Today I finally canceled my Rift subscription. It was my second 6 month sub and, as is typical of me, I stopped playing about a month after I renewed it. I’ve still got 60 days left but don’t really see myself going back to it in that time.
Next I’m going to cancel my Star Wars: The Old Republic sub. I went for a 3 month sub there but I think I’m pretty much done with the game for now, in spite of having 2.5 months or so left on my subscription.
I’ve decided that I’m done with AAA MMO subscriptions. My problem is that I’m a marketing person’s ideal customer. If I see I can get 1 month for $15/month or 3 months for $13/month I can’t help but go for the better rate. That’d be great if I was someone who, y’know, stuck with one game for 3 months at a time (4 really, since you’re generally getting that first month free) but I’m just not.
What makes this whole situation worse is I start to feel guilty about not playing. I’m going through that with SW:TOR now. I don’t really feel like playing but I feel like I -should- play since I’m paying for it. After a while that vague guilt turns to resentment and then I’m even less likely to play.
I’ll still pay for subscriptions to smaller games; I just signed up for 3 months of Wakfu for example. Do I think I’ll play Wakfu for 3 months? Almost certainly not, but the developers there are trying something different and I look at my sub almost as a donation to support thinking outside the MMO box. Same thing with Glitch…I kept that sub going for a few months after I stopped playing just to support something different.
In the AAA MMO space I’ve totally given up on anyone trying something different. That’s also why I never stick with them…they all feel the same to me. They’re also (obviously) designed for playing in groups and ideally playing with a group of people you know. That’s hard for me given that my 2nd job that I do at night can take 1 hour or 4 hours depending on what I’m writing about, and I never know what I’m going to write about until earlier that day. So I can never make plans in the evening since I don’t know if I’ll be free or not.
When a game goes “Free-to-Play” the community becomes a lot more transient and thus much more open to PUGs and casual groupings. With people coming and going all the time there’re players of every level around. SW:TOR has been around for 6 weeks and already the mid-level zones are ghost towns.
If you know me or have read this blog for any length of time you’ll know I’ve been in a love-hate cycle with MMOs for a long time. Lately it feels like my “love” phases are getting shorter and shorter and I think that’s just a result of me acknowledging the reality of my situation vis a vis games that are focused on playing with a regular group of friends. It’s just not going to happen until I give up my night job.
In the meantime, titles like Star Trek Online offer a great experience, guilt free. There are tons of players of all levels and no subscriber’s-guilt for when I decide not to play. I keep meaning to give DC Universe Online a try, too. Or maybe revisit Guild Wars or LOTRO. Fact is, there’re so many subscription-free options in the MMO genre that playing a monthly fee almost seems silly these days.