Dungeons & Dragons Online Free-to-play Model Sees 40% Increase in Subscriptions

By Alice O'Connor, Oct 15, 2009 2:40pm PDT Dungeons & Dragons Online has seen growth doubling internal expectations and a 40% increase in subscribers since moving to a free-to-play model supported by premium subscriptions and microtransactions, developer Turbine told Ars Technica.

"[Free players] get to try the game, not be constrained by a one-week trial, and then decide when they've made the commitment that they're engaged enough that they're ready to spend money," executive producer Fernando Paiz told the site.

Free accounts are limited in available classes, races, and quests, which can be brought individually with microtransactions or are included with the $15 monthly VIP subscription. Various items, equipment, buffs and cosmetic options are on sale to all.

"We have a good chunk of the population that is spending more than $15 a month," said Paiz. "The traditional subscription model can only make X dollars off a player. This kind of removes that cap."

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11 Threads | 33 Comments

  • Must say, I quite enjoy this game. I've got a level 12 Wizaaaaaaaaaarrd. A robot wizard, no less!

    It feels like playing Neverwinter Nights, but in an MMO style party system. It's fun!

    As for micro-transaction haters... well... what can I say? The game is free to play. The only "shady" micro transactions in this game are:

    1) Increase level-cap to 20 (from 15).
    2) Monk class.

    If you want all content available, right from the start (with the exception of the unlockable Drow and Favored Soul), then just pay the monthly fee like every other MMO. Otherwise, you can think of the first 15 levels of the game as "try before you buy" (A hundred hours at least). Also, keep in mind, you get "DDO Points" (aka Micro-Transaction Points) just by playing the game, and gaining favor with the game's faction. So, it's entirely possible that you will gain enough DDO points in this manner to purchase dungeons, character slots, and other microtransactions.

    All in all, I'm pretty pleased. Even if I cancel my subscription, I can still come back some other time and play casually for free, without having to spend money. What's there not to like?