Author Topic: Discussion - Subscription Levels  (Read 779 times)

Foxglove

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Re: Discussion - Subscription Levels
« Reply #15 on: October 12, 2017, 03:07:14 AM »
Yeah ... every single soldier was a named individual in the original X-Com from ~23 years ago.

Yes, I know. I played it. It was also a feature of Laser Squad from the late 1980s which was cited by the creators of the original UFO: Enemy Unknown as direct inspiration for their game. While Laser Squad itself was inspired by Rebelstar and Rebelstar Raiders. Having individual, named, characters in strategy games is certainly not a new concept.

Regardless of the history of the concept, when Might & Fealty was still undergoing development during testing, Tom said that the inclusion of individual soldiers was a direct result of the public reaction to the 2012 XCOM in the way that players developed an attachment to their soldiers. It was that sense of attachment that he liked, so he tried to reproduce it in Might & Fealty.

I took part  in the forum discussions where he talked about it. I certainly don't remember everything from the early days of the game, but I happened to remember that bit. I wasn't just saying it on a whim.

But we're all getting way, way off the point of the thread and we should try to get back to the main thrust of the topic. Much as I like a trip down the nostalgia tunnel of retro gaming, it's not the thread for it.
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De-Legro

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Re: Discussion - Subscription Levels
« Reply #16 on: October 12, 2017, 03:49:56 AM »
While influences of M&F are interesting, we are seriously digressing from the subject.
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Re: Discussion - Subscription Levels
« Reply #17 on: October 12, 2017, 10:22:09 AM »
It is theoretically possible for me to figure out what most of M&F income actually is.

I'm loathe to go microtransactions, but if that's what most people spend money on (likely), and it'll still support the cost of the game's server, I can bring it up with Tom.

It's also something I'd want to ask the player base at large what their thoughts on it are, especially those who are presently subscribing.
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Foxglove

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Re: Discussion - Subscription Levels
« Reply #18 on: October 12, 2017, 02:50:18 PM »
I'm loathe to go microtransactions, but if that's what most people spend money on (likely), and it'll still support the cost of the game's server, I can bring it up with Tom.

It would have to be done very careful, in the sense that it would need to be made absolutely clear to players that they can fully play the game without ever paying anything. But there are a range of vanity purchases that can be made to personalize their game. Something along the lines of a notice where ever an option to purchase something appears to the effect of, "Might & Fealty is completely free to play and nothing you purchase will ever give you any in-game advantage. This content simply exists to enhance and personalize your [insert character, settlement, what ever]". Something like that, anyway. If new players get any hint (incorrectly) that they'll run in to a paywall, it'll be a huge turn off.

As I said before, the problem would be that it would be hard to replace the predictability of regular monthly subscription income just with vanity income. With the current vanity, once a player has bought something like the culture packs they're never going have to buy them again. Of course, that's how it should be with vanity. You shouldn't have to keep paying to maintain your content, once you've bought it, it should be yours for as long as you play the game.

So, if we were to go down this route, I made the suggestion of introducing new vanity purchases that can further personalize your characters. That way, every time someone creates a new character there's a percentage chance that the game could generate some income. People in this game become emotionally attached to three things: characters, settlements, and realms (perhaps also soldiers for some people). So any newly created vanity would perform best, economically speaking, if it were linked to those. It would have to be things that people would like to buy more than once. Again, that really leads us down the path of optional, cosmetic extras every time they create a character.

Of course, the big and obvious vanity purchase that is currently missing is realm banners or flags, akin to the family heraldry. However, we're going to have to really brainstorm to come up with further things that people would actually want to buy in enough numbers and regularly enough to create a proper income.

As far as the concept of the monthly fees goes, I've actually never been keen on it. Even though it's not a lot of money for most people, I don't think the fees give enough to justify them to the players. The game isn't going to be a runaway financial success and money spinner for anyone at this stage, so the fees are really probably just a barrier against gaining more players. However, it is important that who ever runs the game is at least getting the hosting fees paid and something to cover expenses. Perhaps more vanity could do that, or perhaps not. It would need a more detailed assessment of the finances to work it out.
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Cipheron

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Re: Discussion - Subscription Levels
« Reply #19 on: October 13, 2017, 06:10:55 AM »
What about an Eve Online type model, in which players can earn credits in the game with which they can pay for their subscriptions? We haven't really discussed anything like that. It's a model that's proven successful in other games and it has some real advantages, because it's like a subscription system, but it also encourages player interaction / trade / role diversification.

Also, because the player earning credits and the player selling credits both benefit, there's much less of a sense of frustration as the paid accounts accumulate resources. Free players tend to wonder how they can exploit the rich-ass guys then.

One idea here is that instead of trading game-credits directly, you set up a special in-game currency e.g. called "Platinum" since you already have gold. That gives the game devs more control over how it works / balance. e.g. each paid account could get an "allowance" of platinum per month (which could be adjusted by the devs as they see fit), which would make them more willing to trade/spend it than game-credits themselves. Then, the free players earn platinum, and they can use that to pay for their subscription in lieu of credits. BTW a cap on Platinum per account would prevent a few people just trying to monopolize this resource, and encourage spending of it instead.

A well thought out system along these lines could work out pretty good for this game. e.g. if lords could offer a weekly payment of Platinum per vassal then that would mean people are more committed to the whole lord/vassal thing, since some players would use "be a vassal" as their strategy of earning enough credits to upgrade to a paid account. That lord would have to have their own source of Platinum or paid credits however.
« Last Edit: October 13, 2017, 06:41:27 AM by Cipheron »

De-Legro

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Re: Discussion - Subscription Levels
« Reply #20 on: October 13, 2017, 07:49:53 AM »
I wasn't really talking micro transactions, though they have their place. I was more thinking provide some "cosmetic" features that warrant subscriptions, so I guess something that is compelling and has a reason to pay to keep active. The sub fee for each feature might well be lower then the current subs but you might have more then one sub running to access various things.

It is all pie in the sky though, since as I said to those on Discord, I have no concrete idea's on what to offer in this space right now.

Another option would be to retain the current subscription system, but simplify things to having a single paid account tier.
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Cipheron

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Re: Discussion - Subscription Levels
« Reply #21 on: October 13, 2017, 09:07:09 AM »
Well another route is what Wurm Online does. With Wurm Online, group settlements need to pay upkeep, so some players pitch in for that while others tag along.

Translating that to M&F, you'd have something where it costs credits to create or maintain realms/subrealms. The ruler would have a number of means to raise enough credits for the upkeep (e.g. ability to trade credits). With unpaid upkeep however, I'd leave the realm intact but restrict the ability to conduct several areas of business.

Obviously this idea isn't very fleshed out, I'm just putting it out there as a concept for now.

Other than that, you could go for a hybrid system, where players are free to get a subscription to support the game, but that subscription also gives them in-game credits that they can trade to the other players, who might be playing for free. Then you have a bunch of things in the game that need a regular supply of credits but aren't over-powering, such as the realm upkeep I mentioned.
« Last Edit: October 13, 2017, 09:10:25 AM by Cipheron »

Andrew

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Re: Discussion - Subscription Levels
« Reply #22 on: October 13, 2017, 01:15:09 PM »
If realms cost upkeep, it won't be while I'm running the server.

The EVE Online approach has a few ideas to it though. This is part of why I was debating giving out credits to those who support development of the game, and the game already has free subscription levels for those I think are worth having one (no one does though, not even my own accounts).

If we take the Skyrim approach to skills, it may make it worthwhile to invest in skilling up characters for sale to others, and a highly skilled character could fetch a nice sum, theoretically. Character transfers, at a small fee (to the game, selling characters is debatable), are already on the todo list.

Artifacts are presently on the todo list to be purchasable. I've not determined a price for that though. Could also make them something you get after having so much subscription time. That might encourage people to stay subscribed actually. What would be a good rate, I wonder?

De-Legro mentioned player houses being a subscription or purchasable, but I'm kind of on the fence about that, because they'll already be something that encourages players to have heraldry, and they'll have some in-game mechanics associated to them.

Another idea is making monuments and memorials in cities or on the map a paid item, for like 100 credits or something. I'd want it low enough people would use it, but high enough to make it something done sparingly (because too many damn memorials would be really annoying).

A multi-sub system would be... interesting, though I fear confusing. Right now it's a question of subscribed or not. If there are multiple mini-ones, it's a question of subscribed or not, if yes, which ones.
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De-Legro

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Re: Discussion - Subscription Levels
« Reply #23 on: October 25, 2017, 01:56:37 PM »
This got side tracked into details about payment methods and revenue streams. What I was canvassing was if the concept of removing character limits on free accounts, or alternatively having only a single tier sub account would be beneficial to the game. I can't count how many times people have complained about those with large numbers of characters being super powered in the game (assuming they have time to play those characters), particularly when it comes to warfare and moving troops around. Since the games revenue model is suppose to be against pay to win, and there is currently a perspective that top tier accounts are pay to win, it was my thought that levelling the playing field would help counter this.
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Cipheron

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Re: Discussion - Subscription Levels
« Reply #24 on: October 25, 2017, 03:11:33 PM »
This got side tracked into details about payment methods and revenue streams. What I was canvassing was if the concept of removing character limits on free accounts, or alternatively having only a single tier sub account would be beneficial to the game. I can't count how many times people have complained about those with large numbers of characters being super powered in the game (assuming they have time to play those characters), particularly when it comes to warfare and moving troops around. Since the games revenue model is suppose to be against pay to win, and there is currently a perspective that top tier accounts are pay to win, it was my thought that levelling the playing field would help counter this.

Yeah of course, however that is intricately intertwined with how the game pays for itself to get server hosting. The last thing anyone should want is the game being shut down because nobody can afford to host it.

Personally I'm against letting people spam too many characters. If a game gets too intricate too fast then people can also burn out on it quicker. e.g. if you let people make 20 characters on a free account they might be more inclined to go overboard, then find that it overwhelms their ability to manage things, then they just go "ah fukkit" and quit playing since it starts to become a chore maintaining so many characters, and they're less emotionally involved in any one character's life. Sure, more chars would be great if you just want to push the warfare aspects however that's going to have trade-offs in changing the feeling of the game as individual characters become more like nameless pawns in a wargame than fleshed-out PCs in an RPG.

The thing is, as the number of characters per player becomes greater and greater, the roleplaying investment in any one character goes down and down. Sure, letting players have more characters on a free account might sound good, but it doesn't necessarily mean players will stick around longer since with more characters they could see more of what the game offers more quickly, but also more superficially, as the roleplaying connections inside the game will become thinner. If my 20 characters are interacting with your 20 characters then how many meaningful conversations are going to arise from that in a way that's compelling to keep logging in?

Personally, I'd see it as a design goal to create a game where people are happy but have less overall characters to manage rather than leveling things by just being able to spawn more characters.

~~~

One possibility would be the ability to "raise" soldiers into a squad leader or hire entire mercenary bands. Each account could have additional slots to command these units directly, or there could be an interface to give them orders when they're near you, then they go off and autonomously do their business until their PC/leader arrives again to renew their orders. So basically you'd give them orders to travel a certain route, with rules-of-engagement built in, and what to do when they arrive at the destination. The unit would "inherit" proper permissions from the knight who was their owner/employer. They would be represented in-game with a different flag to a proper first-one led army. And it wouldn't be overpowering if you could only give orders to the unit when they are in the same location as your leader.

Creating and managing a whole level of "officers" in your units who have names and ranks would be a great sub-game that would pretty much enhance the game for everyone, even if the officer-led squads weren't autonomous.
« Last Edit: October 25, 2017, 03:43:30 PM by Cipheron »

De-Legro

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Re: Discussion - Subscription Levels
« Reply #25 on: October 25, 2017, 04:31:56 PM »
Yeah of course, however that is intricately intertwined with how the game pays for itself to get server hosting. The last thing anyone should want is the game being shut down because nobody can afford to host it.


Chicken and egg problem. Once you decide if something is desirable and wanted, then you can examine methods that might bring it about. Exploring alternative revenue streams to replace tier subs is pointless if the bulk of the player base doesn't want to go down that path.
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Re: Discussion - Subscription Levels
« Reply #26 on: October 26, 2017, 11:15:45 AM »
Some information, relevant to the discussion:

Of those who have logged in, in the last two weeks, a third of them are subscribing players. Of those subscribing players, 4/5 of them have only the basic level. Of those basic level subscribers, the average character count is JUST over 5.

Overall, of all subscribers, the average is just under 9.

As for what to make of this, well, I'm not against replacing the subscription tiers or the subscriptions entirely (I will not force people to change there sub level, either, for the record), but I'm not sure what there is to be gained by it.

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Foxglove

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Re: Discussion - Subscription Levels
« Reply #27 on: October 26, 2017, 01:04:24 PM »
What I was canvassing was if the concept of removing character limits on free accounts, or alternatively having only a single tier sub account would be beneficial to the game.

It would probably be beneficial to remove character limits on free accounts or to increase the number of characters free players can have. However, if limits on the number of settlements a free player can control is still a thing, it might also be beneficial to remove or increase those limits as an 'and/or' with regard to character limits.

No, having a single tier of subscription account wouldn't be beneficial to the game. The current multiple levels allow players to change tiers as either time or money are available to them. Having flexibility in subscription levels to suit personal resources of time and cash is beneficial to any game with subscriptions. 
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De-Legro

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Re: Discussion - Subscription Levels
« Reply #28 on: October 26, 2017, 01:09:23 PM »
It would probably be beneficial to remove character limits on free accounts or to increase the number of characters free players can have. However, if limits on the number of settlements a free player can control is still a thing, it might also be beneficial to remove or increase those limits as an 'and/or' with regard to character limits.

No, having a single tier of subscription account wouldn't be beneficial to the game. The current multiple levels allow players to change tiers as either time or money are available to them. Having flexibility in subscription levels to suit personal resources of time and cash is beneficial to any game with subscriptions.


That is only assuming that the tiers themselves improve the game, which in general the overwhelming feedback has been that allowing the number of characters we do only results in bland zombie characters who's only purpose is to sit in a settlement and manage it, or move troops around in war.
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Foxglove

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Re: Discussion - Subscription Levels
« Reply #29 on: October 26, 2017, 01:39:42 PM »

That is only assuming that the tiers themselves improve the game

True enough, but I was trying to answer your questions as directly and briefly as possible without digressing. I didn't want this thread to get bogged down in side discussions again.

But, to move on to waffling a bit about the subject, I think there are ways in which multiple numbers of characters can benefit a game:

Although higher numbers of characters might reduce emotional attachment to individual characters, it may also encourage people to rage less when they lose a character. They can always have back-ups. This could make the game a healthier playing environment. From what I've observed (over a long time of playing now), the thing that really pushes the anger button with players is losing a lot of land rather than having characters killed. Perhaps the fact that characters are relatively easy to replace is a good thing for the tolerance level of players?

The game probably requires a reasonable number of playable characters to make the family system work properly (however, whether it does work properly is another question). It's pretty important that players can craft a dynasty of parents, children, grandparents, or whatever, to allow the concept of multiple generations to work. It's also important for having the marriage/liason system work as it was intended.

Being able to control many characters means that players can have fresh starts under different names. You can have a family of troublemakers and malcontents, while also maintaining a good and loyal family. Personally speaking, I know I've used this aspect to do controversial things with 'black sheep' offspring of my dynasty.

And there are other positives I can think of too, but I won't ramble too far off the track.

I'm not claiming that it's all roses with being able to control large numbers of characters, but my feeling is that there are positives as well as negatives. In the past, it certainly has been a problem that we've had (a minority?) of players who use large numbers of characters to move armies in perfect unison and dominate and bully others. But my impression was that we don't really have that type of player any more, and then when we did have them they didn't tend to stay in the game for the long haul (conquered as much as satisfied them, felt they'd done the game, got bored and wandered off to their next playing grounds). 
« Last Edit: October 26, 2017, 01:43:13 PM by Foxglove »
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