Friday, April 22, 2022

Cheap At Twice The Price?

Time for a very quick Friday Grab-Bag. It's almost becoming a thing here. Maybe I should try to think of a fancy name for it. 

Going to be slim pickings on the blog for a couple of days but I'll give notice now; it could get worse. This is my working weekend but I have dog-minding duty Fridays as well, that being one of Mrs Bhagpuss's main work days, so every other week is going to be a three-day drought. I probably should think seriously about giving up the post-a-day routine.

As I explained in yesterday's post, though, there are some unexpected benefits of having a puppy in the house. I am finally starting to get to grips with writing shorter, faster posts, something I've complained about wanting yet not being able to do for years. All I have do is work out how to make them worth reading and I'll be home free! 

On to to the meat, such as it is. (I've been a vegetarian of sorts since the late 'eighties so what would I know about meat?)

Everything So Expensive These Days, Isn't It?

I guess the big news of the day is the announcement from CCP that the basic monthly subscription for EVE Online is jumping a massive 33% from $14.99 to $19.99. Wilhelm has a post up about it, including the wide range of pricing options avaiable, depending on how long you want to commit to the game. It drops as low as $12.49 if you're willing to buy in for a couple of years.

Back when subscriptions were the norm, I almost always paid by the month. In retrospect I can't imagine why I was so unwilling to go for the six-month or annual options. I could certainly have afforded it back then and it would have saved me a significant amount of money.

These days, the only mmorpg subscription I hold is Daybreak All Access, which I pay for annually at a very considerable discount. According to DBG's website, the annual rate is currently $119.88, a weird-sounding number that actually works out at a neat $9.99 a month. 

That's a good deal for four mmorpgs, EverQuest, EverQuest II, DCUO and Planetside 2. Even more so since I actually play three of them, on and off. It would be an even better deal if Daybreak's owners, EG7, decided to turn it into EG7 All Access and threw in the rest of their games, including Lord of the Rings Online and Dungeons and Dragons Online. I'd pay a discounted annual fee based on a regular $20 monthly sub for that. 

Wilhelm speculates on which other subscription games might follow CCP's lead but there aren't really all that many left, are there? Almost every game has some kind of optional sub these days but hardly any make it mandatory. I imagine the few that do will be watching carefully to see if EVE players complain then pay or complain and leave. If the price rise is deemed a success, though, it will set a new baseline. 

Get Your Filthy NFTs Off My Nice, Clean Metaverse!

There's been some suggestion that the hike is either a passive-aggressive or a desperate response to the company having been forced to backtrack on the potential introduction of NFTs to EVE. If that's caused a potential shortfall in income, maybe it has to be made up some other way.

There was a very good opinion piece at about NFT's and the metaverse that I'd like to bring to the attention of anyone still capable of caring. The fundemental argument is handily summed up by the title: "Metaverse concepts should distance themselves from NFTs". They really should.

I particularly liked the author's take on NFTs: "which can most charitably be described as a solution in desperate search for a problem, and perhaps more realistically as a home-brewing kit for wannabe Ponzi scheme orchestrators". The metaverse, or more probably metaverses, is going to happen whether we like it or not, in the form of "some blend of virtual world technology with location-based augmented reality, delivered over high-speed wireless networks to a whole spectrum of access modes ranging from immersive headsets to discreet wearables" but NFTs absolutely don't have to be any part of it.

At least Raph Koster, all in on the metaverse as he seems to be, isn't showing the least interest in adding NFTs to his mix. Venturebeat has an interview with him about Playable Worlds, the "sandbox mmo" he's working on and for which he's just received $25m in outside investment, partly from Korean publisher Kakao, formerly home of Black Desert, now of Elyon and ArcheAge.

We still don't know what Raph's game actually is. As the interview rather coyly puts it, "The founders still aren’t quite ready to reveal their intellectual property and setting behind the game". We do learn that it's been "in the works for about two years, and now it is in full production", which I guess means we might get an alpha sometime around 2024.

Skim-reading the interview, it sounds about like you'd expect a Raph Koster project to sound, all economy, interdependency and socialisation. He's been banging the same drum for over thirty years now. I don't imagine metaverses are going to shake his rhythm.

I did have a couple of other things I was going to mention but certain puppy-related incidents have bitten into the time available so I'm going to leave it at that. That way, I still have a couple of items in reserve for tomorrow evening, when time's going to be even tighter still.

Also, in case anyone's trying to find any significance in the screenshots, you can stop now. There is none. I just don't like posts with no pictures and any excuse to use some of my Secret World poses.


  1. Heh, I had a Friday Bullet Points post all lined up for today, and then I woke up to find CCP raising prices and quickly banged something out about that instead. We'll have the Friday post on Saturday instead... and it only overlaps with one of your entries. You can probably guess which one.

    I agree with the whole metaverse/crypto distance thing. The problem is that it is the crypto people who have co-opted the term metaverse and who have turned it into another code word for crypto, blockchain, NFTs, and whatever else they're in on. It is difficult to distance yourself from somebody who is practically committing identity theft in order to pass themselves off as you.

    1. I find the metaverse/crypto/NFT tangle very frustrating, I'm 110% behind the concept of a metaverse or even some metaverses and I still haven't forgiven Google for wimping out on Google Glass, which would have got us halfway there years ago but every time I say anything positive about the whole metaverse concept I feel obligated to issue a whole load of qualifiers distancing myself from the rest of the carpetbagging fraudsters.

  2. When I saw that first screenshot I thought it reminded me of Secret World. There's an MMO that I wish would see more content updates. :sigh: At least Funcom keeps the servers on.

    If Daybreak added Lotro and DDO to their All Access pass it would be very tempting to do an annual sub to everything. Instead of being nibbled away by too many individual subs, I'd feel more like I had an annual pass to a buffet. (I'd do the same if Microsoft put Elder Scrolls Online on their Game Pass and/or the Blizzard titles if/when they buy Activision/Blizzard.)

    I do expect prices to go up. Streaming services have been raising their prices so we know people are used to paying more for things they want. It's probably easier to raise the prices now when inflation is rising. Frogs, pots, hot water, after all.

    As far as Raph Koster goes, I think he'll keep working on his sandbox until the day he dies. I suspect even if he were to make what he envisages, he's likely to be the only person who'll actually end up playing in the sandbox.

    1. I think EG7 is missing a trick by not doing some kind of package deal Membership or Access for all their games. They make a lot of noise about how great a portfolio they have but they don't seem to be making the most of it.

      I agree on Raph. He's pretty much building his own treehouse now.

  3. If DBG included DDO in their all access, I would sub up for a year the next day. I already have a lifetime to LoTRO so it would be less of a factor for me, but it would add value for sure.

    1. I really ought to go back and play a bit more DDO sometime. I never really got very far but it was kind of fun.


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