Here was this weeks Slow As Sunday column featured on GamingNexus.com
Dear Cryptic, I scoffed when you announced the lifetime memberships promotion at a whopping $200 for Champions Online. Then my jaw hung slack when the life time memberships sold like hot cakes. Then the promotion stopped and the game was released and then the launch day poo storm hit and the forums exploded with bug reports and complaints. Funny thing is that some "lifers" as they're called in the Champions Online forums we're fairly level headed about the whole predicament. The really funny thing is that the folks at Crtl+Alt+Del answers a common question in forums in a way that Cryptic could not. What convinced those gamers to sign up for the lifetime subscription anyway? A lifetime subscription is cheaper than paying for a monthly subscription fee once a month, if you play the game for more than a year, but Champions Online isn't going to last forever, and on the off chance that it does, you will probably get bored with the game and quit at some point. To make matters worse Cryptic sold the lifetime memberships until the day before the game launched. This left anyone who didn't get into the beta testing a big dilemma to decide if they want to pay $200 for an unproven MMORPG or miss out on the potential savings. Joining a new MMO is a risky business for most players because if the MMO cannot garner any support and build up a community of players then virtual worlds can become barren ghost towns in a matter of months after launch. Who would want to be stuck with a lifetime subscription to a MMO that has massive but no multiplayer? Not me. Whoever tries this pricing scheme next please only sell 4-5 year subscriptions with an option to extend at a reduced rate if the game lasts that long. It would be more realistic while leaving the option open to continue saving if the game does make it past it's 5th year anniversary. Also please offer the 4-5 year subscription option open to players within the month of the game's release. It will take you that long to patch a lot of the bugs you and get your game running the way it should, and you can build up a larger, more solid community base during that time. Lastly, give the people who payed hundreds of dollars to play your game free In game content, always. If that option isn't economically viable, then at least give the people who ponied up exclusive in game content, and keep giving them more exclusive content, that way you can keep you base happy.