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DevBlog: Monetization, player happiness and economic viability

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(Posted Friday 8th of April 2016 on the DevBlog
 
 
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Today, we want to share with you our view on a delicate topic: how we plan to monetize our game. Monetizing an online game is a difficult exercise: if it's not profitable, it dies quickly. If it's overpriced, it turns off players and the game dies as well. Adding the fact that there is no monetization model fitting perfectly for every type of game and this can give a quite serious headache to make it right, even when the guys in charge have experience in the field. Finding the adequate equilibrium is never easy. We have given a lot of thoughts on the topic, collected feedback from the community and listed a number of related critical points and checked how each model is adapted for each of them. We wanted to share our conclusion with you.
 
Being able to play the game without spending money
 
Nowadays, this is an unavoidable topic when it comes to start playing a new game. This is something everybody would appreciate. It's possible in some context, but there is always some inconveniences to balance it. But let's see how each model can answer to this point:
 
  • Free to Play (F2P)

    This model has been created around this very idea. It gives the opportunity to gather a bigger community and it becomes easier for players to find people to play with. However, it is very difficult to apply it flawlessly, and it's not always a fitting model for a game for many reasons, as you will see below.
     
  • Buy to Play (B2P)

    This model is completely the opposite. Even if sometimes you can test for a very short amount of time the game (limited in game time and/or gameplay), a player will have to pay the whole game at some point, and it might be a paywall that turns off players with a low budget.
     
  • Pay to Play (P2P)

    This model has evolved through the last decade and yes, it has become possible to play a game for free with a P2P model in its latest form, where the subscription fee can be optional. This evolution have already been successfully implemented by major MMO games, in particular Eve Online (the PLEX system) and it's the one we are interested in. How is this possible? In any MMO community, there are generally two player categories: those with a small/tight budget for games but a lot of free time and those who have a limited time to play games but a significant budget for them. Many activities in a MMO require a significant amount of in-game money. Acquiring a large sum of in-game money takes time. Players with a limited game time generally want to skip that step if they can. The system offers them to buy a token worth a monthly sub and trade it with  another player for in-game money. Players with a low budget for games can play for free if they invest enough time in the game and gather a large amount of in-game money to buy a token from a player selling one. As there is also a free trial period, a player who is really active may gather enough in-game money before the end, and continue to play without having to spend a cent. Basically, this is the reward for contributing to the in-game Economy. Everybody wins.
 
 
Responsibilizing players for their actions
 
Most of the players interact nicely between them without feeling obligated to do so but a small part always like to cause trouble (especially harassment or cheating), just to annoy other people or to gain an unfair advantage. In general, the Terms of Service (ToS) and more specifically End User Licence Agreements (EULA)  exist for the troublemakers. To discourage them to generate chaos in a community, the rules put in place need to be efficient, and all models are not equal in this regard.

 

  • Free to Play

    This is one of the biggest weakness of the F2P model: Most of the troublemakers are players who do not spend money in the game. As they haven't spent any money, they generally don't care if their account(s) are banned. They just have to recreate new ones and can continue with the same behavior.
     
  • Buy to Play

    In a B2P structure, a player wanting to make trouble will think twice before creating disorder in the community, if their account can be banned and they lose the money they invested to  buy the game. Of course, this won't make such behavior disappear completely. There are still a few people who will behave badly no matter what, but most troublemakers will refrain themselves if they have something to lose.
     
  • Pay to Play

    On recent P2P games some features are locked on trial accounts (especially features that could be abused to gain advantages with an unlimited number of accounts or harass other players). Once the player has invested a significant amount of time in the game or paid for it, they are no longer in trial mode. Hence if the player start a ruckus, they have something to lose.
 
 
Getting a high-quality Customer Support
 
For a MMO game, Customer support is an important aspect that can make the difference between a player who stays and a player who leaves. Customer support is there to help players to solve any problems they have, be it a bug (in which case CS transmit it to the devs), a question, or a conflict with another player. Again, all monetization models are not equally designed to handle the task.
 
  • Free to Play

    F2P games usually have a number of players far more important than the size of the customer support team can handle. The size of the customer support team is dictated by the global income of the company, where the size of the community is not. This tends to degrade the quality of the support, as trade-offs have to be made to handle the increasing number of requests.
     
  • Buy to Play

    Due to the fact that each player must pay for the game, the customer support team will be able to better manage the number of requests they have from the community as a part of the money coming from each sale can be allocated to financially support the customer support team. However, for an MMO (for which we can hope a very long life, like a decade or even more) this might cover the first years but after that, the situation will be the same as the F2P game, where the sustainability of the game will rely only on the players spending in a possible Cash Shop, unless a paid DLC or expansion system is put in place to generate revenue.
     
  • Pay to Play 

    This is the only long-term, healthy way to support financially high quality Customer Support. If budgeted well, the Customer Support team should be proportional to the size of the community and should be able to handle all players without prioritizing or favoring some players before others. Having a regular income is justified for permanent Customer Support. It's also true for other production costs like, for example, server maintenance (some MMO games have cheap server maintenance costs while other have expensive ones. It all depends on the amount of computation power needed on the server side. And on a game like Dual Universe, it will be far from trivial. This is the drawback for handling technological challenges).
 
So what's the conclusion?
 
We have synthesized a bit all the things that were taken into account, but you have here all the main reasons why we are aiming toward a Pay to Play model. In a nutshell, here's what we have planned:
  • Free Trial period: between 2 and 4 weeks.
  • Monthly subscription (optional with a PLEX-like system)
  • Possible (cosmetic only) Cash Shop. If deployed, we will make it in order that every month, players who have paid a subscription will be able to get some cash shop items for free.
 
Of course, we will remain open to discussion on this topic like any other: don't hesitate to give us your feedback on the Social Media and/or on the forum! :)
 
The Novaquark Team.

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I prefer a P2P system mostly due to it requiring players to have some investment in the game--thereby allowing some kind of limitation on behaviors.   There will be those who will cry from F2P and announce the doom and gloom of not going that way, but my experience is that F2P games have an inordinate amount of people behaving badly strictly to be be people behaving badly.   

 

The only issue will be that many will automatically say that P2P is also P2W....which I think is a twist on the F2P argument.

 

I like the EVE structure, and I like their economy model, so that kind of gives you an idea of where I am coming from.

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So this is what I would like to see :)

 

- Monthly Subscriptions

- Free-To-Play trial weekends once in a while (there can still be the Free 1-2 week long trial period as well, but it should only be useable once)

- Game Expansions

- Cosmetic Cash Shop

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I like the regular F2P weekends idea.  I also think that large expansions should be an extra cost (think the DLCs in Secret World or the large map expansions in Lord of the Rings Online).  I realize that will probably cause some heartache for some, but development is not free, and as long as there is value being added it just makes sense to charge XX for that.  

 

Cash shop is always tricky.  Like they say, it is like walking on the razor's edge--a step either way can have unforeseen issues  :)  Myself, as a builder, I would have no problem paying for expanded texture bundles for creating things (if we cannot import our own textures).  However, there are some that would see that as pay-to-win because the additional awesomeness of the expanded textures would cost extra--you all have seen the drill in forums.

 

Also, I am in the "little time, have cash" kind of boat--so that colors my way of looking at things.  They will also need to cater to someone blowing off steam before finals and living on ramen so they can pay their bar bill on the weekends crowd  :)

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i'd say p2p with f2p option which disables every building/crafting ability.

 

Isn't that model essentially identical to the F2P models of SWTOR or LOTRO? Making features inaccessible to free players? I'd still go with full-featured trial period and then pay to play afterwards.

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Here is were I stand... to me, the perfect model it's a P2P or with a Lifetime Subscription...

 

Essentially this allows players to pay for when ever they want to play... i.e 2/3 months... but those with more passion on the game can have the option to fully back the game with a lifetime subscription.... 1 pay - free to play rest of the game's life...

 

Just my thought...

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What's funny is that this seems to be the idea that most of us agreed with back when we all discussed this. Another thing is that it'll keep the player base more mature in terms of age (I don't know if that was stated anywhere above.) So that's always nice.

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Hi Nyzaltar, hi everyone,

 

Just to give my own position, I'm against pure F2P because of the above arguments and because I usually saw a bad community in F2P games.

I don't mind if game is founded over a pure Pay-to-Play or EVE-like system.

 

Regards,

Ryanis

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B2P is my preference. P2P is okayish. The Game-time token worked really nicely in Wildstar, but what happens when one of those people who can't do a subscription (me) runs out of game time? Is it game over for them?

 

Run a P2P with an expensive lifetime sub would be my input. I can fork out a large amount in one go. I just don't believe in subscriptions.

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F2P leaves such a bad taste in my mouth (if it is not a limited F2P).  I have been involved with Lord of the Rings Online since it's first release some 7 years ago or more and when they went F2P it just destroyed the community.  I am sure that i brought in more revenue, but oh how the channels turned into cesspools.   Now, I can forsee a limited F2P (like weekends) to draw people in, but my major concern is provide some ability for those who may be on a more limited budget to be involved who still wish to contribute.  I think a situation where ingame currency can be used to pay for monthly subscription would fulfill that--it just opens the door for gold merchants to pay for the bots--so I don't know if it is worth it.

 

I am going to throw this out as well as a monetization concept since I am a builder (and I believe I've seen Lady Astrum about who is a builder as well).  Many builders have skill sets beyond just laying voxels or meshes down to create things.  Many of us also have marginal skills in creating custom textures.  Myself, I have quite a few textures laying about that I created for other virtual worlds that would work well for voxels in Dual.   As such, I would be willing to pay a fee (to cover the cost of uploading and review by the game developers) to use those textures either for my own creations, or to sell for others to use in Dual.  That would provide three benefits:  a revenue stream of fees for the processing of the textures into the game, a revenue stream of Dual's "cut" for any texture packs sold on the game store to builders, and finally the added benefit of building content to expand the look and feel of the game (which has been reviewed by the Developers for style) without cost to the development staff.

 

Let's face it, every corporation is going to want for their own structures/ships/vehicles to have a personal "look".  Expecting the Art Team to come of with all those textures would be a daunting task.  Why not, in essence, unload part of that process to in-game builder who enjoy that and change the process from a cost center to a profit center?

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Something that might also be worth looking at is a community cash shop, similar to DOTA2's workshop on steam. People of the community can submit models/designs for implementation into the cash shop - based on vote by the community (coz then you know people are gonna buy the stuff), and DUAL takes a percentage of the share. 

 

These can be things like a variable line of ship designs, or personal items, skins etc. It would be upto to DUAL to set the cash shop categories for such items - and then review popular items that are voted by the community for implementation. I guess it all depends on what you can have on the cash shop. 

 

This is a good way to keep the community active to designing and creating content that DUAL can use for their cash shop. Especially if it's like .... dang.. what's word. stuff that looks good. vanity items? 

 

things like model pieces for your character... bionic arms, robotic legs, etc. 

 

it's just a loose idea. 

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Hi Primexes,

 

Thanks for bringing the sugggestion and welcome to our forum! :)

 

We have given a thought to this idea and the thing is... there would be many differences between the Steam Workshop and a Community Cash Shop in Dual Universe as well as several major consequences.

 

1) The Steam Workshop is usable by many games, but no MMORPG. The most probable reason may be because of Art direction. Art direction is an important factor for immersion. And as you might have seen, games using Steam Workshop are not aiming for immersion. Real Time Strategy, PvP fast paced games... but not massively multiplayer and not really immersion. Hence modifying the game by player-made assets has no drawback and only advantages. In our case, to keep the Art direction coherent with player-made assets would require to assemble a team in charge of checking and testing all player-made assets, as well as developing a cash shop way more complex than a "dev controlled" one. The number of people and development time behind Steam Workshop is far from being insignificant. As we are now, this is not something we can do (we remain and indie studio, though we are already bigger than the average).

 

2) The Steam Workshop is used by games that haven't a complex in-game economy. So there is no risk to impact this kind of gameplay negatively. We have currently no idea how this monetization model could impact Dual Universe in-game economy. Would it be bad? Would it be good? We would have to think thoroughly there is no drawback in our case. What can be really good for other games might not necessarily be good for ours.

 

3) And last but not the least: introducing real money incentive for players in a game is something on which we want to be cautious.

The original goal is to attract people who plays Dual Universe because they love the game. A community cash shop will inevitably attract peope who are there to make money, and not necessarily interested in the game. Which impact (negative or positive) will it bring to the game? There are already a few games where bringing real money incentive has done no good.

 

In the end, this idea is definitely worth a thought. But there are too many unknown variables, at least for now. And if this can bring a really positive effect, nothing prevents to materialize it after official launch. Nothing is set into stone, but at the moment we remain focused on the official launch first  and we'll see afterwards if such monetization model might apply to Dual Universe.

 

In any case, thanks for raising the idea! :)

 

Best regards,

Nyzaltar.

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You bring up some good points - I think I should have gone into greater detail on some parts, to help the flesh the idea out more. 

 

1) Art direction is one of the foremost parts of keeping a game immersive - this is where a design brief with specific instructions on how to submit a base model that can be modified to the Art design can come in handy. One of the big aspects in MOBA like games is what is called "Outline" despite the various gear, colours and itesm a hero might hold, their generic outline must be adhered to, so that the hero can be identified based on it's shape - there are also contrast boundaries and polygon counts for submitting model... the design briefs are quite specific. Making the process for submission, to your liking, will also funnel out half-ass attempts at assets. "Serious replies only" kind of model. If someone is willing to jump through all the hoops to produce something you can use - this would cut out the need to go through and test and check 100's of semi-complete, or not very serious submissions. 

 

2) These items can fall into many categories that would removed their impact from the in-game economy. 'Account bound' and 'non-tradeable' - and even "non-editable'? I wouldn't take this kind of idea for items that are part of the game mechanic, more so for "cosmetic" approach for things. A specific factions ship skin, or ship shell... anything that will only add cosmetic value (within the art design :P )

 

3) This is true, that there are some games where a 'community cash shop' has had negative effects on a game. I was definitely pointing towards a developer controlled cash shop, however giving yourself access to community assets. A player submits a model/design through the system... lets say for example - it's a faction specific hull, designed to look like a snakes head, or whatever. It fits all the art design and lore parameters... tweak a few things in it, and you release it in the cash shop as 'X faction Legacy hull'. you get a share, they get a share... but essentially, you control the asset. 


Keep in in your pocket, it may be something worth exploring down the track. 

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I've been involved in all three methods and other than LoL i've hated with a passion any F2P games because they somehow just feel cheap and underdeveloped, but that might be my choice in games not the method itself.

 

B2P works well for games where there is a singleplayer and multiplayer aspect to the game but I've not seen a one where it works for MMO's, again maybe just my game choice and not the method.

 

P2P I like, it ties you into the game and gives you that drive to play, to get as much as you can for that months subscription and it's always in your mind that you are still 'playing/paying' the game even when you are not online, so you come back to make sure you get your moneys worth. Like i was doing in WoW for so many years, WoW became stale and boring but I was paying for it and had the time invested where i couldn't stop, only stopped because my account was hacked and got a temp ban and i've just never started up again.

 

But yeah, I'm all onboard with the pay model you've mentioned and would be happy to subscribe to this game, as it seems like it's going to be the next big Building/Space/Exploring... ect ect (It really covers a lot of genres doesn't it) game and i can't wait to play it.

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I'm all for players paying for game--I've generally subscribed to games I've played. But that said, I've had issues with most of the payment models:

  • F2P cash shops typically sell aethetics only, with maybe some "booster" items (XP, etc.) or some "metagame" expandability (i.e., vault/pack space, etc) in order to avoid the "P2W" argument. But to me, this incentivizes development priority to add what many might call "fluff" over features/content, and/or leads to possible "nickel-and-diming" over QoL features.
  • The problem I have with B2P is what has already been mentioned--a high bar to entry that can't be significantly lowered over time since this is how the game is funded. And if you do offer significant "sales", then either people wait for the sale or people who bought full price feel gypped. Plus, it runs into the problem of "how often do you offer a paid expansion" and how do you co-exist with people who don't buy it (If you're familiar with Destiny, then you know the controversy over how the game has left those who did not buy with less "things to do" than when the game shipped).
  • Subs have the issue that the price is "one size fits all" (typically), which leads to people who play infrequently drop off because the full sub price is not worth it for an hour or two per week. I'm also not comfortable with the "sell a sub token for in-game money"  for almost a similar reason: a person who plays a little is likely strapped for credits, so in essence, you are telling them to sub for 2x or more to get the game money that allows them to play for their limited time, thus exacerbating the "is the value worth the cost?" issue. Plus, now you put in front of the player the question of whether they should play "for fun" or farm credits just so they can play at a reduced cost. Depending on the economy, farming for credits can also cause its own imbalance.

Personally, I think a pure "sub" with no base cost for a game is where I'd like to see games move to. But along with this, I think subs should somewhat be not wholly time-based, in order to give the casual player more value for limited playtime. What I mean is that, for example, a sub's base life is one month or X number of "activity points". If you use all your activity points in a week, no matter, the sub is still good for a month. But if it takes you 3 months at a limited level of activity to use up those points, then your sub lasts that long.

 

I have typically avoided subbing to more than one MMO at a time, since most of these games presumes that it's a second job, and it feels like I'm wasting money if I don't play a game I've bought time for.

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I'm all for players paying for game--I've generally subscribed to games I've played. But that said, I've had issues with most of the payment models:

  • F2P cash shops typically sell aethetics only, with maybe some "booster" items (XP, etc.) or some "metagame" expandability (i.e., vault/pack space, etc) in order to avoid the "P2W" argument. But to me, this incentivizes development priority to add what many might call "fluff" over features/content, and/or leads to possible "nickel-and-diming" over QoL features.
  • The problem I have with B2P is what has already been mentioned--a high bar to entry that can't be significantly lowered over time since this is how the game is funded. And if you do offer significant "sales", then either people wait for the sale or people who bought full price feel gypped. Plus, it runs into the problem of "how often do you offer a paid expansion" and how do you co-exist with people who don't buy it (If you're familiar with Destiny, then you know the controversy over how the game has left those who did not buy with less "things to do" than when the game shipped).
  • Subs have the issue that the price is "one size fits all" (typically), which leads to people who play infrequently drop off because the full sub price is not worth it for an hour or two per week. I'm also not comfortable with the "sell a sub token for in-game money"  for almost a similar reason: a person who plays a little is likely strapped for credits, so in essence, you are telling them to sub for 2x or more to get the game money that allows them to play for their limited time, thus exacerbating the "is the value worth the cost?" issue. Plus, now you put in front of the player the question of whether they should play "for fun" or farm credits just so they can play at a reduced cost. Depending on the economy, farming for credits can also cause its own imbalance.

Personally, I think a pure "sub" with no base cost for a game is where I'd like to see games move to. But along with this, I think subs should somewhat be not wholly time-based, in order to give the casual player more value for limited playtime. What I mean is that, for example, a sub's base life is one month or X number of "activity points". If you use all your activity points in a week, no matter, the sub is still good for a month. But if it takes you 3 months at a limited level of activity to use up those points, then your sub lasts that long.

 

I have typically avoided subbing to more than one MMO at a time, since most of these games presumes that it's a second job, and it feels like I'm wasting money if I don't play a game I've bought time for.

 

I second that last point concerning time-based subscription models.

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I prefer subscription over F2P as it gives me full access to the game and generally turns out to be cheaper then F2P games... I dont think B2P is an option here as its an MMO, as such there is an expectation of continuing updates. A subscription would serve well to provide the funds for these updates, while given all players access to 100% of the game. A plex system like that of EVE Online is a really nice addition to the subscription model.

 

I'm a bit on the fence about the cosmetic shop though... When paying a subscription I have an expectation to be able to access the entire game and future content updates. A cosmetic shop would basically be a paywall to certain cosmetic content. It would undermine the basic principle of the subscription model, a big offender is World of Warcraft, who doesn't just dubble dip, but tripple dip! they are B2P with subscription and shop... I find this quite criminal and these practices destroy the willingness of players such as myself to support a game financially.

 

I think B2P with subscription + plex model would suit me better as I would not have to worry about paywalls (even if it's just cosmetic). But don't go charging money for future updates though! I expect my subscription to cover that ;)

 

Looking around these days, you see too many developers trying to squeeze out their player base for every last penny. Many got away with it, but you see a growing resistance against it among players who are tired of these practices... For example look at the backlash Total War: Warhammer got from trying to sell a crucial race (Chaos) of the game as DLC with pre-order... There was a whole campaign to dislike their trailer on youtube. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MC1Y2pFP2ls look at the dislikes, those are not because they hate they game :P)

 

There are some developers/publishers that do approach this subject with a more fair mindset, like Paradox Interactive. Their release of City Skylines and more recently Stellaris are very successful. Sure, these are not MMO's but i'm talking about the fact that they don't just ask 60 euro just because they can... Stellaris was 39,99 at release, which i can appreciate. I know full well that there's plenty of expansions and dlc's on the horizon. But even those prices are agreeable. The point i'm trying to make here is that i'm far more willing to support Paradox games financially just because of their fair business models. And I don't think it's just me, Paradox Interactive has a very supportive player base.

 

I know any company has to be profitable... but there are many different ways to be profitable, and there's long-term and short-term... I suppose there is an underlining question that wants to know what kind of company Novaquark want to be or become?           

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I know any company has to be profitable... but there are many different ways to be profitable, and there's long-term and short-term... I suppose there is an underlining question that wants to know what kind of company Novaquark want to be or become?           

 

Hopefully not like EA. What a disaster that company has become. I have a gut feeling that NQ isn't that kind of company. The team at NQ have a great vision and I don't think corporate bogus is going to deter them from delivering that vision to the world. A certain company called Digital Extremes has done a fantastic job managing itself so hopefully we'll start to see more developers like NQ and DE. ?

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I'm all for players paying for game--I've generally subscribed to games I've played. But that said, I've had issues with most of the payment models:

  • F2P cash shops typically sell aethetics only, with maybe some "booster" items (XP, etc.) or some "metagame" expandability (i.e., vault/pack space, etc) in order to avoid the "P2W" argument. But to me, this incentivizes development priority to add what many might call "fluff" over features/content, and/or leads to possible "nickel-and-diming" over QoL features.
  • The problem I have with B2P is what has already been mentioned--a high bar to entry that can't be significantly lowered over time since this is how the game is funded. And if you do offer significant "sales", then either people wait for the sale or people who bought full price feel gypped. Plus, it runs into the problem of "how often do you offer a paid expansion" and how do you co-exist with people who don't buy it (If you're familiar with Destiny, then you know the controversy over how the game has left those who did not buy with less "things to do" than when the game shipped).
  • Subs have the issue that the price is "one size fits all" (typically), which leads to people who play infrequently drop off because the full sub price is not worth it for an hour or two per week. I'm also not comfortable with the "sell a sub token for in-game money"  for almost a similar reason: a person who plays a little is likely strapped for credits, so in essence, you are telling them to sub for 2x or more to get the game money that allows them to play for their limited time, thus exacerbating the "is the value worth the cost?" issue. Plus, now you put in front of the player the question of whether they should play "for fun" or farm credits just so they can play at a reduced cost. Depending on the economy, farming for credits can also cause its own imbalance.

Personally, I think a pure "sub" with no base cost for a game is where I'd like to see games move to. But along with this, I think subs should somewhat be not wholly time-based, in order to give the casual player more value for limited playtime. What I mean is that, for example, a sub's base life is one month or X number of "activity points". If you use all your activity points in a week, no matter, the sub is still good for a month. But if it takes you 3 months at a limited level of activity to use up those points, then your sub lasts that long.

 

I have typically avoided subbing to more than one MMO at a time, since most of these games presumes that it's a second job, and it feels like I'm wasting money if I don't play a game I've bought time for.

 

I dunno, I think many people overestimate the cost of a sub... Going to the cinema cost about the same amount as a average monthly game subscription... although watching the movie in the cinema will be like 2 hours where during a month you will probably find more then 2 hours to spend in the game...

 

I understand that it can feel like wasted money if you only play 5 hours in that month but it's quite misplaced :o Unless you feel even more so when going to the cinema  ;)  

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My point of view on this topic:

 

Wargaming model is great, they earn hudge millions of $ every year.

This model provide massive player base which will be deadly important. For me it does not matter coz i will finace this game anyway but i am a hardcore fan of space sims - you must remember about upcomming competition.

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My point of view on this topic:

 

Wargaming model is great, they earn hudge millions of $ every year.

This model provide massive player base which will be deadly important. For me it does not matter coz i will finace this game anyway but i am a hardcore fan of space sims - you must remember about upcomming competition.

 

I liked this model, possibly one of the few F2P models i've liked..

 

However they did their endgame completely wrong, where you are required to (what i think i calculated it to) 3200 hours to finish a single faction unless you bought premium. which basically made it so you were forced to buy premium if you wanted to progress in the game any more because of the upscaling of exp needed per new level/item/ vehicle.

 

MMO's imo have to be P2P, narrows down the audience to people who want to play and spend the time playing and keeps the 'F2P bad people' away or the people who would try to refund or something.

 

Also, just realised that i thought wargaming was the War-'lightening' people, that's what I'm talking about about, not sure the pay model for wargaming.

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Personally, I think a pure "sub" with no base cost for a game is where I'd like to see games move to. But along with this, I think subs should somewhat be not wholly time-based, in order to give the casual player more value for limited playtime. What I mean is that, for example, a sub's base life is one month or X number of "activity points". If you use all your activity points in a week, no matter, the sub is still good for a month. But if it takes you 3 months at a limited level of activity to use up those points, then your sub lasts that long.

 

I have typically avoided subbing to more than one MMO at a time, since most of these games presumes that it's a second job, and it feels like I'm wasting money if I don't play a game I've bought time for.

 

Hi Zhiroc!

 

Your concerns are understandable. And here are the game design basics that should tackle both problems you mentioned:

The character progression will be based on skill progression over time (no character leveling).

 

Learning a basic skill at the minimum level will be a matter of minutes.

Having a basic skill at the minimum level will generally unlock a type of gameplay.

So the casual player will quickly have access to many gaming experiences, and he will be able to do more or less the same things than a veteran player, just less efficiently. On the other hand, if you don't play the game for a long time, money is not entirely wasted as your character continue to learn the selected skill while you're offline. Yes, this is quite similar to another game, in which it works incredibly well.

 

 

I prefer subscription over F2P as it gives me full access to the game and generally turns out to be cheaper then F2P games... I dont think B2P is an option here as its an MMO, as such there is an expectation of continuing updates. A subscription would serve well to provide the funds for these updates, while given all players access to 100% of the game. A plex system like that of EVE Online is a really nice addition to the subscription model.

 

I'm a bit on the fence about the cosmetic shop though... When paying a subscription I have an expectation to be able to access the entire game and future content updates. A cosmetic shop would basically be a paywall to certain cosmetic content. It would undermine the basic principle of the subscription model, a big offender is World of Warcraft, who doesn't just dubble dip, but tripple dip! they are B2P with subscription and shop... I find this quite criminal and these practices destroy the willingness of players such as myself to support a game financially.

 

I think B2P with subscription + plex model would suit me better as I would not have to worry about paywalls (even if it's just cosmetic). But don't go charging money for future updates though! I expect my subscription to cover that ;)

 

Looking around these days, you see too many developers trying to squeeze out their player base for every last penny. Many got away with it, but you see a growing resistance against it among players who are tired of these practices... For example look at the backlash Total War: Warhammer got from trying to sell a crucial race (Chaos) of the game as DLC with pre-order... There was a whole campaign to dislike their trailer on youtube. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MC1Y2pFP2ls look at the dislikes, those are not because they hate they game :P)

 

There are some developers/publishers that do approach this subject with a more fair mindset, like Paradox Interactive. Their release of City Skylines and more recently Stellaris are very successful. Sure, these are not MMO's but i'm talking about the fact that they don't just ask 60 euro just because they can... Stellaris was 39,99 at release, which i can appreciate. I know full well that there's plenty of expansions and dlc's on the horizon. But even those prices are agreeable. The point i'm trying to make here is that i'm far more willing to support Paradox games financially just because of their fair business models. And I don't think it's just me, Paradox Interactive has a very supportive player base.

 

I know any company has to be profitable... but there are many different ways to be profitable, and there's long-term and short-term... I suppose there is an underlining question that wants to know what kind of company Novaquark want to be or become?           

 

Hi Quasibyte !

 

We understand that the combo subscription model + cosmetic Cash Shop might appear a bit too much at first glance.

But there are some reasons behind it. And one of the biggest is directly tied with the reason why B2P + PLEX Model isn't a so great combination.

 

1) To make the PLEX system thrive right from the beginning, you need to have a free trial period: this enable players with low budget to accumulate enough in-game currency to buy their first PLEX. If you put a B2P model, it's immediately a paywall for them. If these players can't get into the game, the demand in PLEX will low to inexistent. Then, all the purpose to have PLEX is wasted. In this case, it's better to make a classic subscription model without PLEX.

 

2) Why a cosmetic Cash Shop? Let's say a lot of people discover our game after the Kickstarter and they want to support us. For ethical reasons, we can hardly ask for a classic subscription in Alpha, or even in Beta before the game is officially launched. It's unlikely such announcement would be welcomed. A cosmetic item that you buy and get in alpha or beta that you keep after official launch seems a lot more fair. True, an alternative would to have a Post-Kickstarter pledges on our website, but there are also drawbacks to go the supporter packs road several times. Another aspect is our technology relies in great part on cloud computing and that is something that might become signicantly more expensive in maintenance than classic servers used by other MMORPGs. If we fall into this scenario (we are still currently evaluating all our options), inflating subscription fee will probably not be well received, while a cosmetic Cash Shop might be more easily accepted by the community.

 

Best regards,

Nyzaltar.

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As a P2P EVE player with two paying accounts, I have no problem with subscriptions. In fact I prefer it because it keeps DEVs from trying to make money via Pay to Win. Of course I wouldn't mind Buy to Play but if this game is going to be as good as I think it is, subscriptions shouldn't be a deal breaker. And it will go a long way to insure the long term health and stability of the company. 

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