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Reader Comments (156)

Posted: Feb 5th 2011 8:11PM Weiji said

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@Tempes Magus So tell me about these highly successful F2P games? Guild Wars? DDO? Free Realm? LotRO? EQ2 Extended? Dungeon Runners? Runes of Magic? Need I go on?

These are all very lackluster games. They lack proper income to release high quality content. Most game companies go the F2P route (which is hardly free) to stay afloat.

So keep playing boring copypasta F2P games with no innovation. I'll spend $15 for a game that has active devs releasing patches with content.
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Posted: Jan 25th 2011 9:54AM ChongShin said

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No, the DC universe is preventing from playing DC universe online.

...and SOE.

Posted: Jan 25th 2011 1:22PM SolidStrider said

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Agreed, $15/month is a great deal for entertainment. _If_ I like the entertainment, so a free Trial would help me decide.

I would just _PREFER_ a series of fixed costs like Guild Wars's model.

If they would get more aggressive with providing similar quantity and quality of new content like Factions and Nightfall at a faster rate than yearly, they could net a lot of customers money.

Posted: Jan 25th 2011 1:38PM Terphin said

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Some of the suggestions regarding alternative payment models seem short sighted and lacking of new thought or understanding of architecture limitations.

Granted the Guild Wars model works in the environment of non persistent worlds and heavy instancing. Because the server strain has been lightened and utilises the benefits of the clients processing capability. However that particular model limits gameplay experience for those who seek events on a larger scale and a more persistent / seamless world.

Keep in mind if the Guild Wars money model was that bullet proof, Ncsoft would be deploying across all it's titles. As surely if it was that flawless why not..

The reason why it would also be difficult to implement a "buy it once" or a "pay for what you play" licence to large open persistent worlds is to do with predictable income. Predictable income allows to generate a steady stream of revenue and allow for a more controlled plan for reinvestment in IP/technology/support. It also allows a closer correlation between server capacity planning / hosting requirements.

However where most will just condemn this method as "evil" and criminal, what it actually truly lacks is transparency. Because the revolutionary way to approach this is basing your sub fee on critical mass required per node with a fixed margin on top.

The basic logic is like this, the lower the node / player efficiency the higher the sub fee up to an agreed maximum, however the higher the node / player efficiency the lower the sub fee, potentially to an agreed minimum.

2 Examples

For an established MMO such as WoW they would have already optimized their servers for efficient performance, this mean they will typically run at a 70%-80% threshold with 10%-15% comfortable headroom, any lower and you are essentially wasting money on power and cooling in the DC. They will also have a server population distribution that will mean most servers will be at high capacity.

Because of this efficiency their true $ per player running costs will be quite low, then add a generic margin level ontop and you will get a new sub fee.

However a new launch will still need to see how many servers they will require for demand, and also will over time have to optimise the platform accordingly to maximise server utilization. Therefore at the launch it will typically have a higher fee of the classic $15. However over time let's say 6 months based on player base stabilising, either decreasing physical servers or increasing due to demand the price will ramp down as higher efficiency is reached.

Therefore you actually have a much clearer view of what you are paying for, as I am sure many will actually support a MMO they like at the beginning of its launch. If not you can sit on the side-lines until it either dies or reaches critical mass and then join at a better price.



Also regarding the arguments some use of paying for a month but not playing all 720 hours of a 30 day week, is a weak argument because you enter the same type of contract when renting property. You don't pay monthly rent and then deduct the time you were at a job or on holiday. Surprised nobody has seen that connection yet?

Posted: Jan 25th 2011 1:39PM Terphin said

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@Terphin

bah I meant 720 hours of a 30 day month...
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Posted: Jan 25th 2011 2:51PM Valdamar said

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Partly, I guess.

Chris Cao said they designed DCUO to give players 5-7 hours of enjoyment per month on an ongoing basis, and I really need to get 80-100 hours enjoyment out of an MMO per month (20-25 hours per week) to even contemplate playing it - that's regardless of getting into any vague discussions of value for money.

With DLCs and cheap indie games I'm usually happy to spend £1 per 2-3 hours of entertainment, going to the cinema is £10 for 2 hours entertainment or about half that if I rent/buy the DVD, while novels are usually £5 for 10-30 hours of entertainment - so at £10 per month for 80-100 hours of enjoyment I consider most sub MMOs to be an absolute bargain.

Compared to that DCUO would definitely fall short of being "value for money", if Chris Cao is to be believed - even though personally I think I could get 20-25 hours per week out of DCUO, but not for more than a month or so. Chris Cao makes DCUO sound as lightweight as... well, as lightweight as it actually is (I played beta). The world must have turned upside down because it's almost like SOE doesn't want to just grab your money up front anymore and just stiff you later - now they warn you in advance! Sure, if they can add 5-7 hours content per month that will be something - it would mean I could subscribe to DCUO for 1 month in every 18 months and probably find enough to do to get my usual MMO value out of it :p

Then there's the fact I've got 80-100 hours per month out of Guild Wars for the past 3 months after only spending £15 on the box (for all 4 campaigns), with no sub fee and just a few microtransactions to increase my bank space - with enough content in it that I'll probably still be playing it in 6 months time (only just finished one campaign and made a start on two more). DCUO really does look a bit lightweight for the sub fee compared to GW with no sub fee.

But what puts me off DCUO far far more than the sub fee is the boring and vaguely-controlled button-spamming combat gameplay, the lack of content, the fact the entire UI and most of the gameplay was designed with the PS3 in mind (and the PC a distant second - they might as well have released the PS3 version and said the PC version was a port) - and then there's the fact they basically force every hero to be a melee combatant first and foremost (even Bow-users), with weak ranged ability and up to 6 powers chucked in to add a bit of variety. It works fine if you want to make a copycat of pretty much any member of the Bat-Family (just take a suitable weapon set and add Gadgets and Acrobatics), but it doesn't work so well if you dreamed of playing a metahuman that fought by firing fire/ice/whatever from their hands (Fire and Ice are actually labelled defensive powers - I kid you not).

So no, it's not really the sub fee preventing me from playing (and paying for) DCUO - I have far too many other reasons not to play it. Though I hope DCUO will still be around in 3 years time - with SOEs track record for sledgehammer gameplay changes, and 36 months worth of added content on top (if SOE and Cao keep their promises), in 3 years time I might find DCUO fun and have enough content there to keep me occupied for a few months worth of subscription fees.

Posted: Jan 25th 2011 11:11PM mysecretid said

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No, it's actually the lack of mission content I saw in the DCUO beta.

Yes, the PvP is fun, but the story-driven PvE content was thinner than I'd like.

The final straw, for me, occurred when my characters basically tapped out on PvE content around level 14, and I was told on the forums that I'd have to fill in levels the best I could until around level 20, when new story-missions for my origin-type would start to be offered again.

I know the DCUO devs are promising monthly content updates; I plan to check back with DCUO in a few months to see if there actually is more content in the game.

Posted: Jan 26th 2011 2:15AM claytondora said

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Yes, I would be playing DCUO right now if there was no subscription fee. I'd gladly pay for the box/download, but sub fees kind of irk me, especially with very little disposable income to go around.

Posted: Jan 26th 2011 6:40PM Sorithal said

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No, I'm just not that huge of a fan when it comes to DC.

The monthly fee does keep me from checking it out though.

Posted: Jan 27th 2011 2:23AM smg77 said

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The fact that it's a SOE game is what is preventing me from playing DCUO. Wouldn't matter if it was f2p or whatever...I'm not going to get NGE'd again.

Posted: Jan 27th 2011 6:42PM Norvak said

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I will never buy a game without a free trial.

Posted: Jan 28th 2011 5:34PM pixelmonkey said

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For me yes... the lack of content in the game definately made me unsub... it should be a F2p game with a cash shop - or they need to magically double the content (and add in more game mechanics besides simplified boss fights and pvp). Sony can save this game but it's going to take some work.

Posted: Jan 29th 2011 2:20AM bleyzwun said

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I'm really having fun at the moment, so the monthly fee doesn't bother me. We'll see how I feel about it in a month or 2. I remember rumors of it being B2P and was hoping for that to happen.

Posted: Jan 29th 2011 2:42AM Lemure said

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Not at all, just waiting for something else like swtor.

Posted: Jan 31st 2011 8:28AM Silverangel said

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It's actually the up front fee to buy the game that is keeping me from playing. Ultimately it's a console game, and no console game is worth paying $60. It's no wonder developers are so driven to make console hybrids with such profit attached. $30 is my price point. If it was a full-featured and slick PC MMO like Rift, I might go $50.

Posted: Feb 1st 2011 10:27AM PaterFrog said

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For me it's that I couldn't give it a try without paying a penny. I might check it out if I had to pay the first month only, the game itself if I want to keep playing after that.

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