[Midnight Rant is a new Game Rant feature brewed in the the darkest moments of the evening, and served appropriately during the midnight hour (where horrible rants belong).]
Alright Modern Warfare 2 players, the time has come to pay your subscription fees so you can be up to date on the latest content. That's right, the second Modern Warfare 2 map pack, the Resurgence Pack, will be released today for a price of $15. What do you get with your subscription fee? Five new maps, two that are taken from the original Modern Warfare and three completely original maps.
It doesn't hit most Modern Warfare players that they're part of a subscription plan, but nonetheless that's the best way to describe it. Two map packs, each worth $15 dollars, allowing players to be up to date on the latest Modern Warfare action. The scale is certainly different from your modern MMOs, but considering the services Activision is providing I'd say the comparison is accurate. Players host games, requiring significantly less server load, and the content released in a map pack is also considerably less than an MMO would provide in a single patch or expansion.
So you could say that overall Activision is providing about one third (or much less) of the typical MMO's services. So let's do the math: You purchase Modern Warfare 2 in November of 2009, and since then you purchase two additional map packs for your game. It's been 7 months since release, so if you consider that purchasing the original game brought about a term of free services, and each map pack was an extension to your subscription of about three months, then it starts to become a little clearer.
Now, this isn't some grand method for me to point a finger, call out Activision, or make you think about your Modern Warfare 2 spending habits. No, this is just what I thought was an interesting look at the culture of gaming.
A close friend and chronic Modern Warfare 2 player was astonished when I said he was similar to a World of Warcraft player. He laughed it off and said comparing him to one of those nerds was, "f***ing idiotic." What? Why!? The time he spends, and that many Modern Warfare 2 players spend, playing the game is certainly comparable. Their motivations may be different, whether it's the competitive environment, roleplaying, or just that wonderful feeling of progression and cooperation, but at its base both games are played for the fun and enjoyment of it.
The monetary aspect of the comparison just seems the most poignant. Not because a Modern Warfare player will look at my explanation and agree, but because it's almost certainly how Activision and Bobby Kotick look at it. Bobby has even said in the past few months how important it is to move towards a subscription model for Call of Duty.
So carry on, Modern Warfare 2 fans, purchase the Resurgence Pack and partake in some excellent times. I might be playing a bit of Eve Online, or League of Legends, but you should know: We're not so different, you and I.