What Will Make a Subscription Worth Buying

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Col. Kernel
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S. Korea

S. Korea

GH
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Ah fond, fond memories of

Ah fond, fond memories of Auto Assault.
Pretty sure there were only like 10 people playing it in the end, such a shame. There's something else that would have benefitted from having its IP released.

Back to retirement.

If people won't pay enough to finance its creation, it is not worth creating.
/Segev

Gangrel
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GH wrote:
GH wrote:

Ah fond, fond memories of Auto Assault.
Pretty sure there were only like 10 people playing it in the end, such a shame. There's something else that would have benefitted from having its IP released.

From what I can remember from an interview with one of the developers, they were in talks with NCsoft to *buy* the IP back.... that would have cost them $1million total.

However, as far as I am aware, Netdevil, before they closed down themselves quite a few years later on, they were still allowed to use the game engine for the game, just not the IP linked to it.

Source: An interview that I read on the interwebs, that I have for some dang reason been unable to drag back up.

Quote:

1) I reject your reality.... and substitute my own
2) Not to be used when upset... will void warranty
3) Stoke me a clipper i will be back for dinner
4) I have seen more intelligence from an NPC AI in TR beta, than from most MMO players.

WraithTDK
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Suggested subscriptions

Suggested subscriptions benefits once an F2P option is made available:

1. Subscribers get increased XP. I'm staunchly against selling individual boosts, as it creates "play to win" scenarios, but so long as the boost is a single, uniform ammount, provided to everyone for a single, uniform price (no multi-tier subscriptions! In or out!), I think it's a good idea.

2. Veteran rewards, starting the day of your first year as a subscriber.

3. Boosts for having subscribers on your team - this makes subscribers more desirable, and motivates people to subscribe, knowing it would help not only themselves, but their teammates as well

4. Exclusive costume pieces sound nice, but the problem is what happens if the persons subscribes, puts the costume pieces on, and then drops the sub? Suddenly he has to re-build his character? That would be really awkward. Although, handing out costume pieces as veteran rewards that remain on your account even if you go F2P is fine.

5. Exclusive In-game titles. COH let you preface your name by adding things like "The Amazing," "The Unearthly," "The Incredible" before your name, or add things at the end such as "The Hunter" or "The Adventurer." In small letters. I thought this added a really nice flair. It'd be a nice bonus, because unlike costume pieces, if the player then goes F2P, all that would need to happen is the title is remove from his name.

6. Forum title that distinguishes user as subscriber.

7. One free respec every level.

JayBezz
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http://www.superdataresearch

http://www.superdataresearch.com/blog/us-digital-games-market/

A study showing Subscription model of digital sales down 21% from 2012 to 2013.
Free to Play revenue up 45% for the same period and more than double the market share than Subscription

Downloadable Clients gaining ground in both Console and PC - A good sign for modern MMORPGs

Finally the study shows that micro transactions in subscription models continue to fall (an expected trend following the previous 2 years).

- -

My editorial view is that 1) Subscriptions simply are not attractive in the current market. 2) Subscriptions take value away from micro transaction revenue. 3) Mobile/Tablet gaming will be a great growth market for gaming

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Brand X
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JayBezz wrote:
JayBezz wrote:

http://www.superdataresearch.com/blog/us-digital-games-market/
A study showing Subscription model of digital sales down 21% from 2012 to 2013.
Free to Play revenue up 45% for the same period and more than double the market share than Subscription
Downloadable Clients gaining ground in both Console and PC - A good sign for modern MMORPGs
Finally the study shows that micro transactions in subscription models continue to fall (an expected trend following the previous 2 years).
- -
My editorial view is that 1) Subscriptions simply are not attractive in the current market. 2) Subscriptions take value away from micro transaction revenue. 3) Mobile/Tablet gaming will be a great growth market for gaming

I don't see the same thing you see. I see a list that shows a total of TWO (did I miss one?) MMORPGS in the style of CoH. WoW and TOR.

Willow48000
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Didn't read all the posts,

Didn't read all the posts, but no apologies if I end up repeating and not crediting the original poster.

Seems to be a lot of people protesting a $20 sub. Why not have 2 levels of subscriptions? One, a full VIP subscription at $20, and a lesser sub at $10.

VIP bonuses:
Full amount of monthly "Titan Credits", or whatever the currency for the micro-transactions.
Full range of base sizes available.

Regular Sub bonuses:
1/2 monthly "Titan Credits"
Only small to medium base sizes available. (Dropping from VIP to Regular Sub would see your base size grandfathered... it would still be whatever size you made it, but you could only change it to one of the smaller sizes.)

Previous Subs dropped to F2P:
No monthly "Titan Credits"
Only small bases available. (Again, established bases would be grandfathered as above.)

F2P
No monthly "TC"
Can join, but not start Super Groups.
Limit on number of character slots available... but more than the customary 2, please. One slot per character archetype in my opinion would serve best.
NO LIMIT ON POWER TYPES. That's one of the many things that really turned me off of Champions Online. A lower level cap I can see happening.

Now, the question becomes what happens when you're SG leader is demoted due to non-activity? That could make regulating the size of the base an issue. So, that should be dictated not by the current leader, but by the founder, even if the founding character/player drops out of the group/game. Or, by making only the highest level of subscription player's characters in the group eligible for the leadership.

Well, that's my thoughts. Now... off to wrangle up some lunch.

Streaming Classic Rock, Beyond, and Before, 24/7 on Paragon Radio Gallifrey.

Gangrel
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JayBezz wrote:
JayBezz wrote:

http://www.superdataresearch.com/blog/us-digital-games-market/
A study showing Subscription model of digital sales down 21% from 2012 to 2013.
Free to Play revenue up 45% for the same period and more than double the market share than Subscription
Downloadable Clients gaining ground in both Console and PC - A good sign for modern MMORPGs
Finally the study shows that micro transactions in subscription models continue to fall (an expected trend following the previous 2 years).
- -
My editorial view is that 1) Subscriptions simply are not attractive in the current market. 2) Subscriptions take value away from micro transaction revenue. 3) Mobile/Tablet gaming will be a great growth market for gaming

Just wondering, but how do they break that down if a game crosses 2 boundries? Ie the "Hybrid" style of MMO out there which has both a F2P and a Subscription option?

And a microtransaction store on top?

Because some games are being counted in one category and not another (Lord of The Rings Online has *both* a subscription and a F2P option, and Planetside 2 is the same as well in that there is a subscription option for it whilst also being F2P). LORTO is in the Pay to Play section, whilst Planetside 2 is in the Free2Play section.

I also find it interesting when they say this
"Despite its chronic subscriber loss, World of Warcraft managed to generate $213 million in micro-transaction sales in 2013. Similarly, Star Wars: The Old Republic earned $139 million in additional revenues, suggesting that both titles’ change to a hybrid monetization model succeeded to stem a more drastic revenue loss."

when World of Warcraft has *NOT* shifted over to a hybrid monetization model.

Quote:

1) I reject your reality.... and substitute my own
2) Not to be used when upset... will void warranty
3) Stoke me a clipper i will be back for dinner
4) I have seen more intelligence from an NPC AI in TR beta, than from most MMO players.

WraithTDK
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Willow48000 wrote:
Willow48000 wrote:

Only small to medium base sizes available. (Dropping from VIP to Regular Sub would see your base size grandfathered... it would still be whatever size you made it, but you could only change it to one of the smaller sizes.)

I addressed this in my post above: there base-size idea has the same problem as the "subscriber only costume" content; and simply "grandfathering" the content would not work:

What's to stop people from subscribing for one month, claiming all the content during that month, and then dropping the subscription until there's something else they want? Subscription should be things that are easily removed when the subscription is cancelled.

Col. Kernel
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JayBezz wrote:
JayBezz wrote:

http://www.superdataresearch.com/blog/us-digital-games-market/
A study showing Subscription model of digital sales down 21% from 2012 to 2013.
Free to Play revenue up 45% for the same period and more than double the market share than Subscription
Downloadable Clients gaining ground in both Console and PC - A good sign for modern MMORPGs
Finally the study shows that micro transactions in subscription models continue to fall (an expected trend following the previous 2 years).
- -
My editorial view is that 1) Subscriptions simply are not attractive in the current market. 2) Subscriptions take value away from micro transaction revenue. 3) Mobile/Tablet gaming will be a great growth market for gaming

And the economy was worse in 2013 than it was in 2012. It's not as if the MMO market is independent of the rest of the market.

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Col. Kernel wrote:
Col. Kernel wrote:

And the economy was worse in 2013 than it was in 2012. It's not as if the MMO market is independent of the rest of the market.

I don't know whose economy you're referring to but the information presented is global sales. Entertainment and escapism are often profitable in poor economies historically. No market is independent.

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GH
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Even if we were all in

Even if we were all in complete agreement (which we're not, quite binary views on this) that microtransactions made the F2P game possible..

I don't want to play an F2P game. They are all awful.
My brother wastes quite a lot of time and money on some iPad games that he loves. I don't and I don't want that for CoT.
Neverwinter - The gold spam, the zone chat, the so expensive it's painful to look at shops.
GW2 - rng led grind where you pay in-game cash to transport round the map, to gather from nodes (with a cash shop item for free gathering)
The only thing I'm currently really playing is CO with a sub, before that (and still would be apart from that awful control system) DCUO with a sub

Looking at other things with subs - Eve, Warcraft, they have a model, they have a playerbase. I'm sure somebody is on their forums also highlighting the growing trend towards f2p microtransactions and mobile gaming. I'm equally sure that's not the model for them.

Back to retirement.

If people won't pay enough to finance its creation, it is not worth creating.
/Segev

Cinnder
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I don't think it's the player

I don't think it's the player side of the economy that is initiating a decline in the sub model (if any); I think it's the dev/producer side. I think companies are trying to jump on the MMO cash cow without wanting to invest in the actual concept of an MMO (an ongoing commitment to an evolving virtual world). Instead, their primary goal is to make a quick buck -- which in my opinion is a corruption of the original concept of an MMO. The players see this, and have no reason to commit to a subscription.

Look at SWTOR, for example. I believe the reason the sub model didn't work is because instead of creating a true MMO, they gave us an excellent single player game with online multiplayer merely shoehorned in. There was not enough effort put into regular new releases of content to make subbing worthwhile. If a dev doesn't show commitment to ongoing development, the subs will suffer; why should players commit when the devs don't? As GH mentioned above, the sub model provides a playerbase -- a group of players in it for the long haul who are willing to "invest" in an ever-developing world. The f2p/microtransaction model can bring in quick cash, but it's a less reliable source of income, and I maintain it results in an inferior MMO, because neither devs nor players are truly committed to a long term vision.

In short, I think any "true" MMO that has dedicated devs with regular "issues" can support a subscribed player base if the quality of the game is good enough.

Spurn all ye kindle.

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GH wrote:
GH wrote:

GW2 - rng led grind where you pay in-game cash to transport round the map, to gather from nodes (with a cash shop item for free gathering)

Just to clarify on this: The ingame transporting is to hubs that you have unlocked, which can be used at *ANY* time you are outside of combat (not in a dungeon or instance map I believe). It is also not unique in this area, as WoW uses it (although WoW's is more limited in flexibility).

The gathering side: I can semi agree/disagree. Although they are "unlimited" the purchase is *per character* and for only one type of gathering material (rock, plants, trees). Although they are not cheap, this is a case of selling convenience that doesn't bother me.

I personally have had no issues playing the game without spending a single dime on their store (same as Guild Wars).

The difference between the CoX store and the Guild Wars 2 store is that *so far*, CoX had FAR more locked away behind the game store than Guild Wars 2 does.

Quote:

1) I reject your reality.... and substitute my own
2) Not to be used when upset... will void warranty
3) Stoke me a clipper i will be back for dinner
4) I have seen more intelligence from an NPC AI in TR beta, than from most MMO players.

Brand X
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Cinnder wrote:
Cinnder wrote:

I don't think it's the player side of the economy that is initiating a decline in the sub model (if any); I think it's the dev/producer side. I think companies are trying to jump on the MMO cash cow without wanting to invest in the actual concept of an MMO (an ongoing commitment to an evolving virtual world). Instead, their primary goal is to make a quick buck -- which in my opinion is a corruption of the original concept of an MMO. The players see this, and have no reason to commit to a subscription.
Look at SWTOR, for example. I believe the reason the sub model didn't work is because instead of creating a true MMO, they gave us an excellent single player game with online multiplayer merely shoehorned in. There was not enough effort put into regular new releases of content to make subbing worthwhile. If a dev doesn't show commitment to ongoing development, the subs will suffer; why should players commit when the devs don't? As GH mentioned above, the sub model provides a playerbase -- a group of players in it for the long haul who are willing to "invest" in an ever-developing world. The f2p/microtransaction model can bring in quick cash, but it's a less reliable source of income, and I maintain it results in an inferior MMO, because neither devs nor players are truly committed to a long term vision.
In short, I think any "true" MMO that has dedicated devs with regular "issues" can support a subscribed player base if the quality of the game is good enough.

This sums it up nicely.

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Cinnder wrote:
Cinnder wrote:

In short, I think any "true" MMO that has dedicated devs with regular "issues" can support a subscribed player base if the quality of the game is good enough.

Not ANY true MMO.. lots of "true" mmos don't have the subscription base to make that number feasible. There is a threshold at which it's likely more profitable to have a subscription model but I am honest with myself when I say that I don't think this game (or any new MMO truly, no matter HOW much marketing is involved) will be close to that number.

If there are over a millon steady returning customers (players) then it's time to have the subscriber discussion fiscally.

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What will make it worth

What will make it worth subbing for me is good story fun game play so if you succeed in engaging me and keeping my attention, I will sub. I have played many mmos since CoH the 4 that stood out to me was DCUO and Tera for the fun game play, and The secret world and Star wars the old republic for the story. Put that together with decent customization and i'm sold.

"In the end there can be only one" The Highlander

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Gangrel wrote:
Gangrel wrote:

The difference between the CoX store and the Guild Wars 2 store is that *so far*, CoX had FAR more locked away behind the game store than Guild Wars 2 does.

In GW2 Have you tried to change your characters face/hair without the gamestore or keep your stats and the armor look you want? This is precisely why I do not want pure f2p, it encourages things like this to max out profit.

Could you imagine CoH where everytime you wanted a new enhancement you had to pay real money to keep your costume look, and if you wanted a new hairstyle you had to pay money....just terrible.

Gangrel
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ZigZag wrote:
ZigZag wrote:

Gangrel wrote:
The difference between the CoX store and the Guild Wars 2 store is that *so far*, CoX had FAR more locked away behind the game store than Guild Wars 2 does.

In GW2 Have you tried to change your characters face/hair without the gamestore or keep your stats and the armor look you want? This is precisely why I do not want pure f2p, it encourages things like this to max out profit.

Seeing as I was fine with what I started off with (I spent long enough in the character creator to get it how I wanted), I felt no need to change my characters personal appearance. And for items and keeping their stats, I managed fine with what dropped. Hell, I got enough that I still have stacks of them laying around (both the normal level 1-79 and a few level 80 item appearance changers).

Quote:

Could you imagine CoH where everytime you wanted a new enhancement you had to pay real money to keep your costume look, and if you wanted a new hairstyle you had to pay money....just terrible.

Could you imagine in CoX where every month if you wanted to use the auction house, you had to *PAY* for it? And the same for IO enhancements?

*edit* At least Guild Wars 2 doesn't cripple you just because you stopped paying for stuff, nor does it actually (right now that is), put content beyond an additional pay wall after paying to obtain the game.

Quote:

1) I reject your reality.... and substitute my own
2) Not to be used when upset... will void warranty
3) Stoke me a clipper i will be back for dinner
4) I have seen more intelligence from an NPC AI in TR beta, than from most MMO players.

ZigZag
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Well sorry, but one of the

Well sorry, but one of the biggest draws of CoH was character creator. If that wasn't the draw for you I'm sorry but it was for me and many others. Having to pay money to use it would be a no go for me here just like it is now in GW2.

I have played GW2 from launch to about 5 months ago (4 level 80s) and know for a fact that you do not have a "stack" of level 80 transmutation stones. Ive only ever had ONE drop and not be a gamestore purchase. Unless drop rate was upped by like 500% since then.

In CoH my second account was free and I could use the auction house as much as I wanted. How much do you even need to get to the end of your access? I dont even know but you must have did a crap ton of selling. Regardless you could/can simply trade person to person in CoH which I did mostly anyway which saved the AH tax. Cant even do this in GW2

The only reason you NEEDED to subscribe in CoH was the end game raiding, which I found crap so I suppose that was a large barrier to others so I'd concede that it should have been available to free CoH players.

I would trade limited AH any day for no costume creator access.

Gangrel
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ZigZag wrote:
ZigZag wrote:

Well sorry, but one of the biggest draws of CoH was character creator. If that wasn't the draw for you I'm sorry but it was for me and many others. Having to pay money to use it would be a no go for me here just like it is now in GW2.
I have played GW2 from launch to about 5 months ago (4 level 80s) and know for a fact that you do not have a "stack" of level 80 transmutation stones. Ive only ever had ONE drop and not be a gamestore purchase. Unless drop rate was upped by like 500% since then.

I have *right now* (and I haven't played for quite a while to be fair... about 8 months or so), 63 normal (1-79) and 15 Level 80 ones. I cannot remember exactly how I got them, but I know it wasn't via "mob drops".

Looking at how you can get them, I guess I was fairly lucky in the daily quest completion drop rate (far more so than another friend of mine who apparently has never had one drop)

*shrugs* Who knows, guess that this is the "purple drops" problem in CoX

Quote:

In CoH my second account was free and I could use the auction house as much as I wanted. How much do you even need to get to the end of your access? I dont even know but you must have did a crap ton of selling. Regardless you could/can simply trade person to person in CoH which I did mostly anyway which saved the AH tax. Cant even do this in GW2

Sure, you cannot "drag and trade" in GW2 (if i remember correctly), but you are perfectly able to mail items to other characters (as long as they are not bound to you).

Strangely enough, seeing as CoX *SOLD* in the paragon store "AH access"... that just goes to show that you must have spent (or were spending) money on the 2nd account to have that access. If it was unlimited, you had paid for the account for at least 8 reward tokens to unlock it permanently (8x $15 cost post freedom or 21 months of subscription pre-freedom) Sure, the cost for AH access was minimal (160 Paragon Points a month), but it was still there.

And then there was the IO system, which was locked behind 27 reward tokens (66 months subscription pre freedom, or 27x $15 off the market/subscription post freedom)

Quote:

The only reason you NEEDED to subscribe in CoH was the end game raiding, which I found crap so I suppose that was a large barrier to others so I'd concede that it should have been available to free CoH players.

Actually subscribing was "incarnate and everything linked to it", which meant that you couldn't even do the ITF for shards. I know this because I got caught out.

Quote:

I would trade limited AH any day for no costume creator access.

Fair enough, I personally would go the other way... or limit it so that you can only sell items on the AH, and still have some character appearance tweaking.

Quote:

1) I reject your reality.... and substitute my own
2) Not to be used when upset... will void warranty
3) Stoke me a clipper i will be back for dinner
4) I have seen more intelligence from an NPC AI in TR beta, than from most MMO players.

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JayBezz wrote:
JayBezz wrote:

If there are over a millon steady returning customers (players) then it's time to have the subscriber discussion fiscally.

/em pulls out the little green muppet with Frank Oz's voice

"Always with you it cannot be done. Hear you nothing that I say? You must unlearn what you have learned."


Verbogeny is one of many pleasurettes afforded a creatific thinkerizer.
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Gangrel wrote:
Gangrel wrote:

Could you imagine in CoX where every month if you wanted to use the auction house, you had to *PAY* for it? And the same for IO enhancements?
*edit* At least Guild Wars 2 doesn't cripple you just because you stopped paying for stuff, nor does it actually (right now that is), put content beyond an additional pay wall after paying to obtain the game.

No I couldn't, because I was an 8+ year vet so I didn't lose all that stuff, only the incarnate stuff was truly locked behind the sub.

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Col. Kernel
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JayBezz wrote:
JayBezz wrote:

Cinnder wrote:
In short, I think any "true" MMO that has dedicated devs with regular "issues" can support a subscribed player base if the quality of the game is good enough.

Not ANY true MMO.. lots of "true" mmos don't have the subscription base to make that number feasible. There is a threshold at which it's likely more profitable to have a subscription model but I am honest with myself when I say that I don't think this game (or any new MMO truly, no matter HOW much marketing is involved) will be close to that number.
If there are over a millon steady returning customers (players) then it's time to have the subscriber discussion fiscally.

Oh puh-LEEZE!

CoH was getting along just fine between 10k and 20k subs for years. Unfortunately MMOs no longer release their subscription numbers (please point me to a site where that info is complied if I am mistaken) so we can't armchair quarterback this part of the conversation any more without it just devolving into "he said/she said".

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Col. Kernel wrote:
Col. Kernel wrote:

CoH was getting along just fine between 10k and 20k subs for years. Unfortunately MMOs no longer release their subscription numbers (please point me to a site where that info is complied if I am mistaken) so we can't armchair quarterback this part of the conversation any more without it just devolving into "he said/she said".

I am surprised you are saying that it was that low, when even NCsoft financials for CoX suggested that in the run up to freedom being released that there were around 50-60K subscribers (having to do some currency conversions to trace back).

And this is assuming that every player was paying $15/month (which from what I can tell, most people were not).

Whilst it is true that most MMO's out there don't actually release their subscription numbers, there are only a few where releasing that number is *useful*. And that is for the games where there is ONLY a subscription option to play the game.

Otherwise, you are having to use another metric (number of unique account logins per month).

So lets take city of heroes as an example, where for a LONG time NCsoft didn't release subscription numbers (I believe from around 2008 or so, could be a bit later though).

Pre freedom:
Estimate 55K subscribers (based on quarterly reports and some basic math)

Post freedom:
40K susbcribers
20K "premium" players (former subscribers or former F2P players)
40K F2P players (people who never spent a *dime* in the store)
Source: Mercedes Lackey (and corroborated by several others who worked on the pitches to Google and Disney)

Anyway, you can always look at http://mmodata.blogspot.co.uk/ for historical data, which explains how he came up with figures (and yes, you are correct in that companies are no longer being so open about the number of players they have).

I think the decline of this is for a few reasons:

There are more people who are going to be less willing to take up a game where the game is "dying" due to lack of subscribers. This is especially pertinent if the information is readily available, so as a result, the companies are hiding this in various ways (saying how much they have earn't instead, number of boxes sold).

Now saying that, as a slight counter example, for a long time (i think up till 2013, might be 2012) CCP used to release the number of subscribers that they have at their global player meet (Fanfest). I haven't followed it for a couple of years, but it was still steadily increasing in terms of subscriber levels for a LONG time. Hell, they still tell you how many people are online in the game via the login screen (right now sitting at 28309 people at time of writing).

Minotaur wrote:

Gangrel wrote:
Could you imagine in CoX where every month if you wanted to use the auction house, you had to *PAY* for it? And the same for IO enhancements?
*edit* At least Guild Wars 2 doesn't cripple you just because you stopped paying for stuff, nor does it actually (right now that is), put content beyond an additional pay wall after paying to obtain the game.

No I couldn't, because I was an 8+ year vet so I didn't lose all that stuff, only the incarnate stuff was truly locked behind the sub.

Good for you

Quote:

1) I reject your reality.... and substitute my own
2) Not to be used when upset... will void warranty
3) Stoke me a clipper i will be back for dinner
4) I have seen more intelligence from an NPC AI in TR beta, than from most MMO players.

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I'm pretty sure that if CoT

I'm pretty sure that if CoT had the same subscription as CoX, people would still play it regardless, $15 a month is a comfortable standard for the market that everyone is used to, $20 would be just too much for anyone to bother trying the game.

The main problem with people (re)joining CoX was probably the fact of the ingame market being so out of wack, ($2mil for alot of recipes), and the fact that the graphics were really lacking and archaic. Had NCSoft redone the character models, they probably would have kept the game making money (aside from the people that don't want to play NCSoft games due to their knack of constantly killing their games off).

There's ALOT of players out there that just don't pay microtransactions.

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If you offer me a great game

If you offer me a great game that is as similar to CoH as you can, I'll pay fifteen bucks a month for it. I still like the Hybrid method of approach. Make it F2P with Subscriptions. This way people can try it out and see if they like it and if they do they can subscribe to it and play it. It works for WoW and that is the MMO that everybody wants to try to emulate.

I got chills! They're multiplyin'. And I'm losin' control. Cuz the power, I'm supplyin'. Why it's ELECTRIFYIN'!!

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oOStaticOo wrote:
oOStaticOo wrote:

If you offer me a great game that is as similar to CoH as you can, I'll pay fifteen bucks a month for it. I still like the Hybrid method of approach. Make it F2P with Subscriptions. This way people can try it out and see if they like it and if they do they can subscribe to it and play it. It works for WoW and that is the MMO that everybody wants to try to emulate.

WoW's F2P is for like the first 20 levels. In a game where it's highest level is...85 now?

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Brand X wrote:
Brand X wrote:

oOStaticOo wrote:
If you offer me a great game that is as similar to CoH as you can, I'll pay fifteen bucks a month for it. I still like the Hybrid method of approach. Make it F2P with Subscriptions. This way people can try it out and see if they like it and if they do they can subscribe to it and play it. It works for WoW and that is the MMO that everybody wants to try to emulate.

WoW's F2P is for like the first 20 levels. In a game where it's highest level is...85 now?

Level cap in WoW is 90. It was increased from 85 (Cataclysm) with the introduction of Mists of Pandaria.

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Gangrel wrote:
Gangrel wrote:

Level cap in WoW is 90. It was increased from 85 (Cataclysm) with the introduction of Mists of Pandaria.

Well, point still stands. WoW's F2P is only up to level 20. It's very much a "Come on in. See if you like it. Want to stay? Well then, please subscribe."

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oOStaticOo wrote:
oOStaticOo wrote:

This way people can try it out and see if they like it and if they do they can subscribe to it and play it. It works for WoW and that is the MMO that everybody wants to try to emulate.

It works for World of Warcraft because they have the subscription base. This point cannot be stressed enough from a fiscal standpoint. I want CoT to have the numbers that WoW does, but whether it be Hulu or LogMeIn or any other digital product.. getting users is the BIGGEST obstacle to profitability with a subscription base. They can always add a subscription fee after they have enough users to sustain it.

City of Titans is being built on free volunteer labor. MWM does not have the same kind of startup cost as other firms and (if they release products without fiscal backing) can count their FIRST dollar made as profit (whether that be from the Character Design app they have planned for this year OR the full playable version of the game).

From a business stand point you fear user exodus.. You want to be able to grow or at least KEEP your users. Players who leave games are usually willing to return to test the waters IF you don't charge them just to put on a bathing suit.

- -

I hear many of you speaking about this game as if it lives in 2004.. There have been some MAJOR economic shifts since the MMORPG product was in its infancy. You have to live in the now.. which is hard to tell this audience because we'd much rather live in the past.
I love Cinderella. I loved it in theaters.. I loved it on VHS. I love it MORE when it was finally released onto BluRay. But now it's in the vault. I can't get it till Disney (the owners) release it.
If I then choose to do my own animation.. do I want it to be released on VHS? Do i want it to be built with hand-drawn pencils? Do I need it to tell the same story as Cinderella with re-skins or do I have my own story to tell that captures the same spirit?

The past should inform you. The present should ground you. The future should inspire you. I've been in games that live in the past. I've been in games where people ignore what's happening in the present (ignoring bugs, ignoring the lack of content releases, etc). I've been in games where the future feels more bleak than promising.

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JayBezz wrote:
JayBezz wrote:

oOStaticOo wrote:
This way people can try it out and see if they like it and if they do they can subscribe to it and play it. It works for WoW and that is the MMO that everybody wants to try to emulate.

It works for World of Warcraft because they have the subscription base. This point cannot be stressed enough from a fiscal standpoint. I want CoT to have the numbers that WoW does, but whether it be Hulu or LogMeIn or any other digital product.. getting users is the BIGGEST obstacle to profitability with a subscription base. They can always add a subscription fee after they have enough users to sustain it.
City of Titans is being built on free volunteer labor. MWM does not have the same kind of startup cost as other firms and (if they release products without fiscal backing) can count their FIRST dollar made as profit (whether that be from the Character Design app they have planned for this year OR the full playable version of the game).
From a business stand point you fear user exodus.. You want to be able to grow or at least KEEP your users. Players who leave games are usually willing to return to test the waters IF you don't charge them just to put on a bathing suit.
- -
I hear many of you speaking about this game as if it lives in 2004.. There have been some MAJOR economic shifts since the MMORPG product was in its infancy. You have to live in the now.. which is hard to tell this audience because we'd much rather live in the past.
I love Cinderella. I loved it in theaters.. I loved it on VHS. I love it MORE when it was finally released onto BluRay. But now it's in the vault. I can't get it till Disney (the owners) release it.
If I then choose to do my own animation.. do I want it to be released on VHS? Do i want it to be built with hand-drawn pencils? Do I need it to tell the same story as Cinderella with re-skins or do I have my own story to tell that captures the same spirit?
The past should inform you. The present should ground you. The future should inspire you. I've been in games that live in the past. I've been in games where people ignore what's happening in the present (ignoring bugs, ignoring the lack of content releases, etc). I've been in games where the future feels more bleak than promising.

When the economic shift is players feeling in titled to play any and every game free, I don't think that's a wise way to work your business.

I keep hearing, not every player isn't willing to spend money, but in every F2P MMO I've played in, there's always lots of players who complain about lacking something, and when suggested they put some money forward to not lack it, they say they can just make do or they don't want to pay to play a game or it's just that the game they're playing isn't worth spending money on, in which one has to ask, so why play it? :p

Let's look at CO, a game that is completely F2P, you can obtain everything in the game free with a bit of work on the players side. Yes, other players have to pay for things so they can get it totally free, but the fact remains they can get it for free. They still complain they can't get it fast enough.

This isn't helped by companies that think their MMO isn't making enough money, because it's not making as much as WoW. :p TOR is a perfect example. Every article I read said before it went F2P they had a large player population (200k-500k) I find it hard to believe that wasn't enough to support the game nicely.

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Brand X wrote:
Brand X wrote:

Let's look at CO, a game that is completely F2P, you can obtain everything in the game free with a bit of work on the players side. Yes, other players have to pay for things so they can get it totally free, but the fact remains they can get it for free. They still complain they can't get it fast enough.

Three powers per build are completely not available to free players..even are for Archetypes you can BUY. I contest that using the plethora of complaints to be lobbied about CO "F2P" (that it is actually "Pay to Win") is not a really valid argument against an actual free to play model.

- -

To help your argument NeverWinter IS a completely free to play game that people complain about. But ALSO unlike Champions Online.. it is successful and fiscally able to pay for its stream of content releases (and probably paying to drag CO along too).

- -

Its a proven practice that micro transaction models work better for games with smaller user bases and are the best model for CONTINUED success because the model discourages player exodus.

Somehow I still hear the argument that "Free to Play won't Pay" and that's just a false argument. PROVEN false.

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I'm sorry, but I really hate

I'm sorry, but I really hate a F2P with Micro-transaction model. To me it just doesn't feel like they company is really interested in keeping the game around and improving it. Instead it feels like they are just there to make a quick money grab for as long as they can and then once the money stops coming in as fast as they want it to they pull the plug and leave. Instead of focusing on making the game better and making new content, they just focus on making new "items" for people to want to buy off of the store. Constantly dangling the carrot in front of the faces of the people playing the game wanting a new shiny. Want to play alts? Well you'll need to buy more character slots. Want to unlock those lockboxes and see what's inside? You'll have to buy the keys to open them. Want to get all the best gear to make your character ubah? You'll have to buy Zen so you can purchase all these really cool looking super powerful gear for your characters. Want that super cool looking pet that does awesome stuff? You'll have to buy it.

Most people I know don't have the kind of disposable income to throw at a "stupid game" to do all of that with. Most people I know would rather pay a steady monthly fee to have access to everything in the game and every once in a while, when they can afford it, spend a little extra on something really cool for their game. Nobody here is saying to NOT make it F2P and include a micro-transaction model. We are saying we'd like to have BOTH a F2P with micro-transaction AND a monthly subscription fee with some kind of benefit involved. I really don't see why this is such a BAD thing that warrants the amount of hostility towards it you seem to be exuding.

I got chills! They're multiplyin'. And I'm losin' control. Cuz the power, I'm supplyin'. Why it's ELECTRIFYIN'!!

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JayBezz wrote:
JayBezz wrote:

Brand X wrote:
Let's look at CO, a game that is completely F2P, you can obtain everything in the game free with a bit of work on the players side. Yes, other players have to pay for things so they can get it totally free, but the fact remains they can get it for free. They still complain they can't get it fast enough.

Three powers per build are completely not available to free players..even are for Archetypes you can BUY. I contest that using the plethora of complaints to be lobbied about CO "F2P" (that it is actually "Pay to Win") is not a really valid argument against an actual free to play model.
- -
To help your argument NeverWinter IS a completely free to play game that people complain about. But ALSO unlike Champions Online.. it is successful and fiscally able to pay for its stream of content releases (and probably paying to drag CO along too).
- -
Its a proven practice that micro transaction models work better for games with smaller user bases and are the best model for CONTINUED success because the model discourages player exodus.
Somehow I still hear the argument that "Free to Play won't Pay" and that's just a false argument. PROVEN false.

Anyone can play the ATs. They're all meant to use less powers, but every F2Per can work towards a Freeform character. Yes it will take time, but it can be done. It's just more time efficient to sub.

Hell, it's more efficient to just buy the Life Time. 1 time fee, you constantly get 500 ZEN a month (so that's 5 dollars back to you a month) and after so long, what you paid for not only pays for itself, it makes the sub get cheaper and cheaper when you do the math after awhile.

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oOStaticOo wrote:
oOStaticOo wrote:

I'm sorry, but I really hate a F2P with Micro-transaction model…
...they just focus on making new "items" for people to want to buy off of the store. Constantly dangling the carrot in front of the faces of the people playing the game wanting a new shiny. Want to play alts? Well you'll need to buy more character slots. Want to unlock those lockboxes and see what's inside? You'll have to buy the keys to open them. Want to get all the best gear to make your character ubah? You'll have to buy Zen so you can purchase all these really cool looking super powerful gear for your characters. Want that super cool looking pet that does awesome stuff? You'll have to buy it.

I respect that you don't like F2P micro transactions for all the reasons you mention.

I actually LOVE F2P models for all the reasons you mentioned. I WANT the game to KEEP LURING ME WITH CARROTS. I don't want to sit in a game where there are no carrots. If anything it leaves the users (players) in the position of power. You literally vote with your money. If you don't want them to spend development time on lockboxes.. don't buy them. If you hate the way they implement vehicles.. don't buy them. The devs are much more apt to listen to the consumer when they don't have the cushion of "automatic money" each month.

That is NOT to say there won't be automatic money coming in each month. I restate: Free to Play make MORE MONEY than Subscriptions. More money = More development.

- -

As a consumer I can respect people's desire to have the prepackaged "bargain" that a subscription fee gets you. I really do get it.. its attractive for multiple reasons. I read in another thread a "progressive discount" model where subs that feed the fiscal longevity of the game give you steeper discounts in the game store, this is a great idea (as long as the discounts are not for sell-tradable items thus killing the game economy for new players).

I don't think it's wrong for City of Titans to want to make the most money possible. And IF (this has still not been discussed with the prospective player base and likely for good reason) IF the game needs to seek outside financing.. the subscription model simply won't be attractive to financiers*.

*This I speak from experience of seeing proposals for subscription based digital sales products come into my VC firm and go almost directly into the "No" pile. I work in SF where there's a lot of $ going into tech and entertainment so while this is a microcosm of the economy at large it is a very heavily consistent trend.

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JayBezz wrote:
JayBezz wrote:

oOStaticOo wrote:
I'm sorry, but I really hate a F2P with Micro-transaction model…
...they just focus on making new "items" for people to want to buy off of the store. Constantly dangling the carrot in front of the faces of the people playing the game wanting a new shiny. Want to play alts? Well you'll need to buy more character slots. Want to unlock those lockboxes and see what's inside? You'll have to buy the keys to open them. Want to get all the best gear to make your character ubah? You'll have to buy Zen so you can purchase all these really cool looking super powerful gear for your characters. Want that super cool looking pet that does awesome stuff? You'll have to buy it.

I respect that you don't like F2P micro transactions for all the reasons you mention.
I actually LOVE F2P models for all the reasons you mentioned. I WANT the game to KEEP LURING ME WITH CARROTS. I don't want to sit in a game where there are no carrots. If anything it leaves the users (players) in the position of power. You literally vote with your money. If you don't want them to spend development time on lockboxes.. don't buy them. If you hate the way they implement vehicles.. don't buy them. The devs are much more apt to listen to the consumer when they don't have the cushion of "automatic money" each month.
That is NOT to say there won't be automatic money coming in each month. I restate: Free to Play make MORE MONEY than Subscriptions. More money = More development.
- -
As a consumer I can respect people's desire to have the prepackaged "bargain" that a subscription fee gets you. I really do get it.. its attractive for multiple reasons. I read in another thread a "progressive discount" model where subs that feed the fiscal longevity of the game give you steeper discounts in the game store, this is a great idea (as long as the discounts are not for sell-tradable items thus killing the game economy for new players).
I don't think it's wrong for City of Titans to want to make the most money possible. And IF (this has still not been discussed with the prospective player base and likely for good reason) IF the game needs to seek outside financing.. the subscription model simply won't be attractive to financiers*.
*This I speak from experience of seeing proposals for subscription based digital sales products come into my VC firm and go almost directly into the "No" pile. I work in SF where there's a lot of $ going into tech and entertainment so while this is a microcosm of the economy at large it is a very heavily consistent trend.

I find this to be wrong.

For instance, TOR, lots and lots of people complained about the RNG Boxes. But that doesn't get listened to, when you have a few buying hundreds of dollars a month for them (I was in a guild with a few members who did this every few weeks).

This allows those with lots of money to tell the devs "Hey! It can work this way enough for you!"

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One thing to notice from our

One thing to notice from our dearly departed game:

Although City of Heroes suffered a 20K subscriber drop between the launch of freedom and the closure announcement, its earnings *didn't* decline by a similar percentage, although there was still a drop.

However, there were still whales in the subscriber/premium base who spent more than the other subscribers.

CoX was bringing in roughly $800K/month around the time of closure, and give or take a few thousand, you could say that it was actually fairly stable and around the same as it was before Freedom (slight decline, but for the sake of ease, I will be keeping it the same though).

CoX had 60K subscribers (for sake of argument) before Freedom.

CoX after freedom had 40K subscribers, 20K premium, 40K F2P.

now whilst you can say "well the *paying* base stayed the same overall, and they were paying the same", that is indeed true.... if you go by averages. However, you have to also remember that the premium base is NOT paying $15/month minimum.

So that is a loss of $300K right out the window. that is $300K that has to be made up by other players.

And don't forget the stipend either. Some people saved up their stipend to buy stuff instead of spending real money. Hell, there were subscribers who never spent "real money" on the store (me for example, I just used my stipend).

And then there were others who spent (according to posts over on the Titan Network), $45-$60 per month PER account (they had several accounts) on top of their subscription fee. Those were the whales of the game (and I would reckon that some of those were the "gotta have it all" type and were going for the Black Wolf pet, or they were doing the packs to get stuff to sell on the market to raise inf)

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JayBezz wrote:
JayBezz wrote:

oOStaticOo wrote:
I'm sorry, but I really hate a F2P with Micro-transaction model…
...they just focus on making new "items" for people to want to buy off of the store. Constantly dangling the carrot in front of the faces of the people playing the game wanting a new shiny. Want to play alts? Well you'll need to buy more character slots. Want to unlock those lockboxes and see what's inside? You'll have to buy the keys to open them. Want to get all the best gear to make your character ubah? You'll have to buy Zen so you can purchase all these really cool looking super powerful gear for your characters. Want that super cool looking pet that does awesome stuff? You'll have to buy it.

I respect that you don't like F2P micro transactions for all the reasons you mention.
I actually LOVE F2P models for all the reasons you mentioned. I WANT the game to KEEP LURING ME WITH CARROTS. I don't want to sit in a game where there are no carrots. If anything it leaves the users (players) in the position of power. You literally vote with your money. If you don't want them to spend development time on lockboxes.. don't buy them. If you hate the way they implement vehicles.. don't buy them. The devs are much more apt to listen to the consumer when they don't have the cushion of "automatic money" each month.
That is NOT to say there won't be automatic money coming in each month. I restate: Free to Play make MORE MONEY than Subscriptions. More money = More development.
- -
As a consumer I can respect people's desire to have the prepackaged "bargain" that a subscription fee gets you. I really do get it.. its attractive for multiple reasons. I read in another thread a "progressive discount" model where subs that feed the fiscal longevity of the game give you steeper discounts in the game store, this is a great idea (as long as the discounts are not for sell-tradable items thus killing the game economy for new players).
I don't think it's wrong for City of Titans to want to make the most money possible. And IF (this has still not been discussed with the prospective player base and likely for good reason) IF the game needs to seek outside financing.. the subscription model simply won't be attractive to financiers*.
*This I speak from experience of seeing proposals for subscription based digital sales products come into my VC firm and go almost directly into the "No" pile. I work in SF where there's a lot of $ going into tech and entertainment so while this is a microcosm of the economy at large it is a very heavily consistent trend.

So why have 2 of the games currently in beta gone for subscription models (Wildstar/ESO).

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I would suspect that games

I would suspect that games still go for subscription models because they think they will make them more money, or they have plans that don't jive well with c-store content, or the like. Or they think that having the bar on the door to keep out trolls (you get far fewer trolls who are willing to spend money just to troll than you do players who will spend money to play) is worth whatever loss they might suffer from lacking a larger, free-to-play base who microtransacts.

Regarding "lots and lots of people" complaining about the lockboxes, there is a difference between the vocal cluster of fans on the forums and the silent player base who just play the game and spend money. That "silent majority" tends to legitimately BE the majority of players. This fact bit WotC in the hindquarters when they built 4e to cater to the complaints of the vocal minority on their boards: it engendered a split in their base so severe that there is now a probably-permanent rival "D&D" out there in the form of Pathfinder. Prior to 4e and PF, there were lots of immitators of D&D, but none gained traction. PF is a shifting of the ground; I don't think D&D will ever be the monolith it once was. (It's not going anywhere, mind, but it's no longer the vast majority game; it splits that with PF.)

So why haven't lockboxes gone away despite the vocal complaints? Because people are buying them. Enough people are buying them that they're worth keeping around. If lockboxes weren't being paid for by that silent majority, companies would be noticing that most of the ones generated are going unopened and that they're not making as much money from them as they expected to. And they'd tweak them, or find some other mechanism to try to pry open our wallets. They will always seek a mechanism that causes us to willingly part with our money.

As designers of a new MMO, it is our hope to make everybody who gives us their money eager and happy that they have done so. We are providing a cross between a service and a product, and we want our customers to always feel satisfied with their purchases.

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JayBezz wrote:
JayBezz wrote:

*This I speak from experience of seeing proposals for subscription based digital sales products come into my VC firm and go almost directly into the "No" pile. I work in SF where there's a lot of $ going into tech and entertainment so while this is a microcosm of the economy at large it is a very heavily consistent trend.

Not to put too fine a point on it, JayBezz ... but those Venture Capitalists you cite aren't interested in building games or communities. What they're after is MONEY ... return on investment. It's not a question of whether or not a game company will be self-sustaining or operating "in the black" over the long haul. It's a question of how fast you'll be able to get back your initial investment PLUS MORE so as to make the risk and the investment worth your time and effort.

To put it simply, in most of those cases, the Venture Capitalists are looking for ways to make a Quick Buck ... not to build a game and its community. They aren't doing what they do for social welfare reasons (ie. community building), because they're doing what they do for wealth extraction reasons.

That's THEIR motivation ... and it is one that makes perfect sense ... for THEM.

It is not however *OUR* motivation as gamers and Players who want to recapture and rebuild a community ... as opposed to creating a money machine that just hoses cash out the back end for its investors. This really is a "Goldilocks Point" kind of thing, because if Missing Worlds Media is "too successful" financially with City of Titans (which your posts in this thread all point towards as being YOUR objective and desire) then the odds become very good that some bigger company/investor/whatever is going to want to come along and buy out Missing Worlds Media and TAKE OVER in order to seize control of the revenue stream generated by City of Titans ... meaning the home we built for ourselves could be taken away from us AGAIN. However, if Missing Worlds Media is "successful" without being TOO "successful" then we may be able to fend off the parasites and predators for a lot longer than might otherwise be possible, aiding the health and long term stability of the game.

So ... you need to decide what's more important to you ... the game ... or the money? Granted you can't have one without the other, but if you have to prioritize, which comes first?

I think we all know which takes precedence for Venture Capitalists, as you so helpfully cite. The point I'm trying to make is that *WE* the Community are not like them. We want a place to live and play and be (super) together, not a maximally efficient wealth extraction scheme.

JayBezz wrote:

That is NOT to say there won't be automatic money coming in each month. I restate: Free to Play make MORE MONEY than Subscriptions. More money = More development.

Development, like Engineering, of *anything* requires three things ... Time, Tools and Tech Manuals. Money is simply one of the Tools. It facilitates and enables development, it doesn't "cause" developments to happen (on schedule). What determines how much development you get out of a given quantity of Time, Tools and Tech Manuals is how efficiently you use those resources, rather than simply how much of them you have at your disposal (because as we all know, "Bloat" is a very effective way of devouring resources for remarkably little return, thank you Micro$oft for demonstrating this for decades).

Or to put it another way, not all problems can be solved by throwing money at them. There's more to it than that if your aim is sustainability, rather than maximum profit margin.


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Actually, how much money you

Actually, how much money you make over time is a measure of success.

If MWM is "too successful," we are not planning to sell it for a quick buck; that would be silly, since we could instead hold on to it and make that much and more over time while continuing to build cool things.

MWM is not a "social welfare" organization. It is a business built to cater to a specific market and need. It will only succeed as a business if it produces a long-term sustainable revenue stream, because its target audience is sophisticated in the ways of short-term "pay to win" schemes. In fact, they're almost over-sensitive to them, having been burned or near people who have been burned by them. MWM and City of Titans will only succeed, therefore, if we not only come up with a novel approach designed for long-term sustainability, but if we demonstrate how and why we think it will work that way to you, our audience.

If we make money hand over fist, it is only because we're serving you and expanding your ranks that well.

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Segev wrote:
Segev wrote:

So why haven't lockboxes gone away despite the vocal complaints? Because people are buying them. Enough people are buying them that they're worth keeping around. If lockboxes weren't being paid for by that silent majority, companies would be noticing that most of the ones generated are going unopened and that they're not making as much money from them as they expected to. And they'd tweak them, or find some other mechanism to try to pry open our wallets. They will always seek a mechanism that causes us to willingly part with our money.

This is true. Consumers will gladly eat poison if it tastes sweet. While I personally hate them, I will live with them (unless and until a court declares them moral hazard).

Minotaur wrote:

So why have 2 of the games currently in beta gone for subscription models (Wildstar/ESO).

They have the marketing machine to reach the threshold necessary to make a subscription model attractive. Plain and simple. The generally accepted rule of thumb I have seen since looking into it is 1.2M users.

Redlynne wrote:

Or to put it another way, not all problems can be solved by throwing money at them. There's more to it than that if your aim is sustainability, rather than maximum profit margin.

I am sure MWM would like to produce and release the game themselves and this is surely their first choice. But IF (yes IF) they need venture capital funding (finding investors) they are only making their digital product less attractive unless they either 1) Prove they will reach the necessary threshold for sustainable subscription models to recover their investment or 2) Have a microtransaction model that will recover their investment.

Your thoughts that VC is nothing but money hungry monsters couldn't be more wrong. My firm specifically targets small, female owned tech products. In an male dominated industry. Yes, we will invest when the product is ready for growth.. but that just means don't bring an immature product and expect real investment. Be serious about business and business will welcome you. There is everything right with that.

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And just because YOUR firm

And just because YOUR firm does that doesn't mean it's the standard for ALL firms. Most people are greedy and are only out for themselves. So any VC would rather make a quick profit and cut losses before it gets too bad, than sit back and try to be humanitarian and take a loss. Money is the name of the game and makes the world go round. So yeah, I agree that if MWM were to start looking for people to back their project that before too long it would be in the hands of said people and if they decided to make the game into something other than what WE the players wanted then there would be nothing they could do about it, then we'd sit idly by as they decide to eventually pull the plug on us because it's no longer the cash cow they once thought they had. Once again, we'd be exactly where we are thanks to NCSoft.

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oOStaticOo wrote:
oOStaticOo wrote:

And just because YOUR firm does that doesn't mean it's the standard for ALL firms. Most people are greedy and are only out for themselves. So any VC would rather make a quick profit and cut losses before it gets too bad, than sit back and try to be humanitarian and take a loss. Money is the name of the game and makes the world go round. So yeah, I agree that if MWM were to start looking for people to back their project that before too long it would be in the hands of said people and if they decided to make the game into something other than what WE the players wanted then there would be nothing they could do about it, then we'd sit idly by as they decide to eventually pull the plug on us because it's no longer the cash cow they once thought they had. Once again, we'd be exactly where we are thanks to NCSoft.

I've already noted that my experience is from MY firm. And I have much more experience with virtual product VC firms because in dealing with MY firm I need to research MY firm's direct competition. Being in Silicon Valley USA makes that competition much broader than the average VC firm dealing with the virtual products in the digital marketplace.

Your personal and broad based attacks on MY view and the general financial industry at large are noted. Rude, but noted.

- -

I don't know how MWM plans to finance the launch and maintenance of their product. I'd wager that MWM doesn't know either. I am trying to give constructive advice based on the industry that exists today. As with all advice it only exists to inform the decision making parties.

- -

Finally, getting financing though venture capital investment is NOT the same as what NCSoft did to Paragon Studios. I'm sorry that the events of the closure of City of Heroes/Villains was so traumatic to you that you conflate the issues. The terms of ANY financial investment agreement are individual and agreed upon. The proprietary rights to the product can stay with the producer ZERO ownership of the product, licensing, and/or future profits.

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The VC industry has a very

The VC industry has a very bad reputation with some of my friends with small IT startup companies that have used it because among the good firms, there seem to be a substantial fraction of bad ones, and I've heard plenty of first hand horror stories. You need to be in a really strong position to negociate a good deal and keep ownership of what's important, and that can be really difficult to achieve.

I suspect (without any inside knowledge) that if it's possible to avoid going via that route, that would be very heavily preferred.

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The truth is, everybody is

The truth is, everybody is "greedy" and "out for themselves." Yes, even we, here, seeking to build a game to house a community. Not a one of us does this solely out of the goodness of our hearts. We all want this, and we perceive doing it ourselves as the most promising way to get it.

The dirty little secret is...this is not a bad thing. This is GOOD. This is human nature. Do you go volunteer to flip burgers at McDonald's and not expect to be paid for it? I doubt it.

Do you volunteer to mow your neighbor's lawn for nothing? Possibly. But you care about your neighbor, and his happiness brings you happiness.

Do you mow the lawn of everybody who asks for no recompense? Maybe, if few enough ask and you have the time, energy, and willingness. But I doubt it. Do you go door to door and knock, offering to mow people's lawns for free? Of course not. Anybody who does is a rarity indeed, and likely does not do this as avidly as he pursues his paying job.

People expect to get a return on their investments, whether in time, money, emotion, or effort.

The thing about Venture Capitalism is that some are good at what they do (and often have a good reputation because of it), and others only think they are (often because they were educated in the ways of money by people who think the only way you make money is through greedy exploitation). That latter group, for the record? Unless they're also breaking the law heavily, they tend to fail spectacularly as they destroy businesses they touch rather than turning them into profitable ones. Staples is an example of what competent, good venture capitalists can do.

But I think this is getting pretty far afield of the topic. Unless subscriptions are supposed to include venture capitalism somehow?

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Segev wrote:
Segev wrote:

Unless subscriptions are supposed to include venture capitalism somehow?

Lol.

Wait, actually... Depends how we measure dividends. I see a subscriber as a sort of investor that is willing to commit ongoing funds in the expectation that, over time, the virtual world and associated community will grow and prosper, paying off not in cash, but in increased fun for the player from month to month, year to year. That's the long-term vision I keep mentioning that I believe brings value to both the subscriber and subscribee.

Spurn all ye kindle.

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How about an E-Comic emailed

How about an E-Comic emailed to members every month? :)

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Tiger wrote:
Tiger wrote:

How about an E-Comic emailed to members every month? :)

Would it be as suckie as CoH's was? :p

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Gangrel wrote:
Gangrel wrote:

Col. Kernel wrote:
CoH was getting along just fine between 10k and 20k subs for years. Unfortunately MMOs no longer release their subscription numbers (please point me to a site where that info is complied if I am mistaken) so we can't armchair quarterback this part of the conversation any more without it just devolving into "he said/she said".

I am surprised you are saying that it was that low, when even NCsoft financials for CoX suggested that in the run up to freedom being released that there were around 50-60K subscribers (having to do some currency conversions to trace back).

My mistake. The figures I saw were 100k-200k. I didn't catch the typo.

JayBezz wrote:

oOStaticOo wrote:
This way people can try it out and see if they like it and if they do they can subscribe to it and play it. It works for WoW and that is the MMO that everybody wants to try to emulate.

It works for World of Warcraft because they have the subscription base. This point cannot be stressed enough from a fiscal standpoint. I want CoT to have the numbers that WoW does, but whether it be Hulu or LogMeIn or any other digital product.. getting users is the BIGGEST obstacle to profitability with a subscription base. They can always add a subscription fee after they have enough users to sustain it.

I'm going to have to say that you don't understand human nature if you don't think that if you give something away for free, then one day start charging for it that people won't ragequit.

JayBezz wrote:

oOStaticOo wrote:
I'm sorry, but I really hate a F2P with Micro-transaction model…
...they just focus on making new "items" for people to want to buy off of the store. Constantly dangling the carrot in front of the faces of the people playing the game wanting a new shiny. Want to play alts? Well you'll need to buy more character slots. Want to unlock those lockboxes and see what's inside? You'll have to buy the keys to open them. Want to get all the best gear to make your character ubah? You'll have to buy Zen so you can purchase all these really cool looking super powerful gear for your characters. Want that super cool looking pet that does awesome stuff? You'll have to buy it.

I respect that you don't like F2P micro transactions for all the reasons you mention.
I actually LOVE F2P models for all the reasons you mentioned. I WANT the game to KEEP LURING ME WITH CARROTS. I don't want to sit in a game where there are no carrots. If anything it leaves the users (players) in the position of power. You literally vote with your money. If you don't want them to spend development time on lockboxes.. don't buy them. If you hate the way they implement vehicles.. don't buy them. The devs are much more apt to listen to the consumer when they don't have the cushion of "automatic money" each month.

That's not the attitude I want from my team mates. I don't need a carrot to lure me into the game. Playing the game IS the carrot.

If playing the game isn't the carrot, then the game sucks and I won't be playing it.

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Brand X wrote:
Brand X wrote:

Tiger wrote:
How about an E-Comic emailed to members every month? :)

Would it be as suckie as CoH's was? :p

I'll see what I can do to limit the amount of suck in the comic and involve the community as much as I can. ;)

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Col. Kernel wrote:
Col. Kernel wrote:

I don't need a carrot to lure me into the game. Playing the game IS the carrot.
If playing the game isn't the carrot, then the game sucks and I won't be playing it.

Couldn't have said it better myself.

Spurn all ye kindle.

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Cinnder wrote:
Cinnder wrote:

Col. Kernel wrote:
I don't need a carrot to lure me into the game. Playing the game IS the carrot.
If playing the game isn't the carrot, then the game sucks and I won't be playing it.

Couldn't have said it better myself.

Respectfully disagree.

I've already played a superhero MMO with a total lack of development. Did Not Want. Even if the game did not "suck" it was stagnant and the user population was abysmal, adding to my lack of enjoyment and eventual departure.

The entire value of a digital marketplace comes from the "resale" model. You create the product once and sell it with virtually no additional manufacturing cost. What happens when the consumer has used all the content they care to? If there are no new releases, they leave (or "take a break from") the game. It's not a matter of love whether the game is good or bad. Consumer behavior shows that lack of development = user loss.

I understand there are many people here who would gladly pay only to have a virtual home, that's a big part of City of Titans appeal in replacing what was lost. I am just not one of those people; and City of Titans will not be the only alternative for that virtual home.
Even if the game were to launch with one zone and 200 missions that I complete in a day I'd stick with it if they continued to release new ways to play the game. For some people that is alting; others want more story content for their main character; others want more costumes for their characters; others want mechanics releases to better realize their vision..

No one likes lack of development. No one likes player exodus. "Carrots" go a long way to player retention.

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Certainly the easiest way to

Certainly the easiest way to make new content and see how well it is received by the audience as a whole and how it impacts the sustainability of the game is to have that content be first available via microtransaction. Subscribers would likely also have early access, and purchasing access to a mission or arc could get you similarly early access. Then, after some period of time, everybody would gain access to them.

Or we could adopt a League of Legends/Netflix-like approach. Early on, those who are subscribed or who buy the mission are the ones who can play it. They own access to it and can play as much as they want. Then, a few weeks later, the mission becomes temporarily available for free to all players. Missions that are older than "new releases" go on a semi-random rotation of availability, so that free players have enough to keep them busy for whatever is determined to be a "normal-to-heavy" amount of play (but likely not enough to sustain 18-hours-a-day or even 8-hours-a-day/5-7 days a week play). But they can't play all of the content in the game in one binge week of playing; they'd have to keep coming back, seeing what missions are available that they haven't yet done.

Maybe one of the few areas we have a direct ability to use in-game currency to buy something that can be obtained with Stars would be mechanisms to buy one-off access to a mission you really want to do. Ideally, our mechanism for getting Stars into players' hands from those who want to buy game-mechanics-improving items would serve this sort of role, but...

The drawback being that this only re-encourages burning one's way through content in order to build up that currency one needs to buy access to the missions that are currently not "free."

The goal is to keep players coming back, keep content relatively fresh and new. Make it so that such-and-such mission coming available again is almost an event in and of itself. A player who doesn't spend a dime could still see everything, but would have to stick around for a longer time. Meanwhile, those who pay for more open access to content would have to be fed by continuing to produce new content for them.

The risk is that we would strangle the free players' ability to find ways to keep busy; this would only work if we had enough missions to keep a healthy number in circulation at once.

With some extra-cool work (if we can MAKE it work), maybe we could even have some automatic segue tweaks that make "free this week" missions tie in to the next set of free missions in a plot-related fashion.

(As ever, this is my sort-of "thinking out loud," and is not an announcement of an actual policy that we're planning right now.)

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I still believe the Hybrid

I still believe the Hybrid method of Subscription + F2P w/Micro-Transactions would be best. Subscription holders would get instant access to new content, power sets, and some costumes because they are already spending $15.00 a month. F2P would have the option to purchase those items if they were interested in doing so or not if they don't. It would all come down to pricing. Perhaps putting things in a package to make it feel more worth while to buy instead of spending $4.99 on a costume piece that you might only use for one character. That's my problem with the Micro-Transaction route. IMO things are way too overpriced for me to find the value in purchasing it. If I were to be able to purchase multiple items for one transaction fee that I felt were worth the money I MIGHT do that. I emphasize MIGHT because I'm just really not a big fan of Micro-Transactions.

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oOStaticOo wrote:
oOStaticOo wrote:

I still believe the Hybrid method of Subscription + F2P w/Micro-Transactions would be best. Subscription holders would get instant access to new content, power sets, and some costumes because they are already spending $15.00 a month. F2P would have the option to purchase those items if they were interested in doing so or not if they don't. It would all come down to pricing. Perhaps putting things in a package to make it feel more worth while to buy instead of spending $4.99 on a costume piece that you might only use for one character. That's my problem with the Micro-Transaction route. IMO things are way too overpriced for me to find the value in purchasing it. If I were to be able to purchase multiple items for one transaction fee that I felt were worth the money I MIGHT do that. I emphasize MIGHT because I'm just really not a big fan of Micro-Transactions.

1) We don't know the cost associated with any purchase.
2) I can't help but think of all the money lost when a new player comes to the game 3 years after launch and pays $15 and gets all the content they could (should) have had to pay for.. It's no secret that content costs money. Why lose all the resale value just because its not brand new.

Then you ask your self.. "well they don't get everything.. some things are gated behind a premium cost that even gold players don't get without their stipend" to which I respond "then where's the true value of the subscription?".

I can get behind a discount/stipend model rewarding long standing subs because the value is then inherent. That's the best idea mixed model I've heard so far.. Even then I see a lot of lost revenue, but perhaps it's at a cost that the game wants to pay to retain users.

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The thing one must remember

The thing one must remember about "lost revenue" vs. "retaining customers" is that customers you never get or do not retain are also lost revenue.

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When a player comes along 3

When a player comes along 3 years later the content that they get access to has already been paid for. Why should they have to pay extra for content that was already developed and used 3 years before they came along? You don't spend extra money on a car that's 10 years old because it was advanced when it first came out do you? Once you drive a car off of a lot it doesn't go UP in value, it immediately decreases. The $15.00 dollars a month subscription is paying for the developers to come up with new content, powers, costumes, etc. as well as any micro-transaction purchases. It basically would end up paying for itself in the long run regarding all the previous said content that the player that comes in 3 years later gets access to. $180.00 dollars a year guaranteed vs. never-paying-a-single-dime-because-it's-free-and-I-can-live-without-ever-purchasing-anything-off-of-the-cash-shop-until-I-get-bored-of-the-game-and-decide-to-stop-playing-it sounds a whole lot better to me. If you ran off of subscriptions alone all you'd need would be 11,112 people subscribing at $15 a month to make $2,000,000 dollars a year. I would like to think that with that kind of money you'd be able to develop some pretty cool stuff. Anything above 11,112 subscribers would be gravy + any micro-transactions made along with that would be even better!

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By the same token, though,

By the same token, though, you can't say, "Well, I am going to buy Season 7 of this TV series on DVD; I should get the first six seasons for free, because they're already paid for."

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Granted, but you also wouldn

Granted, but you also wouldn't pay full price for Seasons 1-6 and you could easily watch them for free either on T.V. as re-runs or some website that decides to put them up for free in order to draw you in to purchase access to their site for the newer stuff.

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Ah, but on TV, you are bound

Ah, but on TV, you are bound by the airing schedule of those re-runs. Few sites will give all of the seasons leading up to the most current for free, either. That takes Netflix, which isn't free.

So a model of "some of them are free, and which that 'some' encompasses changes weekly" would seem in line with what you suggest, at least regarding TV re-runs.

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The confusion with people

The confusion with people trying to equate subscriptions and microtransactions is that in the strictest sense those two payment models actually pay for two different types of things. Subscriptions for MMOs don't directly pay for "game content". All you get for a subscription is access to the game servers. On the other hand microtransactions don't directly pay for access to the servers. All you get for a microtransaction is ownership to some portion of game content.

So the problem comes when people blur the terms and think subscriptions pay for game content and/or microtransactions pay for game access. People paying for a subscription aren't "paying extra for content that was already developed and used 3 years before they came along" any more than a driver is paying for a toll bridge that was completed and paid for years ago. The toll (subscription) simply grants access to things regardless if they are brand new or 10 years old. That's why EVERYONE has to pay them no matter how long you've been using them or how old they are.

The problem gets more convoluted for MMOs when they try to mix subscriptions and microtransactions together. MMOs make steady, predictable money with subscriptions but they also can potentially earn money with microtransactions assuming they generate enough new content to keep people buying it. The gamble with a microtransactions-only model is that while the potential to earn more money than subscriptions exist the same potential is also there to earn much less.

I see subscriptions and microtransactions kind of like stocks and bonds on Wall Street. For game companies subscriptions (like bonds) give a conservative, steady income whereas microtransactions (stocks) let them take riskier attempts to grab larger sums of less predictable cash. I see no reason why a game like CoT couldn't offer both models to hedge their bets and to allow players to pay the way they want.

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I think that to a greater (or

I think that to a greater (or lesser) degree though, Static does have a valid point.

If all the new "content" was locked behind a pay wall for ever, it does make it more daunting for a newer player to come into the game, especially if there was a lot of "paid for content" released.

City of Heroes over the years did the sensible thing of over time rolling "expansion" content into the base game client (so that it was left available for all). Granted, with Freedoms release, it got a bit messier overall, and so we cannot say what would have/would not have made it down to the market place (VIP Tier 9 exclusive costumes... I couldn't get the 1st set of them).

The who will die story arc? You could have bought each episode as it was released, or saved some coin and waited for the "season package" to come out.

World of Warcraft is actually a good example here... if you *right now* buy the game (Battle Chest set or whatever they now call it), you get ALL the content up to Wrath of The Lich King included. That is all of the content, the crafting profession, and anything else that they have decided not to lock behind the newest "expansion only" rules (which are more the expansion specific zones/dungeons/raids/crafting professions) and so on. However, because they release new expansions only once every couple of years, they can afford to do this.

Now, I would say that the deciding factor here is "how often is new content" released for CoT?

If it is rarely, then I can see why it might not necessarily make down to the players who have bought the game but not subscribed. What you can do though is package deals for the content so that it becomes cheaper the longer you wait to play it.

I tend to wait for sales, take advantages of deals to decide when I buy content for games. I miss out sometimes, other times I am lucky (managed to get a friend WoW and all expansions (including MOP) for less than MOP would cost boxed).

But I do think that if you are going to be putting new "content" (missions/story arcs) in the MT store, it isn't so much that for someone to get "everything" costs 3-4 times the cost of the game.

*edited one part for clarity)

Quote:

1) I reject your reality.... and substitute my own
2) Not to be used when upset... will void warranty
3) Stoke me a clipper i will be back for dinner
4) I have seen more intelligence from an NPC AI in TR beta, than from most MMO players.

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That is exactly what I'm

That is exactly what I'm trying to say. Hybrid model of Sub + F2P w/Micro-Transactions. Best of both worlds for both parties involved. And if I sub it's not going to stop me from possibly making a Micro-Transaction sometime down the line if there is something there I see worth buying.

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On a pure hypothetical I will

On a pure hypothetical I will take into account a the last freemium game I played, Champions Online.

If instead of being there since launch I had come to a strict Free to Play game.. the game would have had enough carrots to completely lure me into the (horribly bugged and mal-designed) content and still be collecting on content they made back in 2010 (Vibora bay specifically). I'd buy all the costume sets I need to get my character perfect.. probably buy some I didn't even use but wanted to have. I'd probably buy a vehicle (if I weren't the type of person to check reviews and such) in hopes that they'd be aweseome. I'd still buy all the comic series. I would likely completely skip all the On Alert and special alerts as I am just not that interested.. but in this hypothetical I'd probably still pay to check it out.

Sure.. there's a POSSIBILITY that at any given time i couldn't afford something I thought I wanted or had enough impulse control to wait until after the dev time was done, but at no point would my character be locked behind a subscription or the like so it "cost me nothing" to keep the game population flourishing.. assuming it was a game I liked.. which Champions Online is not.

There are some expansions I would buy and some I would not pay to touch at all. Some features I would buy and some features that I would not touch at all. I payed for a sub until the freeform slot came along. I gave the game SO much less money as a subscriber than I would have as a pure free to play player (likely less than i DID as a f2p player even after hopelessness/ridiculousness set in).

How the game budgets, prices, gives sales incentives etc is a small factor but when it comes to profit maximization I dont see why you'd want to cut off your resale value of a digital product.

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JayBezz wrote:
JayBezz wrote:

Cinnder wrote:
Col. Kernel wrote:
I don't need a carrot to lure me into the game. Playing the game IS the carrot.
If playing the game isn't the carrot, then the game sucks and I won't be playing it.

Couldn't have said it better myself.

Respectfully disagree.
I've already played a superhero MMO with a total lack of development. Did Not Want. Even if the game did not "suck" it was stagnant and the user population was abysmal, adding to my lack of enjoyment and eventual departure.

Just for clarity's sake, I agree -- I wouldn't pay for a sub for a game that had no development either.

I thought the Colonel was trying to draw a distinction between the type of development we had when CoX was sub-only (primarily new zones, arcs, and power sets -- which is what I believe makes my sub worthwhile) vs the type of things they started to develop after Freedom (more costume sets you had to pay for, travel powers like the carpet and hoverboard, ATIOs, and the dreaded gambling packs).

IMO, the former is "the game" while the latter is "carrots". While I have no problem with the idea of a hybrid model, as a subscriber whenever I see what are to me just bits of junk for sale, I always think that some dev had to spend time working on those carrots to get the f2p players to spend some money when that same dev could have been working on the kind of core content I really want.

Also, while I don't disparage the folks who like those carrots and understand that it brings in its own source of revenue, for me -- especially when I see these things advertised in a game -- it feels like paying to go see an ancient monument like The Leaning Tower of Pisa and on the way there having to walk the gauntlet of vendors selling cheap tourist souvenirs. At least CoX was pretty good at allowing you to hide the store stuff so it wasn't always shoving the latest item in your face.

Spurn all ye kindle.

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Something else to consider.

Something else to consider. F2P requires "Whales" to pay for the game, or advertising placed in the game. I believe the last time I looked the average % of people that actually paid for things in a F2P model was roughly around 3% of the people playing the game. So let's say that, giving the benefit of the doubt here, CoH had at the time of it's closure 200k people playing the game, we'll go with the upper limit that was proposed earlier in the thread. That means, given that if it were strictly F2P, that roughly 6000 people were paying Micro-Transactions to keep the game running and paying for new content and being able to have access to said content. The rest of the 194k were all running around not buying anything and having limited access to game content.

So 6k people are able to enjoy the full functionality of the game and 194k are not. How long do you think those 194k players are going to keep playing the game once they've explored everything available to them on a Free basis? How many people at any given time of those 6k people that can access the full game are going to be online at the same time to enjoy each other's company to play the game? How many of those people are actually going to get along well enough with each other to be able to team together to do all the things available to them?

While you may broaden your player base by allowing hundreds of thousands of people to play the game for free, you are also limiting exactly what everybody in CoH loved having. A community in which there were plenty of people logged in at any given time to play together and enjoy the game doing anything they wanted to do. So what's the model then? Make the game content completely available to all players and make them purchase character slots, costumes, pets, powers, inspirations, xp boosters, and enhancements? Only allow basic powers, costumes, inspirations, and enhancements available for the freebies? Now you are starting to get into the Pay to Win scenario, which most people utterly detest.

A Hybrid model can basically double your amount of income on a game. How? Because you'll still have the F2P model to attract hundreds of thousands of players to play the game and get your 3% "Whales" buying only the things they want from the cash store PLUS you'll have, and we'll use my estimated amount of subscription holders to make $2M a year, 11,112 people paying $15 a month in subscriptions. How is this NOT a win/win scenario?

I got chills! They're multiplyin'. And I'm losin' control. Cuz the power, I'm supplyin'. Why it's ELECTRIFYIN'!!

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@oOStaticOo: I don't know

@oOStaticOo: I don't know the basis for the assertions in your post. I don't know which free to play game(s) you are getting those numbers from, but I am having trouble believing them at face value.

I don't understand the definition of what a "Whale" is

The average % of people that actually paid for things in a F2P model was roughly around 3% of the people playing the game. - Are you talking about a fremium model (where there is both microtransactions and subscriptions? your sentence "The rest of the 194k were all running around not buying anything and having limited access to game content." leads me to think so. I am advocating for a microtransaction model with no subscriptions, in which alot of your concerns about who is and isn't paying because everyone will pay or be stuck with the base options.

- -

The largest appeal of CoH from many people are costumes so the simple solution is to sell costume sets in the store. If you want a particular animation set that's not the basic animations available then pay for them. If you want any FX for your powers then pay for them. You can sell them account wide or per character but the bottom line is that the price has to be right or people won't buy. Buying an animation set is NOT pay to win because the powers mechanically work just as they would with any other animation set, but if you want "energy blades" then pay for them. If you want pole animations, pay for them. It's essentially a "pay to customize" model having no effect on the core gameplay of the game. This goes even further when story expansions are sold to players (old and new), which where the #1 demand from players (and most resource consuming) of CoH according to Positron. Why give away expansions for $15/mo subscriptions if they cost you $50 per player to make? It lengthens the time for the devs to MAYBE recuperate their investment and thus lengthens the time betwixt story content expansions. Repeat.. MAYBE recuperate.. I know plenty of people who "rent" the subscriptions for one month instead of buying the content outright (cancelling their subscription after getting whatever carrot they wanted to eat) - Yes I know this speaks alot to Champions Online's lack of replay value as well.

The simple economics point to subscriptions taking away from the MORE PROFITABLE micro-transaction revenue. The digital marketplace is dominated by resale economics. Resale economies for smaller (by marketshare) businesses historically (from 2008-present) show to make better net profits using the microtransaction only method. It's the reason Cryptic threw Neverwinter on the market even before it was fully dev developed, to capitalize on the trend. Even after a "soft launch" and ACTUAL product development costs to recover it turned a profit withing 1.5 years.

- -

Subscription only and Fremium games are great for consumers. They are hard on game development companies. I worry about the hard working devs after the game is released trying to turn their free labor into sustainable, competitive jobs. IF on day 1 the game offers subscription, at best they are delaying their ability to pay their developers and at worst losing large incentive to bring in talent and expand the game.

I'm selfish enough to want the game out yesterday and with constant expansions, but don't expect anyone to work for free indefinitely.

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Seriously? I'm beginning to

Seriously? I'm beginning to think you are just being stubbornly obtuse. You don't know what a "Whale" is? A "Whale" is a big spender. Somebody who spends lots of money on something. Gambling has whales and caters to whales. They offer them free rooms at motels, free dinner buffets, free credit up to a certain limit all knowing that in doing so they'll end up spending more money than what was offered to them free.

As far as my 3% figure goes, I looked it up somewhere on the internet a while back and no I don't remember the source and yes it may be out of date, but it was determined by somebody that roughly 3%, and I'll grant that by now it might be closer to 5%, of a MMO's population that is F2P actually pays for anything off of the cash market while the rest of the population is perfectly content to run around without paying for anything or possibly buying very minimal items off of the market. Strictly F2P, no hybrid model, no subscriptions. I would be one of those people that is content to run around without ever paying a dime for anything in a strictly F2P with Micro-Transaction MMO.

What I'd like to know is how you figure making new content will cost an average of $50 per person. I seriously doubt it would cost that much, unless you have a very low population MMO. Now I can understand a strictly Subscription based MMO would cut into the profits of a Micro-Transaction model, but I can't see how a Hybrid model would. As I've said, it gives more people more options on how to pay. More people paying means more money. You should still be able to cater to the 3-5% of people that don't want to pay for a subscription and instead just buy things from the cash market as they see fit and also have those people that are willing to give up $15 a month to play a game and have access to the things they want.

While I understand your desire to bring in as much of a population as possible, which F2P will, I don't understand why you think this needs to be some giant greedy corporation that is out for every penny it can get. I thought that the whole idea behind this was to recreate a game that gave back a home to those people that lost one when CoH was shut down by a greedy corporation that was out for every penny it could get. Isn't this supposed to be a game designed by players for the players? If so, being greedy doesn't fit that mold. I believe many of us felt that sour taste in our mouth once NCSoft decided to make the game F2P and then, upon doing so not but a short time into it, closed it down. I too want to make sure that the people who are developing this game are being compensated for their efforts and I feel like they would be if we stuck to the Hybrid system I've mentioned.

As I've stated, 11,112 people on $15.00 subscriptions alone bring in $2,000,000.00 a year. Hybrid model would potentially bring in even more, and maybe even on less of a subscription population. If half of the 11,112 people subscribe and then 6,000 people buy stuff off of the cash market doing F2P that would bring in potentially even more money than just P2P alone. How much money is needed for this? I don't know. You don't know. It's all in the hands of the people that are developing this game. They know. For all you and I know it may only cost them $600,000.00 a year to develop content and keep the servers running.

I got chills! They're multiplyin'. And I'm losin' control. Cuz the power, I'm supplyin'. Why it's ELECTRIFYIN'!!

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JayBezz wrote:
JayBezz wrote:

Subscription only and Fremium games are great for consumers. They are hard on game development companies. I worry about the hard working devs after the game is released trying to turn their free labor into sustainable, competitive jobs. IF on day 1 the game offers subscription, at best they are delaying their ability to pay their developers and at worst losing large incentive to bring in talent and expand the game.

If the primary goal of a given game company is to make as much money as quickly as possible then I might be willing to accept your theory that a microtransaction-only model might be the best way for CoT to do that in 2015. The problem is that you're assuming making money is MWMs "primary" goal.

The only reason the folks at MWM got into the game development "business" in the first place was to resurrect, in some form or fashion, the old CoH we all loved via a grassroots coalition of devoted fans. Sure no one's going to deny that in order to do that MWM is going to need earn some money and maybe if they're lucky they may even be able to turn a profit on this someday. More power to them.

But again I'll stress that money is not and never was their primary goal. With that they are much more likely to adopt a financial model that would be player-friendly versus profit-friendly. Sure as you said yourself Subscription and Fremium games are great for consumers and harder on the game companies. In this case so what? I suspect MWM, more so than most other MMO companies, will be willing (and able) to pay more attention to what we the players want versus what would best maximize their earnings.

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

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Lothic wrote:
Lothic wrote:

But again I'll stress that money is not and never was their primary goal. With that they are much more likely to adopt a financial model that would be player-friendly versus profit-friendly. Sure as you said yourself Subscription and Fremium games are great for consumers and harder on the game companies. In this case so what? I suspect MWM, more so than most other MMO companies, will be willing (and able) to pay more attention to what we the players want versus what would best maximize their earnings.

There are many reasons (especially legal) that For-Profit companies are not allowed Non-Profit roles, especially federally (being a "virtual studio" with many operational states this is the only real jurisdiction applicable but FEW states have L3C status and frankly a game studio "offering a home" would not be approved for L3C status anyhow). Put simply corporations without economic interest are economic hazards and often used for tax evasion and are this due to wide scrutiny and often considered "blacklisted" at best and "illegal" at worst. Even assuming the game has private equity and no public interest there are some serious money questions at play.

I do not remember where I was reading the incorporated status of MWM but for some reason I think they're currently a incorporated Entity in Washington meaning SOMEONE has shares and will be enjoying the profits from this game. If their intention was to funnel 100% of the profits (after labor costs etc) back into the game then they would have expressly stated it and/or been a 501c3 which I do not remember. But because we're talking about profit for free labor I'm going to ASSUME it's already or planning to have public equity (publicly traded stock).

I don't know what legal protections Washington State (California offers "some" .. very few protections) has but the Federal government does not offer any. If MWM needs to change into a 501c3 then they should file ASAP (even though their collected KS money was in 2013). All the money they received as profit in 2013 is taxable unless they applied for an alternative tax schedule.

There is a lot of skepticism. I don't shy away from it obviously. About 8/10 new enterprises did not succeed in 2013. The highest factor to success in start-ups is fiscal positioning. Well wishes don't make money. Purposely putting a business in a less than advantageous position without any strategic value does not endear investor confidence nor consumer confidence. Both of these are essential for the success of a company. The success of MWM as a company is essential to the success of City of Titans.

- -

I'm not claiming "doom" as I've been accused of but I am a realist. There have not been any Kickstarter to MMO conversions to date (that I know of). What is better/different about City of Titans that will make it succeed where others have failed? If the plan is to take the KS product to investors (even after sale of your mobile app) the you have to know that revenue models are over half the prospectus.

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I agree with Lothic

I agree with Lothic (especially since I said the same thing further up the thread :-) ). Lothic never said that MWM doesn't want to make ANY profit; just that it doesn't seem it's the primary motivator over quality of game and community.

Spurn all ye kindle.

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I have been saying the same

I have been saying the same thing. CoH ran with a Hybrid model of Subscription + F2P w/Micro-Transactions and they were able to still turn a profit. NCSoft was the one that decided that it wasn't enough according to their standards, or for whatever reason they decided to shut City down for. Everybody at Cryptic Studios was fine and were able to still develop new content, costumes, and powers with the model they were running. They were able to keep the servers running and their employees paid enough to keep them happy. Why shouldn't it work for MWM?

I got chills! They're multiplyin'. And I'm losin' control. Cuz the power, I'm supplyin'. Why it's ELECTRIFYIN'!!

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Segev wrote:
Segev wrote:

Actually, how much money you make over time is a measure of success.
If MWM is "too successful," we are not planning to sell it for a quick buck; that would be silly, since we could instead hold on to it and make that much and more over time while continuing to build cool things.
MWM is not a "social welfare" organization. It is a business built to cater to a specific market and need. It will only succeed as a business if it produces a long-term sustainable revenue stream, because its target audience is sophisticated in the ways of short-term "pay to win" schemes. In fact, they're almost over-sensitive to them, having been burned or near people who have been burned by them. MWM and City of Titans will only succeed, therefore, if we not only come up with a novel approach designed for long-term sustainability, but if we demonstrate how and why we think it will work that way to you, our audience.
If we make money hand over fist, it is only because we're serving you and expanding your ranks that well.

Segev,
You nailed it! One thing I am not sure of is how much marketing/customer base expansion City of Heroes used after the game was up and running. They may have thought they only had to keep their current player base happy. I suspect that if COH had growing revenue (subscription or otherwise) in 2011-2012 we might not be having this conversation.

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It was a throw-away line in

It was a throw-away line in an article I read by a game developer who was discussing the distinctions and challenges that differ between subscription, micro-transaction, and hybrid game monetization models, but this one word not only stuck with me but defined itself just by its own construction, at least in my mind: "micro-subscription."

What it means to me is a highly custimizable "subscription package" that players can put together for themselves. Literally every individual "perk" that might come from some hypothetical level of subscription is broken down into individually-purchasable items to which you may choose to subscribe for an ongonig fee. As an extremely crude example, if the "perks" of a standard subscription were 5 extra character slots, access to 3 extra classifications, a stipend of 100 Stars a month, and 20 "custom" animations for various powers that are normally only purchasable in the c-store, the micro-subscription model would allow the rental of extra character slots for $X/month per slot, offer each extra classification as a microsubscription of its own, allow a recurring payment of dollars for Stars at specified rates, and each custom animation would be available for sale outright on a specific character or be available for a small microsubscription fee on all characters tied to the account.

Some of these, obviously, don't translate as well as others, and we might offer both microsubscription rates and "just outright buy it" rates to see how our customers prefer to use things. Things like paywall-restricted classifications likely would have to be one or the other: a one-time microtransaction or an ongoing microsubscription. I can't think of a good way to have options for either. (Perhaps each "microsubscription" can have a "lifetime subscription" version which is, basically, flat-out buying it.)

To make things easier on new players, or customers so new to the MMO market that they are feeling overwhelmed just getting started, we can have 1-3 pre-built sets of microsubscriptions that we call "subscription packages." They'd have specified prices and list what they gave. And the tool to customize your subscription package would make there be no net difference than if you'd picked what you wanted from scratch. But for those who don't want to have to think that hard about it, just pick a package and go. If they don't want to think too hard about it, but know they don't want one thing or really want another, they can tweak it. And the advanced players will likely customize their subscription package to heck and back.

I think this model, though it sounds complicated, simply plays directly into the hybrid theme of "choice" while allowing MWM to really, directly judge what our players - of subscriber and c-store stripes - are interested in...and what they're not.

While forum feedback is invaluable, it is really a vocal minority; being able to see where our players put their money will show us the silent majority's preferences, and let us cater to you all that much better.

Business Manager

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JayBezz wrote:
JayBezz wrote:

Lothic wrote:
But again I'll stress that money is not and never was their primary goal. With that they are much more likely to adopt a financial model that would be player-friendly versus profit-friendly. Sure as you said yourself Subscription and Fremium games are great for consumers and harder on the game companies. In this case so what? I suspect MWM, more so than most other MMO companies, will be willing (and able) to pay more attention to what we the players want versus what would best maximize their earnings.

There are many reasons (especially legal) that For-Profit companies are not allowed Non-Profit roles, especially federally (being a "virtual studio" with many operational states this is the only real jurisdiction applicable but FEW states have L3C status and frankly a game studio "offering a home" would not be approved for L3C status anyhow). Put simply corporations without economic interest are economic hazards and often used for tax evasion and are this due to wide scrutiny and often considered "blacklisted" at best and "illegal" at worst. Even assuming the game has private equity and no public interest there are some serious money questions at play.
I do not remember where I was reading the incorporated status of MWM but for some reason I think they're currently a incorporated Entity in Washington meaning SOMEONE has shares and will be enjoying the profits from this game. If their intention was to funnel 100% of the profits (after labor costs etc) back into the game then they would have expressly stated it and/or been a 501c3 which I do not remember. But because we're talking about profit for free labor I'm going to ASSUME it's already or planning to have public equity (publicly traded stock).
I don't know what legal protections Washington State (California offers "some" .. very few protections) has but the Federal government does not offer any. If MWM needs to change into a 501c3 then they should file ASAP (even though their collected KS money was in 2013). All the money they received as profit in 2013 is taxable unless they applied for an alternative tax schedule.
There is a lot of skepticism. I don't shy away from it obviously. About 8/10 new enterprises did not succeed in 2013. The highest factor to success in start-ups is fiscal positioning. Well wishes don't make money. Purposely putting a business in a less than advantageous position without any strategic value does not endear investor confidence nor consumer confidence. Both of these are essential for the success of a company. The success of MWM as a company is essential to the success of City of Titans.
- -
I'm not claiming "doom" as I've been accused of but I am a realist. There have not been any Kickstarter to MMO conversions to date (that I know of). What is better/different about City of Titans that will make it succeed where others have failed? If the plan is to take the KS product to investors (even after sale of your mobile app) the you have to know that revenue models are over half the prospectus.

You're obviously still blinded by this rigid idea that "companies must only do things that'll make them as much profit as possible".

I never suggested MWM was going to attempt to do some kind of semi-illegal, not-for-profit scheme while pretending to be a for-profit company nonsense you're talking about. Once again as a game company MWM is obviously going to have to earn some money to cover their costs and operating expenses. And once again if MWM actually manages to turn a profit from all this then I'll be incredibly happy for them.

Where you seem to have a major disconnect here is in understanding that MWM (as an organization) is not necessarily motivated by maximum profits. For them profits will be a means to an end, not the primary goal. They'll use their profits to help develop new content and do what's needed to keep their operation running. But when it comes to satisfying players versus making the most money possible I'm reasonably sure they'll do everything they can favor the playerbase over themselves.

As a hypothetical case to drive home my point here if MWM was faced with earning $5 million a year in profits by squeezing every last penny out of their customers with aggressively annoying marketing tactics that would produce a lot of negative churn in the playerbase or only earning say $3 million a year with more player-friendly methods that keep people happy I'm quite sure MWM would be satisfied with the $3 million scenario.

You have to stop pretending this whole effort to create CoT was some kind of brainchild of venture capitalists trying to maximize profits to make "investors" happy. This was started by a group of devoted fans who had to form a company simply as a means to create a game, not because they wanted a money-making company in the first place.

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

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Lothic wrote:
Lothic wrote:

You're obviously still blinded by this rigid idea that "companies must only do things that'll make them as much profit as possible".

Not at all.. but if MWM wants to convince capital investors to invest in the idea they need to at least show the business acumen and explain not just to the investor but to the marketplace they're competing in why they are "not interested in maximizing profits". It's not a "VC brainchild" but until I have assurance that the game and release are fully funded it's not a smart strategy to put a business in a position where they can't successfully seek VC funding.. especially as the studio has displayed the desire to retain their proprietary production rights.

Lothic wrote:

Where you seem to have a major disconnect here is in understanding that MWM (as an organization) is not necessarily motivated by maximum profits.

This is what I AM hearing actually and it distresses me to hear because I am on the outside looking inside to find a clear path to success. Success not just defined by releasing a game to a group of fans but also defined by paying the devs for their hard work (retropay) and still having funds to continue on a real game developer budget (that includes real, competitive wage earnings for the developers). Getting the $ piecemeal does not do well to hit the ground running and limits their ability to capture greater capital gains down the line as compared to other revenue models.

Lothic wrote:

For them profits will be a means to an end, not the primary goal. They'll use their profits to help develop new content and do what's needed to keep their operation running. But when it comes to satisfying players versus making the most money possible I'm reasonably sure they'll do everything they can favor the playerbase over themselves.

We don't know that.. I don't even know yet that it's not a private equity company from the WA Secretary of State office. For all I know one person could hold 100% of the shares and keep the profits to themselves. I don't expect this to be the case but there is a lack of transparency about what the company plans and what their reinvestment rate for profit will be. I never make assumptions about profits.

Segev wrote:

It was a throw-away line in an article I read by a game developer who was discussing the distinctions and challenges that differ between subscription, micro-transaction, and hybrid game monetization models, but this one word not only stuck with me but defined itself just by its own construction, at least in my mind: "micro-subscription."

I'm intrigued to hear more about what this sales model means. While I never prefer to lease ANYTHING I can afford to buy, the MMO market doesn't really offer real ownership.. I am always on borrowed time (as long as the servers are online). MWM has announced "plans" to keep the servers open even if they can't support the product.. I'd have to hear more about these plans before making my mind up as a consumer to which I'd prefer.

I'm pretty sure I read somewhere that the content you pay for will not be locked and unavailable to you. If I "rented/leased" the content, how would this work in the subscription model? For instance I create a character that uses a "premium" animation and fx and costume from the subscription model then stop paying.

Do I still have access to that character? To the animations/Fx? To the costume?
If yes to all the above what's to stop me from creating the character I want by paying for the subscription for one month then keeping all my desired premium perks when the character goes back to the free version of the game?

EDIT: No sooner than I post about legal standing comes a cautinary tale from FunCom (Producers of The Secret World) about reporting profits and having transparency. This is not to say "I was right" about anything dealing with City of Titans/Missing Worlds Media, Inc but businesses are businesses and bad business CAN close down a studio:

http://www.eurogamer.net/articles/2014-01-29-funcom-under-investigation-offices-closed

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Segev wrote:
Segev wrote:

While forum feedback is invaluable, it is really a vocal minority; being able to see where our players put their money will show us the silent majority's preferences, and let us cater to you all that much better.

Can't argue with that. Doesn't that almost by definition mean CoT "has" to have a hybrid model so you can see whether more people want to sub or play for free/shop per item?

The more I think about your customised sub model, the more I like it. And the more I think it could garner a larger number of subs for that long-term income stream.

Spurn all ye kindle.

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JayBezz wrote:
JayBezz wrote:

Lothic wrote:
You're obviously still blinded by this rigid idea that "companies must only do things that'll make them as much profit as possible".

Not at all.. but if MWM wants to convince capital investors to invest in the idea they need to at least show the business acumen and explain not just to the investor but to the marketplace they're competing in why they are "not interested in maximizing profits". It's not a "VC brainchild" but until I have assurance that the game and release are fully funded it's not a smart strategy to put a business in a position where they can't successfully seek VC funding.. especially as the studio has displayed the desire to retain their proprietary production rights.
Lothic wrote:
Where you seem to have a major disconnect here is in understanding that MWM (as an organization) is not necessarily motivated by maximum profits.
This is what I AM hearing actually and it distresses me to hear because I am on the outside looking inside to find a clear path to success. Success not just defined by releasing a game to a group of fans but also defined by paying the devs for their hard work (retropay) and still having funds to continue on a real game developer budget (that includes real, competitive wage earnings for the developers). Getting the $ piecemeal does not do well to hit the ground running and limits their ability to capture greater capital gains down the line as compared to other revenue models.
Lothic wrote:
For them profits will be a means to an end, not the primary goal. They'll use their profits to help develop new content and do what's needed to keep their operation running. But when it comes to satisfying players versus making the most money possible I'm reasonably sure they'll do everything they can favor the playerbase over themselves.

We don't know that.. I don't even know yet that it's not a private equity company from the WA Secretary of State office. For all I know one person could hold 100% of the shares and keep the profits to themselves. I don't expect this to be the case but there is a lack of transparency about what the company plans and what their reinvestment rate for profit will be. I never make assumptions about profits.

You might "never make assumptions about profits" but you apparently have no problem overanalyzing this situation many times beyond what's necessary.

You seem way too overly concerned about MWM's profit margins and how they'll become some kind of world-class corporate behemoth beholden to all sorts of "investors" that may not even exist. Don't get me wrong I wish them all the success in the world and hope that CoT will fly along for many years to come. But let's not fool ourselves here - MWM is not going to compete with the likes of Blizzard for global MMO dominance no matter how well they do.

I realize that the folks at MWM are going to need to take things fairly seriously business-wise to succeed. But I'm also still convinced their definition of "success" is going to be producing a spiritual successor to CoH, not striving to become the next Wall Street darling.

If for whatever reason MWM fails to produce a game we all like to play then so be it. The world's not going to come to an end over this either way. But frankly from my point of view if I do in fact get a good game out of this at a price I'm willing to pay for I don't ultimately care if MWM makes anywhere from $0 net profit per year all the way to one guy in the company banking $100 million a year from this. *shrugs*

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

Segev
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I cannot speak for any other

I cannot speak for any other member of this project or company, but I know I will measure our success at least in part by our earnings. Not because profits are all that matter, but because they are the clearest sign of two things:

1) That we are producing something our audience wants badly enough to pay us enough money to keep it going and keep expanding on it, and

2) that we're not wasting the funds that our audience gives us to support it, and are instead using them wisely to keep it running efficiently.

Now, does this mean that I'm for entering into some of the more questionable behaviors that garner some companies quick profits before they move on to the next cash cow to milk dry? Of course not. We're aiming to produce CoT, and if we find it faltering and failing to produce consistent profits, that means we're doing something wrong. The exploitative models tend to be unsustainable because customers are not stupid, by and large. They can be fooled for a time, but they wise up sooner rather than later, and so sooner or later you have to move on to the next mark.

That simply will not work for what we want to do: produce a cool game that people will enjoy and make a virtual "home" out of for a growing community of players.

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Lothic
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Segev wrote:
Segev wrote:

I cannot speak for any other member of this project or company, but I know I will measure our success at least in part by our earnings. Not because profits are all that matter, but because they are the clearest sign of two things:
1) That we are producing something our audience wants badly enough to pay us enough money to keep it going and keep expanding on it, and
2) that we're not wasting the funds that our audience gives us to support it, and are instead using them wisely to keep it running efficiently.
Now, does this mean that I'm for entering into some of the more questionable behaviors that garner some companies quick profits before they move on to the next cash cow to milk dry? Of course not. We're aiming to produce CoT, and if we find it faltering and failing to produce consistent profits, that means we're doing something wrong. The exploitative models tend to be unsustainable because customers are not stupid, by and large. They can be fooled for a time, but they wise up sooner rather than later, and so sooner or later you have to move on to the next mark.
That simply will not work for what we want to do: produce a cool game that people will enjoy and make a virtual "home" out of for a growing community of players.

Exactly. No one's going to fault you (as a company) for making profits. I simply contend that the methods you will employ to make that money will likely be more on the conservative side with an eye for maximum long-term sustainability of the game, not the maximum number of dollars you can gouge your playerbase for in the least amount of time.

The subscriptions model may not be "glamorous" in the world of MMOs right now, but they do represent a degree of predictable income that any so called "investor" would love to see. Add to that a hybrid F2P microtranaction system and you'll cover all the bases the playerbase could want from this. It might not be "sexy" but it will inspire confidence that you plan to keep CoT around for a very long time.

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

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I can fully back a Hybrid

I can fully back a Hybrid model. I guarantee you that if the game is as close to CoH as I hope it will be I will be paying the $15.00 a month for subscription if that is what is decided on AND I'll even buy stuff occasionally from the cash store if I want it bad enough or it seems reasonable enough to buy. If it goes strictly F2P with Micro-Transactions I highly doubt you'll ever see a penny from me. I want to know that any money I spend will be worth it to me in the long run and not just some short term gain for the company I give my money to.

I got chills! They're multiplyin'. And I'm losin' control. Cuz the power, I'm supplyin'. Why it's ELECTRIFYIN'!!

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oOStaticOo wrote:
oOStaticOo wrote:

If it goes strictly F2P with Micro-Transactions I highly doubt you'll ever see a penny from me. I want to know that any money I spend will be worth it to me in the long run and not just some short term gain for the company I give my money to.

I am not posting this to argue a point but I am asking for personal insight:

If the game is released with a really cool character animation set that you want (lets say finger shooter where you can shoot fx out of your fingers pointed like a gun) and has theis REALLY cool crackling lightining effect (i assume from your signature) but these are locked behind a purchase of *150 each (lets just say that means $1.50) on a per character basis you won't pay the $3 to get your character to look and perform the way you've envisioned them instead of the choosing from the default options? Same for your uniform(s)?

You won't buy any other chraracter slots? And even if they're given to you you won't buy any of the animations, fx, costumes, base addons, auras, etc that you'd need to actualize your imagination?

I understand if you say "no I wouldn't" but I don't know if I agree. Also I in no way an suggesting a price point of $1.50 for any of the items in this hypothetical. Sale prices are greatly determined by the dev cost vs user buyers model. More membership means they can AFFORD to release things for cheaper.

I understand some people hate this model. I really do. I know that I prefer it. I think that an alt centric game that sells customization should not look to give away their main selling point for such a steep discount that the Sub model would have to offer.

How do you feel when the subscription STILL didn't give you the you wanted to actualize your character and you still had to go the game store to buy it.. AND pay for your sub?

I understand the game wants to move forward with the sub model, despite its disadvantages. So the issue in this thread is .. where is the value? Should they put EVERYthing in the sub? What should the sub NOT give away, and why? Compared to the free model, how much money will subscribers be saving for the "average user"? What is the expected behavior of the average user? Beyond the launch content how do subscriptions factor into future releases?

None of these questions are any small feat to answer in a sub model.

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No. I wouldn't buy it. Why?

No. I wouldn't buy it. Why? Because I am on a very tight budget when it comes to how much I can spend in a month. I can justify spending $15.00 a month and have all the options available to me vs. individually buying one thing at a time for X dollars per purchase. All those individual purchases will go over the $15.00 a month I can justify spending on a game. I can easily log into a game every day for hours, so spending $15.00 a month is more cost effective for myself. It would basically boil down to pennies a day. Every F2P game I have played so far I have never spent one penny on any transaction. I never will. To me, it costs too much. I'm looking for getting the most bang for my buck. I don't have the disposable income to spend on gaming like some people do. So if I can get something for free, well I'll take what I can get for free. IF, and I heavily stress the IF, I have some extra cash to spend and there is something that has grabbed my attention enough, I'll buy it.

That is the tipping point for me. If it is something that has a great value to it, I'll consider purchasing it. I may have to budget for it, but if I can I'll do it. So how can one gauge what is of value to one person and not another? You tell me. I have no idea. What you consider valuable, I may not. I like package deals. Offer me a lot of something in one package for a low price and I'm on it. Offer me one item for a high price, sorry you can keep it. I used the monthly stipend I got from my subscription in CoH to purchase a lot of things. I never spent an extra penny over the $15.00 a month for my subscription though. To me, it just feels like a cheap money grab doing Micro-Transactions and also more of a Pay to Win formula. I don't want that.

I got chills! They're multiplyin'. And I'm losin' control. Cuz the power, I'm supplyin'. Why it's ELECTRIFYIN'!!

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If your budget is $15 per

If your budget is $15 per month, am I understanding your viewpoint to say "I won't spend that $15 because I can't afford it .. but only for microtransactions".

Also Pay to Win has nothing to do with the revenue model. Pay to win is specifically classified as paying to have exclusive items (accessible behind actual money) that enhance the mechanics a players gameplay performance that non-buyers cannot have. There's no reason that paying for an animation set would do any more damage, cast any faster, or perform in any way different than using the default animation. There's no costume that will make a character automatically have any performance advantage. There's no FX that make the game easier comparatively. You have alot of convincing to bridge the two issues together because there is no inherent link.

- -

I can understand saying "I don't like microtransactions" but your justifications for such are not ones that I find compelling.

I see a difference between I won't spend ANY money at all on the game if there is no subscription model,
and I wont spend past $15 per month for this game because it's all i can afford.
The burden to put items in the store people are willing to buy still remains in the hands of the sellers, but removing that as a factor all I can see is either 1) bias or 2) the desire to have access to more than $15 worth of content and pay only $15 for it.

- -

One real pitfall to the Microtransaction model is the "Alt Tax" because the more concepts you want to play the more it will cost. I can see where players may not want to pay that. Also there is the issue of account wide vs character centric models of unlocking items.. Unlocking on a per character basis I honestly feel would not be as profitable but I haven't looked at any data on it (especially not in any game that is alt-centric).

Another pitfall to the microtransaction model is that if you do have a budget you will have to wait longer to be able to afford any of the things you want to buy. So if an expansion costs $30 then in your case you'd have to wait at least 2 months to be able to afford it. This is a concern I understand as well. I again personally thing it's a GOOD thing because the it gives players a long term goal of things to look forward to (for those responsible enough to budget their money that is) and keeps them in the game.

There are many arguments to be made to why either model works situationally better than the other. But what I am reading, I take as "I don't want to pay for a $3 Sandwich, but I'll gladly pay for a $5 meal where it APPEARS that the sandwich's cost has decreased but really they just add on things that cost them nothing to the meal (Fries and a drink)." I get wanting the value. I simply see the value in THIS game company's situation of why selling the $3 sandwich is simply more advantageous.

The dev cost per user is just MUCH different for companies with small user bases versus large userbases. In this situation I expect a small to moderate userbase. Advertising budget is not something I've seen but I dont expect it'll be comparable to its peers seeking many of the same customers and that's not a bad thing if it's planned for. But I wont fabricate that the release of City of Titans will be anything but what it is. Market research has shown how problematic subscription bases are for digital products with a low/moderate number of users.

Things change all the time and nothing is completely predictable. I am saying don't shoot yourself in the foot. You wait for operational cash flow waiting for the subscription model to play catch up. And in the time you're waiting for the "steady trickle" of funds after launch you have to ask yourself, will you be able to release content that will bring in more users during that time at the pace expected of you? And if you do bring in more users can you afford to wait to have the "subscribing users" to add to the cash flow model.. What if after launch you can't afford to release new content right away? Would you fail to attract new users, possibly. Would you lose users who are not satisfied with the options available at launch? Undoubtedly. Then look at both models and ask yourself "which model would OUR company be more successful using.

Just how long after launch will developers still be working for free to make the revenue model work? Do you want to possibly overextend yourself paying for devs based on the subscriptions on day 1 with the assumption that they will be there on day 30? That is a decision with alot of ambition and even more risk. You could easily capitalize on alot of money that is actually IN HAND and not assumed over time and form an operational budget from there.

Crowd Control Enthusiast

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Why should I pay for a

Why should I pay for a Graphics effect? There is no end result difference between it looking like electricity and fire, so what is the point? If I have to pay for an electricity effect, I'll pass. I'll just use whatever model is available to me at launch. Why would I buy a costume piece? Sure it looks cool, but it doesn't do anything to enhance my character's abilities. So I'll just stick with what they give me to start out with. Why would I buy a character slot? I'll just find the characters that I most want to play and use up whatever available slots are given to me. Why would I buy a pet? It doesn't do anything other than just look cool. No thanks. Why would I buy XP boosters? Sure I could level faster that way, but I really could care less. I have all the time I want to level because I can play for hours on end whereas someone else may not be able to. So now all that's left as far as I can see is buying Enhancements or special powers not available to the free player. Uh oh. That looks like Pay to Win. Tsk, tsk.

I got chills! They're multiplyin'. And I'm losin' control. Cuz the power, I'm supplyin'. Why it's ELECTRIFYIN'!!

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Just to add in another

Just to add in another perspective (and remembering that, as Segev pointed out, we are only a vocal minority here on the forums) I'm pretty much with Static on this. I might buy that animation with a stipend I get from my sub, but I won't spend real cash on it if I'm already subscribed. Now, I don't expect my stipend (assuming there is one) to immediately get me every new item that comes out, meaning I have to make choices regarding what I buy, but I will make those choices combined with patience so that it all comes out of the stipend and not extra cash.

At least, this is how my experience went in CoX post-Freedom. I bought some power sets and some costume parts, but always with the stipend. If I had to wait till next month for more points, it didn't kill me.

I will say, however -- and maybe this gets back to your original point Jay -- that if CoT proves over time to be as truly outstanding as CoX was, I could actually be encouraged to spend more money on rare occasions. Looking back at pre-Freedom, I did buy a couple of the origin-themed booster packs. My thoughts were kind of a mix of the following:

-- Wait... I've paid for a sub for 5 years and they want me to spend on top of that now for stuff that used to be included in issues? "This deal's getting worse all the time..."
-- I do really, really love this game, though, and the plans they have outlined for its future (both as issues and the GR expansion) sound so good that I'm actually willing to throw them a bit of extra cash to repay their dedication to making a truly great game over the years.
-- However, I don't love the game so much that I'm willing to buy ALL the packs, cuz some of them don't seem worth it to me.

Perhaps most ironically: at the time I had heard rumours about the possibility that a f2p model and store might be coming, and I naively thought that giving them money NOW might hold off that development and keep the game in the sub-only mode. In retrospect, I see now that all of us who bought booster packs convinced NCSoft and the devs that the f2p/microtxaction model was actually viable. (D'oh!) I guess that's the very thing Segev is saying: it almost doesn't matter what any of us says here; what will count is what players actually buy.

[EDIT: typo]

Spurn all ye kindle.

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What players will actually

What players will actually buy:-

The f2per

The game is great.. I wont buy anything. Why would I? It's f2p and awesome.
Some new stuff comes out.. hmm... I *might* buy it.. or I might just complain about it, rubbish the product to everyone, laugh at suckers who buy stuff in zone chat.
Or I might buy it. It's a one-off. Back to playing for free.

Game is a bit boring. Not paying for this rubbish! There's a ton of new f2p games coming out soon, I'm a serial f2p gamer anyway. I'll spend most of my time on the forums complaining and in zone telling you all about the new games I'm going to be playing.

The subber..

Game is great.
New toys! Maybe I'll use my stipend. Maybe I'll go over a bit and get something extra from the shop.
Oh man some guy in my guild really wants to try out the new AT. I might get it for them.
My wife wants to play. Awesome.
My kids want to play? Cool!
Hmm wonder if I can get them to introduce a family account.

Game is a bit boring.
What? You mad, bro? My whole family is playing, I'm in a massive guild, always tons of people to play with. We run stuff on hard with the boosts from our stipend for giggles.
May jump on the forums and post how fast we ran that last kill all and plan next months all alien-costume themed mastermind run.

If you'd still be playing CoX, subbing and paying and loving every minute.. there's a model right there for you. It will make MWM money.
If you like f2p games because they're free and are most often found talking smack in zone, all the time, in every game.. well you don't make MWM money.
Just saying.

Back to retirement.

If people won't pay enough to finance its creation, it is not worth creating.
/Segev

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I'll need to look at the

I'll need to look at the actual market research for player retention for both models before accepting you assumptions that the F2P player is always a "serial f2p gamer". The term "Serial F2P gamer" is psuedoscience and not based on any measured statistic.. the entire revenue model is too new to have conclusive data and there's relatively no way to to really track player behavior between games. Consumer behavior can be predicted but not with fake science.

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