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State of MMO's 2010

What it's supposed to be...

image

What they are trying to sell you...

image

 

You pay cash for a game at purchase.  This pays for the game at release and 30 days of playtime in a persistent world that is ever evolving (like adding a side or a desert to a full course meal).

  Then you pay more cash over time to rent game time in the virtual world as it expands and evolves over time and your ability to enjoy these enhancements are dependant on the continued subscription.  Makes perfect sense.  That's why they came up with it in the first place!! 

-Paying again for the added content is just ridiculous and anyone who decides to do this is holding the gun to their heads with their own hands.  Everytime you make that kind of decision you are laying the foundation for the future of the MMO genre.  A capitalist tainted money farm.  Sounds real fun.  I'm sure the bigwigs at the MMO companies really flipped their lids when they tried this scheme and it actually worked! 

FTP MMO's on the other hand are perfectly acceptable.  You get the game and the playtime on the server free and you pay extra for new content and add-ons through the store.  Makes perfect sense.  If the add-ons are to expensive people shouldn't buy them which will force companies to sell them cheaper thereby balancing out that economy.  Makes perfect sense. 

It also forces them to actively develope more systems and constantly come up with new ideas to keep customers in their stores. 

There is only one method to get developers to create MMO games that are affordably priced and deliver the content and enjoyment that the subscription or monthly value of store purchases demand.

1)   Stop double paying for something you already deserved in the first place!

2)   Don't pay prices for in store items that equate for more than the standard monthly subscription  cost / enjoyment factor!

If what you buy to make a game fun is costing you more than 15 bux a month then you are getting ripped off and are allowing the company to exponentially increase their profit while not providing you the "entertainment" you deserve.

 

/ENDRANT

"I'm not cheap I'm incredibly subconsciously financially optimized"
"The worst part of censorship is ------------------"
image

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Comments

  • cowboyupinblcowboyupinbl Member Posts: 32

    Don't even know where to start with this.  The bottom line though is that content has a different value for everybody, and if that value is worth the money they're charging for it then it's worth it, for you.

    I won't say the current pricing models are perfect, but it does cost them something to keep games running and competitive in this market.  WoW made sure that everyone now expects that kind of entertainment for the same money, so each company is now competing with that.  Not only do they have build a bigger world than in most single-player games, they have to create more models, make more music and sounds, balance an array of classes/characters instead of only 1 or maybe a small group of characters, set it all up to be run online, then host the thing on top of that, and maintain it over time with constant tweaks and balances (not to mention new content).  It doesn't take one designer, it takes a team of designers; the same goes for writing, producing, etc.  The crews are all bigger, which means bigger payroll.

    If people want a game that will never end, then they need to keep paying the people who are going to keep adding to it for them.  Your retail price buys you the game, same as you'd pay for any other game; your monthly fee buys you the ongoing support of both the servers so you can play online with other people and the constant problem-solving that goes into making sure everyone, and all the equipment/etc stays balanced; what you pay for the expansion covers development costs of the expansion; and item malls are single-purchases.  That's basically how it goes.  Do they make a profit?  Yes, otherwise they wouldn't bother doing it in the first place.  Does Blizzard make over a hundred million bucks a month (or so they claim)?  Well, maybe.  But that's with any kingpin of a market.  For each WoW and Aion, there's a dozen Fallen Earths or Darkfalls or whatever have you that struggle to get going, if not fail outright.

  • delete5230delete5230 Member EpicPosts: 5,957

    Originally posted by cowboyupinbl

    Don't even know where to start with this.  The bottom line though is that content has a different value for everybody, and if that value is worth the money they're charging for it then it's worth it, for you.

    I won't say the current pricing models are perfect, but it does cost them something to keep games running and competitive in this market.  WoW made sure that everyone now expects that kind of entertainment for the same money, so each company is now competing with that.  Not only do they have build a bigger world than in most single-player games, they have to create more models, make more music and sounds, balance an array of classes/characters instead of only 1 or maybe a small group of characters, set it all up to be run online, then host the thing on top of that, and maintain it over time with constant tweaks and balances (not to mention new content).  It doesn't take one designer, it takes a team of designers; the same goes for writing, producing, etc.  The crews are all bigger, which means bigger payroll.

    If people want a game that will never end, then they need to keep paying the people who are going to keep adding to it for them.  Your retail price buys you the game, same as you'd pay for any other game; your monthly fee buys you the ongoing support of both the servers so you can play online with other people and the constant problem-solving that goes into making sure everyone, and all the equipment/etc stays balanced; what you pay for the expansion covers development costs of the expansion; and item malls are single-purchases.  That's basically how it goes.  Do they make a profit?  Yes, otherwise they wouldn't bother doing it in the first place.  Does Blizzard make over a hundred million bucks a month (or so they claim)?  Well, maybe.  But that's with any kingpin of a market.  For each WoW and Aion, there's a dozen Fallen Earths or Darkfalls or whatever have you that struggle to get going, if not fail outright.

     When I first read the OP I was gonna jump all over it.   But Cowboyupinbl covered it well, thanks for saving me all the typing cowboy :)

  • TorakTorak Member Posts: 4,905

    Originally posted by choujiofkono

     

    1)   Stop double paying for something you already deserved in the first place!

    2)   Don't pay prices for in store items that equate for more than the standard monthly subscription  cost / enjoyment factor!

     

    "Deserve"

    That implies entitlement. The only thing you are "entitled" to is a working game / access to the servers.

    No one stops you from researching a game before spending money on it.

    No one makes you pre-order

    No one makes you listen to or read all the hype.

     

    The only thing you are entitled to is make a solid, informed buying decision like anything else. Since it relates to "enjoyment" that is subjective. There are many very good games out there.

  • PalaPala Member UncommonPosts: 290

    Wow, I am assuming that the two posters above me work for the mmo producers.

    Playing MMOs today seems to be much more expensive then before, now that would be fine if they were actaully progressive and better then what we had. Yes the graphics has improved but so have the technology and production methods used to produce it. The rest has practially stayed the same or possibly got worse. (Gameplay, story telling, immersion, etc)

    So what has been improved are ways to get more money from players and producers have shown alot of creativity in this aspect, less so in the games they produce.

    Finally the way you guys described what pays for what, box, subscripction, expansion, fluff, etc is pretty ridiculous - Eve online for exampe doesn't charge for the box, expansions are twice a year and free, no RMT shop for fluff, all for a monthly subscription and the game is growing, so claiming for all the other methods to be neccessaty is just trying to justify them out of your own interest - I dont for a second believe you are gamers!

     

    Stop ripping people off, get creative, more efficient and stop producing thoughtless fluff.....

  • uquipuuquipu Member Posts: 1,516

    Is this another complaint about Blizz selling vanity items?

    EQ2 has a monthly sub and they've had a cash shop for years now.

    I don't pursue vanity items so I don't care.

    Well shave my back and call me an elf! -- Oghren

  • KothosesKothoses Member UncommonPosts: 891

    There are two ways to look at this debate.

     

    The first is that MMO's are like a Leisure centre you pay your money to get in, and once you are inside everything is free, you have paid your cash and that gives you access to every ride in the theme park. 

     

    The second is that an MMO is like a plane ticket, you pay your money to get on the plane, you get some basic things that will keep a large number of people happy.  However if you like you can buy an extra coffee from the stewardess, or upgrade your seat to first class and get the coffee in with that price.  The people with the normal tickets who cant afford or dont want to pay for first class will occasionally look enviously at the people that have got it.  But when you get off the plane, you still only arrived at the same place.

     

    Then there is the whole "deserve" part that is a very subjective argument "I paid for this content so I deserve it all" is what got wow into the place its at now where basically you can fart on your keyboard and get an epic or an achievement for it.

     

    Here is how a publisher sees it.  The Box sale gives you access to the game in the most basic sense, it gives you the client and a months access to the game. 

    The monthly subscriptions give you access to the ingame content including updates.

     

    However they then realised people would pay more for little bits of additional content here and there on top of what they already paid.  Well they are not your friends, they are not your mates, you are the customers and they exist solely to make money off you.  So they release more and more fluff to people and people buy it.

    One day they will include extra dungeons or content (the stuff you pay your monthly sub for) sony and Square have already done this with their MMO's.  This type of behaviour is something that I disagree with, this belongs in the single player market.  The subscription we pay is supposedly for the upkeep of servers and the developement and deployment of content, with a bit of profit to the guy who made it (I dont begrudge any company making a profit).  However when I am asked to pay the same price purely for access and t hen pay again for content patches and again for expansions, then I start to feel less like a customer and more like a cow to be milked.

     

    Sony went just a bit too far with the EQ adventure pack model, Cryptic and the Cstore did likewise I will never subscrbe to any of their games as a result of this practise.

     

     

    As MMO customers the more we allow our selves to be milked the more they will milk us.  I dont mind paying for premium content, I own all the Dragon Age DLC except the retarded party pack for april fools, I object to being charged twice for things.  To the poster above, who was harping on about entitlement, in short yes If I am paying for a product I feel entitled to said product.  I pay my ISP £38 a month for my internet access, I dont then expect my ISP to say "psst by the way, if you want to get on the BBC Iplayer we will charge you an extra £5 a month".

    Promoting thought a new Gaming video blog http://www.youtube.com/user/quinnthalas discussing games, gamers and the internet with gameplay footage as background.

  • BanquettoBanquetto Member UncommonPosts: 1,037

    Originally posted by Pala

    Wow, I am assuming that the two posters above me work for the mmo producers.

    Playing MMOs today seems to be much more expensive then before

    Subscription price rises have been far less than the rate of inflation over the last ten years.

    Free to play games, ironically, are indeed much more expensive than the subscription games of yesteryear, if you want to enjoy them to the fullest.

    But I assume the whole point of this thread is yet another whine about subscription game developers also selling novelty and vanity items for cash.

    If you'd prefer to have had subscriptions keep pace with inflation, I'm sure MMOs could be equally profitable with a $20/month charge and no vanity cash shop. I'm happier paying $15 and leaving the sparkling horses for other people, though.

  • GrungiGrungi Member Posts: 86

    Originally posted by Banquetto

    Originally posted by Pala

    Wow, I am assuming that the two posters above me work for the mmo producers.

    Playing MMOs today seems to be much more expensive then before

    Subscription price rises have been far less than the rate of inflation over the last ten years.

    Have they risen at all? My subscription is still the same as it was 5 years ago.

  • BlueharpBlueharp Member Posts: 301

    Originally posted by Pala

    Wow, I am assuming that the two posters above me work for the mmo producers.

    Accusations against people who disagree with you does not make them wrong.   

    And Eve?   I personally find that game totally uninteresting to me.  They could give away free pizzas with it, I still wouldn't play it.

     

  • ScalperOneScalperOne Member Posts: 281

    Originally posted by choujiofkono

    What it's supposed to be...

    image

    What they are trying to sell you...

    image

     

    You pay cash for a game at purchase.  This pays for the game at release and 30 days of playtime in a persistent world that is ever evolving (like adding a side or a desert to a full course meal).

      Then you pay more cash over time to rent game time in the virtual world as it expands and evolves over time and your ability to enjoy these enhancements are dependant on the continued subscription.  Makes perfect sense.  That's why they came up with it in the first place!! 

    -Paying again for the added content is just ridiculous and anyone who decides to do this is holding the gun to their heads with their own hands.  Everytime you make that kind of decision you are laying the foundation for the future of the MMO genre.  A capitalist tainted money farm.  Sounds real fun.  I'm sure the bigwigs at the MMO companies really flipped their lids when they tried this scheme and it actually worked! 

    FTP MMO's on the other hand are perfectly acceptable.  You get the game and the playtime on the server free and you pay extra for new content and add-ons through the store.  Makes perfect sense.  If the add-ons are to expensive people shouldn't buy them which will force companies to sell them cheaper thereby balancing out that economy.  Makes perfect sense. 

    It also forces them to actively develope more systems and constantly come up with new ideas to keep customers in their stores. 

    There is only one method to get developers to create MMO games that are affordably priced and deliver the content and enjoyment that the subscription or monthly value of store purchases demand.

    1)   Stop double paying for something you already deserved in the first place!

    2)   Don't pay prices for in store items that equate for more than the standard monthly subscription  cost / enjoyment factor!

    If what you buy to make a game fun is costing you more than 15 bux a month then you are getting ripped off and are allowing the company to exponentially increase their profit while not providing you the "entertainment" you deserve.

     

    /ENDRANT

    The pictures made me hungry. I need food!

     

    Bytheway by being greedy the game companies (the big ones) will eventually dig their own grave! Now give me food!

  • fnorgbyfnorgby Member Posts: 158

    Originally posted by Torak

    No one stops you from researching a game before spending money on it.

    No one makes you pre-order

    No one makes you listen to or read all the hype.

     

    So utterly extremely *THIS* that my THIS key would wear out if I put enough THIS's in.

    Torak wins eleven bacons for this post.

    I can also roleplay the tower in a chess game and shout "is that a peasant at the horizon I see? I will smash it I will! Oh damn I broke one of my merlons!". -- maji

  • TerranahTerranah Member UncommonPosts: 3,575

    Cash shops are here to stay.  I suppose they could raise the subscription price per month to keep them out, but one way or another businesses want to make money, and as long as there is demand there will be someone to supply it, whether it is illicit or company sponsored.

     

  • eLdritchZeLdritchZ Member Posts: 83

    first off 2 things:

     

    noone forces you to pay for cash shop stuff in subscription MMOs... it's all comoditites like character transfer etc... stuff that makes your gaming easier... and subscriptions cost pretty much the same they cost 10 years ago which I can't say for bread, water and other basic supplies... that stuff has been on a constant rise.

     

    Careful this might be a shocker.... Game Developers want to make money! *gasp* They are not workshops full of elves and a fat guy in a red suit, they are BUSINESSES ! They have their own bills to pay and they want to accumulate some wealth... who can blame them? that's the system we live in... Yes some companies do it a bit more extreme than others... then again - don't watch Avatar and expect it to be a good movie or even an original story....

     

    Sorry that I have to disagree but the whole argument about F2P being "fair" and "nice" and all that other Red Block BS, is... well... BS. F2P games have quite a nice history of ripping people off... latest example being Allods.

    Funny thing about F2P is, that people often go into them saying "well of course you can't expect this or that and this and that because it's not subscription!!!11", then later when they get forced to buy all sorts of spunky consumables just to access the basic gameplay or high level content they say "but hey the game is soooooo good... I have no problems paying 25 bucks a month for a good game"..... bit weird all that... ;)

    <S.T.E.A.L.T.H>
    An Agency that kicks so much ass it has to be written in all capital letters... divided by dots!
    www.stealth-industries.de

  • elockeelocke Member UncommonPosts: 4,335

    You can apply this to ALL forms of entertainment. Movies, books, music, sports, you name it, most of it is filled to the brim with people ONLY trying to make a buck instead of actually crafting a wonderful thing AND making money.

  • PalaPala Member UncommonPosts: 290

    Originally posted by elocke

    You can apply this to ALL forms of entertainment. Movies, books, music, sports, you name it, most of it is filled to the brim with people ONLY trying to make a buck instead of actually crafting a wonderful thing AND making money.

     

    Exactly this, I don't  mind paying or them making money but as has been argued a million times before if you are producing for a mass market you are aiming at mediocrity. So charge me what you like but someone please create something with quality and integrity to go with the price.

    Unfortunately, its appears like a catch 22 situation if you want money then you produce crap...Surely it doens't have to be that way, MMOs started by appealing to a small audience and grew from there, why not trust people to understand what you are trying to do and push them a little to raise their standars or capabilities. Well - the answer is - there is no money in it or that is what is generally thought.

    I am just having trouble accepting that I have become smarter or more capable as I havent found a game in a long time that challenged me, the only challenge is having the patience to repeat essentiallly the same thing over and over again. So I concluded that either games are getting easier or I have done it all before and thus i know exactly what i need to do before I begin playing a game.

  • Cephus404Cephus404 Member CommonPosts: 3,675

    Originally posted by Terranah

    Cash shops are here to stay.  I suppose they could raise the subscription price per month to keep them out, but one way or another businesses want to make money, and as long as there is demand there will be someone to supply it, whether it is illicit or company sponsored.

    They're only here to stay so long as the majority of players put up with them.  If a huge number of players, say a million, got together and refused to play any game with a cash shop and let all of the developers know it, cash shops would diminish in an attempt to get those player's dollars.

    The unfortunate fact is that there are a lot of people who are opposed to cash shops, but play anyway.  That leaves the developers laughing all the way to the bank.

    Played: UO, EQ, WoW, DDO, SWG, AO, CoH, EvE, TR, AoC, GW, GA, Aion, Allods, lots more
    Relatively Recently (Re)Played: HL2 (all), Halo (PC, all), Batman:AA; AC, ME, BS, DA, FO3, DS, Doom (all), LFD1&2, KOTOR, Portal 1&2, Blink, Elder Scrolls (all), lots more
    Now Playing: None
    Hope: None

  • choujiofkonochoujiofkono Member Posts: 852

    Originally posted by Pala

    Wow, I am assuming that the two posters above me work for the mmo producers.

    Playing MMOs today seems to be much more expensive then before, now that would be fine if they were actaully progressive and better then what we had. Yes the graphics has improved but so have the technology and production methods used to produce it. The rest has practially stayed the same or possibly got worse. (Gameplay, story telling, immersion, etc)

    So what has been improved are ways to get more money from players and producers have shown alot of creativity in this aspect, less so in the games they produce.

    Finally the way you guys described what pays for what, box, subscripction, expansion, fluff, etc is pretty ridiculous - Eve online for exampe doesn't charge for the box, expansions are twice a year and free, no RMT shop for fluff, all for a monthly subscription and the game is growing, so claiming for all the other methods to be neccessaty is just trying to justify them out of your own interest - I dont for a second believe you are gamers!

     

    Stop ripping people off, get creative, more efficient and stop producing thoughtless fluff.....

         Exactly. 

    They speak like people with plenty of expendable income and maybe someone with a permanent diet of unicorn spam. 

    Don't forget to roll up the cost of the internet into the game price if that's what you do with it most of the time.  These games cannot be played offline like a traditional game.

         Computer hardware has become cheaper and faster than ever before including the electricity to run them.  The tools to build and create worlds have become more intuative and faster than ever before.  If you think I don't know what I'm talking about look at my youtube 3d graphics test videos.  They are just tests made with FREE software including modeling, texturing,animation and rendering. 

         As I said before, this genre is swirling the drain as far as quality and respect for the customers.  The customers have the power to change this if they get on these web forums and share their experiences and thoughts.  No-one wants something for free but current trends in capitalist business practices from these corrupt companies must be enforced and stopped before they ruin the MMO genre completely. 

         Truthfully I don't care if MMO's change to a completely useless and watered down overpriced form. 

    I find a lot of enjoyment in many other things in life.  But it would be a real shame for the magic of a true virtual ever expanding world to die out or degenerate into crap because of greed. 

         Nobody in these companies are going to put a stop to it, it has to be a movement by the community of RPGMMO players that force them to with sheer willpower and the spending of their dollar. 

    "I'm not cheap I'm incredibly subconsciously financially optimized"
    "The worst part of censorship is ------------------"
    image

  • ObiganObigan Member Posts: 68

    dude seriously..its just like a freaking 15 bucks... I Dont get it why people keep fighting over subscribtions

  • choujiofkonochoujiofkono Member Posts: 852

    Originally posted by Torak

    Originally posted by choujiofkono

     

    1)   Stop double paying for something you already deserved in the first place!

    2)   Don't pay prices for in store items that equate for more than the standard monthly subscription  cost / enjoyment factor!

     

    "Deserve"

    That implies entitlement. The only thing you are "entitled" to is a working game / access to the servers.

    No one stops you from researching a game before spending money on it.

    No one makes you pre-order

    No one makes you listen to or read all the hype.

     

    The only thing you are entitled to is make a solid, informed buying decision like anything else. Since it relates to "enjoyment" that is subjective. There are many very good games out there.

         This is just a nonsense response.

         If you pay 50 bux or more for a game at purchase, and you pay an additional 15 bux a month thereafter, you and everyone on the entire server are absolutely entitled to all the content added in the lifetime of the game.  That's what the MMO genre is all about. 

    Charging for items independently after that is pure fleecing of the MMO community.  It creates an unfair advantage to someone who spent more money than the original game price.  This is a psychological move to make the rest of the customers feel compelled to buy items to "keep up" with everybody else.  If you think they don't have experts thinking about these things in this manner then you haven't been paying attention to all the billions of dollars at stake in this evolving genre. 

    Gamers have to stop this.  The guys raking in fistfulls of your money are not going to.

    "I'm not cheap I'm incredibly subconsciously financially optimized"
    "The worst part of censorship is ------------------"
    image

  • choujiofkonochoujiofkono Member Posts: 852

    Originally posted by Obigan

    dude seriously..its just like a freaking 15 bucks... I Dont get it why people keep fighting over subscribtions

         Obviously you didn't read the post.  If you're too lazy to read(and comprehend) the post then don't waste your and my time with one liners designed to stroke your already overly inflated ego. 

         Read the post and you'll see paying the game price + sub is not the issue.

    "I'm not cheap I'm incredibly subconsciously financially optimized"
    "The worst part of censorship is ------------------"
    image

  • BlazzBlazz Member Posts: 321

    Why do people always lynch the guy on the soap box... it's just a public service announcement, honestly.

     

    HEY MMO PLAYERS - STOP BEING STUPID, AND STOP BUYING THINGS THAT YOU SHOULDN'T HAVE TO BUY. YOU'RE RUINING IT FOR ALL OF US,  AND PAINTING DOLLAR SIGNS ON OUR HEADS!

    Ta-daaa~~.

    I am playing EVE and it's alright... level V skills are a bit much.

    You all need to learn to spell.

  • AmatheAmathe Member LegendaryPosts: 6,208

    The bottom line to all the debates on pricing mechanisms is that one man's rip-off is another man's value. So if you don't like something, don't pay. If everyone does that, the market will sort it out and the game developers will get a clear message about what people like and don't like. But the worst thing you can ever do is give in and pay for something when you object to it. Then you're just getting abused and rewarding what you see as an unfair pricing model.

    EQ1, EQ2, SWG, SWTOR, GW, GW2 CoH, CoV, FFXI, WoW, CO, War,TSW and a slew of free trials and beta tests

  • HricaHrica Member UncommonPosts: 1,126

    Originally posted by choujiofkono

    What it's supposed to be...

    image

    What they are trying to sell you...

    image

     

     

     LOL I love this

    But yes, MMOs suck worse than TREAT, you know the generic SPAM?  The last 3 years have been a horrible, horrible diapointment. The last straw was Star Trek and I could not even play with my wife on the same server becuase of 200 instanced zones, and we would finaly get together in group, then move to next zone and be in totally differnt ones.

    /done with PC online gaming...sold my video card and bought a xbox 360, and it's a whole lot more fun and all I have to pay is $50 a year!

  • nariusseldonnariusseldon Member EpicPosts: 27,772

    Originally posted by choujiofkono

    Originally posted by Torak


    Originally posted by choujiofkono

     

    1)   Stop double paying for something you already deserved in the first place!

    2)   Don't pay prices for in store items that equate for more than the standard monthly subscription  cost / enjoyment factor!

     

    "Deserve"

    That implies entitlement. The only thing you are "entitled" to is a working game / access to the servers.

    No one stops you from researching a game before spending money on it.

    No one makes you pre-order

    No one makes you listen to or read all the hype.

     

    The only thing you are entitled to is make a solid, informed buying decision like anything else. Since it relates to "enjoyment" that is subjective. There are many very good games out there.

         This is just a nonsense response.

         If you pay 50 bux or more for a game at purchase, and you pay an additional 15 bux a month thereafter, you and everyone on the entire server are absolutely entitled to all the content added in the lifetime of the game.  That's what the MMO genre is all about. 

    Charging for items independently after that is pure fleecing of the MMO community.  It creates an unfair advantage to someone who spent more money than the original game price.  This is a psychological move to make the rest of the customers feel compelled to buy items to "keep up" with everybody else.  If you think they don't have experts thinking about these things in this manner then you haven't been paying attention to all the billions of dollars at stake in this evolving genre. 

    Gamers have to stop this.  The guys raking in fistfulls of your money are not going to.

     

    LOL .. YOURS is the nonsence response. A company has teh freedom to charge WHATEVER they want. There is NO GUARANTEE in the user license that every single content they make in the future is included in the sub fee.

    You PAY for expansion packs, don't you? Think of the mount as a very SMALL expansion. You don't have to buy it. It is your CHOICE.

    Do you know that players are LINING up to buy the blizz mount? That Blizz makes MILLIONs in the first few hours. OBVIOUSLY most people don't have your entitlement mentality. Whatever you are trying to do is the opposite of the market, and ultimately futile.

    But you are welcome to try.

  • RobsolfRobsolf Member RarePosts: 4,596

    Last I looked at financial figures, about the only MMO company that's raking in massive profits right now is Blizzard.  There are a few others like Turbine that are doing fine, but their profits generally resemble Big Paper Clip more than they do Big Oil.

    Bottom line is, all companies must grow or die.  When you create a pricing model, you have to consider two factors:  competitiveness, and sustainability.  The former is why the $14.99/month still exists.  The latter is why cash shops are popping up.  Most games, with their current sub prices that haven't risen in a decade, now need to pull in money in another way... another way that's optional to the player, and keeps the company in the black.

    No game dares charge more a month than the mammoth WoW(who is big enough to not have to), and they'd be fools to do so, particularly for a commodity in which quality and value are highly subjective.  So they need to make money another way.

    Cash shops full of fluff are a perfectly fine way to do it, IMO.  As a player, you can choose to pay more or not.  I choose not to.

    The only other option is to raise sub prices.  At that point, no one that wants to play the game has a choice.  But yay... I can now have, say... a Ron Jeremy Cupid pet that flies around my head as I explore (insert realm here) without paying for it at a cash shop.  Awesome.

    If your big beef is largely due to the whole WoW mount thingie... yes, it's a total ripoff.  It makes me wretch, the fact that people are willing to pay nearly the price of an expansion for the thing.  But, despite being a lefty-moderate that believes heavily in regulating certain markets, MMO's are certainly not one of those markets.  If a bunch of idiots want to waste money on a completely non-essential epeen add to a game that's completely non-essential(for survival) to play, then that's just the free market taking money away from stupid people.  Hopefully Blizzard employees and investors will take all that idiot money and spend it wisely.  Not likely, but here's to hoping...

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