Tobold's Blog
Tuesday, August 18, 2015
 
Lifetime membership

Syl regrets *not* having taken a LotRO lifetime membership, while I regret having taken one. Maybe that is funny. Maybe that is an opportunity to talk about lifetime memberships. Do these even exist any more? I don't remember having seen one on offer recently. Besides Lord of the Rings Online, the games I know had that option were Hellgate London and Star Trek Online. Seeing how the company that made Hellgate London went bankrupt and the game went under (to be "resurrected" by a different company as Free2Play later), I'm pretty certain that at least that one was a bad deal.

For me the main attraction of the LotRO lifetime subscription was that I bought it when I still thought that LotRO would remain a subscription game forever. Subscription games have a disadvantage of that it becomes problematic to play them on and off. If there is another game coming out that you want to play, do you cancel your subscription, only to take a new subscription once you want to come back? So at the time the lifetime subscription for me removed that problem, giving me free access whenever I wanted without hassle. Of course then LotRO went Free2Play, which removed my prime motivation for the lifetime subscription. If I had played LotRO a lot that might still have been a good deal, because the lifetime subscription was converted into advantages of the Free2Play game. But in hindsight I didn't play LotRO all that much, and wasted my money.

So the main problem with lifetime subscriptions is that they are usually on offer only at the very start. Just like expensive collectors editions they are sold on hype, not on a solid experience with the game. As MMORPGs frequently undergo changes, both to gameplay and to business models, a lifetime subscription today sounds like a risky proposition. There probably isn't much demand any more, which probably explains why I don't see them any more. When a new subscription MMORPG is released today, the first thing people ask is "how long until it goes Free2Play?", and not "how I can I subscribe for this for eternity?".

Right now I don't know any game where I would be willing to pay $200+ to get a lifetime subscription for. Not even World of Warcraft, seeing how that one has effectively gone Free2Play for me. How about you?



Comments:
http://massivelyop.com/2015/08/08/champions-onlines-lifetime-sub-goes-on-sale/

http://sto.perfectworld.com/lifetime

So, yes, they do still exist. Cryptic/Perfect World seem to like them.
 
Did you get the LOTRO lifetime sub round about release time, or much later (i.e. much closer to the F2P conversion)?
 
On release.
 
I agree that it's the wrong approach to sell lifetime subs during a time of hype rather than making them available to anyone who actually bases that decision on good experiences with the game. I wonder too, if it's really that smart of a move to remove them at some point, especially when your game isn't doing too well anymore.

My reason for the lifetime sub in LOTRO would be that I love the world and always will; I'd like to be able to just pop in sometime whenever I please. Turbine's account management is a pita, so I've no wish to deal with re-subscribing every time a get a shortlived "lotro craving". I guess I could just roll with f2p but once you've been a subscriber, you get used to having everything available to you.
 
I am very late to LotRO but regret not having a lifetime. I have a lot of good will for the IP. I like to pull for the underdog. It does "virtual world" better than so many other lobby-for-instance MMOs. The contrarian in me likes that it is not where the cool kids play, which also makes for a much better community. After reading some rant about bad F2P communities, I have contrasted the sub EVE community with F2P LotRO. I would probably buy a lifetime LotRo if it were offered now, knowing it was almost certainly a bad deal at this point.

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Lifetimes are nice in they get rid of that reoccurring "did I do enough in that game to be worth still being subbed" angst.
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Camelot Unchained has a tier that is essentially a lifetime sub.

 
They always seemed like a bad idea to me, and given the overall market conversion to F2P that appears to have been correct. Honestly, lifetime subs felt like a marketing gimmick, an acknowledgement back before F2P was embraced as a valid sales strategy that maybe your MMO wasn't going to have sufficient staying power that you needed to con people into a big up-front payment to get the most out of them.

Now....is any MMO scheduled to come out right now with a paid subscription format? It seems to me that FF XIV and WoW (barring the tokens) are the only two titles I know of that require a subscription to play.
 
I got a lifetime sub for TSW when it first released. Even after it went B2P, the value it provides is immense. Best MMO purchase for me, ever.
 
As Bhagpuss said, Champions has their lifetime subscription on sale. This is a great example of the minefield of lifetime subscriptions though. Based on articles on massivelyop.com, Champions has been cutting back on new content possibilities to the point where people question if the game is going to be around for much longer. Even if it survives in maintenance mode, there are still bugs that have never been fixed.


Still, there are online games I would have gotten value out of with a lifetime subscription, if such had been available to me at the time I started playing them. The only problem is that any game I would feel I've gotten real value from on such a subscription would have been a losing proposition for the game developers because: A) I would be using resources beyond what I had paid for compared to other subscribers; and B) They earned more money from me due to my having paid a subscription over a long period of time.
 
I think if I was playing STO or TSW more, the lifetime subs I bought for them would be paying off incredibly well. Even as it is, jumping into STO once every 6-12 months means I come back with a tidy amount of cash-shop currency and instant access to whatever expansion or upgrades are going on, and I don't play with the wheel-clamps on. Same goes for TSW: the lifetime sub always guarantees enough currency to buy the latest expansions, plus a tidy allowance on the side for bought power or cosmetics.

Sadly, I find the ground combat of STO and TSW both to be impossibly drawn-out and frustrating (STO more frustrating, TSW more tedious), with the 'moment to moment' gameplay ensuring I never stay engaged for very long before the frustration pushes me away. But for what I paid? I got more than that value back and then some, given that I've probably played for a cumulative year of hypothetical subscription for each, over the last few years, which the lifetime subs came in cheaper than.
 
Elite had/has a lifetime subscription. Rather a strange feature for a pay-to-play game to possess but it looks as though it is just a very long season pass for DLC.
 
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