An admission: I'm a rather large fan of MMOs. From my early days on BBS MUDs and LORD, to my time with Sierra's The Realm Online, meandering to UO, and eventual tasting of most of the larger MMOs we currently see, I've been a fan of the potential they seem to promise.
The difficulty I've had has been with subscription models these days. It creates this self-inflicted guilt where if I am not playing my game, I am wasting the money on which I spend on it monthly. As someone who plays many games, enjoys writing about them, and wants to make sure he's aware of current trends in the industry overall, I don't want to feel locked in to an MMO that requires such.
Given such, I haven't touched WoW in years, for instance (depending on whom you ask, that may or may not be for the best). Instead, I've been much more prone to try out other models, and try to keep an eye on how they seem to be faring in this part of the world.
According to Massively, reporting on an interview with Charge-Shot, Runic Games Max Schaefer is making hints that he no longer believes in the sub-based model himself. He directly calls on the fact that WoW is the elephant int he room, and it informs his thought process, "I don't think really anyone can do [subscriptions] anymore because pretty much everyone that does subscriptions has one for WoW."
Before this year, the MMO on which I'd kept my eye most closely was Star Wars: The Old Republic. While I'm still interested, I'll admit to my attention instead being diverted to Guild Wars 2. I could wax poetic on why I look forward to what it promises, but I'll leave that for some other time (and you can read our GDC coverage instead); instead, I was grateful to hear that it would stick to the buy-in model they'd already used with the first game: buy the game, no monthly fee.
Naturally, this sort of model puts the onus on microtransactions. I don't mind those as much given a few principle rules: they don't make it difficult to progress in the game (which really does seem the route Dragon Age: Legends wishes to take with its store) and doesn't unbalance the game. From the example Guild Wars the first seems to have set out, extra character slots, using your own characters as henchmen, and other such features seem to be the rule.
Which makes me wonder, how much are subscriptions and/or various pay models affecting your own decisions as regards the ever-increasing (even if many are seemingly shovelware-esque) MMO landscape?