I am definitely going to continue my adventures in Tolkienland by purchasing and subscribing to the retail package available from tomorrow. The question is which subscription package should I opt for? Turbine are offering a one time opportunity for pre-order customers to purchase a life time subscription to lotro for €149. This compares with a regular monthly fee of €9.99 for pre-order customers or €14.99 for later subscribers. Given that I have never played one game for longer than 6 months founder membership is almost certainly a bad deal for me, particularly as further discounts are likely to be available for 3 month and 6 month subscriptions. Nevertheless I am considering founder membership and here is why.
I guess I feel that not having a monthly subscription will change the way I play the game and may in fact increase my enjoyment of it. The once off purchase will be a sunk cost and once it is paid I can choose to play or not play as I see fit. I will be free to pick up the game or leave it at will. I really enjoyed my time playing Guild Wars and one of the best things for me was that I never felt under any pressure to play and not having a monthly fee was an important part of this. I could play if I felt like it or not. Even though the amount is small I feel that having an ongoing monthly subscription will create a subconscious pressure to keep playing: "I have paid for this month - so I may as well get value from it". It is almost as if every moth I will have to mentally decide whether or not I am going to keep playing this game.
On the other hand I could get a similar freedom by purchasing a 6 month subscription - and if past experience is anything to go by 6 months is likely to be as long as I will last in the game. Also the monthly subscription could be a life-saver if I ever feel that I need to stop playing the game. I played World of Warcraft solidly for about four months before deciding that it was time to stop. Stopping my monthly subscription was a key symbolic gesture for me and really helped move my mind on. It took me about 2 weeks to come down to the point where I no longer wanted to play and since then I have never wanted to go back. If lotro ever became a problem to the point where I neede to stop playing the lack of a monthly fee woud remove the possiblity of making that symbolic gesture. Of course it is only a symbolic gesture - it is always possible to re-suscribe.
Decisions, decisions. I guess Ill decide tomorrow when I open the shrink wrap.