the most unusual subscriptions in the MMO space

Some time ago on the MassivelyOP podcast, so long ago that I can’t remember who or when, a listener asked us about unusual MMO subscriptions and whether we would pay for them. We’re in an age where even having a subscription, especially a mandatory subscription, is pretty unusual, but put that aside for a moment, as in this week’s Massively Overthinking we’re going to talk about games that do (or had), especially if it wasn’t the typical $15 variety.

I asked the authors – and the readers! – charging non-$15 MMO subscriptions that they’ve seen and/or paid for over the years. How much was it and what did you get for the submarine? Was it worth it? Did it work for the game? Should more games reconsider adding subscriptions, whether low or high? Tell me about the most unusual submarines in the MMO genre!

Andy McAdams: I don’t think I’ve ever paid for a non-standard sub; it has always been $15/month. The only two I could think of were Problem and I think wakfu have subs under $10 but never paid for any of them.

Ben Grigg (@braxwolf): Interesting moment because I pay for one EVE online Omega account (equivalent to a subscription), whose prices CCP recently increased. It’s now $20/month (down from the usual $15), a change that was universally rejected by the player base and seems to have led to a lower number of active players than usual. Subscription increases appear to be affecting STAND BY players even more so than other MMO bases, as the most loyal and engaged tend to manage multiple accounts simultaneously. Along with lackluster content releases and society’s perception that STAND BY devotees just fund other CCP development efforts, I’d say $20/month doesn’t sit well with them.

Brianna Royce (@nbrianna, blog): I’m writing my answer last after everyone has arrived, and it seems we don’t have that many examples, which surprises me. I remember when subs were $10 at the beginning of the genre and I remember how they jumped up to the $15 level and how it actually helped ruin a few games along the way. But personally, I have a much easier time mentally not worrying about a sub that’s under $10 – I’ll just drop that and not even point it out when $15 + tax is something my brain sees and feels it needs to budget for.

treasure comes to mind as a no-brainer and the $7 charged (once?) was worth it for the boosts and jumps. (I think the price has changed over the last few years; I just took a screenshot of this piece and it now starts at $5.49 15-day subscription, while the month is from $9.99. I think , it was $5 and $7? Does it? anyone remember?) Runescape currently has a monthly subscription of $12.50; I know it was much lower. Right now I actually pay $10 a month for LOTRO ($30 for three months), which used to be a standard price for long subs. And I mean the old one Problem slot was $8, though it was all refunded when the game ended.

On the other hand, I also paid $10 a month in Albion online – but there are subs per character, up to three characters per month. A couple of times I paid for two at a time and it was way too expensive. I had to control myself. I understand why SBI has this policy (it’s a sandbox and sandboxes can be destroyed by alts) but for the way I played AlbionIt wasn’t really a smart purchase.

One last thing I’ll note here: cash shop allocations, some sub-optional MMO offers can sometimes change the value measure for me. If the box is actually full of stuff I want and my lizard brain would otherwise stand out, then that allowance is really free money equivalent to a cheaper sub – and that’s not something the old school games would have considered.

Chris Neel (@wolf eyes, blog): As for me, I really don’t have a good answer. The most unusual MMO subprice I ever paid was a lifetime subscription the secret worldbut it was a one time deal and most of the time the subway price is what i pay.

Eliot Lefebvre (@Eliot_Lefebvreblog): Technically the weirdest sub I pay for Final Fantasy XIV because of the inheritance bonus. Back when the game was being revamped, players who stuck around through 1.0 were promised a few perks, and one of those perks was a reduced subscription price of $10 per game. month. Yes, multi-month subscriptions still have a discount. The bonus is also active forever for anyone who earned it, meaning I’ll be playing the game at less than full price for the rest of its life. It’s a nice way to say “thank you” to players who have stuck around, and it’s not why I keep playing, but it’s definitely a nice bonus.

Justin Olivetti (@Syrup, blog): I’ve certainly never paid more than $15 a month—nor would I, even accounting for modern inflation—but there have been a few instances where I’ve fallen short. I know I dove in Wizard101’s family friendly pricing structure a while back and I enjoyed that FFXIV charged a few dollars less for a single sign on an account. But honestly, that’s probably it, unless I’m forgetting some things before F2P Ancient Days(tm).

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