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Reader Comments (8)

Posted: Aug 20th 2008 12:11PM Softserve said

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You're definitely right about AAA developer/publisher discussion of micro-transactions. I think they've almost gotten a lot of people to compare them to a nickel-and-dime situation and they aren't always necessarily like that. They've almost equated official channels of doing this to someone selling a rare weapon on eBay.

I think some of my concern with the concept was always the idea of it killing balance. We're all on a similar playing field with a subscription based game... but with a microtransaction based game that becomes a lot more complex. Certainly giving the ability to buy whatever you want evens that out some, but the developer has to consider what the effects are on the people who bought something else.

I think there's room to do that well, but frankly, most of the games using this method could really use a hell of a lot more polish and attention before I'd be confident in that being handled properly.

I've tried a few out recently that were decent. ArchLord was one of the better ones, I felt.

Posted: Aug 20th 2008 2:13PM koehler83 said

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I like the subscription model for the same reason I like all my bills in lump sums. I use it as much as I want and I never have to worry about breaking the bank. I know exactly what I'll pay any given month, regardless of what may happen in the game. It also allows a level playing field among players.

The microtransaction model just sucks. It punishes the 'hardcore' or committed fanbase of a game by sponging off them while the less committed offer up nothing. It punishes the less monetarily endowed players by forcing them to sacrifice something, somewhere.

If you can't make a game worthy of a flat monthly fee, then you're in the wrong arena. Either everyone pays the same amount or everyone pays nothing at all. Those are you only two choices.

Posted: Aug 20th 2008 4:27PM (Unverified) said

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Koehler83 wrote:

If you can't make a game worthy of a flat monthly fee, then you're in the wrong arena. Either everyone pays the same amount or everyone pays nothing at all. Those are you only two choices.


Really? There are FAR more people playing games that do not operate on either of the principles above than people who are playing games that do.

For instance, the only million+ population game I can think of in which everyone pays the same amount is WoW. On the other hand, Runescape, Club Penguin, Habbo, Maple Story, essentially every MMO in Asia, all the Aeria games, all the Acclaim games, etc do not make people pay the same amount. They either offer tiered subscriptions in which some people pay nothing and others pay something or they offer virtual asset sales.

Clearly, the choice you're presenting is a false one.

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Posted: Aug 20th 2008 12:55PM arnavdesai said

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But you are forgetting how highly successful Guild Wars is and people still play it. If they could have kept up the expansion system development wise I think they might have had a viable system.
That was not possible however and ArenaNet has said they are looking into more of a expansion route for which a consistent development cycle can be maintained. I personally believe that if they can keep a 6 month cycle going they can keep retain even the most hardcore player in the game for the game and its mechanics were some of the best in the industry and instance haters be damned.

Posted: Aug 20th 2008 5:42PM (Unverified) said

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I would never even check out a game that uses RMT instead of a monthly fee. No interest. Why would any hardcore player choose a system that penalizes them for their passion?

Posted: Aug 20th 2008 6:44PM (Unverified) said

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There's a lot of different payment models being thrown around and it should be interesting to see if any besides the subscription model takes off. I know the micro-transaction model often gets large numbers of players, but they often make much less money then other games. I think the tiered subscription model like Dofus or Runescape has a better chance of catching on.

There is definitely a growing desire from players to be able to try out new games without droping money on a box and a monthly commitment. The only bad thing about the standard subscription model is that it really ties a player to only one or two games.

Posted: Aug 20th 2008 9:51PM Teiraa said

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Actually I am in favour of the lifetime-subscription model in LotRo (combined with monthly subscriptions for short-term players). Monthly subscriptions are fine if you are playing a lot, but with a lifetime subscription you can manage your play time more freely: You are too busy (or bored) to play right now? No problem, just take a break of a couple weeks, and come back whenever you want, without having to worry about paying subscriptions.
Also you never get the feeling that you level your characters and in future will have to pay subscription fees just to logon and seem them in action.
And this is a win-win situation for both the players and the company: Lifetime subscribers guarantee an active playerbase for a long time, which is an important way to attract new players over time.
It's alright if lifetime fees are a bit higher (like $200 or $300), but I hope that more games will use this feature. For me it is a deciding factor why I stick to LotRo right now.

Posted: Aug 21st 2008 8:09PM (Unverified) said

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I agree that the LOTRO lifetime subscription makes sense, and is a better deal if you average over 2-3 years. The Puzzle Pirates form of microtransaction works great for a more casual game, too! (PP also offers a subscription model...)

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