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This has been a sore subject since the very beginning, with some claiming it doesn't give enough value to offset using multiple accounts and others saying it is pay to win due to the extra skill training. There have been many concerns over the years regarding this business model. If people don't purchase VIP, the game isn't likely to last, as the money from box sales won't be enough. ACE has since removed the extra skill training that came with VIP, which has removed even the perception of pay to win, but lowered the value of having VIP even further.

How do they make VIP valuable and desirable without also making it pay to win? They have said they have some ideas, but have yet to give us any details about what changes might be coming. I've been thinking about it myself lately, and have come up with some ideas that I think make sense. Some of this is stuff that has been discussed before, or that has been previously mentioned as being part of VIP.

We will no doubt get details on VIP in the (relatively) near future, so it might already be decided what it will include, but maybe we can come up with some ideas that ACE decides to incorporate.

Store Discounts

Currently, if you purchase 12 months of VIP at a time, the cost is significantly lower than if you purchase 1 month at a time. The savings is $39.89 over the monthly price.

Going all the way back to the kickstarter, discounts on store items (stuff other than VIP) has always been a part of VIP, but I don't see it listed anywhere how much of a discount they get. The introduction of crowns, and discounts for purchasing larger amounts of crowns, may complicate matters, but I think it still makes sense for VIP players to get an additional discount on store purchases. The bean counters can decide how much of a discount makes sense.

Free Skins

VIP players could periodically be gifted mount, weapon or armor skins. These skins could be exclusive to VIPs, or simply free for VIP players and purchasable by non-VIP players.

Free Digital Copies of the game

Extra accounts have always been seen as preferable to extra skill training, and with the extra skill training removed, why not embrace the idea of extra accounts? For every 12 months of VIP (or 6 or 24 or whatever number the Devs deem appropriate), the player receives an extra digital copy of the game. They can use that copy to create an alternate account, trade it to someone else, or return it for crowns, which they can then use to purchase something else.

The trick with this is that many people already have years worth of VIP. I have over 6 years total on my primary account from kickstarter. Do they give me 6 free copies of the game? Do we get them at a lowered ratio or not at all? A lower ratio is probably fair, since this is gravy on money we have already spent. Maybe 1 copy for every 36 months for those accounts, or just 1 copy period for anyone with 12 or more months.

VIP players get 3 extra character slots

It seems like the base number of character slots will be 6, with the ability to purchase up to 3 more slots per account. Any active VIP player will automatically be able to create up to 9 characters on that account. However, once the player no longer subscribes to VIP, the final 3 slots are locked from use (the player could delete 3 of the first 6 characters to enable those last 3 for use, or they could purchase the slots from the store).

Many players already have 3 extra character slots from kickstarter. At least, those unlike myself who didn't trade them in back when we thought character slots were no longer going to be a thing due to vessels. Those people could choose to use the extra character slots anyway, so that when their VIP runs out, they maintain their full 9 slots. Or they could trade those slots to another account or player, or exchange them for crowns. 

Larger EKs

I'm not sure if this is doable, but since they can have variable size campaigns, it seems likely that they can have variable size EKs. Anyone who purchases 6 months or more VIP gets a permanent upgrade to their max EK size. This could affect both the actual size of the EK and the max number of concurrent players. Non-VIP players can purchase the upgrade separately. 

More Inventory Space

This might be seen as P2W by some, but there is already a kickstarter reward that gives +20% inventory space, so the cat is already out of the bag. At this point, they might as well sell the inventory space upgrade in the store. There could be upgrades for both personal inventory and guild inventory (if and when it finally gets implemented). VIP players could receive automatic inventory upgrades after purchasing 6 or 12 months worth of VIP. Maybe they get the personal inventory upgrade at 6 months and the guild inventory upgrade at 12 months.

Web-based Skill Training

This has been mentioned in the past, and I have no idea when it might become a thing, but it's a logical convenience item for VIP players. They would be able to manage their skill training without logging into the game.

Higher Skill Point Maximum

This was previously a thing, with non-VIP players only being able to accrue a maximum of 1 day's worth of skill points, meaning they had to log in once a day or lose skill points due to hitting the max. This was a bad idea, but only because the limit for non-VIP was so low. The current max is 259k skill points. There are still changes being made to skill training, so this number may change, but I think it will still make sense to give VIP players a higher maximum. If non-VIP players can accrue up to 1 week of points and VIP players can accrue 2 weeks, that seems pretty fair. 

Test server access

Test server access has been gated in the past by pledge level, with pre-alpha groups getting the first crack at testing new milestones. Once the game goes live, these designations become meaningless. At that point, there are no more pre-alpha, alpha or beta groups. There are just players. So, give VIP players first crack at any new content pushed to the Test server. Non-VIP players might have to wait a certain amount of time before gaining access to Test, or wait until the content goes live to try it out.

Other Game Testing

ACE has always intended to be more than a 1 game company. Crowfall is the only game they have focused on so far, but once it is launched (and hopefully successful), some of their focus will shift to the next game. I think it's pretty obvious that ACE won't be doing another kickstarter to fund that development, so in lieu of pledge levels, give VIP players access to test content for the new game.

Development Partners

Once the game launches, the current development partners will become players like everyone else. Give VIP players their own forum where they can make suggestions and ask questions, for both Crowfall and any new games in development.

 

That's all I can think of for now. Would this be enough to encourage you to purchase VIP? Is there anything else you can think of that would make sense? Is there anything I have listed that you think shouldn't be part of VIP?

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Even if I didn't have multiple years of VIP, none of that would get me to pay monthly.

As is, I have zero incentive to give them any more money.

For me to pay, the perks need to make me feel like I "need" them more then "want" them. That's how MTX payment model works. For some that might be easy as cosmetics, but I'm fine running around as a stick figure.

IMO some of the items like inventory space, character slots, more accounts, and even larger EKs are all borderline P2W or pay for advantage. These are also the types of things seen it almost every other game store so I wouldn't be surprised to see them here. I'm curious if current/future store items, including VIP, will be up for trade for RMT.

I'll pay for an inventory bump or character slots once, but no way I'm going to pay $15 to maintain them. At the same time, remove all that and I'd pay a monthly sub no problem. Trying to double dip or find a happy middle ground between F2P/B2P and Sub players that isn't some sort of paid advantage is hard to do.

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11 hours ago, Arkade said:

 

Test server access

Test server access has been gated in the past by pledge level, with pre-alpha groups getting the first crack at testing new milestones. Once the game goes live, these designations become meaningless. At that point, there are no more pre-alpha, alpha or beta groups. There are just players. So, give VIP players first crack at any new content pushed to the Test server. Non-VIP players might have to wait a certain amount of time before gaining access to Test, or wait until the content goes live to try it out.

If they don't want to do this then I think it would be a great idea to give VIP players access to a sandbox playground server with all the vendors and goodies. I would absolutely pay money to have access to a theorycrafting server. A server like this is also great for content creators too who want to get certain gameplay/audio clips. I would 100% pay for VIP for this feature alone.

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6 hours ago, APE said:

Even if I didn't have multiple years of VIP, none of that would get me to pay monthly.

As is, I have zero incentive to give them any more money.

For me to pay, the perks need to make me feel like I "need" them more then "want" them. That's how MTX payment model works. For some that might be easy as cosmetics, but I'm fine running around as a stick figure.

IMO some of the items like inventory space, character slots, more accounts, and even larger EKs are all borderline P2W or pay for advantage. These are also the types of things seen it almost every other game store so I wouldn't be surprised to see them here. I'm curious if current/future store items, including VIP, will be up for trade for RMT.

I'll pay for an inventory bump or character slots once, but no way I'm going to pay $15 to maintain them. At the same time, remove all that and I'd pay a monthly sub no problem. Trying to double dip or find a happy middle ground between F2P/B2P and Sub players that isn't some sort of paid advantage is hard to do.

Can you think of anything that would entice you to pay for VIP that you don't consider to be P2W?

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8 hours ago, APE said:

IMO some of the items like inventory space, character slots, more accounts, and even larger EKs are all borderline P2W or pay for advantage.

None of the things you mentioned are P2W as they don't give any advantage in actual gameplay. They are convenient and makes your life easier but it's not like you will have a better start over someone else nor will they give you any unfair bonuses that matter during gameplay.

I perceive all these bonuses that @Arkade listed as a good start for a VIP but them alone might not convince me to pay more than 10 bucks a month. I can imagine these features to be a nice addition as well:

  • Nice emotes that only VIP members would have access to. They could include vessel animations or some other implementetion
  • Creating group chats for players not only in their party
  • Long-term VIP players (e.g. with VIP already active for at least 3 or 6 months) could also have an option to make a zone/faction announcements that would be displayed in top-center part of screen every 1 hours (time can be adjusted)

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10 minutes ago, Drunk3nShaman said:

I think the ESO model works, you never feel the need to sub unless your a crafter then it's almost a must.

Can you give details on what you get with the subscription and why it's a must for crafters?

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15 minutes ago, Arkade said:

Can you give details on what you get with the subscription and why it's a must for crafters?

Sure with ESO plus you get 

Full access to DLC packs  (such as dark brotherhood and many others, however you can buy them separate)

Unlimited storage for crafting materials (this is crazy for crafters game changer but still not necessary just convenient as hell.

double space in your bank

10% increase to Gold, exp, crafting inspiration and trait research

Exclusive ability to Dye costumes (costumes not armor that is for everyone)

double currency cap for transmutation crystals and exclusive assess to unique store deals

1650 crowns per month for mounts pets and more in the crown store.

So no pay to win but definitely some quality of life upgrades and cosmetics

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11 minutes ago, Drunk3nShaman said:

So no pay to win but definitely some quality of life upgrades and cosmetics

I don't know what "double currency cap for transmutation crystals and exclusive assess to unique store deals" means but 10% increase to Gold, exp, crafting inspiration and trait research sounds a bit p2w to me

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not really as gold and EXP make no difference in PVP, level makes no difference in PVP, it's all equalized in PVP

If I'm level 30 and your level 50 you may have more skills then me, and trained those skills to morph a couple times to do other things but you are using  a skill or weapon they all hit with the same oof, and you can only slot about 12 skills and two weapon sets. weapon swap also swaps your skill set, for instance I am a Brenton Templar a healer  damage caster depending on the skills I choose to spec in. At first I went heavy armor/ bow/resto staff for range and max armor and templar healing abilities, I still use that build from time to time but now I'm mainly light armor Destruction /resto staff so I drop all my heals and shields and Hots then swap to destruction staff to dole out DPS and recover mana (every heavy attack with destruction staff returns mana) then swap back and forth as necessary to heal and DPS. great in PVE and PVP

the deals are all cosmetic and transmutation is just that make armor look like other armor.

again cosmetic.

 

 

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Posted (edited)
10 hours ago, Arkade said:

Can you think of anything that would entice you to pay for VIP that you don't consider to be P2W?

TLDR: Not off the top of my head.

While most MMOs have optional subs these days, they all have some form of paid advantage (IMO). Be it slight to significant. Losing a GW2 arena might not be as significant as the potential loss in EVE or Albion Online, but either way, money can and does influence outcomes.

These are some of the well known MMOs with some form of optional sub that I can think of: EVE, GW2, ESO, SWTOR, Albion, Tera, AA, BDO, LOTR, DAOC, EQ

Every perk they offer that I would pay for is what I considering paying for advantage. Again, this is pretty much the point of MTX and optional subs. Make it just good enough to entice people to pay, but not so over the top that the game dies due to P2W. Although Eastern games definitely fall more towards this side like BDO and AA.

Also, while there might be superficial similarities, none of those games are exactly like Crowfall. So I can't just cherry pick and say X will work because it does in another game.

These are the things I'd pay for and I consider paying for advantage: Boosts (xp, gold, gathering, crafting, combat, any progression), access to content (items, classes, areas, progression, etc), character slots, inventory space, guild tools, in-game currency. None of that is going to magically make someone win a campaign, but it adds up and results in non-paying players being at a base line disadvantage even if 99.9% of everything else is equal.

Not sure I'd pay $15 to maintain all of those perks, but I'd likely buy them once or whatever the limit was (assuming there is one). Just like I'd buy an expansion for $50 but I'm not going to pay $15/month to have access to Rainbow and Sunshine Land.

I believed that the original VIP perk of offering multiple Archetypes training at the same time was an advantage, BUT it wasn't as bad as crafting boosts or extra inventory slot.

If it was easy, ACE would of already had something to show. The little they did have planned was removed due to P2W complaints.

Many games run on cosmetics but that doesn't seem like an option for Crowfall be it the game design or community.

I want this thing to work so I hope they come up with something and I wouldn't be surprised if it is like most other MMOs and players just have to suck it up that paying provides some form of advantage. Despite all the negativity, all those games I listed still have people playing and more importantly paying for all those perks. 

MMOs as a whole are not fair by design. Devs can try to balance classes, powers, team size, but in the end it doesn't matter. I believe that is why eSport/lobby type competitive games are massively popular in comparison for those that like to PVP and compete. MMOs focus on other skills and requirements, unfortunately of which cash, time, and unfair advantage play into quite a lot.

Edited by APE

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7 hours ago, Aeriav said:

None of the things you mentioned are P2W as they don't give any advantage in actual gameplay. They are convenient and makes your life easier but it's not like you will have a better start over someone else nor will they give you any unfair bonuses that matter during gameplay.

Free accounts, character slots, inventory space, and even larger EKs if they ever get finished are all potential advantage. Having 10% more bag space isn't going to win a campaign but it makes a difference. Alt accounts make a large difference. In a game run by passive training, harvesting, crafting, the more training and space to hold things is a big deal. P2W to me is a throw away term, but those things are pay for advantage. If not, people wouldn't pay for them. That's the point.

7 hours ago, Drunk3nShaman said:

Unlimited storage for crafting materials (this is crazy for crafters game changer but still not necessary just convenient as hell.

double space in your bank

10% increase to Gold, exp, crafting inspiration and trait research

So no pay to win but definitely some quality of life upgrades and cosmetics

Might not be a big deal in ESO (as you mentioned below) but copy that to Crowfall and it would matter. Which is an important factor. Games aren't the same and specific perks can impact game play quite differently.

Anything that is straight +% to game play can't be perceived as anything but paying for advantage.

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6 minutes ago, APE said:

Despite all the negativity, all those games I listed still have people playing and more importantly paying for all those perks. 

I would say that now game companies are trending towards filling the cash shop with many convenience items since they are easier for players to justify and harder to classify a game as p2w. The problem is they are coding in obstacles or grind into the game with the sole purpose of adding ways to bypass with a cash shop item. I honestly think the grind and leveling added to this game was influenced by marketing/sales to facilitate cash shop options.

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Either you have a subscription that is "required" to play with an "optional" lobotomized free trial version (see: EVE's current model) or you have a truly "optional" subscription that doesn't hold enough value to actually draw players.

The easiest gets for VIP would be EK related stuff and web/mobile QOL. They could go the linden route and literally treat EK space like rented real estate without impacting competitive balance. Got VIP? Cool we can guarantee your Ek is online and you get free structure upkeep. Got even more VIP? Cool you can have a higher player count or more space in your EK.

They seem really confused about how to make EKs not a total pain in the ass because they promised them to everyone so its a pretty easy fix. Free EKs use the current system (owner must put it online) while VIP EKs can allow noble or public onlining and get free upkeep so they're able to more easily build rental empires and community spaces. In this way multiple free players can benefit from a single VIP player so the benefits feel more democratized and nobody feels like they're getting screwed in a campaign.

Depending on how they eventually implement factories you could also tie longer factory ques or more pages on vendors to VIP, stuff like that. Make VIP a thing that greases the wheels of commerce and encourages VIP players to do community building that benefits the free players.

 

In this manner you have a "required" subscription, but for an essentially cooperative part of the game so it goes over better.

Edited by PopeUrban

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Rub rock on face and say "Yes food is eaten now time for fight"

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3 hours ago, mystafyi said:

I would say that now game companies are trending towards filling the cash shop with many convenience items since they are easier for players to justify and harder to classify a game as p2w. The problem is they are coding in obstacles or grind into the game with the sole purpose of adding ways to bypass with a cash shop item. I honestly think the grind and leveling added to this game was influenced by marketing/sales to facilitate cash shop options.

It's possible but can't say until they actually come up with VIP perks and make the store more then bare bones.

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14 hours ago, Arkade said:

Can you give details on what you get with the subscription and why it's a must for crafters?

The craft bag you get in ESO+ subscription is such a great convenience thing. It's a storage add-on that holds every type of stackable crafting resource in the game. You don't ever have to play that annoying slot management mini-game because everything fits. If you cancel your sub you can still take resources out but can't put more in.


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I've always been a fan of EvE's Plex system. Eve may be F2P, but without a subscription you only get limited access to the game. Players can subscribe to get full access, or players can use RL money to buy a tradeable token that can be redeemed for a month of full access. Players with more money than time can buy Plex and trade them for anything of value in the game, while players with more time than money can farm goods to trade for Plex to cover their premium game time.

It's a win/win for players on both sides, and because it's filtered through the player economy it's self balancing. When few players are buying Plex, they can demand a premium on the market. When tons of players want to buy their toys with rl cash, they're going to get less bang for their buck.

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Campaigns are going to have to have population caps.  So likely will zones within campaigns.  What if VIP put you at the front of the line for that access?

Also, maybe it could allow access to multiple campaigns or more campaigns than a non-VIP

Otherwise I like the idea of extra storage, extra character slots, and I even liked the original idea of multiple training lines.

 

Maybe some VIP only campaigns...

 

Just tossing stuff against the wall.

 


Edit to add:   One other thought would be making EKs persistent for VIP holders

Edited by calidor

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just let everyone train 2 skills at the same time, if you are not VIP then it caps, if you are VIP then it doesn't cap and can be created into a tome that can be sold or auctioned off. 100% fine with that

-minor note, that there would also be a cap globally of how much you can train with tomes-

Edited by dajjal

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23 hours ago, VaMei said:

I've always been a fan of EvE's Plex system. Eve may be F2P, but without a subscription you only get limited access to the game. Players can subscribe to get full access, or players can use RL money to buy a tradeable token that can be redeemed for a month of full access. Players with more money than time can buy Plex and trade them for anything of value in the game, while players with more time than money can farm goods to trade for Plex to cover their premium game time.

It's a win/win for players on both sides, and because it's filtered through the player economy it's self balancing. When few players are buying Plex, they can demand a premium on the market. When tons of players want to buy their toys with rl cash, they're going to get less bang for their buck.

Why not just sell power in the store and skip the middle man? Why not just adopt the Eastern pay model?

It's a win/win for two particular sides, but games have more sides.

If it was just more time vs money balancing, might be okay, but there are people with a lot of time and a lot of money. For those without either, oh well?

My issue is games are rarely marketed to express how unfair "optional" subs are until it's too late. If ACE wants to make Crowfall F2P though, that would be something else.

 

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