The Daily Grind: How much does value matter to you in MMOs?

I like the way you move.

Value is a weird concept. It makes sense at face value; for example, it’s pretty easy to sit down, list exactly the features I get for $15 a month in Final Fantasy XIV compared to what I’d get for the same monthly investment in Guild Wars 2, and determine the relative value. But that also treats every moment of a creative experience as somehow equivalent and lists bigger values as inherently better, leading to cases wherein more content regardless of quality is better value than less.

And that’s not even getting into the fact that no amount of investment in GW2 makes it FFXIV. For me, the value of that subscription is substantially higher based on that fact alone. Cost becomes entirely secondary.

I think that “value” tends to be one of those things we’re happy about for games we are personally playing rather than an actual objective measurement; if you’re heavily invested in Star Wars: The Old Republic, you’re going to feel like spending money there has a better chance of being high-value than spending money in a game you don’t play. But maybe that’s just me. How much does value matter to you in MMOs? Do you consider yourself very value-conscious when finding a game to play? Or do you just play what you find fun and weight the value of playing the games you like notably higher?

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Ben Stone

Microtransactions for essential progression items, key convenience items or items that prevent an otherwise stupid grind make me lose interest in a game instantly. If a game does cosmetics instead of monthly fee I usually end up spending about the same as I would have on the sub.


I use value a lot, but not in a scientofic way with numbers and deep analysis of features. And of course it is completely subjective, and also changes over tme, and completely unfair and unlogical (to anyone else).

Some “values” however are not comparable and there is a definite rank where some things just weight too much for anything else to make up for it or pull it down significantly.
No amount of good gameplay can ever make up for nasty monetization scheme, and in general I am highly sensitive to shops (in the negativ way). But on the other hand a fair monetization can also never make up for poor gameplay. The game has to be subjectively fun; and if it is I can endure quite a lot of frustration or features that I find annoying.
The game should have depth and (subjective) challenge, and if it is not I weight it against price and whether I have (subjective&momentarily) fun.

Toy Clown

I agree that value is subjective due to everyone having a different perspective around it. I often talk about value in MMOs here and I measure it strickly by how much I enjoy an MMO. For example….

Using FFXIV, I’m unable to play the combat side of the game anymore, so it lost a lot of its entertainment value for me. I am still entertained by other things in the game, so it still has some value. It’s perfect for a subscription MMO that I occasionally buy an outfit from.

Right now, AA:U has extreme good value as I paid for the base game, bought two outfits and have had no reason to buy anything else because there isn’t any P2W in the game (aside from owning several accounts). What’s on their cash shop isn’t all that appealing to me currently, so I haven’t spent anything on the game since those two outfits.

Games I’ve stopped playing because they no longer hold value for me to play: ESO, BDO and a few other cash shop heavy MMOs that also have subs. I find myself irritated by the MMO companies that burn the candle at both ends this way. Both of these MMOs have gotten worse in trying to get into my pockets and go out of their way to push P2W and convenience items into the cash shops.

So, yeah, subjective in that is what my perspective is on MMO value.

Robert Ferrell

Value os pretty subjective. In an mmo, I need to feel my time invested a value (from a gaming stand point) as any amount of money i throw at it. I have subbed many, i have played both b2p and f2p. Some examples of how I determine the value of time invested : guild wars 2, I played about 500 hours of this game . Mostly pvp. The pve was just rancid to me. My level 80s really ment nothing due to the zone adjustments. Same story for eso: 900+ hours invested , mostly pvp because of the pve adjustment factor. Black desert : 2500+ hours invested . This game rewards your grind and determination and I’ve spent less in the cash shop than I did subbing to eso. Swg: this one is tough to call total time played. Xfire had me at 7000 hours but I didnt use it all the time. Probably the only sub based game I didnt regret subbing to, even with all the controversy. Anyone thinking I’m fudging numbers is welcome to view my steam profile.


Well, most of the time you start with a value proposition, don’t you. Simple mechanics, what are getting for your money. But there are other factors that will impact value too. Brand, IP, friends, Updates, giveaways, etc. there are even seasonal considerations.

You wrap all of that up and then arrive at what is valuable to you at the time of purchase. So I agree that the actual cost in dollars and cents is not the only consideration when it comes to games.


Value means everything to me.

The Weeb formerly known as Sray
The Weeb formerly known as Sray

I hate subscriptions to single games, I really do: asking me to pay for access when others give away for free or a single upfront cost just irritates me to no end because I find there to be little real difference any of the presently available MMORPGs out there (just slight variations on the flavor). It gets worse when I look at microtransactions: more and more stuff is being shoved into the cash shops of the subscription MMOs, and they tend to gouge so much harder than their F2P counterparts. So I’m at a point where I find it almost impossible to find value in a single game subscription because I find them to be pretty much the exact same as their B2P and F2P competitors, except that I have to pay in order for them to try to sell me even more stuff.

And yet at the same time… (dramatic pause) I always pay a sub when playing SWTOR because the game is designed to be far too irksome when playing for free. But even in this case, I’m paying not so much because I feel the sub has value, but more because I feel like it’s the only way that the time I spend in the game has any value due to the free player restrictions.

So I guess value really is subjective, even on a case to case scenario.


My biggest concern is that I’m getting enough value for the money I’m putting into the game.

F2P games are not worth it, because they’re designed around a system that milks money out of whales, and to turn as many people as possible into whales. If you truly want to have a good experience, F2P games are not free to play, and the very name F2P is false.

I also don’t much like subscription games, I don’t want to drop money every month to keep playing a game I bought.

B2P games are okay, when they don’t have a cash shop. Most do.
I played ESO, which was fun, but the cash shop was annoying, and the sub even more annoying. I supported the game by buying the game and the DLC, that should be enough. Stop bugging me about the cash shop.

A game would be truly worth my money if I could buy it, play it, unlock everything, including housing, cosmetics, mounts, other races, etc, by playing the game, and not be constantly bugged to spend more money. I’d continue to support the game by buying DLC, as long as that DLC is similar to the original game. That way, the devs would have to consistently make quality content.

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❤ this discussion. We should always look for value. But what that is, and how it is defined, is a very subjective measure.

Dean Dean

This post shows how poorly people understand economics and how easy it is to manipulate people into paying more than they should.

Cost and personal value are not the same thing. Every product has a very specific economic cost that is determined by the manufacturing process. The price you pay should be determined by that and that alone.

You end up paying much more because you don’t know what that cost is. People tell you that competition keeps costs down and monopolies are illegal, but in reality, people charge whatever people are willing to pay.

Your feelings should only determine how much time and effort you invest in something, not how much you pay for it.


“People tell you that competition keeps costs down and monopolies are illegal, but in reality, people charge whatever people are willing to pay.”
Um, it does and they are.
No it doesn’t happen instantly, and yes people are entitled in a free market to charge whatever they want. If they find enough people willing to pay that, then they continue. If they don’t, they close (unless the government determines they are “too big to allow to fail” and then takes $ from everyone to prop them up, but that’s a whole different case) or lower their price and try again.


Kinda. Completely free market means big companies are free to use unscrupulous tactics to bankrupt the competition without having to compete fairly in the market. Like what happened when Origin Systems refused the initial attempts by EA to purchase them out; EA then went to some of Origin’s suppliers and offered them better deals on the condition they stopped supplying Origin, causing Origin’s costs to soar.

Or what Amazon is doing in a number of segments. Whenever Amazon enters a new segment, it offers products at a price that would force competitors to sell below cost to match, and offers free shipping to boot; when enough of the competition has been priced out of the market Amazon then returns prices to their regular levels. This is why a number of European countries are enacting what is in essence anti-Amazon laws; Amazon does whatever dirty trick they legally can in order to drive everyone else out of the market, which is very bad for any single country’s economy.

Heck, even the quite common tactic of purchasing a smaller competitor just to take its products out of the market is a good example of how unbridled competition can harm customers.

For the free markets to actually benefit consumers, it needs government to keep a tight rein over how companies are allowed to compete, and severely punish any that goes too far in their pursuit of market share.


Hmm. You aren’t wrong Dean Dean. BUT, Keynesian economics has evolved as well. The reasons people buy and the opportunity costs based on those decisions are topics of study and much debate. Because we aren’t buying widgets, are we?

So, brand stewardship is very important and so is intrinsic value. How you feel about a company and what they deliver that pushes you to ignore the simple supply and demand logic is very relevant in economies where consumers have disposable income.