Yeah, $15-20 per month is pretty common for the major MMO games. You can just take a look at games like World of Warcraft and the maintenance that's done to keep that going. Every Tuesday is the weekly scheduled maintenance for all servers running from usually 5-11 in the morning. Then there's the constant patching of the game both to fix problems as well as adding new content.
Usually when some major big patch arrives you can get unforseen problems that will have the servers down for an additional 12 hours in some cases while they scramble to fix the problem. The major content patches are usually the big problem because you can get entirely new areas of the game universe added. In the case of the latest expansion of World of Warcraft, I think the game area where the last boss can be found is still under developement though the expansion has been out at stores since last October. I have no idea how many more patches until the last boss will finally be added to the game. They already opened an area a few months ago.
So it's not just the maintenance of the site and the game functions but also the continued development and implementation of additional content to be added later. Even the game mechanics change over time to varying degrees. They're not like regular games where what you get in the box is the final version of the game minus a patch or two. Some of the major MMO games are constantly under development even after they go live.
So yeah, don't consider playing one without expecting to pay through the nose. Especially if you want the game to continue to be running for a while.
If the company is smart, then they will keep your game profile just like with World of Warcraft even if you no longer actively subscribe. So you might pay for one month. Then take a break then when you want to play again, you pay for another month or so and pick up where you left off.
"Don't confuse facts with reality."
-Robert D. Ballard
Last edited by Akula2ssn : 06-18-2009 at 11:45 AM.