Speaking as one of those stereotypically broke students, I really wouldn't prefer a subscription fee. For a B2P game, Guild Wars 2 has blown me away. I've moved about 95% over to GW2 but I'm starting to visit my old game (LOTRO) more with Rohan.
Yeah, GW2 could use some improvement. Making players pay for their playtime won't necessarily fix that problem. For example's sake, look at Lord of the Rings Online. They use a free-to-play system, with the cash shop, but most of the features that allow you to play require you to pay for it OR you can subscribe and still have to buy some stuff. A lot of people don't like this model, because Turbine can do whatever they want and jerk customers around and produce insufficient content and lots of lag. Subscription fees don't fix everything.
Like has been pointed out many times on this thread, ArenaNet can do a lot of good by just making the cash shop more awesome. Right now gem prices are high enough where there's a good amount of incentive to purchase gems instead of attempting to farm gold then exchange it. I purchased $16 worth of gems for two character slots after gem prices started to go up (aka, I got really lazy and didn't want to farm another 800 gems). However, I don't really see anything worth buying other than the aviator's cap. I think the cosmetics system needs to be revisited and revamped at some point, because I want to be able to run around non-town maps looking steampunk-y if I want to. Once they add houses and guild halls, I would be way more than willing to purchase gems for some really ridiculously awesome stuff to put in any sort of house. Even though they could be considered useless mechanically, mounts would be cool to see and they would also provide a heavy source of income. Maybe they could introduce mounts with an expansion into a previously unexplored area where our characters discover how horses can be used and other sorts of steeds. Like Xenesis pointed out, mounts can seriously be valuable things.
Xenesis, on 30 November 2012 - 11:17 PM, said:
I'm one of those willing to spend as much as I would pay a sub per month, already chipped my $20 for oct for bank slots, held back on paying anymore now because of various things, like the monthly achievement, like the sticking ascended only in a dungeon, like the neglact of wvw but that's all another topic already burnt to the ground. 250 ectos for an ascended item, and then call it a mistake, no you damn well knew what you were doing Anet, it's just too bad so many are willing to let you off the hook still.
You've got a really great point. I hate to bring up LOTRO again, but I spent way more on its version of gems than I did on the monthly fee, just because there were a lot of cool things I could buy and that I had reason to buy. Example A: spending the like $15-20 on a horse because I collect them over there. There's literally nothing I am overly excited about buying, so I have no reason to purchase gems. The things worth buying encourage farming (specifically, the exp/magic find/etc boosters), but ArenaNet's DR code kind of counteracts that...