription users.

WWIIOL Already Does This (1)

SirBruce (679714) | more than 9 years ago | (#11380868)

WWIIOL offers a variety of subscription plans for long-term customers:

(3) Month Prepay- $44.99
(6) Month Pre-pay- $64.99
(12) Month Prepay- $99.99

In addition they have a special-tiered "Builder's Program":
(12) Month Prepay - Bronze Level Builders - $179.99 - You also get a special icon on the bulletin boards and a listing on the web site.

Silver Level Builders - $500 - You get all of the Bronze-level benefits, plus a special in-game Builder's Icon, plus your name on a bronze plaque on a bridge in the game.

Gold Leve Builders - $1000 - You get all of the Silver/Bronze benefits, plus a special in-game statue of yourself with a custom message placed in the game world.

Bruce
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