Aggro Me: Station Access Price Rise: Part II
Station Access Price Rise: Part II
Why a part II? It seems I missed a major element in my discussion two days ago. While I don't have any issues with my analysis of the Station Access subscription as a multi-game concept, I completely forgot about the additional EQII character slots offered. What's more, I had no idea so many people paid the extra money for the sole purpose of additional character slots.
But judging from the comments to my post and a quick glance at the forums, it seems like there are a lot. I'm starting to think that a significant portion of the Station Access subscribers (if not the majority) are in it for the extra alts. If you view this as an extra feature, it's a positive to the package. But if it's your sole goal in choosing that subscription, it makes the price rise a bit more negative.
I have a friend who refused to subscribe to anything other than basic cable. Then the Mets got their own network and my friend decided to subscribe to the "extended package" which covers hundreds of channels for the sole purpose of seeing Mets games. Okay fine. But when the price of that "extended package" was raised, he was doubly upset as the people who had it to enjoy a range of channels.
You see where I'm going with this. The people who only paid for the extra character slots are going to be doubly upset at the price increase as those who had the subscription to play multiple games. An extra $7.00 a month for four additional alts is already a bit much. But $10.00 is outrageous. I verified my theory by talking to people in game who don't know I write this blog. It was an admittedly small sample, but the ones who played other games in addition to EQII were only mildly annoyed by the price rise. Those who used it for alts were pretty mad. That's speaking only in general. Some multi-game players were angry too. Bandit, who I know plays EQII and Planetside gave his opinions on his blog.
Now, some of this is just an unhappy consequence of the way people used the package. SOE originally intended the Station Access subscription as a multiple games concept. The character slots were added as a bonus. But when the bonus becomes the main purpose, things change.
This all makes me think perhaps it's time for a different business model. You do want people to play alts because it adds to the replayability of a game tremendously. People who start new alts could be starting other games. But I also think it's fair to have some limitation on the amount of character slots available.
So how about an optional charge of $1.00 or 50 cents per month for additional characters beyond 6 or 8? Would that be a more palatable option? I think it's worth some serious consideration by SOE. It might kill the subscription list for Station Access, but if people aren't interested in the multi-game concept, it should be killed anyway. I still remain marginally interested in the multi-game approach, but I now realize I may be in the minority.
One positive did arise. The Fallen Dynasty Adventure Pack will be free for Station Access subscribers. If they could have announced this a day or two earlier, the price rise would have gone over at least a tiny bit more smoothly. Or maybe it's the "hit them with bad news than spring good news to make them forget the bad news" approach.
Of course, I say throw in the expansion software as well, possibly if you purchase a six-month Station Access subscription. You should have some bonus for people who purchase a longer subscription period. If you do a six month EQII-only subscription (as opposed to re-upping monthly), you're saving $11.95 (rates here). So where are the savings for the Station Access crew?And hey, what about Gods and Heroes? I'd like to check it out when it launches. Add that to the lineup as well. I know SOE is only co-publishing, but I'm sure they could work a deal out with Perpetual that would be mutually beneficial.