Monday, February 27, 2012

Price-Checking The DDO Expansion

Turbine has announced details of pricing for DDO's upcoming expansion.  There are things that they have learned from their similar experiences in LOTRO.  A few thoughts:

  • The first rule of doing business with Turbine is that patience will be rewarded with lower prices.  There will almost certainly be a similar bundle - probably minus the exp boost tome and the cosmetic pets, as with LOTRO, after the launch.  There will also be sales on both the store version and the Turbine Point a la carte offerings. 
     
  • Turbine also clearly remembers the uproar when they waited until very late in the game to reveal that an expansion which cost $30 in cash cost nearly $70 in Turbine Points, in an attempt to force subscribers to pay extra rather than using their regular point stipend.  This time, they're publishing the a la carte pricing up front, which adds up to 5685 Turbine Points - almost all of the points in a $60 point bundle, compared to getting the same content, plus 1000 TP and some other goodies for $50 in cash.   
     
  • Two pieces of the expansion - notably the long-awaited new class - are included in the subscription (good, as there is relatively little benefit to subscribing these days) and therefore are NOT included in the $30 "base" edition.  This leaves non-subscribers with an unpleasant option - pay an extra 67% markup now, or risk being stuck with an even higher premium if you want to add the rest of the expansion later.  This would hurt less if the jump from tier to tier was from $30 to $40 to $50, as it was with LOTRO's expansion, instead of the $30 to $50 to $80 for DDO. 
  • Especially for non-subscriber, the deals are better the less you already own.  The level 4 veteran status (which I already have) is a great way to get a new character out of the painful early setup levels, but many actual longtime players may have it.  The adventure packs are a mix of good/recent and less popular (for reference, I own two of the four in the $50 bundle and three of the additional four in the $80 bundle).
Overall, my gut feeling here is caution.  It does not matter how much you "save" if you purchase content that you ultimately don't end up using.  That said, there is an intriguing difference between DDO and LOTRO in that DDO's content is much more re-usable. 

In addition to replaying the same content on the same character multiple times for experience and favor, there is a "true reincarnation" mechanic that allows you to re-roll the same character repeatedly with bonuses from past lives.  I loved a similar system in Kingdom of Loathing, and the tome of pre-level-20 exp boost (which I do suspect will be available as a separate store purchase) will be a huge benefit to any such effort.  Then again, re-rolling at 20 means not using the new level 20+ content in the expansion. 

I guess the bottom line is to ask yourself a question - how much DDO - including the new stuff - do you think you'll play?

3 comments:

beshere said...

F2P is too complex for me :)
I like just to pay ten bucks and play.

Green Armadillo said...

@beshare: I don't dispute this point - personally, I derive non-zero entertainment value from knowing I'm gaming the system. For folks in your boat, I'm pretty sure DDO still offers a $10 multimonth plan, and you just need to save up the points for the stuff from the basic edition (something like 6-7 months stipend) if and when you go beyond level 20.

Yeebo said...

The $80 pre-order gets you a very nice pet across all of your characters. A level 18 (to use) panther charm that summons a level 20 pet. That said, the price to value sweet spot seems to be the $50 one. Gets you a lot of pre-order stuff while only costing as much as the expansion plus the Druid class would have cost anyway.

And yeah, you can still sub if you like. Saves you a ton of cash in the short term.