Welcome
to the 1,334th
edition
of Loading...

Loading... is the premier daily
MMOG news and commentary
newsletter, only from Ten Ton Hammer.

Premium account services have crept into nearly every top tier MMORPG, but does the ability to change your name, server, appearance, race, and even gender for a fee impact players' attachment both to their characters and to the game in general? We'll compare the availability and pricing of premium account services across ten of today's hottest MMORPGs and take a quick look at how these options affect players in Loading.. Change at a Cost.

cellspacing="0" width="100%">

The Pulse

You vote with what you
view at Ten Ton Hammer, and the
result
is the Ten Ton Pulse ( href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/thepulse/" target="_blank">What
is The Pulse?).

Here
are today's top 5 Pulse results:

  1. href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/wow">World
    of Warcraft
  2. href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/eve">EVE
    Online (UP 3)
  3. href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/aoc">Age
    of Conan
  4. href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/eq2">EverQuest
    II href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/aoc">

  5. href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/ddo">Dungeons & Dragons Online (UP 2)

Biggest
movers this week
:

  1. The Secret World (UP 13 to #16)
  2. Fallen Earth (UP 9 to #18)
  3. Star Wars: The Old Republic (UP 5 to #15)
size="-1">RecentĀ Releases
  • size="-1">2/16
    - href="http://everquest2.station.sony.com/expansions/sentinelsfate/index.vm">EverQuest
    2: Sentinel's Fate (expansion)
  • size="-1">2/16
    - href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/node/81479"> LotRO:
    Oath of the
    Rangers (content update)
  • size="-1">4/5
    - href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/node/83086">Pocket
    Legends (iMMOG - release date) size="-1"> href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/taxonomy/term/1004">

  • size="-1">5/1
    - href="http://www.cityofheroes.com/news/game_updates/issue_17/issue_17_overview.html?utm_source=COHemail&utm_medium=US&utm_campaign=banner">City
    of Heroes - Issue 17: Dark Mirror
    (content
    update)
  • size="-1">5/11
    - Age
    of Conan: Rise of the Godslayer
    size="-1">
    (expansion)

size="-1">Upcoming
Releases

  • size="-1">May
    18,
    2010
    - href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/eve">EVE
    Online: Tyrannis (expansion)
  • size="-1">May
    27,
    2010
    - href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/taxonomy/term/2422">Craft
    of Gods (release)
  • size="-1">June
    30,
    2010
    - href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/taxonomy/term/998">APB
    (US - July 2 in EU)
  • size="-1"> style="font-weight: bold;">Q2 2010
    - href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/taxonomy/term/1801">Mytheon
  • size="-1">TBA
    2010
    - href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/taxonomy/term/2079">Final
    Fantasy XIV size="-1">



size="-1">Upcoming
Events

  • size="-1"> style="font-weight: bold;">6/15 -
    6/17 - href="http://www.e3expo.com/">E3
    Expo
  • size="-1"> style="font-weight: bold;">6/25 -
    6/27 - href="http://www.lfgexpo.com/">Looking
    for Group
    Expo
  • size="-1"> style="font-weight: bold;">7/22 -
    7/25 - href="http://www.comic-con.org/">Comic-Con
    International
  • size="-1"> style="font-weight: bold;">8/5 -
    8/8 - href="http://events.station.sony.com/fanfaire/">SOE
    Fan Faire 2010
  • size="-1"> style="font-weight: bold;">9/3 -
    9/6 - href="http://www.dragoncon.org/">DragonCon
  • size="-1"> style="font-weight: bold;">10/22 -
    10/23 - href="http://us.blizzard.com/blizzcon/?rhtml=y">BlizzCon
  • size="-1"> style="font-weight: bold;"> 3/24
    -
    3/26 (2011)- href="http://fanfest.eveonline.com/">CCP
    FanFest



Loading... Daily

Logging back into the Age of Conan account this week to re-up my subscription for the Rise of the Godslayer expansion, I was suprised at how many premium account services were available - server transfers, more slots, a name change, but all for a price. I decided to compare the availability and pricing of the most common of these services among our Pulse top 10 games for the last 30 days, and did with the fully patched help of Ben, Sardu, and Shay on several games (thanks!).

Account services (right)

Game (down)

Server Transfer

Character Transfer
(to another account)

Name Change
Additional Character Slots
Faction Change
Race Change
Character Re- Custom- ization
Gender Change
Game Time Card for Virtual Currency Conversion
Guild Name Change
World of Warcraft
check $25
check $25
check $10
no_check
check $30
check $25
check $15
check $15
no_check
no_check
EverQuest 2
check $25
no_check
check $15
no_check
check $25
check $25
check (1g, 20s)
check $15
no_check
no_check
Age of Conan
check $20
no_check
check $10
check $15
no_check
no_check
no_check
no_check
no_check
Dungeons & Dragons Online
check $24.95
no_check
check $9.95
check
no_check
no_check
no_check
no_check
no_check
check $12.95
EVE Online
N/A
check $20
no_check
no_check
no_check
no_check
check $10
check $10
check(mkt price)
no_check
Lord of the Rings Online
check $24.95
no_check
check $9.95
check (Advent- urer's Pack)
no_check
no_check
no_check
no_check
no_check
check $12.95
Vanguard: Saga of Heroes
no_check
no_check
no_check
no_check
no_check
no_check
no_check
no_check
no_check
no_check
Warhammer Online
check (free - restricted)
no_check
no_check
no_check
no_check
no_check
no_check
no_check
no_check
no_check
Aion
no_check
no_check
check $9.99
no_check
no_check
no_check
check $9.99
check $14.99
no_check
check $19.99
EverQuest
check $25
no_check
check $15
no_check
no_check
check $25
check $25
check $15
no_check
no_check

Some notes: all prices are USD. Where account services require currency conversion (i.e. dollars for points), I picked the most unfavorable conversion (meaning lowest points for least dollars) for comparison's sake. Many of these account services have additional restrictions, especially character transfers to another account and guild name changes, but some server transfers were free to certain servers (i.e. EQ2 transfers to Exchange servers).

A quick analysis of what we find here: being the nominal pioneer in premium account services, it's no surprise that WoW offers the most premium services (7) followed by EverQuest 2 (6) and EverQuest (5), while Warhammer Online and Vanguard offer the least account flexibility. Server transfer and Name Change are the most ubiquitous premium account services, followed by Re-Customization and Gender Change. The least common services were game time card to currency conversion (EVE still stands alone among the Pulse Top 10), account transfers, and guild / corp / legion / etc. name changes. Most games appear to have followed WoW's lead in pricing, though Age of Conan consistently undercut WoW's prices by $5 and EverQuest and EverQuest 2 went $5 over WoW's price for a name change. Faction changes are the most expensive service ($25 - $30), followed by server transfers ($20 - $25). Name changes are the least expensive service at $9.99 - $15.

What does this mean to MMO gaming? Clearly premium account services are increasing in prevalence and popularity, and many devs we've talked to view it as a win-win - players get more flexibility and developers get a new revenue stream for comparatively little development and customer support effort. Detractors usually complain that the prices are far in excess of the cost of these services (that is, unless the game's account support tools are terrible) or that using such services make initial character and server decisions less weighty, encouraging players to change their appearance or shard rather than make the best of the cards of their circumstances.

Both are valid concerns, and the second complaint addresses a major part of the fun in most RPGs, but 1) the latter complaint is addressed by the former, in my opinion, since the price may make you think twice about changing things on a whim, and 2) once one game offers premium account services, other games start to look backward or inflexible for not offering such services.

What's your take? Is there a sound correlation between the number of premium account services a game offers and its success? Do these options effectively kill the golden goose - weakening a player's attachment to a character or game in general? Share your thoughts in the Loading... forum, and have a great weekend!


Shayalyn's Epic Thread of
the Day

From our PC & Console Games (Non-MMO) forum


Game Deal of the Day Thread

Odds are that if you play MMOGs you play other games as well. That's why we have a PC & Console Games forum.
And it's why, nearly a year ago, Ralsu began today's epic thread to
highlight the Game Deal of the Day. Check near the end of the thread
for a free (and, need I say, awesome) game download from Steam. Bookmark this thread for future game deals, and don't forget to share your own finds!

==============================

Awesome Quotes from the
Epic Thread


"Now that's a deal!"

- Landric
==============================



Have you spotted an Epic Thread on our forums? Tell
us
!


New
and Exclusive Content
Today at Ten Ton Hammer

2 new Ten Ton Hammer
articles today! 47 Ten Ton Hammer
features
in May! 518
in 2010!

FEATURES & GUIDES

EQ2: Basics of Armor
http://www.tentonhammer.com/node/55031

Try
as we might, fighting naked will never be the thing to do in EverQuest
II which means, at some point in time, every player will need armor.
One of the best features of the game is the wide variety of armor
options, but this also ends up being its downfall for players who are
not well versed in gear jargon. No worries, we have the basics all laid
out for you. From armor classifications to where you can find some of
the most treasured pieces, we touch upon nearly every topic for
dressing up your toon.

WoW: Cataclysm Professions- Change We Can Believe In?
http://www.tentonhammer.com/wow/editorials/cataclysm-profession-preview

As
Cataclysm draws ever closer Blizzard throws out juicy tidbits of the
changes to come for us to enjoy. This week Blizzard gives us a glimpse
into what they have in store for professions as they work breathe new
life into them. Will their overhaul be successful or will the changes
leave players wishing for the good old days?

Today's
Hottest Articles, Guides, and Features

  1. href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/giveaways/eve-tyrannis">EVE
    Online
    : Tyrannis Launch Day
    Prize Giveaway
  2. href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/fallenearth/previews/blood-sports">Fallen
    Earth
    : Blood Sports PvP
    Impressions
  3. href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/aoc/rise-of-the-godslayer/preview">Age
    of Conan: Rise of the Godslayer
    Expansion
    - Launch Day
    Preview
  4. href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/tsw/interviews/vip">Ragnar
    Tornquist Answers Ten Ton Hammer Reader Questions for The
    Secret World
  5. href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/eve/guides/ships/osprey">Flying
    The Osprey Cruiser In EVE
    Online

  6. href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/interviews/fallen-earth-downsizing">(Prairie)
    Chicken Little Be Damned - An Exclusive Fallen
    Earth
    Interview
  7. href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/reviews/nvidia/3d_vision">Nvidia
    3D Vision Review
  8. href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/podcasts/live/6/transcript">Ten
    Ton Hammer Live Ep. 6 Transcript - David Georgeson on EverQuest
    II
  9. href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/rift/interviews/intro-scott-hartsman">Rift:
    Planes of Telara
    Intro Q&A with Trion's Scott Hartsman
  10. WoW: Cataclysm Professions- Change We Can Believe In?

Thanks
for visiting the Ten Ton Hammer network!

- Jeff "Ethec" Woleslagle
and
the Ten Ton Hammer team


To read the latest guides, news, and features you can visit our Vanguard: Saga of Heroes Game Page.

Last Updated: Mar 13, 2016

About The Author

Jeff
Jeff joined the Ten Ton Hammer team in 2004 covering EverQuest II, and he's had his hands on just about every PC online and multiplayer game he could since.

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