Warhammer Online now has a “perpetual” free trial. It joins the ranks of Wizard 101, Free Realms (which is now almost just like WAR, albeit having arrived from a different direction), Guild Wars, DDO and Puzzle Pirates in the short list of games that I think are starting to understand the market. Of course, Guild Wars is still the frontrunner in the business model department, and Puzzle Pirates will likely remain the one I play most (it’s just so durn schedule friendly!), but this change by the WAR crew is exactly the tipping point that has me itching to download the game.
If it turns out well, I might even give them some money, like I did for W101 and Puzzle Pirates. In the immortal words of Daniel James of Puzzle Pirates fame:
Money can’t buy you love, but love can bring you money. In software the only sustainable way to earn money is by first creating love, and then hoping that some folks want to demonstrate that love with their dollars.
I want to like WAR. I’ve been digging into the tabletop game, and it’s fascinating. While there are some considerable differences, WAR looks interesting enough to take a look, and Public Quests look interesting as a mechanic. They have offered me (and many others) a gift by changing their business model this way. Time will tell if I love them enough to demonstrate it with dollars. The chance of that went up from 0% to at least 33%, and that has to count for something. Even marketers understand that math.
Of course, dearest Turbine and Blizzard, if either of you wanted to up the ante by offering me a lifetime sub to LOTRO or WoW for my birthday, I’d not turn you down. I’d even promise to take lots of pretty screenshots and write about what you are doing right in your games. (The records show that I’ve done plenty of complaining, so I can afford to balance it out.)
It is my birthday, after all, and turning up my nose at gifts would just be… improper.
Disclosure: I know, I know, some would say that WAR is dying and should be taken out back and dumped on the Tabula Rasa heap. Some might suggest I give money to someone more deserving. There are definitely (largish) grains of truth in those opinions.
WAR will never be my “main” MMO. Still, this is a Good Move for the business of MMOs, and hopefully a good one for WAR, and I want to let these people know that I approve. If they don’t read my blog (slackers!), maybe I can send them a birthday card with a nice $10 bill or something. Since, y’know, we’re supposed to vote with our wallet.
And, well… I’ve spent my fair share of money buying games that aren’t the biggest boys on the block, and that aren’t the greatest examples of game design. Yet… they are fun enough to warrant an expenditure on my part as a reward for a job well done. Call it my way of paying the tab after a decent, middle class night out to eat. It’s not The Ritz, but it’s not Carl’s Jr. I’m totally happy paying game devs for their work, I just want to do it on my terms. That will never be paying for a subscription.
Heck, I even gave Braid $5. If I can do that, I can lob some dollar love at the WAR guys. Well, that is if their gift really is a fun bit of work, not something I’m going to send along as a White Elephant to someone else in a week… and $10 is half of Torchlight or Machinarium…