For the first time in years, I’m subscription free.
I patched up City Heroes to see the Issue 16 changes, logged in, tinkered a bit with power colours, and couldn’t really muster up any enthusiasm for it so finally hit the unsubscribe button I’d been thinking about nine months ago. Monthly subscriptions nag at me when I’m not playing much, like just having a slice of toast from an all-you-can-eat breakfast buffet. They can be great value for a game you’re playing a lot, but don’t make so much sense for something you drift in and out of; I’ve had Grand Theft Auto IV for ten months now, playing a bit now and again. I don’t know exactly how much time I’ve put in, but there’s an achievement for completing the main story in less than 30 hours and I haven’t wrapped that up yet, though I’ve been doing a lot of the side missions and bits and pieces. With APB looking to have broadly comparable gameplay I can see myself dipping in and out of that, rather than spending several hours a night on it, so the lack of a monthly fee is distinct plus point there.
I’ve still got a couple of MMOGs on the go, though. Firstly Dungeons and Dragons Online, for which the “Unlimited” model seems to be working really well; I’m not sure how it’s looking for Turbine financially, but having the option there, if a few of us are kicking around and fancy a bit of a dungeon crawl, is great, and without even an initial fee there’s no barrier, apart from the initial download, to stop people taking a look around. Then there’s Champions Online; I’m cheating a bit with the “no subscription” thing here, ‘cos I went for the Lifetime option. Now I know full well that any attempt to discuss costs, subscription models and perceptions of value break down somewhat at this point, and a rational assessment is that a lifetime subscription is unlikely to represent better value than monthly payments unless you really, really get into a game, but whatever strange way my brain operates means I can forget the big initial payment and now file Champions as “free to play”; it’s there when I fancy swinging around and dispensing pistol based justice, if I go a couple of months without logging in, not to worry.
That is the great thing about lifetime subscriptions. You’re paying up front and taking a bit of a gamble that the game will run long enough for your investment to payoff, but you’re also freed up from having that monthly payment and the pressure to make sure you’re getting your money’s worth. Having a lifetime subscription in LoTRO meant I could take a break anytime I wanted guilt-free and come back for a week or just a day if I wanted. For other games like War or WoW I always have to decide if I can get a month’s worth of fun if I decide to resubscribe, and usually the answer is no.
How about returning to the world of Guild Wars? If you bought the game in the past, it falls in to the “Free to Play” tick box.
Good point, Guild Wars is always an option, but I’ve tried to get into it three times (buying one of the boxes each time), and it hasn’t stuck yet…
@Blue Kae Absolutely, I’m hoping Champions will work out much the same way, fingers crossed it keeps going as strongly as LotRO has!
Aye, I’m a fan of lifetime subs… but I much prefer the GW price point. I just don’t have fun playing a game with a sub hanging over my head.