I’ve generally had the “only one subscription at a time” rule for my MMORPG gaming. Not necessarily because I would resent paying for more than one, but to prevent me getting carried away and suddenly finding myself subbed to six or seven games at the same time. Naturally Free to Play games have complicated things rather as they try to tempt you to spend money in a more adhoc fashion than the predictable monthly (or 3/6 month) amount.
Thinking about the games I’ve played and those that I’ve subbed to for any length of time has led to me producing the following chart (I’ve just finished writing my masters dissertation and did a good amount of charting for that). It shows over the last five years of gaming that I’ve twice, for brief periods, had three games subbed, and that I’ve been subbed to two games at a time for about a third of the whole time period.
I’ve completely ignored F2P games of course from this picture. So it doesn’t represent the sum total of my time spent playing all these games, nor the complete list of games I’ve actually played. Rather it is a representation of the regular cash I’ve pledged to support certain games.
The LOTRO segment only represents the relatively short time I was subscribed normally, that period ends with me buying the discounted lifetime pass from Codemasters (the then Euro operator of LOTRO). This picture is further complicated by a couple of annual subs that I ended up taking. The first was the WoW annual pass debacle which extended my WoW sub almost a year past the point I would otherwise have stayed subscribed. The second is the Rift Storm Legion + 12 months game time deal. I’ve counted that as a sub for this analysis, it’s the second ‘block’ of Rift towards the right of the chart.
The two occasions where I was subscribed to three games concurrently were actually both very short subscriptions prior to a Free to Play conversion in order to get some veteran benefits that would last on beyond the conversion (in order Vanguard and then Tera). The chart looks ‘busier’ on the right, but that’s more opportunism than me moving away from the rule.
So what does this mean going forward? Well I may or may not drop my EQ2 sub again depending on how the level 85 thing pans out. My Rift ‘sub’ isn’t a sub, it’s pre-purchased game time, so that’ll end naturally in October and I have zero intention of buying more time or resubbing. I may sub for a while to WoW to try out patch 5.4, I may sub to FFXIV for a few months just to give that a more in-depth look or perhaps I’ll even be subless for a bit while I play LOTRO (and GW2 and SWTOR).
The trend seems to be moving back towards subscriptions for MMOs which means, if I’m to stick to the rule I’ll have some interesting choices to make in the future. Do you have a rule about the number of subscriptions you juggle?