Runic Won't Charge Subscription Fees for Torchlight MMO

Runic Won't Charge Subscription Fees for Torchlight MMO

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The Torchlight developer's CEO says that he isn't especially keen on trying to take on World of Warcraft.

The Torchlight MMO is still coming, and won't have subscription fees. That's the word from developer Runic Games' CEO, Max Schaefer, who says that the project is still quietly bubbling away, despite sequels and Xbox Live ports taking up the team's time.

Schaefer said that the Torchlight MMO would be different from what people might expect an MMO to be like, adding that Runic had no intention of making a cookie cutter game. He said that the studio took a broader view of what an MMO was, rather than the fairly narrow definition that a lot of people seemed to have. He said that Runic wanted to keep the game fairly low-tech so that it could run on as many computers as possible and also to make it easy and quick to make new content.

He was clear, however, that Runic wasn't about to try to compete with the big dog in the MMO market, World of Warcraft. Schaefer said that you couldn't think about a MMO project without taking WoW into account. In fact, the reason that Runic wasn't looking to charge a subscription for the Torchlight MMO was because that it felt that anyone who was willing to pay a subscription was already doing so for WoW.

Interestingly, Blizzard itself was saying only a few days ago that there was room for another subscription based game alongside WoW, but it's hard to blame developers for being cagey about taking the chance.

Source: Charge Shot via Joystiq

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Hopefully it will be a step up from the many junk FTP MMOs out there.

I wonder if they will try the micro transaction model instead.

Huzzah! First the release of Torchlight for XBLA, now this announcement. I applaud them for trying to form their own niche in the MMO market rather than tackle the unstoppable juggernaut that is WoW head-on.

I'm starting to become a big fan of Runic.

"Blizzard itself was saying only a few days ago that there was room for another subscription based game alongside WoW"

they were meaning one of THEIR games.

Murmur95:
"Blizzard itself was saying only a few days ago that there was room for another subscription based game alongside WoW"

they were meaning one of THEIR games.

Exactly. They could work a discount model. Play our other game for half price while your WoW subscription remains active. No other MMO could compete with that.

Well, I really enjoyed torchlight, gave me a good quality hours of fun, would like to see how this goes on.

Torchlight MMO? you mean instances and a chat room? sort of like Diablo 2 did 10+ years ago?

MrJoyless:

I wonder if they will try the micro transaction model instead.

It seems likely... That model seems to be working for a couple of MMOs quite well so far.
I really thought the sequel was gonna make the MMO dissapear for good. Good to know it still exists.

They originally intended to release it really early this year before the sequel started getting made though... The popularity of the first one somehow managed to postpone the MMO.

Logan Westbrook:
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The days of subscription-based MMOs are over.

MMOs used to have to work really hard to "earn" the right to charge a subscription. Just look at all the features available in older games like SWG--fully-customizable housing, vehicles, animal pets/mounts, space flight, and an extremely robust crafting system.

After the first couple "generations" of MMOs, people had become accustomed to the idea of paying a subscription. The shock had worn off, the ground had been broken, pick your metaphor. Games started removing features to save time and money, simplifying existing features... basically, they just weren't trying as hard because they didn't have to anymore.

Then the free-to-play market started popping up. Are there some crap examples? Sure. But enough of them are as good as many of the subscription-based MMOs that people have started to ask, "Why am I going to keep buying a game every month when it isn't getting any better?"

WoW has the benefit of being "grandfathered in" as the reigning subscription MMO. They're polished, and they've got content coming on a reasonable conveyor belt. (Sure, it's the same crap with different skins every time, but that's what that audience is after.)

New games coming to the field? They can't do it. And it's not just because of WoW It's because other companies are going free-to-play, pay-for-premium. And the stuff they're delivering is a good value for the money. So, if your game is "okay," you'd better be in that F2P market. If you're planning to charge monthly, you're going to need to release with a ton of content, highly polished, and in a very different genre or setting than WoW.

It's at this point everyone will start saying The Old Republic is the next one. I think the highly-limited nature of the game's content (extremely on-the-rails, based on even the very best of their own publicity) will show that it's just going to be a "pretty good single player game," for which they're expecting people to pay monthly. It won't fly for long.

Yeah the death of the monthly subscriptions --- they will not be missed.

Of course, with games that suck up real money for content you get sad saps who drop more than $1,000 on League of Legends or Maple Story. Which almost seems inherently more evil to me than a monthly subscription.

The only thing that bums me out about Torchlight is the Single Player aspect.

Diablo 2 is probably my 2nd most played game with thousands of hours dumped into it.

Has anyone here played the 360 version and how did it go for you?

Mister Benoit:
The only thing that bums me out about Torchlight is the Single Player aspect.

Diablo 2 is probably my 2nd most played game with thousands of hours dumped into it.

Has anyone here played the 360 version and how did it go for you?

The XBLA release of Torchlight is a port of the PC version. Besides revamping the controls and menus a bit to fit the 360 controller, it's the same game. I must say I prefer it over the PC version with regards to controls, but the lack of mod support is a drawback.

Still, it's nice to see a fun title like Torchlight reach a larger audience.

This just reminds me of Guild Wars 2. Oh how I look forward to that game, I've played the original for a bit over 1000 hours I think and I'm STILL faaar from done with that. Sure, they have micro-transactions in GW1, but NONE of them feels forced or pushy in any way. I haven't bought a single thing from the in-game store and I can enjoy the game just as well as someone who has bought everything.

Whether Guild Wars 2 will follow the same model in that way, I don't know. I hope it won't, but it looks absolutely sweet regardless. Can't wait to play it.

Sounds like they're on the ball.

Torchlight was a testament to staying on focus and doing what you set out to do very very well. Now just give us the multiplayer!

Mister Benoit:
The only thing that bums me out about Torchlight is the Single Player aspect.

Diablo 2 is probably my 2nd most played game with thousands of hours dumped into it.

Has anyone here played the 360 version and how did it go for you?

I loved it! Amazingly, I felt the control scheme was far more fun than on the PC, and the biggest advantage is the whole not having to click a button every time you want to travel somewhere. I also am always a fan of seeing games on TV. One disadvantage, though, is that some of the text is pretty small. If you have a small television, you might have a little trouble reading it. Other than that, I'd say it's totally worth it!

Great.

So you went from competing with World of Warcraft to competing with Guild Wars 2.

You're such a smart development team!

Wow, a CEO with brains. There is plenty of market out there for other subscription based MMO's or even good FREE MMO's.

Interestingly, Blizzard itself was saying only a few days ago that there was room for another subscription based game alongside WoW, but it's hard to blame developers for being cagey about taking the chance.

I'm relatively sure they probably mean the mythological project they call, "Titan". And not one from another company. Also, who cares if they said that, they are only mimicking the words of the general PC user populace, so it's not technically news if they think so. News would be if if some of the WoW developers burned themselves in protest to the idea.

Huh. I like Torchlight. I like MMOs. I like free things. I don't play WoW.

Yeah, I can totally get down on a Torchlight MMO. I'll be sure to keep an eye out for it.

Now if they can beat Mythos to the punch. it would be great.

 

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