Is your MMO subscription-worthy?
With the recent news about LOTRO going “free to play” that seem to have started some discussions in other subscription-based MMO forums about the risk/chance of their MMO of choice doing the same thing. In some places there is a fair amount of negativity against the whole “free to play” thing.
However, worth noting is that currently for DDO and later for LOTRO Turbine does not remove the subscription option for the games – Turbine adds the F2P option and changes the subscription option.
By introducing the F2P option they have also made it possible to make the subscription option more valuable to a larger audience.
In the old model, which most subscription-based MMOs use today, your value from the subscription is not easily seen. There is generally no statement or promise what kind of updates is included in the fee and about the only guarantee is that the game is for the most part available to play.
But in DDO and later now LOTRO the subscription becomes more clear in what you actually get for your money. You do not only get the access to the game, you get other stuff that is more explicitly spelled out. And you get Turbine points. This means that players can choose for themselves what to do with these points from what is offered, rather than implicitly pay for content that may not matter so much to them. If you do not play that often you still gather the Turbine points for use later if you pay the subscription fee. While I did not see anything in the LOTRO FAQ, I hope that Turbine points are also interchangeable between DDO and LOTRO. That way one could pay a subscription for one of the games and get Turbine points that benefit for both games.
I have seen comments that DDO subscription numbers (i.e. people paying $15/month) increased after they changed DDO. I am not surprised. They have provided more payment options to players and made the existing one valuable and worth paying to a larger audience than before. And at the same time they have also lowered the barrier of entry and re-entry to the game.
Those who argue about F2P vs subcription as two distinct and the only two options are missing the point.