I miss subscriptions..not the funky “here have some points off our crazy cash shop prices to unlock some restrictions” kind of subscription but the real kind of “here’s all your content” kind of subscription. I know they are still around and doing well but it seems that just about every mmo coming out these days is going free to play as some sort of miracle cure. And I don’t like it..I don’t like it at all.
I would have to say my mmo infatuation started with rift.. there were many before that but Rift was the one which really sucked up a lot of my time and brought me to the mmo promised land. It is not an amazing mmo, but it was enough to captivate me for a long time. Looking back on it all one thing that actually promoted my enjoyment and immersion was just how simple it was to play. Just pay that monthly fee, which in the end you usually forget about. I wasn’t having to worry about all these different types of currency, pay walls and restrictions, lockboxe’s, and stupid mechanics being put in solely as a way of getting people to spend money. I just had to play.
I like how everything in the game was accessible with time because in the end, an mmo is meant to be a time investment. I’m not talking about the overabundance of dailies and such as they are a cheap mechanic to expand content but just how my investment in the game is rewarded. Many mmo’s now are tying in the game currency with the real money cash shops so that core players can gain such items without resorting to real money however the average, and even above average player in terms of time would never be able to play enough to gain what they want through this method as there are always some arbitrary costs. With a subscription I can focus on a particular area to attain specific rewards that I want but with ftp it is often repeating the same mundane tasks. In Gw2 it’s all about running the same dungeon..over and over, or if you have the mental acumen playing the Trading post (which really isn’t playing at all).
Even when they do have this method of payment it still feels like there are too many restrictions and that too much content and customization is locked behind this pay wall. Day to-day frustrations seem like that are a part of the model, sometimes I think this is why WoW is often so popular with casuals as the subscription model just made it soo much easier to play and avoid this unnecessary frustrations.
hmmm…Although in subscription games the frustrations seem to be based on spending more time than more money.. which is better or is there a better way?
The other thing I think is that when it comes to a subscriptions if someone isn’t enjoying the game it seems easier for them to just stop paying and playing. That monetary cost to fun factor analysis is relatively easy and simple to make but ftp has created this weird new feeling of just putting up with the bad/terrible times and mechanics since it’s free. Like somehow being free negates the bad..I don’t think so. Star Wars wasn’t a very good game with a subscription and it’s worse now with all these new restrictions yet somehow it’s become popular again though so I’m probably just an outlier on this.
It is still very much a learning experience for many of these developers but so far it seems that the demands of making a large profit (greed at times) are dramatically outweighing any sort of consideration for the players experience. I like Free to play sometimes. It can and has been done well but I feel much more comfortable in games paying a subscription, it just feels… easier.