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The Almighty Buck Role Playing (Games)

Pay-As-You-Play MMORPGs? 158

Posted by Cliff
from the another-way-to-separate-gamers-from-their-cash dept.
grubber33 wonders: "With exciting MMO games like World of Warcraft and others existing, the current monthly fee plans that all MMO games that I'm aware of aren't necessarily worth it for people that don't have as much time to play games as others. For instance, I have about 3-5 hours to play games per week, if I'm lucky. On top of that, I like more than one game but I'm still interested in MMO games. I was wondering what Slashdot thinks about newer MMO games implementing some sort of pay-as-you-play system or at least having that option alongside the current monthly fees."
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Pay-As-You-Play MMORPGs?

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  • by Tibor the Hun (143056) on Friday December 17, 2004 @11:43AM (#11115995)
    My first ever MMORPG is Anarchy Online, which I've started playing last night.
    If it wasn't for their BitTorrent download, and a free year of playing I wouldn't even consider it.
    But now, I might not hesitate to pay the full price for an expansion pack, if that need comes up a few months from now, a few months after playing it for free.

    • by Divide By Zero (70303) on Friday December 17, 2004 @12:09PM (#11116278)
      Watch out - as soon as you buy that expansion pack, you start paying monthly fees. According to the "*Conditions" on their website [anarchy-online.com]: "Should you wish to upgrade to any of the expansion packs monthly subscription and client fees will be added."

      The first hit is always free.
  • by Tickenest (544722) on Friday December 17, 2004 @11:45AM (#11116006) Homepage Journal
    at www.ibgames.net [ibgames.net] used an hourly rate system for a long time. 60 cents an hour it was. They eventually went to a monthly subscription, so I don't think it was too successful.
  • i personally don't play play-to-play MMORPGs. there are a few free to play ones out there, like one i'm kinda hooked on called Maplestory. yeah yeah, goofy name. but it's a decent game, nothing fancy on the graphics, but it's still fun to me. and it's free.

    the game's still in beta, but there are release versions in korean and japanese that are still free. the english is still being made.

    the site is here [maplestory.com]

    maybe check it out. you got nothing to lose, it's free!
    • He's got A LOT to lose... most importantly time!
      This game is addicting... "just one more level..." "just one more hour trying to find this damn rare object from a random drop"

      Moreover, playing without someone or something to guide you can prove frustrating from various reasons:
      different classes (called jobs here) need different stats, while the other stats are useless for them (int and luck needed for mage, str and dex are useless)
      different skills are sometimes either very strong or seemigly strong, but th
      • in the english version, the cash shop is available to look at stuff, it just don't let you buy the stuff yet.

        i got 3 charecters. warrior, archer, thief. i've had to help my little sister with her mage far too often to have the paitence to have one myself.

        just a quick question for you : what is the "exchange rate" of real money to game "cash"?
  • Personally, I like the idea, but I don't see any reason the game companies would be for it. Currently, if I only use a game 3 hours a week, I'm still paying the full monthly fee. The game company is making out good in that situation. I don't think offering pay as you go would draw as many new people, as it would reduce the number of people paying for a monthly fee. Not to mention the technical aspect of tracking and billing people by time. And if a user has an issue with bugs or gameplay during the ga
    • by Grab (126025)
      Depends. I play *rarely* (maybe 3-5 hours a month, if that) so I can't justify $40 on the game and another $15/mo. I could maybe justify $40 on the game if I knew whatever else was proportional to time spent. If their billing system is anywhere near sensible (ie. relying on email and computer billing, not sending paper copies) then they should make a profit on the deal. Given a choice between making a smaller profit off me or no profit at all, they'd be better going for the former. And that means a cha
    • I don't think offering pay as you go would draw as many new people, as it would reduce the number of people paying for a monthly fee.

      I agree here. The monthly fee is what pays for the upkeep of MMORPGs. If you think about it, even for a small game, there's cost involved in running it. You need servers, you need developers, you need a marketing department (even if it's just one person), you need to create boxed games if you want to show up in stores, etc.

      I look at from the "risk vs reward" paradigm upon whi

  • by Teppy (105859) * on Friday December 17, 2004 @11:57AM (#11116119) Homepage
    If you have just 3-5 hours/week to play "exciting MMO games like World of Warcraft", I take it that you're working. They charge, what, $15/month? So that's around a buck an hour for you.

    My question is, where are you working that $1/hour spend on leisure time is too much? (Or did you mean to post this under "Troll Slashdot" rather than "Ask Slashdot"? ;)
    • Yeah, if you game at all you'll spend that on buying games in a month. I think part of the appeal of MMORPGs is that there is a ton of content to keep you occupied. I'm getting World of Warcraft, and my big justification for it is that this one game I'll be able to play it for a few months. I haven't seen any games coming up that I'm real interested in, so I figured I can get world of warcraft, and pay for it and feed my addiction. (Stoopid Open Beta)
    • So... let's take a second to read the original problem before posting are smug and snarky little comment shall we?

      The problem was that he only has 3-5 hours a week to play all of the games that he wants to play. So no, he isnt' spending $1 an hour on a single MMO. Assuming that he plays 3 other games (perhaps one on PC two on console or some such) he would be paying $3-$5 dollars an hour on the MMO. That isn't all that cheap. Further, the real problem is that he has gotten the sense that it isn't worth
      • I haven't seen any MMOG's recently that have hourly billing, they used to be common but the companies migrated away from that model as players complained that the costs were far too high ($2+ an hour ten years ago was common).

        WoW is the most casual play friendly of the lot, very easy to have an hour or two session in it - things like EQ you wouldn't achieve a single thing during the time.
        • I'm the kind of gamer who one week will spend 10hrs playing a game and following week may not even touch it... just depends on what's going on in my life.

          While WoW sounds like something I could play and enjoy, I'm not willing either to spend $20/month (or whatever the fee is). What I would suggest instead, is not a dollar/hour type fee, but instead a $ for x number of hours fee. Buy 10 hours for $7, 20 hours for $10 or similar.

          Paying per hours is tedious, but paying for a number of hours would fit a lot

    • This is a good point. If you're low on time, you are probably a little older. Maybe you buy a pint with the gents once in a while. That pint is, what, 5 dollars? I bet it doesn't last an hour, either.

      I would guess that pay-as-you-go would create a lot of billing overhead for companies, and prepaid per-hour payments only end up making gamers mad because their time ran out right when they were having fun. All in all, monthly is best.

      • by Jahf (21968) on Friday December 17, 2004 @02:08PM (#11117774) Journal
        Add the cost of something like World of Warcraft (say, $45 average w/tax) and safely assume that you're buying 2-3 games/year + maybe 2 expansion packs at around $35 each. So $160 - $225 for the games per year (and that seems a bit low to me based on the gamers I know).

        Tack on at least $13/month for a subscription if one of those games is an MMORPG. That brings the min total up to $314/year. And again, that is a bit low compared to reality from what I see.

        Now let's assume a power gamer ... a new game or expansion pack/month (average cost $40) is about normal and 2 MMORPG subs is candy. We've just gone to $792.

        Don't forget around 25% of the cost of your PC/year to keep up with games (meaning that at a minimum games require a new PC every 4 years, again, conservative) and easily 100% for the power gamer. Assume a base cost of $400 for a PC capable of playing a modern game and $2000 for a gaming rig.

        That doesn't count feeling the burning need to optimize your bandwidth/throughput so that you enjoy those games more which will likely increase network costs by 25-50% (in some cases easily 100% more for that fine sDSL connection) so we're somewhere between $414 for the minimal gamer to over $3000 for a power gamer.

        Now if you want to make the power gamer into a social power gamer (either by going out with the "gents" once in awhile or by helping host LAN parties ... I think the end cost will be about the same) you're beginning to not only assume a significant chunk of change but I think you're also going to have to look at a neglected spouse or LACK of spouse.

        * Makes consoles alot more attractive

        * Means that the Power Gamer likely never leave the house :)

        * Definitely shows the attraction of something like Anarchy Online ... reasonable PC requirements, free download, free play for the basic module.

        Now ... this doesn't mean I don't see the attraction of something like World of Warcraft, but I do think the 2 extremes illustrate that the MMORPG world is still evolving how to make money.

        I personally do believe that having to pay for the MMORPG box is a bit nuts ...

        1) the people who have the bandwidth to play an MMORPG often will have bandwidth to download a DVD of material and get an online key to play.

        2) any MMORPG worth buying will make FAR more back on subscriptions. Charge me a minimal download fee and then let me play for a couple of hours free to see if I like it. No cost to you if I stop playing and I don't feel ripped off (in other words, more likely to try a future product from you).

        3) any MMORPG that is GREAT enough to suck me in for hours and hours can make a lot more money off the power gamers by charging by the hour.

        Make the subscription fee tiny, perhaps $2.50/month ... that would include the cost of maintaining my data in the system and 1 hour online time as a teaser. After that charge a floating scale ... hours 2-10 are $1.00/hour (or 2, whatever). Hours 11-30 are $.60/hour. Hours 30+ are $.40/hour.

        No, those hourly figures aren't low ... they are high! Let us check into the basic and power gamer scenarios again ...

        1) basic player is between 4 and 20 hours/month (and the parent to your post fits this nicely at between 9 and 20 hours/month). He pays $2.50 for his monthly upkeep and 1 hour fee. He pays between $3 ($1/hour for hours 2-4) and $15 ($9 for hours 2-10 and $6.00 for hours 11-20). That's a total of $5.50 to $17.50 for the average player.

        Face it ... the "average" MMORPG player is alot closer to 20 hours/month than 4. The power gamer in my experience with friends is anywhere from 30 to 60 (or more but that gets out of reason) hours per month. 60 isn't so hard ... connect 8 hours each day on the weekends and you're over 50% there. Note that a person sp
  • 3-5 hours a week is 12-20 hours a month. So you're looking at a cost of $1.25-$0.75/hr. Find me another form of entertainment that's that cheap. People don't play more than one MMO for very long. And it's not the cost, you simplily can't dedicate your self in that manner. It's hard to only dedicate that small time your saying, becuase your peers who play more will outstrip you. Sure someone who started later will come up behind you and you can play with them, but they will also surpass you if they are
    • Find me another form of entertainment that's that cheap.

      reading

      • $50~ for a hardcover that will last maybe 20 hours?

        $2.5/hour is more expensive.
        • But there are these nifty things called public libraries. Here's the cool part--they loan you books .. he he he, here it comes.. FOR FREE!

          Also, I don't know where you're living that it costs $50 for a hardcover book. In the US, most books retail for about $22, in Canada, about $35. If you get them the day they come out, generally there are fairly significant discounts (around here, at least) and there's always used book stores and paperback books, both of which are significantly cheaper than your new ha
        • I don't know where you're buying your books. You can get many of the world's greatest books for less than $10, or $20 at the most. Or go to a library.
      • I guess that depends on how fast you read. But I'll concede that you are right, I spend about $8 on a book and read it at lunches and before bed over 2ish weeks. so maybe 16-20 hours for a average 500-700 page novel.
    • Like I had to tell the Jeep dealership, "It's not about the payments. It's about the value of what I'm getting." I can completely understand the poster's reluctance to shell out $1/hr for a game that most people are paying half that for. I am a lightweight gamer (1-5 hours per week) and I've never played an MMO with a monthly subscription because I would not be getting my money's worth compared to others using the same product. This is the same reason I do not purchase brand new games. Let the people w
      • I can completely understand the poster's reluctance to shell out $1/hr for a game that most people are paying half that for. I am a lightweight gamer (1-5 hours per week) and I've never played an MMO with a monthly subscription because I would not be getting my money's worth compared to others using the same product.

        I think the administrative costs in moving to an hourly model would outstrip the benefits for the lightweight users. If we were talking about an average $29.95 subscription, I could see them
      • If you look at the people who play 40 hours a week trust me your not getting a bad deal compared to them.
    • Sex.

      Mmmm. Good old Sex.

      Free. Fun. Oh, wait, this is slashdot. Nerds don't know what *girls are.

      *sigh*

      -------

      *More appropriately, a sexual partner. Chicks, dudes, whatever makes you go.

    • >3-5 hours a week is 12-20 hours a month. So
      >you're looking at a cost of $1.25-$0.75/hr. Find
      >me another form of entertainment that's that
      >cheap.

      Buying new games every second month instead of paying it as subscription. That way one get completely new experience and content and so on for each game. That is one reason why I rather go for new games every now and then instead of playing subscription based games. I get far more for my money buying new!
  • pay again? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Tomahawk (1343) * on Friday December 17, 2004 @12:04PM (#11116202) Homepage
    Personally, if I had to fork out about 40 quid for a game, and then pay by the month to play it online, I don't think I'd be forking out the 40 quid in the first place.

    Also, like the writer said, I don't get much online play time. If I had to pay my the month to play online, I'd be paying more per game hour than someone with a lot more time on their hands.

    Access to the servers should remain free. Either that, or the game should be a lot cheaper (free even), and a cost per hour or cost per day model setup for online play.

    But they can't have it both ways.

    T.
    • Except, they DO have it both ways. And there is a simple reason why -- look at it from THEIR perspective.

      They aren't doing it just to be nice, they're doing it to make money. Building a MMORPG is a huge endeavor, costwise. The money you pay up-front to play the game goes to that initial development cost. The monthly fees go towards building new content, server maintenance, bandwidth, etc etc. It's a part of the model, and it's not a bad one. It makes good business sense -- $ upfront for up front costs, sub
      • Re:pay again? (Score:3, Insightful)

        by MindStalker (22827)
        Yes, but say a game cost $50 dollars, wouldn't it be reasonable to offer a few free months. Some do this, but some don't give you any free months. The thought of spending $50 for a game to turn around and not be able to use it untill you've shucked out more money.
        I guess I could understand this if there was a hardware component, like buying a cellphone to get service. But cellphone companies consider the phone a loss leader meaning they pay for some of it so you will sign up for the service. It would seem t
        • Every MMO game I've played (and I've played several) has offerend at least one free month of play after initial signup. Anarchy Online later offered an aditional month because the game was in such a poor state when they launched. Games that have been around for a while and need to bring in more players will frequently offer a free trial period wherein you can download the client for free and play free for a limited period of time. But the new games will always need to cover their development and distribu
        • Most MMOs give the free month or more.

          As for AO, their launch was atrocious and they may never recover. This free year offer of theirs is a gimmick -- the game is only so good without the expansion packs. Once you order the expansions, you start paying the monthly fee. If you're happy not accessing all of the current game, then its no problem -- but most people won't be.
    • Re:pay again? (Score:3, Insightful)

      by battlemarch (570731)
      Sure they can. And many of the game companies are doing just that (having it both ways).

      They have made a conscience decision to do without your business. My point is, that although it would be nice for the casual gamer to get or feel they get more value out of their gaming dollars as compared to more dedicated players, having a tiered payment structure along side the standard monthly subscription plan isn't likely to happen.

      Frankly, from the developers point of view, I just don't think it's worth the ha
    • Personally, if I had to fork out about 40 quid for a game, and then pay by the month to play it online, I don't think I'd be forking out the 40 quid in the first place.

      But what if these 40 quids covered the game and a couple of months of a game play ?

      I think it's a fair and pretty decent deal. You are getting a chance to play the game for a while and if you like it, you start paying for a gameplay. And the money go to compensate the provider for support, bandwidth and hardware expenses.

      In fact, World of
      • That would be more fair, especially to the casual gamer.

        You would probably find that, in the long run, they would make more money, as more people would become addicted to the online game and would then shell out the extra money to play online.

        I still think a charge per day, as opposed to per month, would be better too.

        T.
    • Paying a monthly fee is really become fairly standard for most massive games ... although most older ones are hideously inexpensive now, and usually are a free download with a trial period or a bargin bin buy with a free month included.

      If you're too miserly to pay for a current MMO and the subscription, why not try something like AO, or UO, or AC, which are cheap as hell.
  • All very well... (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward
    Whinging about having to pay a monthly fee for a MMORPG is a common theme on slashdot. I'll admit that I used to feel this way myself, until I sat down and actually thought about the economics of the whole thing.

    Developing a MMORPG (I'm only talking about full-fledged, full-scale, commercial MMORPGs here, such as WoW, EQ2, FFXI and Galaxies) is an expensive business. The amount of game-content you need to put into one of these games is vast and completely dwarfs the work you need to do for a single-player
    • Actually the registration server being swamped scenario seems to be precisly the kind of thing that IBM's capacity on demand service would solve, pay for additional capacity when it's generating revenue and don't when it's not.
  • That sounds like a great idea. Upside: the cost might keep folks from paying too much and losing a job/marriage/social life. Downside: the compulsive player with financial difficulties might go bankrupt (though perhaps a more ethical MMO might cap the fee, knowing their game has cracklike properties).
  • by david.given (6740) <dg AT cowlark DOT com> on Friday December 17, 2004 @12:19PM (#11116413) Homepage Journal
    ...sort of.

    The way it works is that playing is completely free. However, equipment in the game costs game money, and the easiest way to get game money is to spend real money on it.

    It is possible to play without spending anything, but you'll end up having to do a lot of grinding in order to make enough money to buy a piece of equipment that will let you make some more money, etc. Spending will let you shortcut this to a fair extent.

    (Currently I've sunk $10 into it. This bought me some decent armour, a low-level newbie gun, and some ammo for the gun. So far, I haven't managed to break even when hunting, but that's because I'm crap at it. I'm also practicing sweat gathering, which is sort of like milking except they tend to maul you at the same time. You end up with lots of little bottles that you can sell.)

    One interesting side effect of all this, plus the fact that equipment wears out and needs to be repaired, is that everyone is obsessed with money. Poke around on the 'net and you'll find detailed analyses of how much a weapon costs to use: per hit, per unit damage, per swing, etc. Newbies are better off with weapons with low cost per swing/shot; experts are better off with low cost per unit damage. All equipment wears out and needs to be repaired.

    The first time I killed an animal I got 0.78 ped loot from it (== 7.8 US cents). The record is apparently 29000 ped (== just under three thousand dollars)...

    There are other ways you can make money in-game: hunting and sweat gathering are the main ones open to newbies, but there's also crafting, shopkeeping, mining, plus all the various service industries like guides, distracting animals while other people shoot at them, trading, etc. PE has a thriving economy.

    If you're interested, give it a try --- just download and run. It is, after all, free.

    • "One interesting side effect of all this, plus the fact that equipment wears out and needs to be repaired, is that everyone is obsessed with money. Poke around on the 'net and you'll find detailed analyses of how much a weapon costs to use: per hit, per unit damage, per swing, etc."

      And this is PRECISELY why I no longer play such once cool games as Kingdom of Loathing, and any other MMORPG that gets whittled down to a pure numbers game by players.

      I know my opinion may not be shared, but I want a game that d

      • Oh, *wow*, someone else who played that on AOL Pay-by-Hour.

        I'd still play it today, except I don't (1) make enough to justify the monthly and (2) I don't play any games at all, for the most part.

        It was a ton of fun, though.
    • That's a nice system. What would also be interesting would be to have an initial buy-in to the game. In other words, you log on, create a character, pay ~$20 for it and play. If you die, you have to buy a new character. If too many people are not dying, the monsters get tougher :) It would make for an interesting game dynamic, with clans forming to protect their member's investments, assholes picking off the weak and disconnected, badasses risking their powerful characters for a shot at being the best,
  • Guild Wars (Score:4, Informative)

    by crashmstr (753615) on Friday December 17, 2004 @12:21PM (#11116434) Homepage
    Guild Wars [guildwars.com] (still in beta) is currently set up so that there is no monthly fee. You buy the game at retail, and play online for free. "Chapter" expansions then will be a purchaseable item, but only required to access new chapter areas or items. So for someone who plays only occasionally they only pay once, or only pays more when they are ready for playing the expansion content.
    • While that looks like a great game, I don't believe it's actually a MMORPG per se, in that there's no persistent environment. It appears to be a game more along the lines of Diablo 2, where your characters persist, but the groups you play with are not "massive."
      • It looks to be somewhat of a hybrid - there are going to be massive areas - cities and the like, where you socialize, trade and organize groups. The actual adventure zones are going to be dedicated instances (be it to a single group or a limited few in some competetive PvP instance).
  • Although there are some services that a pay as you go system makes sense for, I think that for MMOs it is unnecessary. The subscription price of around $15 per month is not an outrageous charge and given my varied play time I would not want to be subjected to a pay as you go system.
    During school or other busy times I find that I can only play an hour or so a week, if at all, but during free times I've been known to pull 16 hour play sessions.
    If I were charged hourly for the long play sessions I wouldn't fee
  • 3-5 hours a week is 12-20 hours a month. $15 for 12 hours of entertainment is still way better than a movie, and if you're the kind of person who plays videogames you're probably not looking for books. So there you go: you're paying more per hour than other people but it's still a good deal.
  • If you can't afford ~$15 a month, then just don't get in to MMORPG. Having some sort of system where you pay for the amount of time you use is overly complex...so they charge 50 cents an hour or something, there are going to be people complaining they only played X hours and they over charged...really, $15 isn't much money and it gives you unlimited play time...I'd much rather it be that way than an hourly fee. So say they do that rate up to $15, that isn't so bad, but still a pain in the butt to keep tra
  • Anyone remember Sierra Online? Whatever game portal type thing came out from Sierra, it had the RPG Shadows of Yserbius, some red baron flying game, and a couple other things. Was all pay-per-hour. Parents hated that heh. Altho, I don't think they're around anymore, so don't know if a lot of people were interested. Much different landscape today.
    • Sierra Online was the name of the company.. their dial-up game service thing was alternately "The Imagination Network" or "The Sierra Network".

      God, were my parents pissed when we got the first bill from THAT. Ha. So our subscription lasted about a month. :)
    • Shadow of Yserbius and Fates of Twinion are some awesome games though. I found a few sites on the internet a couple of years ago which were supposedly trying to build a server environment for them to live in, but I doubt anything became of that.

      Death darts!
  • Neverwinter Nights (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Psmylie (169236) on Friday December 17, 2004 @12:56PM (#11116887) Homepage
    You may want to try Neverwinter Nights. I know, I know, it's not exactly an MMORPG, but there are static servers out there, the ability to interact with others online, and no monthly fee.
  • In order to deal with the additional burden of customers who say they are being overcharged, the cost would probably not work out in your favor. They would have to charge at least $1 per hour, and at the rate your playing you'd pay more on that plan. You'd hate it when you went over your hours and were charged more than the unlimited players, and you'd want a 'cap' at the unlimited payment rate, but since there is an additional overhead there would be no reason for them to cap it for you.

    In the end, it
  • Mobile phone companies are already doing something similar. The thing is, when you go with a pay-as-you go type of plan, you end up spending much more money per minute. This would probably also be true if MMOG's did it.
    • The thing is, when you go with a pay-as-you go type of plan, you end up spending much more money per minute.

      Not necessarily. I have an AT&T phone that I use quite rarely (maybe 15 minutes/month). On a standard $40/month plan, I'd be paying $2.66 per minute. With AT&T's prepaid plan, I pay $0.25 per minute, which is a much better deal.

  • Take a look at guild wars. No monthly fee. http://www.guildwars.com/ looks like it should be pretty neat.
  • planeshift is free!!!

    http://www.planeshift.it/ [planeshift.it]

    There's even a Mac client in alpha!

  • Sticking to the topic, I played Ever Crack for a while on PS2. While I liked to play, I couldn't afford the monthly fee. I would play for $0.50 per hour or something like that. If I play for more than 20 hours per month... then that is money ahead for company. The game would have to be really good for me to consider paying higher. Or another idea is $1 per 24-hour period.
  • People need to wake up and join the rest of us in the 2000's. Expecting a company to host servers for a game on their own dime might have been something that flew before the bubble burst, but you'd have to be an absolute fool to think that business model is anything but a slow death today.

    Realize that you are paying for a service and that if you compared the money you were spending on a subscription to the other things you could buy with it, it's not that bad a deal.

    And to those people out there who want
    • While you do have a valid point, if you're one to play multiple online games at any given point in time, the monthly costs can sure add up.

      It would be great, really really really really great, if a single entity came along and provided hosting. I'm thinking something like what SourceForge does for OSS, only with some money changing hands.

      Let's set they charge five bucks a month for developers to host their games. It's more of a commitment thing, than anything else; to keep the cheapwards off.

      Now, let's
      • While I like the concept, I'd have to remind you that the biggest cost in hosting an MMO isn't the bandwidth but the CPU time.

        A "Server" for a game is more than likely not going to be one server, it's going to be a farm of 8-10 servers + a master server and maybe a database server. A game like WoW has maybe 20? "Servers" for their game. That comes down to somewhere in the area of 200 servers to run just for one game.

        Lets say that you host 50 games, with the same ball-park figures. That's close to 10,000 s
    • It's not as if most MMO's don't give a free trial period or as if the amount of time you get out of that period is shorter than how long you'd normally be playing a non-MMO game at the same price before putting it on the shelf and letting it collect dust.

      That's rich. Let's see, single player RPGs cost 60 USD on the high end. For that you can get 40 hours or more of play time. Now, for normal folk, 4-5 hours a week is pretty much all the time they will spend on a video game. This equates to two moths of pl
      • I beat HL2 in the course of two weeks, it would have been one had I not stopped to use the G-gun on every loose piece of trash and burnt out car I could find.

        I beat Dues Ex 2 in the course of a week. It would have been even less if I hadn't been telling myself "this can't be all there is, maybe they hid something over here".

        I beat most single player FPS games in far less than a month. I beat most RTS games in far less than a month. The only games out there that can even CLAIM to hold me longer than a mont
  • I've been playing Ragnarok Online for quite some time now. Back to when it was still in the Beta. Over time, I've had less and less time to play. Eventually I stopped paying for it as I was only playing a few days a month. Recently, the've added the option to buy 30 hours of time for $7.99 or so, which I have done. Now I get to keep playing even if it is only a few times a month. Now I admit that for some classes in the game (Merchant specifically, who really has to sit online for hours or days at a t
  • Many people here are missing the point to an excellent question: There is obviously a very large untapped audience out there who might like to play an MMORPG, but for one reason or another simply do not have the time to invest in ANY ONE GAME to justify the $15 per month charge. Therefore, is there an alternative and viable payment scheme that would get more casual gamers into the fray? I believe there is, and there may be more than one answer to this dilemma, but certainly the present pricing structure ne
    • If most mmorpgs did that, I would probably keep them on my system and play them more often. When I pick and mmorpg to play I make sure my schedule of games to play is clear, because if I'm going to start paying 15 a month, I want to make sure I'm milking it for all it's worth.

      What you describe would be perfect. Just set a cap where you pay per hour, until you reach the cap, you pay the full fee for unlimited hours. That way you could keep your account alive, or just play a few hours, and not worry about be
  • by Sandman1971 (516283) on Friday December 17, 2004 @01:52PM (#11117573) Homepage Journal
    I haven't seen any comments regarding this. Currently, a few MMORPGs allow you to purchase monthly cards in store in lieu of having to use a credit card. A possible way of doing it is to allow players to buy timecards with a set number of hours on them instead of being valid for just one month's worth of gaming. IE: buy a card with 50 hours for 25$. That card could last you a week like it could last you a year, depending of how often you played.
  • Listen gamers MIGHT pay to play for a while but mom and dad are NOT going to pay:

    $50 a month for the internet
    $20 bucks a month for Xbox Live
    $20 bucks a month for little Johnny to play WOW

    MMORPGs became POPULAR becasue they were FREE to play online. Sure you buy the game but the online gaming was free. Start to charge a monthly fee and gamers and parents will begin to EXPECT A LOT MORE for their gaming dollar.

    Soon some asshole is going to suggest that we have a pay as you go internet... 5 for this page an
    • Listen gamers MIGHT pay to play for a while but mom and dad are NOT going to pay:

      $50 a month for the internet
      $20 bucks a month for Xbox Live
      $20 bucks a month for little Johnny to play WOW
      :

      I think you are even missing a bigger market segment. I'd like to play WOW with my friends but I'd like to also have an account for my wife. So $50 x 2 startup, and $15 x 2 per month (after the first month). $130 for 2 months of play for two people. We won't be power gamers either, probably playing 4-8 hours a we
    • $20 bucks a month for Xbox Live
      Last time I paid for my XBox Live account, it was only $49.99 a year (which is under $5 a month!)

      MMORPGs became POPULAR becasue they were FREE to play online. Sure you buy the game but the online gaming was free.
      Just curious: What MMORPG was there, that was free to play, and made MMORPGs popular?
    • Mom and dad will pay $50 to use the Internet, because they need it themselves. Once they have that, an extra $15 for WoW is not that much. That's the cost of going to one movie per month with little Johnny, and you can get much more entertainment from a month of WoW than a couple hours of movie.
    • I need the $50/month Internet connection for work let alone entertainment anyway.
      I do pay for my son's City of Heroes account. I enjoy playing with him. It's been a good way to teach him about working together in a team and about how different people have different skills and do different jobs. It may seem weird but a good MMO team is much like a good project team you might find at work.
      Considering that we've been playing City of Heroes since June and that as a result we have purchased less other games. The
  • If you've ever played a MMO, you'd see that the games aren't made to be played 3 hours a week. Some quests can take up to 3 hours alone. If you played 3 hours a week, you'd be lucky to get three or four easy quests done. These games are made to be played 3 hours a day. If you do the math, you'll see that you really aren't paying much per hour.
    • So, geeks with a wife and kids should not even begin to look at a MMORPG, huh?
    • I would pretty much agree with this. One of the pluses of MMOs is finding people to play with. Now a lot of players are putting in 20+ hours. So you might meet them and make friends but you will find them leveling at a much faster rate than you.
      City of Heroes has a good system for sidekicking low level characters, but it's not perfect and many players don't want to sidekick.
      Most of the time when I'm playing it's when everyone else in the family is asleep or the spouse is watching TV (although you have to be
  • .... if it doesn't come with satisfying single-player and LAN multiplayer experiences.

    If you buy the game and all it does is let you log into a premium paid online service, you should get the game for at most the cost of the media.

    I don't have a problem with paying to subscribe to a gaming service, especially if the game world is dynamic and the admins are coming up with quests, new objects, backstory, playing as NPCs, etc....
  • The questioner is thinking about the cost of MMOGs all wrong. The flat fee per month results in better cost per entertainment hour than you might think by just looking at the total fee.

    If you live in a major city, you pay $10-11 to go see one movie (if you buy only the ticket, and you go alone). A fair estimate of average movie length is 2 hours.

    If you pay for WoW (for example) one month at a time, it costs $15 per month. If you then play the game 3 hours per week (assuming four weeks in a month), you pla
  • I understand the posters predicament. I have to say that I myself also have a problem with shelling out a monthly payment for play when I would only be able to play it a couple hours a week. The pricing model of monthly payement only really works for those that can play it many hours weekly. Although I really have to say that they have their target market down pat, obsessive geeks with lots of time, their pricing model excludes many who would like to enjoy their service. For example I myself have wanted to

  • Guild Wars [guildwars.com] is still in beta, but they intend to have no monthly fees. As I understand it, they intend to support the game through frequent release of expansion packs. Whether or not they will be successful with this model remains to be seen, but I'm sure many developers are watching closely.
  • People keep saying that ~$15 per month isn't a lot but if you wanted to play several differe MMOGs then you could be easily look at $45-$70 a month and now that's a fair sized chunk. Now what if some MMOGs combined resources or some 3rd company and you could pay $25 a month to play any of the games in the consortium and then they could split your monthly fee across the games by percentage of time you played them for. No need to worry about installing cap or micropayments or complex billing systems.

    It would

  • Is that they get nerfed at each new patch. How many MMO's have you played where after weeks and endless hours of the same repetative crap have you found it was for a character or prize that was utter crap? Or only to have that new charatcter/skill/weapon yo uaquired from those weeks, nerfed with the latest patch?
  • Perhaps they could sell it on an hourly basis.

    Let us say that someone plays 2 hours weekdays, 4 hour weekends. That's 18 hours per week. That would be 72 hours per month. We'll use 72 hours per month to figure this out...

    Charge like an initial fee for just having the account. Like $5 per month. Then charge like 5 cents per hour. Have roll over plans too, when unused hours will roll over to the next month for up to 12 months.
  • I do belive the Eve Online play card system only subtracts days as you use them.
  • For $20, I got 20 "health points" to start playing online poker a few months ago.

    I've played a ton, and now have a whopping 29 health points. I get into major battles a couple times an hour, a few times to the death, surviving every time. There are elements of both skill and luck, you're free to walk away from any battle with minimal damage.

    You can take as many health points from your enemies as you have yourself. So in a battle with many opponents, wisely applying your spells and demonstrating force c
  • Free to play, but you can unlock the whole game for $12/yr.

    Less than 1hr/day will get you up and rolling in no time.

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