The Daily Grind: What’s the most expensive MMO to play at the start of 2019?

    
43

2018 was an odd year for MMO monetization. Oh sure, we saw Star Citizen offer things like $27,000 ship packages, but obviously most people aren’t buying that – they’re outliers. No, it’s much easier to slip in lockboxes and pricey lifetime subs that’ll fly a bit more under the radar, especially in older games.

So now that we’re in 2019 and we’ve got our “best value” games list locked down, maybe we can sort out which MMORPG is actually the most expensive, and which one offers the worst value for your coins. I don’t meant which one has the most expensive stuff; I mean which one is the worst for starting fresh. 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 start of 2019 – and has your answer changed since last year?

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!

43
LEAVE A COMMENT

Please Login to comment
  Subscribe  
newest oldest most liked
Subscribe to:
Reader
Lieutenant BaconWaffles

It has to be a subscription game with a $60 or higher down payment for the starter levels that charges extra for expansions & has no F2P options. As far as I know it’s WoW, due to the amount of expansions it has.

My second guess is ArcheAge, which claimed to be f2p but couldn’t pass for it in the lowest of terms.

Reader
Bruno Brito

I’m going to extreme this:

LOTRO, SC, WoW, GW2, WHATEVER.

No game, NO GAME. N O G A M E will be as expensive as Allods Online.

Reader
Leiloni

If you want the full experience as a new player, both GW2 and ESO cost a lot because there’s expansions and additional DLC content if you try to be a B2P player. Both are over $100 if you don’t catch a sale. ESO you could buy the expacs and then sub/month, but it’d only be worth it if you played enough and even then, you’re still paying for one expac/year which is more than any other game does. BDO of course costs a lot as well to get up and running.

Reader
Bruno Brito

True but you can play in bursts, and acquire xpacs at a pace instead of altogether.

They are expensive tho, can’t deny, i just think that sub-based MMOs are worse.

Reader
Kickstarter Donor
Rees Racer

I’ve been playing ESO since beta, but if you were keen to start playing today (and invest fully) in one the most healthy MMO’s presently, it would not be an inexpensive proposition.

Sales on the base game are frequent enough. But even taking that into account, I consider the two expansions fairly important to own, as well as the ESO Plus subscription (which opens up all 10 of the DLC’s).

All of a sudden it’s up ~$100, and then the the sub cost/month.

Of course, only a fairly small investment is necessary to see if you like the game at all. But it’s still not even F2P.

It doesn’t seem that expensive to me at the moment, as I just pay the sub, but for a new player…ouch.

Reader
Mr.McSleaz

Just get ESO Plus and don’t buy any of the DLC.

Reader
Kickstarter Donor
Rees Racer

I did include that bit in my description.
Cheers. :)

Reader
partiesplayin

I would say Archeage by far is the most expensive or at least was when I was playing it early 2018. If you want to get a good start in the game a sub is mandatory, which is 15 dollars , then 3 farms is mandatory, then maybe a house, then storage slots bank and inventory, then a good wagon which will cost you money so you can do trade runs, then a boat, then gear for your boat so you don’t get ganked,then gear oh man here is where you will sink most of your money you could spend 5000.00to be competive . Or you could progress at a snail’s pace and get basically no where in 6 months time.

Reader
Arktouros

This is actually a favorite topic of mine and it really hits on the “Keeping up with the Joneses” mentality that we see in the cash shop age of MMO monetization.

I like BDO. However if you ask people how much money you have to spend to get started in BDO you’re likely to hear a super wide range of answers generally in the hundreds range. Five T4 pets? Mandatory. Maximum weight? Mandatory. Maximum inventory? Mandatory. Artisan Memories for enhancing? Mandatory. Tent? Mandatory. T4 fairy? Mandatory. If you’re not prepared to drop at least $600 don’t even consider BDO!!!11

If something exists, there will be someone who is going to argue it is mandatory in order to play the game. You see this in every game. People have taken this mentality so far that they will actually cry out against such items as p2w because they feel they need these items/features because someone else will buy them an get an advantage over them. They gotta keep up! However what’s truly most baffling is many of these things will get introduced after the game launch. So people were playing the game perfectly fine without right up until the point they introduce a new item and suddenly the game is now “unplayable” without said item. Which we know obviously not true because people played the game just fine for the length of time before said item was introduced.

But it’s that mentality that people really struggle with in this cash shop age. With companies like Star Citizen selling multi thousand dollar packages or games like BDO allowing you to dump infinite money into the cashshop to upgrade your gear people’s inability to differentiate between mandatory and luxury makes this topic always interesting if not a bit sad.

(PS: You only need about $60 to get started in BDO and be comfortable. You wait for the game to go on sale, get the Explorer’s Package for $25. This gives you 1 pet and 60 days of subscription plus other stuff. Then you spend $30 in the cash shop and that gives you enough for 3 more pets and an item brand. That’s 4 pets for active game play (and you typically get another for free in game), an item brand for permanent fishing rod for AFK gameplay, and enough subscription to see if you like the game).

Reader
Eliandal

Doesn’t BDO still have login rewards? I know that last year I got significant amounts of “mandatory” things just by logging in.

Reader
Arktouros

Yes it does. They essentially shower players in free stuff constantly.

Reader
Nick

Completely agree about BDO only costing about $60 to have a basic “starter setup” that could last you a while until you decide if you really want to commit to the game. A new player can likely find someone to even gift them the base game for free, because the gifter is rewarded with a special pet people seem to want.

A year of treating it like a subscription game will get you a LOT of luxuries if you take advantage of sales and free cash shop currency by dropping $100 for the extra free currency, instead of buying tiny bits at a time.

A lot of people these days suggest only getting 3 pets in the store, maybe some max-weight, and then playing the game and sniping the cash shop costume you want from the in-game market place. With persistence you don’t have to spend a lot of money unless you are impatient.

Reader
Sarah Cushaway

LOTRO, probably. They were one of the first western MMOs to go f2p and having to pay for quest packs IN THE BASE GAME, as well as expansions, is pretty expensive. Sure, you can grind out turbine points and get it all for free–but the amount of grinding you would need to do would likely kill your desire to play the game. LOTRO is more of a “free trial up to 30-ish” and then you’d better start forking over.

Reader
Hirku

For f2p, LOTRO. At least SWTOR and SWL give you plenty of quality content that you can enjoy in spite of the inconveniences they want you to pay your way out of. LOTRO piles on the inconveniences like everybody else but is very stingy with the content.

Reader
Lieutenant BaconWaffles

I remember…. Create secondary character, level to 30, delete character due to limited free slots, create new secondary character, lather, rinse, repeat.

Reader
Barnoc N'Draak

Play, or play with a reasonable level of freedom to not hit a wall?

ESO is very expensive if you want the full experience.

Reader
Coolit

This is what a lot of people don’t factor in, if you want the full experience like traditional sub/box cost games offer the cost is many many times more with F2P and B2P games as a good portion of the content is sold at an additional cost.

Reader
Reht

Yeah, Rift got pay barrier heavy quickly too

Reader
Lieutenant BaconWaffles

Nah, I played RIFT for 5 years without spending a dime. But when I finally did toss them $50, I got very little for it. Their cash store is overpriced AF.

Reader
Northerner

This topic is very biased, especially that “top ten value going into 2019” ranking…
If you are looking at “most expensive” to play, starting out, the list quickly fills up with P2P MMOs..

I’m not familiar with Lotro but as another comment suggests, having to pay for every expansion that comes out will quickly rack up the price.

But looking at WoW and FF14 etc. without purchasing the current expansion you have a monthly subscription of approx. 15 USD, so that’s 180 USD per year.. if a new major expansion comes out, like BfA just now priced at 50-60 USD, you’ll want that. Year running total then in the range of 220 – 240 USD. Subsequent years will be minimum of another 180 USD.

Compare this to B2Ps like GW2 or BDO.. base game is at 10 USD, xpacs in GW2 tend to come out at approx. 30 USD (and include base game). After that, no one is forcing you to buy anything. Yes, in BDOs case you can argue you’ll want to buy inventory expansion, weight increase etc, but you can also get certain upgrades to this simply from playing the game. Point is no one is forcing you to buy, it’s convenience or “p2w” according to some, but if you’re not about to open your wallet, you’re not cut off from the game either. You’ll just level up/gear up slower than the rest.
Year running total of 10 – 40 USD. Subsequent year depends on new xpacs coming out, can be anything from additional 30 USD/year or 30 USD every 3-4 years.

2 years of P2P game => ballpark figure of 360 – 480 USD
2 years of B2P game => ballpark figure of 20 – 100 USD

Still wondering what’s more expensive to play?

This is what is BARE minimum to play. The question of whether BDO is fun/worth the while without convenience items bought from microtransactions is an entirely different one.

Reader
Loyal Patron
Patreon Donor
Armsbend

Speaking for myself only – daily grinds by their very nature are biased – they are totally based on the opinions of the writers and we readers. There is no news here. It’s a way to start our day and rant or glow.

Reader
Coolit

You raise some valid points and on the face of things F2P/B2P games are absolutely the cheapest option to get into which I’m sure is the main draw for many people.

However if you want to get the full experience like WoW and FFXIV offer B2P and F2P games are unquestionably more expensive after you factor in buying everything from the store on an ongoing basis. Not that I’m suggesting any sane person would do this its still an important factor to consider.

Reader
styopa

Then again IIRC you can play WoW all day long (as long as you’re cool with being lvl 20 or below), or FFXIV all day long as long as you’re cool with being lvl 35 or below on any class. So they’re “technically” free to play, to some degree, but IMO that’s certainly equivalent to the someone-please-kill-me f2p grinders that put most of the game behind cashshop ‘convenience-but-basically-required’ items.

I just wish most of the f2p’s would offer a “pay us the $15/mo fee and you CAN have the ACTUAL game without any constraints” option. I would cheerfully do that, and probably play some of them more. I know I can (manually) sort of do that by buying stuff in the cashshops but 1) I feel dirty and stupid any time I use a cashshop in a game, and 2) I expect that you’d find out that paying alacarte pricing you really would need to pay much much more than $15/mo to not have xp constraints, not have level constraints, become freely able to get drops that otherwise would cost obscene amounts in the shops, etc. (Particularly from very-greedy vendors like Pearl Abyss, which, considering their currency is also pearls, is about the most eponymously named business/business strategy in the industry.)

Reader
Coolit

I just wish most of the f2p’s would offer a “pay us the $15/mo fee and you CAN have the ACTUAL game without any constraints” option

If only ESO would offer this It would be a game changer in my opinion.

Pay X amount per month and get everything unlocked and earnable in the actual game including the items from the gambling boxes.

Reader
Fervor Bliss

No game is $15 a month and you get full experience. All have cash shops.

Reader
Grimmtooth

It’s actually quite easy to play WoW without ever paying actual cash; if you do well enough financially in-game (for example, selling stuff on the auction house), you can purchase game tokens with in-game gold and Blizzard Bongo Bucks with in-game gold. I haven’t paid cash to Blizzard since the WoW token came out, and I bought the last expansion for myself, my wife, and my kid using bongo bucks only.

Obviously I’m not going to fall into the vast majority of gamers because Some Effort on Your Part is Required with this, but it’s an example of just one way around the cash wall that Blizz has provided.