Lifetime Subscriptions – Waste Of Money?
As you’ll know it was announced yesterday that the Lord of the Rings Online is going completely free-to-play as of this Autumn. Two thoughts went through my brain as I read their marketing email – firstly I was rather surprised by the whole thing and secondly I was bloody relieved I never took out lifetime subscription for the game.
Of course to generalise and say that all lifetime subs were a waste of time for LotRO is both harsh and incorrect. No doubt some people have had great value for money out of it and feel completely satisfied but I can’t help but feel that I’ve had a close call. It was only a few weeks ago that Codemasters sent me an email offering me a discounted lifetime sub, the price of approximately 6 months worth of normal subscriptions, and I’m glad I didn’t go for it because the advantages of being able to play the game without worrying about a subscription have just been rendered totally obsolete. Strangely enough though, I still have until the end of June to take up the offer even though it’s really no longer relevant at all which makes me wonder if Codemasters (the European distributors) knew what was going to happen.
To make up for this obvious flaw in the lifetime subscription plan, Turbine are giving every VIP member 500 Turbine Points per month (it’s worth noting that this also applies to people who want to still use a normal subscription). I don’t know much about what you can do with the points but I’m guessing how much value for money the lifetime sub equates to will depend really on what worthwhile stuff players can buy.
Whatever happens with the Turbine Store, I’m still glad I never took out a lifetime subscription for LotRO and doubt I will ever take out one for any game. Aside from the fact that to recoup the cost of one you’re looking at around 12 months worth of playtime, it seems like we just don’t know what will happen to any game in the future. If a MMO goes for F2P or shuts down completely (unlikely but possible) then forking out for that lifetime sub has just been one big waste of money.
Although I’m talked mostly about LotRO, I’ve got my eye on Cryptic to see what happens with STO and Champions Online. They’ve already got shops in place and still operate lifetime subs and it wouldn’t be a far stretch of the imagination to see both of those games going free and lifers only getting mild compensation in return. Unfortunately those lifetime subscriptions just seem too risky now.