19 Jan 2018

The MMO Subscription Cull: 2018 Edition

Over the last few years, I’ve developed a bit of a January ritual. I look at the games coming out and think about what I want to play, and there’s plenty to look forward to in 2018. But I only have so much time to play games, which means something else has to give.

Sometimes it means that a free-to-play game gets shelved for a while, but it also makes sense to cut back on subscriptions. After all, why spend £10 a month for a game that I don’t even have time to log into? That way I get both more time and more money.

So, without further ado, here’s what’s on the chopping block this year. And although some of the titles may be obvious, the reasons why might surprise you.

World of Warcraft

This isn’t so much a ‘never again’ as a ‘see you later’, but I’m dropping my WoW subscription for now. Once the artefact scaling was resolved and the cap felt less of a brutal grind, I actually enjoyed Legion’s content. Unfortunately, that’s now become stale or repetitive, and I’ve no real interest in heading out to Argus.

Yes, it’s true that new level scaling has been added, making alts more enjoyable and providing different paths towards top-tier content. But the content is the same, and I’ve not really got any interest in chewing through the same content that I’ve already been through several times before. I’d prefer to save that grind for Allied Races when they launch, rather than fatiguing myself now.

I’ll definitely be back for Battle for Azeroth when it launches, which I hope will be towards the end of this year, but 10 months is a long time to wait. For now, at least, my time on Azeroth is on pause.

Star Wars: The Old Republic

I thought that a new Star Wars movie would help rekindle my interest in this BioWare title, but no. I am so utterly bored of this game, and I’m tired and weary of creating my own content. Ever since the roleplay server was hamfistedly merged with a standard PvE one, RP has scattered to housing plots.

I’m also tired of the poor value. Other MMOs that have a subscription offer me a range of cosmetics in-game or for direct purchase. By contrast, SWTOR puts the nicest in Cartel Crate lootboxes, forcing me to gamble for the shinies.

Personally, I’m hoping that Anthem isn’t going to be baked in the same monetisation mould. But unless something significant changes for the better, my subscription is toast.

EVE Online

Here’s the thing: I still love the universe of New Eden, and I still love flying around space. Even though I’ve been playing for a number of years, I feel like I’ve only managed to scratch the surface of what’s possible in CCP’s sandbox. There’s so many things I haven’t tried, it’s astounding.

And yet, I feel like EVE Online is one of those games that needs more time than I can afford. Even though I was running two subscriptions, the amount of time involved in updating industry jobs and planetary interaction meant that I’d have to spend several hours every day crunching through it. As a result, I didn’t feel like I was progressing much, just fattening my ISK wallet.

In time, it’s likely that I’ll make a return to EVE Online and try out other areas of the spacefaring sandbox that are less dependent on setting up a routine, and cater more towards randomly logging in and doing stuff. Until then, my set of shiny ships will remain on the shelf.

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