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It Is September and My Subscriptions Will Soon Lapse, Should I Care? September 2, 2011

Posted by Wilhelm Arcturus in entertainment, EVE Online, EverQuest, EverQuest II, Need for Speed World, World of Tanks, World of Warcraft.
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Due to a quirk of timing, my three current, active, recurring online gaming subscriptions will all lapse in the next ten days.

Those subscriptions are:

I have a habit of subscribing in 3 month increments and then quitting a game just after the billing date passes, leading to a long lag time between cancellation and the actual end date for access.  I always start a game with an optimistic point of view.

Certainly, subscribing to EVE for 3 months based on Incarna was an act of the purist optimism.  I could have saved my money and gotten about 95% of the entertainment just watching the fireworks that ensued.  But I felt I had to be there.

SOE was the combination of getting back into EverQuest II and running around in EverQuest on the Fippy Darkpaw server.  EQII lead to quick burn-out with our guild leveling effort.  The EQ adventures were fun, and I keep thinking I want to go back, but somehow it always ends up being the 4th item on a list where I can only manage the first three.  Even now I am tempted to keep the subscription on the off chance I *might* find some time to play EQ.  But the rational part of my brain knows that there is really little chance of that happening.

And then there is World of Warcraft, which I could of sworn I cancelled back in April, but which billed me again in June and, well, there you are.  Here I was telling people I was part of the 600,000 departing players and I wasn’t.  Well I will be soon.  I saved that cancellation confirmation email just in case.

And so all of my recurring subscriptions will be gone.  Even my daughter became bored with WoW, Animal Jam, and her brief fling with Free Realms on the Mac.  Instead she now seems intent on devouring every bit of Warriors literature.  So her subscriptions as well have all lapsed.

If I had achieved that state say, five years ago, it pretty much would have meant NOT playing any MMOs.

But today?

Well, Lord of the Rings Online is an oddity, in that I have a lifetime subscription, so technically that has not lapsed, what with the game still being up and me still being alive. (Lifetime meaning their lifetime or mine.)

But the free to play options are pretty broad at this point.  Even if I did not have a lifetime subscription to LOTRO, I could still be playing it.  Likewise, because we focused on the EQII Extended server for our Norrath experience, I can still go back and play there as well.

And the options available now that do not required a credit card are wide and varied.  I have spent a good chunk of time with World of Tanks and Need for Speed World, neither of which require anything beyond account creation and a client download.

I think back to the early days of EverQuest, when there was some anxiety about thing like whether your characters would be saved if you unsubscribed from the game.  There were, if I recall right, a couple of subscription MMOs that did just that.  But now you would have to be insane to consider deleting characters, given how many players return to a game at various intervals.

In a way, EverQuest and EVE Online are hold-outs from a different time, each being available only as part of a recurring subscription plan.  Even World of Warcraft has an unlimited trial these days.  I wonder when Rift will go that route?

The world has changed, as it has a habit of doing.

Where once if I had said my subscriptions had all lapsed, I would be playing no MMOs, now it just narrows the field of choice a bit.

Comments»

1. Tracey Snow - September 2, 2011

I too, am an ancient noob (more ancient that you if your Blog sub-title is accurate) ,and I have let my subscriptions lapse in April. I also thought I would go a finally check out LotR, D&D or another F2P title and, you know what? I just haven’t.

Maybe we’re getting a little long in the tooth for the investment these require. I have been playing Strarcraft II and quite enjoying it but I don’t think I’ll ever get out of the Bronze league.

Sadly, these days, gaming is just not holding the lustre it once did. I’m tired of fighting the same things over and over… “PC Gaming is dead”, yet another anti-piracy solution (always on) that punishes the purchaser as much as the pirates… I have a cottage with no Internet or cell service.

Guess what? As a full-time employee with a family, the only time I get to game is on the weekend… at the cottage… with no Internet service. *sigh*

Maybe I’m just becoming the crotchety old guy in the neighbourhood that used to yell at kids for being kids.

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2. bhagpuss - September 2, 2011

Our Everquest subs have been active since 1999/2000. We converted them into Station Access accounts when that option first became available and have kept them up ever since.

With one exception. A couple of years back, when we were burned out on EQ and EQ2 and had run through a number of MMOs in quick succession, we finally decided to try WoW. We liked it a lot at first and since we hadn’t played any SoE games for quite a while we decided to close the SA account while we were in WoW.

Big mistake. I never felt comfortable about it the whole time I was in WoW, which turned out to be about three months. EQ2X wasn’t around then, so I couldn’t log in there on a whim. I really missed my characters, even though I wasn’t playing them.

As soon as I knew WoW wasn’t going to last I re-subbed both our SA accounts. I don’t plan on letting them drop in future regardless of whether we are playing any of the MMOs they cover or not. I’m very happy to pay the sub for the notional ability to play IF I want to.

It’s pretty obvious, though, that there’s no need beyond the psychological to have any MMO subs nowadays. On my desktop, for free, I could choose from LotRO, Champions Online, Eden Eternal, Dragon Nest, Ryzom, Anarchy Online, Istaria, Allods, Aika, DDO, Aerrevan, NeoSteam, Crowns of Power and FFXIV. And that’s not counting the closed betas.

With STO and Fallen Earth about to go F2P and an unopened box of AoC sitting in my bookcase I’m hardly about to run out of free choices. And yet, what am I actually spending most of my time playing? Rift.

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3. Stabs - September 2, 2011

I work on the notion that if one needs to ask one does not need to sub.

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4. Gazimoff - September 2, 2011

I’m with Stabs on this one. if you’re not getting anything from your subscriptions then they’re probably not worth keeping up any more. Close them down, move to f2p games and enjoy something with the money saved each month.

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5. coppertopper - September 2, 2011

3rd’d

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6. wizardling - September 3, 2011

I’m in the position of agonising over whether to return to EQ1 (after totally ignoring the free month and the paid month I had left after that when SOE went down). I want to play again. I want that old school MMOing and grouping. But sadly I know I’ll almost certainly be stuck without a static group again, and with PUGs where little camaraderie occurs, and everyone is rush, rush, rushing.

One thing I am not agonising over is the value for money of a $15 per month (or less for bundled time) subscription :-) I could subscribe to every MMO I’ve even the slightest chance of wanting to play any given month, and still come out ahead of any other paid for entertainment.

It’s a question of time and getting sucked back into ultimately unfulfilling experiences, in my case. My trouble is, I suppose, I know bugger all MMOers in RL, and none want to play ones like EQ1. Having that RL friendship makes it a lot easier to get things like static groups going.

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7. wizardling - September 3, 2011

Oh, and just to add – I’m still not keen on F2P unless one option is a paid sub that unlocks everything for $15 a month or less. Give me a sub and no limits every time. Even then it’s a PITA when the people you play with run into paywalls.

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