I really enjoy reading your blog! My question is: What do you think is a better deal, crowns or subscriptions?
Ok, this really all depends on how you play a game and how long you think you're going to stick around. What I like about it is that there are options.
If you're the kind of person that powers through a game, definitely go with a subscription. If you're this kind of person and you do go the crowns route, you'll end up being very disappointed that you paid $90 or so to unlock the world that you beat in a couple months. You'll feel very ripped off as you wander to the next game until KI releases new content . . . which again you won't have access to unless you purchase it.
If you're the kind of person that takes your time and wouldn't mind playing through the same storyline a number of times or you're the type that will only play Wizard101 for a few hours every month, go crowns. In other words, if it's going to take you 3 years to finish this game with one character and you might be here another 3 years on and off visiting with friends or what have you, you're going to love the crowns plan.
The downside to the crowns plan is that you won't have access to the test realm to get a preview of the new stuff coming out unless you've made a crowns purchase in the past 30 days, and you also (from what I understand) will have an extra icon on your screen that says "Upgrade now," even though you might have unlocked the entire world with crowns.
What a lot of kids that power through a game will do is buy the subscription until they've beat the game and farmed up all their gear, then they will let their subscription expire and just sit in wizard city chatting with people and pvp'ing until the next expansion comes out, then they'll subscribe again. If they do have some crowns, they may purchase key areas in other worlds while their subscription is expired, so they can farm bosses there for money with their friends.
I think for most people, subscription is the way to go. But, you never know what the future may hold.
I'm holding in my hand here a copy of Shadowbane. A lot of these same people that made Shadowbane are the ones responsible for Wizard101. (Side note, MMORPG will be featuring a series of articles from Josef Hall about making Shadowbane and Wizard101 and the differences thereof) I bought that CD-ROM back in 2003, six years ago, for, oh, let's say $50, and I subscribed to Shadowbane for 1 month, which was around, oh, let's say $10. You know what this CD is good for now?
That's one expensive drink coaster there. It sure makes me wish there would have been more options back then like there are now. They've now shutdown the Shadowbane servers. The game is no more. If you go to shadowbane.com, you know what you get? Ubisoft's front page advertising their other games.
All I'm saying is, Caveat Emptor, yo . . . "let the buyer beware." I definitely wouldn't see buying the game with crowns as "an investment." I *DO* think that Kingsisle is more committed to Wizard101 than Ubisoft was to Shadowbane . . . so there is that. I also think they will be around longer than Shadowbane was because . . . it's a better game.
I guess in the end, it's just all dependant on you and how you want to have fun here.