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Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Station Access Price Increase

The upcoming increase in the Station Access plan from $24.99 to $29.99 (via Plaguelands) is so ridiculous it almost doesn't deserve commentary. It's obviously bad for the players. And I don't see how it could even be good for SOE's bottom line. They have to be losing some subscriptions to this increase, not to mention creating ill will amongst the current and potential player base.

Let's not forget that it was only in May, 2006 that the price was increased from $21.99 to $24.99. That's an $8 per month increase in less than a year. And what's been added in that time besides Vanguard (which definitely still needs work)? Sure, EQII has gotten better (just look at the last patch). But the older games just seem all the more dated.

By pre-paying six month subscriptions, you could actually be playing both EQII and WoW for four dollars per month less than the Station Access plan. Think about that.

There needs to be a distinction between the types of players the plan is designed for. For those who only use it for extra character space, the price borders on the absurd. An extra $15 for four character slots in EQII? And for those who only use it to play two games, there's really no savings. I guess if you really want to play three MMO's or play two MMO's and have alt-itis, it might be a passable deal. But that has to be the exception and not the rule.

And the raise in the Planetside subscription after subjecting players to in-game advertising is just laughable.


Anonymous Sisca said...

I can tell you that this increase is going to cost them at least 2 station pass subscriptions. Both my wife and I have the station pass primarily for the extra character slots. At $29.99 it would be more cost efficient for us to each get another regular account and get 6 extra slots.

Since we don't really NEED the extra slots we've currently got we'll probably end up just dropping the station pass and going with 1 regular account each costing SoE $20.00 a month. Since a group of our RL friends have recently taken up WoW, looks like Blizzard will benefit from SoE's loss.

We've also pre-ordered LoTRO and are seriously considering biting on the founders club, pay one time have a lifetime membership, thing there. I think that some of these games really need to think about this model.

5:23 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If you are an alt-aholic, it's cheaper to buy two accounts, now.

5:46 PM  
Blogger Pirate Alice said...

The thing that bothers me, in order to update any billing information, you've got to completely cancel everything and then redo it. That's a total pain in the butt.
I was trying out Star Wars Galaxies along with EQ2. In order to cancel Star Wars, I've got to cancel everything and then re-up EQ2. I see a myriad of problems happening there.

5:49 PM  
Blogger ogrebears said...

I totally agree that the price increase isn't going to help SOE, it just going to hurt them.

though i hope that SOE has something coming that would make the increase worth it, but i doubt it.

7:59 PM  
Blogger cyan said...

If they do have something else coming down the pipe, the PR dept is amazingly inept if they are not tying to two announcements together (higher station pass/new games).

I would think that they would have already said something, because SA accounts are dropping like flies.

10:52 PM  
Blogger Magson said...

I have SWG installed on my PC, and I plan on getting VG sometime in the future after it's "better" so with that and EQ2 theoretically I woudl be playing 3 games and getting a good deal.

But I won't be getting VG until later, probably 6-12 months later. And even when I do end up getting it, I doubt I'll play 50/50. More like 80/20 probably.

And I don't remember the last time I logged in to the horror that is the NGE SWG. Might have been in an EQ2 server down-time back before I got in the VG beta last August. . . .

So, while in theory I'd be playing 3 games and getting a good deal, the reality is that I'm mostly just getting the extra character slots in EQ2. With this price increase I'm going to be deleting 4 characters (or moving them to SE and selling them) to get down to 6, and then regular subscription. I also canceled the $3 a month I was paying for their eq2players site too, so I'll be saving myself $13 a month from current, and $18 from where they were trying to put me.

Now to decide which characters to get rid of. 3 are no brainers, but I'm pretty active on the other 7. Hmmmmm.

2:35 AM  
Anonymous Anna said...

Same here, I have two accounts with station pass just for the extra character slots. Already this ends up about £30 (GBP) a month. To pay anymore is ridiculous and I will simply go back to regular subscription.

They REALLY ought to offer extra slots as a seperate deal, or they'll be losing out.

9:46 AM  
Anonymous Vopi said...

They certainly lost my business... I'd only logged into EQ2 and Vanguard a couple of times over the past month, now I won't be logging into them at all.

I have to wonder if they aren't simply trying to kill SA.

2:50 PM  
Blogger Sente said...

I would assume that they have some statistics of how people are using their Station Access accounts and whether they play one, two or more games and how much they play.

If their costs to run all the current games have gone up they might consider this a better option than to cancel/remove some games from a publicity perspective.

3:43 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

this post pretty much sums up my feelings about it. SOE was doing so well for so long there. i hope this is not a sign they will be starting up all the same nonsense that went on during the first year of the game.

1:57 AM  
Anonymous MadLordOfMilk said...

Keep in mind, they're adding Vanguard, and anyone already on Station Access isn't bringing in *any* extra revenue. Also, they more than likely did the math beforehand on how much people played other games. Finally, I'd prefer a price increase to removal of a game or games, I play a lot of 'em =)

Long story short, you do what you have to do. They're a business.

3:14 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

They have so many games with so many dev teams on Station Access right now that they're probably in overload. I think this move might be a response to a large Vanguard playerbase just extending their station access instead of starting a new subscription. Vanguard will need lots of dev work just to tread water in the coming months.

Also note that (surprise, surprise) this comes after the initial rush of station access members buy their Vanguard boxes. Shades of the post-expansion gutting of SWG.

10:36 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Another account closure here. Whilst exchange rates benefit us, in the UK we have to pay tax on top of the sub, and I feel I cannot justify covering the increase to my family.

Instead I'm taking the Founder Member offer for Lord Of The Rings Online and paying for a lifetime sub upfront. It's not quite as good a game as EQ2, but at least I won't feel like I'm being milked dry.

6:42 AM  
Blogger Cheryl said...

I've played EQ since Kunark. Never used to 2-box until recently (EoF); and honestly, although I've had Station Access for years, I have never simultaneously been active on both EQ and EQ2. When EQ2 came out, it pretty much killed EQ for me; but I kept SA for various reasons - sentimentality over my EQ1 characters; extra character slots; etc.

As the prices kept sneaking up, I was like okay, dollar here, dollar there, no biggie. But then when it hit $25/mo. and I'm really only playing EQ2... I deleted excess characters and am moving to the single-game plan once this month expires. (My 2nd accout is also on single-game plan and I actually use the pre-pay plan for that acct.)

I would've willingly paid say, $1 extra per character per month, but paying so much more for extra games I don't play - and then paying extra for EQ2players.com features on top of that... gotta cut corners somewhere.

If they're charging that much extra for SA - and it hits the single-game players the hardest - they should at least put perks like EQ2players features into the cost for "free".

Station Access doesn't actually encourage me to play any of the other games. I tried Planetside and I tried SWG and didn't enjoy either one. I can't even remember when I last logged into EQ... I patched and it said something like 90 minutes patch time so I just went back to my EQ2. :)

3:56 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Much like a previous poster, I've been playing since EQ1 pre-Kunark. I got Station Access thinking I'd keep playing EQ1 but it turned into EQ2. And yep, kept the Station Access around.

Having just noticed $30, I've cancelled my entire subscription. (I really wasn't play much anyways). But thats what did it, otherwise, chances are I'd have just left it alone for the occasional gaming.

Yes, Sony is a business, but I can't see too many people paying $30/month for this, it just doesn't make sense.

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