FFXIV’s Pricing Model

Final Fantasy XIV will be coming out for PC on September 30th (22nd for head start program) with some interesting news on their pricing model.  The subscription fee is a respectable $12.99 per month.  I’m a major proponent of subscription fees so whenever I see a new MMO coming out with them I always feel like it’s a score for the good guys.  Interesting to note is that you only get one character slot activated and one “mule” type character that can sell stuff while you’re offline.  If you want more character slots (up to 8 total per account) then it will cost you an additional $3.00 per month or $1.00 for another mule.

Crap… that’s a vicious price for an alt.  When I reach the max level in a MMO I then become an alt-aholic.   Ouch.  I couldn’t afford to become one in FFXIV.  For the price that’s pretty expensive.  I would prefer a one time flat fee of something like $15.   I’m also a proponent of the character transfer type service fees because I think those services are an excellent service to the customer and also a great way to generate additional revenue for the company.  While the price may be steep, is this a good thing for the game?

I do believe that limiting the amount of characters is important to a MMO.  Star Wars Galaxies limited players to just one character and it helped the economy by limiting the saturation of player provided services.  If having a weaponsmith in the game is important and you can just make an alt to max its weaponsmith then someone else can’t become a dedicated weaponsmith and feel like they have accomplished something while maintaining a prolonged importance.  Perhaps this will allow those who are willing to fork out the cash to buy their way into self-sustainment while still allowing that diverse playerbase.  Then again, this all depends on the game itself and whether or not they really hit a home run with the profession system.

I’m not sold on FFXIV yet.  I think that from all the footage I have seen it will be worth trying but only to see if my doubts about the game can be confirmed.  I could not for the life of me get into FFXI because of how fractured the server communities were being shared with the Japan community at launch.  I also hated the controls and never felt hooked.  The game needs to grab me in some way in the first 20 minutes.  I need the polished Westernized feel to to be apparent or else I’m just not interested — there are games that can provide that for me and I needn’t bother with the heartache of trying to love a game for the wrong reasons.

Despite being told by the benchmark, or rather after it laughed at me for foolishly even thinking that I could run the game, I’m still going to find some way to play the game for free and let you all know what I think.  There’s absolutely no way that I’ll be getting any sort of collector’s edition though.  It’s just too risky.

  • [quote]I do believe that limiting the amount of characters is important to a MMO. Star Wars Galaxies limited players to just one character and it helped the economy by limiting the saturation of player provided services.[/quote]

    I am so pleased to see I am not alone in this thought.

  • Keen, you realize that you can play any class from one character right? Just like you could in FFXI.

    The only reason someone would want to pay the $3.00 is to try a different race.

  • I do remember reading about that. Have the -exact- details been discussed at length yet? I have not sought out any additional information other than what has been released as “features” on the official site.

    Can players literally be anything and everything they want simultaneously on one character? In SWG you could do anything on one character but you had to unlearn and lose what you had put into other things to accommodate taking on new classes/professions.

    If it really is a case where you can be any profession, any class, any playstyle, and everything all on one character and flip between them at will then the $3.00/month fee to play a new race is still vicious and I would prefer a one time fee to unlock the slot.

    Regardless, it will have no impact on the game if you can switch at will to anything you want which is a (relatively) good thing. The idea of diversity is thrown at the window if the “anything you want anytime you want” feature plays out with complete freedom.

  • They have talked about it a bunch in various interviews so I’m sure it isn’t a NDA break, but you can change your class by changing your equipment. The skills/abilities tie to you leveling up the weapon class of choice. You actually have a lot of freedom to make various hybrids (just like FFXI). You don’t have to unlearn anything but, for example, if you level up Staff and the related Staff skills when you switch to a Sword those skills you learned using Staff are limited/restricted.

    I’d hardly call $3.00 to play a new race “vicious”. Theres little to no reason to play a different race other then cosmetic… and the small differences make it important to choose the right race.

  • Nah Keen ill explain everything to you and there reasoning behind it.

    1) You create one character the race and sex you want. This character is able to change into any class you see fit. The way they did this in ffxi is you go to your mog house and talk to your moogle to “Change Jobs”, when you hit max lvl you could gear that job out, or change jobs and lvl again.

    As of now i have a max lvl ranger, and beastmaster, and all the other jobs are 30+

    2) The reasoning behind the 3$ a character is EXTREMELY welcomed by those who played ffxi, in my opinion atleast. In FFXI you payed 12.99 and 1$ a character. So Gold sellers, market killers, whoever just made crafting alts. In ffxi you could get max crafting in one craft and up to like 60 in 2 other crafts. A lvl 1 character could do this without ever leaving the starting city. So people would just make countless lvl 1s and max craftings, they would also set up shops or “bazaars” on there characters.

    What all of this accomplished was caused a great number of characters that NEVER move. There was one character named thankyoumart, he has literally been in the same spot for the past 6 years.

    Squenix is attempting to get rid of this whole lvl 1 non real characters, as for me this really takes away from the whole experience. In FFXI you picked your name and you were known no matter what job you were on. It was really neat. You could be very well known on your server and go lvl a lower job and people would be stoked they were playing with you.

    That is what they are going for and i think its a step in the right direction.

  • Oh and the graphics/running it on your pc.

    Requirement wise its on par with Aion.

    If you could run Aion you can run ff14

    The benchmark was bugged big time, you cant go by it in any way.

  • Yeah you cant forget that you can switch classes on a single character. Back in FFXI I was known as Khurn, not a list of my 4 tanks , 1 shaman and 1 hunter for folks who wanted to Raid (tankaholic). It was just the 1 . I ran with 2 characters total but the other one was for selling stuff. So this is perfect. So less confusion tracking someone down and you its easier to know the good and bad players.

  • I am comfortable with the FFXIV pricing model because I dealt with it (or at least something very near it) in FFXI. The model is really quite brilliant I think. Like has been mentioned already one character has the potential to be any class the only reason to need another character from a game play perspective is to try out a different race.

    Mules being only $1 is perfect in my opinion because if XIV is like XI then you will run out of inv space eventually and $1 is a fair price for the extra storage in my book.

  • @Phandy: Reason I say it’s a vicious price is because it’s not just $3. It’s $3 every month to have that slot open to you. So if you want 1 alt slot you pay $15.99, want two it’s $18.99. If you stop paying the $3 additional per month does the slot lock?

    @Ward: And that’s great that you have that single identity. That’s how it was for me in SWG. I had the one identity that the server knew me as and they knew to come to me for specific goods. However, they knew to come to me for specific goods because there was a limit on who could provide them. If EVERYONE could be a swordsmith then what’s the point of going to me for it or knowing me as a reputable provider?

    If, however, there’s some sort of cap on what you can do or a limit to how versatile and self-sufficient and all-doing you can be then it’s fine.

  • @Keen What benefit is there to really go down that road and have that many extra character slots? I can see someone having one extra, so that is $16.99 a month with an extra Mule. Is that really unreasonable in todays’s pricing schemes?

    There is so little benefit to playing alternate races, it just doesn’t make sense. If someone really, really wants to change their race… they could dump all their items to their mule… delete their character and start a new main character with a different race.

  • There are a few hairs being split here worth clarifying.

    1) If there is limitation on what ONE character can become or do then the pricing seems a bit steep. This, in my opinion, is still the ideal way to design a MMO. Players should not be able to be and do everything for themselves.

    2) Even if FFXIV allows players to be whatever and whenever, and granted it’s only for races, it’s still a little bit pricey to make it an additional $3.00 per month. Granted, it has absolutely no bearing on gameplay at this point and is deemed irrelevant anyway.

    I still haven’t received what I feel is sufficient clarification on the issue.

    Straight up question:

    Can my character, at will, choose to become any class and/or profession when I want? At the click of a button can I go from being a healer to a warrior and then right back to being a healer? -OR- Is there a penalty in place keeping me from being everything?

  • Hopefully this will help clarify.

    There are two methods of leveling:

    1) Class Rank – As I mentioned above, you can change your class at anytime by switching your weapon/armor. As your class rank rises you learn new skills/abilities based on the weapon/armor you are using. For example, if you are using a sword you will level your “Fighter” skills. If you switch to a Staff you will level your “Mage” skills. When you are using your sword you will have access to the skills you learned with your staff, HOWEVER, not every skill can be used by all the classes and there are penalties as to the effect of the skill and time limits in certain cases.

    Also worth noting is that you cannot change classes while in active/combat mode. So you can’t flip while engaged with an Mob. Only out of combat, but it does add a nice dynamic to solo play.

    2) Physical Rank – The more traditional level based system. As you increase your physical rank you will earn more attribute points to put into various stats/magic elements such as strength, vitality, dexterity, agility, intelligence, wisdom, charisma, luck, fire, ice, wind, earth, thunder, and water.

    Now as you can start to see, your decisions in your Physical Rank will affect your ability to switch between classes. If you load up on STR/VIT/DEX then your mana pool will be very small and the strength of your spells will be weak. Alternatively, you can also build each class different. For example a Gladiator can be built as a Tank, DPS or Hybrid. Even further you can add secondary skills from a different class you have level. There is a ton of flexibility.

    Finally you can respec in the city although the cost hasn’t been identified as far as I know. So if you want to level a Mage class after leveling a Fighter class, you can go to town and redistribute your Physical Rank points accordingly.

    All of the above also applies to the crafting classes. They follow the same logic.

  • Yes you can be every class.. and do every craft in FF14 just like 11. Theres no restrictions.. You can do everything on one char long as you have the time.

    And as phandy said you can mix and match classes.. you learn heal from one of the mage classes well when your a gladiator you put heal on your abilities list and bam you can now heal.

    BTW they limit the amount of skills you can have at one time.. I believe its like 20 + 10 craft/gather ones or something like that.
    But you can change your ability list though in town.

  • @keen

    btw yess japan, america, EU everyone plays on the same servers again just like FF11

    Hopefully the translator will be a bit better :p

  • They shouldn’t have offered any option; they just should have charged $16/month, and then people wouldn’t have to argue over the additional cost compared to the under priced $12.99/ month. Why do people have the need to complain when they are offered a bargain and upgrade options?

  • But you will get to pick your server unlike 11.. So you can just pick a american based server.
    Though anyone can play on any server if they want.

  • I personally find that skill system to be very interesting, looking forward to trying it out. I could care less about the pricing system and think you may be going a bit overboard Keen.

  • As others have pointed out, your one character IS your many other alts.

    Maybe you could update your post to reflect the new information you just picked up? It just seems very odd for you to apply previous game mechanics and paradigms to a game that’s quite different in terms of its character advancement system as compared to the rest of the market.

  • My biggest worry about the game continues to be grouping. I don’t want to wait around in a city for 3hrs begging for a group, then when I finally land one I travels for 45 min to get to an area where there are mobs high enough level to stand around in the same spot for hours grinding with said group. Or better yet the area is full of immobile groups so you have to travel another 45 mins to another area only to have your group disband because its time to go to bed.

    I also would like to solo when I’m farming for materials, something that was very hard to do in FFXI. If FFXIV is just a graphics up grade to FFXI, I’ll probably not be playing.

  • @ vort

    in ff14 they have a thing called “guildleves” which is quest that you can change the difficulty of…

    They do have a solo difficulty. So ya you can solo in FF14 unlike 11.
    But doing things in a group is much more rewarding ofc.

  • I’m all for more solo friendly content BUT I do hope some of the game requires a group and I have yet to get confirmation on that and I don’t mean just doing guildleves on higher levels.

  • I somewhat recently discovered your blog and was enjoying it for a while. Until that line about being a “proponent of subscription fees” because they’re a “score for the good guys”. This comment is so completely mind-numbingly absurd that I can no longer read your blog as they must be the ramblings of some level of insanity beyond the average fanboy/spendaholic hybrid. I suppose you also think DLC adds value to a game? Nevermind that fact that these 2 things are leading us into an industry where you can no longer buy a full game, developers will more and more exclude already-existing content just so they can sell it back to us later, or in the case of subscription fees, keep us waiting/paying until it’s time to appetize us a little more. These two things are the destruction of the best industry in the world… I hope someday gamers will realize this, before it’s too late.

  • While I believe that SE would be better served by giving at least 2 character slots per account for free, I understand why they are pricing things this way.

    I know you didn’t get into XI, I however did. And have recently returned to the game since other games have lost their challenge and appeal as they cater to the lowest common denominator. That being said, one of the biggest issues in XI was always the RMT and how it negatively effected the economy of the game. The RMT would not only farm and camp hi level monsters for drops but they would create many crafting “alts” for the cheap 1$ fee in order to flood the economy with items. This hurt the economy as a whole. SE’s choice to make Retainers, a non playable storage/bazaar mule, was indeed caused by this fact.

    @Proponent; I would agree with you that DLC has become a joke. The average DLC adds little value to the game. It is often sold month after a console game has come out in a last ditch effort to milk the game’s lifespan a bit. In an MMO a DLC can be good or bad. The most recent XI DLC for example has been a complete and utter joke. The previous 3 DLC’s had actual value to players, told a story and were fun and extremely accessible to all players for a minimal fee. Would I like to see less DLC and more “Expansions” with full and rich content? Yes, but long gone are the days where the average game, gets those huge expansions like WoW does. Expansions are reserved for major changes in an MMO. While DLC is a small addition to them. Do I think these DLC should be free since I pay a sub for these games? Yes I do, but no matter what I do its not going to change the fact that companies are getting much more out of the DLC model than the Expansion model as a whole.

  • To clarify, in FFXI you could NOT do everything on one character, there were three major limitations to this (all of which may come into play in FFXIV)

    1. Merit Points, you have to pick and choose what attributes your character could merit, there was a set pool for your job which isnt an issue, but there was a set pool for your character as well, which is… you had to pick between meriting up your character to be a generally better tank, generally better caster and so on, you cant max everything. I’ve heard rumor about character level and job level in FFXIV, one levels attributes and such independent of job skills, if thats the case it may be much like the merit situation, so I could have a level 99 gladiator, but because I invested my character into mage like jobs, hes got more points in int than str or vit, independent of job…

    2. Race was not just cosmetic, it was not very significant an attribute change, but if race comes along with set attributes it definitely plays a part… ask a taru drk if he would like the hp pool of a galka drk… or try to tell him that the difference is just cosmetic. I can see attributes being tied to race in exactly the same manner in FFXIV

    3. Crafting, its been said, and I’m less worried about this one, but you had a pool of 40 craft points to spend on major craft skills… the first 60 in any discipline were free, but from 60 on you used your shared pool of points…

    just to clarify, you couldnt just switch jobs at any time with just the click of a button etc… you could only do so at your mog, but you could do so without penalty, the issue wasnt that you take a penalty for switching, it was that you couldn’t develop every job to its absolute max on just one character… you could get close enough that it only mattered if you had some completest OCD (which I think is actually reasonably common)

  • I cant edit, so I’m going to double post…

    For all the people who are thinking this $3 vs $1 charge is in any way related to RMTs, this would only apply if you think that the extra $2 a month per character would deter these guys… Even if RMT prices were as low as ffxi, and you’re talking 10-20 alts, would $20-$40 a month be a big enough impact to the bottom line for them to think twice?

    If its an RMT business, no $2 per character wouldnt impact it, if its just some dude that wanted a character for every craft, or race or whatever then yeah that might be the tipping point…

  • @cws

    There are probably several design decisions that were taken to limit the effects of RMT in FFXIV. I can think of a couple aside from the fee.

    However the reason I posted was to clarify some misconceptions you have.

    Each race has the same starting stats. It IS cosmetic.

    You do switch jobs at will. Marcos can be written to do a complete “action bar” and euippable swap ouut which is active within around 30 seconds. You can do it anywhere at any time as long as you aren’t in active (combat) mode.

    There have been no announcements of any cap to crafting skills that I am aware of.

    Stats are allocated from a pool based on your Physical level. The allocation can be changed, but not instantly. To go from a tank setup to a healer setup might take you a day or so at higher levels.

  • I just do hope they make that you can re-asigne all your stat and not just some basic number else you wont be able to make a descent Mage + Melee on the same char

  • @oleum

    Thats not the case for ffxi, and currently (I’m in the beta) not the case for ffxiv… your starting attributes (physical and elemental) depend on your race, it appears that they all grow at the same rate, so unlike ffxi we *might* not see a big discrepancy at end game levels (its 1 for 1 physical point to attribute increase for all attributes regardless of race up to point 40 right now) it slows down after 40, not enough info to see if certain races “grow” at different rates yet tho…

    Switching Jobs is as easy as equipping a different mainhand wep in ffxiv, however redistributing physical points is not. A redistribute option is available, however that does NOT refund all your points spent, just the last few (too little stat data to determine if its a flat last 20 points thing or if its a percentage) The end result being that you can drop your lance and pick up your wand, but you still have the same physical attributes, only slightly changed after your first redistribution of physical points.

    Theres speculation that you can go through many physical point redistributions over a few days to totally switch your character, I havent seen data to back this up, and I havent been in beta long enough to try…