Dragon Age and mmorpgs
Single player RPGs like Dragon Age: Origins are starting to make MMORPGs look like better and better deals. It seems like every month now there's new content out for Dragon Age that costs some money. While this is great it's also something that's essentially been done for a while in the subgenre that is MMORPGs.
Many MMORPGs provide players with constant updates to the game that are included in the monthly subscription cost. Eve Online has released multiple expansion packs for free that have brought new quests, galaxies, ships, and more into the world. World of Warcraft releases new raid dungeons and PvP scenarios as needed to satisfy the player base and keep them motivated to play. In addition you get the hosting of thousands of players on a single server to play simultaneously. If storyline is your motive for playing an RPG then it's hard to beat the suspense of a more freeform game like Eve Online or A Tale in the Desert where nearly everything is player run. One could write several novels based on the actual events within Eve Online.
So what is the overall cost to keep getting access to the latest and greatest content in Dragon Age: Origins? How does it compare to the average MMORPG? Well if you were to buy every bit of DLC after purchasing the Dragon Age boxed edition brand new (meaning you get Shale and Blood Dragon Armor for free) then you would spend $61. Just to keep me honest that's $7 for Warden's Keep, $5 for Return to Ostagar, $2 for Feastday Gifts, $2 for Feastday Pranks, $5 for Darkspawn Chronicles, and $40 for Awakening. It's been almost 7 months since DA:O was first released which puts the monthly cost at about $8.71. Still a ways off from the $14.99/month that most MMOs charge but those figures are converging and as companies look to make more money this is an easy to way to support the development of single player games.
The unfortunate side effect of that support is the possibility that developers will simply leave out small bits of content from an initial release only to force players to buy it later. Many argue that $5.00 for a couple hours of content is not worth it. Then again is the quality of content from a new raid dungeon in WoW really that much better? Sure, it may take tens of hours to "beat it" (effectively getting all the worthwhile equipment) but does completing the same task over and over really count? Plus, in Dragon Age you choose which content to buy.
It would be silly to say that even if the cost were the same that playing an MMO is a better value or is preferred to playing a single player RPG. Certainly a single player RPG and a massive online RPG offer two completely different offerings. You get to be THE hero in one and A hero in the other. The world stops when you stop in one and in the other the world persists regardless of the length between play sessions. Most importantly, your direct interactions are either with computer controlled characters or with actual people. People will always play both as long as they are high quality products, but it does seem like the costs will continue evening out.
I'm an avid Dragon Age and MMORPG player and I've found this to be a pretty interesting study. Feel free to comment or get in touch with me with any opinion regarding the matter. I run a website to help players sort through and find the best mmorpg games at whatmmorpg.com. You can also download my Class & Talent Balance Mod right here on DA Nexus. You may also reach out to me on these two subjects via PM and though I promise to respond I can't promise when.