LOTRO VIP Subscriber Gift Available This Month

LOTRO VIP Subscribers will be able to get a special gift all month long, just for logging in. When anyone with an active VIP subscription logs in before the end of September they’ll be gifted with a free Armour of the Isengard Dispeller cosmetic set. Each of your characters will have to be logged in individually to get the set on them. The item will be found in your inventory. This gift will be available until September 30th for VIP and Lifetime VIP Subscribers. The items are Bound to Account, but getting them couldn’t be easier.

In addition to that from now until the 12th of September, you’ll be able to get 20% off select expansions and expansion quests, Enhanced XP Supply, HornburgToken, Skirmishes, Instances, and the 100% Mark Acquisition Boosts.

There’s also a new item to be found in the LOTRO Store, the Enduring Universal Toolkit.

The weekly coupon, which also lasts until September 12th will get you a Tome of Tracking. To get it use the code TRACKINGTOME in the store.

The armor is proving to be quite popular at the moment, so if you hope to stand out from the crowd…well, still get it, but maybe don’t put it on just yet or else you’ll end up looking like everyone else. It’s fantastic that the developers are offering free gifts to VIPs like this as an incentive to keep their subscriptions going. There are a lot of MMOs out there that could do with this sort of thing.

Source: Official Site

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Daybreak Releases Additional Lifetime Subscription Offer

You may recall last week we mentioned that Daybreak had a limited time, limited quantity lifetime subscription offer for a few of their older MMOs. Well, just before Christmas on Monday they announced that they had run out of the 4,000 that they had originally made available. Today though, they’ve announced that you’ll have one more chance to get in on this offer. They’ve released an additional 2,000 lifetime subscriptions.

For anyone keeping track at home, that means that if they sell all 6,000 total that has been made available they will bring in 1.8 million dollars. Not too bad at all. This offer is only available for a few more days. It ends on December 31st or whenever they run out. If this is something you want to get in on you shouldn’t wait. This is clearly a very popular offer, it only took 5 days for 4,000 subscriptions to be sold. These could very well sell just as quickly. If they sell at the same rate you can expect them to run out before dinner on Sunday.

The massive popularity of this offer may come as a surprise to many but with Everquest quickly approaching its 20th anniversary it really shouldn’t be. Everquest and Everquest 2 both have a large, very dedicated, very loyal fanbase. These fans would also generally be older than your typical gamer and are more likely to have the kind of disposable cash that is being looked for in the middle of the most expensive time of the year. It would be tragic to see something to Everquest so close to such a monumental date. With so many rumors that have been flying around recently it is very possible that people are buying in simply to make sure that their favorite game, whichever one it may be is still going for another few years.

 

Source: Official Site

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Daybreak Offering Lifetime Subscription for MMOs

How do you make 1.2 million dollars in a hurry? Well, if you’re Daybreak offering lifetime subscription to your MMO catalog is the way to go. This is exactly what they’re doing with a limited availability lifetime all access membership. For $299.99 (henceforth renamed $300 because ain’t nobody got time for that.) players will have lifetime membership benefits in every All Access game. For those who don’t know which ones that includes, we’re talking about Everquest, Everquest II, DCUO, and Planetside 2. Only 4,000 of these lifetime subscriptions will be made available and for anyone wondering, that’s where the $1.2 million comes from ($300 times 4,000 equals $1.2 million). This offer is only available until December 31st, assuming supplies last that long. Which of course Daybreak is warning that they will likely sell out.

If the $300 price tag is a little bit too steep for you at the moment but you do happen to have $200 laying around then maybe you’ll consider getting a 12-month subscription instead. All the same perks, but a hundred dollars less and only for one year. Yeah, we’d go with the lifetime sub if it were us.

The recently announced Planetside Arena is most notably not included as part of this lifetime deal, neither is H1Z1. This is likely because they still have a lot more life in them than the other titles. That’s not to say that we think any of them will be closing in the near future, just that they are Daybreak’s older games which naturally puts them closer to the end of their lifecycle.

You may recall that recently Daybreak had layoffs, then very shortly afterward announced Planetside Arena. There were also rumors earlier this year that Everquest and Everquest II were going to be coming to an end very soon. All of this, of course, has made a lot of people very worried about the future of Daybreak Games. If there are in fact problems this might just be enough to save them for the time being.

 

Source: Official Site

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Subscriptions to WoW Now Include All Expansions up to Legion

When the pre-patch for Battle for Azeroth went live, a whole lot changed as one would expect. One rather stealthy change that went down, however, is related to the World of Warcraft subscription itself – one that made every expansion released up to this point included in its price.

world of warcraft subscription

Without any sort of announcement that we were able to track down on the game’s official channels, the subscription listing on the Blizzard Shop for both the US and the EU now features a blurb mentioning that a sub gets you every ex-pack kicked out to World of Warcraft for the same price.

“Get access to World of Warcraft® and every expansion through Legion™ with your subscription—no additional purchase required. Begin your journey today and play up to level 110 through six expansions of adventure!”

Of course, this means that if you want to get into the Battle for Azeroth stuff once it goes live, you’ll have to buy that expansion pack separately. That said, this update to the MMO’s subscription model could mean that future expansions will be grandfathered into the sub price and the Battle Chest for the game is no more. This hasn’t been officially confirmed at the time of this writing, however.

Our Thoughts

Surprise! Seriously, you’d think the folks at Blizzard would have made a bigger deal about this sort of adjustment to its subscription, particularly since this news could possibly change the minds of many lapsed players who are side-eyeing the hype leading into BFA.

Source: Blizzard Shop

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Designing an MMORPG: Business Model

This week we’re taking a look at one of the most hotly debated topics there is; the MMORPG business model. There are a few different models that are popular at the moment and a new one at the end that takes inspiration from outside of the gaming industry, but before we can get into that, we need to take a look at the last topic, crafting.

It may not come as much of a surprise but the “Hire a Guy” crafting system only received 5 votes out of 101. I was actually surprised to see it even get that many. Though at the same time I will admit Neverwinter does have an interesting crafting system that stands out. The more traditional, middle of the road crafting system you’re used to seeing in MMOs got only 24 votes. Which means, that with 72 votes, 71% the winner is the more realistic, complex crafting. This means that crafting is complex and time-consuming. You are also limited in how many skills and which skills you can pick from. Your talents will have to follow themes. If, for instance, you decide to become a Cook you won’t be able to also be a Blacksmith. You only have so much time in the day to learn skills.

That brings us to the second part of crafting; which skills we should have. Alchemy had the most votes at 52 while the option with the least votes was City Crafting at 35 votes. It isn’t a massive difference between the two but 9% vs 6% of the vote it seems like City Crafting isn’t a winner. Guild crafting was the next lowest with 37 votes. It seems that while group-based crafting is an idea that gets talked about, it isn’t something people actually want to have implemented. So, we are left with all the solo crafting skills going forward. They are; (in order of the number of votes received) Alchemy, Fishing, Mining, Jewelry Making, Hunting, Runs & Glyphs, Timber Harvesting, Gardening, Foraging, Archaeology, and Scrolls.

 

With that out of the way, it’s time for us to move on to MMORPG business models. There are five different models to pick from. We’ve left out Pay to Win and Lifetime Subscriptions because both models have proven that they have issues with long-term viability with Western audiences.

 

Free to Play

Path of Fire Elite Specialization

Today the free to play model is the norm. As a player, you don’t have to buy the game and there is no subscription fee. In return, however, you’re faced with microtransactions. It’s very easy for these microtransactions to turn the game pay to win, though this is something our MMO would, of course, be avoiding. With this model expect to get the very minimum for free and regularly have to pay for new content, cosmetic items, and boosts. Lockboxes also prominently feature in this business model but an option for the lockbox could be to offer everything on the store for slightly more money than you otherwise would have. A compromise that many who are against the gamble of lockboxes claim they would accept. If this option is selected we will have a look at lockboxes vs no lockboxes in the future. This is the model that Guild Wars 2 uses.

 

Hybrid

Subscribe or don’t, that is the debate with a hybrid model. With this model, you’ll be paying for the game but if you pay for anything more after that it’s up to you. Once again, there is a delicate balance to be struck. SoulWorker recently ran into some trouble with their hybrid model as one of the things they offered subscribers had fans crying pay to win. A good hybrid model needs to offer enough perks in the subscription to make it worth it, while not offering so much that it seems like a requirement.

Alternatively, you could offer the option to pay for the subscription using in-game currency. This is what World of Warcraft does with their WoW Token. Of course, the in-game currency route is not an easy one. It requires you to spend a lot of time in the game earning that currency. Which is still a win for the studio because the longer you’re in a game the more likely you are to buy items from the in-game store and the more you’re there populating the world for those who do pay.

If the hybrid model wins, a future article will dive into the different types in more detail.

 

Buy to Play

eso free play week

The buy to play model is very similar to the free to play model with one exception, you have to buy the game before you can play it. You will still have the in-game store, lockboxes, and pay for content updates. Buy to play is especially beneficial to the studio who are tasked with the job of making back the investment made in creating the game, to begin with. ArenaNet has made the buy to play model famous as they’ve used it both with Guild Wars and Guild Wars 2, though Guild Wars 2 eventually became free to play when the first expansion released.

 

Subscription

Avoid the nickel and diming that comes with the other models and be ready to fork over $12-$15 a month on top of buying the game. A subscription model has a lot of perks though. You’ll get regular small content updates completely free, though large expansions you’ll still have to pay for. You’ll get all the flashy outfits and weapons you’d usually expect to be in the in-game store for free. Double XP events, and others like them, will make a comeback.

 

Patron

MMORPG business model

Here’s where I propose a business model that started out being called the Total Honesty Model. It is inspired by Patreon. The idea is the studio gives a monthly goal. The studio comes right out and says “we must make this much money every month to continue running.” Then it’s up to the players to decide how much they can give, offering perks for different amounts given. These perks can include exclusive skins and mounts. Higher tiers can include players being able to design NPCs or even art of their character done by the game’s artists. Going over the goal for the month means work can be done on an expansion. Want to see that expansion made? Put in $50 over the next 3 months and it’s yours. Doing this means you’re voting with your wallet because the studio is only working on the things that have already funded. This complete honesty can have its downsides though. A decline in Patrons will be obvious and will snowball. So, the death of the game will be swift.

Once items are made (not the Patron exclusives) they can go into an in-game store for people who don’t reach the Patron threshold to buy. Maybe you put in $5 towards the expansion when it was being created because that’s all you could give at the time. It still funded, but you didn’t really contribute enough to get the expansion. You’ll still be able to buy it and you got an epic sword for the $5 you gave.

 

So now there’s just the question remaining, which MMORPG business model seems the best for our dark fantasy MMORPG? Does the Patron model work in your mind? Would you be a Patron rather than a subscriber or buying in the in-game store? Leave your vote in the Strawpoll and your thoughts in the comments.

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MMO Money: Subscription Models Return?

As was promised in last week’s MMO Money, we are back again! This time though, we’re talking about the first 2 weeks of March. There has been some exciting and interesting developments in the MMO business side of things. We’ve got subscription models seemingly making a comeback, PUBG buying up studios, and a sexy, sexy infographic that will keep you scrolling for days.

Since this article ends with a MASSIVE infographic, I’d just like to remind you now that MMO Money, the column that looks at the business side of the MMO Industry, is now coming out twice a month. Thanks for reading and I hope you enjoy it.

 

PUBG Shopping Spree

Yes, I named this section that just because it rhymes. But also because it’s true! Bluehole, the makers of PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds, TERA, and the upcoming MMORPG A:IR has recently purchased two studios. One of them, Red Sahara Studio is a mobile company that is already hard at working making a Tera spinoff. Don’t confuse it with the mobile port of Tera, which is an entirely different project altogether. The other studio they purchased is MadGlory, which is now PUBG MadGlory. It looks like MadGlory is working on the PUBG Developer Portal which will give community modders access to the API. Despite the mishandling of Devilian, it looks like things are only getting better for Bluehole and PUBG Corp. Where will they go next?

 

SoulWorker Selling Subscriptions

It seems like subscriptions might be on the rise again. Rift introduced the subscription only progression server and now there are two stories in the last two weeks of more games jumping on board. The most recent is SoulWorker. The game is technically in open beta, but lets be honest, there aren’t going to be any more server wipes and the cash shop is open. The game has launched and now they’re offering two different subscription plans. Both of them are 30-day subscriptions and they do stack.

The Silver VIP Membership gives you:

30 days of +80 max energy, +10% dzenai, +5 displayable items on the market
5 Bonus Keycards
5 Respawners
5 Battle Books

Meanwhile Gold VIP Membership gives:

+120 max. energy; +20% dzenai; +20% item drop chance; +5 displayable items on the Market; No Market fees; +2 days market listing period; +20% chance of Grutins appearing in dungeons
10 Bonus Keycards
10 Respawners
10 Battle Books
1 Hidden Akasha Transmitter
1 Teleportation Book

 

These are important to know because it has a lot of players screaming that the subscriptions make the game pay-to-win. This is because of the energy perks. The amount of energy you have puts a limit on how much you can do in game. Everyone is automatically given 200 energy each day. If you get both of these subscriptions then you’ll have twice the amount of energy as other players, which means you’ll be able to do more.

The company has said that they are looking into the matter, reading player feedback, and deciding how to proceed.

 

Dota 2 Subscription Introduced

dota 2 subscription models

Here we are, talking about subscriptions again. I don’t know about anyone else, but it feels a little weird and welcome change. This time around it is Dota 2 and the subscription is only $4 a month. Dota Plus is an evolution of the Majors Battle Pass that is, according to Valve, designed to help you get the most out of every match you play. Dota Plus members will get to participate in the weekly Battle Cup for free, the Plus Assistant, and more.

However, just like SoulWorker, there has been some backlash from the community. With Dota Plus it is over the Plus Assistant, which gives item suggestions, lane setup suggestions, real time comparative analytics, and more that is said to give subscribers an advantage over the free players.

 

Guild Wars Staying Online

If you’re a fan of Guild Wars (the original, not the sequel) then there’s some good news for you! Guild Wars isn’t going anywhere. The game has been in maintenance mode for years now, but according to an AMA on reddit ArenaNet has been doing a bit of work to make sure Guild Wars will continue to run for years to come at a very reasonable cost. Of course, the game will remain in maintenance mode so don’t expect any new content. The AMA also talks about the server structure, the ping bug, and Guild Wars 2 game director Mike Zadorojny even joins in to answer a question about lore. If you’re a fan of Guild Wars or Guild Wars 2 the AMA is an interesting read.

 

H1Z1 Goes F2P

H1Z1 has been a game we’ve been keeping a close eye on for some time now. In a 6 month period it lost 90% of its players. Then it finally launched, although that doesn’t seem to have done much for player numbers. There was a small increase but almost immediately player numbers fell again. So, now H1Z1 is free-to-play. So far it seems to have been good news; according to SteamCharts H1Z1 had 41,891 concurrent players on March 10th, just days after the announcement. The last time the number was that high was in mid-December. Will being free-to-play save the game? Only time will tell and in the next MMO Money we’ll take a look to see how the game is doing once the news has time to settle in.

It should also be noted that Just Survive, the zombie survival branch off of H1Z1 isn’t going F2P.

 

Black Desert Online Celebrates 2 Years and 3 Million Players in the West

Can you believe that Black Desert Online has been around for two years already? Feels like just yesterday I was lusting after the graphics and thinking it would never be released in the West. Well, thankfully, I was wrong and it was. To celebrate the occasion they released a massive infographic and it has all sorts of fun details. Like someone in the EU having caught 755,983 fish! How!?! Check out all the details for yourself below. (Click on the image then when it opens click it again if you want it to be bigger.)

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RIFT Announces a Progression Server with a Subscription Model

It would appear that players of RIFT would like to go back to basics. Back to the point when RIFT was just a launch product. The newly revealed RIFT Prime service will see a new progression server added to the game, along with a return to the subscription-only business model.

rift prime

Arriving by player demand, RIFT Prime will launch a new server that offers what it calls a “huge” amount of content and “dozens” of existing in-game updates including previously released expansions and continents, all available at the cost of a regular subscription. The RIFT Prime server will also offer sequential progression via in-game content, which will include monthly milestones and achievement rewards.

While the server will have a subscription fee, there will also be an in-game store on offer. However, that store will be purely cosmetics only, with no loot boxes whatsoever and many of the current store items available to earn through regular gameplay.

RIFT Prime is set to go live sometime in the Spring. Further details, including the price of a subscription, are due to be announced Soon™.

Our Thoughts

Now this sounds more like it. Back when we took a free-to-play spin in RIFT, we found the game’s cash shop pretty overbearing, so the fact that it’s being gutted in lieu of a sub-only server is certainly welcome news. We’re very interested in learning more about this new RIFT Prime and we’re especially curious to learn player reactions, so share them with us below!

Source: press release

Articles Related to RIFT

RIFT Removes the Mount Loot Box
RIFT Removes End Game Currency Offering in the Cash Shop
F2P Kingdom: The RIFT Free-to-Play Experience

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