A Blaugust leftover post; started during but finished afterwards.
I am the third result, having purchased that option and feeling no regret,
In fact I remain very happy with my LOTRO lifetime subscription, but I played enough when it was subscription to break even, and then enjoyed VIP level status, with a 500 Turbine Point per month stipend, after it went F2P. That has allowed me to play, buy things from the store, including the last two expansions, and never spend another dime on the game. But I also played a lot of LOTRO over the years. It is easily on the top 5 of my MMOs in terms of time spent.
I am not sure where to get that listing anymore on the LOTRO site, as it has grown by a couple of items since I last looked at it. Though if you go to Turbine’s site they still list Infinite Crisis as one of their games, at the top of the list no less, so who knows what is going on there.
However, I also went for lifetime with Star Trek Online and barely played that at all. I opted in on STO largely based on my LOTRO experience. If it is good once, then it ought to be good twice, right?
But STO never caught my fancy and all my attempts to return to the game have ended in minutes… well, hours if you count trying to figure out how to access my account after all the changes that have hit the game.
So I am only batting .500 on lifetime subscriptions.
My experience with STO, with LOTRO, and with MMOs in general have made it unlikely that I would ever invest in a lifetime option again. And I write that with the world circa 2009 as context. I would likely not by another lifetime subscription again, even were we still deep in the era of monthly subscriptions.
Here in the age of F2P and cash shops, the age of PLEX and WoW Tokens, the age of lockboxes and nuisance barriers, the age of business model changes and broken dreams, the age of too many indistinguishable choices in the genre, the idea of sinking a couple of hundred bucks into an MMO on the hope that I might play it enough to get my money’s worth out of it… well… the idea just falls flat.
So color me surprised that Champions Online still had a lifetime subscription as an option… and that it was on sale for “just” $199, a third off of the usual $299 price.
And maybe that is a bad game to pick as an example, never having lived up to its predecessor, City of Heroes, and being run by a company that faltered and was acquired by another company that looks to be faltering, at least here in North America…. and which also happens to be the same company that owns STO.
And what does that say about lifetime subscriptions in this day and age? Is it just another desperation move now?
I mean, if World of Warcraft offered lifetime subscriptions for $299 I am pretty confident that they would sell a million of them pretty quickly, that the store interface would go down in the rush to buy one. But WoW is an ongoing success and the top game in its genre even with “only” 5.6 million players. Pretenders has to get creative with things like “registered users” to get close to that number, a number is less than half of WoW at its peak.
And why would Blizzard do that? It would be a short term boost to revenue and there would now be a floor of one million “subscribers” since lifetime is forever as long as the game is still running. But that million would also likely be the same people who never unsubscribe from the game.
So what is a lifetime subscription for these days? Is it a concept past its time?
Would you buy one under any circumstances today?