@UMD I believe the subscription in this case is to ensure the game keeps evolving and changing on a regular basis. There are planned monthly content updates which, if they can keep the momentum going, is an exciting prospect. If they regularly provide big expansions as part of the subscription fee (like what City of Heroes used to do) then I’m all for it; if they do subscription fee AND separate expansion packs a la Warcraft I’ll be slightly less understanding.

I agree that I would rather follow the Guild Wars “pay once, then pay again for expansions” model, but I don’t object to paying a sub for something that is going to get substantially updated regularly as part of that subscription. We’ll see how it goes. The player base seems pretty happy at the minute — the few who came in expecting Warcraft with draugir are generally getting pissed off with the 7 equipped skills limit and buggering off again, leaving behind a mature community, most of whom can spell properly. It’s gratifying to see anyone posting spoilers for investigation missions in chat being harshly dealt with, too.

You’re right, a subscription fee is a bit of a gamble these days with the rise in free-to-play, and The Secret World already includes the infrastructure necessary to make it F2P in the future — it has a “cash shop” that at present just sells cosmetic clothing items (there are also plenty of cosmetic clothing items that can be bought in-game). I’ll be interested to see how it develops over time. If they can keep up the production quality (fully voiced cutscenes with characters that actually move like humans rather than standing around woodenly) then I’m happy to keep paying. I realise this may seem a little hypocritical given my thoughts towards skeezy DLC plans, but I still accept it as part of the MMO model. There’s a noticeable difference in quality between F2P and sub-based MMOs — though Guild Wars is the wild card. Still, there’s an argument that Guild Wars isn’t really an MMO at all, it’s Phantasy Star Online. (I believe Guild Wars 2 is handled more traditionally, but I’m not sure.)