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Reader Comments (40)

Posted: Jun 17th 2010 1:15PM Super Nerd said

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I'm really excited about DCUO! My main problem is that from the videos I've seen, the characters have the most idiotic running animations on the planet (Not just Superspeed, regular movement as well), and if I look like an idiot 75% of the time, I doubt I'll want to play. :\

Posted: Jun 17th 2010 2:04PM (Unverified) said

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Thanks for this. Good to know that the game will have the normal $15 per month subscription fee. I wonder how the rumor that DCUO will be free-to-play got started. Not that it really matters, I'll happily pay the $30 per month for two accounts.

Posted: Jun 18th 2010 7:36PM starka1 said

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Thanks for saving me the trouble Tempe Magus. I was going to have to make a generic comment about threads I read on other sites regarding the pricing.

Your whining provided the perfect example of why I'm glad they are charging a monthly fee. You are ignorant(not a jab but just stating fact) if you have not seen the past pricing models of MMOs.

Tempes Magus quote:
"Anybody who believes this being $15 a month benefits them doesn't know how to add, manage money or look at the history of SOE."

Hah, it benefits me because you won't be in the game.

Posted: Jun 18th 2010 11:39PM starka1 said

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You are just making me ever happier you will not be playing this game. Have fun ranting on the next MMO.

Posted: Jun 20th 2010 12:04PM Valdamar said

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Tempes Magus > "So you enjoy payign for your $25 mount and $60 expansion on top of paying for the game?"

I just want to chip in that personally, even though I prefer monthly subscription plans, I hate the way that SOE/Blizzard/Cryptic have added cash shops to their sub MMOs. I'll avoid all MMOs with cash shop + P2P unless the game is so good that I'm willing to overlook that. I certainly wouldn't go back to WoW or EQ2 now.

I feel that $25 is a ridiculous price to pay for an in-game mount - some MMOs sell content-heavy expansions for less than that - even if all characters would get that mount it would still seem ridiculous to me - but obviously other players don't find it ridiculous considering how well those mounts are selling. Even so I can accept that there are people to whom that $25 is nothing, and who would rather pay for that mount and just have it, either because they're richer than me or consider it value for money to them. Every person has to make their own decision - if it's not value for money to you then the answer is simple - don't buy it! - that's what I do.

Tempes Magus > "I guess you don't know that EVE and City of Heroes give content for free with their subscriptions. Sure City of Heroes has an expansion you pay for coming, but it's the first one. City of Villains is a standalone game so of course they charged for it in the past. Anyway, EVE has a better pricing model than this game will have. This game will be just like Everquest 2 and WoW, milking players dry."

I think you're overlooking the fact that CoH also has content boosters you can pay for (around half a dozen of them now) and you are also ignoring that EQ2 used to have bigger "free" content patches (i.e. paid for by subscription) than pretty much any other western triple-A MMO except maybe CoH (which has had a slim year for free content, but then the content team were working on the paid expansion Going Rogue which is due soon).

As for F2P, well, I've yet to find F2P games that were as deep, polished or enjoyable as the P2P MMOs I've played in the past - from my perspective you get what you pay for and I'd rather not play an MMO where other players can pay real money to get a leg up on everyone else.

I prefer P2P monthly plans (without cash shops!) not just because they're easy (one payment per month and no other purchasing decisions) but because every player contributes the same amount of real money and has the same chances in-game without real money affecting gameplay balance - the only inherent unfairness is that some players can play for longer periods than others, but you'll never completely eradicate that from an MMO without time-locking how long people can play for - even EVE, where skills are learned in real time, the players who play more often can potentially earn more ISK than those that don't.

Posted: Jul 9th 2010 12:35AM (Unverified) said

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I would suppose you've never played WoW or EQ2, because if you had, you'd realize the amount of content they add between expansions is incredible.

If you don't like the cash shops, of which I myself am not a fan either, don't buy it. They're not game-breaking, nor do they give a real advantage.

Posted: Jun 17th 2010 2:29PM TheJackman said

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OMG good to see its not that free to play junk! Thinking of getting it when it comes out...

Posted: Jun 17th 2010 3:01PM dudemanjac said

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Looks nice. I'll be watching the development.

Posted: Jun 17th 2010 3:03PM (Unverified) said

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That crosses this game off my list. $15 a month for plastic looking characters, so-so to poor character animations, no housing at launch (and with SOE's track record it could be quite some time until it does get put in), etc.

Shame, I'm a big DC fan, but no way I'd pay that kind of money for something that doesn't seem to offer much of anything new, and certainly not state of the art graphics or game play. Too bad. :(

Maybe they'll offer a discount multi-month subscription and let you pay with Station Cash? If so, and they have another double SC event by then, that might lower it down to something like $5 to $6 a month? I might look into it if that happens. Otherwise I'll have to wait on the Marvel game coming out in, what, 2012 and hope for the best?

Bummer. :(

Posted: Jun 17th 2010 3:56PM dudemanjac said

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I think the graphics look the way they should on a comic book based game.

Posted: Jun 17th 2010 3:38PM (Unverified) said

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Though short, this Article had some pretty decent info bits. Enjoyed getting more details about how certain classes function and what skills will be open to them; as someone who often plays as a Rogue Build, it's cool to know Stealth will play a factor in the game. The Boss Battles sound like they'll be alot of fun and even worth replaying not just for Gear (if "Farming" a Boss will even be possible) but for the Super-Villain antics and emotes. Figures Harley would be fairly hilarious.

The PvP details were not of importance as PvP is a product of the Devil to me; but others are free to love it (Laughs) The two biggest pieces of info that I enjoyed the most was the confirmation that drops that normally could not be equiped can be altered into things that can, and lastly that DCUO will *not* be F2P. It's my hope that the more AAA titles stick to the subscription route the sooner the F2P will be considered a fad and die quickly. Don't get me wrong, F2P models work for Failing games, but for AAA titles fresh out the Gate, it's down right repulsive right alongside most Console games now being only "half-games" until you buy all the DLC. Thanks, but no thanks. All in all, DCUO continues to look really, really promising.

Posted: Jun 17th 2010 5:10PM (Unverified) said

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Thanks for the Info guys!

Posted: Jun 17th 2010 6:42PM Saker said

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I'd like to know who the "80-90 iconic characters in the game including well-known ones like Wonder Woman and the Joker as well as less popular ones like Metallo and Doctor Psycho." that you can mentor with are.

Posted: Jun 17th 2010 8:02PM (Unverified) said

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If you can team with Darkseid, there won't even be a need to be a hero. :p

Posted: Jun 18th 2010 1:55AM (Unverified) said

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Aghhh man!! subscription fee eliminates this from my list. was soooo looking forward to running around in Gotham on those late nights but DANG!! ITS MY GAME!! Why do I have to continually keep dishin out cash!

Posted: Jun 18th 2010 7:38AM (Unverified) said

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I have a love/hate relationship with SOE. I love some of their games... I hate the way they manage them.

Posted: Jun 18th 2010 8:52AM Valdamar said

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Combat sounds quite innovative in DCUO with the environmental hazards/interaction - just a shame the graphics look so bad - you'd think having all those DC artists on board would result in a game that looked really lush, but it's Champions Online all over again.

@Tempes Magus - the sub wouldn't put me off playing. $15 a month is around £8 a month where I live (depending on exchange rates - it has crept as high as £10 and fallen as low as £6), which is less than a fifth of what it costs me to run my car monthly - £8 a month costs about the same here as 1 cinema ticket, or 2 pints of Guinness, or about half the cost of a meal at a restaurant, or a few pounds less than the cost of a new audio CD or new movie DVD on Amazon or in the shops. Where I live subscription MMOs are still an incredibly cheap form of entertainment considering how many hours you can get out of them for that single monthly fee.

I buy about £50 worth of new DVDs/CDs per month and get less hours of entertainment out of them than I do from my main MMO for £8-9 in that same month - and it's not like movie studios or music publishers have to pay server/staff upkeep just to continue supplying a game their customers are paying for - MMOs are a service, not a product. Heck I spend more than £8 a month on games from Steam (i.e. products not services) and still spend more time playing MMOs than single player games.

Sure, MMOs start to look less value for money if you want to play loads of MMOs at the same time or if you don't have an income (or your pocket money or allowance don't stretch that far), but then who has the time and so little income to be able to devote time to loads of MMOs? Those with a short attention span? Are MMOs really the genre for them? Focus! Sure, I could understand the unemployed or students struggling to pay a sub - I gave up MMOs when I went to college (mainly due to lacking time, but money was tight too, til I got an evening job which didn't leave much time for MMOs) - but MMOs, like other leisure products, are aimed at folks with disposable income. Sucks if you're poor, but that's the case with a lot of luxuries.

Sure, it is always nice if things are cheaper, and we'd all like everything to be free, but you have to be realistic. Most Dev Teams aren't just profiteering for the sake of it (Blizzard notwithstanding - the money they're making they could afford to add content to WoW more often - heck, there are independents adding content faster than Blizzard) - it's not just bandwidth costs, development costs and live team staff they have to pay for - if a Dev Team wants to thrive and not die they need to develop new titles too, which means new staffing costs, new R&D costs, etc. - not to mention the cost of developing expansions (which isn't done by the live team but by an extra team) - with MMOs getting more and more expensive to develop a successful Dev team isn't one that develops one MMO, runs that for ten years with marginal profit, then folds - it's one that brings a new MMO out every 3-4 years and makes enough money to fund development of the next MMO (as opposed to the Cryptic way of bringing out a shoddy swiftly-developed MMO every year, which I guess could work for a few years until every potential customer is wise to their ways, but I doubt it will work forever). And you need some capital in hand to cover all eventualities, otherwise a flooded data-centre or a bugged patch that loses you subscribers could kill a game overnight.

An MMO being F2P doesn't mean it will automatically be rubbish (though most F2P MMOs I've played have been, so I do see a trend) - plenty of sub MMOs are rubbish too - but if you're paying for time in an MMO rather than items then the Dev team has to balance the game around retention, which usually means long term health for the game (sure, some triple-A sub MMOs have shut down, but most are still running - F2P games are crashing and burning all the time) - if you're paying for items in an MMO then the Dev team has an incentive to make those items necessary or very desirable (harming gameplay for you if you don't buy them), which can wreck gameplay balance as every itemisation decision is made with profit in mind rather than the overall playability of the title.

From another perspective, subs do tend to keep out a lot of freeloaders who don't take a game seriously and who grief, whine and disrupt an MMO's community. DDO's community took a nosedive when it went F2P and I'm sure LOTRO's will too. Sure, not every P2P MMO has a great community (my old WoW server community was awful), but I've yet to find a F2P MMO that had a pleasant community. If you're paying a sub every month for access to a game then a lot of subscribers will take that game seriously and feel invested in it - you don't get that same commitment with F2P where the ones heavily invested cash-wise are likely doing so to get ahead of the rest of the community - totally different motive.

I think the Freemium model (hybrid F2P/P2P) has a lot going for it, for players anyway - client is free, play for a month or to a certain level for free (much like a free trial), but then it's P2P after that once you've decided whether it's worth investing time in, and the later level P2P areas would be segregated so F2P players couldn't get there. You get the P2P community benefits - but with the considerable advantage over P2P in that newbie areas stay busy - but freeloaders can still get their quick taste of the game and just move to another game when their time runs out. It removes any barrier to trying a game, but keeps some of the troublesome elements away from the main meat of the game.

Of course the Freemium model also rules out the publisher making any money from impulse purchases and the initial launch paying off the huge development costs in one month, and it only really works for well-made high quality MMOs with longevity, so I don't expect to see it becoming the norm any time soon - not until development costs fall and I can't see that happening any time soon either - but still, a man can dream.

The Guild Wars model is great too, both for the customer and publisher by all accounts, but GW isn't really an MMO and the GW model probably won't work for full MMOs with lots of persistent areas - GW was designed with that payment model in mind.

Posted: Jun 19th 2010 1:33PM Valdamar said

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> "My point was the subscription isn't much in small bites, but how much added cost does that end up being over a year, 2 years, 3, any longer?"

You can say that for anything though. My father smokes so I once made him add up how much he spent on cigarettes per year and it was a significant sum. Most MMOs I've been done with them inside 6 months so I wasn't paying for them for years - EQ1 I did play for 3 years and CoH I've been playing for 4 years, but personally I feel that I've had my money's worth out of them.

> "Charging a subscription "forever" is just greedy as hell. They could at least offer a lifetime subscription that saves us consumers money thus giving us more value while they still make a killing."

The problem with lifetime subs is that they're either offered for a short time (LotRO) or only before launch (Cryptic) so the chances are that neither will coincide with when a lot of people play that MMO. Plus it's a big ask to get people to spend up to a couple of hundred pounds for a lifetime sub to a game they've never played (again, the Cryptic way). Considering how long most MMOs have lasted me a lifetime sub would have cost me more than the monthly sub in the end.

> "Anybody who doesn't see that this game will be connected to that Station Store, with a lot of cash shop stuff to milk players dry, is blind."

Oh I agree completely - I hate subscription + cash shop. Personally I feel that publishers should choose either P2P subscription+expansions/packs, or the GW model of F2P but purchase client/expansions, or go F2P plus a cash shop that sells expansion content and maybe other perks (but not items - I just cannot support any game that has an item mall). But even with a P2P sub game I think certain things like name changes, server switches, etc. should cost money, just to prevent players abusing the system, because it does add extra workload for the Dev team.

Don't get me wrong - I have no major problems with F2P plus paying for content (except for the low barrier of entry for freeloading troublemakers) - but in my experience Devs/Publishers don't just stop there - they start offering items and eventually necessary items in the cash shop to force extra purchases. Admittedly the same thing is starting to happen in P2P games too with SOE and Blizzard having item shops now (even if the WoW one only adds mounts, it's still an in-game item).

But then maybe I'm being a little bit hypocritical because I don't feel bad about buying costume packs for CoH even though it's a subscription game - but due to Paragon hiring extra costume-making Devs we do get more costume pieces now (but less free costume sets) than before, and some free content was moved forward and put out faster due to profits from these addition packs being ploughed back into development (e.g. we got villain epic archetypes an issue earlier than planned).

> "I just can't justify paying any company "free money forever" and getting nothing in return for it except the "privilege" of playing the game I paid them for.
It's funny how so many gamers feel happy that a company sells them a product, but won't even let them use the product unless they pay for the "privilege" of using it."

Free money forever? Do you honestly think 100% of the subscription income is just cleared profit? Are you really that naïve?

> "I can't think of many other companies that sell you a useless product that they will "activate" only if you pay except for phone plans and even those are now lowering prices a lot and offering prepaid plans which are a lot better as well."

Ahh so you incorrectly admit you think MMOs are a product and not a service? Look, if the game just ran on your PC and/or on player run servers (like most non-MMO multiplayer games) then fair enough - it's a product and not a service, like most single player games, and in the same way it wouldn't get much post-release support from Devs, and yes a one-off purchase price and maybe paid-for content expansions would suit. Oh, and besides, that "useless product" you buy in P2P MMOs does usually have a free month of gameplay included with it, so it's hardly useless.

But whether you like it or not MMOs are a service NOT A PRODUCT - just like those mobile phone networks that give away free handsets but charge you a subscription for your phone - they have infrastructure that HAS to be maintained, and staff that have to be employed, in order for that game to continue running. They don't just turn on the servers and forget about it, you know. Server farms have to be maintained and new hardware has to be purchased to keep them running smoothly, bandwidth has to be paid for, staff have to oversee the smooth running of the servers, patches have to be coded, etc etc - there's tons of stuff going on behind the scenes that you just don't see.

An awful lot of people quit an MMO after the free month - I know people who just like playing new MMOs and never stick around after the free month and just head to another MMO, treating them like single player games. Heck I have plenty of friends who don't finish single-player games they've pad more than a monthly MMO sub for - it's anathema to me as I fully complete every game I buy (except MMOs I get bored of, but then I've still hit max level at least once in almost every MMO I've ever played).

> "Subscriptions should ALWAYS give content for free, otherwise the company is just being greedy as hell."

Of course they should, but the only MMOs I know of on P2P sub plans that don't offer much free content are MMOs that are near to being switched off - in those cases the number of subs are so low that the incoming subscription money barely covers the costs of keeping the server farms running, paying for bandwidth and keeping a small live team employed to fix bugs.

People talk about SOE having MMOs on "life support" but that's absolutely true - some of their low-population MMOs would definitely be dead if it wasn't for their station pass keeping those games alive. Matrix Online would probably still be alive too thanks to station pass if Time Warner hadn't wanted the plug pulled. The lead dev on Planetside once admitted (not too long after I quit playing) that the game was in maintenance mode without much live team staff (he was replaced soon after, so maybe he said the wrong thing) because subs were so low and they were dependent on their portion of the station pass profits.

City of Heroes, my current MMO, still adds lots of free content. Blizzard supposedly does too, though they added nothing during the 6 months I played WoW. SOE have always been very good about adding free content, especially back when I played EQ2 - their free content patches were huge.

> "1) Bugged patches can kill a P2P game overnight BECAUSE players are losing the time they paid for. That is why players complain so loudly whenever eve the normal maintenance runs a little over scheduled time."

Absolutely and that's why any Publisher worth their salt will compensate players for lost time - like City of Heroes does - when a router went down near NCSoft's server farm for CoH - even though it was totally outside of NCSoft's control - they gave us a couple of free days added to our subscription because we had been unable to use their service for the best part of a day.

> "2) Just because we have disposable income doesn't mean we should throw it away. What if there is some emergency down the road that money would have helped with or another product that would have been a better value for you? Just because it's called "disposable income" doesn't mean it's smart to "dispose of it"."

Exactly, which is why any responsible adult will keep some money in the bank to cover all future eventualities instead of frittering away every last penny on videogames, beer, DVDs or whatever. But that's common sense to a lot of people and I'm not sure why it has any bearing on this discussion. MMO publishers/developers are not responsible for cutting their costs to manage YOUR finances for you - if you can't afford an MMO then you don't play an MMO, it's as simple as that - MMOs are a luxury, not a basic human entitlement. If you can only afford one MMO then you play one MMO - pretty much everyone who complains about the cost of MMOs are either people with low attention spans who can't focus and want to play tons of MMOs at the same time, or people who can't afford MMOs at all so really shouldn't be throwing money at them. I can't afford a DB9, but I'm not about to go to Aston Martin and start complaining that they charge too much for their cars.

I won't comment on the rest of that particular post you made as you went vastly off-topic imho.

> "That means they make everything take as much time as possible, just shy of pushing most people away."

Sure, it can mean that, but Devs are learning that people hate grind and rather rapidly are designing their games without horrible time-sinks. Look, I played EverQuest 1 for 3 years - you can't talk to me about time-sinks and grind because I've been there when it was at its worst, when one death would lose you 10+ hours worth of group levelling, and when my guild and I once spent two weeks 24/7 camping in 6 hour shifts to make sure we got first crack at a raid mob we needed for a small part of an epic quest for one of our 70+ members. Sounds absurd doesn't it? That's because MMOs have changed and there is less grind every year. It took me the best part of 3 years to get two level-capped characters in EQ (and one of those was powerlevelled) plus a smattering of alts at mid level, while in 3 years of CoH I got 15 level-capped characters and was playing it for about quarter of the time each week than I'd spent on EQ. And WoW is just as fast as CoH for levelling and they sped it up at L1-60 not long after I quit.

So yeah, you had a point 5 years ago, but you really don't anymore.

Why don't you compare it to most F2P games with cash shops where they just make progressing in the game so horribly grindy unless you pay for xp potions or improved mission content? Or would that have undermined your crusade for free games?

> "You are so wrong you must be on Mars.
They chose that payment model because they wanted to, not because they needed to.

And, guess what?
Guild Wars 2 is using the exact same payment model as Guild Wars, but with a huge persistent world and an awesome new way to play the game with "events"."

Well as far as I'm aware they haven't yet announced a payment model for GW2 and what you're mentioning is just player suposition/speculation, but for GW1 I do recall dev logs saying that they had designed the game to be mostly instanced and to require far less bandwidth than MMOs (in particular with their patching system to patch things as you need them, rather than requiring the huge bandwidth MMOs usually need for patching) precisely to match their payment model. I've read every single official interview and devlog for GW2 as it's one of the main MMOs I'm interested in now.

Look, you have some good points (albeit buried under entitlement issues and ranting), but MMOs are a service and not a product and they do require ongoing guaranteed profit to keep servers running. Whether they get that profit from a large number of initial sales (Guild Wars) and just bank it for the future to cover lower-than-usual upkeep costs, or whether they do a monthly sub, or whether they

I guess they could do a hybrid model where you pay, say, £5 per month for running costs, and then paid for content packs after that - it would, as you say, encourage Devs teams to keep releasing high quality content packs. Plus that £5 would act as a barrier of entry to those troublemaking freeloaders who just want to ruin games for everyone else. It would be even better if the MMO had a free client or at least a free trial that could be upgraded to the client by just paying that £5 per month, just to remove the cost of the client as a barrier to people trying the game. What would be even better was if a Dev studio had 3-4 content teams competing against each other to release content packs, because it would encourage competition to outdo themselves so that if one of them was slacking and putting out poor content they wouldn't make much profit (as their packs wouldn't sell) and they could be cut loose.

But there is one advantage that a subscription has over every other payment plan and it is something that especially appeals to me. Every month I know what the game will cost me - it makes budgeting really easy - it just goes out of my credit card account and I never have to faff around with in-game stores, or buying game credits, or weighing up purchasing decisions when I could be playing the game. I just hate running into things I can't access in a game and realising that I have to go into a store interface to unlock it - it destroys immersion and I feel like I'm being nickel-and-dimed every step of the way - it adds decisions that have very little to do with gameplay. Whether I'm paying less or more than a monthly sub I feel like I'm paying more cos I'm having to make payment decisions all the time and constantly weigh up whether things are value for money and whether I can justify paying for them. Subscriptions are just easy, and some of us are lucky enough to be above the poverty line and feel that £8-9 a month really doesn't even impact our monthly finances.

Sure, you can add up a year's worth of subscriptions and point to how horribly expensive it is, but for that year you've had access to everything in the game and chances are (in most MMOs) you can see most of the game in that year - now add up the cost of every single item in the cash shops of most F2P MMOs - I bet that's a big number too! - and what's this? A lot of them are consumables and have to be re-bought fairly often in order for the game not to become a horrible grind? Oh no!

I'll stick with my nice easy, cheap, subscription plans, and nice helpful community, thank you. I don't know how anyone can complain about £8 a month for an MMO when my basic TV package costs three times that per month, my internet connection costs four times that per month, and if I divide the cost of my PC itself over how long it lasts before needing replacing/upgrading that works out a lot mroe expensive too. But hey, if I ever find myself living hand-to-mouth and by some miracle can still afford to have a computer and an internet connection then maybe I'll swing around to your side of the argument.

Posted: Jun 19th 2010 6:00PM starka1 said

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Excellent points beginning to end Valdamar. It is not unfair since it falls under entertainment. You do not NEED to play DCUO to survive. It costs what it costs. This is not price gouging for food items. Simply play or do not play.

And if $15/month is a lot for you then your time is better spent hitting the books, learning a trade, etc than campaigning for a change to the pricing structure because you 'think' the business is being unfair.

I would like to say more but you have put it more succinctly than I ever could. Great job. With that quality of posting, I'm sure you will be a great asset to the official forums and the community.

Posted: Jun 20th 2010 11:34AM Valdamar said

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Firstly thanks for the acknowledgement, Stark1 ;)

Secondly I can see I'm not going to change your mind, Tempes, and that's fair enough - you're entitled to believe what you want to believe, just as I am.

I guess I'll even let you get away with the needless insults (I don't think I'm a lazy, gullible jerk or a moronic sheep :p ) since you later said you misread my post and thought my post was more reasonable than you did initially. Besides I have no desire to sink to that level - I only engaged in this discourse in the first place because I felt you had good points and we could have a reasonable discussion - I'm feeling slightly less sure of that now, but still you did make some counter-points worth engaging with, even though I disagree with the caustic manner in which you made those points.

I will say that I think we probably live in very different places and have very different views on "value for money". True, I have no idea where you live - I suspect it's the USA (the way you talk about being short $200 for a medical procedure makes me think USA - I'll never be short of any money for a medical procedure, because I don't have to pay for medical procedures as our health system is not built on medical insurance - it's covered by the state here, paid for out of taxes).

Assuming that, the last time I went to the USA I was amazed how cheap everything was - I guess if you are in the USA then MMO subs could seem expensive compared to everything else. Where I live (a relatively small island) houses are incredibly expensive and the cost of living is very high, so a lot of luxuries seem quite cheap in comparison - especially compared to the nearby UK who pay similar prices for luxuries, but whose house prices and average salaries are comparatively half what they are here. So I think we have very different frames of reference.

To answer one of your questions, my mobile phone is pre-paid, mainly because I don't use it enough to warrant being on contract-pay. I live on an island ten miles long and less than that wide, so if I need to speak to someone it's easy to do it face to face, and just use landlines or online messaging the rest of the time. I only have a mobile phone for occasional convenience (such as when my internet conn goes down) or for emergency use.

By comparison I do think pre-paid MMOs could work - in fact APB (releasing next quarter) uses a pre-paid sub, so maybe that will suit you better than subscription plans (or do you only want F2P? It's hard to tell at times). Personally, looking at what they're charging per minute, anyone playing that game a lot would get better value if they just did a normal sub - though admittedly I'm not sure APB is the kind of MMO you'd play a lot, as I think it will be quite lightweight - their pre-paid plan will probably suit the title - they probably designed it with that in mind.

I agree with you that Blizzard make far more money than they spend. They should certainly give away more free content than they do and yes their customer support should be better. But Blizzard aren't representative of every MMO publisher that is P2P - there are plenty of P2P MMOs that aren't reaping in huge profits and are just getting by - you can read annual reports to see that, for those that are public.

> "Go ahead and spend your money and watch as game companies can't compete with the monopoly you create out of one game."

I don't play WoW - played it for 6 months once as my friends wanted to play it, but not any more.

I don't want things not to change - I just prefer a plan that works for me, and you prefer a plan that works for you - if anything this is one strong case for MMOs having multiple payment plans so that everyone can pay what they can afford or go for whatever plan suits them best - maybe have some servers with F2P plus cash shop (possibly suits you), then have some P2P servers having the option of either paying a subscription plan (to suit me) or paying by the minute (to suit you).

> "Fact: Subscriptions are never cheap. They're a recurring bill that never goes away until you give up on the product so you lose either way."

Yeah but my point is that I usually give up on the product within six months anyway - but MMOs still last me a lot longer than single player games. I play MMOs because it makes a lot more financial sense than buying, say, a new console game every 1-2 weeks - especially when I can finish most console games in 20-30 hours. I can get 25 hours per week out of an MMO for far less money than spending that time playing console games. Ergo they make financial sense for me.

> "Now give me one good reason that paying $60 + $180 is cheaper than just paying $60?"

I'd counter that with how every F2P game I've ever played has been much lower quality, much less fun and much shallower in scope than every single triple-A P2P MMO I've ever played.

Sure, I could become homeless and live free at the homeless shelter and get free soup every day, but I'd rather pay for my nice apartment and eat steak a couple of times per week.

It just comes down to what you're willing to pay. £8 a month is negligible to me - I spend more than that on other luxuries that mean far less to me - obviously the $ equivalent of £8 a month means far more to you - you either have my commiserations for not making enough money to live well, or you have my envy that your equivalent quality of life is so much cheaper than mine in most respects that MMOs look like poor value for money to you.

Personally I prefer paying $240 (in your terms) a year for something I really enjoy and get immersed in, than spending $60 on something I'll be bored with a month later and then have to spend another $60 on something that probably won't keep me occupied for more than a further month. From my perspective it's not £30+£100 per year for a subscription MMO compared to £30 for a no-sub MMO, it's £30+£100 vs having to pay £360 over the course of a year for a new game every month - plus I'd rather have persistence of character for 6-12 months than a new newbie experience every month.

I won't tackle your last post because I think you've totally overlooked my point that an MMO company needs to build up capital to create their next title. MMO development costs so much these days that if the current title isn't profitable enough to bank some capital, there won't be any further titles and eventually that company will cease to exist.

Companies also need to have capital in the bank to cover all eventualities - you yourself acknowledge that people need to save money in case something unforeseen happens, yet you totally overlook the fact that companies need to do exactly the same thing! And their overheads are a lot higher than yours are! Also sometimes games fail even though they are playable - lots of people bemoan the loss of Tabula Rasa, yet NCSoft survived that game crashing and burning despite huge development costs - why? Because they had money put by so that the company could survive. If Tabula Rasa's failure had put NCSoft out of business then all the players of the Lineage games, City of Heroes, etc. would have lost their games too and Aion would never have been finished for release.

Also I've worked in company and trust administration for 20 years and I know there are other significant costs to running a business that I dare say you have no conception of.

Anyway I think our differing points of view are probably irreconcilable at this point. From your attitude I'm guessing you really hate satellite/cable TV subscriptions too and would rather have pay-per-view for every program you want to watch, so that you weren't paying a subscription for all those other TV shows that you don't have time to watch or don't want to watch. When you go on holiday do you hate paying for hire cars by the day as well, when you're not driving them for the whole day, and would you rather pay by the mile/kilometre in advance? In fact there are lots of luxury items and leisure activities that you pay a subscription for (sports/social clubs tend to work that way as well, with you paying to be a member even though you don't attend club events 24/7, which is probably quite relevant compared to the social element of MMOs), whereas a lot of fairly essential utilities get you to pay by the unit (electric, water, etc.). I guess there are lots more crusades out there for you to go on in your campaign for "fairness".

One thing maybe we can agree on, though, is that more MMOs need to offer multiple payment plans, so that every player can pick a plan that fits their means and needs. The player who doesn't play much and jumps around multiple MMOs can go F2P+cash-shop or on a metered pay-by-the-minute plan, while the players like me who focus on playing one MMO at a time for 20+ hours per week (and who don't want to be hassled with payment decisions except when first buying the game or when quitting) can pay a weekly/monthly sub if they prefer. What we need isn't one type of plan being phased out (as you seem to want subscriptions phased out) - we need more choice and then everyone wins.

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