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So long and thanks for all the fish

some writings and thoughts on MMO's

Author: bainster

Subscription based rip-off.

Posted by bainster Monday January 14 2008 at 11:16PM
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I live in South Africa.


For the uninformed, we have pretty crappy internet, pretty crappy exchange rates, and pretty crappy income compared to the rest of the world. We're technically still a third world country.

I've been playing Guild Wars for over a year now. I have 4 accounts. one for myself and my girlfriend. One for Storage (Thank you Anet for such limited storage) and one for friends when they visit. We also play Dungeon Runners once in a while. You may notice these are all free to play MMO's.

We have stayed away from purchasing sub based MMO's mainly due to our lack of credit cards. Game cards are not easily come by either.

I entered a competition on MMORPG and actually won! w00t. I received my Tabula Rasa yesterday. I was pretty excited about this as I was a beta tester and player on Ultima Online years ago when I still worked at Electronic Arts.

This was a unique opportunity to feel the waters of sub based MMO's. I ripped off the shrink wrapping and installed the game. My excitement was soon to end.

Ignoring the massive 600MB update that it had to download before I could even start the game, I went off to playNC website to link the game to my account to start playing. After a few attempts I realised I cannot register the game account without entering Credit Card information or Game Card.

The Game supposedly comes with 30 day free play when you purchase it, however you HAVE to buy game time before you can get the 30 days free play! This is an outrage! If I had not won this game I would be well on my way back to the shop I bought it from. How does the gaming community take this kind of rip-off ?

How does a company justify charging $40 for a box with manuals! You don't pay for the 30 days, thats for sure.

I have packed Tabula Rasa up and placed it on my shelf with the rest of my games. It's a pretty box, but I will never play that game. I don't see us playing any other subscription based MMO's in the near future either. I'd rather save my money for the next version of dungeon runner or Guild Wars.

The whole experiance has left me feeling very cheated.



Sornin writes:

I do think it is ridiculous to have to enter payment details during the first "free" 30 days of play.

I'd like to believe that there is a valid reason for doing it, but I cannot really think of a strong one. The box says 30 free days, so why do they need my payment details for the next month? Oh, that's right, so the automatic billing can prey on those who forget to cancel after hating the game...

Seriously, I agree that 30 free days should mean you get 30 days where you do not need to have a credit card or game card on file. You should be able to make an account and just go.

Mon Jan 14 2008 11:52PM Report
ycluk writes:

Bainster, I feel sorry for you. However, I am not sure what's your difficulty of getting a credit card.

In USA, it's very common. I am not sure how the credit system works in South Africa, and why you can not get a credit card.

However, I agree with you guys that first 30 days or even free trials should NOT require any payment information that will automatically charge for next payment. This is game company strategy to rip off players who must go through (sometimes hustle) process to unsub the game if they only want the short trial period.

Tue Jan 15 2008 1:00AM Report
bainster writes:

We do credit cards, however paying south Africa's average house hold income is one third compared to the rest of the world.

I have personal reasons for not using a credit card, but should really not make much of a difference. I wanted to play the game using the 30 day limit I was given with the game.


I might not have payed for the game, however they are selling the game. Asking for additional money is just plain crappy after dumping $40 on the game itself. That alone should cover AT LEAST the first 30 days without any "insert coin" references anywhere.


Tue Jan 15 2008 1:44AM Report
Blaze007 writes:

Bainster, I think you misunderstood the whole account registration procedure. Yes - you have to give them you credit card information, in order to set up an account, and you also have to choose a payment plan, like 1 month payment, or 3 month payment etc. before you can start using you free 30 days of game time.  But they will not charge you anything until the free 30 day period is over. So if you cancel your subscription before this free time is over, you will not be charged a penny. I gave up this game after about one week, and I was not charged anything.  

Tue Jan 15 2008 4:08AM Report
Kordesh writes:

"How does a company justify charging $40 for a box with manuals!"

Development costs. The monthly fee is supposed to be for the upkeep and continual improvement of the game. The initial box fee which usually drops as time goes on, is to cover the several million dollars that usually gets dumped into creating everything on the CD.


Tue Jan 15 2008 6:24AM Report
Grekon writes:

Concerning unsub of games one thing came to my mind... xbox live's monthly payment... that is most annoying to unsub since you have to call xbox live support and ask them to unsub and then they ask many questions why you want to unsub etc. Never happened to me since I have only bought time cards from local stores when I needed to use xbox live... I don't remember ever coming across with that kind of registeration procedure where you can't activate the free 30 days without entering credit card details...

Tue Jan 15 2008 6:39AM Report
Naazir writes:

Vallador is correct, you only need the credit card info to set up the account, you don't get charged till the first 30 days are up. In my sarcastic and jaded mind, this is in the hopes that you might forget to unsubscribe from the game in time before they get at least ONE charge on your credit card!  LOL


Tue Jan 15 2008 8:36AM Report
Wondereric writes:

I've done it more than once.... setup the credit card and the game and then canceled the game... It will let you play for the free 30 days.  Though personally I don't think Tablua Rasa is worth it.   I didn't really enjoy it...  but you are right... free should be free... or they shouldn't call it free. 

Tue Jan 15 2008 9:06AM Report
noxx writes:

There is no consumer protection at all in this industry...and the game makers know it...they are free to lie cheat  steal and misrepresent everything....its a great scam.....i quit TR and several other cut and paste games...

Tue Jan 15 2008 11:30AM Report
mxmissile writes:

"Development costs. The monthly fee is supposed to be for the upkeep and continual improvement of the game. The initial box fee which usually drops as time goes on, is to cover the several million dollars that usually gets dumped into creating everything on the CD."

Lies. If it cost them several million, they need to fire management, or they are just plain stupid.

Tue Jan 15 2008 11:31AM Report
Stormblaest writes:

I was thinking of actually getting Tabula Rasa but with this post opening my eyes and some other opinions from my online friends i most definitely won't set my click on it.

Similar thing happened to me with Anarchy Online (which i used to play), after they tried to get players back for free but you had to write your credit card number nevertheless, to get in.... Not to mention the way AO's GMs treat players like total garbage...

Tue Jan 15 2008 11:46AM Report
cmgangrel writes:

Well with the exception of trial accounts (which i think tend to get used more by gold sellers/spammers than actual people interested), the card details are more likely to stop 'generated' player keys from getting used. A gold seller account would love to have as many keys as possible to use to spam the game. BUT if they had to enter in card details to play? I think that they would take a step back on that one and not use it.

Its a 2 edged sword. Not to mention as well that wouldnt it really suck if you forgot to set up the payment details later on.

Come to think of it, how were you going to pay for the game if you didnt have a credit card? Cos AFAIK the only option is game time cards (which are also valid) to set the game up with (although granted you do commit for a period of time as well after the
1st 30 days were up, but that is the same for any game, and why i dont use gametime cards (glares at WoW) )

Tue Jan 15 2008 12:06PM Report
brownspank writes:

I play the same two games as you, and it is because of the difficulties and horror stories attached to credit cards that I stay away from subscription-based MMOs.

(I also happen to be a frugal online gamer, haha.)

Wed Jan 16 2008 7:07AM Report writes:
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