Windows popped up a little message the other day, as it’s wont to do, tutting at the state of my desktop: “how can you live like this, it’s such a mess, look at all these icons, what’s this? A demo of ‘Boarding Now’, when was the last time you played that, you can’t need all this stuff…” OK, so I dramatise for comic effect, it was just the usual clear off old icons thing that turns up now and again, and things were getting a bit cluttered. After deleting assorted demos and utilities that presumptuously put themselves on the desktop, I ran down the column of MMOs: Hellgate, don’t really need that now; Guild Wars, always an option; WoW, you never know, might resubscribe sometime; City of Heroes…
Oh, City of Heroes. My first MMOG, as I’m sure I’ve mentioned enough times before, that I’ve been subscribed to since 2004, a fantastic game. A costume creator still without peer (maybe Champions or APB this year could finally rival it?), some of the best grouping options around for easily getting together with friends and fighting appropriately scaled opponents, so much good stuff, and yet… I’ve barely logged in this year. OK, not surprising, that’s only about a week so far, but hardly last year either. I’d almost forgotten it until happening across the icon, at which point I had a sudden wave of happiness, and nostalgia, almost yearning, but… I didn’t fire it up and log in. I hovered the mouse over the icon, and thought… What would I do? Roll a new character, do the tutorial again, pick up an existing character and run some missions? Didn’t really appeal. There are a few of the newer zones I haven’t done to death, but by and large it’s pretty much the same content.
If I’m not playing, why subscribe? It’s not like it would take more than a couple of minutes to reactivate the account if I wanted to at some point in the future. Playing on the US servers, and paying in dollars, the price has effectively gone up too as the exchange rate has fallen, and I really thought about cancelling the subscription, more seriously than ever. It ought to be a no-brainer, but thinking about pressing that “cancel” button makes me come over all maudlin, like finally saying “goodbye” to an old friend you haven’t seen for a while.
One option would be to cancel the US subscription and take out an EU one instead; there’s a splendid bunch of people playing there, it would give much more of an incentive to log on and play with them, but after giving it a go a while back, something nagged at me. Mechanically it’s exactly the same game, but without my old characters and their accumulated levels and badges and associated gubbins, like veteran rewards (both useful, such as extra weapons that round out attack chains at lower levels before you pick up all your powers, and “fluff” like costume parts (I keep working bits on Samurai armour into costumes, even for cyborgs)), something just didn’t *quite* feel right. There’s somehow more to the game than mechanics, a weight of history if you will (if that doesn’t sound too pretentious, which it does, but never mind).
So there’s a suggestion for anyone looking to make a healthy profit from an MMO, simply target irrationally sentimental people who’ll keep giving you money without even logging in and consuming server resources. I dunno; maybe it’s because nothing’s *really* succeeded it in terms of superhero MMOGs, and when (if?) Champions or DCUO come along I’ll be able to make a clean break, but until then, seems like I’ll stay subscribed to CoH.
No, no I won’t, it’s crazy, I’m unsubscribing. Canc…
… nope, still can’t bring myself to do it.
You’re not the only person who is like this about CoH. My husband is just the same. I dislike them a lot because I think their charging is totally double dipping (loyalty bonus costume bits AND charging extra for costume sets == NOT COOL), but it’s partly cos I can’t persuade the other half to stop paying even when he isn’t playing it. To me it makes zero sense ;/
Heh, makes no sense to me either, but still! I can definitely see your point about charging for extras, though at the moment I don’t think the balance is too bad (only a few extras, and they’re pretty fluffy); if they got more frequent, it’d definitely nudge me more firmly towards cancelling the subscription.