A couple of thoughts on subs and F2P business and MMOs, today guest starring Tobold, Spinks and Raph Koster.
Tobold’s I Would be Happier with Free2Play
Spinks’ WoW Thought for the Day
Raph Koster’s F2P vs. Subs
…and yet, I have a 60-day time card that I’ve had for almost a year and a half and a handful of 30-day time codes from the WoW VISA card I use for big purchases and emergencies. I have the time codes (and one unscratched card), ready to use, already paid for, but the flubbernuggin’ time-limited monetization scheme still doesn’t feel like good value to me. I don’t want to use those codes since I have too much going on to devote sufficient time to playing to get good value out of them. Similarly, I have a Steam code for 30 days each of FFXI and RIFT, but I haven’t activated either of them. They are paid for, ready to go, but I hate the idea of locking myself into a monogamous game experience just so I can squeeze the most out of it as I can before the time stops ticking.
I hate gaming on the clock.
…and on the other hand, I’ll happily sink a little time into the newly F2P Star Trek Online every morning sending my Duty Officers off on missions and maybe run a story arc mission in the evening. The cost of activation is really low, so I go play when I feel like it. I’m considering spending $15 or so to get a new ship that I would then be able to use whenever I darn well please for as long as the servers are live. That’s value I’ll pay for. That’s how I approach Wizard 101, too; I bought Crowns to unlock areas that I’ll get to someday, and in the meantime, I’ll play when I feel like it. I’ve spent money on Puzzle Pirates for the same reason; I bought a ship that I can sail around and pirate with, but I don’t have to keep paying just to play on the occasions when I make the time for it. I’d readily pay for a single purchase SWTOR.
Would that translate to WoW? In my case, absolutely. I’d log in and do a few quests here and there, and toss them money to unlock a dungeon or the ability to make a Dwarf Druid or make my own guild comprised entirely of my own characters without the need to recruit other players or some sort of service that lets me bypass some of the extremely poorly paced crafting curve. I’m definitely not averse to giving Blizzard money, I just want to pay for things that offer me good value. WoW is still a fun game to play, even with all its warts and weirdness. As it stands, though, I can’t exactly send them a financial message about the parts that I care about, which is one of the weaknesses of the subscription model.
…I can, however, offer to sell my time codes. Anyone? Maybe trade for some titles on my Steam Wish List? Oh, and I still have some coupons and COGS and World of Goo if anyone wants them. Nobody took me up on the snowflake contest, so I’ll just throw them to the winds. (Another interesting take on value, perhaps…)