2014-03-24

The Subscription Problem

Part of a Response to this other Article

I play Mortal Online, a game noted for its problems. I want to talk about *just* the payment -and- non-payment setup for this product.

Star Vault, the makers, have adopted a kind of hybrid system. On top of many, I believe it's yet another problem. People can't even talk about it without getting embroiled.

Some call it F2P: Free to Play. It's free to play a crippled version that's supposed to get you hooked (and sometimes, that works); how crippled? Skills will not operate at more than 60 percent-- not a PvP-viable situation-- and, because of the skill tier system, some abilities remain unavailable. F2Players can't own houses or accept trades of certain items or materials. (This is pretty much how I think it should be for trial players, by the way. If you want to knock over paying customers' sand castles, subscribe.)

Some call it Pay to Win: P2W. However, paying a subscription only gives you an advantage over those who, presumably, are there to try the game and buy if they like it. Supposedly.
  • There's no way, as of yet, to pay more in any kind of cash shop to have an advantage, account for account, over others who also pay.
Naturally, a lot of F2P accounts are actually started to enable those who are already paying to have more storage, do more activities on the side, and participate in the Peen-v-Peen[TM] on some anonymous basis, without paying for another/more accounts.
  • F2P characters can't PvP toe-to-toe, but they can do some other things which people find to be valuable uses of their playing time. Right now, AFK mining with macros is the rage.
I don't know how Star Vault keeps going while letting these non-subscription accounts never expire; though they do have their investors. But development is slow, and more income could only help, to get more people on the team if nothing else.

Seeing how it works for the people making and playing this one game that's gone from subs only to subs plus time-unlimited but gimped trials, I am sure it is premature to announce that the subscription model is dead for games in general.

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