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News & Features Discussion  » [Column] WildStar: Subscriptions Are Alright By Me

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115 posts found

Managing Editor

Joined: 7/28/06
Posts: 2152

OP  8/20/13 7:15:58 PM#1

The recent news about WildStar's subscription model has sparked a fair bit of chatter on our forums and across the MMO social sphere. Today, Rob Lashley opines as to why the subscription model is alright by him.

Let’s just get this out of the way: I have hated and will always hate the term free to play (F2P). I think is deceptively misleading and that the only people who should use it are marketers trying to sell you on a game. Remember when your parents told you that nothing in life was free? They were right. This includes video games. It may not cost you money to download the game and install it on your machine, but it most certainly has an opportunity cost. That opportunity cost is whatever else you could be doing with your time. For some of you it might be spent constructively putting in a few more hours of overtime at the factory. For others it could be playing a higher quality game. 

Read more of Rob's Subscriptions Are Alright By Me.

FFXIV will have subs too.

Editor's Note: Rob wrote this yesterday, before the ESO sub model was announced.


Apprentice Member

Joined: 5/20/11
Posts: 677

8/21/13 10:11:00 AM#2
No, i hope they fail and learn the hard lesson of choosing P2P. It's time to move on.


Novice Member

Joined: 1/22/07
Posts: 1717

8/21/13 10:11:00 AM#3
Good for you Rob, lets not forget about all the games that aren't "F2P" that cash grab subs and box costs for x amount of months and make the switch out of subs... and if you don't think this company has planned for that, you might be insane.

Advanced Member

Joined: 1/25/07
Posts: 3588

8/21/13 10:24:44 AM#4

That is setting the bar quite high. Let's say that GW2 sets the bar for a succesful B2P MMO.

Then a MMO with same box price, but with sub on top of it, would have to roll out new content like crazy.

Will be interesting to watch. Same for TESO.



Novice Member

Joined: 9/19/07
Posts: 481

Forum ranks are useless.

8/21/13 10:26:07 AM#5
So this guy only see two options, subscription and free to play, there is no more blind than the one who doesnt want to see.


Hard Core Member

Joined: 4/23/08
Posts: 896

8/21/13 10:28:17 AM#6
Originally posted by Vinterkrig
Good for you Rob, lets not forget about all the games that aren't "F2P" that cash grab subs and box costs for x amount of months and make the switch out of subs... and if you don't think this company has planned for that, you might be insane.

Exactly! They will take a lot of money for few months and then will switch to f2p hybrid and invite the rest of the players(and again get a lot of money). If this mmo is at least decent, it will be win for them. If its flawed... this again is the better move for them...



Novice Member

Joined: 8/21/13
Posts: 2

8/21/13 10:30:52 AM#7
I don't understand why so many of you believe that charging a monthly sub will keep the brats of this game. Most snot nosed little brats are guaranteed to have a parent with a credit card that will hand over a few bucks a month to keep their pride and joys out of their faces. If this wasnt the case then how do you explain the WoW community? You also say it will improve the quality of the game... then how do you explain WoW's epic decline in gameplay quality? I'm not buying this P2P argument anymore.

Advanced Member

Joined: 5/15/12
Posts: 354

I like games.

8/21/13 10:38:42 AM#8

Ftp = content updates for the cash shop, Btp = Content updates for the cash shop. P2P = COntent updates. ... ... that's right.. actual content.

"Some of the replies were just out of a sense of entitlement. Who told you that just because you were born on the planet Earth you are entitled to every MMORPG out there for free? They lied. Now before you start looking for where I live with torches and pitchforks at the ready, I’m not just some honk for WildStar. I am not advocating for you to throw your money at any developer recklessly. What I am suggesting is that you put aside the mob mentality, stand back, and take a critical look at the game and judge it for yourself. There is a reason that all of these business models exist, and each has its place in the MMO ecosphere. Do you want another disposable μTB game that you will play for less than a month and then move on?"

I agree whole-heartedly with this article. P2p games just have better content updates and longevity. All these ftp supporters need to remember that FTP is the last resort of dieing games.



Novice Member

Joined: 1/22/07
Posts: 1717

8/21/13 10:42:47 AM#9
Originally posted by Maelzrael

Ftp = content updates for the cash shop, Btp = Content updates for the cash shop. P2P = COntent updates. ... ... that's right.. actual content.





In the form of :::::DRUM ROLL::::::: EXPANSION PACKS! For a one time low price of $29.99 


Lets be honest, if Subscription based games were putting out more then just fluff for free updated content, the same fluff B2P or F2P put out, there would be more successful sub games, but that isn't the case because they're just trying to trick casuals into playing as long as possible while protecting their profits. 


Apprentice Member

Joined: 3/14/12
Posts: 115

8/21/13 10:42:51 AM#10

This may be crazy but I have an idea that a great game will have people playing it regardless of payment model.  Explain WoW?....  It was the best of it's time and grew a huge community, now it's old and gameplay has changed.

I also am so sick of the flashing ads everywhere while I try to play the game.  Wildstar looks like a great game and paying a couple dollars a month for the amount of content they are serving seems like a blatantly easy decision to make.  I applaud Carbine and crew for the decision to go P2P.


Novice Member

Joined: 11/04/04
Posts: 31

8/21/13 10:42:57 AM#11

Rob is 100% bang on with this article and there are some other reasons i am hoping this works as well.


1)F2P has been annoying in so many areas and as Rob mentioned alot of those games try to filter the player to 1 transaction or another. Like a drug dealer if you will.

On the flipside there are some decent ones like GW2 that have things in the Cash shop that are useful and keep me coming back for more and I end up spending 20$ a month of my own free will (The blatant lottery style that he is referring to though is not as prevalent as it was during the first Halloween debacle)


2)A subscription based MMO can also lead F2P games have a more finicky fanbase, a guild in a p2p model tends to stay together and wont have as many vanishing players (unless the game is bad)


3)Speaking of bad games, I hope the companies taking a risk on the P2P model learn from past mistakes. SWOTR,Secret world and DCUO all had to try a F2P model because in the end their games were...shallow. IE bare bones games that really didn't have much going for it other then the sheer basics, sure they had good points but people quickly left when they realized that PAYING monthly was a waste of time after they did everything. Hopefully ESO,Wildstar and FF all learn that their games will earn them bundles of cash if handled correctly, people will quickly see a cash crab and leave in droves if the game doesn't offer them the experience they are looking for.


Total theme park rides, lack of things to do and experience due to basic cookie cutter been there done that gameplay will lead to them trying to switch over and blame everything under the sun but never admitting they didn't do enough to merit the 14$ a month they asked a customer to spend.


Apprentice Member

Joined: 3/14/12
Posts: 115

8/21/13 10:45:22 AM#12
Originally posted by Vinterkrig

In the form of :::::DRUM ROLL::::::: EXPANSION PACKS! For a one time low price of $29.99 


I dont see your point.  $29.99 every year/2yr is really not expensive......


Elite Member

Joined: 10/01/07
Posts: 378

8/21/13 10:46:14 AM#13

Im glad you brought other games into the discussion, because I think Jeremy Gaffney had it right. 

“We’re not watching the competition at all, really…. Because a business model does have an impact, but in general good games do well. And we know what we have is good and worth that value. But more importantly the elder game needs to be there, all the content needs to be there, the features list needs to be full. If we have those things, and we do, we’ll be fine.”


That underlined statement is 99% of the battle. Alot of the recent games that tried to release with sub models (SWTOR for example) missed the mark on that. They tried to release without end game content, or ways to satisfy their players once they hit the level cap. I think WildStar has a good plan in place for that, with more horizontal and vertical progression, PVE (large group and small, ie dungeons and raids), PVP (instanced, world, and Warplots), housing and crafting. All those things together are multiple paths for players to utilize in end game. Not everyone wants just RvR (GW2 and ESO), or just PVE raids, but having things for players to choose from is the key. 


With that said, I believe WildStar has a chance at least, with a sub model. I still believe both FF14 and ESO are mad to even attempt it. Neither have end game content (FF14 I think said they will launch with a single raid? really?) ESO is an exact copy of GW2 in terms of content offered to players. You have the solo story for leveling with optional co-op, then you have Cyrodil (WvW/RvR). Thats it. A single player game with World PVP end game. If they are going to copy GW2 content model, why would they think they can get away with a worse payment model? Players who want that gameplay can just buy GW2 box price and play for free, never having to sub. If ESO changes their content, and actually decides to add endgame things for players to do, then I would support them having a sub fee as well. Same for FF14, once they add in more raids, more PVP options, and fill out their "features" list with endgame systems (promised but not at launch), then and only then will it be worth the sub. 


Theres still going to be thousands, if not hundreds of thousands of players that will happily pay the sub fee on the promise of content later. But there is nothing to say SE has to fulfill those promises. Many more players will play the smart route and wait until those promises are fulfilled and seen before dropping money into it. But a sub model can work still, it just needs the game to support it, which in recent years, they have all fallen short. It wasnt the price model that made those games fail, it was the lack of content to support the price they were asking. 


Apprentice Member

Joined: 2/10/13
Posts: 986

8/21/13 10:47:44 AM#14
The answer to your question of why I will wait for the game goes F2P is because retail+sub is ridiculous.  The game isn't anything OMGOMGOMGOOOMMMMGGG!!!!! and too many times have retail+sub games floundered.  I am not gonna just throw away another $90 on a game that might only last me a month like SWTOR did.  If the game stands up against the test of 3-6 months and user reviews then I would gladly pay, however if it flounders and transition to B2P or F2P then I'll wait.

Advanced Member

Joined: 2/16/09
Posts: 1082

8/21/13 10:50:53 AM#15

I guess my problem is the $60 upfront, if they want to charge $15 a month, then charge $15 a month, dont charge me $60 for the right to pay $15 a month.  Heck, include 3-4 months of game time with that $60 if you absolutely have to charge a full box price, that would be fair, and give people some extra time to play while the inevitable growing pains get worked through, so that they could see the game as it was intended to be (hopefully).


CREDD?  it doesnt seem to work to much like PLEX, from my understanding.  The prices, if I'm reading this correctly, are not determined by players, but by Carbine based on supply of CREDD in their market.  CREDD seems more akin to the GW2 gem system than anything else.


Novice Member

Joined: 11/17/10
Posts: 167

"Hey...... look a dragon!!"

8/21/13 10:54:54 AM#16
as a person with low income i much prefer a game with a p2p model i feel the game is better taken care of, more updates, better community due to lack of trolls since they can be banned and prob wont wanna have to buy a new account in order to do so.
timeleaper Xfire Miniprofile

Advanced Member

Joined: 2/16/09
Posts: 1082

8/21/13 11:02:48 AM#17
Originally posted by DrDream
as a person with low income i much prefer a game with a p2p model i feel the game is better taken care of, more updates, better community due to lack of trolls since they can be banned and prob wont wanna have to buy a new account in order to do so.

It depends on the company operating the game, they could be much less willing to ban an actively paying subscriber than they would someone who was playing for free, or the behavior would have to escalate much higher than it would in a f2p game.  It really depends on the company.


Hard Core Member

Joined: 1/22/12
Posts: 362

8/21/13 11:03:13 AM#18

I think the idea of F2P and the actual implementation has people changing their stance. F2P SOUNDED like a good idea, until you got in these games and were constantly harassed by the game to buy something or had to turn off chat instantly because you were berated by people that could care less if they were banned since they can just make another account.


The word that comes to mind most when thinking about F2P games is "offensive". Whether it's the game breaking my immersion by asking for my credit card or the weird guy that is /sit /stand humping my leg and talking about abortion since the fear of being banned is laughable. 


P2P to me is a promise that they care about this game. Not just by the developers but by the fellow players that actually have something invested in this game. That's how I view the two, regardless of what others say. I think F2P & P2P will always be burned in my mind that way.


B2P is completely different. I never gave it much thought when I played the original Guild Wars. After playing Guild Wars 2 my experience with it has been largely positive. While the game wasn't for me, I found the community pretty great and the cash shop not invasive at all. I was shocked to see that the "Black Lion Trading Company" (Am I remembering the name right?) icon was actually the same color and size as the rest of the icons. This was completely new for me and I loved it. Usually the cash shop icon is brightly colored, flashing, or takes up a quarter of my screen. I am glad ArenaNet led the charge with this model. 


Simply put, I am personally glad to see a lot of the upcoming MMOs veering back towards P2P. My experience with F2P has not been great at all.


Elite Member

Joined: 10/06/09
Posts: 2351

8/21/13 11:04:20 AM#19

I'm with you, Rob. I love the B2P.


If it's got to be subscription, though, then I think that Wildstar will need to set a crazy-high bar as far as quality and content. In addition, I think that they need to commit to and be accountable to the community. The biggest issue that I see is exactly what's happening. People SAY they will subscribe, but I think that there are very few who will throw their hat in the ring and be the guinea pig, and I don't think that those early adopters will be enough to sustain the game. 


I feel like if you're confident in the quality of your game, then there is no issue with going the route of B2P and then tacking on a sub option that gives distinct bonuses (ie free content updates, xp boosts, etc.). Think SWTOR, but with a box price. I think it's a happy medium because you'll get people who will sub for the bonuses, but the barrier to entry of the box price will at least keep some of the supposed riff-raff out (although I feel like the riff-raff always have money, that's why they're riff-raff). 


Just my opinion.


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Apprentice Member

Joined: 3/14/12
Posts: 115

8/21/13 11:05:23 AM#20
Originally posted by Derros

CREDD?  it doesnt seem to work to much like PLEX, from my understanding.  The prices, if I'm reading this correctly, are not determined by players, but by Carbine based on supply of CREDD in their market.  CREDD seems more akin to the GW2 gem system than anything else.

CREDD - 30 days of game time is $19.99, but how much players choose to spend of the in-game currency is up to the player base. 

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