Tuesday, June 22, 2004

An Offer I Can't Refuse

Something bad happened this morning. Something that has the potential to be bad, anyway.

I received in my inbox an e-mail from lucasarts.com. George Lucas is the creator of the Star Wars films and franchise, and LucasArts is the company that produces related video games and other items. This e-mail contained an offer to try out Star Wars Galaxies for fourteen days, free of charge.

Galaxies is a Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game (MMORPG), and I've been interested in it since I first heard it was in development. I used to play the Star Wars Role Playing Game back when the books were published by West End Games and I had a large enough group of local friends to support it. The thought of a video game based on the same concept, especially one that could be played online, appeals to me a lot. However, having had friends who have gotten into other MMORPGs, and seeing how their lives were totally consumed by them, I managed to talk myself out of buying Galaxies when it came out, and I've managed to hold off until now.

Besides the time-consumption aspect of Galaxies, I've also stayed away from it because of the cost. First off, you have to buy the game. Then there's a subscription fee which is necessary to play the game online. Of course, it can't be played offline, so if you don't pay the subscription fee, then the software itself is useless. I'm not a fan of this particular model of payment. If they're going to charge for the service, then the game itself should be free; or the price of the game should include the subscription. That's not the way it works, and so I stayed away. I didn't want to lay out the money for the game to end up not liking it and then never playing it again.

When I saw the offer in my inbox to try it for free for fourteen days, I didn't think much of it at first. I thought it referred only to the subscription, which didn't make much sense to me as I thought the first thirty days were free anyway. Once I opened it up and looked at it, though, I saw that my first thought was wrong. They're actually offering a trial version of the software which will expire in fourteen days, as well as a free subscription for that time span.

Now it seems like I almost have to try it. Don't I? I mean, why wouldn't I? It's totally free for fourteen days, with no obligations--they don't even take your credit card number during the trial period (now I sound like an infomercial). As much as I've wanted to play this game for so long, I feel like I would be doing myself a disservice if I passed up an opportunity to check it out with absolutely no strings attached.

The danger in that, of course, is if I like it and like it a lot. I feel like I've shown good restraint so far in staying away from the game, but it could all be for naught. If I like it, then I'll have to buy the game and purchase a subscription. At least I'd know going into it that it would be money well spent, though.

You know, I've heard that crack dealers operate like this: they give you a little taste for free, just to get you hooked. Then you're a customer for life.

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