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Wednesday, February 22, 2006

All Access Pack: Worth It?

SOE recently announced their All Access Pack which you can read about here.

Now, this isn't really anything that new (though people seem to think it is), because they previously offered the Station Access subscription which provided access to all the games in the Pack for one subscription price. But before, you did have to get each game individually.

The Pack costs $39.99. Is it worth it? Let's take a look.

SWG: I downloaded this whole game for free and am still playing it. Now, remember I have the Station Access subscription, but you would have to have that anyway to play the games in the Pack for one price. Just download the trial and you're in (though I reiterate - you have to have the Station Access subscription).

Value: $0.00

Planetside: They do offer a free trial so maybe you can get this one too for free. However, I'm not sure on that one, because I own Planetside and I can't test that. Nor could I find any information on the matter. It's $19.95 on Direct2Drive with Aftershock.

Value: $19.95

Everquest: I can't imagine anyone doesn't have Everquest laying around somewhere already. But okay, the Platinum Pack does have the first five expansions. It's on Direct2Drive for $9.95.

Value: $9.95

Everquest II: You can get it free with a FilePlanet subscription or with KoS. Let's say you go the FilePlanet route, subscribe for one month and get EQII. That would set you back $6.95. But you are getting a subscription to FilePlanet which is worth, well, okay not a whole lot. Let's say $1.00.

Value: $5.95

Matrix Online: I didn't see a free trial, though I find that hard to believe. It's on Direct2Drive for $19.99 which seems high to me but I haven't tried it yet (I will soon and review it - promise). But okay...

Value: $19.99

That's a sum total of $55.84. Great value? Not really. I think a $15.85 savings is not great considering you're getting older games. I have to think you could get Matrix Online in a bargain bin somewhere. Or let's say you can do without that one. If you subtract that game, you're left with $35.85, which is a loss. If you have one of the games already, it's also not a great deal.

Now, I have to reiterate that I don't know how long the SWG thing will work for. I only know it worked for me a few weeks ago and I'm still playing it.

Let's be realistic. What they're really trying to sell you here is Station Access subscription, which is $21.99 a month. That also includes extra character slots in EQII and access to the above games as well as Tanarus, Cosmic Rift Online, and Infantry Online.

So, in my opinion, they would be better served by selling the Pack for something in the neighborhood of $19.99 and counting themselves lucky to get additional subscription fees from the Station Access subscription. Or even make games like Planetside or Matrix Online available to Station Access subscribers for free or for a low price like $5.99. I would also reconsider if they threw in an additional expansion to SWG in the Pack. And what about throwing in Toontown? Blast you SOE - how am I supposed to kill Cogs and acquire mass quantities of Jellybeans if I have to pay for it?

Really, the bigger question is whether the Station Access subscription is worth it. And that depends on the person. Most people get very involved with one MMO and do not have the time to take on more than one. Some like a little variety. I have one friend who loves splitting his time between EQII and SWG quite evenly and another who still likes raiding with her old friends in EQ when not playing EQII. And I suppose Planetside is a nice diversion being more of a FPS type game. That's really up to you. I think it's nice to have the option even though it's definitely not for everybody. Hopefully they will add an additional title to the roster someday.

To give you a better idea I'll try to review Matrix Online and the three older Station Games (Tanarus, Cosmic Rift and Infantry Online) in the future.

By the way having a blast in KoS and the PvP server but no time to write about it now!


Anonymous mineforfish said...

Planetside is free at the moment and you can sign up for 12 months (well, you do have limited battlerank, but as I understand it's enough to be competitive).


And well, I agree with your assessment. SoE is going quantity over quality and we'll see if it pays off, but I'm not expecting this to do great things for them (one game that is in its declining years, two games that could only be described as 'flops', one that was just mangled by all accounts I've heard, and lastly their shining star, which is currently available for free).

11:11 PM  
Blogger Aggro Me said...

Thanks for the excellent point mineforfish. I totally forgot about that even though I posted a blog entry on it a while back, heh. I wonder if when you sign up for the free trial with Station Access subscription the limitations are removed.

Either way it would affect my calculation of the Pack's value for the negative.

11:32 PM  
Anonymous RadarX said...

I've never gone for the Station Access just because I can't imagine finding the sheer amount of time necessary to play that many MMO's.

I can see this type of strategy paralleling what media companies are doing with 'On Demand' movies. Movies aren't MMO's though so I'm not too sure where they are going with it.

If you are wanting to try all these games though? I guess it's not a bad deal.

12:03 AM  
Blogger Anskiere said...

I've had the all access pass since I discovered planetside. At that point I was only playing EQ1... and the fee for All-access is such that even if you play two games you save at least a little on the monthy rate.
Now, I've played EQ1, EQMac, EQ2, EQOA, SWG, and PlanetSide on my all access account. Having all of those games available to me for $21/month is a big deal. And even then, $21 isn't that much more than $15 (or whatever EQ2's monthy rate is) so that even if I don't always play the other games (I haven't logged into another besides EQ2 for quite a while) I'm not loosing out too bad.

To me, it is worth paying that extra $6 for the -ability- to have those other games' subscriptions still going. At this point I can log into any SOE premium game (except the matrix online) at the drop of a hat.

9:28 AM  
Blogger Anskiere said...

I guess I got a bit off topic since this post was about the all access pack.. but... just my thoughts on the pass up there :)

9:52 AM  
Anonymous Raijinn Thunderguard said...

That's Station Access Aggro...Station Access...=p

I enjoy switching up games to keep them all fresh so this would be great for me if I didn't already have them.

For a new player if you look at the entire pack it's a pretty good deal, plus it'll mean more copies of the games in retail stores so people can find them seeing as there are issues with that from time to time.

Aggro you should try out EQOA also which is the PS2 game also included in Station Access, worth a shot for some casual fun.

8:40 PM  
Blogger Aggro Me said...

Yeah, more copies in retail spaces would definitely be a good thing. I feel like it's hard for casual browsers to just happen upon copies of the SOE games (i.e. EQII), at least in the game stores I frequent.

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