Whew, I think I’m just about to sneak under the wire with my self-imposed one post per calendar month minimum target. My apologies for the hiatus, but I’ve been somewhat busy with a “promotion-in-title” at work and also getting sucked into Marvel Heroes. In fairness, mostly the Marvel Heroes.
The big news item I was going to write about is the not-entirely-unexpected announcement that The Elder Scrolls Online is moving off the subscription model and onto, not the usual free2play model, but a hybrid buy2play model. Guild Wars 2 has shown that you can thrive as a B2P MMO, but so far the only B2P conversion I can think of is The Secret World, which seems to be doing OK but hasn’t been accused of setting the world alight. I find ESO’s plan intriguing – future new content will be released as DLC, which you can either pay to unlock piecemeal or pay a subscription that means you have access to all of the DLC, but only for as long as you continue to subscribe. Let the sub lapse and you can only access the DLC you have paid for separately. Perversely, that means that carrying on a sub at the point of conversion isn’t so hot – there’s no DLC to get access to yet, although it also nets you an ongoing XP boost and a cash shop coin allowance. Once the game has been on the new model and there’s more DLC, subbing will become more attractive.
There’s also a cash shop of course, which will sell “convenience not advantage” (familiar phrase, that) with Zenimax clarifying that XP boosts count as convenience, not advantage because they don’t get you anywhere you couldn’t get without, they just get there faster. On the plus side, they’ve also promised not to indulge in the random lockbox crap that keeps filling up my inventory in Neverwinter, so thank you Zenimax.
However, the other big news item is that Massively is being shut down (along with its sister sites) by their AOL overlords. I may have suggested at times that some of Massively’s writers are click-baiting hacks and the commenters there are a rabid pack of half-witted trolls, but Massively is still my go-to MMO news site. And will be, until next Tuesday.
After that? To quote editor-in-chief Brianna Royce: “Many of you have asked us what’s next. As we’ve been alluding, we are considering striking out as a team on a site that isn’t beholden to indifferent corporate overlords. Those of you who are begging us to crowdfund might get a chance to put your money where your mouths are and help shape that idea.”
I’ll be interested to see what transpires, and I wish them all well. Even if I don’t have any crowdfunding money (damn you again, Marvel Heroes!) I’m happy to donate a click or two given the right bait 🙂