During EA Play this weekend, EA announced Origin Access Premier, its attempt at a subscription service on PC. For $100 a year, you’ll basically get a service pretty similar to what already exists on Xbox: You’ll be able to play all the big new games, like Anthem, plus other titles within the Origin Vault, for that flat fee.
Subscriptions rise again, right? Is this a good thing for games outside the service?
“As always, I want to Bree to win the lottery, buy up some MMOs and take them to the Island of Misfit MMOs where $200 per annum gets you sub/pref access to all of RIFT, LOTRO, STO, SWTOR, et al.,” MOP tipster Sally wrote to us, urging us to write about the sub. “But picture that you are a hard-working indie dev. You already have the issues with dealing with Steam. Now a customer has to decide whether to buy your game or just play something like Anthem for no additional cost.”
Will you be subbing to EA’s new Origin Access Premier service? Do you think it’ll have a catastrophic impact on indie games or MMOs with subs?
Back in May, PWE surprised Star Trek Online players by effectively discontinuing the game’s optional monthly subscriptions
, replacing them with a starter pack that allowed everyone to permanently unlock most of the stuff they were getting with that sub. Now it appears it’s doing the same thing for Champions Online
, which was also a hybrid free-to-play title.
“We’re making a change to how subscriptions work in Champions Online,” the studio posted today. “The Lifetime Subscription will still be available and unchanged, but we’re shifting away from monthly subscriptions. As of June 7th, those subscriptions will no longer be available on our website. Instead, we’re replacing them with a brand new purchasable pack, Premium Pack.”
SoulWorker is technically in open beta on paper; it isn’t supposed to truly launch until later this quarter. It hit Steam at the end of February. It announced it was done wiping. It opened up the cash shop. And now, it’s got a subscription too – an optional one, mind you.
There are actually two different subscription plans, both 30-days, and they are stackable; the silver sub grants keycards, respawners, battle books, extra auction slots, and an additional 80 daily energy. The gold sub doubles most of those bonuses, adds a few more, and adds an additional 120 max energy. It’s also possible to buy subs and sell them in-game.
But it’s the energy perks that have beta testers particularly concerned about pay-to-win, as energy limits in-game activities in a way few MMORPGs can get away with. In SoulWorker, players start with 200 daily energy, so with the double sub, they can double that number. Gameforge says it’s still considering how to proceed.
A rather unique shindig is being planned for Shroud of the Avatar’s launch this March. Portalarium announced that it will be holding a release party on March 14th at the Bullock Texas History Museum. Only about 100 backers plus various press and guests will be able to attend and enjoy a short concert with Shooter Jennings.
Around that time, Shroud of the Avatar will also be present at SXSW Gaming Expo from March 13th through the 17th. Richard Garriott will get a special honor as a focus of a panel covering the game’s history and future.
Over on Reddit, an interesting poll is being conducted. A brand-new mod who took over r/shroudoftheavatar is now asking fans if they want the sub to remain open in light of several other subreddits covering the game and the sub devolving into a mess of trolling and outright attacks. “If you want this to stay open, posting is the second best thing you can do,” the new mod said. “Make your case not just here, but out there. Provide some things worth talking about. Win or go out swinging.”
We talk about money a lot here on Massively OP. Business models. Stupidly expensive things we’ve bought. Annoying cash shops. Even things we’d like to buy but no one will sell us – sup, Guild Wars 2, please sell me clothes I wanna wear!
One thing we haven’t done in long time is actually sort out which MMORPG is actually the most expensive. I don’t meant which one has the most expensive collector editions or sparkleponies; I mean… if you started fresh in a game, today, how much would it really cost you to get reasonably up to speed with the right expansion packs, DLC, or “necessary” cash shop addons like bag slots? Do sub games that charge for expansions too still ask for the most? Or are the “hidden” fees of cash-shop-driven play significantly more burdensome? Take all that into account for today’s Daily Grind as you consider: What’s the most expensive MMO to play at the end of 2017?
One of the things that’s always intrigued me about games like Trove and RuneScape is their willingness to experiment with different kinds of sub models. Most AAA MMORPGs that have a sub go for the stock $15-per-month fee standardized back in the early aughts. A month is a nice clean chunk of time, but it’s just as arbitrary as anything else, and in a world with lots of MMOs to play, sometimes I just want to dabble for a week or two rather than commit to an entire month in the currency of time or money.
Trove enables that urge: It offers a 15-day, $8 sub, which feels like less of commitment psychologically. The game also cleverly hands out as in-game rewards smaller sub passes in the 1- to 3-day range to give people a tiny taste of the sub perks — another thing I’ve never seen in a AAA title.
Personally, I think offering short-term options like this is a really good idea for a free-to-play title, to the point that I am not sure why other games don’t follow suit. What’s the downside here? What do you think of half-size MMO subs?
Just because an MMORPG is free-to-play doesn’t mean that the studio really wants you to, y’know, play for free
. Over the past year or so, we’ve seen several MMO studios strongly encourage players to make the switch to a subscription from both the carrot and the stick angles.
TERA is more carrot, for sure, especially this week as the fantasy title announced that it’s beefing up its subscription benefits with a new daily reward. “TERA has a lot to offer players who opt in for elite status, and En Masse just made elite status that much more tempting…with free EMP!” the studio posted. “Once each day, elite players will be able to collect 15 EMP when they log in on top of all the other perks they get for their elite status.”
TERA’s sub also includes double dungeon entries, double XP boosts, special store sales, a village atlas, a travel journal, no broker fees, and other daily rewards. So what do you think, TERA players? Is this enough to convince you to make the switch?
If you haven’t gotten the message lately, Trion Worlds is pushing very hard to encourage RIFT players to subscribe up with patron status. The studio buffed patron membership at the expense of free-to-play offerings and came out with patron-exclusive quests not too long ago.
Now it’s added something called the affinity system. Basically, this is a new set of rewards only for those who have ponied up for patron status in RIFT. By logging in and playing for a few hours, players can accumulate up to eight affinity points a day to spend in a new section of the game store. There are rewards like mounts and dimension keys available for those who save up enough points through this system.
You can take in the entire explanation for this system after the jump.
Survival MMORPG The Skies is launching what developer Eforb is calling closed Steam early access next week on April 8th, with an open early access alpha to follow on the 16th and beta chasing “soon after.” Launch is anticipated for “later this year.” Players who buy in before May 15th will pick up a $15 lifetime membership; after launch, the game’s premium version will run $10 a month.
“During the first month of Steam Early Access April 16th to May 15th, players will be offered a unique lifetime membership in The Skies via the Lifetime Premium Package, priced at $15. This limited offer enables players who upgrade to a Premium Account during the launch to retain this privilege without any further need for a subscription. After the end of the launch period, Premium Accounts will revert to a monthly subscription-based model priced at $10.”
“The Skies is a mix of FPS and RPG adapted to a multiplayer game in a big post-apocalyptic world,” says American-Ukrainian indie studio Eforb. “Features include a unique role system, and economy that entirely depends on players, non-linear dialogues and quests, clan wars, PVP/TVT combats, and much, much more.”
Is it really an MMORPG? Eforb argues yes — with a twist.
Free-to-play Neverwinter has decided to dip its toes in the neighboring pool of subscriptions, as Cryptic announced that it’s now offering a VIP membership to players who want to pay on a monthly basis.
VIP packs can be purchased through the game store and used for 30 days of premium membership. What’s interesting here is that players will accrue “VIP points” the more packs they use, rising to ever-greater tiers of membership that offer more benefits. Think of it as traditional subscription perks merged with a loyalty program. VIP points never go away even if the player allows the sub to lapse.
Some of the perks for the VIP program include a free daily enchanted key, access to the exclusive Moonstone Mask zone, teleporation signposts, injury immunity, free auction house posting, and boosts to XP and astral diamond acquisition.
. Thanks to Teppic and Shintar for the tip!
Just because Elder Scrolls Online is going buy-to-play in a month doesn’t mean that ZeniMax is giving up hope that you’ll stay subscribed to the game. Today the studio announced that it is adding two more loyalty rewards for those who have kept a sub up for a while.
The first reward is a delightfully creepy Mask of Cheerful Slaughter for those who have been with the game for nine months. Even better is the addition of the Striped Senche mount. This exclusive bridled tiger will be available to those who are subscribed on March 16th and have already banked 300 days of subscription time at that point.
You can check out a quick video of both of these rewards after the break.
Although we don’t have the full idea of what Crowfall is, today we know more about how we’ll be paying for it in the future.
ArtCraft released a pricing FAQ for the upcoming fantasy title in which it revealed that the game will be buy-to-play with an estimated retail price of $50. There will also be an optional VIP membership package (around $15 a month) that includes behind the scenes access, passive training for three character slots, priority server access, pricing discounts, and other “non-balance affecting benefits.” VIP membership tickets will also be bought and sold between players. These prices are specified for the North American market for right now.
The team also released a sneak peek at another one of the game’s classes, the Confessor, and a heaping of backstory in the form of fantasy scripture.
[Source: Pricing FAQ
, the Confessor
, War of the Gods (part 1)