As well as the 6 months for $59.99 deal. You will still be able to get 6-month plans at a discount, of course, but the discount won’t be as good.
The forum reaction is predictable, and predictably extreme. While I feel slightly bad for folks who may have wanted a lifetime sub but didn’t get in on time (after all, I got mine,) Cryptic is under no obligation to offer a limitless supply of lifetime subscriptions, and is entirely within their rights to cut off the supply at any time, with or without notice. It would have been nice of them to provide more notice than they did (it seemed like it was less than 24 hours between the announcement that the remaining subs were limited and the time they sold out,) but they were under no legal or ethical obligation to provide any notice at all. A manufacturer is allowed to determine the number of units they will sell, even if demand is higher, and even if they have a stockpile of the product in the warehouse.
Think about it for a minute; about the kind of person who’ll pay for a lifetime sub: a person who likes the game a lot and sees that he or she will be in it for the long haul, who is already dedicated to the title in some measure. This type of person is apt to keep paying a monthly fee if no lifetime option is available. Twelve or thirteen months after launch, the provider starts losing revenue from the lifetime subscriber. As the game continues to age the amount of lost revenue continues to climb. After three or four years the amount of money lost from people who would mostly have been paying monthly fees anyway would be staggering.
So no, it’s not at all surprising to me that Cryptic cut the lifetime subs off. They’re a loss leader. I also wouldn’t be shocked to see them come back again as a limited-time offer at some point down the road, likely tied into some other promotion, but I’d expect them to be at a higher price point.