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ESP Podcast #22: Wildstar, TESO: Subscription Surrender?: After a week off, the podcast returns, this time with Chris and a LIVE Dr. Klassi. This week we talk about Wildstar, The Elder Scrolls Online, and FFXIV going with the subscription business model. Are they dooming themselves already or is the subscription model on its return? Later in the show we talk about Blizzard’s interview retrospective on Mists of Pandaria and how the “Blizzard knows best” philosophy bit them yet again.

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Vorch writes:

This is a copy from my post on the mmorpg forum, but I think it applies...


The subscription is silly, imo. Especially knowing that other big MMOs are coming out with a subscription around you.

I truly hope that they are successful, but honestly they will all probably go F2P (or hopefully B2P) in the first year.

It comes down to 3 things:

1. Can the consumer justify paying 15 dollars when cheaper entertainment options exist?

2. Can the consumer justify paying 15 dollars when cheaper MMO options exist?

3. Can the consumer justify paying 15 dollars when there are other subscriptions MMOs competing for that Sub?


1. The biggest thing? Do you offer a better experience (AT LAUNCH) worth almost 2x the value of Netflix, 3x the value of PS+, or 3x the value of gamefly?

2. And I hate to bring up GW2 (I LOVE the game), but even if you hate it, can a company really ask you to pay 15 bucks a month when a B2P offers updates every 2 damn weeks with no necessary charge?

Tue Aug 27 2013 5:32AM Report
Vorch writes:


3.   Now for the people still willing to pay a subscription, you get to compete with WoW, EVE,  and 2 other MMOs releasing with a subscription. Do you offer an experience that is comparable (or better) than the OTHER subscription games? IMO, if RIFT went F2P with the amount of content released, you're going to have to do some soul searching.
Tue Aug 27 2013 5:35AM Report
zevni78 writes:

I am convinced that the themepark model cannot justify a sub anymore for a new mmo, there is no possible way a company can produce enough content for many players to keep them once the launch stuff has run out. Zenimax seem to think they can do it, but so did Bioware with SWTOR, and even if they can it may not be enough.

I just cannot see what example they are basing their decisions on that suggests success. The sub is a joke now, so many are just saying "I'll wait till it goes f2p" and can you blame them? Launching with sub just looks like a cynical cash grab, and your just asking for bad press at the conversion to f2p that you insist isn't coming. FFXIV has FFXI's sub example and Wildstar has its endgame focus to justify subs, and even then they are pushing their luck, Zenimax comes off as arrogant and complacently relying on the IP, (again as Bioware did).


Then there's the console players for ESO and the example of EQN, a sandbox with potentially unlimited content.  SOE are going f2p from the start, which to me says they are confident that they can keep people long term buying from the shop and using the trade system, and don't need to rely on a honeymoon period to milk them at launch with box sales and subs. Zenimax need to work a hell of a lot harder to sell the idea of ESO first for a lot of us, or don't the long term mmo players matter? Is it all about the IP? Or maybe they are so confident that reviews will win us over?

Tue Aug 27 2013 8:06AM Report
DrCokePepsi writes: A sub fee as a necessary factor in any sandbox mmorpg i plan on playing. In the case of TESO, as much as I do love the elder scrolls series, I can't put a finger indefinitely on whether this themepark will be successful with It's subs. And if anyone on this site goes on the forums, you know i rant on F2P and B2P models alot. Tue Aug 27 2013 5:41PM Report
mysticaluna writes:

I'm a fan of buy to play and wish more people would follow Guild Wars 2 's example...

<p align=center><a target=_blank href=><img border=0 src=></a></p>

Tue Aug 27 2013 7:45PM Report
mysticaluna writes: Granted, it is hard to compete in this market, but it really is annoying having to deal with a lot of spammer/gold farmers and all the other random people in it for self-gratification who don't actually pay a single cent ...  Tue Aug 27 2013 7:46PM Report
bigdaddymoo writes: Most people are full of crap when it comes to F2P. Its a lot cheaper paying a subscription for 1yr than to make lets say 3 maybe 4 pieces of bomb gearr.. Be for real F2P caters to the wallet warriors not the actual gamers. I hope wild star is a subscription game. Also there are a lot more of people willing to pay a monthly fee than invest 20-50 a month just to lose to bigger wallets. Bottom line if you cant afford subscription go play F2P and cry all day long how someone with lots of money destroys you and that thier class needs to be nerfed because they put so much money into them to make them seem overpowered .... I will pay subscription and so will millions around the world as long as the game is good !!!!!!!!!!!!! later have fun Wed Aug 28 2013 5:05PM Report
Joreel writes: Guess bigdaddymoo go his tail kicked in by one of us "bigger wallets". Too bad he has nothing to back up any of his claims about sub vs F2P... He-He-He.  Thu Aug 29 2013 4:21PM Report
Shelvinarr writes: @Joreel, actually bigdaddymoo has an excellent point. Sure, you can "play for free" in all these F2P MMOs, but if you wish to compete on a PvP scale or even a PvE endgame scale? You HAVE to buy the top of the line items. The alternative is to spend a million hours (exaggeration) grinding dungeons or spilling five to twenty dollars on that same piece. F2P is just another way to Pay 2 Win. If you enjoy Pay 2 Win, you are either the person paying the big bucks to win, or you're full of bologna. No one likes to lose. I'll stick to my subscription model for a premium game, in the long run it's cheaper than having to constantly buy the latest and greatest new P2W gear, but it also weeds out people like the above who won't bother with the sub model games.  Sun Sep 01 2013 5:26PM Report
Ayulin writes:

I think the question presents a false dichotomy regarding the Subscription thing.

They're not "doomed" unless they fail to provide a game that enough people find worth the sub fee. I really don't know why this hasn't caught on. It's been explained by people in the industry, by columnists and even by members of the gaming community.

Asking whether they're "making a comeback" also presents a false premise. That is, to "make a comeback", they had to "go away" in the first place. They never went away, hence there's nothing to "come back" from. 

This entire myth of "subscriptions being outdated" is ridiculous. It's never been true, it never will be true. The claim that they are somehow "on the way out" is perpetuated only by those with a personal interest in F2P being accepted (ie. the developers/publishers of F2P MMOs), and those who prefer to see everything F2P just so they can play what they want without ever having to pay for it (those of the "bit torrent era").

Anyone without a personal vested interest in it, without a horse in the race either way, have acknowledged - time and again - that Subs are just as viable now as they've ever been.

They've pointed out - time and again - how it's not the subscription model that makes the game fail. It's the game that makes the subscription model not viable for the game in question.

There's a reason why developers prefer to go with Subs at launch - and no it's not "so they can get a bunch of money up front and then go F2P later". It's because Subs are a better, more predictable and consistent revenue model for them over the long term.  Again, this has been explained time and again, by industry insiders and by experts alike.

So, why this rhetorical question of "Are Subs Making A Comeback?" keeps coming up at this point is either indication of there being a lot of very ignorant people in the gaming media... or that it's still "hot topic" enough to help bring in traffic (to which I'm contributing by typing this).

But seriously.. Why don't we stop asking pointless questions that have been answered numerous times now, and start asking questions that actually deserve asking? A question like "What does a Subscription game need to have to succeed today?" or (after each is released) "What is it about ARR, ESO and Wildstar that make the subscription model work for each game?"

Those would be much more meaningful and relevant discussions, than does asking the same redundant question over and over again.


Sun Sep 01 2013 10:55PM Report
blazzen67 writes: i would much rather play a sub based game than a so called "F2p" games. IF its a good game. the reason is that more times than not F2P games arent actually F2P. they are F2P up to a point and then pay gates galore, everywhere you look. you would end up spending more money on micro transactions then it would cost just to pay 15 bucks a month at the get people will point to GW2 as an example on how to do it..GW2 is a good game, BUT, it is boring after awhile...point , click, cool down, WOW cookie cutter game. which makes it understandable that there is no sub fee. If ESO turns out to actually be like Skyrim online, i would be more than happy to pay a sub Fee to play it.  bottom line, if you cant justify paying a sub fee for any game, there is a very easy solution..dont buy the game ...see? very simple Fri Sep 06 2013 11:12AM Report
mysticaluna writes:

I can understand why they want that dependable reliable monthly paycheck known as a subscription, but with 3 or more MMO's all being a subscription and releasing at the same time, who is going to pay for 3 subs a month?

I certainly am not going to be playing any of them, because I'm not willing to give up playing the mmos that I already am playing for them. 

If they were buy to play, I could justify a one time purchase of paying $40 or $80 one single time, and then buying downloaded content (DLC) or expansions.

However, paying every month doesn't work when you are playing 3-5 MMOs a month at the same time, why can't they understand the difficulties of subscriptions in a over-crowded market?

There is to much to choose from and no time to play it, thus there is no reason to pay for more than 1 or 2 subs a month , given that you won't have enough time to play the games more than a few hrs or so a week! 

I'm all for buying some cosmetics and things on free to play shops to support the business model, but anything "forcing" me to log in lie daily grinds and subscriptions, simply makes playing the game a job, instead of entertainment. 

On that same token, games restricting and punishing you with limited bag space is a very bad idea that needs to go, it actually drives away level 1 newbies to have no bag space and forces them to sell everything to vendors...

What is with all of the non-stackable different junk vendor trash items when you have no space to hold it all? Can't we just go to a inventory system like Final Fantasy 7? There's no reason for it to be this small... 

Charging $7 or $8 for 1 inventory bag slot? Really?? Why not just sell the entire game buy to play for $40 that gives you full bag slots on every single char across all servers of that account, instead of making me pay $21 per a character for only 3 bag inventory slots?

Maybe hybrid buy / free / sub, where buy to play gets basic functions like full bag slots and basic unlock restrictions, while sub gets bonus daily rewards and extra mount/pets etc stuff, and free gets nothing but basic restricted gameplay?  

Fri Feb 21 2014 2:08PM Report writes:
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