Fixing the broken stuff with subscription-based AoE

There are a lot of really good posts on here trying to reach out to the devs with essentially the same complaint:

You took a game we played forever and supported by ourselves, added server-based multiplayer (which is great) and other candy, but dropped the ball on the details (pathing, balance, bugs, cheating), and now spend all your dev time making visual updates and making new bugs trying to fix old ones?

Am I right? So that’s all well and good, but from a game publisher perspective I would be thinking:

99.9% of you never wrote a ■■■■ line of code for this… you’re not entitled to anything! Besides, I already have your money, I just want new people to find the game on youtube, where they’ll see all the visual updates and cool destruction animation and think “wow, I better buy that.”

Existing players are an expense. Each game you play is a few pennies of compute time on an Azure cluster somewhere. No matter how good your argument, or how much you complain, it doesn’t make sense for anyone to fix the game. This is an incentives problem. Because they already have your money, the most experienced, committed players are the ones whose opinions matter least.

So question: what if you had to pay $3/mo to play, and you were only charged if you actually finish a multiplayer game in a given month? So if the new patch has a huge exploit and you find the game unplayable, you and your friends stop playing, and msft loses $30, and thinks “ok I can make more money if the game is actually fun to play”.

There are lots of details that go with this: does the base game cost $5 or something because single player content is a thing? Does the game cost the same, but you get a year of multiplayer free now?

I just want to see what people think about this model, and if they would accept it for AoE. Subscriptions suck, but unusable melee, rebellious villagers, and team game drops also suck.

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I hate this kind of model. I already paid for the game, knowing i can play for free. Why must i paid against for something?!


We’ve been having these discussions already in the past and literally no one wants such a change. (aside from the occasional OP with such a suggestion)

This is not a subscription based game and was never advertised as such to begin with.

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How did they drop the ball with balance? It’s literally never been better.

One could say that’s why games like battlefield, cs go (when it was paid), pubg, etc (ikr, bad examples) are still alive: people spend money in the game years after they first got into it (microtransactions).
In an economic point of view, microtransactions and subscription are incredible for the enterprise - the player will keep providing money forever.

Even though i personally despise these approaches, i can’t deny they are undoubtedly more efficient as money catchers than single-purchase-unlock-everything.

Heh, that’s why not-p2p based mp in old games are gradually being shut down (remember battlefront2 (2005) call for revival?). Like 20/30 years from now DE servers will be shut down too, as there’s no more money influx to justify servers running.
But, in the end, i’d rather have no game at all than paying monthly for it.