Monday, October 15, 2007

When Monthly Fees Aren't Enough

Money, money, money..... Seems Turbine has been sending surveys to its customers asking how willing they would be to pay extra for the following:

Increased inventory storage
Increased bank storage
Increased housing storage
More character slots
Access to special items and loot
Character customization
Special events
Faster support
Dedicated server
Dedicated forums
Dedicated chat channels
Be advised sooner of downtimes

While I realize they are just putting feelers out to see what sort of reception they get, the fact that they are thinking this is really disappointing. It also has me wondering if LOTRO is not as successful as they had hoped. Likely, they're just seeing how far they can push it.

So let's see here:

Increased storage - LOTRO is already one of the stingiest games when it comes to storage. I had never played another MMO with such limited storage. Players had been complaining about this on the forums. So their solution is to charge more rather than add a feature?

More character slots - This one is not too bad I guess. Currently, if you have used up all your slots on your server, you can create additional characters on other servers. And considering there are only a few classes to pick from anyway, not sure many would utilize this service.

Access to special items and loot - This would cause me to leave immediately. Horrible idea. Someone needs a spanking.

Character customization - Character appearances are a bit lacking. Pay more to finally look better? More spankings.

Special Events - Everyone would like a chance to participate in community events. Depends on the type of events I suppose.

Faster support - All customers should receive the best service regardless.

Dedicated server, forums and chat - EQ1 tried it. Didn't work well. But sure. Let all the wealthys hang out together on a server.

Be advised sooner of downtimes - Not sure what purpose this serves and why you would pay for this. So you don't schedule your day off from work that day? So currently they really do know sooner of upcoming downtimes and just aren't telling?

This is all so disheartening to see. I hope this isn't indicative of the future of MMO's. At least for now I don't believe Mythic will be going this sort of route. As Mark Jacobs stated "What I'm not okay with are games that are designed to be nothing but quarter suckers in the online space." And I'm not okay with it either.


Adele said...

Wow! That will be a great way to piss your playerbase off!

Alex said...

Also a great way, as a company, to add in value added revenue. There's people out there willing to pay for additional services. It's all value added (ie. almost overhead free). So the profit margin on these little "perks" add up pretty quickly. Nonetheless, I realy enjoyed the article, I did not see this!

Take Care, and be safe!! Keeping on Rockin'!

Aspendawn said...

Lol yeah, Adele, for certain. Even pisses off the non-players like me!

No doubt it is great for the company to add revenue. And great for players who can afford it. But when it comes to things such as loot and your character's appearance, I want to be on a level playing field with everyone, especially when I'm already paying $15 per month. I'm already of limited means in real life. I don't want to be of limited means in my fantasy world, which I play in part as an escape from the real one.

So I guess it boils down to would the losses they experience from us "poor" players leaving be made up by the extras paid for by the remaining players. It may likely be so, but at what real non-monetary cost?

Pixie Styx said...

seems resonable to me, its a business and you are going to see way more of this in the future.

eq 2 does this, adventure paks, legends of Norrath etc and not to forget the Agency which is Soe's big adventure in to the alternative business models.

Fury, guildwars, Metaplace and hellgate london are all offering or are all going to be offering variations on this theme.

It is an acknowledged fact that these business models make a substantial amount of money for the companies.

Unfortunatly it is the future and its coming wether you like it or not ...

Aspendawn said...

I don't know, I haven't seen these type of charges in a monthly fee game. EQ2 doesn't charge for extra vault space or special loot. The adventure packs yeah, but those are just expansions which everyone charges for. I expect to pay for added content once a year or so. And from what I understand there will be no monthly fee for The Agency, so it's expected they will charge for the extras.

Charging $15 a month in addition to all these other stuff, stuff which goes beyond minor fluff, is just beyond what I've seen anyone do.