A Eulogy For The MMORPG Subscription Fee
With the release of no-reocurring-fees behemoth Guild Wars 2, the free-to-play-ification of Star Wars: The Old Republic, and both TERA and The Secret World seemingly inches away from dropping their monthly charges, I’m ready to finally state the obvious: subscription-based MMORPGs are fucking dead.
In part, it’s a good thing: subscription fees kind of suck, and we’ll soon be rid of them. They drain your bank account and make you feel guilty if you don’t play a lot – like you’re not getting your money’s worth.
However, what we’re losing along with the fees is sad. It’s a certain kind of ownership you felt when you subscribed to a game, like you belonged to a club. It made you feel like you were part of something – and in some ways, they made you choose one MMORPG to be your MMORPG. It created a bond between the players that you could feel: back then, we were Final Fantasy XI players, and we were damn proud of it.
It bonded together player and developer, too. We were their players, they were our developers. We chose their game to call home and liked it enough that we would pay years and years of fees on top of the initial game cost. This loyalty fostered a more intimate dialogues between creator and consumer, too.
And, perhaps most tragic of all is that with the death of the subscription MMORPG, we’ll never again bear witness to the seemingly endless parade of “OMG CANCELING MY SUB RIGHT NOW” forum threads that accompanied every minute change that developers made. A sad, sad thing indeed.
I guess there’s something to be said for the new, liberated MMORPG players we can all be now. We can jump from game to game without a care. We can play everything. We no longer need to suffer the pains of MMO-monogamy. There’s good in that. But I will miss those forum threads – and everything else – like hell. Rest in peace, subscription fees.