Cheers to SOE for a New Subscription Option!

Massively reported that Sony Online Entertainment is offering a new subscription option for EverQuest II players.

And I am sure that some of us are thinking, “About freakin’ time!”  I was agitating for something new almost four years ago.

Not that SOE hasn’t been a leader in the subscription alternatives field, what with Station Access.

Okay, the subscription options field isn’t so big, so you don’t have to do much to be the leader.  Just offer something other than a $15 a month plan with discounts for larger time frames and you’re beating the industry standard.

But here they have stepped up and done something new.

The new plan is called the EQII Passport and the site for it is here.

The essence is that for five dollars a month you can have three consecutive days of play in EverQuest II per month.

Now the first part is easy.  I like that part.

Five dollars isn’t so bad if you want to keep your account active to count towards veteran rewards or if you really only play one weekend a month.

It is the second part that trips me up a bit.


The “three days” part sounds fine, it is the consecutive part that puts a damper on my enthusiasm.

I suppose the fact that I started my online gaming career on GEnie where the billed in six second increments (and five dollars would get you just an hour of play) that I start scratching my head and wondering at the “consecutive days” aspect of this offer.  Why that limitation?  The technology for keeping track of non-consecutive time cannot be that onerous a task to deal with.

Because if the deal was 36 hours of play over a 30-day billing period, I would probably jump right on it.  Even three individual, consecutive or not, days would be a serious temptation.

But for EQII these days, I would be more likely to play on a Sunday afternoon and then not want to play again until the following weekend.

The next two consecutive days would then go to waste, effectively leaving me with one day of play per month.

So it does not sound like the subscription plan that will get me back into EverQuest II.  But I am sure that, for somebody, this will be the right plan.

Still, as I said, I am glad to see somebody out there trying.

How about you?  Would this subscription plan tempt you back to EQII?  Would you like to see this sort of plan in another game?  EVE Online comes to mind here for me.

11 responses to “Cheers to SOE for a New Subscription Option!

  1. I couldn’t care less what my mount looks like. They could offer it to me for free at Amberstill Ranch in Dun Morogh and I would probably be too lazy to run down and get it.

  2. I think it is an awful program and bad for the industry (the pricing not the idea). Think about it, for 5 bucks you get three days, thats $1.66 a day, compare that with the monthly subscription rate of about $0.50 a day.

    Congratulations, casual players can now pay over 300% more for their play time then everyone else.

    Sorry if this comes off as a rant, I love the idea of selling smaller game time, what I don’t like is raking people over the coals.

  3. Sethial,

    If the casual player is only playing 3 days a month, then this plan saves them money. You can’t expect to pay less per unit when you buy in smaller quanties. It’s why the yearly plan is cheaper than the monthly.

    This plan also would not work for me, but I applaud the idea.

  4. The idea would work better and I am betting would be a far better success if it was 72 hours of gameplay and not 3 consecutive days.

    Maybe they are afraid people with regular subs would jump to this and they’d lose money? Good idea, not sure about the execution.

  5. @UFTimmy

    Of course you would expect the price per unit (day) to increase with a lower quantity purchase, but I see Sethial’s point about the pricing. It was one of the first things I noticed about the “deal” as well.

    It seems a very large jump from the $0.50/day to $1.66/day, especially when compared to the jump from a monthly sub fee ($14.99, or $0.50/day) to a 6-month sub fee ($12.99, or $0.43/day).

    Maybe 7 days would be more in line with the curve ($0.72/day). But here again the consecutive day thing throws it.

    I, too, applaud the idea of finding alternatives like this. I just think it needs a bit of work to make it a truly viable pricing plan for me. I would not hesitate to pay it to play once in a while if the numbers worked out for me.

  6. They had me there, for a second. I won’t lie, I felt a touch of excitement and anticipation. A chance to go home again and spend some time in Norrath without breaking my time & cash budgets.

    So close…

    It was the 3 consecutive days that killed it for me. In reality, that would probably end up meaning one gaming session for $5. I know that 72 hours of playtime on demand is unreasonable, but maybe seven consecutive days or three non-consecutive 24 hour chunks. Just something that allows the time-pressed gamer to get in 2 or 3 sessions for their $5.

    Maybe next time.

    Intellectually, I join you in applauding the effort, but…I hate to admit it…emotionally, I ended up feeling a bit cheated. I got all excited, only to find out that they had created an offer that was just too limited to be of value. At least to me.

  7. Agreed that this is a completely pointless offer. If they want to tempt leavers back into the game they should offer a free welcome back week.

    Your idea on the other hand could really be a winner. I would not impose the 30 day restriction though. Simply offer a limited amount of time for a low fee. 36 hours of game time for $5 would be nice but probably too generous given that monthly subbers are probably averaging 80 hours a month for their $15 sub. I would suggest that 20 hours of play (no time limit) for $5 would be a big winner. The $5 figure is the key issue here – it is a low enough figure to be an impulse purchase for most players and most importantly will not put players off from subbing to several games at once.

  8. I agree its an interesting prospect but its a strange format to put them in.

    Why didnt they just do ‘time limited’ $5 dollar passports. Say 12-18 hours *shrug*, it would be interesting to see if an MMO would ever take that route.

    I think thats how WoW works and is paid for in Asia aka ‘$X per hour’.

  9. @mbp

    “If they want to tempt leavers back into the game they should offer a free welcome back week.”

    They do seem to have things like this once in a while, but I’m never able to really take advantage of them to get back into the game. I often find out my account had been reactivated only after the event is over because, while I get other marketing email from SOE, I get no notification it is coming up.

    So what could have been a fun weekend that encouraged me to resub for a bit ended up being another mark in the “why I left in the first place” column. :(

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