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What Will Make a Subscription Worth Buying

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oOStaticOo
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http://www.rockpapershotgun

http://www.rockpapershotgun.com/2013/08/24/sure-sounds-like-blizzard-wants-to-take-wow-f2p/

Go read the comments.

Maybe now you'll see that going F2P isn't the best idea. Quick money grab? Yeah. Long term longevity? No. Most of the people commenting are making some of the same points I've made and others as well. F2P may be great for the company for the first year or two, but after that you never hear another word about how great they are doing. Why? Because most people have jumped ship and moved on to a different F2P MMO.

To me, if a Subscription based MMO goes F2P it means the death of the MMO. They have reached the point where they are now trying to grab as much money as they can before they pull the plugs on the life support and just let it die. Sure you might get a false sense of security in thinking that sales have gone up and that means they have more money to develop more stuff, but shortly after they pack up shop and move on to the next thing.

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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Static's post about why he

Static's post about why he wouldn't buy anything because it doesn't change his game experience is, first off, indicative of a certain mindset, not of all players' attitudes. League of Legends, as an example, sells "skins" for their characters. A skin does nothing but make it look different. In some cases, it makes it have new voice-over sounds for certain effects. But mechanically, it does nothing.

To reveal that I'm much the same kind of player as Static, I've bought vanishingly few skins. (I admit that I was so charmed by Christmas Tree Maokai and his exploding presents that I bought the character just so I could buy the skin, but that is by far the exception for me.)

That said, Riot Games makes a killing on League of Legends, and skins are incredibly popular things to buy to customize the character you play. The avatar-builder is our first product that we plan to release, and there will be costume pieces for which we charge additional fees. It works for Gaia Online, and I have no doubt it will work for us.

Different people spend money for different things.

Now, to Static's point again: if nothing we offer is worth spending money on, why would you buy anything? He makes the assumption that there will have to be "pay to win" items in the c-store, because that's all that would even tempt him. But why, then, would he pay a subscription, if everything he wants in the game is free anyway? Is the subscription supposed to be "pay to win," too?

I'm not trying to pick on you, here, Static, but rather to analyze the point you're attempting to make.

For people like you, Static, there may be nothing in the game on which you wish to spend money. But you can still prove a money-earner for us just by being a fellow-player for those who will spend money, but only because they have people to play with. Heck, if you decide you want to put things up on the market for Stars - if you want to get Stars for any reason at all without spending money on them - you've contributed to MWM's sale of Stars by making something available to those with more money than time who were willing to buy Stars to buy it. You have made Stars more valuable while helping MWM avoid making the game "pay to win."

Now, to focus this thread on its topic for a bit... I would like to hear what people would want to see in a subscription. What specific things would you want available in one that would entice you to buy it?

My goal with this is to break down subscrptions into bite-sized, single-produce micro-subscriptions, so that players can fully customize what they're paying for. I'd like to combine multiple items into one or more "subscription packages," but these are just items of convenience that can be tweaked by adding or subtracting microsubscription options, and are otherwise built directly from the microsubsctiptions that make them up. They're there for people who just want 1-3 choices rather than having to build a custom shopping cart.

I would also like to make these microsubscriptions have their prices listed in Stars per month. You buy the Stars, then micro-subscribe and your Stars are debited every month. This allows the free player who goes on the market to sell items for Stars to also get microsubscription benefits.

This means, obviously, that a "stipend" makes little sense for a micro-subscription. We will likely have a "recurring charge" option whereby you can put your card on an auto-pay schedule to get a stipend of Stars, however.

But for this thread, if I could get lists of things that people would expect out of a subscription, particularly with an eye towards each being individually available as a "micro-subscription" perk, that would be very helpful.

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I maintain my assertion that

I maintain my assertion that the threshold for where F2P and Subscription models become fiscally advantageous is based on the Dev Resourse vs Buyer model.

If we have a 1,000,000 user game with any specific feature developed at a Dev Resource cost of $800,000 (payroll, overhead, hardware, etc) is costing $0.80 cents per buyer. This same feature for a 100,000 user game costs $8 per user. A Subscription will cover the cost of continued development for a 1M user game. A Subscription will NOT cover the same cost of development for a 100,000 user game.

If a subscription game becomes F2P (usually fremium) its because they have fallen far enough short of that threshold of buyers and need to add value to their content releases and can no longer afford to offer the "value meal" option and need to bring in MORE/Additional revenue.

- -

Neither option is the DEFAULT better option, but they have shown to be situationally advantageous (Though if a huge user product were to go F2P they would likely make more money, there is not as much incentive because they already have a huge user base. There is not enough data to predict what consumers would/will do in a huge subscriber game if it goes F2P)

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JayBezz wrote:
JayBezz wrote:

I maintain my assertion that the threshold for where F2P and Subscription models become fiscally advantageous is based on the Dev Resourse vs Buyer model.
If we have a 1,000,000 user game with any specific feature developed at a Dev Resource cost of $800,000 (payroll, overhead, hardware, etc) is costing $0.80 cents per buyer. This same feature for a 100,000 user game costs $8 per user. A Subscription will cover the cost of continued development for a 1M user game. A Subscription will NOT cover the same cost of development for a 100,000 user game.
If a subscription game becomes F2P (usually fremium) its because they have fallen far enough short of that threshold of buyers and need to add value to their content releases and can no longer afford to offer the "value meal" option and need to bring in MORE/Additional revenue.
- -
Neither option is the DEFAULT better option, but they have shown to be situationally advantageous (Though if a huge user product were to go F2P they would likely make more money, there is not as much incentive because they already have a huge user base. There is not enough data to predict what consumers would/will do in a huge subscriber game if it goes F2P)

And I'll maintain that your outdated numerical/financial estimates might (stress "might") make sense in the world of Blizzard-sized corporate-based MMOs. Unfortunately for you CoT is not one of those. Frankly I believe you're trying to pound your square-shaped assumptions about how this is going to work into the round-shaped hole of the reality of how CoT is going to work.

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Lothic wrote:
Lothic wrote:

Unfortunately for you CoT is not one of those. Frankly I believe you're trying to pound your square-shaped knowledge about how this is going to work into the round-shaped hole of the reality of how CoT is going to work.

My mathematical hypothetical is not reliant on its relation to City of Titans to remain true. We all know that development costs money. We all know that users are the main source of resource of that revenue (the game may offer some advertisment or other revenue streams but it has not been announced outright). This is why I hold to my assertion that the factors are Development Cost and the Users.

Where this applies to City of Titans is unclear. We do not have a user base yet nor does MWM have any operating capital to know what their development will cost. We do not know how many users will use the product. So I invite you to review the basis of your belief.

I AM stating that I think it's smarter to plan for a lower userbase model. I do not have evidence to definitively say this will be the case but it if the my guess turns out to be false the result is much less drastic and more recoverable than if they use a model that is based on a large number of users. Using a model that assumes a large number of users and failing to reach that goal has drastic long-term effects on the studio and thus the game.

So much of what we're talking about is speculative. We all understand that, but asking to pay $15 per user per month for what may actually require $50 per user per month (the first few months) is not being a realistic consumer.

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Given that a hybrid model of

Given that a hybrid model of some sort is all but guaranteed to be our approach, it's a bit of a false dichotomy to discuss the benefits of solely being freemium vs. solely being subscription-based.

What would be helpful is discussion of what a subscriber might expect to get for his subscription that a free player might not have.

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Segev wrote:
Segev wrote:

What would be helpful is discussion of what a subscriber might expect to get for his subscription that a free player might not have.

Bonus character slots (that when you stop subscribing become "locked" again. Yes, I know it sucks... but it is an incentive to buy more character slots for when you drop to non-subscriber level or to keep subscribing. As long as you make it *obvious* to the player (such as whenever you create a new character and you are beyond the "non-subscriber" limit, it could be worthwhile putting a Cross (or something along those lines) to signify that when you DO stop paying your sub fee, it would be no longer available (unless you buy the unlock).

Earlier access to powerset (included in sub fee), compared to "have to buy" for non subs.

Stipend: In two minds with this. My point of view changes as much as my mind does.

No lock outs to TF's/Raids: The subscriber can run these as often as they want. The non subscriber is limited to one a day (or a few a week) kind of thing.

Earlier access to "new content" (missions and the like). Or cheaper purchasing rate if *all* players have to buy it.

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JayBezz wrote:
JayBezz wrote:

Lothic wrote:
Unfortunately for you CoT is not one of those. Frankly I believe you're trying to pound your square-shaped knowledge about how this is going to work into the round-shaped hole of the reality of how CoT is going to work.

My mathematical hypothetical is not reliant on its relation to City of Titans to remain true. We all know that development costs money. We all know that users are the main source of resource of that revenue (the game may offer some advertisment or other revenue streams but it has not been announced outright). This is why I hold to my assertion that the factors are Development Cost and the Users.
Where this applies to City of Titans is unclear. We do not have a user base yet nor does MWM have any operating capital to know what their development will cost. We do not know how many users will use the product. So I invite you to review the basis of your belief.

Talk about the pot calling the kettle black. You're the one trying to use all sorts of "corporate-oriented statistics" to back a theory that almost certainly won't cleanly apply to CoT's semi-unique situation.

JayBezz wrote:

I AM stating that I think it's smarter to plan for a lower userbase model. I do not have evidence to definitively say this will be the case but it if the my guess turns out to be false the result is much less drastic and more recoverable than if they use a model that is based on a large number of users. Using a model that assumes a large number of users and failing to reach that goal has drastic long-term effects on the studio and thus the game.

Actually your logic here is completely faulty. Even if we can assume the pretense that the subscription-only model works better for a low userbase situation that doesn't automatically mean that CoT would be doomed if it somehow got a million people to subscribe to it. But conversely it's more likely that if CoT blissfully estimated it would get a million microtransaction-ers and it only got 100,000 that it would be in far more trouble than if it had 100,000 stable subscriptions it could count on.

JayBezz wrote:

So much of what we're talking about is speculative. We all understand that, but asking to pay $15 per user per month for what may actually require $50 per user per month (the first few months) is not being a realistic consumer.

Hyperbole much? If it turns out that this game is going to require the equivalent of $50 per user per month to stay afloat (at ANY time after launch) it's not going to deserve to operate REGARDLESS of which income model it's using.

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

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Segev wrote:
Segev wrote:

What would be helpful is discussion of what a subscriber might expect to get for his subscription that a free player might not have.

Can you offer a Dollar amount per month for your hypothetical? How much for the "key" (box value to buy game)? How much per month?

Also you have to define your sales model before I can begin to define how much value I am saving by being a subscriber. Are unlocks per account? Per character? Both? And the value of a $15 subscription bundle is only as important as the sales price of the other digital products.

I can tell you that I expect the box fee to help in recovering the cost of initial development (Minimum wage retro-pay in this studio's case). I personally will not pay over $50 for the initial cost of any game .. this is the arbitrary number given as the baseline from way back in console days and I've stuck to it ever since. In my case that is A/(B*(N, <50)) where A is the retropay, B is the anticipated user and N is the price per key no greater that $50.

There is alot of assumption to be made on the default sales model first to begin to package it for a better value:

How much is a new character to buy? Only after knowing this will i be able to assess the value of what it is to rent over time. Also, how much time is our model based on before the rent shows Gains on Principle (when the cost to rent = the initial cost to buy). The same questions to be asked for all purchases in the digital store (Costume sets, Animation Sets, FX sets, etc)

Also there's much discussion to be had about what happens to things given in the subscription when the sub ends. If I get a personal base in the sub does it stay with my character/account? Costumes i've equipped? Resource cap?

Until the store products and sales model are better defined we cannot possibly help you speculate the perceived value of a subscription model.

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JayBezz wrote:
JayBezz wrote:

Segev wrote:
What would be helpful is discussion of what a subscriber might expect to get for his subscription that a free player might not have.

Can you offer a Dollar amount per month for your hypothetical? How much for the "key" (box value to buy game)? How much per month?
Also you have to define your sales model before I can begin to define how much value I am saving by being a subscriber. Are unlocks per account? Per character? Both? And the value of a $15 subscription bundle is only as important as the sales price of the other digital products.
I can tell you that I expect the box fee to help in recovering the cost of initial development (Minimum wage retro-pay in this studio's case). I personally will not pay over $50 for the initial cost of any game .. this is the arbitrary number given as the baseline from way back in console days and I've stuck to it ever since. In my case that is A/(B*(N, <50)) where A is the retropay, B is the anticipated user and N is the price per key no greater that $50.
There is alot of assumption to be made on the default sales model first to begin to package it for a better value:
How much is a new character to buy? Only after knowing this will i be able to assess the value of what it is to rent over time. Also, how much time is our model based on before the rent shows Gains on Principle (when the cost to rent = the initial cost to buy). The same questions to be asked for all purchases in the digital store (Costume sets, Animation Sets, FX sets, etc)
Also there's much discussion to be had about what happens to things given in the subscription when the sub ends. If I get a personal base in the sub does it stay with my character/account? Costumes i've equipped? Resource cap?
Until the store products and sales model are better defined we cannot possibly help you speculate the perceived value of a subscription model.

You do realize that practically ALL of your concerns about "value" for players is already addressed by the HYBRID model CoT is going to use don't you? Pay only as much as you want to get only what you want.

Sure in the long run we'll get more info about the details you seem to be desperate for here. But if over the course of the next TWO YEARS what you learn about the payment model of this game doesn't satisfy you you could always just not play it. Amazingly simple don't you think?

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

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Lothic]
Lothic wrote:

Actually your logic here is completely faulty. Even if we can assume the pretense that the subscription-only model works better for a low usesrbase situation that doesn't automatically mean that CoT would be doomed if it somehow got a million people to subscribe to it. But conversely it's more likely that if CoT blissfully estimated it would get a million microtransaction-ers and it only got 100,000 that it would be in far more trouble than if it had 100,000 stable subscriptions it could count on.

The hypothetical is based on users and for the purpose of the hypothetical every user was assumed to be a subscriber. Now a dev have now stated that they are unwavering in their commitment to the hybrid model, the hypothetical is not relevant to City of Titans. The logic is not flawed, it's math. Its application to City of Titans is (now) moot if a final decision has been made.

Lothic wrote:

Hyperbole much? If it turns out that this game is going to require the equivalent of $50 per user per month to stay afloat (at ANY time after launch) it's not going to deserve to operate REGARDLESS of which income model it's using.

If you are unwilling to increase your user revenue then the only option is to decrease production cost. It's not hyperbole, again it's math. Less production means fewer, smaller, less frequent content releases. Slower, fewer, smaller releases diminishes subscription value.

I need to see the data on conversion rate for people who stop subscribing but remain users vs people who stop subscribing and leave completely but both are not good for the game. There is a direct causation based relationship between the events that are a result of slowing production IF you are unwilling/unable to increase your revenue per user to pay for development.

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Lothic wrote:
Lothic wrote:

You do realize that practically ALL of your concerns about "value" for players is already addressed by the HYBRID model CoT is going to use don't you? Pay only as much as you want to get only what you want.
Sure in the long run we'll get more info about the details you seem to be desperate for here. But if over the course of the next TWO YEARS what you learn about the payment model of this game doesn't satisfy you you could always just not play it. Amazingly simple don't you think?

I did not ask for the final information. I asked for some information for his proposed hypothetical.

If he says a subscription is $20 dollars.. what do you expect to get for 20 dollar a month? then the answer is staunchly different than the subscription is $5.. what do you expect to get for $5 per month.

And that is still not taking the sales MODEL into account. Do i get the purchases per account? or per character?

And the box amount IS very important to how much I will pay per month so I also asked for that information.

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JayBezz wrote:
JayBezz wrote:

Lothic wrote:
Actually your logic here is completely faulty. Even if we can assume the pretense that the subscription-only model works better for a low usesrbase situation that doesn't automatically mean that CoT would be doomed if it somehow got a million people to subscribe to it. But conversely it's more likely that if CoT blissfully estimated it would get a million microtransaction-ers and it only got 100,000 that it would be in far more trouble than if it had 100,000 stable subscriptions it could count on.

The hypothetical is based on users and for the purpose of the hypothetical every user was assumed to be a subscriber. Now a dev have now stated that they are unwavering in their commitment to the hybrid model, the hypothetical is not relevant to City of Titans. The logic is not flawed, it's math. Its application to City of Titans is (now) moot if a final decision has been made.
Lothic wrote:
Hyperbole much? If it turns out that this game is going to require the equivalent of $50 per user per month to stay afloat (at ANY time after launch) it's not going to deserve to operate REGARDLESS of which income model it's using.

If you are unwilling to increase your user revenue then the only option is to decrease production cost. It's not hyperbole, again it's math. Less production means fewer, smaller, less frequent content releases. Slower, fewer, smaller releases diminishes subscription value.
I need to see the data on conversion rate for people who stop subscribing but remain users vs people who stop subscribing and leave completely but both are not good for the game. There is a direct causation based relationship between the events that are a result of slowing production IF you are unwilling/unable to increase your revenue per user to pay for development.

Yes you are using numbers in your examples so technically there's some kind of pseudo-fact based "math" going on there.

Unfortunately you are so hyper-over-ananlyzing this that you've ventured into nigh-impossible hyperbole territory in order to try to get your "math" to have any validity to this discussion. Again I'll state if this game ever gets to the point where it could only survive if every player had to pay $50+ a month it would never survive regardless so why even go there?

JayBezz wrote:

Lothic wrote:
You do realize that practically ALL of your concerns about "value" for players is already addressed by the HYBRID model CoT is going to use don't you? Pay only as much as you want to get only what you want.
Sure in the long run we'll get more info about the details you seem to be desperate for here. But if over the course of the next TWO YEARS what you learn about the payment model of this game doesn't satisfy you you could always just not play it. Amazingly simple don't you think?

I did not ask for the final information. I asked for some information for his proposed hypothetical.
If he says a subscription is $20 dollars.. what do you expect to get for 10 dollar a month? then the answer is staunchly different than the subscription is $5.. what do you expect to get for $5 per month.
And that is still not taking the sales MODEL into account. Do i get the purchases per account? or per character?
And the box amount IS very important to how much I will pay per month so I also asked for that information.

I will admit that I'm coming at this from the point of view that differences that might amount to $5 or $10 a month are completely insignificant to me. I'm certainly not trying to brag that I'm a rarified member of the top 1% but just that when it comes to a game that I'll likely be getting dozens if not hundreds of hours per month of enjoyment from I'm not going to nickle-n-dime it for a few dollars here or there. For what it's worth I suspect most of the playerbase will look at this like I do and not stress-out about it too much.

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

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Segev wrote:
Segev wrote:

What would be helpful is discussion of what a subscriber might expect to get for his subscription that a free player might not have.

In an effort to cut through the noise and generate some signal here ... I think I've got an answer for you, Segev, that goes to the root of what you're asking about.

A subscriber expects ... preferential treatment.

That preferential treatment can take a bewildering variety of forms, but the bottom line is that subscribers expect to be well cared for and taken care of FIRST. That means that subscribers expect to be the ones "first in line" for all kinds of stuff ... whether it be beta invites, early access to newly developed game features, "restricted" content that will be made available to ALL Players at a later date, special discounts on store purchases (or other extra "bang for buck" considerations), being "first in line" for game queues to fill up in play (meaning less waiting to form teams through LFG systems) ... etc. etc. etc. so on and so forth.

The EXPECTATION is that by subscribing a Player is demonstrating their Loyalty to the game and its developers and staff ... with a corresponding expectation that that Loyalty will be "rewarded" in a variety of ways by the game's developers and staff, up to and possibly even including *mild* prioritizing for something as mundane as Customer Service and in-game GM Support (where being "first in line" can have some pretty serious advantages in terms of time not wasted in game).

That is what subscribers expect to receive in return for their Loyalty ... preferential treatment ... because in a great many important ways that matter, they've already paid (especially if they're a long time, continuous subscriber).

Now, if you're looking for a "microsubscription" option, Segev, here's something you might want to think about.

Say you set the base monthly subscription rate at $10 (because I like that number) ... but that subscription rate includes no Stars as a monthly stipend. However, if you've got a basic subscription (at $10), you can add an additional subscription of +$5 per month that will automatically purchase Stars for you ... and the amount of Stars purchased by this monthly stipend will be better/more efficient than the exchange rate of buying Stars in bulk from the Star Store. So if $5 would normally get you 500 Stars in the MWM Store (just to keep the math easy) as a Freebie Player, this monthly subscription would offer a stipend of, say ... 600 Stars. But if you wanted to actually Buy Stars as a one time microtransaction, because you're a subscriber (the $10 per month) your $5 buys you 550 Stars instead of merely 500 Stars like a Freebie Player would be getting.

There's all kinds of things you can do to tinker around the edges of that basic formula (must be subscribed for X number of months to get Y benefits), but that's the underlying shape of it. The key thing is that you can subscribe to the game (without Stars stipend) at $10 per month, or subscribe to the game (with Stars stipend) at $15 per month. Being a subscriber though gives you preferential treatment.

You follow me, Segev?

Note that these preferences in treatment need not be for things that have a direct monetary value ... such as reserving slots for beta testing new features on the test server(s) or being given a "staged" advance access to new features on the Live Servers where at first only subscribers can access those new development for a period of time before they're made available to everyone later on. Once again, being able to be "first in line" for things can offer a powerful inducement to subscribe for opportunities and services that don't necessarily fall into the "Pay To Win" category, but can fall into the "Pay To Experience Sooner" category.

So preferential treatment is the key to attracting and holding onto subscribers.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm going to spend some time being mesmerized by my signature ...


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I'm just delighted to see

I'm just delighted to see someone finally say that we are going to go the Hybrid route.

As far as what do with that model? Good question.

I'd say have a Free, $5.00, $10.00, and $15.00 Micro-subscription model.

Free would get you limited access. Say 2 character slots, access to the base core power sets, all content, and no stipend of stars. With the option of purchasing extra power sets and character slots as they wish.

$5.00 would get you basic access. Say 5 character slots, access to the base core power sets + 2 extra power sets, all content, and no stipend of stars.

$10.00 would get you advanced access. Say 10 character slots, access to base core power sets + 4 extra power sets, all content, and a small stipend of say 250 stars a month.

$15.00 would get you premium access. Say 15 character slots, access to all power sets, all content, and a stipend of 550 stars a month.

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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Redlynne wrote:
Redlynne wrote:

That is what subscribers expect to receive in return for their Loyalty ... preferential treatment ... because in a great many important ways that matter, they've already paid (especially if they're a long time, continuous subscriber).

Amazingly enough I pretty much agree with everything you said here. ;)

But I'll add one other general aspect of the subscription model of payment that I appreciated from CoH - simplicity. For six years in a row I was able to pay for CoH with their annual subscription option. With that it was a once-a-year thing that I didn't have to think/worry about the rest of the year. That peace of mind is something that the semi-chaotic F2P concept can't provide.

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Lothic wrote:
Lothic wrote:

Amazingly enough I pretty much agree with everything you said here. ;)

/em shrugs

I have my moments. ^_~


Verbogeny is one of many pleasurettes afforded a creatific thinkerizer.
JayBezz
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I am going to jump in and say

I am going to jump in and say that I do not like the idea of any powersets being behind purchases (subscription or microtransaction). I do not like the idea of paying for combat mechanics, period. Aesthetic changes (Animations, FX, Costumes, etc) sure, but paying for combat mechanics I do not support.

Also, access to a test server should not require a subscription if access to the game server does not require a subscription. I just hope your server infrastructure can port over the account settings from the game server AND still allow free use to the development that needs testing. Unsubscribed players should not be considered second class users even if you give perks that make subscriptions appealing.

- -

I like the "Discount" model as I've stated before. It is much more attractive when the discount gets steeper over time to encourage KEEPING a sub as much as GETTING a sub.

If character slots are rented at the sub level I would never think about it unless it was a "rent to own model" the number of slots can be unlimited but by keeping the sub active (perhaps consecutive only) you "own" a new slot for every X months you've subscribed.

- -

Your micro-subscription models are also appealing. I am making the assumption we're talking about the same type of system so I will elaborate on what was said by others and what I understand that to mean:

A Stars subscription (hypothetically priced at $5) could allot you a stipend and a discounted rate on stars.
A Slots subscription (hypothetically but seperately priced at $5) could allot you unlimited character slots on a "rent to own" basis.
A Powers subscription ( " ") could allot you unlimited temporary acces to all the available animations and FX on a rent to own basis
A Costumes subscription (" ") could allot you unlimited temporary access to all the available costumes on a rent to own basis
A Story subscription (" ") could alot you access to all the story on a rent to own basis.

I make it a note that sustained subscription is the goal, so the idea that a longtime subscriber goes back to zero for not paying their subscription is something I am attempting to avoid as its a large barrier in the subscription model to user retention. I also understand that it's a motivator for keeping the sub active. IF there's consecutive subscription benefit then what should happen if a subscription fails payment? Also does the entire subscription go away or would you give options to simply lower the subscription at any time before the renewal date?

I'm trying to compare the "rent" vs "rent to own" model for effectiveness in subscription retention (not player retention).. If the rate of ownership is too slow (equal or less than what they could get paying for free) then the entire value of the rental model loses appeal. But if it's too high then it invalidates the sticker price and once the player unlocks "enough" they will stop subscribing. It's hard to see the value in a subscription of a particular type once a player has "enough" of what they're micro-sub is offering them and they don't pay for it.

Selling content is hard but (in my opinion) necessary. I like the idea of selling a number of runs over time (I want to say 4 hours because 24 hours discourages people from logging in and anything shorter is not long enough to hinder people's enjoyment) with both in-game currency and stars but not through stars only. Offering this to any subscriber (using the proposed $5 hypothetical) for free/unlimited does not sound unreasonable. Maybe it would require two of the micro subs to reach a $10 subscription threshold.. I put the threshold on a $ amount and not a number of subs because the micro subscription pricing will depend on what your development schedule looks like according to its classification. If you're releasing much more costumes than you are powers then the costume subscription has less value than the powers subscription and the price should reflect the value.

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To answer your question,

To answer your question, Segev...

First of all, I wholeheartedly agree with Red (preferential treatment for loyalty) and Lothic (simplicity -- not feeling nickled and dimed). For anything not automatically included with our sub -- anything we can get only by purchase -- Red's point about subscribers getting better deals would be something I'd consider essential. Especially if we're not getting a regular stipend. I'd need to feel that the very regularity of my contribution to the game is appreciated and rewarded.

Segev wrote:

For people like you, Static, there may be nothing in the game on which you wish to spend money. But you can still prove a money-earner for us just by being a fellow-player for those who will spend money, but only because they have people to play with.

Not sure exactly what you mean here. Aren't all subscribers already money-earners because we are paying a monthly fee? Sometimes paid well in advance? What more reliable money-earning can you ask for than that?

I thought the CoX sub model (even after Freedom) was extremely worthwhile, so I'd be looking for something similar. In the simplest view, what I'd expect from a sub is access to all (and I mean ALL) zones, missions, and story content upon release. (With the assumption that there will be regular releases, of course!) This, for me, is the minimum that would be required for me to subscribe. (Assuming the game is as good as I expect it to be.)

The other essential bit for me is some sort of veteran reward system. Whether stipend, Red's discount model, or simply free access to other stuff a la CoX, I'd need to know that my continued loyalty brings increased value of some sort, value that continues to increase over time as long as I remain subscribed. Character slots, as mentioned by Gangrel, are a good example. I like the idea of the longer I play the more slots I get, so when I max out one char there's a slot waiting for the next new one.

Now, going back to the CoX model, as I mentioned above I had no problem with new power sets and costume parts being sold in the shop, as long as I could buy them with my stipend. If there is going to be no stipend unless purchased as a sort of sub-add-on as you mention above, suddenly I get a bit hesitant about subscribing and would need to have details, because it starts to counter Lothic's simplicity rule above if I have to start thinking whether it's cheaper to add the stipend to my sub or just buy stuff a la carte, what exactly is for sale, how often is new stuff being released, how much of it do I want, etc etc -- complicated. As soon as I start thinking that way, I stop feeling like I'm in a partnership with MWM to create a cool virtual world, and instead I go into "be on your guard around salespeople" mode. I don't want my relationship with CoT to fall into that sort of cynical area.

Going back to the modular sub model, I know I keep saying I'd probably just go for the "full" model, but one thing I thought of that I might opt out of is PvP. And I'm guessing I'm not alone, so that might be a good thing to have as a separate subscription component.

Hope this is helpful!

Spurn all ye kindle.

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JayBezz wrote:
JayBezz wrote:

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.

Of course, not all F2Pers are like that, but at least a few (more than a few) of us have known quite a few F2Pers who were like this.

Well, I don't know of any serial F2Pers, but I do know some F2Pers who might like a F2P game, but they never think anything is worth buying in the store. They're there for the free game. They're either okay with the limitations or they're complaining about the limitations but still refuse to buy anything.

At the same time, I have a brother if he plays the game regularly will buy something a bit regularly, usually about $15 dollars a month worth, if he thinks it's worth it, sometimes even a bit more because he knows if he doesn't spend any money the game could very well stop. While I have a few friends who will be hard pressed to purchase anything from any game, outside a couple exceptions, and know if a game closes they can go to the next F2P game.

So obviously, there are different kinds of players, but the, YAY FREE GAME, seems a bit more prevalent to me in F2P games.

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As others have said,

As others have said, preferential treatment and simplicity are the big ones. In other words, I'd like to see and feel that I'm getting value for my money.

I do like the stipend idea because I'll be more willing to pay a little extra on the subscription than I'd be willing to pay a subscription and then have to pay extra for anything available in the store. Such additional costs trigger purchasing pains and make me more thoroughly evaluate the balance between want and need (for me the default answer to, "Do I need this?" is always going to be, "No."). The need to spend money on top of a subscription also (if only psychologically) devalues the subscription.

- - - - -
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Hrm. There seem to be some

Hrm. There seem to be some misconceptions about what I mean by "microsubscriptions." Most of this discussion about price levels and how much is enough value for a given dollar amount per month is beside the point of what I'm asking about. However, this discussion's been useful in a couple of ways, so I'd like to help it continue. First off, the sort of answer that's most helpful are Red's comments about "preferential treatment" and ones like Jay's here:

JayBezz wrote:

A Stars subscription (hypothetically priced at $5) could allot you a stipend and a discounted rate on stars.
A Slots subscription (hypothetically but seperately priced at $5) could allot you unlimited character slots on a "rent to own" basis.
A Powers subscription ( " ") could allot you unlimited temporary acces to all the available animations and FX on a rent to own basis
A Costumes subscription (" ") could allot you unlimited temporary access to all the available costumes on a rent to own basis
A Story subscription (" ") could alot you access to all the story on a rent to own basis.

Red's has a good philosophical basis for the sorts of things to consider in subscriptions. Jay's actually talks about what the subscriptions might buy.

I can't really answer "how much would you have to spend per month." It also isn't relevant to answering the question I'm asking right now.

Jay's response here is good not because it has "subscription level" pricings, but because it suggests specific things that - for some unspecified amount of money - people might be interested in paying a subscription fee to get. (No, I know nobody would agree "sure, any amount of money is worth that!" What I'm looking for is what people might be willing to pay a subscription fee for, assuming the sub fee was 'reasonable' in their minds. It doesn't matter how reasonable the sub fee is if the things you are being offered for it are not things you want! The guy who wants to play City of Titans like a standard MMO wouldn't be moved to buy a subscription if its perks were things like "access to the Bejeweled-clone mini-game you can play while waiting for a team to form," to make a somewhat silly example.)

"Preferential treatment in semi-intangible ways," "discounts in the c-store, possibly increasing with time," "more character slots," "bulk access to things (powers, costume pieces/sets, etc.)..." these are good suggestions for what one might get in a subscription.

Again, don't think about price, here. Just... what sorts of things might make a subscription worth considering at all to you?

I'll try to address the concerns about what I've said about stipends, and more explain why I said it and what I mean by "microsubscriptions" (though Jay's got the right idea in the quote box I included above - pay for specific components of the subscription you want) and how the two are related later.

One attempt at a short version: I would like, to use Jay's examples, to have the "slots subscription," the "powers subscription," the "costumes subscription," and the "story subscription" be things people pay for in Stars. Not in dollars, not directly. This obviously doesn't work for the "Stars subscription," because paying Stars for Stars is kind-of silly on the face of it.

But the reason I'd like to go that route, if possible, is that it means that the people who get Stars from the market - the free players who sell stuff to those who have more money than time and thus wish to spend real money to get mechanically-useful items for their characters - will be able to purchase microsubscriptions.

This is also related to why I said what I did about "people like Static" contributing to supporting the game. I will note that, perhaps erroneously, an inherent assumption to my statement was that he was NOT subscribing in that example. Obviously, anybody paying a monthly rate for any reason is going to be contributing to the support of the game. The point I was making was that the model I'm hoping to implement means that even free-to-players who get their hands on Stars through in-game activities are contributing to the support of the game.

Business Manager

GH
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I'm going to go out on a

I'm going to go out on a really mean limb here and say..
I don't think you should be able to buy a sub with in-game currency.
The things a sub offers shouldn't be encouraging rmt or farming.

Multiple subscription pix-and-mix options just look odd.
Where else does this? If nowhere, why are we doing it?
One sub to bind them all, other items for sale as packages just like in CoX so you can buy the story arcs/season pass, you can buy the new AT, the new Expansion, new powersets, costumes etc. They don't need seperate sub lines.

Back to retirement.

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

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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.
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.

I have no idea what you think you are blathering about here. The only carrot needed is a good game with good, regular updates. A hybrid sales model will get far more money to pay the dev staff and provide a good game with those updates than an F2P model will. Unless you build that model viewing your customers as cash cows to be milked for everything you can milk them for as often as possible. IMO that's a scam and I for one won't touch a pile of steaming garbage like you want to turn this game into.

I've seen too many games with venture capitalists in control. Look at EA for many perfect examples of how I do NOT want to see the game run. SWTOR being the most recent.

As I've stated before, a good game is one that's written by gamers. They know the game they want to play and are creating it. They have no desire to be involved in your scam, they just want to write a good game and make enough money in the process to keep the game going.

You are displeased with the game? Vote with your $$$$. I certainly will. This game doesn't have to be a "WoW killer" to be successful. Which is good, because it's not going to be.

This is a niche market with a very loyal fan base. The game will succeed as a game. It may not have the ROI that the empty suits want to see, but I give less of a damn about them than they do me.

Bottom line, if you don't like the game, don't let the door hit you where the good Lord split you. But you are beating a dead horse, no one wants to see your money making scam in this game. Peddle your snake oil elsewhere, we want a game no a milking machine.

Segev wrote:

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.

True. And the empty suits of the business trained have no way to track those numbers. A fact they conveniently forget.

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GH wrote:
GH wrote:

Multiple subscription pix-and-mix options just look odd.
Where else does this? If nowhere, why are we doing it?
One sub to bind them all, other items for sale as packages just like in CoX so you can buy the story arcs/season pass, you can buy the new AT, the new Expansion, new powersets, costumes etc. They don't need seperate sub lines.

I probably wouldn't mind some kind of "micro-subscription" model as it's being proposed here as long as one of the subscription options is a more traditional "full package subscription" that would be a super-set of all the other micro versions.

Obviously this kind of full subscription would cost more than any of the others, but if you have players (like me) who'd probably be willing to effectively "pay for everything in one package" then I'd like to see that as an option. I'm not saying I would never consider an occasional microtransaction above and beyond having a subscription. I'm just saying I'd probably prefer the type of subscription that would give me the most overall default access in one plan regardless of any additional microtransactions I'd make.

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

JayBezz
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Col. Kernel wrote:
Col. Kernel wrote:

Segev wrote:
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.

True. And the empty suits of the business trained have no way to track those numbers. A fact they conveniently forget.

These numbers are tracked in what are called "impressions". A store before opening asks the traffic of any potential area before they open.. if a mall has 1500 visitors a day then depending on exposure the store can expect X amount of impressions.

In the digital marketplace these are marked by IP impressions to the game site (website in this case). The more impressions/exposure the more potential customers. Then you track the conversion rate of how many of those impressions took the next step (going to your about us page).

- -

I won't elaborate on "what makes a good game" but what I'm saying in the post you quote is that the conversion rate is proven much better to get users if the game has a low financial threshold to start. And if that threshold requires continued financial investment (money) to continue it further diminishes the chance for that impression to lead to sustained sales.

- -

I would gladly support City of Titans as a 501c3 if people would be willing to fund it. It'd be a hell of a hard sell to get a successful grant-writer but it's a goal.

Missing World Media is an incorporated equity company, meaning they are a business. Why do people hate the principles of business? "Empty suits"? Venture Capital hate? I just don't get it.. NOTHING comes for free. The idea that if you are forced to pay to have access to the development you want to use is not "milking cash cows". If I open a lemonade stand I have every right (and by all means SHOULD if I want success) to charge for the cup, the sugar, the water, the lemons, AND the labor it takes to make lemonade and factor that into the price.

I honestly feel like people are asking to have a for profit corporation say "Lets ignore business principles" and pray our players make it work out.

Crowd Control Enthusiast

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I have to admit that I am

I have to admit that I am with GH on this one. I'm not sure I like the idea of buying a subscription using stars. I don't mind buying a subscription and receiving stars as a stipend. But I'd rather "set it and forget it". Basically give you my credit card number, agree to a term of service, have you withdraw that amount every month, and have access to the game per said agreement. Not go purchase X amount of stars with X amount of money and then pick X amount of options available for X amount of stars every month. Which is why I suggested what I suggested.

I know there are people out there that want to play for free. So we have a free option. I know there are people out there willing to pay money to have a subscription to play. So I gave a few examples ranging from cheap to standard monthly fees. That's how I envision it should be done as far as options and Micro-Subscriptions go. I don't think I like the idea of a Micro-Transaction Subscription model if it means we have to "Buy certain aspects of the game we want to play with." To me that sounds too much like an all or nothing approach. You have to buy the ALL Graphics pack, or the ALL AT pack, or the ALL Powers pack.

We don't even know how much stars are worth. What's the conversion ratio? How many dollars buys how many stars? How many stars does it take to buy something in the store? If it takes $5.00 to buy 1500 stars and it takes 1500 stars to buy an "All X Pack" and I can only spend $15.00 a month, well then I can only choose 3 packs. So now I have to decide which 3 packs are best for me. Obviously I want all AT's and Powers, so there's $10.00, now I have to choose if I want all graphics or something else. Not liking that idea. Then you want to go and further make it complex by saying that you don't have to choose an "ALL pack" you can pick and choose only specific items you want. So if you only want the Electricity Graphics then you only buy that for say 100 stars. I don't want all the costumes, so I pick and choose each costume piece I want say for 50 stars each. Now we are getting into a lot of math and keeping track of how many stars are being spent and not spent. What happens with all the stars that are unspent and unwanted?

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:

Why do people hate the principles of business? "Empty suits"? Venture Capital hate? I just don't get it.. NOTHING comes for free. The idea that if you are forced to pay to have access to the development you want to use is not "milking cash cows". If I open a lemonade stand I have every right (and by all means SHOULD if I want success) to charge for the cup, the sugar, the water, the lemons, AND the labor it takes to make lemonade and factor that into the price.
I honestly feel like people are asking to have a for profit corporation say "Lets ignore business principles" and pray our players make it work out.

I'm not anti-business or anti-profit. One more time I'll say that I hope MWM can make as much money out of this as possible.

But to use your lemonade analogy I still think you're attempting to jump up the scope of this from being a group of neighborhood kids selling lemonade all the way to a global multi-billion dollar brand sold by Coca-Cola or PepsiCo in one fell swoop. Let's be serious here - as much as I love what MWM is doing they aren't going to be the next Blizzard. That's a pie-in-the-sky goal about 37 steps beyond what we even need to worry about with this. If MWM manages to make it to a financally comfortable "mom-and-pop local store" level of success that's all we really need.

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

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GH wrote:
GH wrote:

I don't think you should be able to buy a sub with in-game currency.
The things a sub offers shouldn't be encouraging rmt or farming.

I really don't follow how this "encourages RMT." "Farming," perhaps, but no more than anything else where you can get something and trade it for something else would.

Though I should note, here, that the proposal is not allowing direct purchase of subscription benefits with in-game currency. Stars are the c-store currency (think Zen in STO, or Riot Points in League of Legends). In-game currency is what drops for playing the game (e.g. inf in CoV or gil in Final Fantasy).

GH wrote:

Multiple subscription pix-and-mix options just look odd.
Where else does this? If nowhere, why are we doing it?
One sub to bind them all, other items for sale as packages just like in CoX so you can buy the story arcs/season pass, you can buy the new AT, the new Expansion, new powersets, costumes etc. They don't need seperate sub lines.

If every other game on the market is run by big investors in "empty suits," should we follow along and sell out to them, too?

You have to be careful when you pick and choose "nobody does this" and "everybody does this" as reasons to or not to do something.

As to why: The idea behind it is the same as the idea behind having multiple levels of subscription - something many companies do for various products. It just takes it to the logical conclusion: every individual thing a subscription offers may or may not be something a given person wants. I'm sure, when looking at packages, you've debated, "Well, I really would like this one thing in the C package, but not really anything else that isn't already in the B package..."

Well, this would let you pick up that one thing and make your own B.1 package out of it.

Lothic wrote:

I probably wouldn't mind some kind of "micro-subscription" model as it's being proposed here as long as one of the subscription options is a more traditional "full package subscription" that would be a super-set of all the other micro versions.
Obviously this kind of full subscription would cost more than any of the others, but if you have players (like me) who'd probably be willing to effectively "pay for everything in one package" then I'd like to see that as an option.

Oh, this is trivial to do. The concept behind microsubscriptions is that each one is a single, specific thing. The broadest it might go in a single "micro-sub" chunk - something you could not buy part of without buying all of - is "all costume pieces" or the like. So the "full subscription" package would simply be clicking the "select all" button to grab all of them.

oOStaticOo wrote:

I'm not sure I like the idea of buying a subscription using stars. I don't mind buying a subscription and receiving stars as a stipend. But I'd rather "set it and forget it". Basically give you my credit card number, agree to a term of service, have you withdraw that amount every month, and have access to the game per said agreement. Not go purchase X amount of stars with X amount of money and then pick X amount of options available for X amount of stars every month. Which is why I suggested what I suggested.

Okay. Let me try to break it down a bit, because I think what I'm planning still accommodates you.

If you are the sort who wishes to pay with a recurring charge to your credit card, you can. You sign up to buy, say, *1500 per month for $15.00 per month (just throwing numbers out there; this is not a promise of what the actual conversion rates will be). You have, as you said, given us your credit card number, and we'll bill you monthly for $15.00, and each month your account will receive *1500.

When you sign up for this, you will be offered the option of purchasing micro-subscriptions. Each will be priced in Stars per month. You could select any number of micro-subscription options totally up to *1500 or fewer per month, and any Stars not devoted to your microsubscriptions would remain in your account to spend as you like - equivalent to a stipend.

So for the "subscriber"-type customer, who wants to set it up and forget about it, the process looks pretty similar to how it would just to sign up for a single-option money-per-month subscription. It just gives additional options to those who might not be spending money. I honestly don't know if people will be reasonably able to garner enough Stars on a monthly basis to support any micro-subcription packages. I hope so, but it remains to be seen. I assume as much, since Plex seem to work for people, though.

oOStaticOo wrote:

I know there are people out there that want to play for free. So we have a free option. I know there are people out there willing to pay money to have a subscription to play. So I gave a few examples ranging from cheap to standard monthly fees.

I'm not really looking for rates of "cheap to standard montly fees," here. I'm looking for what you'd want to get if you were paying a hypothetical "montly fee" of whatever you consider reasonable. Pricing will be figured out later; for now, I just want to identify what works better as a "subscription benefit" and what works better as something you simply buy in the c-store.

oOStaticOo wrote:

That's how I envision it should be done as far as options and Micro-Subscriptions go. I don't think I like the idea of a Micro-Transaction Subscription model if it means we have to "Buy certain aspects of the game we want to play with." To me that sounds too much like an all or nothing approach. You have to buy the ALL Graphics pack, or the ALL AT pack, or the ALL Powers pack.

I am not sure I follow you; I think my base assumptions of what this will look like must differ greatly from yours, to the point we're having trouble communicating because we're discussing the merits of what we think are the same painting, but you're looking at Salvador Dali's melting clocks and I'm looking Leonardo DaVinci's Mona Lisa.

oOStaticOo wrote:

We don't even know how much stars are worth. What's the conversion ratio? How many dollars buys how many stars? How many stars does it take to buy something in the store? If it takes $5.00 to buy 1500 stars and it takes 1500 stars to buy an "All X Pack" and I can only spend $15.00 a month, well then I can only choose 3 packs. So now I have to decide which 3 packs are best for me. Obviously I want all AT's and Powers, so there's $10.00, now I have to choose if I want all graphics or something else. Not liking that idea. Then you want to go and further make it complex by saying that you don't have to choose an "ALL pack" you can pick and choose only specific items you want. So if you only want the Electricity Graphics then you only buy that for say 100 stars. I don't want all the costumes, so I pick and choose each costume piece I want say for 50 stars each. Now we are getting into a lot of math and keeping track of how many stars are being spent and not spent. What happens with all the stars that are unspent and unwanted?

There will, first off, be "standard" packages of multiple micro-subscriptions lumped together for your convenience if you don't want to dig in and customize it.

But secondly, if it costs $5.00/month for each "pack" you might want, and you'll only subscribe to 3 "packs" because you can only spend $15.00, you probably wouldn't be able to subscribe at all if the only option was a single subscription that included what got broken down into 5 separate "packs." That would have had to have been a $25/month subscription.

Breaking it up into micro-subscriptions doesn't change the price for a subscription. It just makes it have more granular options.

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Okay. So I purchase *1500 a

Okay. So I purchase *1500 a month with my monthly fee and then I sign up for whatever "Pieces" of a subscription I want to have. Do I have to do this every month or does it remember everything I chose and automatically does it for me every month? If so, can I change my mind a few months down the road and get something else? If so, do I retain anything I previously spent stars on before? If so, what's stopping me from "Collecting" every "Piece" I want in the game by changing my format every month? Again, what am I going to do with stars saved up that I have no use spending for anything else because I've already obtained everything I feel I need or want in the game? Do they just sit in my account wasting money and space? Can I sell them to another player? If so, how? If so, what would be the value conversion of them? And wouldn't that kind of be like gold farming in a way? Collect enough stars by buying them cheaply from another player that doesn't want them, then turn around and sell them for a higher price to someone who does? I dunno. This just doesn't sound like a good idea to me.

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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Let me turn this around on

Let me turn this around on you.

Let's say we have a $15/month subscription, just like you want. It comes with a small stipend of Stars, because hybrid monetization models usually include such stipends.

A few months down the line, you stop subscribing. Do you retain anything you had from being a subscriber? If so, what's to stop you from subscribing for a month or two to "collect" the subscriber benefits and then keep them?

The Stars from your stipend - what do you do with them? Do they sit in your account wasting money and space?

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The answer to that also lies

The answer to that also lies in the Loyalty benefits, if those will be included. Much like CoH, if you subscribed for X amount of months you retained certain parts of the game for your monthly contributions. That is why I asked. Will there be some kind of loyalty reward for subscribing on a monthly basis and if so, how will it be implemented? Also, why isn't my Micro-Transaction Sub treated the same as a Micro-Transaction? I mean I paid money for it, so I should be able to keep it? Right? What's the difference between spending $15.00 a month on *1500 and using those stars to buy the subscription model I want and just buying *1500 stars and just randomly picking items that I want as a F2P player? I'm just not seeing the benefit to what you are trying to propose.

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What's the difference between

What's the difference between spending $15/month on a subscription and buying $15 worth of Stars and just buying what you want on the c-store?

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Usually having a subscription

Usually having a subscription comes with some kind of perk involved for the subscriber not allotted to the F2P player.

If you are not going to give a subscriber some kind of perk then there is no reason to offer a subscription package at all, might as well just make the game F2P with a Micro-Transaction store.

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Segev wrote:
Segev wrote:

What's the difference between spending $15/month on a subscription and buying $15 worth of Stars and just buying what you want on the c-store?

To go back to Red's point about preferential treatment, I'd expect a $15 sub to get me more than a one-time $15 Stars purchase -- again, something that shows MWM places value on our commitment to the game.

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I mean, I'm all for us having

I mean, I'm all for us having stars, much like City had Paragon Points. That's all cool. But I say use them much like City did in that you had the ability to use them as an alternate form of currency to purchase items that were also listed on the Market that people who didn't have Billions of Inf to purchase said item had, or to purchase costumes, new power sets, pets, xp boosters, booster packs, etc.

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Segev wrote:
Segev wrote:

So for the "subscriber"-type customer, who wants to set it up and forget about it, the process looks pretty similar to how it would just to sign up for a single-option money-per-month subscription. It just gives additional options to those who might not be spending money. I honestly don't know if people will be reasonably able to garner enough Stars on a monthly basis to support any micro-subcription packages. I hope so, but it remains to be seen. I assume as much, since Plex seem to work for people, though.

It isn't as easy as you think it could be... but it can be done (I ran an account for about 18 months like this, but I was playing Eve Online a *LOT* during that period). But I also didn't buy Plex's every single month.

Sometimes I would have a good month and buy 2 or 3 and then apply them to my account immediately to extend my sub time. Other times I would wait for friends who needed ISK and tell them to buy a Plex and I would give them less than the going market rate for them (helping friends out). The thing is though, is that because the PLEX is also an *ingame* item, it could be traded, it could be destroyed (OOPS! Have seen this happen a few times to be fair...), it could be given away freely for 0 ISK.

The item itself actually had *no* ingame value, it only value (ISK wise) was what people attached to it.

So could players do it? I cannot see why not. And it wouldn't surprise me to see that the people who *do* run their accounts purely on STARS are those who have the time (or nouse) to be able to earn enough inf/drops to be able to afford them.

So at the start, the price would be fairly low (economy forming), however once the in game economy strengthens (or more currency is in the system) it wouldn't surprise me in the slightest to see the price steadily increase over time.

Also, if it can be used to buy stuff in game, don't be surprised to see the prices be manipulated either

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oOStaticOo wrote:
oOStaticOo wrote:

Usually having a subscription comes with some kind of perk involved for the subscriber not allotted to the F2P player.
If you are not going to give a subscriber some kind of perk then there is no reason to offer a subscription package at all, might as well just make the game F2P with a Micro-Transaction store.

In principle I'd have to agree with this. Any kind of "subscription" needs to offer either more than you could get for the same money spent on equivalent FP2 microtransactions or offer some kind of discount versus the same money spent on equivalent FP2 microtransactions.

The main benefit the company gets from a subscribed player is the quasi-guarantee that the player will continue to pay every month. This allows the company some assurance that there will be long term income for them. In exchange for this "financial assurance" the subscribed player ought to get some added benefit in return that a FP2 player (almost by definition) doesn't deserve based on their relative lack of commitment.

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JayBezz wrote:
JayBezz wrote:

I am going to jump in and say that I do not like the idea of any powersets being behind purchases (subscription or microtransaction). I do not like the idea of paying for combat mechanics, period. Aesthetic changes (Animations, FX, Costumes, etc) sure, but paying for combat mechanics I do not support.
Also, access to a test server should not require a subscription if access to the game server does not require a subscription. I just hope your server infrastructure can port over the account settings from the game server AND still allow free use to the development that needs testing. Unsubscribed players should not be considered second class users even if you give perks that make subscriptions appealing.

JayBezz ... you missed the point.

I was talking about EARLY access ... as opposed to EXCLUSIVE access. The only difference is a matter of time shifting.

Say, for purposes of example, that Missing Worlds Media develops a new powerset after game launch. Let's call it ... Darkness Control. In the first 1-3 months that the powerset is available, only Subscribers are allowed to purchase it, and once that early adoption phase is finished, the powerset is made available to everyone, regardless of subscription status.

Let's also presume that Missing Worlds Media is developing the next "phase" of City of Titans and are ready to beta test it for, say ... 2 months. Well, in month 1 of beta testing, only Subscribers are allowed on the beta test server for the new release, but then in month 2 of beta testing, everyone is allowed onto the beta test server.

Over the long haul, everyone "gets" access to everything that is released ... but Subscribers are given preferential treatment in the form of early access to features and developments *temporarily* before those features and developments are opened up for everyone to play with. It basically makes subscribing a "first in line" sort of consideration and incentive to subscribe.

Now, the cynical among us could see that kind of early access opportunism as being a kind of Pay 2 Beta, since it would mean that the Subscribers (as paying customers) would be the first to encounter any potential bugs and problems (*significant look over glasses*) ... but that would also mean that conversely there would in effect be a self-selecting group of volunteer Beta Testers who would avail themselves of the opportunities presented so as to act as the Hardy Pioneers who go out and make sure that stuff works RIGHT before it gets put into full circulation for the "freebie" population to purchase with Real Money. So there'd be an extra level of "kid tested, mother approved" going on for everything in the game, demonstrating that stuff WORKS both in theory and in practice before handing it out to everyone.

The desire to be the "first" to do or accomplish something can be a pretty powerful motivator, particularly if it engages a spirit of (friendly) competitiveness. Some people would be willing to pay for opportunities to be the first in line ... while others would be content to wait and let others do all the door slamming and tire kicking for them and they're content to wait if they know the wait isn't going to be all that long (I'm thinking 3 months delay tops, and even then that would be quite a long time). Sometimes even a 1 week head start on being able to play with a new feature could be considered good value for money, especially if it's something that's generating a lot of discussion and interest. So having "staged releases" in which Subscribers get first crack at new stuff before being made available to everyone would seem to be a decent "draw" to make people want to subscribe. Why? Preferential treatment.

And you say that you don't like the idea of powersets being behind purchases (subscription or microtransaction) ... but that idea is only operative if ALL of the powersets are made available at game launch and NONE are ever developed for release thereafter. Development of entire powersets is by no means "free" in terms of company resources, so expecting new powersets to "not be sold" somehow after game launch just strikes me as being naive wishful thinking, especially since we already know that there are powersets that Missing Worlds Media wants to do which won't be available at game launch. Things like the entire pet herding "Mastermind" archetype, for example, which will be incredibly involved and complex to design, develop and implement, and won't be available at game launch. Should Missing Worlds Media just financially "eat" the development costs of introducing such an archetype into the game by releasing it for "free" to everyone (including the "freebie" players)? I'm thinking the answer to that question will have to be a "no" combined with what sounds suspiciously like a belly laugh directed at the foolishness of the question.


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Redlynne wrote:
Redlynne wrote:

... Hardy Pioneers ...

Someone's been playing Sid Meier's Colonization! :-)

Spurn all ye kindle.

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Segev wrote:
Segev wrote:

What's the difference between spending $15/month on a subscription and buying $15 worth of Stars and just buying what you want on the c-store?

Following the preferential treatment drum I've been beating of late, the answer ought to be fairly obvious ... the Subscriber gets "more bang for their buck" than the Non-subscriber would. This can take the form of bonuses and discounts, which directly affect the monetary "conversion efficiencies" available to the Subscriber, or can take the form of non-monetized intangibles, such as the early access phases to staged releases I've been talking about as well.

However, your point essentially stands that if a subscription offers nothing beyond what is available through a flat one-time purchase, then the subscription offers nothing more than "convenience" which is probably an insufficient motivation to subscribe and stay subscribed over the long haul, since it offers no preferential treatment in reward for loyalty.


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Lothic wrote:
Lothic wrote:

oOStaticOo wrote:
Usually having a subscription comes with some kind of perk involved for the subscriber not allotted to the F2P player.
If you are not going to give a subscriber some kind of perk then there is no reason to offer a subscription package at all, might as well just make the game F2P with a Micro-Transaction store.

In principle I'd have to agree with this. Any kind of "subscription" needs to offer either more than you could get for the same money spent on equivalent FP2 microtransactions or offer some kind of discount versus the same money spent on equivalent FP2 microtransactions.
The main benefit the company gets from a subscribed player is the quasi-guarantee that the player will continue to pay every month. This allows the company some assurance that there will be long term income for them. In exchange for this "financial assurance" the subscribed player ought to get some added benefit in return that a FP2 player (almost by definition) doesn't deserve based on their relative lack of commitment.

This gets to the point I was trying to make.

A subscription offers something that micro-transactions do not. Whether it's veteran awards, some sort of scaling store discount, early access to beta content, or a broader "package" (such as "rent this for every character on your account" versus "buy this for one character at a time, but forever"), a subscription does something different than a one-off microtransaction.

A micro-subscription is not the same thing as a micro-transaction. Microtransactions are one-off purchases that permanently add something to a character or an account. Subscriptions are ongoing things that open a door as long as you remain subscribed. A microsubscription is just a subscription, but to one specific thing a "normal" subscription would offer.

If a "normal" subscription offered early beta access, 5 extra slots, access to the MinionMaster Classification, and 20% more costume pieces available to all your characters, the "microsubscription equivalent" would be a micro-subscription for each extra character slot, a micro-subscription to open the MinionMaster Classification to every character you create, and some number of microsubscriptions to allow access to the various costume pieces for all your characters.

The microtransaction equivalent would be buying each costume piece individually (possibly for one PC at a time, possibly for every one of them), buying each slot individually (which is a reason why that may not work as a micro-subscription option, since people probably would prefer not to have to keep paying for the privilege of using their characters), buying the MinionMaster Classification for a specific chracter (making it reasonable as either a microSub or as a microTransaction, depending on whether you want to buy it once for one PC forever or keep renting it so you can use it on any PC you ever build).

What I'm trying to use this thread for is to identify those things that make sense as "subscription" items, versus those things which make more sense as one-off microtransaction purchases. The breakdown into micro-subscriptions means that some things that might normally be carrots tied to the subscription package don't make sense when compared to the microtransaction equivalent, such as "extra character slots," but I am fairly sure there are some things that do just make more sense as "subscription items" than as "microtransactions."

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Cinnder wrote:
Cinnder wrote:

Redlynne wrote:
... Hardy Pioneers ...

Someone's been playing Sid Meier's Colonization! :-)

Not for many years now, but the point still stands.

Most Players are Adventurers, who want to just Play The Game.
Some Players are Explorers, who want to figure out everything there is about the game itself and Play The Meta Game.
Some Players are Roleplayers, who want to play with other Players in the Game.
Some Players are Player Killers, who want to compete against other Players by using the Game.

In this context, I'd expect the "Explorer" type Subscribers to be the ones most eager to the be "first" to make the discoveries of what new content holds, what it means, how it affects game balance, what new possibilities does it open up ... etc. etc. etc. so on and so forth. Even then, the number of people who want to be on that "bleeding edge" of developments will be a pretty self-selecting group, ready and eager to make discoveries about that which No One Has Played Before.

So yeah ... Hardy Pioneer type Players, who happen to be Subscribers. Go figure. ^_~


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JayBezz wrote:
JayBezz wrote:

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.

Or they're 15 and couldn't pay a sub, so had to be serial F2P, I have a relative in this boat.

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Hey, Minotaur, question about

Hey, Minotaur, question about your relative: would he take advantage of a system whereby he could sell stuff he gets from playing the game on the AH for Stars and use those to support a subscription or otherwise to patronize the c-store? Or would he stick to serial F2Ping?

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If you're asking "what makes

If you're asking "what makes a subscription worth it"

My answer is value.

1) I only rent services (verb). Whenever possible I never rent commodities (noun). To add value to a rental (subscription) I will only do it as a rent to own model. I will not find any subscription worth having if when I stop paying the subscription I am left with empty pockets.

- -

2) I generally avoid "package deals" as they usually offer me more than I want and need. I'm okay with buying a la carte because I am not a gluttonous consumer. This is why a microsubscription model may be attractive to me.

- -

JayBezz wrote:

Your micro-subscription models are also appealing. I am making the assumption we're talking about the same type of system so I will elaborate on what was said by others and what I understand that to mean:
A Stars subscription (hypothetically priced at $5) could allot you a stipend and a discounted rate on stars.
A Slots subscription (hypothetically but seperately priced at $5) could allot you unlimited character slots on a "rent to own" basis.
A Powers subscription ( " ") could allot you unlimited temporary acces to all the available animations and FX on a rent to own basis
A Costumes subscription (" ") could allot you unlimited temporary access to all the available costumes on a rent to own basis
A Story subscription (" ") could alot you access to all the story on a rent to own basis.

3) I tend to be a cash cow for my SG Mates whenever I have the dough to spend so if after 1 year of consecutive subscription I get a 30-50% discount on all my future purchases I may be willing to pay for this (depending on cost biensure).

I will likely only play one character who has a defined look and power animations so these I will buy once and likely not be interested in ANY subscription (Alt-a-holics will).

As a single character player having new story to run is important to me so I would be interested in this microsubscription. And the rent-to-own model means that if for some reason I have acquired all of the story available or if story production slows drastically this appeal drops majorly. The speed of releases is a major factor in this micro-subscription model and it may not be feasible. But being unable to run content with my SG mates is compelling enough so I may still pay to enter instances/maps/etc on a microtransaction basis.

- -

4) The Costume microsubscription will likely NOT cost the same as the Story microsubscription because it Story takes much longer to produce and there's not as measurable a timetable. And frankly after Champions Online scarred me to the point where I'd buy a costume with a 30% bug quality factor and almost ALL new story came with a 90% bug quality factor (meaning that 90% of the time story {and powers} content was released with HELLA bugs). This may just be Cryptic Studios, but the point remains that some development goes faster and more reliable than others and thus I value them differently. The cost should reflect the value

- -

5) If a patternof "wait, don't take the bait" happens where new releases are riddled with bugs, apt to constant change, or mechanics that are new and untested.. I will usually prefer to "test the waters" so I may buy a microsubscription for the month of release then go back to my microtransaction to buy outright what I want when it works to my satisfaction.

- -

I will point out that I think any * discount model should be for "personal gain only" meaning the value of a * in YOUR *Store is more than the value of a * in the SG. Items should bind on character/account. And the SG bank of *s would work as a store at its own rate (and not offer any per account rewards). A "Bind on SG" option could be nice assuming a minimum character number for SGs where someone can't just invite you to the sg in order to circumvent this. In my mind donating to the SG is for personal gain if you have equity in that entity.

The SG is its own entity where once it's put in the SG its managed by the SG. There's a whole separate conversation about SG rule creation and player gifting.

But even still the star subscription will be attractive to people who want to sell things in the conversion auction too.

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Thanks! That's a useful post

Thanks! That's a useful post full of insights into the kind of player you are, as well as helpful notes on where you think that might differ from other kinds of players.

I think I see what you mean about what's worth renting versus what's something you would prefer to buy outright.

One way to do a discount model would be to literally just give bonus Stars to those who are beneficiaries of this loyalty program. That could have psychological downsides if people feel that "discounts" are more valuable than "more 'money'," but it's an option to consider. Another way to go about limiting it would be to issue coupons rather than to issue blanket discounts; coupons get used up, so even if somebody bought things for others, they would do so at the cost of not being able to buy it cheaply for themselves. (Or at least limit how many for whom they could make such discounted purchases.)

I do think, however, that most to all c-store things on which Stars would be spent - that is, things MWM sells for Stars and which would thus benefit from a discount issued to loyal customers - would inherently be locked to accounts. Extra character slots, content access, and the like aren't really "passable" to others.

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See I'm really sympathetic to

See I'm really sympathetic to the guy who wants to sub and can't.
He (or she.. sticking with he for simplicity) wants to sub for the perks, loves the game and plans on playing it to the max.
Doing this via microtransactions would be really expensive in the long run (as it should be) but he can't get his parents to sub.

There are other financial models than just "kid with crap parents" that would benefit from being able to do x in-game and then translate that into a sub.

Is that good for the game? This is a totally new scenario to me, it's not something CoX had to offer, you subbed or you didn't, you bought from the shop or you didn't.
But.

Does it need ten different subscription models? You're looking at revenue streams. Not enough people paid for pvp so you don't develop it?
There's a bagzillion costumes. People LOVE COSTUMES. Your costume guy ACTUALLY DIES as it's not possible to make any more.
(but god forbid you siphon that stream off to the PvPers, right)

Segev wrote:

You have to be careful when you pick and choose "nobody does this" and "everybody does this" as reasons to or not to do something.

Sure but it really helps when you provide examples. "Like CoX" and "Spiritual successor to CoX" can be worlds apart or very similar. I just want to get what you're thinking.

Back to retirement.

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

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I'm not really looking to

I'm not really looking to make "a bajillion subs," so much as to break down the normal "one" subscription package into its component parts, and let people buy what they want from it a la carte. Or rather, rent a la carte, as a subscription is more renting than buying.

Now, whether it's "good for the game" to allow players who don't spend money to get ahold of Stars? I don't think it can hurt the game, so long as the Stars are not created ex nihilo without somebody spending money to buy them first.

That's why I'm so adamant about making sure that all the "pay to win" options are on the AH: somebody spent money to buy Stars, then took them to the AH to buy the "win" items they wanted. The "kid with parents who won't subscribe" now has Stars from selling to that person. That person has his "pay 2 win" item, and the kid now goes and gets what he wants from the c-store (whether a microsubscription or a one-off purchase). MWM got paid for the Stars, so the kid hasn't gotten anything that wasn't paid for. The kid played the game to get the item the p2w person wanted, so the item wasn't created just by somebody spending money. The kid enticed somebody to spend money on the game, and that supports the kid's ability to play said game by letting him get access to things behind the pay wall in direct proportion to how much money he has enticed others to spend to support it. The kid's actions thus support the game by supporting other players.

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I can understand where you

I can understand where you are wanting to go with using stars to be able to purchase subscriptions instead of using real cash. I can. I'm just not to sure about how implementing that would work or not be taken advantage of somehow. I applaud trying to think outside of the box to allow users who may not be able to fund a subscription or even make micro-transaction purchases with real money. It's a noble and novel idea. I would just hate to try to implement something so new right out of the box without having some kind of trial period with it. I fear that in the beginning somebody might be able to take advantage of the situation and turn it into something that it was not originally meant for. I'd hate for something to happen that would have major consequences to the game in a way that was not foreseen. That's why I'd like to limit stars to making purchases off of the cash store for things like extra character slots, respecs, costume pieces, xp boosters, booster packs, pets, vehicles, additional powers as they are developed, bundle packs of super inspirations, additional AT's as they are developed, etc.

I like the idea of offering different subscription packages that have varying options to choose from that cost different prices. That way we can try to reach the most players that are willing to pay as much as they can or is available to them. All while also trying to cater to the people that like F2P and Micro-Transaction processes. Options are a good thing. The more options you have the more people you'll be able to draw in and cater 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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For me I was committed to

For me I was committed to paying the subscription for a variety of reasons:

1. Awesome character and power tailoring with alignment, ICON, IOs, incarnate, new power sets and flexible pool powers
2. Adventure creation via AE
3. New content in the form of issues (adventures, powers etc)
4. The veteran benefits and stipend were great at-ta-boys for playing/subscribing to City of Heroes
5. Ease of combat and interfacing with the environment and other player characters

Some of these may be "free" in CoT, but I would likely pay to enjoy the remainder.

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You will inevitably end up

You will inevitably end up with "I paid for these things"
and "those things for sale.. $5"

I worry that the business model allows for that is all.
Otherwise carry on, it's awesome to see somebody who actually has a plan come on and tell us what it is.

As long as the sub is "all the things you can microtransaction".. then it will probably be fine. As a subber I don't want to have to pick between too many options. I will finish by saying that you want to offer up a whole bunch of choices. I don't want them. I want one thing. I pay that thing. That's the end of it.

Pricing that will be interesting.

Back to retirement.

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

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For the subber who doesn't

For the subber who doesn't want to have to make a lot of choices, there will be the option of just clicking "select all" in the microsubscription list. It might be more money per month than you want to pay - I don't yet know - or it might be perfectly affordable to you. But the "easy select-all option" will definitely be a thing. I am not interested in scaring people off with too many choices. Presentation will be crucial, I think.

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Subscription vs Transaction

Subscription vs Transaction and the Rent vs Own dichotomy:

Anything that is subscribed to, or "rented" if you prefer, needs to be something which is in some way "reversible" in the way of Now You Have It, Now You Don't. People get *REALLY* upset when you take their toys away when they feel like they've either "earned" them or otherwise "bought" them in perpetuity. A lot of the things that will fall into the category of being "rentables" ought to be things that are basically privileges ... stuff like early access, bonuses/discounts, stipend awards and so on. All of these privileges are effectively reversible in that they can be taken away if the subscription is terminated or suspended.

Those things stand in contrast to services and rewards that are either effectively "unlocks" such as additional character slots, extra costume slots, added inventory slots, new powersets, new costume sets, and so on and so forth. All of these rewards and services are things that essentially fall under the category of Do Not Back Up, Severe Tire Damage and are essentially "irreversible" once acquired due to how they interact with other systems (and expectations).

A third category of things that can be bought are consumables and repeatable purchases, with the most common of the latter being things like lockboxes and the keys that open those lockboxes. Consumables however could include things such as no only Inspirations and INF, but also Set IO Enhancements and other itemization(s) where a particular build may need more than one copy of something to slot into multiple Powers.

Reversible privileges make sense to put into subscriptions.
Unlocks make sense to put into microtransactions.
Consumables and repeatable purchased make more sense to put into microtransactions, but there is also a case to be made for allowing subscriptions to be awarded these items at a sufficiently slow rate of speed so as to not disrupt the market at large. In a lot of cases, this latter "hybrid" situation is often resolved though use of a monthly stipend subscription that can then enable purchases through microtransactions, allowing Players to "choose your own reward" in effect.


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Dinma wrote:
Dinma wrote:

2. Adventure creation via AE

Some of these may be "free" in CoT, but I would likely pay to enjoy the remainder.

I plan on using the content creation methods available to players (costume mods, story, etc) but I will NOT do it if it costs me money to do so. In fact I think all content creators should be compensated.

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JayBezz, there's an "In

JayBezz, there's an "In Soviet Russia..." joke just begging to be told based on your content creation idea.

Best way I can think of to do so would be to allow Players to award Stars to the writers of Player Created Content on a voluntary basis, so as to potentially generate a form of "income" for those content creators.


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GH wrote:
GH wrote:

See I'm really sympathetic to the guy who wants to sub and can't.
He (or she.. sticking with he for simplicity) wants to sub for the perks, loves the game and plans on playing it to the max.
Doing this via microtransactions would be really expensive in the long run (as it should be) but he can't get his parents to sub.
There are other financial models than just "kid with crap parents" that would benefit from being able to do x in-game and then translate that into a sub.
Is that good for the game? This is a totally new scenario to me, it's not something CoX had to offer, you subbed or you didn't, you bought from the shop or you didn't.

I am assuming that you are referring to Lord of The Rings Online (and I believe as well Dungeons And Dragons Online) where you can earn Turbine points by completing various things in the game (reaching X level, completing X mission arc, getting X achievement).

So for the person who plays the game a *lot* they are rewarded with the "market currency" that they can then spend as and how they want.

Trying to do it all on one character is *long* and hard, but you can speed it up by doing stuff on several characters (as the points are awarded to the account), and then spending them as and how you want. You can even pick up the expansions this way as well.

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 have always thought that it

I have always thought that it was risky, at best, to hand out the c-store currency for in-game activities that generate said currency for nothing but the in-game actions. It either frustrates players because it's practically illusory in that you never get enough to do much, or it risks breaking the bank by giving away the store. Now, perhaps LotR and DDO managed to do it effectively, but...I'd rather avoid the risk.

This is why I have a strict "somebody must have paid for it somewhere" philosophy on every Star generated.

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Two things to add for your

Two things to add for your analysis, Segev.

When I started playing City of Heroes (in Issue 2), I didn't have a computer that could run it available to me since I was (and still am) a Mac user. I also didn't have a credit card. The only way for me to play was to buy the game box in a store (no problem) and then buy game time cards every month or two, since I didn't have the capability to subscribe due to the fact that subscriptions required a credit card number. I was going to the university library and clean installing the game on what was essentially public computers in order to play the game. Probably one of the most inefficient ways to play City of Heroes possible (took an hour to install and patch in those days) ... but when you don't own the hardware and you haven't got a credit card, it was the best I could do (and did) for quite some time. And let's face it, it was better than not playing at all!

Since the distribution of (physical) Came Time Cards with serial numbers on them is something that only the biggest commercial companies are bothering with, I'm figuring that this particular option won't necessarily be available for City of Titans. However, being able to "buy access" to play City of Titans using Stars, even if those Stars are bought from other Players inside the game's market, seems like a worthwhile thing to do.

The second thing is something that ought to be well familiar to anyone who understands one of the draws of the Free To Play model ... population in your game actually DOING THINGS in game.

I'm strongly reminded of how Star Trek Online was at first shortly after launch, when the game population sank and the zone spaces became Big Empty Voids with no other Players in them. There just weren't a whole lot of concurrent users playing in the same spaces, so most of the game felt something like a Massively Single Player experience. Now, with Free To Play, you can't swing a dead Targ without hitting other Players in Star Trek Online. The game has a constantly present population (although it does "surge" in the evenings and on weekends, US time) with lots of people actually "doing things" in game. Whether it is participating in Events or running missions or doing dailies or whatever, there's now a sense (even on the Klingon side!) of being in a populated universe.

Now in Star Trek Online, I'm not a subscriber, so I don't get a stipend of Zen every month. That means I'm basically a "free" Player when I do play. However, there have been things that I've wanted to buy in the Zen store, but which I couldn't justify paying Real Money to get. However, because there is a way to mine in-game resources (Dilithium Ore) and refine it daily (into Refined Dilithium) which can be exchanged for Zen, I've been able to finance all of my Zen purchases in Star Trek Online by virtue of playing the game rather than forking over real money to Cryptic. Mind you, the "pay rate" for doing it this way has basically never gone higher than $1 per hour of gameplay due to exchange rate equivalencies ... but that isn't what's important to me. Instead of doing Pay To Play ... instead, I've been doing Play To Pay ... and in so doing I've been fulfilling my part in keeping the in-game economy liquid and flowing, supplying resources to meet the demands of other willing to sell. Quite frankly, this has been an aspect of Star Trek Online that I rather appreciate, where through accumulation of in-game resources and careful management it is actually possible to Play The Game so as to be able to Pay For Stuff that can only be bought out of the Zen Store.


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Redlynne wrote:
Redlynne wrote:

Now in Star Trek Online, I'm not a subscriber, so I don't get a stipend of Zen every month. That means I'm basically a "free" Player when I do play. However, there have been things that I've wanted to buy in the Zen store, but which I couldn't justify paying Real Money to get. However, because there is a way to mine in-game resources (Dilithium Ore) and refine it daily (into Refined Dilithium) which can be exchanged for Zen, I've been able to finance all of my Zen purchases in Star Trek Online by virtue of playing the game rather than forking over real money to Cryptic. Mind you, the "pay rate" for doing it this way has basically never gone higher than $1 per hour of gameplay due to exchange rate equivalencies ... but that isn't what's important to me. Instead of doing Pay To Play ... instead, I've been doing Play To Pay ... and in so doing I've been fulfilling my part in keeping the in-game economy liquid and flowing, supplying resources to meet the demands of other willing to sell. Quite frankly, this has been an aspect of Star Trek Online that I rather appreciate, where through accumulation of in-game resources and careful management it is actually possible to Play The Game so as to be able to Pay For Stuff that can only be bought out of the Zen Store.

And it's that thought which worries me. Oh hey! Look! Everyone quit getting ZEN! No money is going into the game, because everyone has gone the route of Play to Pay but there's nothing to pay for now!

Likely to happen? No. Possible more going Play2Pay vs Pay2Play? Yes.

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Segev wrote:
Segev wrote:

I have always thought that it was risky, at best, to hand out the c-store currency for in-game activities that generate said currency for nothing but the in-game actions. It either frustrates players because it's practically illusory in that you never get enough to do much, or it risks breaking the bank by giving away the store. Now, perhaps LotR and DDO managed to do it effectively, but...I'd rather avoid the risk.
This is why I have a strict "somebody must have paid for it somewhere" philosophy on every Star generated.

I can see where you are coming from, but the route in which you have to do it is by completing practically every single deed (achievement in the game) that you can before you get a new quest pack, do the same for the new quest pack, rince and repeat. It is a *LONG* time period to do it.

Now the fastest way involves a lot of character deletion and playing time.

I am not sure how fast it would take the average person to do it, but it wouldn't surprise me if the person spent (doing it on the single character route) around 600 hours to be able to unlock enough points to buy stuff. Most of the deeds give you 5-10 coins. Expansions cost in the region of 2000-2500 (and one at 4200) points if i remember correctly (and remember that these come with more content to earn points from).

But then again, if you make it long and tedious enough, I am sure that people will generally get "most of the way there" and then just buy up the remaining points.

This is sure as hell not *fast and easy*... but it is something that rewards the dedicated/devoted player so it can be viewed as a "thank you" from the developers.

I am not sure as to how many people *have* done it this way, but I would say that it would be in the small minority of players, who have done it and gotten everything without breaking out the wallet.

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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Segev wrote:
Segev wrote:

This is why I have a strict "somebody must have paid for it somewhere" philosophy on every Star generated.

I get that. The game isn't giving you mission rewards of stars, that's fine. As somebody who is paying to play the game I don't want to give my stars to other players. Not for player generated content or items. If people want to buy things that costs stars, they should pay for them or convert in-game currency into stars via an exchange method that benefits the game further. At the moment the only person being charged constantly is me. Once I stop buying stars, your f2per is not generating income.

As for the cost of the all-in-one package. Again, you've created a bunch of payment plans and then tell me it might be too much for me because of that? My payment plan for everything should still be in the $15 range. If you've got 5 packages at $5 each that shouldn't make mine $25.

Back to retirement.

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

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JayBezz wrote:
JayBezz wrote:

Dinma wrote:
2. Adventure creation via AE

Some of these may be "free" in CoT, but I would likely pay to enjoy the remainder.

I plan on using the content creation methods available to players (costume mods, story, etc) but I will NOT do it if it costs me money to do so. In fact I think all content creators should be compensated.

So your plan is to not sub and play the game as f2p and then to make money by creating and selling things in-game. Good luck with that, I do not see how that keeps the game going but I'm not a financial expert.

Back to retirement.

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

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GH wrote:
GH wrote:

JayBezz wrote:
Dinma wrote:
2. Adventure creation via AE

Some of these may be "free" in CoT, but I would likely pay to enjoy the remainder.

I plan on using the content creation methods available to players (costume mods, story, etc) but I will NOT do it if it costs me money to do so. In fact I think all content creators should be compensated.

So your plan is to not sub and play the game as f2p and then to make money by creating and selling things in-game. Good luck with that, I do not see how that keeps the game going but I'm not a financial expert.

It doesn't. It requires another player willing to buy extra to support the other players free game.

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Brand X wrote:
Brand X wrote:

GH wrote:
JayBezz wrote:
Dinma wrote:
2. Adventure creation via AE

Some of these may be "free" in CoT, but I would likely pay to enjoy the remainder.

I plan on using the content creation methods available to players (costume mods, story, etc) but I will NOT do it if it costs me money to do so. In fact I think all content creators should be compensated.

So your plan is to not sub and play the game as f2p and then to make money by creating and selling things in-game. Good luck with that, I do not see how that keeps the game going but I'm not a financial expert.

It doesn't. It requires another player willing to buy extra to support the other players free game.

If players can put items up on the market for "Stars" then all it requires is for someone who has stars to then buy that item.

If "Stars" cannot be used to buy items in game from other players, then yes, the plan would fail.

Eve Online works with players able to play the game from (in theory) day one and not spend a *single* dime on that account.

They buy their gametime from other players with ISK. And yes, it *is* possible to upgrade your "trial" account to a full account with a PLEX.

And all PLEX's come from other players... people who have bought gametime codes and converted them into a PLEX or bought the PLEX direct from CCP to sell in the game,

As long as the only source of "Stars"/"PLEX" is from MWM/CCP, then however they get spent is neither here nor there.

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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GH wrote:
GH wrote:

So your plan is to not sub and play the game as f2p and then to make money by creating and selling things in-game. Good luck with that, I do not see how that keeps the game going but I'm not a financial expert.

I very succinctly and clearly stated what I plan on purchasing in posts above. Your tone as to make an implication that I (the person who has been advocating for the most aggressive financial strategy) want to get away with not paying the game is baseless.

I do not make personal insults or accusations, but anyone with a history with me will tell you that I am not above responding to them swiftly and harshly. By any means necessary keep them to yourself.

Crowd Control Enthusiast

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Gangrel wrote:
Gangrel wrote:

Brand X wrote:
GH wrote:
JayBezz wrote:
Dinma wrote:
2. Adventure creation via AE

Some of these may be "free" in CoT, but I would likely pay to enjoy the remainder.

I plan on using the content creation methods available to players (costume mods, story, etc) but I will NOT do it if it costs me money to do so. In fact I think all content creators should be compensated.

So your plan is to not sub and play the game as f2p and then to make money by creating and selling things in-game. Good luck with that, I do not see how that keeps the game going but I'm not a financial expert.

It doesn't. It requires another player willing to buy extra to support the other players free game.

If players can put items up on the market for "Stars" then all it requires is for someone who has stars to then buy that item.
If "Stars" cannot be used to buy items in game from other players, then yes, the plan would fail.
Eve Online works with players able to play the game from (in theory) day one and not spend a *single* dime on that account.
They buy their gametime from other players with ISK. And yes, it *is* possible to upgrade your "trial" account to a full account with a PLEX.
And all PLEX's come from other players... people who have bought gametime codes and converted them into a PLEX or bought the PLEX direct from CCP to sell in the game,
As long as the only source of "Stars"/"PLEX" is from MWM/CCP, then however they get spent is neither here nor there.

I'm for the Plex (Eve), Cred (WS), Star (CoT) system. Think it's a great idea. It gives people who want more credits a way to get them without gold farmers, and those who want to play for free can and it's their own fault if they don't.

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Segev wrote:
Segev wrote:

I have always thought that it was risky, at best, to hand out the c-store currency for in-game activities that generate said currency for nothing but the in-game actions. It either frustrates players because it's practically illusory in that you never get enough to do much, or it risks breaking the bank by giving away the store. Now, perhaps LotR and DDO managed to do it effectively, but...I'd rather avoid the risk.
This is why I have a strict "somebody must have paid for it somewhere" philosophy on every Star generated.

Neverwinter gets round this problem by making astral diamonds you earn ingame "rough astral diamonds" that you have to refine with a limit of 24000 or about 60 cents worth that you can refine per character per day, and you'd have to play a real lot to earn that much on more than one character.

Quote:

Hey, Minotaur, question about your relative: would he take advantage of a system whereby he could sell stuff he gets from playing the game on the AH for Stars and use those to support a subscription or otherwise to patronize the c-store? Or would he stick to serial F2Ping?

Not sure, probably depends what he can drop/earn in PvP, as that's where he'll be most of the time.

Tech Team and Forum Moderator

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Minotaur wrote:
Minotaur wrote:

Neverwinter gets round this problem by making astral diamonds you earn ingame "rough astral diamonds" that you have to refine with a limit of 24000 or about 60 cents worth that you can refine per character per day, and you'd have to play a real lot to earn that much on more than one character.

Star Trek Online does effectively the same thing with its Dilithium Exchange. Each character can refine up to 8000 Dilithium per day (although Fleets with Dilithium Mines can do a daily mission to add 500 to that daily amount) and if you're a Veteran with sufficient subscription time, there's an NPC you can visit for an additional +8000 refining capacity per day. So you're looking at either ~8k or ~16k refining capacity PER CHARACTER per day.

Last I looked (3 months ago) the exchange rate for Zen was around 130 Refined Dilithium per Zen. 60 Zen at 130 Dilithium per is 7800 Dilithium total daily capacity. The exchange rate from $$ to Zen was approximately 1¢ equals 1 Zen.

I have 4 Captains in Star Trek Online, and I could (with some dedicated effort) generate ~8k Dilithium Ore per day on each of those 4 characters (this would take multiple hours of game play). Net result would be somewhere in the neighborhood of ~32k Dilithium refined per day by my account. At a price of 130 Dilithium per 1 Zen, I was capable of extracting ~245 Zen per day (equivalent) from the market by Playing The Game. This would usually require about 3-4 hours of gameplay for a real dollar value of less than $2.50.

Needless to say, I couldn't exactly make Federal Minimum Wage ($7.25) doing that. But when you need (read: want) to buy things in the Zen store that cost 2000 Zen (ie. $20), you CAN do it as a Play To Pay sort of Player ... it's just going to take a *LOT* of grinding to mine the resources necessary to do it over the course of a couple weeks. Suffice it to say, the economic equivalencies break down in such a way that If Time Equals Money you're simply a lot better off just buying Zen with real money than grinding Dilithium every day doing daily missions for weeks at a time. The irony is that the Play to Pay system ensures that although *I* paid no real $$ for those Zen, someone else did ... meaning that even though *I* am paying Cryptic Studios nothing in real cash, someone else did on my behalf and I was able to buy their Zen for an in-game resource they wanted more than I did.

The important thing to take away from this real world example is that this sort of exchanging in-game resources for currency that is only generated as a result of a real money transfer to the game developer is that although it makes alternative "freebie" paths to being able to afford/acquire items, services and unlocks from the cash shop POSSIBLE it doesn't actually make the Play To Pay route a particularly PROFITABLE one, simply due to how the game bottlenecks the refinement capacity, as well as the resource acquisition and mining opportunities situation(s). Most people would consider "working" for under 60¢ per hour to be a remarkably "unprofitable" endeavor and a waste of time (if putting it in "job" and employment opportunity terms). But for people who have more free time than they have disposable income ... it can make for an enjoyable alternative to spending scarce real $$ that your real life budget may not be able to afford.


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Redlynne wrote:
Redlynne wrote:

Minotaur wrote:
Neverwinter gets round this problem by making astral diamonds you earn ingame "rough astral diamonds" that you have to refine with a limit of 24000 or about 60 cents worth that you can refine per character per day, and you'd have to play a real lot to earn that much on more than one character.
Star Trek Online does effectively the same thing with its Dilithium Exchange. Each character can refine up to 8000 Dilithium per day (although Fleets with Dilithium Mines can do a daily mission to add 500 to that daily amount) and if you're a Veteran with sufficient subscription time, there's an NPC you can visit for an additional +8000 refining capacity per day. So you're looking at either ~8k or ~16k refining capacity PER CHARACTER per day.
Last I looked (3 months ago) the exchange rate for Zen was around 130 Refined Dilithium per Zen. 60 Zen at 130 Dilithium per is 7800 Dilithium total daily capacity. The exchange rate from $$ to Zen was approximately 1¢ equals 1 Zen.
I have 4 Captains in Star Trek Online, and I could (with some dedicated effort) generate ~8k Dilithium Ore per day on each of those 4 characters (this would take multiple hours of game play). Net result would be somewhere in the neighborhood of ~32k Dilithium refined per day by my account. At a price of 130 Dilithium per 1 Zen, I was capable of extracting ~245 Zen per day (equivalent) from the market by Playing The Game. This would usually require about 3-4 hours of gameplay for a real dollar value of less than $2.50.
Needless to say, I couldn't exactly make Federal Minimum Wage ($7.25) doing that. But when you need (read: want) to buy things in the Zen store that cost 2000 Zen (ie. $20), you CAN do it as a Play To Pay sort of Player ... it's just going to take a *LOT* of grinding to mine the resources necessary to do it over the course of a couple weeks. Suffice it to say, the economic equivalencies break down in such a way that If Time Equals Money you're simply a lot better off just buying Zen with real money than grinding Dilithium every day doing daily missions for weeks at a time. The irony is that the Play to Pay system ensures that although *I* paid no real $$ for those Zen, someone else did ... meaning that even though *I* am paying Cryptic Studios nothing in real cash, someone else did on my behalf and I was able to buy their Zen for an in-game resource they wanted more than I did.
The important thing to take away from this real world example is that this sort of exchanging in-game resources for currency that is only generated as a result of a real money transfer to the game developer is that although it makes alternative "freebie" paths to being able to afford/acquire items, services and unlocks from the cash shop POSSIBLE it doesn't actually make the Play To Pay route a particularly PROFITABLE one, simply due to how the game bottlenecks the refinement capacity, as well as the resource acquisition and mining opportunities situation(s). Most people would consider "working" for under 60¢ per hour to be a remarkably "unprofitable" endeavor and a waste of time (if putting it in "job" and employment opportunity terms). But for people who have more free time than they have disposable income ... it can make for an enjoyable alternative to spending scarce real $$ that your real life budget may not be able to afford.

And it still relies on people who are willing to spend money. If no one does, then the play to fails. Fails even more so when there's to many Play to Pay vs Pay to Play.

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Brand X wrote:
Brand X wrote:

And it still relies on people who are willing to spend money. If no one does, then the play to fails. Fails even more so when there's to many Play to Pay vs Pay to Play.

Ah, but there's the rub. When the system "fails" as you put it, what happens is that the failure doesn't happen all at once in an instant ... but rather is something that happens slowly, over time. One of the larger indicators that there's too much Dilithium chasing after too few Zen is the simple fact that the exchange rate will "move" because it's something that is entirely Player driven (meaning the Devs don't intervene in that market). Over the course of 6 months last year, I saw the price of Zen fluctuate between 80 and 140 Dilithium per Zen at different times. Historically, at one point (when I wasn't playing), the price was supposedly as high as 250+ Dilithium per Zen.

Point being, this exchange is TOTALLY dependent upon Supply and Demand, and when you've got enough "exchanging" going on through the market, you almost don't have to worry about the concern that you cite. I mean, it's pretty common to see price points in the Dilithium Exchange in which there are over 100k Zen (total) listed for sale at a particular price point ... or that there are buyers wanting to buy over 100k Zen (total) at a slightly lower price point.

And then there's the circumstances of Demand Shocks, whereby Cryptic releases something new in the cash shop (often a ship or a service or an unlock) with a particular patch, creating a mad scramble of high demand for Zen in order to be able to buy that particular New Shiny {insert item description}. Sometimes it can take WEEKS to "correct" the price on the exchange so as to resume its former standing, and sometimes the price of Zen just goes up AND STAYS UP as the new normal (since obviously the market can bear the price).

However, an important source of supply for this market is the monthly stipend that subscribers to Star Trek Online receive. This tends to be a major source of Zen for the Dilithium Exchange, helping to keep this particular market from collapsing or otherwise suffering a Tragedy of the Commons like you fear.


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What I fear, is a game that

What I fear, is a game that is awesome, but most players don't actually want to support. They want to play it free and would rather watch it be shut off, than pay a cent to the game.

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Brand X wrote:
Brand X wrote:

What I fear, is a game that is awesome, but most players don't actually want to support. They want to play it free and would rather watch it be shut off, than pay a cent to the game.

I think we have ample evidence, in the form of a successful kickstarter, that we will have players interested in supporting the game. The question is mostly about whether that will be enough and enough sustained support. The figure of 4% has been thrown around as the fraction of paying players in most F2P games out of the total number; the figure I heard a few years ago regarding one specific such game - Farmville - was closer to half that.

So the idea that "whales," as one person termed them, provide the bulk of support seems sound. I suspect we'll have a slightly broader base of paying players, but that our "whales" will not be nearly as large. But that's just a gut feeling.

I am a firm believer that, if we build a good game, we will attract people who will pay for it. Some because they specifically want the things for which one must pay, and others because, like a friend of mine, they play something long enough and decide to throw some money it's direction just to "vote with their wallets" and help support it.

It is because I believe that the audience and their willingness to support the game are out there that I believe this project can succeed. If I didn't think it was out there, I would not think the quality of game we can build matters; we couldn't ever get it to last long enough to grow into its potential. So I think we'll have sufficient support, provided we do things right and make that great game.

Part of making a great game, though, is making sure that the things for which we charge money in order to support it are desirable, hence the benefit of threads like this one!

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Brand X wrote:
Brand X wrote:

What I fear, is a game that is awesome, but most players don't actually want to support. They want to play it free and would rather watch it be shut off, than pay a cent to the game.

You can live in fear, if that's the way you want to live your life.
I prefer to not live in fear, so I don't.
Absent evidence to counteract your fear, you'll just have to decide for yourself how much you want to let your fears rule you.


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Brand X wrote:
Brand X wrote:

What I fear, is a game that is awesome, but most players don't actually want to support. They want to play it free and would rather watch it be shut off, than pay a cent to the game.

I understand you. I actually agree on what i desire to happen.

I want to also impart to you that even non-paying players add value. The longer they are in the game the more chances they go from "pay nothings" to "pay somethings, not to mention their social value (getting friends involved in the game, talking about the game etc).

A trend that i've noticed recently is digital products offering things for free but ONLY if you become a marketing billboard. They could require a Facebook interface or Twitter interface that sends messages through those letting people know about the game. I don't know the conversion rate but it's a great way to go about getting more impressions and thus potential buyers.

Crowd Control Enthusiast

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JayBezz wrote:
JayBezz wrote:

Brand X wrote:
What I fear, is a game that is awesome, but most players don't actually want to support. They want to play it free and would rather watch it be shut off, than pay a cent to the game.

I understand you. I actually agree on what i desire to happen.
I want to also impart to you that even non-paying players add value. The longer they are in the game the more chances they go from "pay nothings" to "pay somethings, not to mention their social value (getting friends involved in the game, talking about the game etc).
A trend that i've noticed recently is digital products offering things for free but ONLY if you become a marketing billboard. They could require a Facebook interface or Twitter interface that sends messages through those letting people know about the game. I don't know the conversion rate but it's a great way to go about getting more impressions and thus potential buyers.

Annoyingly, when Paragon Studios did the Facebook promotion that had a costume piece as a reward for sharing/liking their facebook page, the amount of lashback against the developers was amazing. So as a result, I believe that Paragon Studios decided to no longer do anything like that again... and couldn't reward people for spreading the word about the game... because it was "unfair to those who didn't have a facebook account".

And yet this was a case of them trying something different to spread the message about the game (and to get old players back etc etc), without necessarily having to spend a lot of money.

I shared it, I managed to get a couple of people back into the game (for a short period of time that is... they had their reasons for not staying though), so there is at least some anecdotal evidence of it working.

*edit* Long story short, people and companies want to reach as many people as possible, and using social media to spread the world is *perfectly* valid method. And if people get rewarded for it, then I think that should be all the incentive to do so.

For those who complain about it being unfair to those who do not use social media... I can see their point. However, these people have spread the world about the game, they have helped advertise game... the costume piece/title/whatever is a "thank you" from the developers for helping out.

Ncsoft actually did something similar if you helped arrange player meets, competitions etc... I mean, where did you think that the EU player meet got the T-Shirts, pin badges, posters, games, logitech hardware from?

Hell, NCsoft even paid for the first 2 player meets in helping to hire out the venue.

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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Redlynne wrote:
Redlynne wrote:

Brand X wrote:
What I fear, is a game that is awesome, but most players don't actually want to support. They want to play it free and would rather watch it be shut off, than pay a cent to the game.

You can live in fear, if that's the way you want to live your life.
I prefer to not live in fear, so I don't.
Absent evidence to counteract your fear, you'll just have to decide for yourself how much you want to let your fears rule you.

Don't worry. It's not that overwhelming of a fear. :p I play(ed) all MMOs under the simple thought that they can be closed down at any time, was before CoH was actually shut down.

I still think the best way to go is start with a system that supports the idea of a subscription model and not a model that caters to the players who have no desire to ever pay to keep the game going but get to play for free.

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Gangrel wrote:
Gangrel wrote:

For those who complain about it being unfair to those who do not use social media... I can see their point. However, these people have spread the world about the game, they have helped advertise game... the costume piece/title/whatever is a "thank you" from the developers for helping out.

The problem with the way that Paragon Studios handled it was that they went with the Eternal Exclusive option. So the *ONLY* way to get the reward was to Jump Through THIS Hoop. There were no other ways to obtain the reward. THAT was the mistake!

If they'd done something like having a reward that could be obtained 2-4 weeks exclusively by social media, after which it could be obtained by social media methods and other methods as well then there wouldn't have been a backlash, since the reward would come to "everyone" eventually instead of being a Social Media Only EXCLUSIVE!!!!

That way you can generate a "spike" of social media buzz without shooting a finger at everyone who isn't already participating in social media and pissing off a sizable segment of your playerbase. You get upside without a serious downside of resentment and backlash. It was the *EXCLUSIVE!* promotional aspects that ticked people off.


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Redlynne wrote:
Redlynne wrote:

Gangrel wrote:
For those who complain about it being unfair to those who do not use social media... I can see their point. However, these people have spread the world about the game, they have helped advertise game... the costume piece/title/whatever is a "thank you" from the developers for helping out.
The problem with the way that Paragon Studios handled it was that they went with the Eternal Exclusive option. So the *ONLY* way to get the reward was to Jump Through THIS Hoop. There were no other ways to obtain the reward. THAT was the mistake!
If they'd done something like having a reward that could be obtained 2-4 weeks exclusively by social media, after which it could be obtained by social media methods and other methods as well then there wouldn't have been a backlash, since the reward would come to "everyone" eventually instead of being a Social Media Only EXCLUSIVE!!!!
That way you can generate a "spike" of social media buzz without shooting a finger at everyone who isn't already participating in social media and pissing off a sizable segment of your playerbase. You get upside without a serious downside of resentment and backlash. It was the *EXCLUSIVE!* promotional aspects that ticked people off.

Considering that over the years that they have given away costume change codes (PPD, Zombie, Carnies, Knives of Artemis, Robots), via competitions/events that you had to physically attend, they were in the same ball.

It was only when the market became available that they later made it on there.

However, the same could be said about the VIP costumes with the Celestial set only being available to Tier 9 members for a limited period of time. We know that they were going to be released later via a different method (the market I think was proposed), however that never arose due to closure of the game. For all we know they would have become available later on the market.... almost everything else was *eventually*.

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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Exclusives are a tricky thing

Exclusives are a tricky thing. On the one hand, they're really, really cool for those who can get them. They make it special that you participated in the specific event. On the other, nobody can do everything, so they're a nightmare for completionists.

Maybe making it possible to sell/trade "exclusives" on the player-to-player market would help? Create only the limited number of exclusive items that are needed to award everybody who participated, but then let them be traded. Create a "collectors' market" that way. (If we do the multiple auction houses idea that was brought up elsewhere, we could have a literal specialty AH for it, even.)

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JayBezz wrote:
JayBezz wrote:

I very succinctly and clearly stated what I plan on purchasing in posts above. Your tone as to make an implication that I (the person who has been advocating for the most aggressive financial strategy) want to get away with not paying the game is baseless.
I do not make personal insults or accusations, but anyone with a history with me will tell you that I am not above responding to them swiftly and harshly. By any means necessary keep them to yourself.

I am aware of what you have said you will purchase. The one thing your one toon wants.
I see this as completely selfish and don't see how it any way helps the long term survival of the game.
I don't know anybody who knows you so I'm not going to comment on how you normally respond to stuff but please.. be as harsh and swift as you like.

I'm not trying to make this personal but we have completely opposite views of what will make the game viable. I'd like to stick to arguing from that point of view. I repeat it's not personal I just disagree (almost / probably) 100% with what I think you are pushing for. if we can agree to completely disagree it's a start. If I'm wrong with what I think you want, let me know.

I want a subscription model that most players pay. People who don't want to pay a sub get less. Not less game, you can still play most of the content with me (maybe I'd restrict AE access or something, story arcs like CoX did) but things like costumes you'd buy from the cash store whereas I'd get them free / choose to buy them with stipend.

You want to be able to earn money in-game. I will not be paying players anything with my stars, if I buy any extra or if I get them as part of a stipend if those stars can also be used on the cash store then I will be spending them in that store.

If I can't use stars on the cash store (as it's cash only, stars are in-game currency) then I'll give them to someone most likely in my SG or send them to a second account or something.

I totally think we can support a casual playerbase who buy things when they want to. If the major model is subs.

I think we can support a lesser (or two but not the suggested 5 or 6) subscription models, however I want the all-inclusive one to come in at the $15 max mark and include a stipend. It's not essential that it does but I will not be buying extra, that is my paying to develop the game I love to play price point.

I think that this game has a niche market and can not be compared to a Facebook game when figuring out who to pander to. There are two choices, you make a subscription based game that relies on subscriptions, if people want to play a superhero CoX successor, they will and they will subscribe. Or you decide that is unreliable as a prediction model (ignoring the kickstarter "there will be a sub, you guys" statements) and you pander to the f2p crowd and pray someone buys stars.

So there we go. Polar opposites and I think I may be completely out of line with what Segev is proposing with his business model. If so then I'm not subscribing at this point. I'd happily put my card on the line as I did with CoX and CO and would have done with NW if they'd had a sub model but as things stand I don't plan on subbing with the information I have to hand.

If the game is leaning towards f2p as I think it is (and I'm not judging, just dissapointed) then I'll start there and see where it is in six months time.

Back to retirement.

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

GH
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Segev wrote:
Segev wrote:

Exclusives are a tricky thing. On the one hand, they're really, really cool for those who can get them. They make it special that you participated in the specific event. On the other, nobody can do everything, so they're a nightmare for completionists.
Maybe making it possible to sell/trade "exclusives" on the player-to-player market would help? Create only the limited number of exclusive items that are needed to award everybody who participated, but then let them be traded. Create a "collectors' market" that way. (If we do the multiple auction houses idea that was brought up elsewhere, we could have a literal specialty AH for it, even.)

I'm guessing you're thinking of actual items like CO has with its action figures? GW2 has a bunch as well. I suppose it would be like collecting all the companions / mounts / other items in NW. They all have a rl cash shop price on a lot of the items whilst others are available in-game so you'd get as many as you could by playing then buy the missing ones from the shop I'd guess.

Keeping some things as limited time only - for instance only available during Spring (every Spring, not just Spring 2016) would be useful for making cash calls Whether they should be re-sellable or tradeable I don't know, I'd say not to prevent RMT for items.

Back to retirement.

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

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Segev wrote:
Segev wrote:

Exclusives are a tricky thing. On the one hand, they're really, really cool for those who can get them. They make it special that you participated in the specific event. On the other, nobody can do everything, so they're a nightmare for completionists.
Maybe making it possible to sell/trade "exclusives" on the player-to-player market would help? Create only the limited number of exclusive items that are needed to award everybody who participated, but then let them be traded. Create a "collectors' market" that way. (If we do the multiple auction houses idea that was brought up elsewhere, we could have a literal specialty AH for it, even.)

Or we just tell people to get over themselves and keep some exclusive stuff :)

However, even with the KS perks for those who could afford to donate enough to create their own costume item or what have you, those items become non-exclusive after a year/four issues...so maybe if people missed it, they can get it on the market in a year!

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GH, you make a comment I'd

GH, you make a comment I'd like a little explanation on so I can get into your headspace a bit, if I may: You say you'd not spend Stars on other players in the AH.

Assuming that Stars are, in fact, the c-store currency, why would you never spend your Stars on the AH to buy an item you really want for your character?

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To back up Segev's point a

To back up Segev's point a bit, let's consider the situation we've ALL been confronted with at one time or another ... I bought the wrong thing!

So let's say you bought Item A when your intention had been to buy Item B ... and you don't want to own the unfortunately purchased Item A. And to make matters worse, YOU PAID STARS!

Disaster!

So now you're out a pile of Stars, and as so often happens, you had enough to buy Item B but not enough to buy Items A and B together!

OH NOES! __orz__

So if you want to still purchase Item B as you'd originally been intending, you'll need to either buy more Stars ... or ... somehow SELL Item A for Stars to recoup some/most/(all?) of your losses in order to be able to afford to buy Item B that you'd been wanting instead.

Well, if it was possible to list Item A for sale on an in-game market exchange and price it for Stars, you'd probably be able to get your (erroneous) investment into Item A back by selling it to someone who actually wanted it (who, as noted, isn't you).

Now, in order to *sell*, you'd probably need to price your Item A at being close to but still under the price it could be bought for directly out of the cash shop ... meaning if you want someone else to buy YOUR Item A you'll need to take a slight haircut in order to induce them to buy. In other words, other Players will probably be "profiting" off your mistake ... but at least your mistake doesn't result in a Total Write-off of Stars (it sucks to be you, hahahahahaha!).

And here's the kicker for all of it. Ultimately it'll mean that someone else will be able to acquire Item A for a slightly better price than if they'd bought it themselves in the cash shop, since you're (almost certainly) going to have to underbid the cash shop price in order to be able to sell your mistake ... but then you go on to buy Item B as you'd been intending, so you are able to "get what you wanted" but you ultimately wind up "paying just a little more" in Stars to do so than if you hadn't made the mistake in the first place (because you couldn't sell Item A for 100% of its purchase price). So making mistakes on purchasing like that will "cost you" but it doesn't have to be "ruinously expensive" if the Item A you purchased from the cash shop is something that can be traded and sold to other players for Stars.

However, economically speaking, whether you or someone else winds up making use of Item A (and Item B for that matter), Missing Worlds Media has still been "paid" to generate the Stars that all of these transactions take place in, regardless of whether those Stars are simply "circulating" between Players or not. That's because Missing Worlds Media gets paid to MAKE the Stars (ie. "mint" them as a currency), rather than getting paid when the Stars get USED to purchase things.

Now, if Segev wanted to "mean" and impose a "tax" on the Exchanges, wherein there was either a Listing Fee or other sort of Transaction Fee involved in trading through the exchange so as to "sink" some of the Stars in circulation outside of the cash shop itself ... that's entirely his perogative (and something I'd recommend, simply to help keep the markets from getting flooded with "frivolous" listings because there's no cost associated with doing so, preventing the market from becoming a giant inventory mule).


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Redlynne wrote:
Redlynne wrote:

Gangrel wrote:
For those who complain about it being unfair to those who do not use social media... I can see their point. However, these people have spread the world about the game, they have helped advertise game... the costume piece/title/whatever is a "thank you" from the developers for helping out.
The problem with the way that Paragon Studios handled it was that they went with the Eternal Exclusive option. So the *ONLY* way to get the reward was to Jump Through THIS Hoop. There were no other ways to obtain the reward. THAT was the mistake!

Brand X wrote:

Segev wrote:
Exclusives are a tricky thing. On the one hand, they're really, really cool for those who can get them. They make it special that you participated in the specific event. On the other, nobody can do everything, so they're a nightmare for completionists.
Maybe making it possible to sell/trade "exclusives" on the player-to-player market would help? Create only the limited number of exclusive items that are needed to award everybody who participated, but then let them be traded. Create a "collectors' market" that way. (If we do the multiple auction houses idea that was brought up elsewhere, we could have a literal specialty AH for it, even.)

Or we just tell people to get over themselves and keep some exclusive stuff :)
However, even with the KS perks for those who could afford to donate enough to create their own costume item or what have you, those items become non-exclusive after a year/four issues...so maybe if people missed it, they can get it on the market in a year!

I think the only "tricky" thing about MMO exclusives is that people have unfortunately equated exclusivity with permanence. They automatically assume that if something is labeled "exclusive" it will remain that way forever. But you only have to look at any official definition of the word to realize that there is NO implied timeframe related to it. An exclusive item is simply CURRENTLY restricted to a certain group of people - there's no implication that the restriction will last forever.

I have no problem with there being exclusive items in MMOs. But I have never really been a fan of "permanent exclusiveness" so I actually really like the idea of things like the KS perks having a built-in end to their exclusivity. Ultimately I think everything that starts out as an exclusive item in a MMO should eventually be released to the general playerbase in some form or fashion, even if that means making it an arbitrarily expensive item in the game's online store. That way if the game wants to keep something "rare" it can still be rare, but those who are willing to spend big money on something will eventually have that option as well.

Ultimately the longer a game lasts the more annoying a pile of permanently exclusive items becomes to a new player. Frankly if I wanted to start playing game XYZ a few years after it launched and there were dozens of "permanently exclusive" items I can never get just because I wasn't around from the beginning I'm probably going to react to that as a major turn-off. Basically I don't want to see this game dissuade new players a few years from now just because they weren't around since the Kickstarter or during some short-term social media promotion.

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

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Lothic wrote:
Lothic wrote:

I have never really been a fan of "permanent exclusiveness"

Permanent exclusivity is a major problem that needs to be avoided.
Temporary exclusivity however can be a draw for both interest and currency (both real and in-game).

Just about the only Permanent Exclusives that I find it hard to resent the existence of are ... Anniversary Badges. They have no effect on the game and have a wide window of opportunity for acquisition (usually an entire month) with an easy requirement (just log in the character). That kind of Permanent Exclusive is one that doesn't generate resentment.

But stuff like unlocks for costume parts and other things that can restrict OPPORTUNITIES and creative potential ... those are things that should never be put into the Permanent Exclusive category. Temporary Exclusion is okay, but permanency is not.


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Redlynne wrote:
Redlynne wrote:

(good stuff)

Thank you, Redlynne; that was very well put.

Redlynne wrote:

Now, if Segev wanted to "mean" and impose a "tax" on the Exchanges, wherein there was either a Listing Fee or other sort of Transaction Fee involved in trading through the exchange so as to "sink" some of the Stars in circulation outside of the cash shop itself ... that's entirely his perogative (and something I'd recommend, simply to help keep the markets from getting flooded with "frivolous" listings because there's no cost associated with doing so, preventing the market from becoming a giant inventory mule).

I'd feel a bit off about putting listing prices up in Stars for this purpose, simply because - even if we had good reasons for doing so - it would likely be bad PR. I can already hear the phantom cries of "money-grubbing" and "cash-grab" if we tried to do that.

HOWEVER, we definitely will be using this as an in-game currency sink. So listing prices will likely be in in-game currency, rather than in Stars.

I might be persuaded otherwise between now and when this goes live, but for the moment, that's where my thoughts lie.

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Lothic
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Redlynne wrote:
Redlynne wrote:

Just about the only Permanent Exclusives that I find it hard to resent the existence of are ... Anniversary Badges. They have no effect on the game and have a wide window of opportunity for acquisition (usually an entire month) with an easy requirement (just log in the character). That kind of Permanent Exclusive is one that doesn't generate resentment.

Tell that to the badge collectors who started playing CoH a few years after launch or to the players of CoT who never heard of the CoT Kickstarter and are now already S.O.L. for getting the Kickstarter-only badge.

I do understand your point that some "permanently exclusive" items are probably more annoying to the people who have no chance to get them than others. But ultimately if I had any say in the matter I would actually vote against having things like "anniversary badges" in CoT all things considered.

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

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Segev wrote:
Segev wrote:

Redlynne wrote:
(good stuff)
Thank you, Redlynne; that was very well put.
Redlynne wrote:
Now, if Segev wanted to "mean" and impose a "tax" on the Exchanges, wherein there was either a Listing Fee or other sort of Transaction Fee involved in trading through the exchange so as to "sink" some of the Stars in circulation outside of the cash shop itself ... that's entirely his perogative (and something I'd recommend, simply to help keep the markets from getting flooded with "frivolous" listings because there's no cost associated with doing so, preventing the market from becoming a giant inventory mule).

I'd feel a bit off about putting listing prices up in Stars for this purpose, simply because - even if we had good reasons for doing so - it would likely be bad PR. I can already hear the phantom cries of "money-grubbing" and "cash-grab" if we tried to do that.
HOWEVER, we definitely will be using this as an in-game currency sink. So listing prices will likely be in in-game currency, rather than in Stars.
I might be persuaded otherwise between now and when this goes live, but for the moment, that's where my thoughts lie.

A suggestion on how the "Buying stuff in game for Stars" can work:

Contracts.

Its something that Eve Online uses to *great* effect (although I will be avoiding the courier contracts in here... they are something that wouldn't work necessarily in CoT).

Basically, if you want to trade "Stars for X", or "X for stars", you can create an item trade contract where ingame currency/stars/items are listed and what you would like in return for said item/stars/currency.

So this rate would be entirely "off market", but it allows players to be able to trade stuff *securely* as well, without risk of being ripped off.

ie I put up a contract basically saying "I want Enhancement X. Will accept 140million currency or 1000 stars for it" (or even 70million currency AND 500 stars)

Hell, you could even use a contract to "securely trade" between players (no more trade lag here please!).

Contracts would cost in game currency to set up, and there could be a limit as to how many you can have running at any point in time.

Hell, in theory you could set it up so that you could say something along the lines of "Need help running X mission, willing to pay 10million for it" (the 10 million could be number of stars instead)

Slightly mercenary/villainous... but an interesting spin on it (not going into how you could judge if the person helped or not... but you get the idea...)

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