I have a minor confession to make. I finally broke down and gave real money to another MMO game. It’s only the third one that I’ve ever felt like giving cash to. As of… five minutes ago, Wizard101 joins the esteemed company of Puzzle Pirates and Guild Wars in my household.
It’s really all their fault. They hooked me with great and unique gameplay (not unlike how Atlantica Online got me involved, despite the two being very different) and an extended free trial. Actually, they snagged me in their open beta, but I never did have the time to spend then to see the areas that were later locked down under a subscription model.
Yup, they started with, and still have, a subscription model. So, wait, I loathe subscriptions. How did they get my cash? I bought Crowns. Crowns in W101 can be spent on unique items (often disparagingly called RMT items). At least, that’s about all they were good for at launch. I’ve been reading Saylah and Capn’ John for a while now, and Tipa here and there, so I figured I’d pop in and see what has happened with the game lately.
Ah, what difference a couple of months makes. The geniuses at W101 are now selling “Access Passes” to unlock areas in the game. These cost a set number of Crowns (again, purchased with cash), effectively unlocking content for your account.
See the sneakery? They are selling both subscriptions and content! They are making the best of both worlds, catering to those who get the most out of subscriptions (WoW refugees), and those who would rather buy content to consume at their leisure (GW nuts like me).
The only thing that would make their monetization strategy perfect would be a blind auction currency exchange like the Puzzle Pirates Doubloon/PoE exchange. Still, since the W101 crew are now selling content rather than time, I finally cracked open my rusty wallet.
I’ve always thought the game was good, ever since tinkering in the beta days. Now, I feel the business model is sufficiently caught up that I want to support them. Perhaps that’s selfish or egocentric, but y’know, it’s my name on the credit card.
A hearty round of applause for Wizard 101 and may their business thrive! They deserve it.