Posts Tagged ‘Subscription’

So the internet exploded and overreacted to the release of the subscription numbers for Star Wars The Old republic. People on the internet freaking out over nothing? What a surprise. So the numbers released last week we learned that the subscription numbers for SWTOR are down from 1.7 million to 1.3. Pretty big drop but still… 1.3 million subs? Game’s doing fine. Because of the drop there are obviously some servers for the game that are barren even during peak times. Figured I’d throw in my two cents about it.

The sever that my guild and I were placed on during early access is a medium-ish pop server. During peak times the PvP queues aren’t that bad and a decent amount of people can be seen roaming around on the Fleet. I don’t mind the lower population on my server but when I play in the off-peak times the queues can take literally over an hour to get into a Warzone. I tend to play in off-peak times mostly. My biggest gripe about the server that I play on is constantly seeing the same pr-emade groups in PvP for hours on end. There have been periods of time when I hit the same pre-made group for 3-4 hours and sometimes couldn’t finish my daily PvP quest. It can be very frustrating. What I decided to do recently is roll characters on a west coast server with a higher population. I am east coast myself but I tend to play late most of the time so hopping on to a west coast server is better for me. I’m very much looking forward to the upcoming server transfers. Once they become available I will be moving four or five of my characters over. The population on my server seems to have dipped recently. I think other people have had the same idea to test the waters on some of the other servers and transfer over in early summer when that feature becomes available. When this does happen what will become of those left behind on those medium/low populated servers?

In the world of MMOs server merging always get bad press. Usually it happens to games that are struggling to hold people and they combine servers together to make fewer, but higher populated servers. Now SWTOR is not struggling by any means. 1.3 million subs is great. What they should do with the lower populated servers is merge them together so those players who don’t want, or can’t afford to ship their characters off to another server, get a better experience. More players means faster PvP queues, a better economy and a much livelier world to play in.

The bad stigma around server mergers for MMOs is pretty ridiculous. Games gain and lose players all the time. It happens. I think that deciding not to merge servers to simply save face and avoid bad press can potentially be more damaging because those people left on those extremely low pop servers really don’t get a good experience. Therefore keeping them subscribed to the game becomes a lot less likely. The bad press and internet explosion that will take place if they merge servers will be a tough pill to swallow. On the other hand having people quit the game because of, or constantly hearing about barren servers isn’t a good thing either. I think that if Bioware does decide to merge some of the lower populated servers that it will be better for the games community in the long run.

A lot of MMOs out there get a big influx of people who play as soon as the game launches and then that number often drops. Sometimes it steadies out. For some games it goes up again. Others manage to scrape by with their loyal player base. Some game developers switch business models from a subscription to free to play. Those games that make the switch can occasionally end up becoming very profitable and carry on for much longer than people thought they would. I think that this drop off in SWTOR subs is just a normal happening in the world of MMOs that is being blown wildly out of proportion. It’s got a larger than usual spotlight on it because it’s a Star Wars game and EA/Bioware spent a lot of money developing it. I feel that the game does have a lot of great aspects to it. I agree that there are some things that need to be fixed and added to the game. I am still having so much fun with it and plan on sticking with it. I’m eagerly waiting to see what the great folks at Bioware have in store for us.

I’ve spent the last few days trudging through hundreds of pages of forums to look and see some of the reasons that people have left the game. I was looking through the posts, ignoring ones that were nothing more than – “This game sucks so I quit.” or “SWTOR is dead”, in an attempt to find intelligent responses. Posts where people explained what they didn’t like and why they left. There’s quite a few valid well thought out posts among the arguing and trolling. Some left because they just felt that this isn’t the game for them. Others enjoyed the game but felt that there were key features missing and until SWTOR had them they would not be playing. Others are interested in upcoming games and wouldn’t have time. There are plenty of reasons why they left and some pointed out features that would bring them back. I think two of the features that I saw mentioned the most were the Ranked Warzones and the Group Finder. Both are features that are coming soon. Group Finder is slotted to be in the upcoming Patch 1.3. Ranked Warzones got pulled from 1.2 partially because of the feedback they were getting on the test server about how the queues worked. I gotta admit the way the queues worked with putting ranked in with unranked if it couldn’t find enough people was… For lack of a better word, wrong? I’m glad they decided to hold off until they can work with it a bit more and perhaps get cross server queuing in so they can avoid the mixed queues.

Server mergers aren’t always a bad thing. I think that if they decided to go this route with some of the servers that it would be better for the game in the long run. Perhaps once they get the cross server queuing in, it will solve a lot of the problems that the lower populated servers are facing. I guess we’ll just have to wait and see.

What are your thoughts? If you’re a SWTOR player how is your server doing? Still a busting population or are you stuck dancing by the PvP mission terminal with the same 10 people every single day? What are you feelings about server mergers in general? Are they a good thing if they can potentially make the community stronger or just the last fleeting breaths of a dying MMO? Let me know what you think in the comments here on the blog or over on the FMG Facebook or G+ page.

Thanks for reading!


So from just generally speaking to friends who are gamers and in some live stream chats I’ve noticed that there are people out there that are turned off of a game because of a subscription fee or micro transaction cash shop. With the launch of SWTOR coming up and having it appeal to a very broad audience, there are many that are new to MMOs. The idea of having to pay more past the initial investment may seem strange. Figured I’d do a quick post about my thoughts on the subject.

Subscription fees are usually around the same amount which is $15 a month which in the grand scheme of things isn’t all that much. There is usually different sub options like a three or six month packages that lower it by a few dollars. For those without access to credit cards or prefer to not use them online for whatever reason, there are game time cards which are around $40 for two months.

Why pay past the initial investment cost of the game? Well in the MMO space there is a lot of cost post launch that the company needs to pay for. Server upgrades and maintenance for one. The most important in my mind is the developers that are still working hard day and night on the game. There is always work that has to be done to fix bugs, and more importantly the days, generate new content. These people are still working hard months and sometimes years after an MMO has launched to make the game bigger and better for their players. These sub fees allow the companies to keep a quality development team working on fixes and possibly expansions to make the game better.

There are different business models out there for a lot of MMOs. There are plenty quality free to play MMOs out there but in my experience they are not on the caliber of most sub based games. In my experience you get what you pay for. While a lot of these games have a micro transaction store to buy game items I feel it just isn’t the same. Some of the free to play games were subscription based that moved to a F2P model and found success others launch with a F2P model. I’m not saying that F2P games aren’t good. There are a few that I really enjoy like Champions Online and DDO.

Guild Wars 2 is a triple A MMO title that will be coming out next year that won’t have a subscription fee after the initial purchase. Like the first Guild Wars. Which is awesome. I think it will have micro transactions like the original GW but for a F2P type model it definitely will be one of the best out there. The first Guild Wars still has a big following and I’m sure GW2 will thrive. I just couldn’t get into GW. Great game. Just wasn’t for me. When GW2 launches I might have to give it a go. It looks amazing.

All I’m saying is that there’s a reason that some games choose to go with a subscription model. If it really is a quality title that players feel it is deserving of their hard-earned money, it will thrive. Look at World of Warcraft. Despite some subscription losses in the past few moths they are still around 10 million. Some people have played it since launch and are burned out and want something new. Some didn’t enjoy the last expansion Cataclysm. Whatever an individual’s reason for moving on from WoW, it’s still an awesome game. Ten million people wouldn’t still be paying each month to play if it wasn’t. Side note – WoW also has a cash shop for mounts and pets on top of the sub fee. All of these transactions are optional and you aren’t missing out on actually game play content if you choose to not spend extra.

Whether a game has a subscription fee or not, if it’s a game you enjoy you shouldn’t feel gouged or ripped off for paying it or buying something that you really want in the cash shop. There are a lot of people who work hard to keep our MMO spaces fun and ever expanding places. Find the game or games that you really love. Subscription fees aren’t a bad thing.

Help the devs. Pay a sub or the two bucks for that silly little hat that you want for your character. No one gets hurt and you get to look awesome in that shiny swag that you just scored.


Thanks again for reading.


*Note – No disco lions were harmed in the making of this post.