Tobold's Blog
Wednesday, September 12, 2007
 
Hellgate London lifetime subscription

A reader pointed out to me that Hellgate London is offering a lifetime subscription, and asks whether I regret having paid for my lifetime subscription for Lord of the Rings Online. Good subject! The short answer is that I don't regret my lifetime subscription for LotRO, but would advise against paying for one for Hellgate London. The long answer is a lot more complicated, because whether a lifetime subscription is a good deal depends not only on the game, but also on your finances.

A lifetime subscription for Hellgate London costs $149.99 USD, replacing a monthly fee of $9.99 USD. You'd think that figuring the advantage out would be as easy as figuring out whether you'll be playing Hellgate for at least 15 months. But for my LotRO lifetime subscription I didn't really do that calculation. It was more a matter of buying the *option* to play whenever I want than foreseeing that I actually would play that game all of the time. I don't regret paying that lifetime subscription because it is so convenient. Convenience is a luxury, and whether you can and want afford it depends on your disposable income, not on whether it is a good deal.

I'm a nerd. My interests are video games, role-playing games, and history. At school I was good in science and math, but bad in sports. While such traits don't make you very popular at school, the real Revenge of the Nerds is that after school they have a much better earning potential. A degree in science or engineering is the closest you can get nowadays to a guarantee of employment at a good salary. People might laugh about Dilbert, but they don't realize he is collecting a six-figure salary. So while I wouldn't count myself as rich, I'm definitely comfortably well-off. Neither a $10 or $15 monthly payment, nor a $150 to $250 lifetime subscription would be something that I'd be really price sensitive to.

So why not go for that $150 Hellgate London lifetime subscription? Because I don't see the point of that one for me. In LotRO, if I wouldn't have a subscription, I couldn't play at all. In Hellgate London the subscription is optional. You can play the basic game right out of the box without paying more than the price of the box, and you can play it forever like that. The subscription gives you access to what other games add in patches and expansions: added content, new classes, guild features, player housing. But the luxury convenience I bought with my LotRO lifetime subscription is already contained in the no-subscription base model of Hellgate. A Hellgate subscription is for people who foresee to play that game a lot, thus needing the added content and features. Imagine you could have played the basic version of World of Warcraft for the price of the box, and would only need to pay a subscription if you wanted to play The Burning Crusade and Wrath of the Lich King. Would you have subscribed?

Don't get me wrong, I totally support this business model for Hellgate London, because finally the people who play the most also pay the most. I just don't see me among the play-a-lots of that particular game. If you draw a straight line from Auto Assault to Tabula Rasa, and then extrapolate that line, you arrive at Hellgate London: Another action-oriented online RPG which is probably immense fun to play for some time, but is unlikely to have the depth of a real persistent online world like WoW or LotRO or Everquest 2. It is very much to the credit of Flagship Studios, the developer, that they chose a business model which works well with that sort of game. A lot more people would buy Tabula Rasa if it had the same business model as Hellgate London. For me that means I won't buy Tabula Rasa at all, but I will buy Hellgate London. I'm just unlikely to subscribe to it.
Comments:
The only problem with the portrayalof the main nerd character in that film, is that he got to sleep with the best-looking girl in the college, something I doubt 99.99% of nerds ever did

Re: lifetime subscriptions (LTS). I think I would have to have played a game for some time before taking a LTS out. I would definitely buy one for WoW, if it was available.
I would not buy one before I have played a game, though. I have bought too many games I thought I would like, only to find I was wrong after 30 minutes playtime.
If the only option for getting a LTS was to buy before playing the finished product, I wouldn't do it.
 
The only problem with the portrayalof the main nerd character in that film, is that he got to sleep with the best-looking girl in the college, something I doubt 99.99% of nerds ever did

Agreed, although he tricked her at first by pretending to be somebody else. And nerds tend to get more attractive to women later, when they earn more. (That comment is going to get me into trouble with women)

If the only option for getting a LTS was to buy before playing the finished product, I wouldn't do it.

In LotRO you can still buy the lifetime subscription. In Hellgate London you need to buy it before the 30th of November, one month after release of the game.
 
In my book it really depends on how much content you'll be getting for that 150 dollars.

Online Elite subscribers, be it monthly or lifetime will have 1st dibs on all the new content being made... but just how much and when exactly can we expect it?

That's the reason I don't see myself buying an LTS for HG:L. Because I'd much rather wait for the premium content to become available for paid download than spend 10 dollars a month hoping something new was coming out.

The main game, is primarily supposed to be played in 30-50 hours (offline) from one of their interviews. For a lot of players, that's 1 month. And the game took the developers 3-4 years to make... so how much content by the hour does one think they'll get for their 9.99 a month?

To me it seems more viable to by a 10 dollar sub when the new content comes out, play the crap out of it, and unsub until the next one. Because this won't be like a regular MMO where the game lasts you for 100s of hours, unless you're the kind of player that played Diablo 2 to level 99 and was at the top of the rankings.

Anyway, I'm rambling. My point is, I'm betting it'll be more viable for the majority of us to wait and see what comes of the elite status option and pay for it when we see just what we get content wise. While the extra slots, special items, guild management features are nice... nothing makes me spend money like new quests, levels, and classes. :)
 
Personally I regret paying for the Lotro lifetime subscription very much. I loved the low level content, but the game turned into a totally different game after that. I think that the developers (or publishers or whatever) foresaw that and that was one of the reasons that a lifetime subscription was offered. You always get at least a few people that bite on that offer (like me) that wouldn't have paid as much with a regular subscription. I feel very cheated.

With Hellgate London I'll be much more careful. I will check it out more before deciding. But in the end I doubt that I'll take it.
 
i doubt i will play for LTS sub as i can't see myself playing HG:L for 15 months. However i plan to pay for a first month of subscription and after that decide if i want to continue. if i don't think the extra features are worth the fee i won't continue to pay simple really.

though HG:L is a game i have been excited about for a long time. my three favorite things all in one game: Demons, RPG and MMO. i'm quite confident i'll be paying that month;y fee :)
 
I am SO glad I did not buy Lifetime for LOTRO either...I got the 3 month card, and was a pre-order customer...so 9.99 for 3 months...I never played my last month...got bored and the game ran horribly for me..
I just did the same thing on EQ2...bought a 3 month deal...and lets see if it keeps me longer (so far, it looks like it will).
I have become so jaded with these games...that I just can't see going further than 3 or 6 months..
I played Guild Wars for a year straight...long hours also..
WoW...kept me for a year...but never got into the Raid mindset..
Now, you mention Tabula Rasa...hmmm...I really liked it at first, but it just does not pull me...but could be good for an hour or two a day or even week..but, not 15 a month pull...it needs to go the GW way or it will fail..
Anyways...back to EQ2 fun
Cheers!
 
Imagine you could have played the basic version of World of Warcraft for the price of the box, and would only need to pay a subscription if you wanted to play The Burning Crusade and Wrath of the Lich King. Would you have subscribed?
This somewhat describes the current AO model except you don't even have to buy the box. You pay a subscription fee only if want to play the 3 or 4 expansions.
 
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