Like people that wear Abercrombie & Fitch all the “cool” MMO’s are going FTP or BTP because, well, it’s the “cool” thing to do right? “MMOers just aren’t willing to pay a monthly sub anymore” right? Wrong, let me correct that statement, MMOers aren’t willing to pay a monthly sub for hot garbage. They are more than happy to pay a sub for a quality game. If you want subs again, make a game that has some calzones, that does something, that evolves this stagnant genre. BAM easy peasy, problem and solution, blog done... it’s never that easy is it?
I think CU can offer us something “new and innovative” in terms of throwing our money at CSE, but before we get to new age solutions, lets take a long hard look in the vision pool at a few of the “cool” current models.
RIFT is going FTP despite saying they never would, SWTOR went from SUB to FTP in less than 15 parsecs, GW2 was always banking on BTP, EVE is, well, doing whatever it is EVE wants to do because EVE marches to it’s own techno beat, WOW is SUB but hemorrhaging players like Lauzon in his fight against Miller (J-Lau is a beast btw /respect) and here comes brave little CU. The little MMO that could, still clinging to the “clearly outdated” ideals of the past with a subscription model. Can’t MJ see the writing on the scroll? The era of a sub based game has come and gone, even WOW can’t maintain subs! Surly CU has no chance! Who does this “MJ” think he is talking jive about the FTP model like he did! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-Iw0-U9OknI
I’m not a genius, or smart either, but I think I kinda sorta grasp how the FTP mini game works. You go FTP, 90% of your players never spend a dime, 8% spend a bit on things like bank slots (FYI I think limiting storage is the single most BS way to force people to spend, how about we just pay to be able to loot, and walk, and jump too?), and the remaining 2% buy every single thing in your cash shop. The problem is the % of people paying is very small right? So with each new FTP MMO taking a tiny percent of that tiny percent that pie starts to get stretched thinner than Nick Cage’s hair.
Eventually the mass of FTP titles will spread things so thin that they won’t make enough money to afford being free, at least thats the way I see it, please (I mean this), correct me if I am wrong.
FTP is how sub MMOs “jump the shark”. For MOST MMOs the conversion to FTP is a sad last ditch effort to save your game. Most of the time it’s the last stop before the dreaded purgatory that is “maintenance only” (libations to WAR just now). The reality is FTP is kinda like a tattoo, it sounded cool at the time but before you knew it you ended up with a permanent bullseye on your lower back, and getting it undone is painful, expensive, and generally just not worth the effort. Personally when I hear a game “went FTP” I picture that scene from Transformers the 80’s movie where Optimus Prime is on his deathbed (still gives me a lump in ma’ throat). https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h_ULg4RSy5Y Lets pass that Matrix of MMO evolution to CU.
That brings me to the tasmanian tiger aka the standard $15 a month sub. The $15 a month model is completely out of touch with a genre built on gamers that are in their late 20’s to late 40’s. We of teh old have a lot going on in life, well...many of us do...(jobs, kids, bills, more bills, wives, extended family, life, pets, bills, etc., did I say bills?). It’s hard for us to justify putting down $15 a month then “maybe” getting a couple of hours a week in generic themepark Y right? So instead we go with FTP generic themepark X. The lesser of 2 generic MMO evils.
The easiest way to EARN, yes I said EARN our HARD EARNED money is make a game that is worth a damn. “Why not they PTP our generic MMO?” Because despite what your “focus groups” indicate, an amazing IP wrapped around a generic game does not = getting my moneys! I’m sure the IP alone does snag a lot of dedicated fans, but as much as I love (for ex.) Star Wars, I love MMOs more (just slightly). So for me to give you my moneys I need more than the IP, I need (this is the crazy part) an innovative MMO that does something to progress this genre, not keep it stagnant (hell at this point I would even be THRILLED with regression back to the old days of the UOs, DAOCs, SWGs, and EQs).
Stop blaming us and trying to convince yourselves “we” (as if we are legion) have decided the monthly sub no longer works. It’s not us, it’s you and your generiMMO. You don’t even make MMORPGs anymore, you make dressed up phone app cash sinks. They aren’t massive (all small instanced stuff), they are barely multiplayer (I can solo most of them with 0 reason to socialize) and they definitely aren’t Role Play Games (aviator shades and baseball caps in my medieval MMO, thats like Frodo wearing a Lebron James Jersey in LOTR to old schoolers like us). And while I’m at it, LEAVE MY CHILDHOOD ALONE MICHAEL BAY! Mraaaaaaaaaa!!!!
Ok, I’m back now...I can’t believe that vid has 12mill views...so what was I...oh yes, my double secret MMO sub solution, I cleverly call it operation CU-Sub.
What method do I want to see in CU? Thats so easy it’s laughable, OBVIOUSLY I want the one that works best for MY lifestyle and I think you do too. The problem is we probably have very different lifestyles (what with me working as a part time ninja master/custom satchel maker/Brad Pitt body double and you doing whatever it is you do) so we need a few options. Giving us one pay option is SO 2002 right? Offer us 4 of them and let us decide which one works best for us. (yes I’m FINALLY getting to them :)
Each of my options has been influenced by the Kickstarter tiers. Each of them would come with various bonuses of some kind (see SWG veteran rewards for ex). Consider them “bonuses for dedication.” Each of my 4 options would also have couple, family, Guild etc. sub options.
Option 1 (Lifer): Yearly/Lifetime Subs. This one is perfect for that old schooler who is as loyal to their MMO as a black vulture to it’s mate (look it up). Pay X and get the game for a dollar a year for life. Or maybe you pay X and you get a year or two or three etc.
Option 2 (Busy Beaver): Pay by the hour or day. I got this idea from a gym membership I had in a past life. I purchased 30 days and went 3x a week. Each time I went they punched a day off my card. It works great for the people that are really busy. They don't want to pay $15 and only get 6 hours of played time logged in for the month, so instead they buy 6 hours every month (or more as needed). Maybe it’s a simple as every time they log in they get a credit card charge? Pay per log-in, PPLI! Now thats BSC amiright?
Option 3 (Kickstart my Sub): This concept is a little BSC. Pay per month, or months, $5, $8, $10, $15 (whatever amounts CSE feels comfortable with) BUT make each $ amount come with different bonuses. DO NOT have a “special” $50 a month sub that gives extra cool stuff, that would = rage quitting. Cap it at $15, after all, we’ve all done that amount prior right? So that way we don’t have to listen to complaints about how the sub is a cash grab that rewards the riches and shafts the poors. FYI IMHO a monthly sub is me giving you my money because I continue to like your product and expect some of my money to go back into said product. When you start using my money for other products, dedicated players tend not to react real well and yes that is a VERY large understatement (google “EVE players revolt” if you don’t believe me).
Option 4 (CEX, not to be confused with EVE’s PLEX or Rift’s REX or SEX) This is my BSC option, its basically what EVE does with PLEX, but tailored for CU. Its in game, it can be transported, looted, stored etc. Take what EVE has done with PLEX, change it to make it work better for CU, and utilize it in game. It sounds crazy but if it was modified and implemented correctly I think we would all enjoy CEX in CU. It would take CU PVP to another level of attachment and meaning. You can threaten the relm I’m proud of, you can kill the unique character I’m attached to, you can take my damn soul and forge a weapon to destroy the home and town I love, and now you can even take my hard earned CEX! Just thinking about it gives me pvp chills!
Thar you have it, my idea for CU is 4 different subscription options. Each slightly different, each designed to appeal to a different player. So, do any of them work? Do they all fail? Am I BSC? Please, educate me in the comments below.