Would A Game With Any Other Payment Model Play As Well

Relics of Orr has a new thing going on.  Their latest blog post asks for reader’s and listener’s opinions.  They want to know “would you play Guild Wars 2 if it was a subscription game?”

This is a bit of a thorny question to ask, not to mention polarizing.

Earlier this week I received a tweet asking about the legitimacy of a Guild Wars key generator.  I’ll not be so high-handed to suggest that I’ve never used such ‘products’ myself, but I took umbrage this time.

I pay for Guild Wars.  I payed full price for the collector’s edition of Prophecies and I payed full price for the standard editions of Factions and Nightfall.  I have purchased costumes off of the store, extra character slots, and I bought 3 mercenary hero slots.  I have not bought storage panes or any of the PvP unlock packs because I think one is overpriced and the other is unnecessary for me.

I bought those items (not to mention the game!) because ArenaNet is a company that I believe deserves my support and Guild Wars is a game I enjoy playing.

I paid $15 per month for over a year to play WoW because I thought it was fun and I enjoyed raiding with my friends.  I stopped paying because the game itself moved on and was no longer fun for me.  Huge paradigm shifts within Blizzard left a sour taste in my mouth and I no longer wanted to support the company.

I currently pay $15 per month to play RIFT because a number of my friends are playing and it’s an amusing diversion to pass the time.  I’m not entirely enamored of the art (it’s good, but not distinctive) and I have a rant about ‘split people into servers and then cut the servers in half by faction’ planned for another day.

I paid to play a game produced by a company I disagree with.  I pay to play a game which the highest praise I can give is to call it satisfactorily entertaining.

Would I pay to play Guild Wars 2?  A game made by a company whose ideals I respect, whose artistic vision I have been inspired by, and whose products I adore?

Yes.

Though a decision to make GW2 a subscription game would compromise those ideals, Guild Wars 2 is still a game I want to play.  Of course, I would expect all cash shop items to be offered for free (or maybe purchasable through a monthly stipend of ArenaPoints).

I still can’t help but feel dirty and disloyal for saying that I would pay monthly.  Irrational as it may be, I feel that mere admission of this willingness equals encouragement for the evil businessmen to take advantage of me at every turn.

That said, I don’t want to pay monthly.  I would if I had to, but ArenaNet would have lost my respect.  What’s the respect of one small blogger in the face of a multi-million dollar franchise?  Probably not much, but for now, ArenaNet has it, and I don’t believe my trust has been misplaced.

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  • Comments (7)
  1. I like subscription fees. They are honest. “Here’s our service, please pay us $15 a month if you wish to use it.”

    Microtransactions aren’t quite so straight forward. Everything is optional, but it’s a constant balance of finding things desirable enough to sell for cash without being game breaking.

    I also can’t help but feel it’s a huge benefit to the developer when they have a reliable, predictable source of income. I can’t say for sure that ArenaNet would make more from a subscription that they will from microtransactions, but I suspect so.

    Still, I appreciate that not everyone is like me. Many people will stick with GW2 *because* it is free to play. I just wish there was the option of a subscription for those of us who (a) want to support the developer, and (b) don’t want to feel like we’re being ‘nickle and dimed’ for every feature or addition.

    • Yarr
    • April 8th, 2011

    A subscription GW2 would be bad. First, quite a few (most?) of my GW friends wouldn’t be playing at all if it had a subscription. Many barely have much free time to play now and have been pretty clear they aren’t interested in any game that has a monthly fee, no matter how good it might be.

    Secondly, I currently pay for one subscription game, Aion. It costs me $11.67 a month. I have a gaming budget I (mostly) stick to. That includes other off line games, Steam sales and such. Another subscription game just isn’t an option, I’m not going to give up non-MMO games for a second monthly pay MMO.

    Then there is the feeling you get with a subscription game, that if you don’t play it enough you are losing money. I enjoy Aion, but sometimes I almost feel like I need to play it because I’m not getting my money’s worth out of it if I don’t. With GW I play it whenever the heck I feel like, sometimes not playing it for days at a time.

  2. This sums up my thoughts on the matter exactly. I “would” pay a sub for GW2 because I can’t imagine another game so closely addressing exactly what I enjoy and value in an MMO, but part of that very value system is the lack of subscription.

  3. I see you putting dibs on the splitting up people topic. I can still blog about it if i want!

    I might subscribe to gw2, i don’t know. probably. but i’d have to play the game to see.

    • ArcherAvatar
    • April 8th, 2011

    This blog entry and the comments both here and at the Relics site have been so damn reasonable for the most part that I feel compelled to tone down my normally rather emotional response to this particular topic…

    Suffice it to say, I have not been in favor of MTs (of any type) in the past (actually, fervently opposed to them would be more accurate without getting too emotional) and have enjoyed several subscription based games including (but not limited to) EQ, Vangaurd, and WOW. I’ve done the math, and I actually get a much, much better deal when I’m able to find a sub-based MMO that I really enjoy and can spend as much time as I’d like with. Compared to the amount of money I would generally spend on games prior to participating in such MMOs I’m actually saving quite a bit, and getting far more hours of gaming entertainment out of them.

    My greatest point of opposition to MTs is actually not the ‘nickle n diming’ argument (although that runs a very close second) but rather the ‘pay to win’ game imbalancing issues I see inevitably arrise due to the greed of the DEVs.

    I have been assured (by people I trust implicitely) that ArenaNet have avoided selling ‘pay to win’ items in their cash shops (although recently they have definitely stepped into a gray area at least in my opinion…) and so long as that remains the case in GW2 I’m willing to overlook my normal prejudice vs MTs and give ANet the benefit of the doubt. (Due in large part to the not inconsiderable fact that they are literally inside my head and making exactly the MMO I’ve been wanting for several years now…)

    My only hope is that ANet studiously avoids anything even remotely resembling ‘pay to win’ items in their GW2 cash shop. I will buy cosmetic items from them on a regular basis (even though I couldn’t possible care less about that sort of thing) so that I can feel like I’m doing my part to help support the company… and I’ll wear earplugs to help drown out the crying puppies as I do so…

      • Tigerfeet
      • April 9th, 2011

      Fantastic comment! I had completely forgotten to mention pay to win. I’m with you on that 100%, I absolutely hate it. I suppose I can understand it if the game is absolutely free to pay (no box price), but that doesn’t mean I like it, but I don’t oppose it either. After all, I got in for free, they need to make me pay somehow.

      I agree that the mercenary heroes are a bit of a grey area, but I don’t think as much as most people think. If it were any other game I’d agree 100%, but when you’re using them you’re mostly by yourself in an instance. If GW were open world I’d be right there with you reaching for my torch and pitchfork.

      I think a nice option would be to offer a subscription for GW2. For that subscription you would get a monthly stipend of credits to spend in the cash shop. My preferred way would be to over items for money instead of a shop-specific currency and translate a $15 monthly subscription into 15 credits. It would allow people to contribute if they wanted, and they could even save up the points for the next box game.

        • ArcherAvatar
        • April 10th, 2011

        That was an excellent point about the mercenaries being used mostly in instances, and I have to agree that takes it out of the ‘grey’ region and safely back into a ‘get em if you want, but don’t sweat it if you’re not interested’ sort of area.

        That was also an interesting suggestion regarding the ‘optional’ subs. It certainly warrants some further thought at the very least.

        I’ve heard such positive things about ArenaNet from other gamers I trust, and also like pretty much everything I’ve heard coming from the company itself, so I’m definitely willing to give them the benefit of the doubt at this point and go with whichever type of financial model they would prefer/feel comfortable with. If that means MTs for convenience and cosmetic items, then I will use that method to show my support and vote with my wallet for the game I prefer.

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