So "The Duck" (I find that nickname better than "Yoshi-P", honestly) has now come out and given us a pretty good idea of what we can expect in the coming months, after compiling all of the FFXIV Poll information and letting us see for ourselves what all happened with that. Suffice it to say, everything does indeed look good on paper, what with the very near future implementation of actual quests unrelated to either main story or jobs, bi-monthly updates, further streamlining and overhaul of the User Interface, and so on and so forth.
Now I don't want to get too far ahead of things, but I figure there's never a bad time to bring up the issue of subscription fees for FFXIV, even if they have yet to be implemented due to the game not yet meeting expectations of not just the players, but of the new development team. Still, with a game plan laid out, it's worth some consideration or discussion, I think. Even moreso in the case of FFXIV due to the fact that it's monetary fee policy is not flat like a lot of other mainstream MMOs out there, and was even markedly different from its predecessor in ways.
Just as a summary of what the game's planned fees were prior to the crashing and burning which occurred within the first month, here is how it all plays out:
(All monetary denominations are in USD)
An active FFXIV account with one character slot (includes two retainers per character): $12.95
Every additional character slot: $3.00
Every additional retainer after the second: $1
Note #1: It's worth pointing out that the first character slot is actually a separate fee from the active account itself, meaning the account even excluding a character slot still allegedly costs $9.95.
Note #2: Prior to December, all characters only got one complementary retainer.
So effectively $12.95 per month to begin with.
One of the bigger issues that Final Fantasy XI got flak for I remember when it first rolled out, other than its method of server dispersal of new players without ways to get to the same server as a friend without a world pass, had been the $1/every additional character after the first. For the most part this could be justified for a few reasons:
1) FFXI allowed you to partake in every job with one character, unlike many other MMOs out there today which require numerous characters for numerous job classes.
2) FFXI's minimal subscription fee with just one character was below average for most MMOs at the time, and that includes the standard bearer known as WoW. So if you really wanted an alternate character, no harm, right? You could get up to 2 more before reaching that range of "higher priced than most MMOs".
3) The game was, well ... good? It was well-received in the EU and NA regions, plain and simple, so people were more accepting of the previous two reasons.
Final Fantasy XIV, however, well ... suffice it to say, there's some key differences.
1) Unlike FFXI, every additional character saw their price go up from $1 to $3. One extra character alone would bring your monthly subscription fee above the MMO average. It does stay true to the "you can do anything on one character" angle FFXI had, but with a steeper price if you want a second character.
2) There's also the concern of quasi-micro transactions for access to additional storage space, rewarding people with money to burn, different from the way FFXI rewarded those who grinded out quests or expanded their "gobbie bags", paid for a Mog Locker, or whatever. In fairness, SE did sell the FFXI Security Tokens ($10) and toss in a Mog Satchel, however the key difference is the Mog Satchel was a one-time-only expenditure, compared to the cumulation of $1/month per additional retainers.
3) The game was, um ... uh ... well, yeah. It was not well-received. So much so that as we all obviously know, monthly fees have been suspended indefinitely.
All the rambling and details aside, I'm curious about how the denizens of ZAM feel about that price plan now. Obviously, lacking any sort of premium status here, I can't necessarily give you a poll to fill out. Still, I can ask for your varied opinions on a few questions.
Even if FFXIV reaches that point of "meeting expectations", should it keep this price plan the way it is?
If "yes", why?
If "no", what would you change (e.g. removal or reduction of the price of extra character slots, removal of retainers as an additional monthly fee charge, etc.)?
Personally speaking? Even had this game been the bee's knees from the very beginning, I had always found the fact that they rose the price of extra characters from $1 to $3 suspect, and more about staving off multiple characters on RMT accounts, or just about cash grabbing. As for retainers, I would have much preferred some form of in-game salary system using gil, as compared to spending real-life money adding to my monthly fee.
So? How about you?
Edited, Jan 21st 2011 10:25pm by Satisiun