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.