The Daily Grind: Which MMO monetization schemes don’t piss you off?

    
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Gamasutra argued last week that there are three effective in-app purchase strategies that mobile gamers don’t hate:

  • the classic demo, where players can try the game out a little bit before they buy the whole game;
  • opt-in, in-game advertising that rewards players with in-game currency;
  • and paid DLC and expansion content on top of a free-to-play base game.

Now, Gamasutra is talking primarily about mobile games, but as we all know, a lot of mobile strategies have trickled back up from phones to PC, sometimes to the doom of MMORPGs. We’ve seen all three of these strategies applied to MMOs (though the second only minimally), and yet MMO developers seem as likely to bang the P2W gear and cosmetic gear drum, which if our comments are any judge just pisses the heck out of vocal gamers. We deal with huge box prices, #optionalnotoptional subscriptions, Kickstarter preorders, eternal early access shenanigans, and other payment tomfoolery too.

Do Gamasutra’s strategies sit well with you? Which MMO monetization schemes don’t piss you off?

Every morning, the Massively Overpowered writers team up with mascot Mo to ask MMORPG players pointed questions about the massively multiplayer online roleplaying genre. Grab a mug of your preferred beverage and take a stab at answering the question posed in today’s Daily Grind!
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BigMikeyOcho
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BigMikeyOcho

I don’t mind paying for an up-front box, I don’t mind paying for content releases like expansions, more missions, etc. and I don’t mind paying for more inventory/bank space. Other than that, every other payment scheme pissing me off, including subscriptions. Yeah, I get it, people love subscribing, which is all well and good if you have *time* to play the game. If you don’t have time, a sub, which only gives you time, is pointless. Give me an upfront, one-time cost and a charge for new content, and I’m happy.

camelotcrusade
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camelotcrusade

I roll with most of it, but I do frown up paying real money for more inventory or bank space–I think it should be in-game currency only (though I prefer to have all of it from the beginning).   I’m an avid crafter and I need room for mats.  If only more games had non-competitive storage for crafting (like GW2).

direpath
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direpath

I like the monetization scheme where you get select bonuses from subscribing, such as:
– additional character slots
– XP Bonus
– some benefit to reviving
– travel discounts
– cash shop discounts
– monthly stipend for cash shop purchases (definitely prefer games with this)

Having occasional perks for subbing is nice too like FFXIV’s reward tiers, TSWs new models. I do not like SWTOR’s model where you have to sub this month and this month alone to get the prize.

I feel games like SWTOR take it a bit to far by limiting gear you can wear or crew skills. The game should not be optimized around the bonus XP but more towards the free to play XP. Let them play for free with all the features or don’t call it F2P

Stop peppering me with adds constantly as I play. At login (maybe) or occasionally is enough. I know you want my money.

Gambling boxes are ok to me as long as you feel you get value if you don’t get the big prize. BnS and Archeage failed on this one. SWTOR does well at this. Having mounts, pets, customizations, outfits, cosmetics, buff potions for XP or the like are ok too. Being able to buy gear is ok as long as it is not best in slot….ever.

I like how BnS plays its F2P. I like B2P games as well (TSW, GW2) as there is a bit more of a commitment from gamers to stick around.

ZenDadaist
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ZenDadaist

Oh, right. The Demo thing. Absolutely – try before you buy. I’m very discerning about where I choose to spend my money and I want to ability to give a game a bit of a go to see if I like it enough to invest. Ideally I’d like a time-limited but not feature-limited demo. A lonnnng time ago Eve had that sort of free trial. There were no restrictions at the time – you could train up any skill and do everything but it only lasted a week or two. I was able to play alongside my friends without running into constant ‘trial-version’ walls and that’s what got me into Eve. CCP got a lot of money out of me over the years for it :p

A free trial where you are so hobbled, cut off, gimped and hands tied that you can’t even message your friends or join them to do anything except a starter area – which probably has half the rewards locked out to you anyway – that pisses me off. That gets me to uninstall very fast indeed.

The only weird exception to restrictions was Anarchy Online’s froob program. The restrictions were that you didn’t have access to the expansion zones and the content therein. You were, however, free to play the base game and do all of the stuff on Rubi Ka, chat, trade, message, make and run Orgs (well you used to be able to) etc etc. And there were no restricton to mixing and teaming with expac characters (except being able to go to expac areas obviously!) The game experience was open and there was a strong froob community. It was the equivalent of a living Vanilla server but which was able to benefit from the game’s QoL changes as the years rolled by. And it all started out as a glorifed demo.

ZenDadaist
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ZenDadaist

Polyanna “Stop modeling your business like someone trying to feed peas to a five-year-old.” 
That right there.

ZenDadaist
Guest
ZenDadaist

annoyedbadger Vorender I take it you’ve not checked out Rift in a little while then?

ZenDadaist
Guest
ZenDadaist

Honestly? Ye Olde Subscriptione that is an open access pass to the entirety of the game’s content without requiring additional £$ expenditure. You earn your stuff in game by doing in-game things. Farm yourself, buy off someone else who farmed it themselves; craft the thing, buy the thing off someone else that crafted the thing; complete the trials to visit the new area, slay the dragon and wear that shiny new hat it dropped. All included in the fee. Mind you it has to be reasonably balanced in terms of costing. Either a box/expac fee and a low sub, or a slightly bigger sub and the game and its expacs come free as part of that. Basic account services should be included in the sub fee, like server transfers and name changes.

I would tolerate a fluff-only cash shop provide that all of this fluff is fully obtainable in-game as well, without it being a months-long grindfest just to get a red dye or something – but as we’ve all seen it’s that slippery slope that leads to insane in game grinds and cash shop exclusive stuff at the very least. Has anyone seen a cash shop that doesn’t sell exclusives you can’t get earn in game? (And no buying it with £$ and trading it to someone else in game does not count.) What about a cash shop that hasn’t encouraged the in-game method to be made grindier and more tedious over time? I think TF2’s might’ve been like this in the past.

Failing that, B2P in a style approximating say TSW or GW2. That is, Pay for game and DLC/Expacs/Content additions like missions and areas, but NOT locking whole character classes or gear slots or armour types. Optional sub fee that adds perks without screwing over those who are not currently subbed (remember, they have paid for entry too). Cash shop has minor convenience items and light fluff, most of which can be obtained in game with some effort. Collector Editions that are within the realms of financial sanity with exclusive fluff are tolerable provided they do not contain any mechanical or power bonuses that cannot be otherwise achieved within a sane timeframe.

And there would be no &^%$£””%$%ing gambleboxes, locked or otherwise.

Oleg Chebeneev
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Oleg Chebeneev

Serrenity Oleg Chebeneev Obviously this model doesnt fit classic MMOs like WoW but when they evolve to virtual worlds in VR with real economy, it will be like another country that people visit. So it will be only logical to have model like that. Besides Im pretty sure future MMOs will offer alot of jobs inside its worlds where people can work full time to earn RL money. And I dont speak about farming by killing mobs

blackcat7k
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blackcat7k

quark1020 blackcat7k 
That’s cool, but the companies. They know this is happening. They have the metrics. They know their crazy spenders,and they don’t put any limits on it. The longer its allowed… it will just be a ticking timebomb until they they get that ultimate sob story that makes its way into public consciousness. 
Then we’ll wonder why the government stepped in and made a bad situation worse.  All those times of not giving a damn. That’s what leads up to it. People that seem to forget that we have nonsense politicians that can actually damage our medium if we don’t police it or at the very least call these developers on their nonsense of gouging their clearly addicted players.

quark1020
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quark1020

blackcat7k quark1020 Those families have my sympathies, but lets keep the topic to MMO’s. Luckily, I have not seen any pachinko machines in MMO’s. Or at least, not yet (eyes Konami). However, gachapon doesn’t give money back, just toys. Anyone who is willing to ruin their livelyhood for a game….well, they don’t have my sympathy.