I originally saw the headline “Premium Subscription Campaign” and thought maybe they were following Turbine’s model and looking at a Free 2 Play system. I was pretty excited about that as I do like AoC (see my previous post on it) and their extended trial but I just couldn’t get past the high price point if I want to move past the starter zone.
However, AoC isn’t going F2P at all, what they’re doing is incentivizing people to buy longer subscriptions up front. Usually most do this by simply offering a cost discount, but AoC’s adding in-game perks to these as well. Now many of these perks are consumable but they do seem pretty darn powerful including teleportation, healing potions, and xp boosters.
At first glance, I don’t have a problem with this but the more I think about it I”m wondering if this is Funcom dabbling in the Cash shop arena? But, in doing so they’re asking people to shell out quite a bit of up front cash which seems a little strange. Or is this an indication that they’re having funding issues and they’re trying to get more money now to stop the bleeding?
I’m not real sure on the motivation, but I thought it was a very interesting subscription announcement that I can honestly say I won’t be taking part of at all. I have a lifetime sub for LOTRO and have gotten my money’s worth from it but I’m not sure I’ll do long-term subscriptions in another game as they seem way too risky these days.
So I was going through my normal morning news and stumbled upon a couple of tidbits today.
First up, Age of Conan has announced a new pricing plan for multi-month subscriptions. For 3 month plans they’re offering a 20% discount, 6-month yields a 30% discount, and 12 month results in a whopping 45% discount. In addition, these months will apply immediately towards the new “veteran points” system they’re releasing. They didn’t go into too much detail, but it seems like if you’ve subscribed for 6 months already and switch to a year plan, you’ll have 18 months worth of veteran points (more details on what those points can be used for was mentioned will be released later). Full article is here.
I’m not real sure what it means for Funcom and AoC but I don’t think it is a good thing – it would appear that people are leaving the game and they’re trying to do whatever they can to entice folks to stick around and pay up-front. If I were playing AoC (it didn’t grab me enough to dump LOTRO and I’m trying to limit myself to one MMO sub) I’ll admit it would be hard to pass up on the multi-month for the discount you get but I certainly would be on the look-out for something else down the line as this could be the white flag of surrender.
Now the non-sky is falling thought is that they’re just trying to bring their cash-flow a little more up-front in the same way that LOTRO is with their Siege of Mirkwood expansion pricing. I haven’t been following AoC too closely so maybe it is doing just as well as LOTRO and they just want to bring a little more cash up front to help out with some near term development tasks they want to ramp up or something.
Either way, if you’re a Conan player I would certainly check out the new options as a way to save some cash.
Now the other piece of news comes from Global Agenda, which is an up-coming Sci-fi MMO first person shooter. Again, this is another one that I’m not following too closely but I found it interesting as it seems like they’re offering an MMO-lite version for just the regular game box price, but then a subscription model on top of that if you want a more typical MMO experience. Here’s the article over on MMORPG.com.
I think this is a pretty smart move for an FPS as some folks will just want to play a regular shooter, but it opens the game up for more epic style battles if folks want that and are willing to pay for it. Plus the subscription does offer the growth options that one would expect from an MMO. Now, I think the tricky part is how an FPS twitch based game will work as an MMO considering lag – I mean I have enough issues sometimes with LOTRO when I’m on a bad connection, I can’t imagine something like an FPS! Especially when you consider most FPS players expect a pretty high level graphics engine and smooth gameplay.
Overall, I like the fact that gaming companies are trying to change things up a bit – it is not just the $15/month subscription offerings we’ve seen in the past. I can only hope that more will follow turbine’s lead and offer lifetime subscriptions (I’m talking to you Bioware for The Old Republic).