The Daily Grind: Which MMO has the best subscription or loyalty rewards?

    
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The Daily Grind: Which MMO has the best subscription or loyalty rewards?

A few weeks back on the Massively OP Podcast, Justin explained to me how Neverwinter’s exponential subscription works. Basically, instead of just subbing for a bonus and stipend every single month, you can actually buy (and receive the benefits of) multiple months at a time, allowing you to catch up or pre-pay. And as you rack up months, your VIP rank increases permanently as well, meaning the longer you play (or the more you pay backward/forward) the better your rewards are, up to the cap, at which point everyone’s playing even.

It’s not an unheard of system, of course; in fact, it’s pretty similar to what City of Heroes was doing almost a decade ago. But I like the flexibility of it. If a studio is going to do loyalty rewards, allowing players concerned about missing out a way to bolster their accounts to the same level as (and at the same cost as) everyone else’s seems fair as well as obviously good for the studio. Though of course, whether it constitutes pay-to-win in the drill-down is a whole ‘nother story.

Which MMO do you think has the best subscription or loyalty rewards?

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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Sorenthaz

ESO is probably the best bang for buck in terms of what you get out of it. Outside of the yearly chapters there’s not much else you need to worry about spending money on in that game if you keep a sub up, and while it can be seen as scummy due to inventory being a pain otherwise, I at least feel like they respect the subscription (compared to RIFT’s “sorry but a $15/month sub isn’t good enough for us” Patron model). I guess the same could be said for WoW and FFXIV too with their expansions.

DCUO might be too I guess? But that’s kind of the type of game where if you fall out of it there’s no real coming back to it since they just keep padding on endgame content.

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Schmidt.Capela

For the most part, loyalty rewards that accrue with time just mean I will either start playing that game at launch or I will never play, and also that if I ever stop playing (and, thus, lose some of the loyalty rewards) then I’ll be very unlikely to return. This goes even for rewards that don’t need a subscription or equivalent, because if I catch myself logging in for just the reward, with no desire to actually play, then I will immediately stop playing, which can lead to permanently leaving the game if I either lose a reward I desire or else I feel I can never catch up with people who kept playing.

Thus, I prefer the way STO did back when I purchased my lifetime sub: the lifetime sub awarded you all loyalty rewards, past, present, and future, putting you into parity with the players that were subscribed since the game’s launch and never allowed their subscription to lapse.

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Jo Watt

BDO. Can’t beat free sub on top of being handed free stuff each day and during events free things just for staying online.

Celestia
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Celestia

The old City of Heroes vet rewards program was great giving you some fantastic QoL powers for subscribers.

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Vunak

FFXIV has the best subscription. The fairest by far. That is what a sub should be. Premium subs are a bane.

Loyalty or Rewards in general definitely BDO.

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Ashfyn Ninegold

ESO by far. You get 1650 crowns a month, which you get upfront when you subscribe. So that if you sub for 6 months, you get 6 months worth at once.

If you gather and craft at all, the sub only crafting bag is a must. The sub gives you double bank space, which is great for moving stuff around.

Free dying. This is a big one for me. I’m constantly fidgeting with how my characters look. Being able to freely dye their costumes means a lot because I am always gold poor.

I’m not an admirer of log in rewards, it always feels like work to me, but the rewards at the end of 3 weeks are worthwhile if you enjoy mounts and pets.

DLC does eventually become available in the store for crowns and when it does, subscribers get it free. If you’re like me and always behind with lots to do, then there’s really no downside to the sub at all.

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Arktouros

I mean ESO, by far, but I don’t think that’s necessarily a sign of a good thing. What it means is they’ve backloaded enough features that most games would consider a baseline or mandatory for the game and put them behind a paywall of a subscription. Like there’s no way I could play ESO without the crafting bag. It’s just not going to happen, let alone miss out on how many base game updates labeled and sold as “DLC” instead? I’d honestly rather not play the game than play ESO without a sub.

As for loyalty rewards, BDO is always pretty nutty.

micedicetwice
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micedicetwice

Hey, base game updates are always free. They release them WITH DLC content but they are free for all. Like housing, open tamriel, outfits etc.

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Utakata

Welp, WoW has a subscription. Not sure it really cares about loyalty though. /sigh

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Sorenthaz

Yeah FFXIV sort of ran with a loyalty program but then they changed it up so you don’t have to sub like 3 years just to get Cloud’s Advent Children outfit, since that was obviously going down a slippery slope where they’d need to keep coming up with longer term rewards. Instead they made it based off of achievement points which makes it way more comfortable for them to (rarely) add new things to it.

I guess the one thing WoW does do is their “feats of strength” nonsense which are largely tied around the yearly holidays or such, like collecting the yearly Brewfest stein. Or it’s used to pat you on the back for doing content that they then proceeded to remove from the game in the next expansion.

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Ironwu

Even though they have (since the last major patch) cut back on the daily rewards to 3 weeks of the month instead of every day of the month, I still have to give the nod to ESO.

In addition to all the buffs, content and the craft bag, the ESO subscription gives you more Crown Store (the buy for real $$$ game currency) Crowns than you can buy for the $14.99 monthly subscription (sales not counting).

That makes it a pretty dang good deal.

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Ashfyn Ninegold

Agree that ESO is the best. I have to say though that I’m glad they cut back the monthly log-in to 3 weeks before you get the capstone reward. That allows for missed days and game ennui. Besides, once I get the big reward, I get a holiday if I want it.

hurbster
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hurbster

I think that the shortening of the monthly rewards was due to the PC and then the console patches that meant we had to redownload the game. I would not be surprised if it went back to normal in April. Of course, back in the day you could always rely on at least a couple of crown crates being in the rewards per month, sadly no more.

taradyne
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taradyne

Though ESO has a good sub program with unlimited crafting bag and stipend, I think Rift has overall better loyalty and subscription programs.

The Rift loyalty program is based on real money purchases and has decent rewards as you unlock tiers. The subscription program contributes to the loyalty program and provides additional bonuses to XP, notoriety, currency, etc. plus daily and weekly login rewards.

I was surprised that ESO didn’t have some kind of loyalty program. But I suppose it isn’t necessary since they are paying you if you sub.

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Sorenthaz

The RIFT one is kind of a mixed bag though. Trove does that too, where if you spend X amount of money you’d get special mounts, most of them being variants of existing mounts but with tophats and monocles (i.e. Pemberton iirc was a corgi with a tophat/suit/monocle for $100 total spent or something like that).

At the end of the day that just encourages whale baiting and can make folks feel like their loyalty is inadequate if they don’t spend copious amounts of money. That’s what really burned me out on RIFT was how the F2P conversion made it feel like my monthly sub was no longer good enough. It put the wealthy (or reckless spenders) on a pedestal that others simply could never reach unless they opened up their wallets.

That’s why I think ESO is probably better because your sub feels valued and they don’t really put extra stuff out there that’s like, “well, your sub is nice and all, but we’d really like it if you bought our cash shop currency directly, preferably with every bit of money you can give us”.

micedicetwice
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micedicetwice

It DID have a loyalty program, back when it was mandatory. They closed it when the game went buy-to-play.