One of the most popular online gaming genres right now is the massively multiplayer online role playing game (MMORPG). From Aion Online to World of Warcraft and all points in-between, this popular genre of games has a massive following including gamers from backgrounds as diverse as the worlds their virtual characters inhabit. There’s no question that these games are big business for their developers. The monthly subscription fees that are incurred by their users (in addition to the costs for expansions) can become as much a part of your budget as your telephone or cable bill.
There is a ray of hope for those of you who enjoy the idea of a massively multiplayer experience without spending a giant chunk of your budget doing so. Here are some tips on how to save money on MMORPGs:
There are plenty of free MMORPGs out there with significant user bases and remarkable overall game quality. Games such as 4Story (a World of Warcraft clone) have borrowed from concepts of their more expensive counterparts and offered the game absolutely free to players. Almost all of these titles offer extra bonuses and perks to players for real money including premium plans that allow you to reach a certain level or access various features of the game. Some of them give their free players full access to levels and abilities and only sell in-game currency to players as their primary source of income.
I know telling people to wait is akin to asking them not to play in the first place. I have seen prices on popular games drop from $30-60 to $5 and even become free (subscription separate) after just a couple months from launch. RIFT Online is a very popular MMORPG that initially launched with a box price of $79.99 for the Collectors Edition ($59.99 for the digital version). Just a week ago, I picked up RIFT Collector’s Edition for $5.99 on Steam. This was a temporary sale, though this kind of deal is becoming more and more popular among MMO titles.
Don’t Buy a Box
The funny thing about the MMO genre is that your gaming experience is almost entirely dependent on the cloud. You don’t have an offline mode, and updates are frequently pushed to clients without a choice if they intend to continue to play. If you’re on a budget, consider purchasing a digital copy of the game. Chances are, if the title has been out for a few months, you’re probably going to have to re-download much of the content anyway as patches and various other changes have been made. As mentioned before, deals like 90% off specials aren’t made at retail stores unless a game absolutely doesn’t sell and they’re kicking it out of stock entirely.
Find a Friend Who Plays
If you have a friend who already plays, you might be able to get in on an invitation basis. For example, RIFT has recently sent out offers to its current player base, allowing players to invite a friend with a FREE digital copy of the game. This means instant direct savings as an incentive to play. Remember, the company makes its money off monthly subscriptions, and having friends to play with increases the chances of renewals significantly. It’s in the game maker’s best interest to spare potential players the initial (security) cost to join in the fun knowing they’re more likely to keep paying in the future. EVE Online also has a system in place where inviting a friend (or opening a second account) can be done at a significant discount and has even included free or discounted time on the monthly subscription.
Playing an MMORPG can be a lot of fun, but it doesn’t have to break your bank. Paying for the initial privilege of paying a monthly fee is one of the biggest barriers to entry for players, and the companies who put these titles out know that. In many cases, they will bend over backwards to get you in the door so they can hook you with their content. It’s just a matter of knowing how to take advantage of these deals.