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Steamtank's guide to CoT's business model

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Steamtank
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Steamtank's guide to CoT's business model

Alright, after countless hours, learning photoshop from scratch. Checking that I wasn't violating any global laws, hiring, firing, and rehiring a copyright lawyer I present to you.

Steamtanks guide to revenue inside CoT!

Supporting how I can, Starting up a DA group for art, stories, and concepts to be collected
http://city-of-titans.deviantart.com/
Please join up if you plan to make or collect CoT related art.

avelworldcreator
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Good shot. Let's have the

Good shot. Let's have the business people look it over and make any necessary comments/corrections.

Edit: I fixed your title some. I can do more to it if you want.

-----------

Senior Developer/Project Manager/Co-Founder... and then some.

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Shouldn't all cosmetic

Shouldn't all cosmetic unlocks be account wide? It sucks very badly to come up with an idea for a costume for a new character then have to make the character differently until you finally unlock the pieces needed what could be months later.

Tannim222
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ZeeHero wrote:
ZeeHero wrote:

Shouldn't all cosmetic unlocks be account wide? It sucks very badly to come up with an idea for a costume for a new character then have to make the character differently until you finally unlock the pieces needed what could be months later.

Purchased costumes are account wide and don’t have a badge. Pieces unlocked through game play are character specific and come with a badge.


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ZeeHero
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Well I really hope I never

Well I really hope I never find a unlockable piece in game which I really like. I might get an idea for a new character and not be able to do it :(

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ZeeHero wrote:
ZeeHero wrote:

Well I really hope I never find a unlockable piece in game which I really like. I might get an idea for a new character and not be able to do it :(

Well if you subscribe to the game you will get a stipend of Stars to spend in the cash shop and you can use those to purchase costume pieces for your account.


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ZeeHero wrote:
ZeeHero wrote:

Well I really hope I never find a unlockable piece in game which I really like. I might get an idea for a new character and not be able to do it :(

I don't think you'll ever be able to "find" an unlockable piece in the game by definition. If you find it in the game you've likely literally just unlocked it - that's how you "found" it in the first place. Beyond that simple bit of logic Tannim's just reaffirmed (yet again) that anything that's "locked" in the game should always be purchasable in the in-game store.

P.S. I honestly don't worry about "locked" items that would prevent me from realizing a character concept. Any locked item can always eventually become an "unlocked" one. I worry more about the types of costumes items that don't exist AT ALL in the game. For example if I really wanted to create an astronaut and the game doesn't provide an astronaut helmet ANYWHERE in the game that would be an actual problem to me. Worrying about an existing item that happens to start off being locked is really "not a problem" worth worrying about.

CoH player from April 25, 2004 to November 30, 2012

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A character's costume evolves

A character's costume evolves over time, no reason a character can't start with one thing, then after becoming more experienced and making discoveries, their costume changes to suit. So even if you don't start with something that might be great for your character, it doesn't mean that concept and visual can't work.

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Correction, it May evolve but

Correction, it May evolve but it doesn't have to, that should be something the creator of the costume and character decides. If I want the costume to start a certain way I may not be motivated to play the character enough to get the pieces I need. a cool costume I'm happy with is a huge part of being happy with my character, the other elements are build, effectiveness, and backstory. It may not be important to you but to people who played CO and will be wanting to get out of that sinking ship, it will be a huge let down and something they will gripe about, hopefully until its changed.

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If I pay 40 dollars? Am I

If I pay 40 dollars? Am I able to play the game?

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I played CO. I'm cool with

I played CO. I'm cool with it.

FIGHT EVIL! (or go cause trouble so the Heroes have something to do.)

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ZeeHero wrote:
ZeeHero wrote:

Correction, it May evolve but it doesn't have to, that should be something the creator of the costume and character decides. If I want the costume to start a certain way I may not be motivated to play the character enough to get the pieces I need.

If something like having an initially "locked" costume item is important enough for your character concept to have it "right now" then toss a few bucks to MWM and buy it from the in-game store immediately. Otherwise play the game long enough to unlock the item by finding it in-game for free.

ZeeHero wrote:

a cool costume I'm happy with is a huge part of being happy with my character, the other elements are build, effectiveness, and backstory. It may not be important to you but to people who played CO and will be wanting to get out of that sinking ship, it will be a huge let down and something they will gripe about, hopefully until its changed.

Honestly the fact that the MWM Devs have already promised multiple times that "ALL locked costume items can be unlocked via purchase the in-game store" pretty much completely eliminates your concern about "not having the right costume items whenever you want them in CoT. If you want to "have it now" then just pay extra for it in the in-game store. This is a remarkably generous policy on the part of MWM precisely meant to address concerns like yours in this area. If nothing else you should be thanking them for allowing for that - they could have easily maintained the policy for having locked costume items trapped in high-level trials like CoH did.

CoH player from April 25, 2004 to November 30, 2012

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you misunderstand, they

you misunderstand, they mentioned items which assumedly cannot be bought in the store which would be character bound. if I could buy those same items from the shop to unlock it accountwide I for sure would.

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ZeeHero wrote:
ZeeHero wrote:

you misunderstand, they mentioned items which assumedly cannot be bought in the store which would be character bound. if I could buy those same items from the shop to unlock it accountwide I for sure would.

Once again the MWM Devs have continuously said for years that they fully intend that all locked costume items (i.e. an item that would need to be found or rewarded to a player via playing the game) would ALSO be available for purchase in their in-game store. Any item found via in-game play would only be unlocked for the single character that found it but any costume item bought/unlocked in the in-game store would be permanently unlocked account wide for all characters of an account. What part of this did -you- misunderstand?

The key difference between unlocking items via playing the game versus buying them is that the character involved will presumably get a badge related to that item. If you choose to buy these items in the store you'll have access to them immediately but will not earn the badges associated with them.

CoH player from April 25, 2004 to November 30, 2012

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I must have missed that. good

I must have missed that. good news then.

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ZeeHero wrote:
ZeeHero wrote:

I must have missed that. good news then.

Yes as I said it's remarkably good news considering most other games (including even CoH) did not offer such a player-friendly policy.

Again the key is if you really, really want a locked costume item X right this second you can simply pay for it. If you care about things like badges you would still have to actually play the game to earn those.

CoH player from April 25, 2004 to November 30, 2012

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Since Lothic corrected your

Since Lothic corrected your misunderstanding, it's all good. I thought you were up to date on how costume unlocks were going to be done Zeehero.

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I havent been following all

I havent been following all that closely till recently. I know the game will take another year or two at least to launch, and I have other things I need to do also.

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Everyone has other things

Everyone has other things they need to do, but before you correct someone, look into what you're trying to correct them about at least.

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Ravrohan wrote:
Ravrohan wrote:

Everyone has other things they need to do, but before you correct someone, look into what you're trying to correct them about at least.

It's not that big a deal. If anything I was simply repeating what Tannim had already said in this and other threads.

A lot of people had a big problem with "locked costume items" in CoH and hated having to level up and finish trials in order to unlock certain costume items. I get that. Personally I wouldn't care if a small handful of items might be locked like that in games like this but I can at least sympathize with those who as I said completely hated that. So the good news is that should not be a problem in CoT and that's all that really matters here.

CoH player from April 25, 2004 to November 30, 2012

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Had there been any discussion

Had there been any discussion about having earned costume unlocks being transferable? Something like CO, where you get a single-use item that you can use, or transfer to another character? If it's been discussed and they decided not to do it, I'm cool with that, I just haven't seen this mentioned since I've begin reading the forums.

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I just hope that locked

I just hope that locked costume parts, textures, animations and the like will all be viewable in the costume creator whether you can actually use it or not. That way players can try it on and see how it looks.

This would also be a great opportunity to have the information about how to unlock the piece available in the UI. Something such as having an unobtrusive list on the side of the character creator that tells the player "hey this list of parts that you have on your costume aren't unlocked so you won't be able to actually use them yet. Click on each one in the list to get more info on how to unlock them" and players could select pieces from that list to show it in the shop and what badge unlocks it.

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TheInternetJanitor wrote:
TheInternetJanitor wrote:

I just hope that locked costume parts, textures, animations and the like will all be viewable in the costume creator whether you can actually use it or not. That way players can try it on and see how it looks.

This would also be a great opportunity to have the information about how to unlock the piece available in the UI. Something such as having an unobtrusive list on the side of the character creator that tells the player "hey this list of parts that you have on your costume aren't unlocked so you won't be able to actually use them yet. Click on each one in the list to get more info on how to unlock them" and players could select pieces from that list to show it in the shop and what badge unlocks it.

I’ll second this! Damn good ideas here!

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rookslide wrote:
rookslide wrote:
TheInternetJanitor wrote:

I just hope that locked costume parts, textures, animations and the like will all be viewable in the costume creator whether you can actually use it or not. That way players can try it on and see how it looks.

This would also be a great opportunity to have the information about how to unlock the piece available in the UI. Something such as having an unobtrusive list on the side of the character creator that tells the player "hey this list of parts that you have on your costume aren't unlocked so you won't be able to actually use them yet. Click on each one in the list to get more info on how to unlock them" and players could select pieces from that list to show it in the shop and what badge unlocks it.

I’ll second this! Damn good ideas here!

Part of the plan, yes.

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Doctor Tyche wrote:
Doctor Tyche wrote:
rookslide wrote:

{snip}

I’ll second this! Damn good ideas here!

Part of the plan, yes.

With a toggle to turn this off or on, yes? Sometimes I'll want to play with future-possible plans, other times I'll just want to make the character with what I've currently got unlocked, and as it sounds like there is going to be a LOT of unlockables, I'd rather do this latter without having to scroll through all of the locked costume items.

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Another thing to remember re

Another thing to remember re costume unlocks is that if you're planning on actively supporting the game by being a subscriber, you'll have more than enough cash shop tokens to get any costume part you need.

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DariusWolfe wrote:
DariusWolfe wrote:
Doctor Tyche wrote:
rookslide wrote:

{snip}

I’ll second this! Damn good ideas here!

Part of the plan, yes.

With a toggle to turn this off or on, yes? Sometimes I'll want to play with future-possible plans, other times I'll just want to make the character with what I've currently got unlocked, and as it sounds like there is going to be a LOT of unlockables, I'd rather do this latter without having to scroll through all of the locked costume items.

This topic actually came up in another thread like a month or two ago and despite my original faulty memory on the subject I myself had to be reminded that CoH actually had a "toggle locked items" feature pretty much like you're suggesting here. I imagine that they'll have such a toggle in CoT as well.

P.S. The main reason I had forgotten that CoH had that feature is because I effectively never used it. I was one of those "special" people who pretty much always had everything unlocked so I didn't really have any reason to "toggle" that setting. ;)

CoH player from April 25, 2004 to November 30, 2012

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Doctor Tyche wrote:
Doctor Tyche wrote:
rookslide wrote:
TheInternetJanitor wrote:

I just hope that locked costume parts, textures, animations and the like will all be viewable in the costume creator whether you can actually use it or not. That way players can try it on and see how it looks.

This would also be a great opportunity to have the information about how to unlock the piece available in the UI. Something such as having an unobtrusive list on the side of the character creator that tells the player "hey this list of parts that you have on your costume aren't unlocked so you won't be able to actually use them yet. Click on each one in the list to get more info on how to unlock them" and players could select pieces from that list to show it in the shop and what badge unlocks it.

I’ll second this! Damn good ideas here!

Part of the plan, yes.

Are we going to be told outright from the start or more like in CoH, once you defeated a certain mob or ran a certain story line THEN you could see a progress bar and what it related to? iirc, that is how it worked with badges, achievements, etc.

Reward tactics as well as damage dealing.

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Ideally any relevant

Ideally any relevant information about the game would be communicated within the game itself. Also ideally such information would be available from any menu where it is relevant. This can be accomplished through a combination of interface design, tutorials, tooltips, mouseovers, and outright help text available from help buttons, among others. Needing to alt tab or bring up a second monitor to keep an eye on a wiki while playing a game is not great and conveying information about how a game works to the player is an important part of development.

That applies to a whole lot more than just badges though.

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Crowdfunding for man hours on

Crowdfunding for man hours on a regular developmental basis solves many problems and avoids creating others.

Like the temptation to exploit what appears to be consistent revenue. Its unavoidable inclusion in an operational budget results in deficits and inflation -- with the first is far easier for large companies (with reserves) to withstand. The second causes a company to be constantly and increasingly dependent on a growing revenue stream.

The game also becomes beholden to its most affluent players. First, by acceding superior or efficient play, then eventually skewing the entire game in their favor.

A monthly fee on top of the basic game flat rate is now a problem for many if not most. But perhaps anyone who won't pay the current corporate rate is irrelevant. Or will be soon enough.

I am interested to see what kind of game and enterprise COT is going to be. To be blunt, is it Homecoming or WoW?

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Foolish mortals, your

Foolish mortals, your discussion of monetization has awoken me from my thousand-year slumber, and I shall now devour you all! MUA-HA-HA-HA!!!!

*ahem* Anyway....

I think the hard part about the "buy the game, then pay a sub for VIP, which basically is just signing up for a monthly delivery of Stars" model is that the Devs are then on the hook to constantly make stuff for you to spend Stars on, and it should then be stuff that they feel doesn't tilt the game towards being "pay to win". I personally have the cash to pay a monthly sub, but I want it to actually get me something I actually want in the game. Do we want new DLC, new zones, new classes, new power sets? Heck Yeah! Do devs need to be compensated for the time they spend coding up and testing all that stuff? They sure do. Do we feel as if we should have to PAY for that? HECK NO!!!!! We're cheapskate gamers and teenaged kids, we don't have MONEY for GAMES. You buy the game once then try to break even on everything else, like a gold farmer, everyone knows that.

The microtransaction monetization scheme only rewards the devs for making more stuff they can actually get you to buy, not for making more stuff you actually want, because ironically, what you want is a new reason to play the game, like a new area to explore, or something, and nobody wants to have to pay for that. For this reason, I'm in the "Pay a sub because it actually allows you to play the game." camp. Just because I believe in supporting the games that I like to play. Ironically, I have never played WoW. Also, I understand that this model is considered inferior to the microtransaction model, because, like a parking meter, you're charging people for time, and you can't make more time to sell to people as fast as you want. So the microtransaction model has Unlimited Earning Potential (TM) whereas the sub model has Time-Constrained Earning Potential. Not to mention people play multiple games but generally don't actively play (or subscribe to) more than one at a time.

I've said all of this before, then I disappeared for like 2 years after a certain group of people resurrected a certain superhero game I used to play....

Also, the laptop I had CoT avatar builder installed on could barely run it, and recently died. :(

R.S.O. of Phoenix Rising

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Radiac, I have to say I'm

Radiac, I have to say I'm with you on most if not all of that. I struggle to see what will make a subscription value-for-money in a game that's free to play, so I expect I'll be looking at it more as a patronage than a purchase.

Spurn all ye kindle.

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Subscription only model is

Subscription only model is seen as superior by most adults becuase those games tend to be of an overwhelmingly higher quality, less bugs, more development, and so forth. FF14 has thrived on the "Free trial sub to actually keep playing beyond a specific point" model for years, with no plans to change it.

Bugs are few on release and fixed within a month or 2, more than can be said for most F2P games which often have game breaking bugs for years. Testing is all done by devs, no PTS, yet theres LESS bugs. Design is good too.

If CoT is determined to be Free to Play, it really needs to take a less exploitative business model. Phantasy Star Online 2 manages to be a lot of fun paying money or not. Guildwars 2 manages to at least minimize how many microtransactions one feels required to buy, although you do have to buy a lot of the expansion content.

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I think we can strike a

I think we can strike a compromise. Other games have done this. But first we have to take alook at WHAT the devs would need money for:

  1. Creating the City: Creating the neighborhoods of the city is a finite effort. This should not be covered by subscriptions or microtransactions but rather by the initial investment.
  2. Creating Expansion Worlds or New neighborhoods later: These areas should be behind a paywall. If you want to enjoy them, you need to purchase them. Price to be subject to market research so the company can at least break even.
  3. Creating new power sets: Behind a paywall. Purchase to use.
  4. Creating new aesthetics (costumes, animations and power effects): Behind a paywall. Purchase to use. (NOTE: Except those costume items that come with some other expansion or development effort that is funded on its own)
  5. Holiday Events: Money for these events should be taken from the strategic budget and be free for players. Initial effort would probably be expensive, with subsequent effort less and less to just provide changes
  6. New features: Things like weddings, or who-knows-what. Case by case basis. They could be paid for by the people who use them or just be taken out of the strategic budget as something that will keep players so they can keep spending money on the game in other ways.
  7. Infrastructure: Including server maintenance, program management, community relations, marketing, customer support, troubleshooting and testing, etc., etc. The things that would be needed even if no new development is underway. This stuff should be paid for by a steady-stream of revenue. Whether it be from subscriptions or microtransactions.

I think it is important for the playerbase to know that last item is a different color money than the others. We need to know that we're not being sacrificed at the microtransaction altar of questionable pay-to-win in order to get new game content. I think it is important for the players to know that game content pays for itself.


I like to take your ideas and supersize them. This isn't criticism, it is flattery. I come with nothing but good will and a spirit of team-building. If you take what I write any other way, that is probably just because I wasn't very clear.
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ZeeHero wrote:
ZeeHero wrote:

Subscription only model is seen as superior by most adults becuase those games tend to be of an overwhelmingly higher quality, less bugs, more development, and so forth. FF14 has thrived on the "Free trial sub to actually keep playing beyond a specific point" model for years, with no plans to change it.

Bugs are few on release and fixed within a month or 2, more than can be said for most F2P games which often have game breaking bugs for years. Testing is all done by devs, no PTS, yet theres LESS bugs. Design is good too.

If CoT is determined to be Free to Play, it really needs to take a less exploitative business model. Phantasy Star Online 2 manages to be a lot of fun paying money or not. Guildwars 2 manages to at least minimize how many microtransactions one feels required to buy, although you do have to buy a lot of the expansion content.

A subscription does not guarantee quality, and FFXIV is a perfect example of that. Don't forget that FFXIV A Realm Reborn is NOT the same as FFXIV. The original FFXIV also had a subscription and failed so badly they had to cancel the subscription, shut down the game after two years, and complete make a new game based on it to make up for it.

And Guild Wars 2 has been successful for years without a subscription, so a sub is not the only way to reliably provide quality and content.

"My name is Ozymandias, King of Kings: Look on my Works, ye Mighty, and despair!"

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Listen, don't get me wrong, I

Listen, don't get me wrong, I personally am HUGELY AGAINST Microsoft's recent attempts at making Office a pay-to-sub program. I mean, seriously, you want me to have to SUBSCRIBE to my own MS Word documents or else lose the ability to read/edit them? That's some serious BS, to me, being a late-forties grown-axe man who played Free Cell on Windows 3.1, which came pre-installed on my 386 IBM compatible computer back in tha day. They don't even really need to make new features for MS Office, they just need to have tech support and cosmetic updates, which are cheap. Office USED TO BE, and SHOULD BE a program you just buy, then that's it. You own it. Some games used to be that way too, but those games weren't massively multiplayer online games.

It might just be better to have people pay for the game up front and that's it, then you have to buy the expansion when that rolls out. Overwatch is basically that (I don't know anyone who has ever bought loot boxes on OW for real money, at least not for themselves), but you have to have a huge player base and probably a competitive league to pull that off, and this is not that kind of game.

Since City of Heroes was sunsetted by NCSoft, I've played Overwatch, Guild Wars 2, Destiny 2, and all of the Wasteland games on Steam (1,2, and 3). None of their monetization schemes really bothered me, because I have no problem paying for the things I want and supporting the businesses that provide those things. I'm a big tipper when I eat out, even, which is a lot. But I don't want the devs for any game to have to listen to business jerks who call the shots telling them to make more microtransaction fodder fluff for a game when I actually want more meaty playable DLC. I would also point out that I tend to get tired of a game after a few months and then come back to it a few months after that, and like most people I'm not going to pay for sub time I know I'm not going to use.

As for WoW I have several friends who are playing that now. There was a big reset where they released Classic WoW as a way to lure people back to get the old timey feels, and it worked, apparently. Those guys, my friends, are still playing WoW Classic to this day and they made their own guild etc. If you can get that kind of game play out of people, more power to you. I think the gear grind is the part that keeps them going tho, and some CoH fans hate that. Personally, I don't mind it so much. You want to get rewarded for playing, and that does scratch that itch.

R.S.O. of Phoenix Rising