Tag Archives: Payment Model

“Convenience, not advantage” – still the LotRO Freemium-model?

When Turbine changed its subscription model to “free to play” (I like calling it “freemium” to differentiate it from the usual “f2p” models which only have item shops but no way to pay a subscription) players were worried about the kind of items we would see in their shop. Patience, back then Community Manager at Turbine, reassured us that the shop would offer “convenience, not advantage”. That was on June 5, 2010. When you’re now searching for that thread in the official forums, you will not find anything. It seems this thread was deleted (or “moved”, I think. If I remember correctly, Turbine doesn’t delete threads but instead moves them to an area that’s not publicly accessible).

Fortunately, Google Cache helps us out here: Convenience, not advantage.

With Update 3 came six new relics. Three of them can be “produced” in-game (by “melding” which can be done by every high level player). Three other relics are shop-exclusive. One of those relics is arguably one of the best for tanks. Of course, just buying this relic isn’t enough. You can’t get it out of the weapon once it’s in there. So if you ever want to switch your weapon, you’d either have to buy the relic again or buy the relic-removal scroll from their shop in order to remove said relic. Clever, eh? ;) Players are not too happy about that. Of course, you can argue whether you really need to buy this relic or not. The same goes for weapons, though! You don’t need to buy the better weapon from an item shop in f2p-game XYZ. You can just play with a weaker weapon. No problem, right? But when it was promised to the player community that there wouldn’t be an “advantage” in the shop and then they add something which is an advantage… well, not nice.

The inofficial EU LotRO community talks about it as well. – By the way, the community also always welcomes US LotRO players, of course! Critical comments on LotRO and Turbine won’t be deleted there either. ;) Well, unless they’re flaming or trolling. But common sense should tell you that. ^^

Edit on January 21, 2012: I just saw that this posting was linked to in Justin’s recent “Road to Mordor” on Massively. :) Unfortunately, I realised that I hadn’t actually put up the screenshot from Patience here. I thought I had. There’s only the link to Google’s Cache up there and it’s not valid anymore. Valandir sent me the screenshot in its original size which you can see on the left now.

Why should I buy Guild Wars 2?

Apart from my general enthusiasm about the content that has been announced so far, my main argument about why somebody should be interested in Guild Wars 2 keeps being, simple and mundande: the payment model. I don’t get tired from pointing out that the costs, as long as the game doesn’t turn out to have some major (game) flaws, will make buying this game a “no-brainer”. Guild Wars 2 will keep – as announced – the buy-to-play payment model that they’ve previously established with Guild Wars (official GW2 FAQ – see question #4).

To my mind, if you’re somebody who at least sometimes enjoys the occasional computer game, there’s no reason not to get this title to play it parallel to your favourite MMORPG or as an extra alternative, because there are no recurring costs as is the case with a monthly fee.

One might like to argue that those monthly fees for a pay-to-play MMORPG aren’t too bad. Especially compared to a weekend full of parties and beer or even just going to the movies or playing an offline game whose entertainment value is calculated in hours, this might be true. On the other hand, only a fraction of potentially interested customers are probably paying for three or even more subs.

Most players will – depending on their time and how they spend their money – have to decide how many different games or – even more important for me – which games they want to play. Because of their payment model, ArenaNet doesn’t participate in the usual fight over subscription numbers and rids their players of those decisions.

At least I find myself often enough in the position where I have to decide in advance which MMO I want to play in my free time and which is worth paying the monthly fee for at a given time. Especially, if it’s maybe just a little bit of nostalgia that’d bring me back into a game or a single event, ingame friends, etc. who’d want to see me in a game for an evening or two.

Sounds too good to be true? Possibly…
I am well aware that this payment model, just like others, will not be received positively by everybody and there are different and good reasons for being skeptical. Hence, I’ll have a look at different payment models and their potential advantages and disadvantages in my next posting. Also because of my personal interest in ArenaNet and NCSoft. :)

German version

Edit: If that topic interests you there is a new article at “Massively” about it.