By Cody
“Micajah” Bye

style="margin: 10px; border-collapse: collapse; float: right; width: 61px; height: 106px;"

href=""> src=""
alt="5b" title="5b" name="photo_j" border="0"
height="113" width="150"> src=""
alt="" height="1" width="1">

race should I pick? Drow? Lizard-man? The choice is left to

Gamers love options. We love those opportunities that present
themselves where we can make that critical decision, one that might
change the outcome or the raid, storyline, or encounter to what we want
to play out. Controlling our own destiny to certain degrees is why we
play games; we either fail or succeed depending upon our own skill and

Giving gamers options is the key many developers use to unlock
our love for their particular product. Take Dungeons and Dragons for
example. Before you even start the game, you’re given a host
of options to choose from. Your race, your class, even whether
you’re going to be good or evil is often determined before
your avatar even enters the game. Peter Molyneaux’s Fable
took this a step further and gave you options throughout the course of
the entire game; do you want to be good or evil? Fat or skinny? It was
completely up to you.

Our need for options extends far beyond the games we play as
well. We want options for our computer software (Internet Explorer,
Firefox, or Netscape), hardware (Dell, Falcon, or build your own), and
how we buy or games (retail or direct download).

Yet when it comes to business models for MMOGs, the publishers
of these titles seem to be stuck in a rut. While there’s a
plethora of different styles of games to choose from and plans to
subscribe to, most games force gamers into one particular plan and
stick with it. There are no “maybes” when it comes
to paying your subscription fee to World of Warcraft or Lord of the
Rings Online. Even if you did want to href="">subscribe to
a game like Guild
Wars (provided they offer you some incentives to subscribe)
haven’t done so.

style="margin: 10px; border-collapse: collapse; float: left; width: 74px; height: 143px;"

href=""> src=""
alt="Amorian Challenge2" title="Amorian Challenge2"
name="photo_j" border="0" height="100" width="150">
alt="" height="1" width="1">

Many games, like
Maple Story, are based off of the micro-transaction marketing system.

Micro-transaction models are similarly stifling, because many
gamers are naturally competitive and find that they’re
“impaired” by the number of people with access to a
particular item. They want the best items, the highest levels, and they
want to look the prettiest. In games where micro-transactions are
feasible, gamers can often buy exactly what they want, when they want
it. While the “option” to buy goods may seem like a
choice to some people, others simply see it as the necessary means to
get what they need to be the best.

Even Dungeon Runners, a game that requires no subscription fee
and has an “optional” membership cost ($5/month),
still limits players to a degree. By locking out the biggest and best
items that are available in the game, players are persuaded to sign up
for that $5 fee in order to keep up with their friends and neighbors
who might be paying said fee. It’s a rough decision for many
of us; even five dollars adds up quickly.

The href="">conversation
regarding business models comes up with
frequency in the MMOG industry. Every individual has an
idea and every idea has a counter-point. href="">People
are constantly
professing one idea over the other, trying to explain that
this is the
best model for X reason while their friend argues the Y point of view.
Don’t believe me, just check out the sort of response you get
from doing a simple “MMOG Business Model” search on
Google. Even Jeff “Ethec” Woleslagle made the list
with his editorial, href="">“Paying
for Friends?”. (Go

style="margin: 10px; border-collapse: collapse; float: right; width: 118px; height: 112px;"

href=""> src=""
alt="Out the Window" title="Out the Window"
name="photo_j" border="0" height="111" width="150">
alt="" height="1" width="1">

Fury allows gamers to
pay a subscription fee only if they want to. There is no need to pay.

So where are the options? What choice do I have, as a gamer,
when I sit down in front of my computer to play a certain game? Do I
even have one? Am I stuck paying $15 (or more) a month just to get my
kicks? And if I want to get more from the game, why isn’t
there a membership I can join?

Thankfully, I’ve just seen the light at the end of
the tunnel. Recently, the developers behind the upcoming MMOTPS, Fury,
released their business model to the scrutinizing eye of the public.
The developers seemed to have taken ideas from both Guilds Wars and
Runescape in their plans, but the end result may work out splendidly.
Let me lay out basics for you.

Like Guild Wars, Fury gamers are going to need to buy a retail
version of the game in order to play. As a
“premium” MMOG, it’s almost a necessity
for the developers of Fury to release the game in a boxed format; they
spent the money to make it and now they need to earn it back. However,
that’s where the necessary money (aside from expansions)
stops. You’ll never be forced to pay a subscription fee to
play Fury, and you can get all of the necessary loot and/or levels that
you’d ever need.

However, in a move similar to what Runescape employs, Fury
will have an optional subscription fee that provides a variety of
benefits, ranging from priority queuing to elite access to the test
server. Unlike other games with a subscription model, the fee in Fury
merely gives players “extras” that are by no means
necessary when you’re actually playing the game. Even the
integrated VOIP isn’t necessary to a standard player of the
game, who can still listen to the VOIP going on around him.

style="margin: 10px; border-collapse: collapse; float: left; width: 130px; height: 167px;"

href=""> src=""
alt="EQ 03" title="EQ 03" name="photo_j"
border="0" height="112" width="150">
alt="" height="1" width="1">

Everquest once had an
"advanced" subscription service where people subscribed for more

Despite my excitement over Fury’s
“optional” fee, very few games can achieve what
Fury has accomplished. Fury is a special instance in the MMOG world, as
the game is not structured like your standard MMOG. Other gamers rarely
have to worry about queued lines going into any sort of instance or
dungeon, and VOIP isn’t integrated into many games, let alone
is it always useful. Guild Wars (or the upcoming Guild Wars 2) could be
one of the few games that could actually implement a system like this,
with its low CSR need and other options that were built for the
“subscription-free” model.

In actuality, there has been one other game that has tried to
provide “incentives” to the players with a tiered
subscription fee program, and that was the original Everquest. While
the basic subscription was $10/month, the href="">EQ
Legends account was $35.99 and included incentives like the
“Marauder’s Mire” (essentially a loot
farm) and greater customer service. So, aside from the extra loot, was
there anything that constituted the $25 raise from the original
subscription? Absolutely not, and I didn’t know anyone that
plunked down the money for that service.

Yet Fury is a perfect match for the business model
they’ve constructed. Players who will only play one or two
matches a day could play without purchasing a membership, and those who
devote hundreds of hours to the game would be generously rewarded for
their monetary support.

Fury and Auran have given me options, and the incentives
behind the fee are not a necessity. Why can’t the rest of the
MMOG market discover other ways to provide “more”
for the players without causing them any sort of grief in the process?

Looking for an educated
opinion on a topic you're concerned about? Check out our href="">Editorials

To read the latest guides, news, and features you can visit our Fury Game Page.

Last Updated: Mar 29, 2016