EVE have offered me and other lapsed players 5 free days in an attempt to encourage us back to the game. This is fairly standard business practice for mmos and I am sure they get a few returnees from such schemes. The message set me thinking however.
First of all I probably won't be availing of the 5 day offer, not because I don't like EVE (I think it is superb) but because I know that you cannot really achieve anything in an mmo in 5 days. It is just enough to whet your appetite for more and I simply do not have the time to play EVE seriously at the moment and I am not prepared to take on a monthly subscripton for a game I would only play sporadically.
Recent announcements from EA and SOE have riled a bunch of bloggers about the whole subject of microtransactions in games. I agree that there is a huge moral hazard that games will suffer as developers start designing in such a way that they can screw more cash from players using microtransactions. However I could envisage a poitive role for microtransactions if it was done in a considerate player supportive way. In particular I think microtransactions should be offered in parallel with a monthly sub with an an either/or model. If you are a casual player who only wants to play a few days a month - go micro transactions. If you are more serious and want to play every day then buy a monthly sub and get everything included. The key point here is that the monthly sub should be a cap on your expenditure offering access to everything for a single monthly payment.
If EVE or other games had a model like that I might play them for a day or two a month and pay a few euro's for the privelige.