I’ve grumped a bit (both here and on Tesh’s blog) about the monthly subscription model that many MMOs adhere to, and which seem more and more outdated every month. The model seems so limiting. I (and others) have talked about alternatives such as buying bundles of minutes, paying for access to certain content (the Wizard 101 model as I understand it) and so on.
And I griped about Free Realms really not being all that free. But I grudgingly ponied up $5 for a month’s subscription to Free Realms, and I’m finding that all my issues with a monthly model melt away as long as the price is low enough.
Fair or not, I work on the “movie value model” of entertainment. It costs me roughly $10 to see a roughly $2 hour movie, so anywhere that I can get entertainment for less than $5/hour feels ‘cheaper than going to a movie.’ It isn’t a perfect model and honestly I can’t afford to go to movies very often so it isn’t even an accurate model, but it is what I use.
In Free Realms, I paid my $5 and started playing, and probably spent more than an hour in that first paid play session, so the rest of the month is “free” according to my warped model. And I play the game a lot (for now) because I can jump in, do something meaningful, and jump out again, all in 5-10 minutes.
For instance yesterday, waiting for the water to boil for pasta, I logged in, Teleported to that town in the north with the mine (the name escapes me…getting old sucks), and ran in there and played the mining mini-game twice. Got some ore, some gems, some experience, and logged out in time for dinner.
Compare that to EQ2, where I paid $15 for a month about 3 weeks ago and so far have managed to fit in 1 play session of an hour or so. I don’t mean to single out EQ2, most MMOs really require a nice sized chunk of free time to play, and for me these days, those chunks are rare. Now I feel a nagging guilt that I *should* be playing EQ2 rather than Free Realms (or my other current time sink, Lawn of the Dead, aka Plants vs Zombies). I don’t like guilt, even when it is self-inflicted.
I wish to heck XFire would track Free Realms playtime on Vista, because I checked my /played time for this character that I started a week ago, and I’ve managed over 16 hours of Free Realms this week. I know for a lot of you, that’s a typical day. 🙂 But for me, that’s a huge amount of time for me to devote to a game in a week. Where did all that time come from? I guess the 5-10 minute sessions here and there do add up.
$5 for 16 hours (and counting) of entertainment? I can’t complain about that. I do need to shut off the auto-renew, though, in case I lose interest before my month is up (so far not looking very likely).
Now the RMT phase of Free Realms is a different story… but I’m pretty happy to have paid $5 for a month of having access to all the Jobs and all the Quests.
BTW, I finally unlocked Ninja…what a blast! And I had a glowy sword I’d made via Blacksmithing, so I started out uber. 🙂 I’m at work or I’d post a screenie.
And yeah, for now at least, I’m a bona fide Free Realms fanboy.