Keywords: subscriber
Not attempting to start a war which some members on BYOND seem so bent on doing, this is a discussion on what seems to be the best way to go about subscription systems.

I recently played a game on BYOND in which one of the dropped items I gained from a battle was a "subscriber-only" item. I thought little of it at first, but remembered my P90X videos and the annoying remarks Tony Horton makes about how it's so necessary that his "recovery formula" is bought and drank regularly in the middle of each video. Now, thinking about it, I felt as if this dropped item was a bit of a slap in the face - it says "Equip" but it says it won't do so because I'm not a subscriber.

Now, I personally didn't like this, but I see the tactic used here. And as it didn't affect game-play, it might not be all that bad of an idea. But I wanted to hear the ideas you all have on how subscriber status should be implemented in the games.

For example, Casual Quest uses a system where you can completely play the game without purchasing a subscription, but the game becomes a bit more enjoyable with a subscription as you are given more choice classes. Without the subscription you still get the entire game, with the subscription you are just given more possibilities of how to get through it. I've also seen a lot of games where you get trial subscriptions so you can feel what it's like. Then, you go back to a regular player, and you aren't hindered in any way, but you have gotten a taste of what it's like to be a subscriber.

So what do you think? Also, what do you think of the whole 1-month, 6-months, lifetime setup most games seem to have? What do you all see as best?
I feel that any non-aesthetic item/ability/effect a person can gain through paying should be attainable to all players, but paying is simply the easiest/least time consuming method of getting it.

That item you got could have the same stats, the same drop rates, etc., but instead of saying "You can't equip this because you didn't pay," you could say, "You have to perform a lengthy sidequest to gain the proficiency required to equip this, or subscribe to skip the quest."

Selling aesthetic only items or giving something to affect your appearance to subscribers is a decent way to make a little money without unbalancing the game or pissing people off. It allows players to support the development of the game and get a cool cape or something out of it. Obviously, these items would have to be quite cheap, or at least a wide range of prices on them.

Selling any kind of top-tier equipment or abilities that can only be gained via real money purchase makes your game "Pay to win." If players want to have any kind of real chance competitively, they have to pay. IMO, this setup is ridiculous and should never be practiced.

On the topic of subscriptions themselves, I'm not a fan. I much prefer a system that allows players to purchase individual items/bonuses to the standard monthly/yearly subscription.
I don't see any problem with a model where you pay for an in-game advantage. Players might not like it, but it's just one of many things about the game that people might not like. You wouldn't be as concerned about people not liking the maps or icons even though it's just as likely (maybe even more likely) for someone to say "I don't play that game because the graphics are ugly" than to say "I don't play that game because I disagree with letting players pay to have an in-game advantage".

If you want to make money then you'll want to have lots of people playing the game. If you do something that players might not like it will mean the game has fewer players, but that's only a problem for the game's developer. It shouldn't bother anyone else.
Well, as much as people don't like it, the tactic has proven effective. For example, and I can't remember which post it was, but Steve Pavlina ( has noted that when he put ads in the most obvious spots on the site, as long as they weren't necessarily restrictive of the site but still in plain site, he noticed no decline in views and an increase in revenue. I guess it's not a terrible idea - just an annoyance.
Hmmm, personally I'm inclined to only buying subscriptions that are lifetime. I prefer subscriptions to be like Casual Quest's, where you still get the full game without it, but you get more/better options with it, while still not being "pay to win".