Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Auto Assault: More Comments

DQ reader Chad Mercer sent me an e-mail in reference to my post about Auto Assault on Monday.

I was in the beta.

I pre-ordered the damn thing a year and a half ago.

And if they would have designed it with the Guild Wars "non-subscription" model, I'd be playing it right now, and I'd probably have bought at least one other copy for my sons to play.

However, it is absolutely not worth $15 a month for me to play.

They really need to figure out a family plan option--and I think that the Guild Wars model is the closest to that that I've seen in the MMO space. With Guild Wars, I've bought 4(!) boxes--one set (Prophecies & Factions) for both me and my wife. And chances are, I'm going to be buying a couple more boxes for my sons.

Yeah, it's $40 per box, but that's all I have to pay for the whole family to play together. With WoW or any of these other MMOs, I'd have to pay $200 plus $60 PER MONTH to play. And that's whether we played them or not. That's insane.

Short course? I'll keep buying the expansions to Guild Wars--and buy even more when I think my boys are ready for it. But I can't see paying a monthly subscription fee for something that's going to either
1) keep me from seeing my family (see my six month stint in WoW), or

2) bankrupt me. Not a lot of choices there, unfortunately.

That's an excellent point, and I think the reason Guild Wars got traction so quickly (and still has it) is because of their subscription model--or rather, the lack of one. It was a wallet distinction.

It's a double-edged sword for NCSoft, though. They've introduced an excellent game without a monthly subscription. Can they introduce other games with monthly subscriptions and still have them succeed?

Chad also makes an excellent point in regards to families. That market is going to grow quickly, and someone needs to respond. There are all kinds of interesting features that could be included for smaller groups--for example, let's say a family of four has a "family" subscription. If they're all grouping together, maybe they get a small bump to their stats. Even better, maybe treasure drops are better and more frequent--not outrageously so, but enough so that the game is more fun when everyone plays together.

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