What subscriptions rewards?

MMO Bro wrote that he wants subscriptions gone and listed reasons, mostly that subscription games purposefully elongate gameplay to prevent you from completing the content fast and force you to keep being subscribed. They also discourage you from playing another game. Every time you don’t play a game you subscribed for, you are wasting money.

He is right and I’ve never thought of it. Just as he points out, not only F2P influences game design, but also subscriptions. I just didn’t see it, because I simply accepted it as the norm. The fish doesn’t know that water exists.

However, these are exactly the things that make me prefer the subscription model. I want a game that prevents me from playing another game by sucking up my game time. I want it to suck up my game time forever. I want the game I can play forever. First I thought it’s WoW, but – after lots of patches – I had to realized that I’m very far from their new core audience. Then I thought it’s EVE, but the community manager told me in no uncertain terms that I’m not welcomed there. Since then I’m seeking and trying and finding nothing. Sad, but I won’t stop trying. I’ll find it

I don’t want to jump between games. I don’t want “fun”, I want a meaningful simulation, similarly as football is meaningful in the sense of people make a living of it and others fill stadiums to watch it.

To that, subscription is a good start. Those games expect me to stay around instead of getting my money and run like buy-to-play games or “go whale or go bust” F2P games.

Now don’t get me wrong, I don’t like grind. Grinding is the worst way to keep people playing, but even that is better than nothing. It means they want me to stay and want to develop content for that. Sometimes they fail and all they come up with grinds. But sometimes they create something good. Either way, I’m part of “the” game, instead of jumping from flower to flower without learning anything or even connecting with people (socials love that). The devs know that grinding sucks and try to improve it all the time. Today’s WoW quests are worlds apart from the 10 wolves of Elwyn. Sooner or later the procedural content generation will be good enough for infinite content and then staying in one game will not only be “good” but also “fun”.

Author: Gevlon

My blog: https://greedygoblinblog.wordpress.com/

7 thoughts on “What subscriptions rewards?”

  1. There won’t ever be a point where procedural generation becomes good enough for infinite content.
    Basically, humans get bored of repetitive patterns. They get bored even faster if they KNOW they are dealing with a repetitive pattern, however sophisticated.

    The best payment model for me is the one Warcraft 3 nailed, but nobody was really able to replicate since:
    – one-time up-front fee for a full narrative experience (3 act story, hero’s journey, the classics apply)
    – free fully featured modding support (can’t upload own assets, but can tweak game rulesets, scripts and map design however you like within the bounds of available assets)
    – free multiplayer (so people can see each other’s mods and also play together)
    – recurring business model with expansion packs (major DLC in current terms). Each DLC comes with its own full narrative experience, complete with an updated and expanded array of assets for modders

    Subscription model as a facsimile to this is also okay, but i can’t be expected to fork out more than 30-40 USD between major updates. I wouldn’t be completely averse to some minor cosmetic microtransactions within the core narrative experience, but these can’t restrict modded play in any way.

    The ideal game for me would be if Blizzard basically released a moddable realm infrastructure for WoW, while maintaining a high-quality official version of realms for reference and inspiration. That, of course, is probably never happening.


  2. Has anyone noticed that anytime this debate comes back up again, it is WoW that gets thrust forefront as the example why subscriptions are bad? I read both of MMO Bro’s posts, and his replies in the first thread, but when it turned into a rant on how to basically “redesign” WoW by stating things he doesn’t like about the design, his point was lost on me. He even solidified his slant by including the statement “time is money, friend”, at the end.

    If anyone would care to look at the numbers, if they’re even available, I would bet that anyone who plays F2P(alternate revenue) games spends just as much, if not more “time” playing these games while emptying their wallets at the same time. The argument that F2P is a better design philosophy for gamers becomes moot at that point. The magical dogma that alternate payments methods saves anyone “time” has been rubbish from the get-go.

    Tobold touches on this in his latest post with how we are servants to game developers unless we have a bottomless wallet. In that regard, we all have our own reasons for playing games, and those reasons should continue to exist and be supported in the form of how developers continue to design their games – unimpeeded. I acknowledge that some gamers feel that “grind” for grinds sake is a bad design approach, and in many cases I would agree, but why does the debate always turn into an argument of “time”? One simply cannot talk about “grind” without admitting that they are talking about “time” in the same breath.

    I cannot fathom the idea of supporting game developers “just because” I feel that “my time” is more valuable than someone else’s. Just how much free time do these F2P/alternate payment model supporters have? The argument is basically a straw man when I see people arguing that they should be able to play multiple MMO’s, all at the same time, even though “time spent in the game” and progression are ALWAYS correlated with a “time” component, regardless of the payment model.

    The price of admission to the rabbit hole should be the same for everyone. What we decide to do, and how much time we are able to spend in there should remain an individual endeavor that no gamer should have the right to question or limit.


  3. I don’t really hate grinding as a concept. Optimization game can be rewarding and engaging. Also, every time there is something that is just out of your reach stat-wise, you have an opportunity to not grind and instead attempt to become a better player by finding a way to still reach that hard objective without too much grinding.
    The problem with the grind is when the game mechanics don’t exactly leave you any other options but to elevate your numbers.


  4. So basically… MMO Bro says don’t play WoW because it takes everything bad about the sub model and uses it to squeeze the players. Ok. That doesn’t mean the model is inherently bad any more than the lockbox model is inherently bad.


  5. I think an additional subscription model is needed – the player pays for game time. In that way, there would be no incentive to play all the time. The balancing of price won’t be too easy but something along the lines of 2 h daily = month of subscription should be a good start.


  6. To me the only acceptable artificial construction of value through limitation of ressources is the browsergame model of set an order and come back X hours later to receive your reward. This works especially well in a subcription model as you can’t just inflate earnings easily without cost by creating multiple accounts. And if the game doesn’t provide this people will implement it themself with botting at which point you just have another conflict of those who dare and get the advantage and those who screech to the devs about unfair while not daring to risk it themself.

    The other problem is people value time vastly different and are also differently limited by their skill. People who happily nolive in games will defend the grind because it’s their virtual job that gives them a virtual income above others. Scrubs without it would be nothing as they can’t do higher tasks. It’s the same conflict as automatization fucking the lower jobs IRL.


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