When To Quit?

WoW - Cancel Subscription

Blizzard threaten a kitten every time someone quits

I wouldn’t say I was a big advocate for subscription models but I don’t have any problem with them and, to be fair, I’m not exactly a fan of the alternative either (I think F2P encourages game design for cash rather than quality… but that’s another blog post). The one thing I do struggle with when it comes to my subscription MMOs though is when to call it quits. I’ve barely logged into WoW for the last six weeks. Is it time to cancel?

I don’t bat an eyelid when it comes to forking out $15 a month for a game that I’m regularly playing but it’s been my experience that there’s a prolonged grey zone at the end of one’s interest in a game. You stop playing but keep thinking “I’ll get back into it later”, a vicious cycle that can last for weeks, if not months. Even worse is that feeling of attachment to the world and that somehow by unsubscribing you are severing yourself from it forever and giving up on all of your online friends. You stay subscribed to in vain attempt to fool yourself that you’ve not moved on and not left everything behind.

I shudder to think how much money companies have made out of me for staying subscribed and never playing. My worst period was undoubtedly Everquest 2 when I kept forking out subscription payments for six months after I last logged on for a proper session. I just couldn’t bring myself to cancel and accept the fact that it was over.

No doubt this is where F2P games have a huge advantage and its proponents will say that it does away with this dilemma entirely. And they would be right. Still, I don’t want all of my games to head down the F2P path (we all saw what happend with Everquest 2 Extended) and maybe the emotional conflict could be dealt with by a simple change in terminology. How about pausing your subscription instead of cancelling it? Yes, much easier to swallow. But not in the developer’s interest, of course. They want you to keep paying.

So right now I’m subbed to RIFT (or will be when my initial 30 days free play runs out), Everquest, and World of Warcraft. That’s a lot of games and not a lot of time to enjoy them all. Ultimately, I don’t want to be paying for all three subscriptions come April and am looking to ditch two of them. Which two? Hint: it’s not going to be RIFT. I’m OK with parting with EQ. I had my fun with it (write up coming soon) and will put it on ice until Kunark comes out on the progression server

And WoW? Yeah, maybe it’s time for that to go too. Like I said, it’s been six weeks. Still, I find myself locked in some emotional conundrum, hesitant to let it go. Logic tells me to unsubscribe but my guilt and desire keeps me hanging on. What should I do?

-Gordon

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48 Comments

  1. Grimnir says:

    Cut the cord. It’s not like it’s all that difficult to re-subscribe.

  2. Lycanthrope says:

    As I told a friend who expressed some unease quitting WoW, it is always easy to come back when you feel the desire to. When it ceases to be fun then it is no longer a game worth spending time or money on. Besides, spending some time away from something can sometimes increase appreciation for it once you do return.

    Re: F2P, I agree. I have several installed on my laptop and hardly log into them. One had questing so obtuse I never got a character out of the initial leveling area. Another I liked some of the mechanics of, but the typos, stilted language, and back-forth nature of a lot of the starting quests killed my enjoyment of the charming graphics and world. Also, F2P ceases to be so F2P when you add the word “Gameshop” into the game.

  3. Pascal says:

    Easy. I have a rule of not subscribing to more than one MMO at one time. If I find myself not playing it or playing it but hating it (Oh, how I love to loathe thee WoW), I ditch it and find something else. And, if the 30 day evaluation seems good, I cancel the other one in that time period.

    So, ditch World of Warcraft. You’re playing RIFT right now. You can always go back if you feel that pushing toothpicks under your fingernails is fun :)

  4. Kierbuu says:

    I stop and start my subscriptions all the time. I get bored so I cancel. I decide to return so I re-sub. I have a long vacation coming up so I cancel. I’ve got a long weekend and no big projects so I come back. Done this with all my MMOs over the years. None of them are all that hard to come back and catch up with… and “WoW” is the easiest of them all.

    Unless you have strong social ties you’ll lose by quitting (and since you’ve barely been there for six weeks I doubt there is much risk of that), go ahead and make that peon cry.

  5. Bhagpuss says:

    I’m playing and will be paying for Rift, but I have no intention of cancelling my Station Access account. I think it’s a price very much worth paying for the ability to log into any of my dozens of characters in EQ, EQ2, Vanguard, SWG and DCUO on a whim. In the last eleven-and-a-half years I cancelled my EQ/SA account just once, for 6 months, and regretted it very much. I won’t be making that mistake again.

    Also I have to contest your negative view of EQ2X. Since it launched last summer I have played almost all my EQ2 on the Freeport server, leaving my several max-level characters on Live largely un-logged in, even though, as per my SA account above, I’d say EQ2X has been a great success and a joy to play.

    • Gordon says:

      Isn’t the fact that you’ve left EQ2 Live a sign that EQ2X is killing it? I just really dislike the way SOE have handled it all. Had they tweaked things slightly and copied Turbine more I would’ve been very happy. At it stands EQ2 Live is going to eventually disappear completely and people will be forced to ultimately pay more money for the same stuff on EQ2X :(

  6. Bhagpuss says:

    Doh! That sentence should read “even though, as per my SA account above, I could have been playing them instead”.

  7. Gazimoff says:

    I’m going to be honest with you – I’ve cancelled mine, for much the same reasons.

    At the moment WoW has really lost it’s sparkle. Larisa’s recent posts about sparkles and embracing my inner geek really struck a chord with me, reminding me that I get the most fun when I’m exploring something with child-like curiosity and constantly discovering new things, or when I’m making something new. I’m an engineer, and it’s part of the way I’m put together.

    That said, I don’t see this as an “I quit”, but more a case of hitting the pause button. I’ll be back to WoW just as soon as they have something new for me, like the Firelands zone. But a rehash of Zul Gurub and Zul’Aman is like working a different job at the same factory. Sure, you might be in a different spot in the production line but the place still feels the same.

    I’ll be back – I’ve left and come back before. But in the meantime I’ll be having some well earned R&R in a different place. Like a holiday, if you will.

    • Gordon says:

      I keep feeling the urge to roll another Worgen alt or something and that alone keeps me hanging on to my subscription :) Ultimately yeah, I am tired of the achievement culture that WoW has bred. I find myself getting so wrapped up in unlocking achievements or grinding PvP honor or bloody archaeology that I forget to just enjoy the game! It’s quite refreshing to “take a break” from it all and play something like RIFT. It is totally like a holiday :D

  8. Pathak says:

    Let the hammer fall.

    I’ve cancelled my WoW subscription, thought the actual current period doesn’t run out until mid May. For the moment, RIFT has my attention, and I’ve committed to 6 months when the free month runs out.

    Who knows, if things pick up maybe I’ll go back to WoW for a time, but the casual grouping offered by RIFT, and the new and interesting storyline and game mechanics have me hooked.

  9. Paul says:

    If you’re not having fun, you need to unsub to send the MMO operator a clear message that you aren’t enjoying their product.

    • Pascal says:

      Very good point, Paul. That unsubscribe message, along with a detailed explanation why is good feedback for the company and sends a clearer message than a whinge on the forum :)

      Side thought. I wanted to pay for RIFT with game-time cards until I trust the company enough with credit card information. However, there was no way to actually sign-up without either providing a game-time card immediately or credit card information. That is very, very annoying. So, I signed up with a credit card and immediately cancelled. Then discovered that:

      (a) I could not remove my credit card details as the system kicked out errors when I tried to delete it. (Have to check back to see if that is possible now)

      (b) They asked me to do an exit survey that pointed at a non-existent survey. The skeleton was there, but none of the questions had been fleshed out.

      Always amused at how neglected the average MMO’s billing systems are.

      • Barrista says:

        I agree completely. By not unsubbing, you are telling Blizzard you are fine with their product.

        I actually used cards to play EQ2 and used one to sign up. I didn’t feel like having to cancel if I wasn’t enjoying the game. If I didn’t think to buy another card, the subscription would end on it’s own (and it did).

  10. Danny says:

    Do not cancel your WoW subscription. It is still the best MMORPG out there (and, for me, the best PC game, period.) We all go through burnout phases, usually caused by playing too much. You’ll be back in WoW. You know you will. :)

  11. Barrista says:

    I am not sure if I understand the “guilt”. I know I had some myself when I quit shortly before Cata was released. I had made friends and connections in both real life and in the game and I somehow felt I was letting those people down.

    The fact is that the game had started to let me down. I don’t see myself re-subbing, but it is very easy to do so if I wish. My husband quit almost 2 years ago and could easily resub and his rogue would still be there in her Naxx gear I’m sure.

    I just finally realized that it was a game and Blizzard had done nothing to keep me as a sub. I realized that was their fault, not mine.

    I’m enjoying Rift myself.

    • Gordon says:

      “I just finally realized that it was a game and Blizzard had done nothing to keep me as a sub. I realized that was their fault, not mine. ”

      Good point. I guess my guilt just comes from some strange concept of loyalty to a product. Totally unfounded, I know.

      • Erik says:

        I understand the whole loyalty thing. Warhammer Online was my first MMO, and I had agonized over unsubbing for months. Then I just came to the realization that WAR stopped being WAR a while back. I still have the F2P on my machine if I feel like running around in the RvR lakes. I play Team Fortress 2 right now, and am having a lot of fun.

        If I ever get the itch, I’ll sign back up.

  12. Larísa says:

    It sounds fairly easy to me, since you’re not a part of a raiding guild. I think it’s way harder if you have those ties to people you’ve played with for years, a history in common. Of course you can say that you’ll stay in touch etc etc, but deep down you know you won’t. But as a non-raider who hasn’t been logged on for six weeks… It’s an easy decision.

  13. Syl says:

    If you ask yourself whether you shouldn’t better quit, then maybe that’s already your answer.
    For me it’s been very easy. I second Janyaa from Muradin’s Musings here, she wrote this recently:

    “I was no longer enjoying my time logged in trying to figure out what to do in the game, going through the grind of dailies. I was doing it because I was used to logging in and had stopped trying to find alternative uses for my time. It’s what was comfortable and familiar, but there wasn’t a whole lot of pleasure anymore.”

    Are you playing WoW out of habit, or because you still enjoy it? Are you playing it for yourself or others?

    Think that’s all you need to ask.

  14. ScytheNoire says:

    Quit. All good things must come to an end sometime. It’s time to let go.

    I did, currently playing Rift and having a lot more enjoyment from it than I did in WoW. Plus with games like Guild Wars 2 and The Old Republic later this year, it’s going to happen eventually.

  15. pkudude99 says:

    Rift’s got me hooked enough right now that I haven’t logged into EQ2 in a while, in spite of having bought their latest expansion. I mean, yeah, I logged in a couple of times to check out the new areas before Rift’s headstart began, but that was just dinking around, not really “playing.” I also haven’t really logged into EVE since last November, though since the skills have continued to train, I’ve at least felt like I was accomplishing something in it.

    But now I’m pulling the plug on both of them (for now, most likely . . . I still really like EQ2 and EVE both, just have a new shiny to distract me) and focusing just on Rift.

  16. SmakenDahed says:

    Can I have your stuff?

    Couldn’t help it. :|

    After six weeks of not playing it? Yeah, time to cancel. You’ve already given them (what will end up being) two months subscription fee for nothing.

  17. Patti says:

    Just unsubscribe. I wonder how much money Blizzard is making from people who don’t play any more, but are still paying subscription fees? It all adds up.

    My policy is this : I’ll pay one MMO subscription at a time.

    So, for now, it’s RIFT, then maybe LOTRO, maybe something else. It won’t be WoW again. Words can’t describe how much I dislike Cataclysm.

  18. Tesh says:

    Brief tangent: On money influencing design, subs are almost built entirely on addiction and emotional attachment, and that’s on top of lengthy level and rep grinds. Just the fact that you’re paying them money for a game you’re *not playing* should show you that there’s a problem there. F2P invites different abuses, but neither has a moral high ground. Both want your addiction, er, loyalty and money.

  19. Telwyn says:

    I did this once, kept a sub to DDO for nearly 4 months while I was studying for final exams (and still working full time). At the time there wasn’t a F2P option for DDO, and I didn’t want to be locked out of the game.

    I wonder if I’ll feel the same about WoW? Will I be able to resist the dailies and profession stuff, that’s all I have left to do now as my social guild doesn’t have the players for raiding and tbh with so many burned out by Cataclysm already we’re barely managing 5 mans some days.

    After 4 years exactly to this very day I’m very tempted to cancel my sub and take a sub in RIFT to at least give that game a real chance.

  20. I never truly “quit”, I think. That word has such an air of finality. But never say never, is what I say! :D Really, I stop playing something when I find myself not having the motivation to log in, or not finding enough reason to. I’m in that boat with WoW…my sub is done now, I was on a multi-month cycle and it just ran out early this month and I have it set so it doesn’t renew. Still, it doesn’t mean I won’t ever go back. Like I said, whenever I stop playing something, I see it as taking an indefinite break. I could go back next month, or I could go back in three years — I like to keep things open :D

    • Gordon says:

      For me there’s something quite defining about cancelling my sub. I’ve had my WoW one running for over 2 years now and it’s kinda sad to have to cancel it even if I really should because I haven’t played it in a while. Oh Blizzard and their emotional blackmail :D

  21. Lisa says:

    Hey I really love your blog. I loved RIFT too (played on the free weekend week before last). I would sub except I’m unemployed now and we have some critical things we can’t even buy, but that’s not the matter here! (BTW I’m now playing EQ2X – your favorite…LOL but good for free/silver)

    I left WoW last year, with the knowledge I’d not be back for a long time (since being out of work). Two things helped make the break – letting all my WoW friends know I was leaving and getting their email addresses (we email sometimes now) and writing a blog article about my leaving. Also every time I thought about going back I’d think of the negative things about WoW (can’t get into raids without being geared but can’t get geared unless you go into raids, etc.) That helped me whenever I started missing my characters/the pets/the collecting/the crafting/the achievements crack. I loved the game – lots of good things, but it’s a mind-trick for myself so I’m not tempted to go back.

    With RIFT – I was dying to sub after I had that free weekend. However, I dug around and found the free EQ2X. Not the best thing (that you can’t use AH, etc) but at least I can play for free, and its got my mind off RIFT. Which is the point here – I think if you’re playing RIFT now, just drop WoW for awhile, and fully enjoy RIFT. If you really want to go back, do it, but realize you’re doing it because you want to go back and take full advantage of the game again. And take it from someone who doesn’t have any income now – even a dollar wasted is ashame. $15 that you’re spending on a game you’re not playing can be put away for a time in the future when you may not have money (or at least stick it in a retirement fund.)

  22. Mike says:

    My friend made the comment, “I should start doing drugs, it’s cheaper than all these games”. Your blog reminds me of that.

    Well good luck getting over your video game addiction. To be honest I don’t mind forking over a few bucks here and there to keep playing more and more on my favorite games, and unlike you I probably never will. I’m too far in to ever get out…but also unlike you this suits me just fine!

    Well power to you whichever path you go with :P

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