Experienced Points: The Subscription Psychology

By Shamus Posted Friday Sep 18, 2009

Filed under: Column 41 comments

This week I talk about the odd anxiety that arises from time-based services like MMO games, long distance telephone, and prostitutes.

(Okay, I have no idea on the prostitutes one.)


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41 thoughts on “Experienced Points: The Subscription Psychology

  1. Rutskarn says:

    My problem is more that I’m stingy. These days, it’s rare I’ll buy a big-name release right out of the gate. Left 4 Dead 2 will be my biggest games purchase since…Left 4 Dead.

    Anyway, an MMO scares me because if I enjoy it, I’m obligated to pay more money so that I can enjoy it longer. This puts me off.

  2. Jeremiah says:

    For me, it’s never been a matter of money when it comes to MMOs. I just generally don’t like playing games with other people. I know that’s completely outside of the flat-fee/pay-per-use model you mention, but it does go back to the beginning of the article about single player games costing more per hour. I just prefer that kind of game. I guess if an MMO came around that could guarantee I could enjoy playing by myself and not actually having to interact with other people, then I might be interested.

  3. Pickly says:

    I mostly tend to stick with the “high value” single player games (Generally, if I get a game, I get it hoping it will last awhile, instead of just getting a game for a quick 40 hours or such.)

    (I do, though, have a dislike of MMO’s for gameplay reasons, with the amount of time they take.)

  4. Maldeus says:

    I really, really like MMOs, but being crunched for cash and having exactly the kind of personality that will lead me to obsess over how much bang I’m getting for my buck, I know that any pay-to-play MMO is going to be the death of me. Free-to-play’s are thoroughly inferior, of course, but they’re all my psyche can handle.

  5. MuonDecay says:

    (Can’t be arsed to register at the Escapist)

    What about games like the popular Gunbound, or several free-to-play eastern MMOs, or Battlefield Heroes?

    Those games offer totally free play for as long as you want, and make their revenue from web advertisements, and exchanging real money for in-game currency for use on game items. It seems like a winning model, and one that has an appeal to people on every level of the Miser/Spendthrift scale.

  6. Khizan says:

    When I find a game that’s not an MMO where I can have 2000+ hours logged on it and still be enjoying it, I might start having thoughts along the lines of “an MMO scares me because if I enjoy it, I'm obligated to pay more money so that I can enjoy it longer.”

    Really, I look at it this way. I pay $15 per month to play WoW. If paying fifteen bucks a month for WoW means that I stay in just ONE SINGLE NIGHT rather than going out, it’s already saved me more money than it cost me. Just eating out at a place that’s not a fast food joint will cost me as much as my monthly subscription fee after the tip, and that’s not counting gasoline or a movie or whatever else.

  7. Legal Tender says:

    Talking about MMOs:


    Looks a bit bland but how neat would it be to assemble a 20D crew? We could model try to rule the city as a bunch of disgruntled, overweight accountants*.

  8. Magnus says:

    I’ve played two MMOs in my life, Ultima Online, which was great until they allowed you to build houses (suddenly seemed to be far too laggy for my 56k!), and Anarchy Online, which had a great premise but really made me realise why I’m a single player gamer at heart.

    Without going into a big rant about such things, I basically felt a sort of “what’s the point?” moment, frustrated at the way MMOs tend to work.

    It doesn’t help when there are lots of shall we say “challenging” personality types on the internet, and I guess I got tired of it all.

    I’m much happier spending £30 or so on a great single player experience (or better yet, picking up several £10 or less bargains!). Theres always time for Diablo 2 or Unreal Tournament if I feel the need for a bit of Multiplayer fun (which is very rare these days).

  9. rofltehcat says:

    During the time I played WoW I didn’t spend more than ~25€ for games per month. 14€ for the WoW-Subscription and 10 or 20€ for the occasional old game.
    It is a great way of playing because you really save lots of money compared to buying 2 or 3 shiny new titles a month and you will still get most games that are interesting for you – just a year or so after release and with the best patch state it will ever get.
    Well, of course if you aren’t playing so much or if you enjoy playing other games you bought somewhen over playing a MMO, then you will spend less money. But then again you probably wouldn’t be the person to play a MMO either.

  10. Blackbird71 says:

    What I find interesting is the model recently adopted by Dungeons & Dragons Online. They have moved to a free to play service, with optional content that can either be purchased or earned through gameplay. However, they still maintain the option for a monthly subscription which gives you access to everything. In effect, they’ve found a way to serve both crowds. And if you get a subscription at one point and later downgrade to free status, you will retain some options which you would normally have to pay to unlock on a free account. It will be interesting to see how it plays out. Of course, when DDO first launched, I played a trial, and I can’t say I was at all impressed, but with the free option I may give it another shot.

    Personally though, when it comes to MMOs, I don’t stress too much about whether I put in enough play time to be worth the cost. However, I find that when I do have a subscription, I rarely get or play any other games, as that time could be spent on a game that I’m already paying for. Every once in a while I have to take a break from teh MMOs just to see what else is out there.

  11. BaCoN says:

    I took the Lifetime Subscription for $200(220 Canadian) for Champions Online. :x Came with some neat benefits on the side, too.

  12. Sheam says:

    The monthly fee on a MMO has never been an issue for me – as such, I’ve never felt guilty or anxious about not logging into WoW for say, two weeks, when my guild had nothing going on. It’s only 7$.

    One thing I will note, though, is that I cannot stand feeling ripped off – and as such, I’ve only ever went with the 1-month subscription plan, so that I could have the freedom to cancel the game whenever it was no longer fun.

    The two may be contradictory… But I don’t feel ripped off if I can’t log in to play for whatever reason – yet I do, if I don’t *want* to log in to play.

  13. Maldeus says:

    @13: Is that spam, or simply unintelligible?

  14. Caffiene says:

    @14 Maldeus: Its a link-back. Someone linked to the article in their own blog, and a link is created here in the comments showing the context of the link (the text around the link to this article). You can read the blog post that linked here by hitting the username/website link.

    Back on topic:
    I cant make up my mind. Ive played WoW, but I only ever end up paying for a month or two at a time, then letting it lapse and taking break for 6 months.

    In general, I think the subcription psychology itself actual lessens the value of the deal. You get more time for money, but the subcription psychology almost always (at least to me) in itself provides a negative that means the ratio of fun to time is less. I need more time to feel Ive gotten the same amount of fun out of the game…

    Ive also found that its a symptom of online RPG play, too. Talking, particularly in text chat, to other humans is generally much slower than any given single player interaction, and it can take much longer to accomplish anything when youre online with other humans. Im sure a lot of WoW players can relate to spending an hour waiting for friends to show up for an instance run that was scheduled…

  15. Sheam says:

    “Im sure a lot of WoW players can relate to spending an hour waiting for friends to show up for an instance run that was scheduled…”

    Which enraged me to no end. Well, allright, it disturbed me – greatly. Not so much for the “This is wasting my playtime”, as I’m not being billed by the minute, but a “This is wasting my night.”

    At times, it would get to the point where I would sit in my guild’s ventrillo channel, doing something else, and not logging in until “X-1 other people are online and ready to go.” X being the number of people in the group.

  16. Moridin says:

    I’m just not the kind of person to play MMOs. The only MMO I’ve tried and been even mildly attracted to is Evony(which is free Civilization type of MMO). Also, it’s been a long time since I’ve had a computer good enough to play new games with, so by the time I buy a game, it’s price has dropped below €15. That just makes paying for an MMO a bad deal.

  17. Mario says:

    I’ve never played any MMO because of my slow laptops.
    Most of the computer I had was not good enough to make me enjoy a game at full settings, so I didn’t even try to buy a MMO.
    Why should I pay the game, the monthly fee and still not enjoying it as it should be?

    But since I have a xbox I started to enjoy some online features, and I’m really eager to see if and how CO will be brought to the xbox (holding in mind that xbox live gold already have a monthly subscription).
    This would be the first time I can play a MMO at full settings.

    Until now the most satisfying experience I had online is Battlefield: bad company, which I played hundreds of hours. But still, it isn’t a MMORPG.

    Besides I always thought it would be harder to find italian friends to play with on line.

    And, I know there are great costs behind any MMO, but I can’t help but thinking I’m paying twice for the same thing.

  18. Daimbert says:

    Well, the comparisons of time spent don’t quite work. I’ve played, for example, about 100 hours in a baseball game I have, over about 10 months. If that was $15 a month, that’s another $150 for 100 hours that I didn’t have to spend with my current game. And I’ve commented before about the Personas, with over 300 hours of gameplay over a couple of YEARS. Since the MMOs and the single player games have the same price for the basic software, a Persona MMO with that would cost me much, much more than what I paid for the single player game, with the same gameplay.

    So, in part, the calculation only counts if someone would indeed play an MMO more than the single player game. But as shown if that extends over a longer time — so, for the more casual gamers, or the gamers who like to play a wide variety of games and so are more hit and miss or bursty gamers — it doesn’t work out as well.

    See, one of the big problems with subscriptions is this: If I pay $15 in a month, and then don’t play that game at all, that $15 is wasted. There probably was a month where I didn’t play baseball at all, or only once. It isn’t worth it for those months. And even if I literally only paid for one month at a time — ie not “one month that we’ll automatically re-subscribe you to the next month until you tell us to stop” — then if I play it for a few months in a row I have to remember to re-up every month. Except that I’m never really sure that I’ll play it in that month or not at the start of the month.

    That, to me, is the major issue with subscriptions: if I have one, then I feel compelled to play it in that month, even if, say, Ultimate Alliance 2 is out and I’d rather play it. Or I want to finish a baseball season. Or feel an urge to play Persona again. Or whatever. And I know that for single player games, if I EVER play them, I’ve used my entertainment dollar. I have VTM: B that I’ve started and never finished, but if I do it was worth the money. And if I get hooked, it won’t increase in price to keep playing it again and again either, and if I only play it in short spurts again my money is already spent. So I feel no rush to play it. Whereas with an MMORPG, I feel that I have to play inside a month that I’ve paid for or else that $15 was wasted.

    And note that no matter how varied MMORPGs are, they are generally one genre, and you will get urges to play other genres, even in the same month. So, if I want to play a superhero game, I can play Champions Online … or Marvel Ultimate Alliace. If I want to play a fantasy game one night, I can play WoW … or Oblivion. If I want to play a Sci Fi game, I can play Knights of the Old Republic Online … or Knights of the Old Republic. And so on.

    For all of the subscriptions, in any month where I want to play a little of each genre add about $50. For the single player, add $0. Which is the better deal then?

    The better a single player game is, the better value it has. That doesn’t happen as quickly with MMORPGs, and eventally settles in since the monthly fee is your increase in cost and stays constant (it’s only whittling down the initial outlay for the software). Yes, the more I play an MMORPG the better the value, but with a single player game I can play it for 2 hours to start and then 200 hours two years later and the entertainment per hour just gets better. That’s not quite true for MMORPGs, especially if I play over a length of time (say, 3 or so hours a month for a year).

    Don’t get me wrong; I’m not one of those who is against monthly subscriptions. I’ve had them in the past. But I say that unless you’re going to play every month — and can predict that — or are the sort of person who will play a game longer because it’s MMO (because of social aspects or updates or whatever) it’s not necessarily a better deal.

    Right now, I cannot think of a game that I liked that would have been a better deal if it was an MMO, or an MMO that wouldn’t have been a better deal if it was single player. But that social thing doesn’t drive my interest as much, which explains that.

  19. Mario says:

    I thought of another couple of things about MMO and fees that I don’t like. Quite often after the first time through the game I get tired of it and play something else, but maybe some months later I pick up that game again and play it for some nights (this happen often with good games). What if I want to play with a MMO?
    I have to make a new subscription, pay again to enjoy maybe few hours of game.
    So the fees for me reduce the replaybility of a game on long term (for instance I would not play again through portal months after the first time if I had to the same procedure).

    The other thing I thought is that with a MMO the fun depends all on other players, so if you can’t find: 1) enough people or 2)the right people to play with you waste your money.
    That happened for me with Gears of war 2. I wanted to play Horde but for about a month I was unable to find 3 good people to play with.
    I’m not so sure that I want to spend my money and depend on the people that play these games…

  20. @13 was from a blog my friends and I have.

    I’m honestly a bit frightened by the link back – I kinda figured there was some sort of “put me in the queue” bit for that, rather than the omnipotent net-spiders finding it and bringing it over.


    1. Shamus says:

      Ergonomic Cat: I usually leave trackbacks as a “thank you” to people who link me – a kind of returning the favor as it were – but if it’s a problem I can nuke it if you like.

  21. SteveDJ says:

    So that’s what trackbacks are (I’m still new to some of this). @14 – thanks for the info.

    Shamus – perhaps those trackback posts could have some identifier with them (i.e. This is a trackback, and here is some context…) so they didn’t just look like random jibberish? Is that something you can control with trackbacks (apply a generic template or something)?

    1. Shamus says:

      SteveDJ: Sadly, I’d have to muck about with the core of wordpress to do that.

      Trackbacks are a little strange. They’re obviously a vector for spam, and it used to be that 99% of all trackbacks were spam. It got to the point where most people just turned them off entirely. But I think it’s an ineffective form of spamming because I don’t get many these days. I used to get dozens a day. Now I get a couple a week.

  22. SteveDJ says:

    (back on topic)

    This is showing my age, but… did anyone here play Island of Kesmai? (or something spelled kinda like that – it’s been decades)

    This was an MMO from the late 80s, as part of the CompuServe service. Yes, I played it for a couple months on my pay-per-hour dial-up account (at a pitiful 2400 baud – yikes!). But, after having to pay a couple hundred bucks in just 2 months, I swore off all MMOs for good. :(

    Maybe with the new pricing models, I could try them again; but like others, I’m really not interested in the social side – I’d just want single player, or minimal group interaction. But really, I just don’t have the time for such distractions.

  23. Pickly says:

    Which enraged me to no end. Well, allright, it disturbed me ““ greatly. Not so much for the “This is wasting my playtime”, as I'm not being billed by the minute, but a “This is wasting my night.”

    Yes, this was quite an annoying element when I was playing WoW. I tended to play with PUGs more (Which creates a lot of problems in itself for some reason), and it’s always annoying to get a group of 5 together, than watch as no one travels to the instance to summon everyone, even after telling the closest people to do so.

    (Than of course there’s the tendency for apparently just about everyone to play a “big bad warrior” type, and not bother with things like healing, crowd control, etc., which happened in both guild Wars and WoW.)

    (Than there’s a lot of other things, that I could probably rant for awhile about with how so many other players seem to interact.)

  24. Falco Rusticula says:

    The whole ‘waiting around for hours on a pre-scheduled raid’ has never happenned to me. I am, however, quite familiar with the ‘spend half an hour trying to round up two more people to run a dungeon’ phenomenon.

  25. GnomishMight says:

    I feel that the best model would be pay-by-day, or at least have it available as an option. Unlike a monthly subscription, you should have a pretty good idea at the beginning of your day whether or not you’re up for an MMO.

  26. Ergonomic Cat says:

    shamus: No worries.

    Daimbert: I agree with you, generally. But how many games out there give 200 hours of gameplay, for most people? 20 seems more likely, if that….

    I think this is also affected by the value $15 has. Is that less than the cost of a single meal, and completely beneath your radar? Or is it something to budget and consider each month?

    Also? I find it amusing none of us have even mentioned the theoretical social value of an mmo vs a single player. ;)

  27. Rosseloh says:

    My old roommate took the $200 special lifetime sub with LotRO. I was going to as well, but the extra 100 (regular price is $300) is just a bit too much for me, for a one-time purchase.
    So far he says it’s great not having to worry about it. He’s gotten his money’s worth, considering he paid for the lifetime sub in May 2008… I would say I’m still getting my money’s worth, with the $10 a month deal, since I play a good couple hours a day at least.

    Anyway, I personally like the subscription model….We’re paying for the fact that our game(s) will be better than the free-to-play ones, and if you go from an average standpoint, 25 bucks a month (LotRO and CoH) really doesn’t hurt much (about 3 hours pay at my last job)… Yes, I know not everyone has even 25 bucks a month, but I did say “average standpoint”. Even if you’re a 13 year old without a job, you should be able to pick up some pocket money delivering papers, mowing the lawn, or heavens-forbid — an allowance (people still do that, right? I never got one, but our family has always been a bunch of sticklers over money).
    Of course, if something with the quality of LotRO was available in its entirety, for free….I’d be all over it. But that’s a pipe dream. Dungeons and Dragons Online is currently free-to-play, but that’s not the full game; you have to pay for parts separately, or go subscription, to get the full benefits.

  28. Pickly says:

    Daimbert: I agree with you, generally. But how many games out there give 200 hours of gameplay, for most people? 20 seems more likely, if that….

    Out of curiosity, what sort of games out there only give 20 hours of gameplay? (It seems strange that anyone would get a game expecting that little). This is aside from games that people figure out they don’t like, of course.

  29. Kennet says:

    For me, 20 hours of gameplay or less is not that uncommon. As an example, Ghostbusters only took around 6 hours to complete and there are a hole host of others, like the new Prince of Persia, Gears of War, Professor Layton or Ico. Now, 6 hours is a little low, even for me, but I don’t regret buying it.

    I guess it is because I tend to play games for the story and setting and experience, more than the actual gameplay, so once I have gone through the story the incentive to play more goes way down and even though I enjoyed the game I would rather play something new.

  30. Scourge says:

    I noticed something similiar.
    After I tried City of heroes/Villains as a free trial I upgraded to full game.
    1 week later I got bored of it, but I still occasionally think ‘Your subscription is running out in 2 weeks. YOU SHOULD PLAY!’ and then I think ‘But its no fun anymore right now’.

    I’d also like to add Neverwinter nights to the list of pay/hour fun ration. Wasted roughly 3k hours in it online by now, and its still fun.
    And its free, that’s the best.

    Most MMORPG’s are grinding too, very rarely met one with interesting people, a compelling story, or just something else to do instead of grinding.
    Some games are fun grinding (City of Villains), some are just boring (Guildwars) because there is a major difference in power levels between the enemies and you.

    Anycase, I fortunately could stop playing Guildwars whenever I want and get back to it later.
    City of heroes, not so much. But I don’t miss it either.

  31. Daimbert says:

    @Ergonomic Cat,

    If you assume that you play the same number of hours on a single player game as on an MMO game, the single player game wins out in terms of value because the initial outlay is the same for both games, but the MMO charges you something per month and the single player game doesn’t. So if you have an MMO game and a single player game and play them both for 20 hours, the single player game is the better value. You don’t need to get to 200 hours to really see the benefit, all things being equal.

    If you’d play the MMO game more, then you have a chance of having more value. But note that this is impacted by your gaming style. If you play a variety of games in a month, you end up adding a lot to the amount of money you spend with MMO games. If you play sporadically, you’ll have to have subscriptions longer and spend money when you aren’t playing. And so on.

    The basic difference here is that the cost per hour for a single player game goes down strictly as per hours played. MMO games go down only per hours played in a month. That puts them behind the 8-ball when dealing with value for money wrt single player games.

    Which leads back to the comment that if you are paying for a month and aren’t playing, you feel it wasted. Because it is.

  32. Pickly says:

    @ scourge: How often did you group in Guild Wars? (Since most of the areas are designed for grouping. It seems like perhaps you tried to solo, similar ot how other games worked.)

    Also, have you done any missions in the game? Those were generally quite fun and interesting, at least compared to stuff like WoW’s kill quests and Diablo 2 runs, and such.

  33. Don J says:

    Regarding trackbacks, I think there was a change in the way they are implemented. I think there are two different names for the two schema, but I can’t recall off hand. Anyway, the newer schema was designed in a way that made it way harder to use them for spam, which might be why Shamus’s experience with them has improved so much.

    About the article: I enjoyed the read, as always, but I really enjoyed the other Escapist article linked at the beginning. I’ll have to raise those issues with my girlfriend some time — she is generally opposed to subscription-based games. Although some of her opposition relates to the fact that we spend next to nothing on games anyway, and more of it relates to my addictive personality and the fact that I am one of those “buffet and croutons” people, and I would play compulsively to “get my money’s worth”. I really need to find a cure for that.

  34. Don J says:

    Huh, I don’t have permission to edit my last comment, despite the time not being up.

    Trackbacks and pingbacks are the two options I was thinking of. I think pingbacks are supposed to be very secure, and less spammable. I don’t know how to tell them apart by looking at them on a site, though, so all earlier discussion might have related to trackbacks and I could be way off base.

  35. Felblood says:

    There’s another reason why having a monthly MMO fee is a bad deal.

    It’s true, that when I play I rush and don’t enjoy myself, and when I’m not playing I worry about how much I could be accomplishing in-game, but that isn’t the real problem.

    Buying a game on a subscription, because it get’s you the most game hours for your dollar, is like eating at the cheap buffet, where all they serve is low-grade, dried-out Chinese barbecue. It’s the best food deal in town, by the pound, but it isn’t the greatest ratio of joy to dollars, by far. If I’m not going to enjoy my meal, I can eat something out of some cans for even less.

    It was over seven years between when I started playing Super Mario World, and when I finished it. Throughout that time I had dozens of hours of fun doing weird challenges, with my brothers, in the two player mode. For years afterward, I would pop it in from time to time, and run through some of my favorite levels.

    I nibble my games over the course of decades, sampling a bite of each of my favorites in turn. A gaming career is like Thanksgiving dinner. If you’re going to break the bank on it, you don’t go out and buy 500 heads of cabbage, or nothing but turkey and gravy; you’ll be sick of that before you eat it all, and then the leftovers will just spoil.

  36. Tesh says:

    I detest the subscription model. I have never made a secret of that. It just doesn’t offer me good value. If I gamed a few hours a day in one game exclusively, sure, it would be fine, but my schedule is fractured enough that I never get more than a few hours in per week. My time is deeply precious to me, and I don’t want to sink it into an MMO to get my money’s worth out of it. There are too many interesting games out there to spend my time budget that way. (And, notably, I can get something like Disgaea DS used for $15 or so, and get hundreds of hours out of it whenever I blasted well choose, even if it’s spread out over *years*… that’s a deal that no subscription MMO can compare with.)

    Beyond that, I don’t like the model from a game design perspective. I see the it as the genesis of a lot of the grind in these MMO things. Devs need to keep players strung out playing their game forever to suck in those sweet, sweet sub dollars. Cheap, reusable content like faction grinds or raids with miniscule chances to upgrade gear might be fun for some, but to me, they are unabashed time sinks, which inevitably cost money in a sub model.

    I much prefer the Guild Wars content sale model, also seen in Wizard 101 (Access Passes) or the revamped DDO (Adventure Packs). I buy access to content, and can play it at my leisure. That’s a better deal for me.

    I’m aware that many MMO players have convinced themselves that subscriptions are a good deal, but then, the average WoW player plays 20+ hours a week. That’s insane to my mind, but it does let them wring their gaming dollar dry.

    I’m just not one of those players. I’ve seen the model have deleterious effects on game design and on OCD players’ lives, and to my mind, the cost of the subscription model is way too high, taken both on a pure cost/play ratio analysis given my schedule, and taken in aggregate.

  37. Druss says:

    I can see the value of the subscription based play. At the moment I’m playing three MMORPGs, WoW, Champions Online and Eve Online. However, this is where the problem comes in with subscription based gaming. Right now my time is mostly split between champions and eve, while my 6 month subscription to WoW is basically being wasted. I haven’t played it in nearly a month.

    A subscription scheme I’d love to see would be one based off the prepaid mobile phone credit plans, where you buy whatever amount of euros credit.

    WoW, for example, already records the hours you have played, so they have that information at hand already. It would be great to be able to buy a months worth of time and know that if you use, say, half of that and then take a few months of break time from the game (which I do constantly) you can come back and be assured that you have that half a month of time waiting for you.

    Anyone else got ideas for subscription based payments? I’d be very interested to read them.

    (I’d also like to point out that I don’t sink massive amount of time into these games, as I do have a full-time job. Most of my gaming is done between 6pm-9pm. I just like having the choice of hopping around three different gameplay types and settings.)

  38. Blackbird71 says:

    @Daimbert (34)
    “If you assume that you play the same number of hours on a single player game as on an MMO game, the single player game wins out in terms of value because the initial outlay is the same for both games, but the MMO charges you something per month and the single player game doesn't. So if you have an MMO game and a single player game and play them both for 20 hours, the single player game is the better value. You don't need to get to 200 hours to really see the benefit, all things being equal.”

    This is partially true. If you only play either game for 20 hours, and all 20 of those hours are played within the same 30-day window, then they are still equal value. Every MMO I’ve seen includes at least 1 month’s play in the initial startup cost, so playing during that month costs nothing extra than playing that single player game during the first month, and at that point, they hold the same hours/dollar value. It’s when an offline game is playable beyond the first 30 days that it gains value over the MMO (assuming same initial purchase price).

    Now, it is possible to find older but good games in the bargain bin at a lower initial cost. However, many MMOs can also be downloaded and started for just the price of the first month’s subscription, so there are bargain opportunities for both.

    So, if you’re the type to by a new game (or two or three) every month, then an MMO subscription may actually turn out to be a bargain for you (assuming an MMO will keep your interest longer). However, if you typically pick up one game and play it for six months before moving onto another, then from a cost/hour standpoint, you’re probably better off without the subscription.

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<strike>Darth Vader is Luke's father!</strike>

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Can you imagine having Darth Vader as your <i>father</i>?

You can make things bold like this:
I'm <b>very</b> glad Darth Vader isn't my father.

You can make links like this:
I'm reading about <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Darth_Vader">Darth Vader</a> on Wikipedia!

You can quote someone like this:
Darth Vader said <blockquote>Luke, I am your father.</blockquote>

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