Syncaine posted a rant on LoTRO and F2P. Much of what he said is true… but at the same time, I don’t get his hatred of Turbine and LoTRO.
Yeah Turbine made some mistakes, but why single them out for an F2P rant when many other games have come after and gone F2P even quicker (Age of Conan, Fallen Earth, Secret World, SWTOR, RIFT, ESO, etc) – many of those were AAA titles that didn’t last half as long as LoTRO did (as sub games).
LoTRO made it 3 years as a sub title, April 2007 to June 2010. AoC didn’t. Fallen Earth didn’t. TSW didn’t. SWTOR didn’t. RIFT didn’t. ESO didn’t. And unless Wildstar keeps afloat and charging subscriptions until Jun 2017 then it too will not offer a lesson in “how to be a sub game longer than LoTRO”.
Rant about a poor product in relation to an eventual F2P conversion? LoTRO made it as a sub game longer than any of those titles did.
LoTRO is going to hit 8 years this April, so come back in 2022 and if ESO (for instance) is still around then you can talk about how crappy LoTRO did.
Besides, LoTRO isn’t exactly the poster child of F2P misery when it is approaching 5 years as an F2P title – outlasting the entire existence of WAR, for example. And come Nov 2017 we can see if SWTOR, Syncaine’s “best example of F2P non-failure”, makes it 5 years as a F2P title, in order to fairly judge the “LoTRO-levels of failure”.
LoTRO is facing some challenges that most other MMOs don’t have to deal with – IP licensing for instance. If they are forced to shut down in 2017, then LoTRO would have made it for 10 years, which would be longer than Star Wars Galaxies and its 8.5 years, another title that had licensing issues hanging over its head. If LoTRO stays alive past Nov 2015, then it won’t be last place in the “MMOs that had to deal with IP licensing” category either.
Add Star Trek Online to the list of MMOs that didn’t last as a sub game as long as LoTRO did: 2 years before STO went F2P.
It occurs to me of the 3 “successful” subscription games – WoW, EVE, FF14 – two of those three had an existing 10+ years as a game studio producing non-MMO hits. There was a time when Blizzard only churned out hits like… Warcraft (the RTS game), Starcraft, Diablo. And Square Enix had years of success making the Final Fantasy series. So those two studios had an existing fanbase of players earned through making games for years, before going into MMOs.
In this respect, CCP’s success is amazing. They didn’t have a decade of other games which built up their fanbase before they rolled out EVE Online.
FF14 is unusual in that counts as a success AND a failure. The original game was very poorly received, it suspended subscription after 2 years and then was shut down… coinciding with the relaunch of its replacement, FF14: A Realm Reborn. It’s even more complicated as the subscription was restarted to help cover the costs of the relaunch. So basically if you only played FF14, you got to pay a sub for 2 years, had it go F2P on you, then reinstate subscriptions, and then shutdown when its successor launched.
So even FF14 didn’t make it as long as LoTRO did as a sub game. Granted, another game rose out of its ashes and is doing well, but I’m pretty sure that isn’t going to happen very often.