The latest Massively interview with the lead producer for Neverwinter, Andy Velasquez, mentions that the “Hero of the North” pack is the most popular pre-order pack “by far”. This costs $199.99, which gives you some in-game goodies (including early access and cosmetic stuff), for a free to play MMO. That’s roughly equivalent to a 20 month EQ2 subscription or 18 month SWTOR subscription. It’s also the same as the founder lifetime subscription was for LOTRO.
I’ll admit I’ve never bought a collector’s edition of any game, so clearly I’m not the target audience for this. For subscription games I’d rather just buy at launch and pay the sub as long as I continue to enjoy it – putting this much money into a game before it even launches is quite a gamble.
I do have a lifetime subscription to LOTRO; but I only bought it because Codemasters offered a half-price deal to EU customers for a short period before the transfer of all LOTRO and DDO EU players back to Turbine. At the moment this was offered I’d been playing as a subscriber for six months so I knew I liked the game and planned to continue playing.
It remains to be seen just how good value the Hero of the North and other pre-purchase packs are. I’ll be interested to see how the game is reviewed at launch, and to see what the free to play experience is like.