New DDO Business Model

This is relevant to my interests.  I liked Dungeons and Dragons Online enough, but like so many other MMOs, it was just not worth the subscription to me.  Now Turbine is offering a new business model that seems to borrow a lot from Wizards101, which is a fantastic thing.  My favorite business model is by far the “buy content packs” that Guild Wars, Wizards101, and lifetime Lord of the Rings Online players have.  It seems that Turbine will offer “convenience items” as well, but they are quick to premptively reply that the best items come from playing.  I am not as happy about “convenience items,” but I see it as a necessary evil when converting a subscription-based game in to a “buy content packs” type of game.  Can’t stop progress.

j’ai creusé la terre, j’ai découpé la lune

14 thoughts on “New DDO Business Model”

  1. An interesting move. Given how small group based DDO is, the item shop should have minimal impact overall, and those who want access to everything without the RMT taint still have the regular sub option. If I had a regular group (and more time) I would not mind spending a month or so and seeing the content.

  2. I will play this. Hated LOTRO and liked DDO…but, felt it was not worth a monthly..

    Whaddya know..looks like Turbine finally thinks the same thing.

  3. I was curious about DDO but never tried it. Now it’s going free, I have no excuse not to try it! :) The F2P/RMT model or whatever you want to call it seems like a good way of reviving flagging MMOs. Not sure I agree with it as a longterm strategy for new games though – I think microtransactions take away too much of the game.

  4. Eh, I’m not all that interested. Looking at the differences between free and premium, it’s quite obvious that the free plan is intended to be second-rate. For example, what exactly does “limited chat” even mean?

    A good “free to play” design doesn’t make free people feel like second class citizens. You create a good game and let people upgrade to conveniences. It looks more like Turbine is going to cripple the game and make you pay to get content. Perhaps this is a symptom of them trying to retrofit a subscription game to this business model; this is the very reason why I haven’t done the same for M59. So, I’m not going to get too excited yet.

    Even though I’ve been an advocate of the free to play business model for a few years now, I’m always worried that some large studio will not understand it and flub it. We already see a bit of this with Free Realms allowing people to buy superior weapons, and now DDO with them paring down the game to a “free” version and expecting people to pay to do almost anything in the game, including “unlimited” chat to allow you to become part of the community.

    Note to developers: Talk to someone who has some experience. For example, I was lead designer on a (canceled) project that was going to use this business model. I can show you a lot of data and help you design a game that will take advantage of the business model.

  5. Yeah, I kind of agree with Moondog548. We don’t know exactly what limited chat means, but any limits at all does not mean it is instantly bad. Turbine is a large company, but they are also (usually) smart. I also think that since they are working on a console game, they probably also employ people that check out data on F2P games and other business models.

    BTW, I hate that this is called F2P. I wish there was another common term. Because F2P means to me a Korean-esque cash-shop where people that buy things are the people that get power. Buying content packs, and “convenience” items, does not fall under this line, me thinks.

  6. I played the trial of DDO only a few weeks ago. I think they did a great job of implementing the D&D rule set into a real-time MMO, but the game seemed like one big grind fest. Every instance can be repeated on multiple difficulties and the steep leveling curve requires that you grind these instances repetitively. I know that this type of grind is present in all MMOs, but it felt more so in DDO.

    I think that moving to a free to play model is a good idea, but they need to make the grind less obvious.

  7. As Turbine are planning on using a similar business model in upcoming games like the console based Lord of the Rings, it’s arguablly good sense to pilot the model in a small, but established game.

  8. I’ve always wanted to give DDO a go but never got around to it. From reading reviews, the game seems quite interesting.

    As for the free to play model, I got mixed emotions about that. Yes, you get more players and probably a few more bucks in the bank, but that’s about it in my opinion.

    Anyway, the free accounts seem quite limiting. I guess we will have to wait to see.

  9. Ravious, perhaps it’s time to challenge that reflexive assessment of the F2P label, then? It’s definitely a challenge here in the West, but if more companies with quality games go this route, people will learn.

    Though notably, Wizard 101 has “Access Passes” which sound a lot like what DDO will do with “modules”, and they seem to be doing fine, whatever people call their game.

  10. I bought the game back a year or more ago and played my free month but never subscribed (felt more like a $5/month game instead of a $15). I’m looking forward to going back and trying it again.

    I agree with Ethic, the new setup sounds tailor made for static weekly groups.

  11. Think of Lamborghini giving away Gallardos for free!!!
    But ofc lets check their item shop…

    Keys: 50.000$
    Engine: 100.000$
    Chasi: 200.000$
    Paint: 10.000$
    3 wheels: 50.000$

    …and much more “cosmetic” parts to come!


    Besides…FREE to drive for life

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