When your game time is limited, you find yourself re-evaluating the money allocated to gaming. Why pay for something you're not using? I found myself in such a preponderance this weekend. The subject of much thought: SWTOR.
Currently, my game time is allocated thus:
- Still poking around in Diablo
- Do some mindless Casteville when I have a few minutes
I've always viewed subscription games like I would magazines. Remember those? When you used to get subscriptions to paper things that had words and pictures on them and were delivered to your door. Yeah, I haven't had a magazine subscription in years. However, I kept paying long after I probably should have called it quits. Why? Well, I liked having the possibility to read. And, in the case of Sports Illustrated, there's always the swimsuit issue to look forward to, right?
Diablo was sort of the swimsuit edition of Blizzard Monthly, for me. A quick, sexy run through. Good to glance at, but it's not like I'm digging into the articles. When Mists comes out, it'll be like the Fantasy Preview SI editions. Have to get the down low before my fantasy football drafts, y'know.
I'm not sure where SWTOR fits into all of this. The awkward Playboy subscription that your "bros" bought for you for your birthday that you have to then explain when your mom finds during a visit? (True story. She was hanging the laundry she did for me. Never let your mother into your tiny college closet. My buddies in the dorm thought it was hilarious way back when. Which really wasn't "way" back for me, but whatever. It was a Tuesday.) I don't have any real issues with the game. It's just not high on my priority list at the moment. I'm not gaming for lengths of time because it's nice outside, and thus I gravitate to games that can be digested in smaller chunks. Hence, Diablo and Casteville.
Maybe my biggest complaint about TOR is the lack of new content. They're being pretty slow right now, if you ask me. Once they get this 1.3 business released, I'll probably be more interested. At least for the month or so it takes me to do what I want to do with it.
And therein lies the problem. The current trend in gaming, at least for me, is to only really read every other issue. Or, perhaps more succinctly, I play one month hard, then take a month or two off. That's how I keep up with content, and I'm just fine with that. I like experiencing multiple games. It doesn't make me angry.
But when that monthly bill comes... it seems dumb to pay on those "off" months. Yet, I want the games I play to succeed, to keep going. At what point have I fulfilled my "obligation" to the game (yes, I know feeling obligated it stupid). At what point have I paid enough that they won't fold up, but not so much that I'm throwing money into a furnace.
The real answer is: my meager contribution doesn't matter. One person doesn't make or break these companies. If I asked them, they'd say "Yeah, keep paying. Heck, pay double! Here's a pony. We lurve you. Bring Money." If I ask my pocket book, it pushes its glasses up the bridge of its nose and sneers, "Pay only when you're getting value out of the game. No more, no less. And three shall be the number of the counting."
I sort of wish there was a way I could unsubscribe for a few months, but check a box that says, "Yeah, I'll be back when you release something new." In today's age of "investor calls" and crap like that, where subscriber numbers are reviewed and decisions are made based on some giant bottom line, I don't want to be a black mark on a game I've enjoyed. I don't want to be just another user jumping ship. But I don't want to pay for something I'm not using either.
So when do I stop? When do you stop?
I'm paid up through August for TOR. After that, I'm going month-by-month. I'll pay for one month when I want to play, and after that I'll let the sub lapse if there's nothing new to do, if I feel satisfied. After my year commitment with WoW is up, I'll probably do the same thing there. I've decided that makes the most sense for me. I used to simply pay the bill for the year and think nothing of it... yet I don't feel like we get a year's worth of content. Over 12 months, in any game, I feel like I'm given 6 months and then a lot of time-wasting fluff. The fluff can be good (like pet collecting and stuff), but it's not for me. When it's nice out, when there are other things to do (like writing novels), I'm just not going to sit down and spend my time on fluff.
Where do you draw the line? Especially, if you're not "rage-quitting," if you want the game to continue to exist. Are we supposed to keep paying? Or is month-by-month just enough?