Friday, 2 October 2009

DDO: Codemasters fight back!

The launch of DDO: Eberron Unlimited has created a huge interest in DDO. However the European version of the game, run by Codemasters, decided to stay pay-to-play.

On the face of it it seems utterly unworkable to have two versions of the game, one which is free, one which requires a monthly sub.

Codemasters yesterday attempted to regain some of the lost ground:
- they are giving all former players a free week. Not current players it seems from the wording of the press release which is somewhat absurd.
- they are upping the exp gain by 25% across the board.

Now the free week is pretty standard across the industry now. It's pretty obvious that people who used to play who are casually wondering if they would have fun are considerably deterred from trying an old game they used to play by a sub requirement.

The exp boost is fascinating though.

You see I see playing the levelling side of the game as the main meat of the product. This is certainly what made WoW successful 5 years ago - an excellent levelling game. Eve quite deliberately drags it out infinitely - I don't think anyone has maxxed every skill. AoC's Tortage was miles better than the end-game raids when I played it. And in DDO the vast majority of content is not aimed at the level cap.

But for some players reaching max level is high priority. Exp potions are listed as one of the main Bestsellers in the DDO free version's item store. And that brings us round to the offer from Codemasters - you may be better off paying a monthly sub to always have +25% exp than playing a free-to-play game where you are spending a lot of real money on levelling boosting potions. 

1 comment:

  1. This is a pretty standard practice of Turbine (they've done it for both LOTRO and DDO) and Codemaster usually tagged along when Turbine did so.

    If it proved itself to be an effective way to gain more subs in the past, it's only normal that Codemaster uses that tactic once more.

    The added XP always makes players happy and artificially increases the population of the servers temporarily by putting an incentive to play more that week. In an industry where giving the impression to have populated servers is a selling feature and in a game where grouping is core to the game, that can't hurt.

    I don't think that it's "Codemaster fighting back" but rather "Codemaster trying to gain more subs like they always do".