Daily Archives: April 21, 2010

In Defense of the New EQII Subscription Plan

Total rip off. 1/3 the price for 1/10 of the access? That’s horrendous.

-Dave, in a comment on my post about the new EQII subscription plan

Not that I am picking on Dave, but he does succinctly state what people seem to be objecting to when it comes to SOE’s new subscription plan for EverQuest II, the EQII Passport.

Sethial, in another comment on that post, calculated out that the cost per day of a normal subscription is 50 cents while with this new plan it is $1.66.  Again, a seeming blow against this offering.

Certainly, looking at in a raw numbers way as above, this subscription plan does not seem like a good deal.

So I want to approach this via analogy.

Okay, stop groaning!  This will be a pretty apt analogy, not some sparkle pony bizzaro world dream analogy.

I used to have a cell phone for which I paid $35 a month.

For that $35 a month, which included all taxes, fees, and whatnot, I got 1000 minutes of air time.  So the cost per minute of air time was 3.5 cents.  This was also in the days before minutes rolled over, so when the billing cycle was up, any unused minutes went away.

I gave up that cell phone and its plan for a pre-paid cell phone that charges me 25 cents a minute for calls.  That is a little over seven times the cost per minute of my old plan.

The problem for me was, in looking over my phone bills for a six month period of time, I was using about seven minutes of air time a month.  Seven minutes.

So my calls on the old phone were actually costing me five dollars per minute.

The pre-paid phone was clearly a better deal for somebody like me who is almost always seated within reasonable proximity of a land line telephone.

And so, while I am sure there are people out there who log on to EverQuest II every single day and who, thus, are really paying 50 cents a day for their play time, I am equally as sure that there are people out there who only log on a few days a month and who are probably effectively paying, per day, something very close to this new plan.

The price per day measure is interesting, but only works out if you’re using every single day, the way that first cell phone plan would have only worked out for me if I was using a lot more minutes than I was.

An all-you-can-eat plan isn’t a good deal if you’re not hungry or on a diet.  One size, and I speak as somebody who is 6’3″ tall when he stands up straight, rarely ever fits all.

That said, I still find the “three consecutive days” clause to be a deal-killer for me.  Perhaps if I was in a group that could coordinate and have a monthly EQII weekend it might tempt me.  But for general use, the consecutive days just axes the appeal.  I’d like to see somebody from SOE explain why they chose that particular restriction.

Still, as I said, I am glad that SOE is offering something new, and I am sure that somebody out there who will read about this new plan and think it is right for them.

Turbine and Warner Brothers

And while eyeballing the Massively post about the new EQII subscription plan offering, I also saw the headline about Turbine being purchased by Warner Brothers Home Entertainment.

Thus the “largest privately-held online gaming studio in North America” joins a conglomerate.

As noted elsewhere, the number of independent MMO studios just went down by one.

And while I have no idea what impact this will have on their games, Asheron’s Call, Dungeons & Dragons Online, and Lord of the Rings Online, it did put one thing in mind.

Warner also happens to own TT Games, the parent company of Traveler’s Tales, the studio which makes all of the LEGO games, like LEGO Star Wars and LEGO Indiana Jones.

So now we have a parent company that owns rights to make a Lord of the Rings game and the very popular LEGO game franchise.

Over two years ago I thought up five LEGO games I would like to see.  One of them was LEGO Harry Potter, and we’re getting that one pretty soon.

Another was LEGO Lord of the Rings.

Now, I know that we’re talking about two different studios and that the licensing as it stands won’t allow such a game.

But I’m just thinking that this moved the ball ever so slightly in the right direction.

I can dream, right?

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.