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Reader Comments (15)

Posted: Jul 4th 2009 4:25PM Russell Clarke said

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How about Massively doing a "Free Trial Watch?" feature every so often, like the Betawatch (but without bloody David Hassellhoff!)

Posted: Jul 4th 2009 5:08PM Minofan said

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I do like free trials, but in a perfect world I'd also like the option of £2-3 trials where they slap a current DVD client in the post for you - hours of downloading (often through 3rd parties) followed by many hours of patching really deflates a gaming impulse.

Posted: Jul 4th 2009 6:34PM (Unverified) said

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giving free play weeks to people with cancelled subscriptions is a great idea, im holding out for WAR and COH to do that.

Posted: Jul 4th 2009 7:08PM (Unverified) said

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Yeah, I have to agree with giving people with canceled subscriptions a free return period. With the amount an MMO changes from patch to patch, it would be nice to be able to pop back into a game you'd left just to see what was new. I've quit lots of games, and then by reading up on MMO news I see things they are putting in with new patches, and it kinda makes me think the game might be better than when I played. It doesn't make me wonder enough to actually pay to start my account back up, but if they even just did like CoH did with the free return weekends, it would be a huge incentive to try out games I'd left before. If it turned out that the patches had fixed things that had before turned me off to the game, I'd probably be more than happy to try things again.
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Posted: Jul 6th 2009 9:34AM (Unverified) said

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WAR does have a trial that 10 days free for previous subscribers. You do have to jump through the hoops of providing payment info and then canceling before the 10 days is up if you don't want to keep playing after 10 days. However, the free play for former subscribers does exist.

http://www.warhammeronline.com/call_to_arms/re-enlist.php
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Posted: Jul 4th 2009 8:43PM organiclockwork said

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I agree with the above. While free trial periods are great, free-for-returning-players periods are even better. MMOGs change quite a bit over their lifespans. It's nice to be able to come back and see what's changed without having to shell out $15 only to say, "Ugh, it still sucks."

Posted: Jul 4th 2009 9:30PM (Unverified) said

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14 days really isn't a long enough time to see how a good a game might be (for some games anyways) but it's plenty of time to realize a game sucks.

Posted: Jul 4th 2009 10:30PM (Unverified) said

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I agree that 14 day trials don't showcase end game content. But you would think that anyone who buys a game with end game in mind would do some research before purchasing. 14 days give these kind of people an idea of what the gameplay/combat systems are like, and with this in mind, they can better get a feel for what end game content is like when researching.

Also, I hope that the bigger companies stay with subscription models; I can't imagine a company like Blizzard ever using a cash shop model without making it so that cash shop players get the advantage. Cash shops should be mainly full of convenience items, not combat advantages.

Note: When i say combat advantages, i mean direct advantages. Things like pots and the sort can be in there. But when it gets to a point where you need the cash shop to raid effectively, or to win in PvP, its gone too far.

Posted: Jul 5th 2009 1:45AM (Unverified) said

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I don't understand why people feel like cash shops should only have non-essential items. I think that for a steady game like WoW, GW, DDO, LOTRO, WAR, EVE, it would work to do a F2P with a shop if they do it where you need to buy things in the shop to make it work. I think the key is to make it feel like what you are buying is worth it. I feel like so many games have frivolous shops...just a bunch of junk...why would I spend real money on that. But stores that have stuff that I need to buy if I want to continue to play and be competitive such as purchasing dungeons/bag space/mounts/etc.

You figure that someone playing WoW for a year has put in $50 for the original purchase (assuming adopting early), paying $15/mo = $180, so $230 for an average first year. If you figure if you are playing in an average manner (not hardcore to the end), you spend $8-10 for a dungeon or a zone each each, you spend $20 that whole time for bigger bags, etc. If you're hardcore, you might end up spending about the same (possibly more if you like things like potions/etc), but if you're not so hardcore, you could end up getting out easier.

I think where shops get lame when they have stuff that only 1% of the people will buy. That means that your stuff is meaningless. And I will never pay for that. And I generally hate anyone who does.
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Posted: Jul 5th 2009 6:31PM (Unverified) said

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Bag space and mounts are two of the perfect things for cash shops; they don't give any direct advantage in pvp or pve (unless we want to get picky and cite specific examples such as alterac valley battlegrounds in wow), but they do provide convenience items. You don't have to purchase extra bag space or a mount, but it sure makes life a lot easier.

What I'm trying to say is there is a difference between non-essential items and worthless junk. Extra bag space is non-essential, but as a raider you are probably going to find it very difficult without the extra space. You can do it, but its a real pain.

Let's look at the MMO market. Name one major MMO (in terms of current popularity) that essentially forces the player to use a cash shop, by providing direct advantages. It's not possible; cash shops have a stigma attached to them that turns players off, for this specific reason. This is an MMO, and someone's real life wealth (or simply their access to a parent's credit card) should not come into the game. When cash shops bring direct advantages, the idea of skill is thrown out. Games that do this turn off players.

I recently started playing Runes of Magic; but as soon as I saw the words cash shop, I did a fair bit of research to make sure the end game content relied on skill and not the cash shop. When I told my friends about RoM, they all seemed interested until the words 'cash shop' were mentioned, and immediately their attitudes changed.

The RoM store mainly provides advantages that can be obtained in game; yes it will take a longer period of time, but its still doable. And many of the best players on the RoM servers haven't spent a cent. RoM also provide mounts and extra bag space in their store; I definitely could use this and probably will be making a purchase soon. Not because I'm going to get a great advantage over other players, but simply because it makes things easier for me.

As I said, i really think this is more of an issue of what we define as 'essential','non-essential' and 'useless junk'.
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Posted: Jul 4th 2009 11:08PM (Unverified) said

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The only downside that I can think of regarding Free Trials is that they consume many of the "good" character names making finding the right name more difficult. A minor gripe, I admit, but I usually create an entire *stable* of characters (one of each class, if possible) so finding just the right name for each -- which is not already taken -- can be frustrating.

Oh, and I completely agree with the above poster(s) suggesting that MMOGs should FREE "Come back and see what has changed"-time every year to past subscribers; not trial accounts but accounts that actually subscribed at one time. If "Age of Conan did this I *might* be pleasantly surprised and renew; unless, of course, they already have and I missed it (Doh!)

Posted: Jul 5th 2009 2:31AM J Brad Hicks said

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It's ironic that you chose the City of Heroes free trial to illustrate the offer, because City of Heroes is emphatically not a game that your average player can appreciate in 14 days, and I'll tell you why: your first 14 days in City of Heroes almost certainly SUCK.

Paragon Studios hasn't gone back and looked at the level 5-20 hero-side content in over four years. Time and technology have moved on. The original content in those levels hasn't. They've added some newer, better content in those ranges. If you have the good luck to pick The Hollows as the place to spend levels 5-15, and then the good luck to go to Faultline at level 15, you won't notice that everything else in those level ranges is really, really rotten: really boring missions, no clear plot, no characterizations worth noticing, and lots of really, really long commutes, most of that on foot. And don't even get me started on how awful the level 10-15 and 15-20 "raid" (task force) content is on the hero side. They know how to do better than that, now. If you stay out of King's Row, Steel Canyon, and Skyway City as a hero, you'll never see the old and ugly side of the game. If you roll a villain, you'll never see the poorly written side of the game.

It's only the half to two thirds of all new people with 30 day subscriptions or 14 day free trials who roll heroes and then stumble into Kings Row when they out-level Atlas Park or Galaxy City who have their time run out before they get to level 20, who never see the game at its finest, and quit, thinking the game is far, far lamer than it is.

And by the dozens, by the hundreds, maybe even by the thousands we subscribers have been telling Paragon Studios this. And they keep saying, "well, we think subscribers would rather have new content than have us spend the same going back and cleaning up old content," despite the fact that every time they take a poll the numbers come up the other way around.

So, unsurprisingly, the 14-day free trials end up doing basically nothing for City of Heroes' total subscriber numbers. They only mostly end up getting used as gold-spammer in-game email address generators.

Posted: Jul 5th 2009 8:39AM UnSub said

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Although I wouldn't say the first levels of content for CoH/V suck as much as InfamousBrad does - the major complaint I've heard of CoH/V is that it is fun for the first 30 days but lacks 'end-game' - I do agree that the tutorial should have been more fully reworked and show off some of the more recent developments in-game. Perhaps they will let this happen with the Going Rogue expansion, but who knows when this is coming.

On top of this, trial accounts need to be able to form teams. I know of a number of players who have trialled CoH/V, found out that they couldn't form a team with each other to play through the trial period and quit, never to go back.

Agreed on cleaning up old content over new content, however. Some of the best zones in CoH have been the reworked ones. Plus new zones just end up spreading players out further.
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Posted: Jul 5th 2009 9:19AM (Unverified) said

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I was really excited about CoH prior to actually playing the 14-day trial. The first few levels and the corresponding missions were lackluster and uninspired. Additionally, storywise, there was nothing compelling to interest the player. Nevertheless, my wife and I decided to give it a month because we like superheroes.

I'm glad we did. Like ImfamousBrad said, the levels post-20 are where the game takes flight and opens up. The missions are more fully realized, the villians better rendered, and the scope of the story larger. It's a great game after 20.

The 14-day trials are a great time to capture new players. We tried 3-4 of the more appealing MMOs before CoH (which means they all had a legitimate chance to get us as subscribers). Ironically, it was in spite of the 14-trial that we decided to play CoH.

Posted: Jul 5th 2009 3:14PM Vundal said

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the old COH trial was great but i think anyone downloading the new one will be disappointed with the restrictions that are put on you in the game.


you get a small, un removeable box that u can push to buy the game, which re-centers itself everytime u load into an area. You also cannot speak in general, so no sewer groups for you...

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