The Daily Grind: What would you pay for an MMO subscription in 2018?

Here’s something you probably didn’t know about Camelot Unchained: Yes, it’ll have a sub, but it won’t be $15. Mark Jacobs re-confirmed that it’ll be less than the industry standard down in our comments a few weeks ago. It’s been rattling around in my head since then as subscriptions just keep popping up in the news. Star Citizen has an optional sub in alpha. Age of Conan just lowered its subscription rate. And the biggest subscription MMO in the world seems to have no problems moving a bajillion expansions, driving token prices to fluctuate. Did we hit rock bottom? Are we just watching the price reset in a new era?

I’m currently paying $13 a month for an old-school game because nobody else has content that even comes close. I wouldn’t hesitate to pay more for an MMO I couldn’t wait to play. In fact, I was prepared to pay more than $15 for CU. Would you? What would you pay for an MMO subscription in 2018? And what would you expect from an MMORPG charging a subscription?

Every morning, the Massively Overpowered writers team up with mascot Mo to ask MMORPG players pointed questions about the massively multiplayer online roleplaying genre. Grab a mug of your preferred beverage and take a stab at answering the question posed in today’s Daily Grind!
SHARE THIS ARTICLE
Code of Conduct | Edit Your Profile | Commenting FAQ | Badge Reclamation | Badge Key

LEAVE A COMMENT

103 Comments on "The Daily Grind: What would you pay for an MMO subscription in 2018?"

  Subscribe  
newest oldest most liked
Subscribe to:
hamblepants
Reader
hamblepants

I really only play one MMO at a time, so I’m happy with a $15-20 a month subscription if the game is scratching the itch.

Thing is, only thing out there that does that right now is the DAoC freeshard Uthgard (which is $0 a month, no cash shop, no lootboxes).

If something else that scratches that itch comes out, I’d happily pay $20 a month – because that would make my total monthly gaming expenses exactly $20.

Reader
Sally Bowls

I have two answers: zero or hundreds.

$100+/mo (in 2028) Long-term, Ready-Player-One-esque world would be worth over $100 a month (cable TV currently sell bundles in this price range.) Picture an AR/VR virtual world with a combination of WoW, Second Life, Facebook, Netflix, Grindr/Tinder, Etsy, Amazon and Pornhub. Stroll through a lane full of VR, 3D Etsy stalls on the way to Kubrick island where the Nostalgia guild has an 8PM showing of 2001 and then port to WoW and continue grinding Argussian Reach rep. Basically Second Life – or my fantasy world where Amazon, ATVI and perhaps FB made a cutting edge SL for modern hardware.

$0/month. (I still sub to WoW and if SWTOR has a new expansion will sub for that.) Otherwise, I would be very unlikely to pay for a sub game. I just assume that for a Western PC game (which excludes FF XIV,) a sub is not viable. Not saying that the sub-only model of a decade ago was not superior in many ways to the current market, but the customers have spoken. Subs do not seem not viable for non-niche games. A sub is also a warning sign: either the dev is trying to fleece the retro-hipsters or worse actually believes that in spite of the market evidence. So a new MMO in 2018 with a sub just strikes me as too risky to be interested in trying. IMO YMMV

Reader
Loyal Patron
Armsbend

I’d go to Kubrick Island.

Cadaver
Reader
Loyal Patron
Cadaver

Probably around NZ$50 (£25), but it would need to be an all-inclusive, flat fee for all players. No tiered pricing. No cash shop, not even for cosmetic items. No loot boxes. Dedicated APAC servers. Good communication and customer support. I’d be prepared to pay more than the standard $15 for the right game, but the more I pay the more I’m entitled to expect.

Reader
Roger Melly

I used to pay a yearly subscription to Rift that cost about 60 pounds back in the day . 5 pounds is about right for me a month . Thing is I can get the humble monthly bundle for a tenner a month and it offers a lot more for the money , I am lifer in lotro and Rift offers me the instanced pvp I enjoy .

Most games struggle with a 15 dollar subscription these days so people saying they would play a game of 25 dollars and up if it was the right game probably would find it would be a virtual wasteland in terms of other players no matter how good it was .

Some people it seems have more money than sense .

hurbster
Reader
hurbster

I’d be happy to pay £23.97 every 3 months.

For the right game, of course

Reader
Kickstarter Donor
NeoWolf

£10 a month and not a penny more. If a game wants to charge more it has to be worthy of it…and lets face it, lately they are sturggling to justify the 10 let alone more. :)

Reader
Loyal Patron
Patreon Donor
Kickstarter Donor
Paragon Lost

Twenty to twenty-five a month is fair with costs of 2018.

Edit: A Dad Supreme’s post sums up my point of view.

Reader
Matt Redding

On the flip side the costs are higher these days and not just tech, I’m thinking about the salaries of the devs. Cost of living in California where most of the programming and network centers are is INSANE. If you took the salary someone would make in Chicago and just added 50k as housing allowance it would be about what you need to make to live out there. So if it was a big concept, AAA game with lots going for it and no cash shop reliance I’d seriously consider $20. I got sucked into spending $40 on gatcha games already this month so I can’t really begrudge $5 more if the game is good.

Reader
A Dad Supreme

Thanks PL.

I think there is this default mentality that if you have an MMO, you should automatically charge $15/month because that’s what people are used to paying.

Back in the heyday of MMOs when we were getting a new MMO released almost every two years, that was the price to develop that new tech and content. Game populations were fairly steady and 300k subs was a nice place to be to spread out that $15/month.

The problem is now most of these new MMOs seem to be of average to poor quality with horrible writing. I don’t think I’ve played an Asian MMO other than FFXIV that had a storyline worth following with quests I actually cared about doing except for getting a +1 improvement item. Blade/Soul, BDO, TERA, etc… all seem to have that blandness and no attachment to my main character.

By comparison there haven’t been any new Western MMOs released, so the ones available are from five to ten years old and still expect to get $15/month. By keeping the price that high, they are saying they are holding their values which imo as a gamer, they don’t anymore.

I see a lot of the MMOs that Bree plays and just can’t over that many of them charge a $15 sub still. Then there are those ones she seems to play out of boredom or because it’s her job with little excitement factor in them.

If we depreciate the value on old movies, old music, and old shows all the time… why don’t we depreciate the value on old MMOs?

Reader
Loyal Patron
Patreon Donor
Kickstarter Donor
Paragon Lost

Great points, exactly the points that need to be made including those additional great points about depreciation of old movies and music etc. For me, I’m at the point that I’m tired of talking about it. There are those who just refuse to get or accept certain points and so we keep having these retread conversations.

Conversations where the same people refuse to budge on the points no matter how well the points are made and how often we see the negative impact of F2P and everything that it drug into the forefront. (loot boxes, cash shops etc)

Basically I just don’t have the juice in me anymore to debate it much. It feels stagnant and going no place argument wise.

Reader
Koshelkin

Everyone who’s willing to spend more than 15$ a month is setting up himself to get exploited. 10$ should be enough to keep the company running + some profit. Any additional funds should come through expansions or DLC only.

Reader
A Dad Supreme

I think it depends on the game.

Sure for older titles that are fully paid off (development/costs incurred, etc) $10/month should fit that bill, especially since many of the MMOs that are older than five years don’t push out regular content worth much.

But some titles deserve at least $15/month or more based on that company’s costs to upgrade new tech, new content and attract developers that can maintain the standard of that game instead of having to rely on hiring employees with less talent/drive at lower wages.

FFXIV is an example of that I think it’s a bargain at $15/month based on what they put in, support and constant quality. WoW could be one as well imo, but the fact that they have millions of subs means they don’t have to go over $15/month to pay their employees well, since that cost is spread out over those millions of subs.

Then there are games like Rift that seem to exist just to fund other titles that Trion wants to push out, while letting the quality of the main earner drop horrendously over the years, yet expect to still get $15/month while adding lockbox crap.

Duey Bear
Reader
Duey Bear

$5 a month is perfect ($60 in a year), but I do like multi-tiered subs (like what FFXIV does). I would go up to $20 a month if the game was good, the higher sub was optional, and the perks of the higher sub were worth it.

Reader
A Dad Supreme

The price would absolutely depend on the game itself, not some blanket industry-standard amount for each sub game.

A game like Star Citizen with all the tech and possibilities in it, I would pay up to $25/month, but that assumes it’s in a near-flawless, lag-free working order with everything they “promised” as content. Since that’s not going to happen, I would wait to see what actually ships before I consider giving them Dime #1 at any price.

Conversely, I wouldn’t pay $15/month for a game like Rift, AoC, EQ2 or Champions Online anymore because it’s just not good enough tech in today’s market to justify that price anymore being so old in the tooth. Max I’d pay for these games would be $9/month, but around $5/month ideally.

If I’m going to pay top dollar each month for a sub, I expect new and engaging content and/or cutting-edge graphics for that money, or I’ll just drop $60 on a console title like Horizon Zero Dawn or The Last of Us which is what I’ve been doing instead the last two years.