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Reader Comments (28)

Posted: Jan 31st 2011 5:55AM mysecretid said

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This just randomly occured to me:

Is the proliferation of free-to-play in MMORPGs an indication that players now expect a pay-to-play MMORPG game to be /exceptional/ in some way, and not simply good?

Are MMORPGs as they now exist, after the World of WarCraft phenomenon, /familiar/ enough to gamers -- both in what the games are, and in how they play -- that simply being a decent MMORPG is not enough to warrant a $15/month fee?

Pay-to-play has been the default, but much discussion on Massively has pointed out again and again that MMORPG gameplay has become increasingly similar, game to game, with publishers insisting developers "play it safe, and go for the familiar" when so much investment money is on the line.

As MMORPGs become more familiar -- and become less distinct from one another in terms of how they look, feel, and play -- have gamers decided on some level that an MMORPG isn't really worth a monthly fee unless it's exceptional, or otherwise carries an appeal beyond the ordinary?

It's just something I'm pondering. Thought I'd throw it out here, to see if anyone else had any thoughts on the matter.

Posted: Jan 31st 2011 10:16AM UnSub said

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@mysecretid This is true in many ways - the market leader has set its sub price at $15 a month and a number of competitors have tried to offer less for the same price. One easy way that newer MMOs launching today should have tried to differentiate themselves is by charging a lower sub fee. Instead, they focused on the set price of $15 and found that players didn't hang around.

Where things have moved to though is either F2P or a $15 sub fee, or the most part, and not much in between. A lot of people don't realise that customers don't view price in some kind of linear fashion, so that a sub fee of $10 might attract more than enough players to replace that extra $5 across the entire player base. However, I wonder how many companies have actually done that price modelling (I'm guessing very few to none) and instead take $15 "because WoW is doing it".
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Posted: Jan 31st 2011 1:14PM Sente said

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@mysecretid

I do not really expect subscription-only based games to be better than those who offer other payment options. They will have a harder time to convince people that it is worth the money, because they they are asking players to take a leap of faith - which becomes increasingly difficult in todays market. I see subscription-only games as games that either focuses on players that want to dedicate a lot of time to a single MMO, or that they have not adapted to reality of today but still linger in the time where there were only a handful MMO games on the market.

But none the Western MMOs that used to be subscription-only have given up on subscriptions; they still have them. And in many cases their idea is rather that people should start to subscribe once they get hooked, instead of offering a viable and full-fledged alternative to a subscription.

This seems to be the case with Champions unfortunately, which I hope they change.
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Posted: Feb 1st 2011 12:33AM mysecretid said

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@UnSub @Sente

Thanks for the analyses, folks. Happy to hear other people's take on the idea.

I notice both of you approached the idea more from the perspective of the publishers, which led to some worthwhile notions.

I'm still wondering, however, if there hasn't been a shift in the way the buying public views MMORPG pricing as well -- if only games the majority feel are "superior" or somehow "special" are deemed worthy of charging a $15/mo fee these days?

Cheers!
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Posted: Jan 31st 2011 11:50AM Luk said

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I have not been a big fan of Cryptic and CO for a while, but I after spending some time with F2P CO last weekend, I have come to the conclusion that this time they got it right, because I can see myself playing this game and actually enjoying it for what is is now. It is so much more like COH now and I like that.

The tutorial is still terrible and has not changed, but changes like new archetype system where you pick powers from a set and stick with it (not as many choices as in COH but still very useful selection), the lower level missions added to the Millennium City zone instead of sending new players into the wilderness, the ability to team up with others and actually willingness to do so. All of that is what made COH great in my books and seems that CO team has finally realized that as well.

So good job to Cryptic, and here is hoping that CO will continue to improve in the same direction as it is going now. Consider me sold on CO so far and I will play Silver some more, who know maybe there is enough here to get me to pay for it as well :)

Posted: Jan 31st 2011 7:40PM pixelmonkey said

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Having a really great time so far with their F2p - refreshing after my let down on the other superhero MMO I was playing and got bored of after 4 days. I do hope they make more Archetypes soon though - there are many aspects of the power system we as F2p players can't touch or experience yet - like gagets, or electrical...

Posted: Jan 31st 2011 9:25PM Superfan said

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CHAMPIONS is quite a poor game. It is awful in so many ways. It isn't even worth F2P as they have taken AWAY some of the original costume items they gave you when you initially bought the game. Just awful.

I was a long time player of City of Heroes. If you haven't played it before and want supers then CoH is the way to go. It has a ton of stuff in it. I left, mostly, due to the repetition but it took me a few years of seeing how the devs were not concerned about that before I left. They seem to have lost touch with the players and it's too bad. I'd play that game forever if it wasn't so repetitive. I'd head back there in a second if they started adding original content.

Posted: Feb 1st 2011 1:41AM Accualt said

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I see a LOT of people making comments about CO's f2p that just do not know what they are talking about.

If you have even the slightest interest in super heroes and MMOs do yourself a favor, ignore everyone's comments (negative or otherwise), and just download CO and give it a try so you can decide for yourself.

As far as f2p prices, though, everything is the same or cheaper than DDO (the only other f2p I've touched so I don't know how it stacks up to others)

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