The Daily Grind: What MMO will change its business model dramatically in 2020?

    
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The Daily Grind: What MMO will change its business model dramatically in 2020?

It used to be our tradition around the end of the year to speculate on which MMORPG that hadn’t yet gone free-to-play would be next to capitulate to the trend. But folks, there’s almost nothing left in the world of subscription-only services. Most games with subs have long since hybridized to offer some form of free-to-play. Even Dark Age of Camelot went hybrid free-to-play this year. It’s a pretty restrictive version, but it’s there.

Do you think any of the remaining sub-only MMORPGs – that are actually launched and live, that is – will yet go free-to-play? Is World of Warcraft or Final Fantasy XIV next, or are they untouchable? Have we overlooked any other smaller games? What about unlaunched games that are still insisting on going pure sub – will they keep their word? What MMO will be the next to change up its business model dramatically?

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!

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Zachary Heath Watson

I want FFXI to have some sort of f2p implementation.

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Rodrigo Dias Costa

This also probably makes sense to them, as a marketing tool for FFXIV. They’ll eventually want to get rid of XI, since XIV makes so much more money with the same amount of resources, so why not use it to attract more players to their games?

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donvweel

I think Blizz should offer 2 tier subs for those that only play classic. I feel ripped off paying full sub price for both retail and classic.

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Witches

I don’t expect any game launching as sub only to do well, not because of the business model, but because the game will launch with too little content to keep players busy for long, and once too many people get to max level the game will not provide new content in a cadence that’s good enough to keep numbers and the game will slowly bleed players until it’s no longer viable.

Every game that is on the threshold of being an MMO is either b2p or f2p, GTAO, RDR, Division, Destiny, all of these games survived MMOs launched at the same time, and their devs don’t seem to have any problems making their games fun.

No game is going to give you everything for 15€ a month, anyone that is playing MMOs for something other than raids and pvp has no reason to pay 15€ monthly.

Blizz launched a new (old) MMO and you can play either game with one sub, this says all that needs to be said about the sub model.

If i spend 30€ a month on a game and someone else doesn’t spend anything the game still gets 15€ monthly so what is the real problem, because we all know “whales” more than make up for all the “freeloaders”, the fact that people who spend a lot and people who spend nothing are both tagged with derogatory terms says a lot about this genre.

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Toy Clown

I love my subscription games, always have. With a small exception, I’ll play B2P games as long as their cash shop isn’t full of quality-of-life features you have to pay for. I’m mostly content with FFXIV and AA:U’s current business models, even with the Archepass disabled on the latter.

I consider AA:U a high-value game currently as what is in its cash shop at present isn’t needed, or that attractive to buying with cash. We get our ghetto diligence coins and labor weekly, which means we can get some fluff off that shop.

While I do have some reservations about how expensive costumes for one character are combined with subscription model in FFXIV, especially when you add in needed storage for 5$ on their app, and 2$ per retainer, I feel they’re burning the candle at both ends and no wonder the game is making so much damn money. I pay 20$ a month for FFXIV, which I still consider good value for 24/7 entertainment (if I choose to take advantage, minus downtimes.).

I’d really like to see more MMOs go with what AA:U is doing, or just go full sub with a cash shop that only sells cosmetics. I hate lockboxes and won’t buy them. At all. While I like ESO, they’ve turned into an MMO that is monotonizing the heck out of everything in their cash shop, watching outfit prices shoot through the roof (they’re in the double-digit mark now!), on top of offering gambling boxes, which I feel is waaayy over-the-top burning of the candle at both ends and makes the game terrible quality for my playstyle

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Robert Mann

As pressure on loot boxes continue, the dramatic change for 2020 will be… displaying some odds for what is in the loot boxes and saying “There, it’s better!”

It will take some time yet, and require a consumer-rewarded success for a quality new title that specifically avoids the scummy models, for less scummy models to make a larger return. Until then, we are stuck with “Buy what makes sense in the few decent games, and ‘if you do venture into the darkness looking for adventure leave the credit card behind.’

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Armsbend

Some will go from open for business to closed for business.

Oneiromancer
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Oneiromancer

LOTRO needs to do what many other MMOs do and bundle in earlier content with newer expansions. New players get turned off pretty quickly by how many zones and expansions you have to buy to get to the end. Even subscribing you don’t automatically get access to the older expansions, only to quest packs. Yes, there are occasional sales, but I think they could do more to encourage new players than just include an automatic level boost in the recent expansions.

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Vincent Clark

If I could expand on that a bit further…

1. Make the game free-to-play up until level 50 (pre Moria expansion).
2. Moria and everything after requires a sub to play.
3. Get rid of the damn loot boxes.
4. Remove the slot machine hobbit presents UI completely. You get your “gifts” via hobbit mail.
5. Remove all pay-by-mithril-coin options scattered throughout the game.
6. Sell only cosmetics in the store (mounts, outfits and housing items)–remove all “convenience” and “p2w” items completely.

Then…it might be a game worth playing.

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Toy Clown

This is the entire reason why I don’t play LOTRO. The entry-level is too steep.

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Vincent Clark

I mean, does anyone want WoW or FF14 to go free-to-play? Not a single person I know that currently plays FF14 has any desire to see that game go free-to-play. Can’t speak for WoW.

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Utakata

…there are some that really want this. I have notice their heads occasionally popping up in various mediums on this topic. As I suspect there are those directly in involved in developing the respective games have entertained this prospect. I hope these game makers see that currently both MMO’s are much more sustainable as subs, than the flash-in-the-pan F2P model where it can’t be guarantee everyone will be paying who plays it.

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Vincent Clark

Again, I can’t speak for WoW, but I know Yoshi-P has said several times (and recently) that he has absolutely no desire–or need ($)–to change FF14 to free-to-play. Hopefully, that will never change :)

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Utakata

To be clear, I get that. However, I would not be surprised that this has been looked at by either party as something more viable. It would be the fact that both have stated they are not interested as far as I am aware, is to me evidence they have least done so on a marketing research initiative behind the NDA’s on this at the least. I could be wrong though…I just don’t think they could conclude that the F2P models are not for them on a whim.

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Bruno Brito

I don’t care for FF14.

I want WoW’s lvl 50 experience on Shadowlands to go F2P, but i’ll be satisfied if they don’t change their level 20 to level 10.

I actually like some limited trial MMOs because it forces you to twink for completionism. Some people on the XPOff community have f2p twinks that have thousands of achievement points.

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Utakata

I would like to see MMO drop their “free”-to-play models for something more consumer sub friendly. And it becomes a popular trend for 2020.

Also: The lootbox era comes to an end.

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Vincent Clark

^^This. So much this!

Liandreth
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Liandreth

Yeah, that’s what I’m hoping for too.

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Schmidt.Capela

I would love to see MMOs start to add absolutely everything that can be purchased as microtransactions to their sub, so if you are paying the $15 per month you don’t need to (or can’t) pay anything else in order to enjoy absolutely everything the game offers.

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Utakata

I’ll take that too.

Dantos
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Dantos

I cant think of any major MMO that feels like it needs a major reinvigoration. ESO and FF14 seem to be doing well, structured around their cadence of updates. WoW might experiment with something since BoA didnt go over to well, but I think that will be more in terms of gameplay changes, like that they are doing with leveling, rather than business model.

If anything…maybe EvE? That game seems to be in flux right now.

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PanagiotisLial1

EVE is pretty much “flat” last years, has the common up and downs throughout its like but it was never a game of 100k+ toons connected at once. More in the range of 15k-35k. Practically EVE hasnt grown but hasnt scaled down either.

I would like them to offer more to f2p players but they actually toned down f2p advantages not too many months ago.

My pick would be UO however, because they felt the sub could lower significantly their subscriptions they made it more like an endless tutorial mode on f2p(even if you get the cash shop free player hardbox). They got to take the risk at some point since their playerbase wont be getting any larger or younger and the core game is actually better than LoA is now in terms of gameplay