March me away to the station (again)

Following on from the previous post, the Station Access website itself didn’t turn out to be terribly helpful after all, being a flash page with all of one useful looking link on it, “FAQ”, which actually resulted in a nice line in server errors. Presuming the FAQ it was trying to point to was something along the lines of this one, it’s still not enormously helpful for non-US players apart from the comforting news that we get to shell out 17.5% VAT on top of the basic price. All the available games are listed as “(U.S version/SOE servers only)”, but the only reference I could find to other servers was that Station Access specifically excludes “EverQuest European Ubi Soft servers”, so I don’t know if the other games have regional servers and/or clients which might make life difficult if you bought a boxed game in the UK but wanted to play on US servers to take advantage of Station Access. I have to confess I didn’t look terribly hard though, as I got bored and went off to play Guitar Hero (21 songs through Expert, woo!) I’ll check it out properly when Pirates of the Burning Sea / The Agency come out.

I got to thinking a bit more about the general idea, though. I like the theory; you have a bunch of games available, you can jump in to whichever you fancy whenever you want, and you don’t need to worry you’re “wasting” a subscription if you’re not playing. In its current incarnation, though, I’m not sure Station Access makes a whole lot of sense. Not having played any of the games in question I could be doing them a colossal disservice, but I get the impression that, Planetside apart, they’re all pretty similar. “In the grand scheme of things” similar, that is; obviously they all have their own settings, and particular implementations of levels and crafting and skills and abilities and that malarkey, but they all seem like fairly conventional MMOGs. Though I know plenty of people who go from MMOG to MMOG, they do it in series, not parallel (well, “never say never” and all that… I had three subscriptions going myself not so long ago, but that tends to be a transitional thing). Part of that’s to do with the cost of subscription, but I think it’s more that most MMOGs aren’t really aimed at… um… I’m desperately trying not to use the words “casual” or “hardcore”, ‘cos we all know how *that* debate goes (rapid descent into semantics, flamewars and flamewars over semantics… actually, that’s every internet debate isn’t it?) *reaches for a thesaurus* It’s more that MMOGs aren’t really aimed at the more insouciant playstyle, a single game will quite happily soak up any available free time if you want to get into it that heavily. How many people play enough of more than one MMOG in a given month to make it worthwhile?

Hmm. Looks like everyone’s already done this one, back when the price was raised from $25 to $30 a month. Someone points out in the comments there that twenty quid a month is “peanuts” compared to dinner out, a visit to the cinema or whatever, but that’s a justification for an MMO subscription in the first place rather than Station Access over and above a single game sub; starting and stopping game subscriptions really isn’t that difficult (so long as you can remember your account name and password), even Captain Apathy here can manage to log in to an account and click a couple of buttons for the sake of a tenner a month.