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MMORPGs: The payment model of the future

245

Posts

  • -SPI--SPI- Registered User regular
    edited June 2010
    sidhaethe wrote: »
    -SPI- wrote: »
    Guild Wars 2 doesn't seem that outrageously different from other micro transaction games. From everything I've read they're going to partition off all the post release new content into "mini-expansions" and you'll have to pay for them all. That doesn't seem like a particularly revolutionary business model.

    Post-release content like The Burning Crusade, Wrath of the Lich King, Mines of Moria, etc? Because that's all I recall paying for in Guild Wars, except in 3 out of the 4 purchases I made I actually bought an entirely new storyline full of content. Only one of those purchases was an "expansion."

    I don't expect to get new content from GW or GW2 for free, just like any other game out there. But what ANet released for GW is considerably more than 1-2 quest chains of DLC, and I didn't have to pay a sub once I bought them.

    I don't think it's a revolutionary model at all, just not sure why it isn't used by anyone else.

    I would expect the full retail expansions to continue in the sequel, alongside "mini-expansions" bought online which would be the equivalent of content patches in a subscription MMO. Seems like a good system, since to keep the cash flow incoming they have to keep putting out content. Long gaps become detrimental to both the players and the team.

    8t2qhu8l050f.jpg
  • Eat it You Nasty Pig.Eat it You Nasty Pig. tell homeland security 'we are the bomb'Registered User regular
    edited June 2010
    sidhaethe wrote: »
    Dyscord wrote: »
    I would be tremendously surprised if guild wars' sequel winds up both being completely F2P, and lives up to the sort of open-world, content-progressive vision they seem to have. I didn't spend all that much time with the original guild wars, but that kind of game (primarily instanced small group play, no meaningful "open world") is a lot cheaper to support than something like WoW is.

    It's not that people who play subscription based games love giving someone fifteen bucks a month, it's that the kind of game that asks for a 15 dollar sub is pretty substantially different from something like the first guild wars (or tiger woods online or whatever other examples.)

    My tentative answer would be "ANet is crazy, knows something no one else does, or has been less than honest in their promotional material."

    A) Guild Wars 2 is purported to not be the kind of instanced gameplay that GW1 was, with only personal storyline and dungeons being instanced, and the rest of the world outside towns being open and persistent. We'll see, of course, but this is what the claim is.

    2) re: that's precisely what ANet claims is not the case; that their decision to not charge subs has nothing to do with GW the first's instanced gameplay.

    Where did we get the idea that it cost more to maintain an open world, anyway? Did anyone claim this, or is it one of those common sense things (I would come to that come to that conclusion too, fwiw, except that the developers of GW explicitly say that is not the case. Again, maybe they're crazy.)?

    I would think it's fairly common sense. If you run an instanced game like guild wars, you only need to have enough infrastructure to maintain however many instances you need at a given time. If you're WoW, a large portion of your infrastructure is committed all all times just keeping the persistent world in place, even if no one (or very few people) is really using large swaths of it.

    Instances are smaller and there are fewer people interacting in each one, which means you don't need as much capacity as you do for say, a raid on ogrimmar.

    gkcmatch_zps97480250.jpg
    remember pluto? Once a planet but now a pseudo
    funny how information changes the facts that you know
  • sidhaethesidhaethe Registered User regular
    edited June 2010
    Okay, fair enough, the consensus is that ANet's looney-tunes. I suspect in a year or so's time we'll be having this conversation again with more evidence to discuss.

    Edit: to be clear, I meant common sense in the "common sense" way that conventional wisdom is often neither.

  • UnluckyUnlucky Trouble? Registered User regular
    edited June 2010
    ANet might be crazy, but their model works. Not to mention pretty much everyone knows what Guild Wars is, if only because of the model it uses.

    God I love that game.

    Fantastic
  • Hockey JohnstonHockey Johnston Registered User
    edited June 2010
    I'm sure there's a large portion of consumers who just won't make a subscription to anything.

    Subs turn your MMO into an all-you-can-eat buffet, where you have to consume a lot to get your moneys worth. That's not how I play games. I'll play for a couple of nights and maybe not want to pick it up for another month. When I played DDO I bought 30$ worth of credits and played for 6 months or so. To me, that's a way better deal.

  • PoketpixiePoketpixie Registered User regular
    edited June 2010
    I like the idea of F2P games but then you get something like Allods where they've decided on harsh death penalties with a cash shop item to avoid said penalties. And then they go and deliberately tweak things to ensure you're going to die....a lot. Plus once you do all the math you could find yourself very easily spending more than $15 a month just to be able to play so I'm kinda wary of cash shop driven games.

    I really liked EvE's ability to farm cash in-game and trade that to people for time cards. They put a secure system in place to make the trades. I think that's absolutely brilliant.

    On the other end of the spectrum you've got WoW. Blizzard is going to have their cake(subscription fees) and eat it too(overpriced cash shop items). $10 for a vanity pet? I might pay half that, tops, and it would still be overpriced. Don't even get me started on what they charge for name changes, server transfers, etc. They don't even offer any kind of bulk rate for moving several characters at once. If WoW were F2P I could see them charging that much for all the cash shop items but it's not. Seems a bit much.

    The subscription fee is cheap enough although sometimes I feel like it's going to waste if I'm not playing.

  • EntaruEntaru Registered User regular
    edited June 2010
    $15 a month isn't a lot of money, I'll conceed that but the truth is if I'm enjoying a game I have a tendancy to spend a lot more then that on a cash shop for it.

    I'm not talking Allods level silly goosery here but more something like DDO. I think I played it all of 3 months before everyone went way past me and it wasn't fun anymore and I bought points twice.

    They got way more then $15 a month from me and I don't feel ripped off because, at any point, I still have that content waiting for me should I choose to go back.

    Mostly just huntin' monsters.
  • Silas BrownSilas Brown Registered User regular
    edited June 2010
    Cash shop-funded F2P games make me nervous. I'm always mentally balancing how much I'm willing to spend on what kind of items. I haven't played any one game of that type for long for just that reason. I have no doubt that such a thing can be done well, but I don't know if I could ever get past my biases.

    I much prefer subscriptions, though of course then I get that "all you can eat" effect that causes me to burn out.

    CmgpQ.jpg
  • videobobbovideobobbo Registered User regular
    edited June 2010
    I think a part of the Guild Wars model that is important to remember is that they released a ton of additional content in boxes with full retail prices. Over about 2.5 years, you could buy 3 different GW boxes, each of which was basically an isolated game. I haven't seen Arenanet's numbers, but I wonder how much of their maintenance is/was funded on an aggressive release schedule instead of fees.

    Not to say there probably wasn't a decent amount of money poured into making each game, but it seems like the timing between new GW games to buy has some impact on the model, especially since they are planning on putting that model on steroids for GW2 with new segments of content.

    On another note, since I haven't seen it mentioned, what about a newer model like what APB is launching with? Sure, they have the subscription option for people, but the idea of paying for a bucket of hours to play the actual content of the game is something relatively new for a North American MMO. At first I thought it seemed silly, but realizing how much time I spend in WoW, I am definitely warming up to the idea of not being chained to the monthly sub and thus being able to play casually with friends and still get my money's worth.

    steam_sig.png
  • Eat it You Nasty Pig.Eat it You Nasty Pig. tell homeland security 'we are the bomb'Registered User regular
    edited June 2010
    It's kind of hard for me to see how people can be paying the fifteen bucks a month for an MMO sub and not feel like they're getting their money's worth, unless they literally aren't playing the game.

    Even if you play your MMO for five hours a week, you're still paying less than a dollar an hour for entertainment, which is a pretty great deal compared to basically everything else.

    ed: like, how little do you have to play a game to get buying time to be more economical than having a subscription? I don't know how much, say, APB wants to charge for 100 hours, but man.

    gkcmatch_zps97480250.jpg
    remember pluto? Once a planet but now a pseudo
    funny how information changes the facts that you know
  • videobobbovideobobbo Registered User regular
    edited June 2010
    Dyscord wrote: »

    ed: like, how little do you have to play a game to get buying time to be more economical than having a subscription? I don't know how much, say, APB wants to charge for 100 hours, but man.

    That's what I'm sorta curious about APB for. It is unlimited for $9.99 a month, or hour based. You get 50 hours of "action district" in the box (I'm guessing that's the game part of the game) and you have the option to roll over so it bills $6.99 for a bank of 20 more hours to play. It's still a decent deal either way, it just depends on how much you see yourself playing. I'm going to play it with friends that play more console games and so don't really go for the MMO experience, so I'm not sure that the monthly sub works out ideally, when I can use the hours option instead. I see the value in the sub, but it's not about the value, it's about being cheap so I can play with friends without paying more than I need to.

    I'm probably overthinking it, because I don't know whether or not I'll go for the hours approach, but I like the idea of not paying for off months and not having to resume a subscription when going back. Without having played the game yet, I'm not sure if my opinion will remain that way :)

    steam_sig.png
  • AldoAldo Hippo Hooray the swamp, always the swampRegistered User regular
    edited June 2010
    Also in APB you can always dick around the social areas (making new clothing, chatting, showing off your latest creation...stuff like that). So it's not even like you're completely locked out of your character if you forgot to top up. Just means you can't play the actual game (shooting dudes).

    At least, that's what I read somewhere a while ago. It sounds like a sensible solution and if I was interested in playing shooters online I would consider getting in on it.

    Elendil wrote: »
    said Aldo hazily, before clop-clop-clopping out of the room
  • ArfortArfort Registered User
    edited June 2010
    The problem with F2P games is when you have to spend Magic The Gathering kind of cash to get anything. Those Facebook games are the worse. I did some maths not long ago and you could spend 500$ Castle Age treasure chests and still have significant chances of not getting the one general you want out of the alpha chests (the Orc King). Point is, I've got nothing against spending money on a game. But if the game expects you to spend hundreds, if not thousands, I'll just say no. Nanostar Siege or Alteil are other free games that works much the same. It's just ridiculous.

    Turbine took the F2P business model on a mostly positive spin. If you want you can buy yourself a lifetime DDO account for about 75$ when the quests are on sale. Less if you don't buy all the quests (don't buy necro 2). Then you have to spend 2-10$ when they add more content every couple of months. But they still sell +20% xp pots and other crap which are lame but I guess they had to put goods in for the subscriber that get 5$ worth of currency with their 15$ a month monthly fee.

    Moving forward I don't think it's P2P or F2P that will matter so much as Fair Price 2 Play. In 1998 when they justified a monthly fee for UO, they were saying that the monthly fee would also provide more content on top of the server maintenance. But then they mostly released new content in paid expansions. And then in future games that monthly fee went from 10$ per month to 13$ per month + 1$ per month for additional characters (FFXI). Then it seems it went to 15$ a month for every game I've heard off. But in the meantime, cost for bandwidth, processing power and data storage have gone down. Heck, for WoW in China they pay 5$ for 4000 minutes of play time (which doesn't expire until used) which lasts you a month if you play 15 hours a week. And that's still profitable.

    So in a capitalist society you'd think that competition would move in and offer competitive services for a reasonable price. That's what I think is going on with Turbine and hopefully GW2.

  • sidhaethesidhaethe Registered User regular
    edited June 2010
    Dyscord wrote: »
    It's kind of hard for me to see how people can be paying the fifteen bucks a month for an MMO sub and not feel like they're getting their money's worth, unless they literally aren't playing the game.

    Even if you play your MMO for five hours a week, you're still paying less than a dollar an hour for entertainment, which is a pretty great deal compared to basically everything else.

    ed: like, how little do you have to play a game to get buying time to be more economical than having a subscription? I don't know how much, say, APB wants to charge for 100 hours, but man.

    Here's an example: recently SOE started offering 3-day passports for $5 for EQ2, so you could play for 3 days straight in any given month for $5. I didn't take the offer, but if they had offered, say, 36 hours in a month for $5 I would probably have a continuous $5 subscription to EQ2.

    Then again, my current subscription plan is paying nothing to play GW, so, again, regardless of the value per subscription dollar - which I agree is very little per hour even if you're only playing a couple of hours a week - any other game has to compete with my current fee of zero, and I am playing multiple hours per day most days.

  • shrykeshryke Member of the Beast Registered User regular
    edited June 2010
    sidhaethe wrote: »
    Okay, fair enough, the consensus is that ANet's looney-tunes. I suspect in a year or so's time we'll be having this conversation again with more evidence to discuss.

    Edit: to be clear, I meant common sense in the "common sense" way that conventional wisdom is often neither.

    The GW2 model sounds like "Just like WoW without the subscription except we charge you for every content patch".

  • Just_Bri_ThanksJust_Bri_Thanks Seething with rage from a handbasket.Registered User, ClubPA regular
    edited June 2010
    Interestingly enough, charging a sub plus 10 bucks for content packs has proven successful. I can't picture this failing if they budget properly.

    Some days I just want to smack people with a rolled up newspaper. Or a phone book.
    A folding chair is looking like an attractive option right now too...
  • sidhaethesidhaethe Registered User regular
    edited June 2010
    shryke wrote: »
    sidhaethe wrote: »
    Okay, fair enough, the consensus is that ANet's looney-tunes. I suspect in a year or so's time we'll be having this conversation again with more evidence to discuss.

    Edit: to be clear, I meant common sense in the "common sense" way that conventional wisdom is often neither.

    The GW2 model sounds like "Just like WoW without the subscription except we charge you for every content patch".

    Please cite where they are going to be charging for "every content patch." I am genuinely curious where this is coming from, as that assertion has been made more than once in this thread.

    GW1 has only charged for 1 expansion and 3 standalone releases content-wise, and has been updating content for free on a pretty-much weekly basis since April, so I would be surprised if GW2 wouldn't even patch without charging for it.

    Edit: Okay, I have found this in the Wiki--
    Mike O'Brien has stated that expansions and/or mini-expansions are more likely than standalone campaigns, but a final decision has not been made yet.

    If that is what people are referring to, I'll admit to being puzzled. WoW charges for expansions, no? The bonus mission pack was all of $5 and had about that much content, and the final decision has not yet been made on the matter. How often does WoW add new quest/dungeons outside of paid expansions (I don't know, I've never played)? I'm... not seeing a negative light to put this under.

  • shrykeshryke Member of the Beast Registered User regular
    edited June 2010
    sidhaethe wrote: »
    shryke wrote: »
    sidhaethe wrote: »
    Okay, fair enough, the consensus is that ANet's looney-tunes. I suspect in a year or so's time we'll be having this conversation again with more evidence to discuss.

    Edit: to be clear, I meant common sense in the "common sense" way that conventional wisdom is often neither.

    The GW2 model sounds like "Just like WoW without the subscription except we charge you for every content patch".

    Please cite where they are going to be charging for "every content patch." I am genuinely curious where this is coming from, as that assertion has been made more than once in this thread.

    GW1 has only charged for 1 expansion and 3 standalone releases content-wise, and has been updating content for free on a pretty-much weekly basis since April, so I would be surprised if GW2 wouldn't even patch without charging for it.

    Edit: Okay, I have found this in the Wiki--
    Mike O'Brien has stated that expansions and/or mini-expansions are more likely than standalone campaigns, but a final decision has not been made yet.

    If that is what people are referring to, I'll admit to being puzzled. WoW charges for expansions, no? The bonus mission pack was all of $5 and had about that much content, and the final decision has not yet been made on the matter. How often does WoW add new quest/dungeons outside of paid expansions (I don't know, I've never played)? I'm... not seeing a negative light to put this under.

    They have talked mostly about charging for "expansions and mini-expansions" rather then having a subscription fee.

    Mini-expansion is another way of saying "Content Patch" (to use WoW's vernacular)
    sidhaethe wrote: »
    How often does WoW add new quest/dungeons outside of paid expansions (I don't know, I've never played)?

    For the most recent expansion, it's looking like 5 or so times.

    But that's not covering the differences in content between GW and WoW.

  • sidhaethesidhaethe Registered User regular
    edited June 2010
    shryke wrote: »
    Edit: Okay, I have found this in the Wiki--
    Mike O'Brien has stated that expansions and/or mini-expansions are more likely than standalone campaigns, but a final decision has not been made yet.

    If that is what people are referring to, I'll admit to being puzzled. WoW charges for expansions, no? The bonus mission pack was all of $5 and had about that much content, and the final decision has not yet been made on the matter. How often does WoW add new quest/dungeons outside of paid expansions (I don't know, I've never played)? I'm... not seeing a negative light to put this under.

    They have talked mostly about charging for "expansions and mini-expansions" rather then having a subscription fee.

    Mini-expansion is another way of saying "Content Patch" (to use WoW's vernacular)
    sidhaethe wrote: »
    How often does WoW add new quest/dungeons outside of paid expansions (I don't know, I've never played)?

    For the most recent expansion, it's looking like 5 or so times.

    But that's not covering the differences in content between GW and WoW.

    I have no real idea what constitutes a WoW patch (skimming the 3.1 patch notes it looks like a lot of class and mechanics balancing, along with a raid, and we get class/balancing updates in GW for free right now) or why it would be considered a mini-expansion in Guild Wars terms, since we've never gotten a mini-expansion for comparison's sake, so I'm just going to cease commenting on this.

  • shrykeshryke Member of the Beast Registered User regular
    edited June 2010
    sidhaethe wrote: »
    shryke wrote: »
    Edit: Okay, I have found this in the Wiki--
    Mike O'Brien has stated that expansions and/or mini-expansions are more likely than standalone campaigns, but a final decision has not been made yet.

    If that is what people are referring to, I'll admit to being puzzled. WoW charges for expansions, no? The bonus mission pack was all of $5 and had about that much content, and the final decision has not yet been made on the matter. How often does WoW add new quest/dungeons outside of paid expansions (I don't know, I've never played)? I'm... not seeing a negative light to put this under.

    They have talked mostly about charging for "expansions and mini-expansions" rather then having a subscription fee.

    Mini-expansion is another way of saying "Content Patch" (to use WoW's vernacular)
    sidhaethe wrote: »
    How often does WoW add new quest/dungeons outside of paid expansions (I don't know, I've never played)?

    For the most recent expansion, it's looking like 5 or so times.

    But that's not covering the differences in content between GW and WoW.

    I have no real idea what constitutes a WoW patch (skimming the 3.1 patch notes it looks like a lot of class and mechanics balancing, along with a raid, and we get class/balancing updates in GW for free right now) or why it would be considered a mini-expansion in Guild Wars terms, since we've never gotten a mini-expansion for comparison's sake, so I'm just going to cease commenting on this.

    For comparison, the last content patch delivered 1 Raid, 3 instances, a bunch of quests, a bunch of balance features and some new game features.

    That's what your subscription pays for, along with servers and such.

  • Commander 598Commander 598 Registered User
    edited June 2010
    shryke wrote: »
    That's what your subscription pays for, along with servers and such.

    You think they really need $15 a month from X million people just to do that? :lol:

  • Eat it You Nasty Pig.Eat it You Nasty Pig. tell homeland security 'we are the bomb'Registered User regular
    edited June 2010
    well, also to turn a profit

    gkcmatch_zps97480250.jpg
    remember pluto? Once a planet but now a pseudo
    funny how information changes the facts that you know
  • sidhaethesidhaethe Registered User regular
    edited June 2010
    shryke wrote: »
    For comparison, the last content patch delivered 1 Raid, 3 instances, a bunch of quests, a bunch of balance features and some new game features.

    That's what your subscription pays for, along with servers and such.

    Well, we're back into "ANet is crazy/lying" territory then, and we don't know what content these mini-expansions will have, or even if there will be mini-expansions as opposed to full-blown expansions. We can go around in circles on the subject until next spring, because neither of us knows for certain what it will be like. I take the devs at their word not because I believe them to be supremely honest, but because I'd rather not make up alternatives.

    However, even allowing for the as-yet fictional scenario that mini-expansions will exist and will consist of a few extra dungeons and events in GW2, and supposing they come out at a rate of roughly once per month and supposing they are priced at roughly $15 each (thus making them monetarily indistinguishable from a monthly sub), they are still preferable to a sub for someone like me because:

    * once I buy the mini-expansion, I own it for the life of the game, and
    * mini-expansions will never be mandatory content, therefore I can buy what I like and pass on what I like

    if I am playing WoW/EQ2/etc. and don't pay my $15 each month, I can't play any of it.

    Why denigrate paid content patches, then? Why would a sub be preferable in this case? Mind, I'm not talking about other microtransaction/cash shop issues. Just the question of, in a make-believe scenario where the dollar amount comes out roughly the same, why should, or would, I take a sub over "owning" the content outright?

  • MorkathMorkath Registered User regular
    edited June 2010
    Dyscord wrote: »
    well, also to turn a ridiculous profit

    You forgot a word.

    hobbessig.png
  • sidhaethesidhaethe Registered User regular
    edited June 2010
    Morkath wrote: »
    Dyscord wrote: »
    well, also to turn a ridiculous profit

    You forgot a word.

    QFT - and who could blame them? If anything I don't know why a company would leave money on the table by going F2P, given the popularity of subs in the West and the suspicion with which F2P games are regarded.

  • shrykeshryke Member of the Beast Registered User regular
    edited June 2010
    sidhaethe wrote: »
    shryke wrote: »
    For comparison, the last content patch delivered 1 Raid, 3 instances, a bunch of quests, a bunch of balance features and some new game features.

    That's what your subscription pays for, along with servers and such.

    Well, we're back into "ANet is crazy/lying" territory then, and we don't know what content these mini-expansions will have, or even if there will be mini-expansions as opposed to full-blown expansions. We can go around in circles on the subject until next spring, because neither of us knows for certain what it will be like. I take the devs at their word not because I believe them to be supremely honest, but because I'd rather not make up alternatives.

    However, even allowing for the as-yet fictional scenario that mini-expansions will exist and will consist of a few extra dungeons and events in GW2, and supposing they come out at a rate of roughly once per month and supposing they are priced at roughly $15 each (thus making them monetarily indistinguishable from a monthly sub), they are still preferable to a sub for someone like me because:

    * once I buy the mini-expansion, I own it for the life of the game, and
    * mini-expansions will never be mandatory content, therefore I can buy what I like and pass on what I like

    if I am playing WoW/EQ2/etc. and don't pay my $15 each month, I can't play any of it.

    Why denigrate paid content patches, then? Why would a sub be preferable in this case? Mind, I'm not talking about other microtransaction/cash shop issues. Just the question of, in a make-believe scenario where the dollar amount comes out roughly the same, why should, or would, I take a sub over "owning" the content outright?

    Because a subscription model funds a completely different type of game.

    GW is good and all if you like it, but it's model only works because of the type of game it is. It's low pop, heavily instanced and fairly static. Really, it's Diablo 2.5 with good PvP.

    Having played both games at the start and then playing WoW now and GW up to the newest expansion, the difference between WoW then and WoW now is exponentially larger then the difference between GW then and GW now.

    That subscription doesn't just pay for way more servers and the bigger, widder, more populous world it supports, it funds a consistent level of development and improvement to the game. Your subscription fee pays a team of people to work non-stop to maintain and improve your playing experience.

    GW's model does this as well, but the difference in results speak to which one does this more and better.
    shryke wrote: »
    That's what your subscription pays for, along with servers and such.

    You think they really need $15 a month from X million people just to do that? :lol:

    No, there's obviously a profit margin in there somewhere. But don't act like alot of that money isn't needed.

    WoW's profit margin is, at it's highest, in the 50% range. Without knowing whether this is before or after reinvestment in WoW development (I'm assuming any profit numbers would have to be after server maintenance and GM salaries and such) and what percentage of income comes from subscriptions vs box sales, it's hard to estimate how much they would need to charge to break even. But it's pretty much guarenteed to be more then $0/month.

    And why begrudge their ability to turn a profit on a quality profit? It's not like it doesn't just go back into the company to make even more great game.

  • sidhaethesidhaethe Registered User regular
    edited June 2010
    shryke wrote: »
    Because a subscription model funds a completely different type of game.

    GW is good and all if you like it, but it's model only works because of the type of game it is. It's low pop, heavily instanced and fairly static. Really, it's Diablo 2.5 with good PvP.

    Having played both games at the start and then playing WoW now and GW up to the newest expansion, the difference between WoW then and WoW now is exponentially larger then the difference between GW then and GW now.

    That subscription doesn't just pay for way more servers and the bigger, widder, more populous world it supports, it funds a consistent level of development and improvement to the game. Your subscription fee pays a team of people to work non-stop to maintain and improve your playing experience.

    In short, ANet is delusional or lying when they say that this is explicitly not why they don't charge a sub (edit: and will continue not to charge a sub for GW2, even though GW2 will be WoW-like in lack of instancing, dynamic environments, and server structure).

  • shrykeshryke Member of the Beast Registered User regular
    edited June 2010
    sidhaethe wrote: »
    shryke wrote: »
    Because a subscription model funds a completely different type of game.

    GW is good and all if you like it, but it's model only works because of the type of game it is. It's low pop, heavily instanced and fairly static. Really, it's Diablo 2.5 with good PvP.

    Having played both games at the start and then playing WoW now and GW up to the newest expansion, the difference between WoW then and WoW now is exponentially larger then the difference between GW then and GW now.

    That subscription doesn't just pay for way more servers and the bigger, widder, more populous world it supports, it funds a consistent level of development and improvement to the game. Your subscription fee pays a team of people to work non-stop to maintain and improve your playing experience.

    In short, ANet is delusional or lying when they say that this is explicitly not why they don't charge a sub.

    Depends on what they plan to offer.

    It'd be accurate to say "I expect less then if they'd charged a subscription.".

    I've yet to see a non-subscription based model provide the same kind of development for an MMO that a subscription based model does.

    Maybe ANet thinks they can do it. Personally, from my experience with GW, I think it's more likely that they are simply planning to do less with their less money. Nothing wrong with that, it just is what it is.

  • MyDcmbrMyDcmbr Registered User regular
    edited June 2010
    It costs Blizzard $136,986 per day to keep the servers up. Basically the sub fees of 279,972 just to cover running the servers per month. Of course if you believe the sub number of 11,500,000 that Blizzard puts out, then they are taking in $172,500,000/month. Since a lot of that is in Asia where they pay by the hour, plus exchange rates, lets just use the $800,000,000 a year they get from NA and EU (rounded up).

    $67,000,000 - $4,109,580 = $62,890,420

    Figure that they still have 150 devs on staff, I have no idea what a dev for Blizzard makes so let's round it out to $75,000/year that would be $937,500/month.

    $62,890,420 - $937,500 = $61,952,920

    So now let's say they spend another $10,000,000/month on CSRs, GMs, billing, etc etc.

    $61,952,920 - $10,000,000 = $51,952,920

    $52million is certainly not a bad monthly take. :shock:

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  • sidhaethesidhaethe Registered User regular
    edited June 2010
    shryke wrote: »
    I've yet to see a non-subscription based model provide the same kind of development for an MMO that a subscription based model does.

    Maybe ANet thinks they can do it. Personally, from my experience with GW, I think it's more likely that they are simply planning to do less with their less money. Nothing wrong with that, it just is what it is.

    But that's just it - you can't judge from your experience with GW because the world is going to be set up differently in GW2. GW players' heads are exploding right now because we cannot even conceive of how different GW2 is going to be than GW due to the information we've gotten so far. At any rate, no point in my continuing to bring it up until the playable demo hits in August, but I think it's likely that you will be surprised. (Edit: sorry, I meant to urge you to look at the design manifesto and worldview/dynamic events described in GW2, and edited it out with the intent to rephrase it, and then forgot to put it back in. My bad. Anyway, the world is going to be huge, not at all dwarfed by WoW, so it's difficult to argue that they are doing less with less money)

    @MyDcmbr: that's a hell of a lot of money to leave on the table.

    Edit: I meant to add: DDO tripled the number of subscriptions it had after going F2P. Tripled! Not triple the players, or triple the cash-shop users, triple the subscriptions.

  • Bobkins FlymoBobkins Flymo FF69B4 Registered User, Moderator mod
    edited June 2010
    The problem I have with the optional pay models is that they rarely balance out to a subscription. You're either paying too much or simply not getting a well-crafted game.

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  • ironzergironzerg Registered User regular
    edited June 2010
    I'm of the mindset that you pay what you get for.

    Games that are F2P are ultimately going to be inferior, more niche or serve a more transient customer than something that is a pure subscription.

    Games centered on micro-transactions are inevitably going to serve a more niche customer, as I think the difficulty centers are constantly trying to squeeze money out of your customer.

    In a subscription based game, you have to convince the person once to start paying a subscription, and then maybe once a month to continue to renew that subscription. With micro-transactions, you're constantly bombarding your customers with a proverbial upsell. Eventually, this will lead to bigger and bigger gaps between those who buy into the upsell and those who don't.

    A silly example: Want to travel in style? Buy a horse for $5. Want to look different? Buy horse armor for $2. Want to look really different? Buy the fancy horese armor for $3.

    At what point does a person say, "No thanks, I'm good with my plain ol' horse with the cosmetic armor"? Then what do you do? You have to offer even bigger enticements to get the person to keep buying micro-upgrades.

    Want to keep your horse alive longer, buy the fancy horse armor that has horsey damage reduction for $5. Want your horse to run faster? Buy the super feed horse booster for $4. Want to run really fast? Buy the super-duper horse feed for $5.

    At a certain level, the micro-transaction model becomes a de facto subscription with a potentially unlimited ceiling, as you'll inevitably be bombarded with various "must have" items to the point where "must have" isn't a marketing slogan anymore, it's the reality of playing X game.

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  • AldoAldo Hippo Hooray the swamp, always the swampRegistered User regular
    edited June 2010
    Actually, most items are only active for x days or have x charges. In Rohan Online you can buy a horse for a week, after that you'll have to buy it again if you like. Hell, I've played games (Project Powder for example) where even your gear evaporates after a few days and you'll have to buy it again. Then there's the inevitable XP potions that are only active for a few hours before you have to quaff a new one.

    I think that LOTRO and DDO aren't going to sell horses and stuff as much as they are going to sell actual content. In DDO you buy a new dungeon to dick around in. It's like how you can play WoW just fine with just the vanilla game installed, you only have to buy the expansions if you want to move on to new content.

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  • ironzergironzerg Registered User regular
    edited June 2010
    Aldo wrote: »
    Actually, most items are only active for x days or have x charges. In Rohan Online you can buy a horse for a week, after that you'll have to buy it again if you like. Hell, I've played games (Project Powder for example) where even your gear evaporates after a few days and you'll have to buy it again. Then there's the inevitable XP potions that are only active for a few hours before you have to quaff a new one.

    Which is essentially the same thing as monthly fee.

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  • AldoAldo Hippo Hooray the swamp, always the swampRegistered User regular
    edited June 2010
    ironzerg wrote: »
    Aldo wrote: »
    Actually, most items are only active for x days or have x charges. In Rohan Online you can buy a horse for a week, after that you'll have to buy it again if you like. Hell, I've played games (Project Powder for example) where even your gear evaporates after a few days and you'll have to buy it again. Then there's the inevitable XP potions that are only active for a few hours before you have to quaff a new one.

    Which is essentially the same thing as monthly fee.

    There's gradations. Project Powder was pretty terrible, but I could still play the free game with no gear on and had fun and I still kicked the ass of a number of decked out players. Rohan is pretty all right with the horses: I don't need a horse to play the game, it just makes travelling a bit faster. I never bothered with the cash shop in either one of them and it is entirely possible to enjoy the game without spending money on it. I can't say that of any subscription-based games. (not counting free trials)

    In the end free MMOs are for-profit. You can download and play the game for free, but of course they're going to try and get money out of you in some other way. I prefer games that do this in a classy way, I have been flinging mud at Allods, Atlantica and Sword of the New World for their cash schemes, but I can't blame them for trying to make profit.

    Elendil wrote: »
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  • ironzergironzerg Registered User regular
    edited June 2010
    Here's a question.

    What's wrong with the subscription based model?

    When you look at the market share break down, subscription based MMOs make up a vast majority of the market share, with WoW being over 60% of that.

    And I question this, because so far in this thread, the only mention of games using alternate methods are either a percent or two share (and shrinking), or so obscure that 99% of people have never even heard of them.

    I would follow that up by asking, from a development stand point, do I want to make a potentially huge investment in a potential game that targets a group who is so price sensitive that a monthly fee turns them off all together?

    When the industry standard is $15 a month, and you have literally millions of people paying that, versus a market 1% that size who won't, isn't it common sense to focus on the larger pool of people and design a game who's selling points are the game, and not the pricing model?

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  • AldoAldo Hippo Hooray the swamp, always the swampRegistered User regular
    edited June 2010
    ironzerg wrote: »
    Here's a question.

    What's wrong with the subscription based model?

    When you look at the market share break down, subscription based MMOs make up a vast majority of the market share, with WoW being over 60% of that.

    And I question this, because so far in this thread, the only mention of games using alternate methods are either a percent or two share (and shrinking), or so obscure that 99% of people have never even heard of them.

    I would follow that up by asking, from a development stand point, do I want to make a potentially huge investment in a potential game that targets a group who is so price sensitive that a monthly fee turns them off all together?

    When the industry standard is $15 a month, and you have literally millions of people paying that, versus a market 1% that size who won't, isn't it common sense to focus on the larger pool of people and design a game who's selling points are the game, and not the pricing model?

    There is absolutely nothing wrong with a subscription based model. It's a tried and true concept that has been successful for over a decade. That does not mean there is no room for other models and innovative new ideas. Just like any other market new, new business ideas can lead to an overall improvement of quality in the whole market.

    Free MMOs are not obscure, don't tell me you've never heard of Maple Story or Runescape!

    Also, you're pulling numbers out of your ass, research on MMOGs shows that F2P actually holds a bigger marketshare than P2P. You can look it up here if you're inclined: http://mmogdata.voig.com/

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  • ironzergironzerg Registered User regular
    edited June 2010
    So your argument is that "Free" is the wave of the future?

    From a business standpoint, do we even need to consider "Free"? How do you even measure the value of a customer if something is "free"?

    EDIT: Let me clarifying. When we're looking at that 50% F2P breakdown, how many of those games have any cost at all? If you can partake in a game at zero cost, including not even paying for the client, I think those games are irrelevant to this discussion.

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  • AldoAldo Hippo Hooray the swamp, always the swampRegistered User regular
    edited June 2010
    ironzerg wrote: »
    So your argument is that "Free" is the wave of the future?

    From a business standpoint, do we even need to consider "Free"? How do you even measure the value of a customer if something is "free"?

    EDIT: Let me clarifying. When we're looking at that 50% F2P breakdown, how many of those games have any cost at all? If you can partake in a game at zero cost, including not even paying for the client, I think those games are irrelevant to this discussion.
    It's a wave already. Cash shops and DLC are immensely popular, it has been proven that people do not mind paying a little for a little extra, even if it is superfluous stuff like a vanity pet.

    And it's "free" only in marketing terms, these games are making profit and there is often a pretty big hook to get people to spend money on the game. I don't know how you measure the value of a customer anyway, I guess you go by how much they spend in the cash shop.

    Elendil wrote: »
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  • ironzergironzerg Registered User regular
    edited June 2010
    Aldo wrote: »
    It's a wave already. Cash shops and DLC are immensely popular, it has been proven that people do not mind paying a little for a little extra, even if it is superfluous stuff like a vanity pet.

    If you're exchanging cash for something, then it's not free.

    Which is why I asked for clarification.

    If F2P simply means you don't pay a monthly fee, but there's other components of the game that require cash payments, then I would not define that model as F2P.

    And it goes back to my original argument. Are we judging the quality of the game based on the pricing model, or the game itself? I would argue that if a key selling point of the game is the pricing model, then the game lacks an inherent quality capable of making it a long term success, both in terms of profitability and customer sustainability.

    In other words, WoW has 10 million active accounts because its a tremendous game with wide appeal. Any game that doesn't match WoW in terms of quality and apparel, regardless of its pricing model, simply has no chance at meeting or exceeding WoW's level of success, in both dollars and players.

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