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Why I'll never pay for another MMO, or UR DOING IT WRONG

Posted 12-01-2009 at 10:45 AM by Kragg
Updated 12-01-2009 at 12:07 PM by Kragg

So after many years of playing subscription MMOs, I came to the conclusion last night that I will never put out my hard earned money for one ever again.

I am going to rant on and on here knowing full well this will only be relevant to other MMO players, current or otherwise.

So here's a couple of the main reasons why I've made this choice.

1. I no longer want to spend money on an unfinished work -

Unlike a traditional console game that can simply be rated, played end-to-end and (through modern technology!) be patched to fix its linear content, MMOs need to constantly evolve. They also have to be programmed to balance content for multiple classes/types and different play styles, and exploits. Patch cycles become an issue, new content becomes an issue, some guys class being OP becomes an issue. I'm not willing to keep dumping money into a game anymore while I wait for it "to be finished", when in reality it might never be finished, or particular bugs might never be squashed because the product is just too immense. When I'm paying a subscription I want something to work now, or shortly after purchase.

2. I'm not going to gamble on subscribing to failure -

Back in the day when these games were niche (UO, DAoC, EQ1) players were committed and they had smaller communities, and the games could have slower dev cycles that allowed for polish. Now with huge budgets and expectations, games are rushed out the door as quickly as possible. If they don't turn a profit they are either put into "maintenance mode" or have their plug yanked. Tabula Rasa is an example of the plug being pulled, and my beloved Warhammer Online is on shaky ground. I am no longer willing to pay the retail box price + subscription fee for a game that could possibly be dead within a year. MMO players nowadays seem drawn to the flavor of the month, and there's just too many products out there to chew up and spit out to justify the longevity of these games to large parent companies.

3. I have other options -

I have been mulling it over in my head recently, as it seems the "landscape" has been changing quite a bit recently. The rise in free-to-play games has been going on for a while now in Asia, but Turbines decision to move Dungeons&Dragons Online to that model, along with the success of Runes of Magic and Free Realms, cash shops appear to be a pretty viable option over here in the west.
Guild Wars is still my favorite MMO of all time and has the best pricing model. You buy the game one time, and that's it. No fees. Not the most persistent world, but after years there are plenty of people to play with in it's PvP and instances.

With the way these games are going, unsure patch cycles, teams being laid off, communities and player-bases that fluctuate, I'm much more inclined to get a game with no fee, where I simply make a traditional one time purchase, or use a cash shop model where I pay as I want for some in-game items and content, but if I stop playing for a few weeks or months I'm not wasting my sub. I'll gladly pay $10-20 over the course of my time in a cash-chop MMO if I never had to pay outright for the game client itself.
I know some will argue that cash shops can try to "cripple" the game to bleed players for more than a sub-based plan, but in the increasing casual gaming market, I think it's becoming apparent that western gamers want a complete game with "pay-as-you-go" for bonuses and new content, rather than for vanity and critical items in the highly grind-based eastern MMORPGS.

4. When it's over, it's OVER.

This is the big reason. I pondered this while staring at my bookshelf full of games I will no longer, or CAN no longer play. Counterstrike or Black&White 2 I can re-install and enjoy again and again. MMO's? Not so much...
When you purchase a retail box MMO you can't sell it, trade it, or even just let a friend borrow it. It's tied to an account, so when you tire of it, you have a useless box with a useless disc inside. I suppose you could give a trusted friend access to your account, but that breaks most TOS and also possibly compromises the security of your credit card.
If the game itself gets shut down, well then that install just becomes so much wasted hard drive space.

So there you have it. A few reasons why I will never purchase or play a subscription-based MMO again.

My only advice to anyone reading this (that isn't a seasoned veteran) would be that in this brave new world of mainstream online games, do yourself a favor and wait a while for the game client to drop in price and a few patches to hit. Things like the Guild Wars and Everquest $20 box sets are a pretty good value, compared to these new games that are enticing you to spend $50 or more for a buggy, post-beta experience.

Oh, and for god sakes, DO NOT buy the collector's edition!

View the original post @ The Vomiting Unicorn Gazette
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