Tobold's Blog
Thursday, May 28, 2015
Anyone remember Aion?

I love it that Azuriel's blog has a tag for "impending doom". His latest post on that subject discusses the financial situation of Wildstar, which dropped by half from Q4 2014 to Q1 2015. Wildstar is now making less money than City of Heroes before it was shut down. Thus "impending doom". But maybe NCSoft should consider another alternative than just shutting down Wildstar.

Anyone remember Aion? I barely do. I found it to be not a particularly good game at the time, rather generic, and then it went free to play. But this "free" game is now making 7 times as much money for NCSoft than the subscription game Wildstar. "Free" Guild Wars makes even more money. To me it appears obvious that it is the business model of Wildstar that is weighing the game down like a dead albatross around it's neck, far more than any issues of content or gameplay.

In my mind Wildstar is a far better game than Aion, it has a lot more character, and some strong features like the great player housing system. I don't see why it wouldn't make as much money as Aion if it had the same business model. I'm even playing World of Warcraft for free these days, so why would I consider paying a monthly subscription for any game at this point? I believe the monthly subscription model is way past the point of "impending doom", with The Elder Scrolls Online and Wildstar having clearly demonstrated that the business model is dead.

I've been a big fan of the "Subscription model" since it was introduced. Before then, you had a pay by the hour model, with fees that would be considered insane by today's standards... like 6 bucks an hour if you were willing to wait until 6pm to log in, 18 bucks an hour if you logged in during the day. (The GEnie service.)

But there can be no denying that "F2P" is the future. Hell, it's the present. And companies that ignore this asteroid coming for their planet do so at their own peril.

It's simple math. One person with enough disposable income to buy 100 dollars worth of mounts / hats / pets whatever a month pays the subscriptions of 7 people. Even people that really feel like the sub was fair enough have incentive to find something to buy on a voluntary basis.

The trick is to not make it look like a pay to win money grab.
To be fair, you may be playing for free thanks to tokens, but someone have blizzard more than a monthly subscription so you could have that token, so they are better off for it.
Looks like Wildstar is officially going F2P....
Wrong! Wildstar is missing the most important part that Aion had in spades! The sexy boob plate armors!
Aion is also all about the PvP. And, judging by the Gen Chat, the gold spammers.

I'd be more inclined to re-evaluate Wildstar if it goes F2P. When I tried it out in the Beta, I couldn't decide what it wanted to be: hokey space western, or grimdark good vs. evil.

It looks like you were just half a day ahead on this one Tobold:
I don't know, Tobold. The MMORPG with the most players is the one that charges a subscription, and only very recently could you "play for free." You and I, and most people it seems, didn't hesitate paying when it was the game we wanted to play. If we thought Wildstar could be a better way to spend our free time, we would already be paying that subscription.

I'm not saying Wildstar won't do better as Free2Play, but I have a hard time viewing it as this great game that simply has a totally unworkable payment system holding it down.
Maybe it's the MMORPG as such that is dead.
Gerry Quinn says:
"Maybe it's the MMORPG as such that is dead."

I think it's the MMORPG that "tries to do everything" that is running on borrowed time. Moving forward, I expect to see more targeted offerings set up as F2P games.

The problem of Wildstar (or Aion) was not the business model but that the game didn't worth the subscription. The fact that few whales can generate more money for a game than the sub model does not mean anything. FFXIV, EVE and wow does not seem to have any problem with the sub model
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