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Sunday, February 15, 2009

Why Paying For An MMORPG Is Utter Nonsense

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While WoW seems to be increasingly popular over the past few months, I can't help but to criticize anyone who actually continues to dish out $15 a month to play this game. Hear me out. This isn't coming from someone who hasn't actually given the game a go - I recently completed my monthly trial in hopes of acquiring some kind of gaming addiction, but really found no reason to go back to it.

After completing a number of quests, getting my Paladin to Level 20, and experiencing my first slaughterfest on a PvP server, there was little left in terms of replayability and reasoning behind paying another $15 to play another month. That's not to say it wasn't fun during those few weeks, but despite my love for Final Fantasy and other RPG games, my late entry into the franchise made me notice the dated graphics, tedious gameplay, and product design purposely catered to young angsty teens or bored 25-30 year olds with nothing better to do.

So it finally came down to a question of priorities - if you really wanted to finish up "X" quest to get a fancy item and show off to a couple of strangers, or actually go out and meet some real people/obtain a real job of sorts. In other words, it's a game developer medium that has taken flight due to mainly hype and user-base, not content itself. And somehow, in this indiscernible mess of PvPing, spells, and guild wars, you have Blizzard kickin' back and enjoying billions of subscription dollars rolling in.

Similarly to the Microsoft's Live subscription service, they're only charging because they can. It's unbelievable how fast people are quick to open their wallets without questioning where their money is going. Frankly, the subscription effect is mainly due to monopolization built on effective advertising and consumer ignorance. Companies should be paying the customer to use their service, not the other way around.

Just take a close look at Valve's approach to all their new downloadable content; despite knowing that their customers will likely pay for their quality work, they continue to release updates free of charge, adding even more value to games that have already received high praise from the gaming community.

In the end, it's still people's money and $15 realistically equates to nothing more than a few good meals at a burger joint and a Starbucks coffee. However, the act of charging players monthly to use a service that's been already established (with a few doses of new content thrown in time to time), requiring the same resources originally used to maintain the original game itself, is completely illogical and
a slap in the face to gamers on a dime.

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