When I first read the announcement, I wasn’t surprised at all. Prices go up over time. When I first started playing, you could purchase membership for $5 per month. This cost has gradually climbed over the years, to the point that standard membership now is $9.49 USD per month. You can get better deals with Premier Club or other promotions, but that requires committing to the game for a year at a time. Given my spotty history with Runescape, I’m not going to pony up the cash to play for a year when I might not want to play anymore for a while after just a few months.
Jagex has stated that members will keep current pricing provided their membership does not lapse for more than 14 days. That’s all well and good, but I don’t see that lasting for long. Come time for Premier Club purchases next year, Jagex is going to want more money out of their player base. Besides, everyone stops playing eventually. How long until no players have the grandfathered rate anymore?
Initially, I didn’t feel that this price increase would affect me. I didn’t plan on going p2p for a while anyway, and if I did, I would just pay the higher price for a month and cancel my membership again for a while. It occurred to me, however, that an increase in dollar value of a bond would also increase their value in gold pieces from within the game. I wasn’t sure exactly what the price increase would translate to in game, but it would certainly be cheaper to buy a bond now, rather than after the initial purchase price goes up.
I started looking into the market price trend of bonds. For the past several years, the price of bonds will gradually climb leading up to the bi-annual Double XP Weekend, then bottom out for a few months afterward. Each event has left the “bottomed out” price a little higher, but the trend has continued almost identically for several times now. Fortunately, in the wake of DXPW, the market price of bonds was lower than it has been for several months. At roughly 14.6 million gp, the in game cost of a bond was honestly somewhat reasonable.
If I were going to buy a bond, the time to do it was right now. Between the upcoming price hike and current market, chances were good that bonds might never be this cheap again. I looked on the Grand Exchange and contemplated whether to place an offer on a bond. If I liquidated all of my in game wealth, I would have something north of 100 million gp. I could afford the price of a bond, but it was far from trivial. Was 14 days of membership worth about 1m per day? Worse, I would probably have to put an offer for something more than the current market value. What exactly is membership worth to me?
I put up an offer to purchase one bond for market price, and another offer for 15m even. I left these offers for several hours, with nothing happening on either. Eventually, I decided to place another offer for 15.5m to hopefully snag one. Fortunately, the newest offer purchased within just a few minutes. My wallet may have been 15.5m lighter, but I also had a bond worth 14 days of membership.
For the sake of maybe picking up another bond for cheaper, I left the other two offers up for a few days more. Playing fast and loose, I eventually decided to put up another offer for 15.5m, and got another bond. Sure, 31m was a ton of money, but I may as well pick up 2 while they were cheaper than I expect them to ever be again.
With 2 bonds in my currency pouch, I started to look into what I could do in p2p that would give me the income to maintain membership with a bond. Some slayer tasks can be pretty profitable, and cutting elder logs can apparently net about 800k per hour. So honestly, there were options that I could maintain without too much difficulty. Plus, I don’t plan on keeping membership for long stretches of time. I’ll use a bond when I want to play p2p, earn enough money to buy another bond, and then go back to f2p for a while.
I’ll probably keep 1 bond in reserve at all times. It’s much easier to make money in p2p, so it would be good to have that bond as a backup. Instead of trying to catch up in f2p, I can just pop the bond and spend that time making money to buy another bond and get ahead. I plan on using the first bond after the Spring Fayre ends, an event I’ll discuss later. For now, I’m focusing on maxing out my mining gains.
At the end of the day, this still begs the question. How much is membership worth? For those paying with real money, how high can the price go before it becomes too much? If you’re buying bonds, how much in game money should a day of membership cost? When it gets so expensive that it takes the entire 14 days just trying to make back what you spent, why even bother going p2p in the first place? I have 28 days available, but where do I draw the line for buying more bonds in the future?