Don’t Take That Discount

Most MMOs have a multi-month discount plan. Pay $15 for one month or $14/month for three months, with options frequently ranging up to a year. A Tale in the Desert even offered an “as long as this Telling lasts” package, which was a huge cost-saver if I recall correctly. I would like to encourage you to buy these plans rarely if ever.

The quick version is that you are giving up a lot of flexibility for very little savings.

I immediately ignore any six-month or longer plan. If you know now that you will still want to be playing a year from now, with no significant gaps in playing time, you are so far outside the norm that I have nothing to offer you. You win.

Some people are going to be wrong about that. Ladies, he is probably not The One, and lads, this is not the Yet Another Fantasy MMORPG to rule them all for all eternity. Even if you are still together a year from now, you may want a month apart at some point, and there goes most of your discount. Let us not think about the poor guy who bought a year of Star Wars Galaxies the week before NGE.

So if you subscribe for three months, you get $1 off per month. That means two days free, or something less than a hamburger with kiddie-size fries. Two days, so if you visit your family for a weekend, there goes your discount for that month. If the latest patch makes the game unplayable for a week, you already paid for that week.

You have no option of escape. You are locked in.

Granted, if bad times come in the middle of your month, you are out of luck no matter which payment plan you chose. If they come at the end of the month, however, you can take a week off while they get a patch that works. You really can cancel your account in response to a bad patch, rather than being that idiot on the boards who threatens to every day.

You have the power. As a player, your only options are to give them money or not. Long-term commitment to a video game removes that. There is a reason why your cell phone provider wants you to sign a contract for a year or two. Stores sell gift cards because this year nearly $5 billion worth will expire or be lost before they are used. Once they have your money, they have everything they want from you.

From the company’s perspective, the ideal MMO player buys a box, logs in, gets bored on the first day, and forgets to cancel. Publishers will very rarely change billing systems if it involves your re-entering your information. They lose all the players in absentia when that happens.

Always keep your escape route open. Keep the power.

Even if the game is fine, couldn’t you use a few days away from the crack pipe every month or two? Read a book, go on a picnic, play a different video game, catch up on sleep, talk to a friend, work on a badge, bake cookies, clean out a closet, something. Your wife never needs to know that you scheduled the family vacation based on when the account expired.

You can always resubscribe for another month whenever you like. If everything is rockin’ on expiration day, plunk in another quarter and think about taking a couple of days off next month. Buying all these options only costs you $1/month, which is a pretty cheap cup of coffee these days.

: Zubon

11 thoughts on “Don’t Take That Discount”

  1. Excellent advice. Some people buy the long-term deals and then feel they have to get their money’s worth, playing the game into the ground. A second job, basically.

  2. I never go more than a month at a time…no telling when I might just want to walk away. It’s irritating enough that they still take payment for the rest of that month, let alone year!

  3. Brilliant. I just made the change on my WoW account to avoid recurring payments. It may take a minute or two out of my time every month, but at least I’m not losing money for an item that I wouldn’t be using.

  4. I paid up my EvE account for a year but then again EvE is the only game I’ve played for more than a few months AND I know that even if I can’t play alot I can still train alot :D

  5. Y’know, it’s strange, Zubon, I thought that I was the only one who thought that it wasn’t worth it to pay for longer than one month on any game. Kind of learn to only pay one month at a time when within a three month period you play… something like 4-5 different MMOs. *whistles*

  6. You can’t lose what you don’t put on the table. Great rule to remember when gambling or playing MMOs. Keep the power and stop paying for months you aren’t playing. Great advice and happy holidays to everyone. PS Gears of War for X box 360 rules!

  7. I’m completely the opposite. I *always* pay for the longer term plans, as I know I’m not going to get bored of a new game within the first 3-4 months. If I like the game, as I did with EQ, EQ2, and EVE, I opt for the year plan to lock in some savings.

    I do plenty of research before buying the game… I play the beta, I talk with friends who are in it, etc. That way I know I’m not wasting any money by just buying the retail version and canceling before the end of my free month of play.

  8. I wish .. I wish I had done this with DDO like I do with all the other games I do. Alas I have a year subscription to a game that is no longer fun for me.

  9. When I bought WoW I also bought a 60-day Card. My first couple of months were not actually that good as this was my very first MMO, so there was actually a steep learning curve for me. What kept me going was that I went back to Australia for a holiday during the first month and got my sister & her husband hooked, so I started to appreciate the social side of the game (even with a 7-hour time difference between my family and me). Once the 2 months were up I paid for another 30 days and that was when WoW really got it’s hooks into me. I’m not a Raider but I usually come home from work, have dinner, then log in and play, or chat, or fish, whatever. Using /played stats I’ve actually played my Main an average of 3 to 4 hours every single day since his creation (18 months ago), yet I also found time to level three toons to 25 and win a BC Beta key. I’ve also played quite a few other alts, and even took off almost the entire month of October this year when my family came to visit. That was $13 wasted there, but, I know I’m going to be playing WoW for a long time yet so I’ll continue to subscribe on a 6-month basis. The way I look at it, buying a 6-month block saves me $2 per month, or $12, which is almost the price of 1 month (to me, at $13/month) . So that month I missed in October was still free, sort of, and in the last 18 months I’ve had 3 months free play. I play almost every single day. I might miss an evening here or there, but on the weekends I’m going to be logged in from dawn to dusk (and beyond), so I will get my money’s worth. I don’t play any other MMO and unless the friends I’ve made in WoW all migrate to another game (and that’s already happened once but I’d already made new friends in the interim) I doubt I’ll even try another MMO for a long time yet. I only have one 60 (yes, even after 18 months), although my latest Alt is now at 45 and will probably become my second 60.

    But I’m not your typical MMO player. I’m still a noob, and 18 months into my WoW journey I’m still having a great time. I can understand not wanting to tie yourself down for 3 to 6 months at a time, especially if you’re an old-time MMO gamer who has accounts with several MMOs, but buying a 6-month block of WoW works for me.

  10. Subscriptions.

    I hate them. I prefer the Asian model of free to play with item malls, this allows as user to pay for their level of enjoyment.

    Without giving any names, I believe this model works well for the developer/publisher too.

    Now for the reason of my post, A Tale in the Desert’s prepay. Beside a very small discount we also offered a lot of bonuses that you don’t normally see with prepaid mmo subscriptions. Not only would your in game camp be decorated by a Game Master , but you also got a ATITD music CD, T-shirts, poster , and I think Andy personally called people and said thanks…I could be wrong on the last one.

    -Z

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