Wednesday 20 October 2010

Everything all of the time

Murphy’s Law of Unsubscription states that a payment will have left your account the day before you finally decide to actually quit the game.

(Zoso’s Corollary: The larger the subscription payment, the smaller the time between it having left your account and you unsubscribing.)

About a month ago (in fact precisely a month ago) I was having a bit of a glance through the information about Lord of the Rings Online going free-to-play, particularly the section detailing loyalty rewards in Turbine Points for long-term subscribers. The small print says the subscription has to be maintained from June 30th to the launch of free-to-play to qualify, but as I started the account back at launch (even if I’ve only actually played for a couple of months at most since then) I thought it might be worth a bit of a punt on having an active subscription during the transition to F2P, just in case it happened to qualify for a pile of points. At worst it would be quite fun to have a bit of a run around Middle Earth again.

There was already a bit of a delay at that point with the switch to free-to-play in Europe but Codemasters assured us they were working on it, and I figured whatever the problems were they couldn’t take more than a month to sort out. I mean even with just a short delay people were signing up for the free game in the US, they couldn’t possibly leave it too long could they, or their entire potential new player base would have buggered off, leaving only increasingly embittered European lifetime subscribers and players invested in long-term characters gazing longingly at the rejuvenated New World, of course that couldn’t happen, ha ha ha ha, certainly n…

… oh.

It was indeed fun roaming Middle Earth again, but after a couple of weeks the initial enthusiasm for reactivating old static groups or starting new parties had melted away into the void of lack of news (though a void would be cold; maybe the enthusiasm got frozen, but then it wouldn’t have melted into the void, unless it got to a strange supercooled state… anyway). After the drawn-out death of DDO EU (Eberron Unlimited) in the EU (European Union) (don’t get those two mixed up, the farming subsidies from Drow are rubbish) there was a suspicion that Codemasters were just stalling, had no intention of moving to the free-to-play model, and were grabbing what subscription money they could before shutdown and transfer to the US servers.

In a strange reversal of the law of unsubscription, the notice that my LotRO game time had expired (unusually Codemasters give an option to just pay for one month instead of requiring a recurring subscription) arrived at almost the same time as the announcement that free-to-play really is *definitely* on its way, honest. No really. Definitely coming. Really soon. For sure. They just can’t say exactly when. But it is on its way. Any minute now. That might be it there, in fact! Oh, no, it’s just next door’s car pulling into the drive.

So do I pay for another month? I mean they’re on the “home stretch”, that must mean within a month, musn’t it? Or must it? It couldn’t take longer than that. Could it? No, it couldn’t. Or could it? Maybe it could. Couldn’t it?

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