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#7268
4 years 8 months ago
Cash shop that is.

This is obviously a hot button topic, so I pray people keep the discussion respectful. I don't feel like that needs to be said in this particular community, and yet better a polite reminder that we're all here because we want this game to succeed.

Now that's out of the way:

I feel that we sort of have a unique position here as early donors to express our opinions to developers who are apt to listen. Granted, no developers will be able to satisfy everyone, but I suspect they'll listen if we offer our thoughts.

What I'd like to know is what sorts of things people would buy from a cash shop. In your opinion, what sorts of things should expressly never be put behind a paywall? The Steelhelms have told us that they will never use lootboxes (*cheer*) but let's face it, they deserve to be rewarded for all the hard work they're putting into this project. So, tell them what they can offer to get a few bucks out of you.

I'm actually going to start by offering things that I think should never be paywalled:
  1. Powersets. Just.. never do this, please. Including temporary powers. It creates too much potential for 'pay-to-win'. Even if cash shop currency (Do we have a name for that yet? That could be a fun contest) can be earned in game, it just feels wrong to me, and would greatly put me off from the game.

  2. Base costume pieces. With the possible exception of capes and seasonal stuff, I personally am against any costume pieces requiring real money to earn. There are far better ways, if you want to add costume pieces above and beyond starting pieces, such as achievement rewards - which can include achievements for taking out bosses/task forces etc. This is such a tricky thing, because I think most agree that cosmetics are the best cash crop in non-pay to win environments. However, see suggestions below for what sorts of cosmetics you can/should do.

  3. Missions/tasks forces/content. Now, that's not to say that you can't -restrict- that content to some extent. See my subs suggestions below. But when you disallow some players from doing content, that means that there's a smaller pool to do content with, which typically means longer wait times. Not to mention some people in a Supergroup might not have the content, and would then be excluded from doing things. This is a DDO issue, and it can be a real bummer.

  4. Any sort of buff usable in PvP. This should be obvious, but gonna throw it out there anyway.

  5. Bag space. This one just always irks me. It's a reasonable thing to charge in game currency for, as a money sink, but buying it from cash shops makes me grit my teeth and be annoyed. That being said, making it an option in the cash shop isn't terrible, so long as it can also be purchased, at a fair price, with regular currency.

  6. Anything 'character bound' rather than account bound. This is something my gf mentioned when I asked her what bothered her from cash shops, and I agree. Though, I also think it might not be terrible to have two prices for some things, like 'mounts', capes, auras, etc. One for account bound and one, probably half or 1/3rd the price, for character bound. Chances are, if someone isn't buying additional character slots on a superhero game, it's because they simply don't have a ton of money to spend. However, if they feel like they're getting a 'bargain' when buying that one character mount, they're more likely to jump on it.
Now that's done, let's talk about things that I would like to see and/or would pay for from a cash shop.

  1. Extra character slots, if reasonably priced. IMO I would like to pay 5-10 dollars and no more per character slot. Anything higher than that and I'm probably not going to be inclined. Maybe 10 dollars each or 3 for 25? I'd almost definitely buy 3. Again, people like bargains!

  2. Auras. Flame auras, snowflake auras, glowing light auras/halos, shadowy auras, smoky auras. Auras for hands, auras for heads, auros for the whole body. Green auras, purple auras. Seriously, you can make a ton on this, even just selling auras at 2-3 dollars a piece. People like to feel special, and having an aura can be a way to say either 'I put money into this game' or 'I've been playing my butt off and earned some cash shop currency' (if that's a thing). I'm a veteran. Auras are a cash crop. And this is a great example of where you can go character bound or account bound. 2 dollars for character, 5 for account. Boom. Chances are, if I buy a snowflake aura, I'm only going to use it once. If I buy a white radiant energy aura around my hands, I might use it more than once.

  3. Capes. People love their capes. Sell elaborate capes that can be color customized, and you'll get money. Easy peasy. Again, I'd see this as a 2-3 dollar item.

  4. Travel power variants. Want your flight to be iceman style ice slide projection? Here you've got it! Want your super speed to have purple sparks instead of yellow? Be rocket skates? Done deal. Teleport with a cloud of smoke and a "FMAB" icon? Er, let's not get sued. You get the idea though. Again, we're showing our originality and getting that extra little bit of customization for our character. This stuff is just cool as hell. I can also see these being a little pricier. 5-10 dollars, 15-20 for account bound. Depending on exactly how cool it is (Goku's nimbus?) I could see going as high as 25.00 (I paid that much for Sleipnir on FFXIV).

  5. Power color variants, special weapons. Want your fist brawler to have claws that come out of the back of his hands? Or would you rather his fingernails grow into claws? Want your fire attacks to be chartreuse? How about having your sword appear to have music notes coming off of it, ala Singing Sword. All the things.

  6. This one might come up as a bit controversial, but: PvE use only group/raid-buffs. A pill/potion etc that gives everyone in your raid +5% health for 15 minutes. A little kick of DPS, higher healing, etc. -However- exclude the ability to earn achievements while these potions are in effect.

  7. 'Pet' minions. Who wouldn't want to be followed around by a mini-AEGIS shouting encouragements? Yours now for 13.99!

  8. Extra costume slots. This one is also likely to be contentious. I'd say make 1, maybe 2 earnable through play (probably just 1), but allow purchase of additional costume slots beyond that. This is win-win, because people are likely to also buy additional variant stuff from above for each costume set.

  9. Possibly specialty colors for the color palette, such as metallic stuff, or possibly even a shimmering color that changes as you look at it from different angles (like those snazzy cars). Idk.

  10. Whew, are you bored yet? I think that's all I can think of for now. I'm probably not listing anything other people haven't already talked about, but I think it's good to get the obvious ones out of the way, and I bet there are other players who can think of stuff they'd like to see in a shop.

Let's talk subscriptions, shall we?

When it comes to sub prices, I'm of two minds. On the one hand, sub prices haven't gone up. Pretty much ever. It was 15/mo in 1999 for Everquest, and it's 15/mo for WoW now. I think a couple games have even gone -down-, despite inflation. Frankly, I think 12/mo would give you a leg-up. Possibly 250 for a lifetime? This has probably been talked to death. I'm just saying what I'd likely be willing to pay.

As to what Subs should include: Obviously, a monthly stipend of cash shop currency (cumulative with that offered by the 'Premium Game' pack that donors receive). Character slots. Possibly unlimited? 5? Thoughts? Also, unlimited mission access.

"What?" You ask, "didn't you say missions shouldn't be restricted to paying customers?" I sure did! And I don't think people should be limited in how often they can run a dungeon to earn exp in any way shape or form. However, a great example, imo, of a model that limits people's dungeons without locking them is Secret World Legends. Anyone can run a dungeon at any time for exp. However, there are superior chests in the dungeons that can only be unlocked if you have a key. This might feel sort of like lootboxes, but it's not quite. It's more like running a dungeon in WoW and not getting to roll on the boss loot. I think SWL offered enough keys that the average casual player didn't feel like they were getting shorted, while the die-hard play all day folks probably had subs anyway, so they got unlimited keys.

Problem is, I don't know what loot drops for bosses would look like, so that might be moot anyway.

And this is where I become somewhat concerned. I don't know what CoH offered beyond these things for subs, but I hate to see too much offered, or too little. I worry about too much, because what about when your sub runs out? Do you lose the ability to play the character with the cool aura that you used but didn't buy? Are my other 4 characters locked unless I buy more slots? Bummer! This is a two edged sword. For some, it'll keep them buying subs every month, and potentially encourage lifetime subs. On the other hand, it'll put some people off who won't play if they can't afford to upkeep their sub.

And that brings me to another point; Keeping asses in seats.

Some people argue that a B2P (buy to play) with a cash shop model is best. I admit, this works sometimes. GW2 being a prime example. But it seems like Valiance is going to use the CoH: Freedom model. Which, I don't really know much about, other than it's free to log in and make a character.

Personally, I don't think levels should be paywalled. It's just gross, and excludes people. And while some people say "Support your game!" here's the thing: I totally agree. Support your game with what you can. But if you want a game focused on community, then open your arms wide. Bring as many people as you can and get their asses in seats. Because people want to play with other people. If I paid 30 bucks for a game, then logged in and saw 0 other people in the newbie zone, I would probably log off and ask for a refund, thinking it was a defunct (or just bad) game. More people playing = more friends to make = more people to run content with. This is a good thing. And if it's a good game, the money will come in. For example, I read somewhere that only 5% of the players of DCUO actually contribute monetarily, and yet they can afford frequent content updates.

And those are my rambling thoughts for the time being. If you made it through all that mess, kudos to you. Would love to hear other peoples' thoughts on the subject, and hope to see you around the game soon!
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#7270
4 years 8 months ago
Thank you! Really I mean it, we love members of our community giving feedback.

While it is not quite the time to start releasing statements about specific choices made for how we are going to be monetizing our game(this is coming very soon), I have no problem letting the community in on the methodology we are using.

1) Players need to enjoy spending money on our game. When they look back on a purchase they should never regret it.

2) When designing our game we must avoid thinking about money first, we must build a good game and the money will come. Also we must avoid building our game around the fear of being perceived as extorting players, build the game around finding joy for the players.

3) Fair System: Let players earn every type of currency, even the ones they can also pay real $ for. There is no business justification for preventing players from gaining access to all content if they are willing to put the time into the game to get it.

4) Never sell power. Never sell things to a player that alters the balance of the game. What we want to sell is convenience, things like extra bank space and character slots, these are things that are entirely unnecessary and every player feels when they start the game “the default amount is going to be plenty”.

5) Never split our community: We need to ensure we do not incidentally or intentionally split our community. We would not only cut the size of our community, but we also cordoned off paying players from the non-paying players.


Most of what you said is already in the plan and I am sure we are all on the same page. We have worked very hard on the monetization style for VO and we hope you will not be disappoint!
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Last Edit: 4 years 8 months ago by Jaximus.
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  • NiteCloak
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#7271
4 years 8 months ago
Firstly, thanks NWOrpheus for posting something I simply didn't have time to read through thoroughly and reply to yesterday. However after a fresh cup of coffee this morning... an excellent, well thought out post, the principles of which I completely agree with.

That said, this particular statement:
Jaximus wrote:

3) Fair System: Let players earn every type of currency, even the ones they can also pay real $ for. There is no business justification for preventing players from gaining access to all content if they are willing to put the time into the game to get it.


Sums it up for me. I could not have stated my thoughts on this entire subject more clearly or succinctly than that sentence.
He thought he was a wit. Well he was half right!
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#7272
4 years 8 months ago
Thank YOU Jaximus for such a transparent response! It's very good to know that your philosophy is 'the game first'. Not a surprising one, though, considering this has always been a labor of love. That being said, I do hope that the game is successful, and that if desired you guys can quit your 'day job' and do this. Or at least hire on other people to continue the vision. ;-)

Still though, I think a philosophy such as yours might just be novel enough that it will attract the people and make them WANT to spend money, rather than feel they NEED to spend money. It sounds like the 'Don't' list I wrote will be in accord with your own, and I hope the 'do' list gave you guys some ideas!
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#7273
4 years 8 months ago
I agree as well Nite. I can tolerate almost anything being put in the cash shop if it can be earned through time dedication. Although as I said about STO and NWN, putting a cap on the earnable cash shop income per day negates the whole purpose.

Also, it's unfortunate, but you'll pretty much need to make cash shop currency untradeable, because doing otherwise just invites 'gold farmers' and channel spam. =/
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#7274
4 years 8 months ago
On a side note similar to your last post there, I find great enjoyment in finding creative ways to handle gold farmers.
Join me live for a chat at discord.gg/PEPFfNg
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#7275
4 years 8 months ago
Jaximus wrote:
On a side note similar to your last post there, I find great enjoyment in finding creative ways to handle gold farmers.

Well, my biggest issue with farmers would be them essentially stealing money from you guys. If I could farm "Helms" (let's pretend that's the currency name), I could sell them for 20% less than your cash shop does and make the money that you guys should be making. If that's possible at all, then there will be dozens upon dozens of farmers running around collecting, as well as spamming channels. Stuff nobody wants =/
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  • NiteCloak
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#7276
4 years 8 months ago
Remember the prison in Brickstown?

We could leave their accounts active but they get perma-locked inside a prison enviroment. We can then form a TF to go in and kick some a**!


Sorry.. still only on my 2nd cup of coffee :P
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#7281
4 years 8 months ago
Great writeup, NWOrpheus! I agree, it would be good for Silverhelm to know what their players would and would not buy. I will sort of use your list since it really helped frame a lot of purchasing issues.

1. I never had a problem buying powersets in City of Heroes and I wouldn't have them here. I think excluding those in a F2P game would be a HUGE revenue loss. I LOVED buying new powersets. It was one of the few things where I felt like I got my money's worth. I look at powersets the way I do DLC in other games. You want a ton of new items/things to do? Then you pay for it. There is always constant balancing and FOTM builds so I don't see any difference in releasing a free powerset or paid powerset. Someone is going to complain anyways so it might as well contribute to keeping the doors open.

2. In today's gaming environment where everyone screams anything in the cash shop that is not a costume is pay2win, this would be the largest mistake in not charging for costumes. For me, it doesn't matter a whole lot because very few cosmetics make me want to open my wallet. I like utility but in the spirit of keeping development going, I can't agree with this not being a revenue generator.

3. I'm assuming this doesn't include new zones, i.e. DLC.

4. Yep, this is obvious

5. If you don't charge for a lot of cosmetic pieces ala costumes, inventory, I believe, is the next thing that players would want most so you would need to sell this. I can't see a company just giving the player both with no restrictions. To me, they are about the only two things that can guarantee more income. you could probably get away with keeping one of them out of the cash shop but not both.

6. I agree with this and CoH did not have this issue. I've run into it in other games and as an example, a set of colors unlocked for $5 should be account-wide(I'm looking at you ESO).


Great list of things you would like to buy but I want to reiterate for myself, I'm not a huge cosmetic person so I would maybe buy only a fraction of it such as extra character slots and maybe auras.

To add to the list, I would not mind buying a pre-built super-base or super-base features/parts(think Teleporters in CoH which were convenient, crafting stations, vault storage, etc). Again, I like utility. For me, cosmetics are just fluff and don't add much to my gameplay experience.
Last Edit: 4 years 8 months ago by SavageFist.
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#7283
4 years 8 months ago
Some great points raised. I would add: No ingame currency restriction like free players can have 500$ max while subbed have no limit. Or at least make the "unlimited funds" easily available in the store. Its bad for all players; the free ones since they cannot really buy something (Oh, bohoo you say? But wait: there is more! ;) ) but also will not have a real incentive to see if that super rare thing they found might be a must have for every big player worth millions and just trash it to free up inventory (bad for subbers having less stuff to buy) and double bad for subbers because they have a tougher time getting rid of their awesome loot... unless they sell everything for 500.
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#7284
4 years 8 months ago
SavageFist wrote:
Great writeup, NWOrpheus! I agree, it would be good for Silverhelm to know what their players would and would not buy. I will sort of use your list since it really helped frame a lot of purchasing issues.

1. I never had a problem buying powersets in City of Heroes and I wouldn't have them here. I think excluding those in a F2P game would be a HUGE revenue loss. I LOVED buying new powersets. I look at powersets the way I do DLC in other games. You want a ton of new items/things to do? Then you pay for it.

2. In today's gaming environment where everyone screams anything in the cash shop that is not a costume is pay2win, this would be the largest mistake in not charging for costumes. For me, it doesn't matter a whole lot because very few cosmetics make me want to open my wallet. I like utility.

3. I'm assuming this doesn't include new zones, i.e. DLC.

4. Yep, this is obvious

5. If you don't charge for a lot of cosmetic pieces ala costumes, inventory, I believe, is the next thing that players would want most so you would need to sell this. I can't see a company just giving the player both with no restrictions. To me, they are about the only two things that can guarantee more income. you could probably get away with keeping one of them out of the cash shop but not both.

6. I agree with this and CoH did not have this issue. I've run into it in other games and as an example, a set of colors unlocked for $5 should be account-wide(I'm looking at you ESO).


Great list of things you would like to buy but I want to reiterate for myself, I'm not a huge cosmetic person so I would maybe buy only a fraction of it such as extra character slots and maybe auras.

To add to the list, I would not mind buying a pre-built super-base or super-base features/parts(think Teleporters in CoH which were convenient, crafting stations, vault storage, etc). Again, I like utility. For me, cosmetics are just fluff and don't add much to my gameplay experience.

Thanks for the awesome response Savage!

Here's one caveat about powers. I'm against paywalling. But a paywall means that you can't earn the currency through the game. As I understand it, the cash shop currency WILL be earnable in game, so there's actually not going to be -anything- fully paywalled. As such, I'm reasonably okay with putting things like content and powersets on the cash shop.
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#7374
4 years 8 months ago
I'd enjoy alternative skins/themes for bases as well as different cosmetic furniture packs. Creating unique bases could drive a lot of monetization toward the game. On the talk of skins I'd love to see multiple paid only cosmetic skins/auras/effects for pet-class minions. If not just outright customization and then purchasing skin packs that way.
Last Edit: 4 years 8 months ago by GT3000. Reason: Added more suggestions
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#7375
4 years 8 months ago
GT3000 wrote:
I'd enjoy alternative skins/themes for bases as well as different cosmetic furniture packs. Creating unique bases could drive a lot of monetization toward the game. On the talk of skins I'd love to see multiple paid only cosmetic skins/auras/effects for pet-class minions. If not just outright customization and then purchasing skin packs that way.

That's a really good point. Thematic combinations is a good way to sell several things at once for more money.
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