Something’s Gotta Give

August 16, 2012

I feel both blessed and cursed that so many MMOs have caught my eye this year. On the one hand, I wouldn’t be playing them if I didn’t think I would enjoy myself, but on the other, my gaming schedule is already full enough as it is and my wallet is begging for mercy. Even Guild Wars 2 isn’t off the hook on this, because let’s face it — I want to support the game and there’s no better way to do it than to spend money. I know we all get excited over free-to-play, but I wouldn’t be doing it justice if I took full advantage of F2P and never spent a dime, while all my money went to subscription games.

What’s that old adage? It never rains but it pours? GW2 headstart for pre-purchasers on August 25, with the official launch on the 28thThe Secret World with its big Issue 2 update on August 28th. Huge World of Warcraft pre-expansion patch on August 28th, with Mists of Panderia rolling out on September 25th. Rift with a brand new expansion Storm Legion hitting stores later “this fall”. I think I’m set for the rest of the year. That is, if I manage to survive my head exploding at the end of August, of course.

I mean, summers always tend to be slower for gaming so it’s not exactly unexpected when things pick up again when fall rolls around, but here I thought last year was bad with its parade of single player games all coming out within a couple months of each other. This year is even worse — Fall 2012 is the Attack Of The MMOs, and online games generally require a fair bit more in terms of commitment and investment. It’s time to put my foot down, draw the line, insert whatever metaphor it takes as long as it ends up with me coming up with a viable MMO plan, one which involves:

1) No more than two subscriptions, as I have never maintained more than two concurrent MMO subs at any given time and I’m not going to start.

2) Finding a good combination of games that will “scratch all itches”, so to speak.

Here’s what I mean by the second part: TSW is a no brainer as it offers a very different environment and gameplay style, WoW has got the traditional PvE experience covered, and GW2 doesn’t require a subscription and reigns supreme when it comes to the dynamic events department. This last point does unfortunately mean Rift will have to take a backseat as its fantasy setting and features make it too similar to the games I’ll already be playing, though at this point I have to wonder if I’ll even get to its expansion before the end of the year.

The thing is, I still want to play Rift — quite badly actually, especially now that I know some really cool things like housing dimensions are coming to the game. Earlier this week I was very tempted by an offer from Trion: buy a full year of Rift, and get Storm Legion free, but it may be best to just pass on that and wait to subscribe until after the winter or after I’ve had my fill of WoW. It’s a great thing when new games come out and the existing ones I love add new content, but something’s gotta give. Right now I’m just breathing a sigh of relief that I don’t also have the Lord of the Rings Online expansion (September 5) to juggle too.


  1. The obvious answer is to buy a Grandmaster Pack for TSW allowing you to keep your promise of two subs with Rift and WoW. 😀

    • Damn you, as if I don’t have enough temptations already 😛 It’s definitely something I’ve thought about ever since I saw they offered a lifetime subscription, but I’m still a little commitment shy and I can’t help but balk at the huge chunk of money down at once. Though, now I do envy my friends who have upgraded to the grandmaster pack, because they won’t have to stress about how long they will juggle that subscription anymore.

  2. Wait…Aren’t MMOs supposed to be dead?


      In all seriousness though, I always have to fight to bite my tongue when I hear that as well, since it’s quite clear there are still plenty of people who play and love MMOs!

  3. With MMOs, it is just too easy to spread yourself too thin. It probably makes more sense (depending on the person, of course) to juggle subscriptions instead of trying to play them all at once. Play a few months of WoW and GW2 then do TSW and Rift or something like that. Each time you take a “break” from one and come back a few months later, there will be some changes and it’ll feel like a breath of fresh air.

    Granted, its easy to get “behind” but its an MMO. Unless its about to close down, catching up isn’t really that hard.

    The real determine factor (at least for me) is the social one. Where are your friends mainly playing? I imagine they will be hot and heavy in GW2 when it launches so it makes sense to be there and then have another MMO (if you have the free time) to dabble in on the side.

    For me, I usually just keep to an MMO (if one has my interests) and then do mplayers on the side (like LoL) or just normal single-player games.

    • I’m definitely spreading myself too thin! I still have other single player games to play, but I’ve pretty much put them aside for now. All single player games that are coming out in the remainder of this year are also put on the low priority list, I won’t be able to get to them when they’re cheaper anyway.

      And very good point about the social factor. That’s pretty much me, I will put where my friends are as well as a priority. We could be playing anything and I’ll still have loads of fun.

  4. Rift’s dimensions with the personal and guild customizations looks fun to play with. I was never into Guild Wars, so luckily for me that is not a temptation, even though former guild mates are going to play it. I think I’ll wait for the new paint to dry on a lot of these before I consider trying them. Besides, there is an ME3 expansion pack out that same day and it tempts me more than the others, LOL.

    • I was never into Guild Wars either, but GW2 is different enough and more to my liking. I’m glad I played the ME series on the Xbox and I don’t usually get expansion or DLC on the console, so I have one less distraction!

  5. I can relate, there are definitely some quality products that I’m just not going to get to this year. That said, this is a huge reason to move to non-subscription payment models. Yes, there are downsides. The upside is that a player who paid $180/year for one game per month can now pay $30/year for six games and access all of them at will. I don’t see how you juggle all those games that still have mandatory subscription fees. 😛

    • Yeah, I’m not too concerned though. Like with Rift, I know for a fact I won’t get to the expansion by the end of the year, but I’m totally okay with waiting until winter or even spring to pick it up. These games will be around for a while (here’s hoping) so I know I can always pick it up whenever I want.

      Sub games actually help me set up a limit to how many MMOs I play, if I did non-sub games too I’d be screwed. Already there are so many of them I haven’t been able to get to. 🙂

  6. My limitations have always been 2 active subs and as many single player or F2P games as I like. I’m actually rather stingy when it comes to F2P. Not that I don’t spend money but I definitely am the rare person (or so all these “F2P games suck!” people tell me) who spends far less than I would on a sub game.

    Of your list it goes something like this:

    x Done with WoW. Have been since WLK. Have 0 interest in going back short of Blizzard going F2P. Ain’t happening any time soon.

    x Rift was a 1 month and done. The only original thing they had they drove into the ground and killed for me.

    x TSW, tried and done. Yeah, it was Beta. Yeah, I know it’s supposed to be better live. But the mechanics and style just didn’t grab me enough for me to want to fork over $60 for a client, then $15/month for a sub. F2P I’d so be there.

    o GW2. First off, shoosh, it isn’t F2P. Buy once and done isn’t F2P. If it were every single player game out there would be F2P. Back when we were all looking at GW2 and TOR this was the one that had me most excited. The BWEs have just ratcheted that up to 11. I seriously see this as my next 5+ year MMO. Considering there have only been 2 of those previously (Asheron’s Call and WoW) that’s saying a lot.

    For subs I have TOR locked because that’s what the wife is playing. And it is enjoyable still in spurts. Of course that is going F2P too so I’ll probably drop the sub, unlock what I need and keep on hammering ops and hard modes with my wife.

    Other than that I’m mildly interesting in checking our RoR and am chomping at the bit for PS2.

    • For all intents and purposes, GW2 is free to play. Now, I know GW2 technically BUY to play, but it is too much of a hassle to specify freemium, buy to play, free to play, or whatever individual system etc. every single time I write about a game and its specific model. Refer to this post on Biobreak to know what I mean. http://biobreak.wordpress.com/2012/08/03/free-to-play-is/ A one time purchase of about 50-60 dollars, and I don’t have to worry about it ever again for as long as I want to play, be it a month or a few years? I can’t really compare MMOs to single player games, because let’s face it, I don’t usually play a SP game for months the way I do an MMO.

      Until someone comes up with a definitive list of terms to use, I will just work with the assumption that people know what I’m talking about when I refer to GW2 as F2P for simplicity’s sake. Though I did have feeeeeeling I would have to write a reply like this to SOMEONE who would point out the distinction sooner or later 🙂

  7. With all of the releases scheduled, including things like the first single-player DLC for Mass Effect 3, I’m kind of happy that WoW’s failed to rekindle my interest and TSW turned out to not be my thing.

    • There is too much on my plate these days. I’m sort of the opposite as you, thankfully no single player games have caught my eye this fall, unlike last year. Mass Effect DLCs have never interested me, so I’m okay on that front. My gaming life will be busy enough with MMOs as it is.

  8. I find WoW and RIFT have the most structural similarities, so your plan of putting down RIFT for a while is likely a good one. Suggest taking it back up when you either tire of WoW or exhaust TSW content and you’ll be set for quite a while. 🙂

    • I see it the same way, so I’m going to wait. As a bonus, maybe by the time I’m ready for Rift the expansion will be a bit cheaper too 🙂

  9. I like the rules that you’re making for how many MMO’s you can subscribe to at once… though I gave up on WoW when they started talking about pandas. I think that was an April fools joke come to life.

    I haven’t tried Rift, is it really that great?

    • I have to put my foot down on the number of subs, or it can easily get out of hand! 😀

      And Rift is a good game! Not phenomenal or great, imo, but solid. I played the game looking for a fun time, not much more, and it certainly delivered on that for as long as I decided to play it, at least.

      • Any interest in all with Mech warrior online? That’s a world of fantasy I kind of touched on growing up, and it’s a lot of fun for something so casual and undemanding on my time. (It’s in beta, but I’ve been playing because of their founders pack bonus beta invite… thing.)

      • I have several friends in that beta, and they make it sound so fun! At first glance, Mech Warrior doesn’t seem to be my thing, but then again I have also been wrong many times in the past on other games that don’t initially “seem like my thing”. Still, I really shouldn’t be tempting myself, I’m spread too thin as it is! 😀

      • It’s matches are 5 – 15 minutes generally in length, I can do office work while I play this one, it’s a kind of exclusive niche in my arsenal of online gaming. I really like that the committment is so flexible with my time. *Imitates toy story 1* “Five minutes… eh?”

      • I may check it out once it’s out of beta and I have more time. I like games that I can jump in and out of in 5-15 minutes, I need more of those in my life 😀

      • If you do, let me know, I could provide backup fire or something.

  10. Quote by Sean Dahlberg:
    “With MMOs, it is just too easy to spread yourself too thin. It probably makes more sense (depending on the person, of course) to juggle subscriptions instead of trying to play them all at once. Play a few months of WoW and GW2 then do TSW and Rift or something like that. Each time you take a “break” from one and come back a few months later, there will be some changes and it’ll feel like a breath of fresh air”.

    I guess in response I pretty much agree with that view somewhat as well. There will always be plus and minus having said that in if you were to go that route.

    Like a few others have mentioned above though very different games RIft and WoW are still very similar enough than compared to most other MMO games. TSW is far enough different to all your other choices that its in its own genre.

    The problem though I guess with picking up and dropping games can be a bit social one from my view as well being decent in playing any one of them. For others games are just social and being good don’t matter much to them, thats ok too. Just know which gamer you are. The view that you may not get to play or socialize with your gaming friends as much or as often if they are all playing one particular game or on release if your picking up and dropping games every month that can be a factor to some degree for enjoyment. That affects some people more than others and does have an impact on their overall enjoyment of a game. The other maybe is a bit your falling behind in a game you like if your not playing it and off playing something else.

    For me as a gamer I know that I like many games, but the reality of things is I have a limited amount of time to play the various games I play and to be good at playing them in the time I devote to them. That is a hard fact for me. Having said that It took me some years to realize just why I couldn’t play all these games other people seem to pickup and drop or change or try out every month… I’m a “Focus gamer”. And that mean whatever game I tend to play I devote allot of focus attention to playing it and becoming good at it. As a result for me as much as I may like to try out other games my focus mindset limits me. A limit to only playing 2 games on a regular basis, 3 games maybe I can handle playing full time. But i’ll be honest with myself to say playing 4 games is my limit and i’m sticking to that. That is my limit, because I can’t play every game or every flavor of the month and expect to be any good at any the other ones I regularly play that have more my focus interest at that time. I accept that I know what my limit is and i’m fine knowing that in how I play and focus on games. Other people may be different.

    At the moment I only play EVE and TSW and that’s just the 2 games I currently play. I may have some room for another game, but i’ll be honest with myself that even if I pickup another game one of the other 2 or one of the 3 will get less attention or just play when i have some time. I know how I am and know that will happen. If I was to play 3 games just like people play alts in games and have their mains, one of the game I play will always be my anchor point as my main game. One game will always remain the game I have my most invested interest no matter how much fun I may have in any the other games.

    And in my gaming I realize those truths in my own situation. I can’t play every game i’m interested in as a sub or free game, no one has that much time to play everything they interested in, but you find time to play the one you care the most about or mean the most to you. Everyone is different, just figure out what your own limits are in your gaming.

    • I am definitely “a bit of this and a bit of that”. You can even say in my case, I never really “quit” playing a game even when I unsubscribe because there is always always always a chance I will return. I am pretty much against the idea of turning away for good, and I never hold the mindset of “quitting forever”. I can’t focus on one game for the long term because of time, but I can spread out my attention between a bunch of games the way Sean described and be able to enjoy them all that way.

      And the social aspect is the other thing that drives me. That factor ranks pretty high on my priority list when it comes to choosing which games to play.

  11. I’m skipping GW 2 altogether because I just don’t have the time for it, even though it looks like a great game. I want to play Rohan, and I’ll probably end up trying out MoP at the end of September. I’m also barely half way through TSW, and finally getting to some of the expansion content I paid for in DDO two months ago (I was far to low level to use any of it when it launched). There’s just no way I can fit in GW 2 right now. Maybe the next time there is a lull I can come back to it.

    • Yeah, you seem like you have even more on your plate, with LOTRO and DDO. If I were in your shoes I’d probably give GW2 a pass too, but not to worry, I’m sure it’ll be waiting for you when you are ready 😀

  12. I’m fortunate in that rift didn’t really hook me and, well, my priorities are pretty straight forward.

    • As much as I want to play it, out of the MMO choices this fall I would say I’m least excited about the Rift expansion. Not that I’m not enthusiastic about it, but there’s just more in GW2, MoP and TSW that I’m looking forward to doing first.

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