Let’s Talk MMO: Subscription or Free-to-Play Cash Shops?

Forking over the monthly charges or being nickel-and-dimed to death? Which is preferable, really?

Tale as old as time…

Recommended Videos

There’s a right way and a wrong way, but which is best?

You won’t make it far through the bowels of the internet without stumbling across one grand-scale argument or another about the whys and wherefores each time a new game has risen to and fallen from the great dizzying heights of fame and glory… which comes, generally, of hefting a banner labeled “the REAL WoW Killer.”

And while you can cite the lack of enjoyable endgame, the terrible economy, or the sheer lack of WoW factor, eventually you will see someone call it: “this is going free-to-play in less than six months.”

Usually it does, too.

But is that really preferable?

Which is better, really?

You remember those days when you could buy a game… and then play the game?

It really was like that once upon a time. Honest.

We can’t all expect the good ole days to last of course, and it looks like that same day is dawning for the subscription model as well. No one wants to keep paying a monthly subscription for the games they want.

No matter how big or pretty or how long you worked on it with blood, sweat, tears, and billions of dollars (*cough* SWTOR), it does not buy you the instant success with the subscription model. Would-be players cheer every time they see a subscription modeled MMO fail and fall back on free-to-play crutches to hobble along in a new direction, trailing behind their long-shattered dreams. Now they’ll play it. Now they won’t be bilked out of their hard-earned money!

But is what’s left honestly worth playing?

In the transition from paid subscription to free-to-play, you lose something.

I like to call it class.

This is not to say every MMO does this. From what I’ve seen so far, TERA has managed to make the transition without making every little aspect of the game an opportunity to nickel and dime you to death. They may have made some questionable class-balancing decisions and garnered some grumpiness over PVP, but aside from the understandable shiny hat and pretty dress, they keep their micro transactions pretty tame as far as I know.

In SWTOR,however, you’re hard-pressed to find anything you don’t need to pay for. You know. The ability to sprint. Craft properly. Teleport to base. Hide your headslot.

Seriously? Is this a game that honestly considers itself playable for the the non-paying player? I’m sorry LucasArts, your desperation is showing. 

To me, I think it comes down to this.

You’re more likely to try a game if it’s free… but you’re more likely to stay with a game and be a whole lot less irritated at a game that makes most of its money from you in a flat subscription. 

What do you think?

GameSkinny is supported by our audience. When you purchase through links on our site, we may earn a small affiliate commission. Learn more
related content
Read Article How the Soulsborne Dogs Became the Worst Enemy in Gaming
Three specters looking out over the Lands Between in Elden Ring.
Read Article Every Game Weapon in Fallout Season 1
Lucy looking at the exit sign for Hollywood Blvd.
Read Article Is The Ghoul in the Fallout Games? Walton Goggins’ Character, Explained
The Ghoul in the wasteland.
Read Article How Fallout Season 1 Creatures Compare to the Games
Lucy proposing marriage to vault 32 candidate in the Prime series.
Read Article 10 Best Food and Cooking Mods for Stardew Valley
Farmer holding cake in the field
Related Content
Read Article How the Soulsborne Dogs Became the Worst Enemy in Gaming
Three specters looking out over the Lands Between in Elden Ring.
Read Article Every Game Weapon in Fallout Season 1
Lucy looking at the exit sign for Hollywood Blvd.
Read Article Is The Ghoul in the Fallout Games? Walton Goggins’ Character, Explained
The Ghoul in the wasteland.
Read Article How Fallout Season 1 Creatures Compare to the Games
Lucy proposing marriage to vault 32 candidate in the Prime series.
Read Article 10 Best Food and Cooking Mods for Stardew Valley
Farmer holding cake in the field
Author
Stephanie Tang
Avid PC gamer, long-time console lover. I enjoy shooting things in the face and am dangerously addicted to pretty. I'm also a cat.