The Daily Grind: What’s the most expensive MMO to play at the start of 2020?

    
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Let’s talk about money. Everyone knows that you can go over to Star Citizen right now and drop thousands of dollars on stuff in the game. But really, you can do that in a lot of games. RuneScape got called out on the global stage for just that problem last year. But those are outliers. You don’t actually need to spend that kind of money just to play the game on, say, the level of MMORPG play we might have expected in the mid-aughts before cash shops really blew up.

So let’s sort out which MMO is actually the most expensive just to properly play it. I don’t meant which one has the most expensive stuff; I mean which one is gonna cost you the most coin to join right now and catch up. How much would it really cost you to get reasonably up to speed with the right DLC or “necessary” cash shop addons (like bank space or bag slots)? And what about “optional” subs and hidden fees I haven’t even thought of?

What’s the most expensive MMO to play at the start of 2020 – and is it different from 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!

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Ben Stone

Dungeons and Dragons Online. Had an urge to check it out again after some RL DnD, oh man what a rip off. You have to buy ancient expansions to catch up. Turned me off before I even installed.

I don’t understand why some MMOs insist on still charging for outdated expansions. They should be rolled into the latest one if you ever want players to return.

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Dug From The Earth

People seem really challenged to put everything into perspective here….

I blame part of the “Gotta have everything NAO!” generation of gaming.

But lets look at things from a different perspective

A subscription based mmorpg like WoW of FF14:
— Initial box cost of 60 dollars (which if done right, get you all past expansions)
— Monthly cost 15 dollars

So lets factor in that someone will play one of these games for a year. (which typically isnt the case, most people play big, well established mmorpgs for a lot longer)

— Year subscription cost 180 dollars
— Cost of box + playing for a year = 240 dollars
— Cost of box + playing for 3 years = 600 dollars

again, 3 years is still kinda tame when it comes to games like WoW and FF14. Most of my FF14 guild members have over 300+ DAYS of play time. Thats over 7,200 HOURS of play.

Now… lets compare it to a F2P game like Lotro. How many expansion DLC’s would you need to buy to get to 600 dollars? I dont think you could. Im not talking store cosmetics. Hell, id be shocked if all the DLC even came to 240 dollars (the cost of playing FF14 for 1 year).

Lets look at DDO. Buy a subscription for a year to get VIP status for 99 bucks, which will unlock ALL content that isnt an expansion. Then buy the 3 expansions for around 75 bucks (current pricing from steam page). Thats less than 200 dollars for pretty much everything. STILL cheaper than 1 years worth of WoW or FF14.

The problem here is everyone is looking at the cost up front as opposed to the long term cost.

So the real question is:

“Do you plan to play an mmorpg for a year or more? Or do you plan on playing for a month or two?”

If you plan on playing for a year or more, its less of a cost to play lotro or DDO, than it is to play WoW or FF14.

Likewise, if you are only gonna play for 2-3 months, a subscription game is gonna be cheaper.

HOWEVER…. the odds of you doing all the games content in 2-3 months isnt likely, for either type of game… so for something like Lotro, you dont NEED to buy all the DLC and content up front, if you arent going to play long enough to even take part in it.

I dont think one game wins this award.

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Robert Mann

True, but the question was to play at the start of 2020 and be current. The assumption of play time is another issue. Subscriptions wouldn’t be that bad a deal if they went back into more content… but they generally are treated as profit instead, which is where they failed to compete.

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Rodrigo Dias Costa

I agree with you. B2P subs-required ones are the most expensive.

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jay

BDO if you want to be high-end competitive. WoW/ESO/LotRO/FFXIV otherwise. Expansions + sub end up well over 200 bucks a year. For LotRO you have to buy the x-packs individually…

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Roger Melly

I had to do a bit of thinking about this because my first answer was Lotro but as I pointed out below you can get access to all the expansions for 140 dollars ( whats that about 115 pounds ? ) . I doubt you would have to pay a subscription on top of that unless you so desired but it probably would be possible to do all the content with it without spending any extra on the cash shop. I’m a lifer anyway and I got that for half price when it was on offer :P

Teso is reasonably expensive with several DLC’s and an expansion a year . Still I think if you added that up it probably would come to less than 100 pounds ?

WoW requires a subscription if you pay it monthly then that means a year to play it would be 180 dollars or 150 pounds with an expansion on top of it that pushes it to over 200 dollars a year .

The thing is you have to remember all these games have sales on for expansions and Teso offers free access to the DLC’s sometimes ( in fact I have played them all and never payed for one ) . If you bide you time you could play Lotro and Teso for a lot less that the prices I have quoted above . The same is not true of WoW because of its subscription fee .

However given WoW is possible to play for in game currency that would only make it 40 dollars whenever an expac is released if you have the time and inclination to pay for access to it like that .Of course there is also the factor you can obtain most things in game so the cash shop there is less likely to get you to open your wallet .

I think I would say for the average everyday gamer its probably World of Warcraft on an annual basis .

But those three I have mentioned are probably the most expensive ( with DDO getting an honorable mention )

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Kickstarter Donor
Ken from Chicago

Doesn’t WoW have a free trial up to level 20?

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Bruno Brito

Yes.

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Oleg Chebeneev

Yeah, that offers like 2 hours of gametime. Then you need to pay

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Kickstarter Donor
Ken from Chicago

The free trial isn’t time locked. It’s level locked. You can stay level 20 for months and still play.

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Oleg Chebeneev

I know. But there is nothing to do for that much time at level 20. You run out of things to do in few days. You also have limited professions level, gold cap, etc. Free trial experience in WoW is very limited

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Zero_1_Zerum

LOTRO is pretty gosh darned expensive. The cost of all the expansions I’d need to catch up on the game is the main reason I haven’t gotten back into it.

ESO can add up, too. But, they have often have sales on the expansions and bundles of DLC, which makes it a bit cheaper.

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Roger Melly

The first four lotro expansions are bundled for 39.99 but its still pretty expensive given the last two Mordor and Minas Morgal are still 39.99 each and Helms deep is 19.99. I am not sure if that bundle unlocks all the base game ( i imagine it would though ) .

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Oleg Chebeneev

Along with already mentioned LoTRO, maybe TESO. You also need to buy expansions and DLCs along with base game, and they arent cheap

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Axetwin .

Without ever touching the game, I can tell you it’s LOTRO. They’ve made no effort to bundle the DLC’s, and there’s a great many of them. This is single handedly the reason why I was confused you guys gave it the award for being the Most Underrated MMO of 2019.

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Joey

Lotro

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Anthony Clark

Star Citizen?
EvE?

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Oleg Chebeneev

Need only 40$ to play SC and dont need to pay anything to play EVE. Only 15$/mo if you need expanded skillset

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Utakata

I think the article is referring to what one could potentially spend, as to what they are spending currently. So this really rules out those who value engineer their playing sessions as you seem to be pointing out. Therefor, it would be ridiculous to assume TERA is entirely free because I pay nothing for it this and last year, in the example. Where as I could be paying a lot more on it if I was upwardly mobile. So straight off the bat and pigtail, Star Citizen would be on my top list based on what one could spend on, for good or bad.

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Oleg Chebeneev

What one could spend is dumb question since in many online games you can spend infinite amount of money.
This question is more like “how much you need to spend to get access to all relevant ingame content”

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Utakata

Dumb or not, it appears to be the question that is being asked in the breakdown. Or more specifically, what is the most expensive game that you need to keep up with the Jones in at the turn of this year? /shrug

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Kickstarter Donor
Ken from Chicago

What mmo *can’t* you spend thousands if not millions, of dollars on? Especially if you multibox.

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Utakata

I presume it’s also asked of those who run single accounts only from the wording. But even then, all being equal…Star Citizen would still likely beat WoW in twinking out all your 5 boxes, lol.

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Oleg Chebeneev

in SC you only need to buy Aurora for 40$ once. In WoW you need to pay 15$ monthly for all your twinks. so no, SC wont beat WoW at that

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Utakata

That’s out of my league to verify that or not. But since #influencer is equated with bullshit artist, I’ll say maybe? There are ships a lot more expensive than $40 and if any of them give or will give a player the advantage, then your claim will be meaningless. Assuming you are right though, the pigtails will stand corrected for now. /shrug

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Kickstarter Donor
Ken from Chicago

It’s the polar opposite.

“Everyone knows that you can go over to Star Citizen right now and drop thousands of dollars on stuff in the game. But really, you can do that in a lot of games. RuneScape got called out on the global stage for just that problem last year. But those are outliers. You don’t actually need to spend that kind of money just to play the game on, say, the level of MMORPG play we might have expected in the mid-aughts before cash shops really blew up.”

Bree is talking about what it takes to get in the game. Now, admittedly, there is a possible source of confusion if you’re not careful:

“So let’s sort out which MMO is actually the most expensive just to properly play it. I don’t meant which one has the most expensive stuff; I mean which one is gonna cost you the most coin to join right now and catch up. How much would it really cost you to get reasonably up to speed with the right DLC or “necessary” cash shop addons (like bank space or bag slots)? And what about “optional” subs and hidden fees I haven’t even thought of?”

There it is, the optional subs and hidden fees. To understand what she meant, you have to look at it in context. She’s using “optional” in quotes–aka sarcastically. She’s referring to mmos like SWTOR the severely limits features for F2Pers, eg, bag slots and bank slots thus limiting how much you can carry or afford.

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Utakata

Nope. It’s still asking you to keep up with the Jones….which does not really imply buying the most expensive items, but rather to stay ahead or with the curve. As I’ve already indicated, that’s how I am reading it. Until the writer suggests otherwise, that’s how I am going to take it. /shrug

I personally stay behind the curve, so this is all merely academic for me. As one who is a value engineered consumer, I’m sitting this one out as this doesn’t really apply to me in relations to the games I play. That is, 2 subs and one B2P I play for free currently.

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Kickstarter Donor
Ken from Chicago

Agreed. Moreover, technically, STAR CITIZEN can be played for free if you wait for one of the Fly Free weeks.

But as the Bree said in the original article, while you can spend thousands of dollars to buy a (bundle of) ship(s), you don’t *have* to get in the ‘verse.

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Robert Mann

LOTRO or DDO if you are buying all content, bag/storage space, and level boosting to be current. ESO is another top contender with content. Most everything else has taken to either reducing or negating old xpac costs.

On the other hand, where all those games shine is that level cap and endgame aren’t really the be all and end all of things as much as in other titles that could compete for this.

I’d say it’s one of the various P2W PvP oriented titles out there, whether Asian or Browser. Simply put, you can’t even begin to compete in some of those without >$50,000 dropped. No thanks!