Tuesday, March 06, 2007
Can you play two MMORPGs?
LotROVault has the details on the US open beta for Lord of the Rings Online, which starts on March 30 for people who pre-ordered, and April 6 for everyone. In Europe I don't know about the open beta, but release date in April 24, and if you pre-order you can get in 10 days earlier. In both cases, if you subscribe to the Founders program, you can take your beta character into the release version, but apparently there is a level cap at 15. Unless they nerf farming until then, I can see lots of level 15 characters growing Sweet Galenas pipe weed until they absolutely swim in gold for the first day of release. LotRO gives a whole new meaning to the term "gold farming". :)
Anyway, I preordered Lord of the Rings Online. And from where I am standing now it looks as if I will be taking a lifetime membership for $199 (€149, £99). Not because I am already 100% certain that I will play LotRO for more than 20 months (Founder's club member could also get a reduced monthly subscription rate of $9.99). The main reason to get a lifetime membership for me would be that it saves me the hassle of thinking about whether to keep up my subscription later.
Monthly subscription fees are one factor that encourage a clean break between games. I quit game A, cancel my account, and subscribe to game B. But I'm wondering whether this time I could do it differently. Keep my subscription for World of Warcraft, and switch back and forth between playing WoW and LotRO. The interface is so identical I wouldn't have to relearn controls every time I switch. And while LotRO is stronger in exploration of a new world, casual content, and more enjoyable tradeskills, World of Warcraft is stronger in dungeons. I could imagine going on a raid in WoW one day, and peacefully farming in Hobbiton the next. I don't know much about the LotRO end-game yet, but I'm not really keen on rushing through the game to get there.
I just don't know whether that idea is viable. There is a risk that every evening I decide what to play just based on a gut feeling, and that every evening I end up deciding for the same game. Last time I tried a game with no monthly fee, Guild Wars, I ended up playing it not very much, because it didn't appeal to my explorer soul. But this time I could well imagine ending up playing LotRO all the time and forgetting all about WoW, until LotRO gets boring and WoW comes out with something new. Then switching between games wouldn't be on a day-by-day basis, but more on a month-by-month, or even quarter-by-quarter basis. Fact is that both WoW and LotRO are very good games, and the only reason to switch is that I've already seen too much of WoW.
So what do you think? Can you play two MMORPGs, and switch frequently between them? Or do you have to be monogameous?