City of Titans vows ‘no lockboxes’ for its business model

You might have missed the riots in the streets over lockboxes these past few months, but we assure you, the controversy is very real. One game where this won’t be a problem? City of Titans.

The team opened up about its business model this week, explaining how it will make money as an indie superhero MMORPG. Despite needing revenue as badly as any other small game, City of Titans promised not to include lockboxes as part of its business plan. For the record, the game is adopting a buy-to-play model with a cash shop and optional subscription.

“We’ve put a great deal of thought into how to finance profitably but ethically,” the team said.

“We recognize the reality of game addiction, and want to ensure this is difficult for our players to develop. Instead of lockboxes, our booster packs — bundles of related unlocks sold together for a discount — will include a bonus chance to win something else. So, for example, you might buy the Ninja Pack (just a random name for now), and you would gain the ninjitsu animation set, multiple props associated with the ninja, ninja costume set unlock, and a random extra piece from somewhere else in the game. The booster packs already contain a predetermined list of items of appropriate value — the random bonus is gratis.”

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SmugglerSteel

Something not often mentioned that the cosmetics only approach in cash shops hurt a sub-set of gamers. It hurts the gamers that priorities the looks of their character. Sometimes looks are important because they are role-players or because it’s just what you need to feel invested in the game. So often cosmetics only cash shops are the main if not only new source for the coolest looking gear. There for you are putting up a pay wall for feature that is highly prized by a sub-set of gamers. Cosmetics only shops can work with out totally nailing the fashion forward gamers, by being sure that the shop isn’t the only way to get some good looking gear. The trouble comes in, as it seems as soon as a Cosmetics only shop comes in, out goes any other decent avenue for getting neat looking gear. That’s no good, and honestly exploits the cloths horse gamers, and can be enough to make them move on.

Nathaniel Downes
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Nathaniel Downes

Indeed, which is why the CoT plan is to make all cash shop items earnable in-game by tying them to in-game achievements. Want a particular cosmetic option, the achievement gives the instruction for how to get it. Some achievements are as simple as visiting a particular location in game, others are based on performing some quest or duty, others based on meeting different metrics. But we do not want anything to be locked behind a paywall.

PurpleCopper
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PurpleCopper

It’s easy to say that you’re game won’t have lootboxes when the game hasn’t even been released.

But once the revenue starts to drop to low levels (just like many other MMO games), they’re gonna quickly reverse their decision.

shazanti
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shazanti

It’s lagniappe.
I appreciate lagniappe. Not terribly uncommon ’round these parts here. And for those unfamiliar with the term:
Definition of lagniappe : a small gift given to a customer by a merchant at the time of a purchase
Usually called ‘a little something extra’, and is far from unknown. (Though it’s an undeniably rare occurrence at Big Name stores/restaurants.)
Think also ‘baker’s dozen’: buy 12, get 13.
Good idea, CoT.

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NeoWolf

I kind of like this approach is there is no pure RNG bs of dangling a carrot but never delivering.. you know EXACTLY what your getting, plus the chance of something extra besides that is random. Far more resctable way of doing things.

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Z.N. Singer

Note also that the something extra is not exclusive to those random rolls. All possible prizes can be bought directly elsewhere, so there is no motivation to buy the pack just for the bonus roll.

Alatar
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Alatar

Meah. This is a fail. The difference between “maybe you get crap or maybe you get something amazing” and “maybe you just get the things you paid for or maybe you get what you paid for AND something amazing” doesn’t address the issue.

If the reason someone might want to buy the box (whatever it’s called) is that there’s a chance they might get something amazing, it’s gambling.

Now I’m not saying gambling ought to be illegal. In fact, I think it SHOULD be legal. What I am saying is that the hypocrisy of feigned moral high ground isn’t helping anything.

Call it what it is.

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Z.N. Singer

As the update notes, the extra random chance prize is something available elsewhere in-game or from the in-game shop directly. There is no motivation to buy the pack just for the bonus roll because you can simply buy what you want the first time, probably for less money than the bundle of items the chance came with. This also means that like everything else, the prize could be unlocked in-game for a single character for no money if the player prefers. The bonus roll is for fun, and has none of the hooks that create addictive and/or gambling cyles in lockboxes.

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Armsbend

We are going to get a lot of this lip service from companies that have never made a game in the coming months. Bullshit marketing until they have a product.

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Z.N. Singer

It is worth pointing out this update was originally posted months before the EA controversy began.

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Armsman

Yes, there will be no “Lockboxes” – they’ll call them “Powerboxes”. ;)

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Dug From The Earth

This is like finding out that the coffee shop that normally just serves folgers instant coffee, also has actual, home baked pastries, rather than those generic, dried out, fallout bunker style ones that break your teeth or suffocate you from dryness.

Its like, why cant you serve good coffee too, because the pastries are so damn temping.

On a more direct note… its sad that its come to this.

I mean, whats next, games that see it as beneficial to announce that their devs wont show up at your house and punch you in the face?

And I feel i need to point this out…

CoT devs… your website is only mostly awful. Its not doing anything to help promote or inspire people to be interested in your game.

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rafael12104

I’ll take that. Thanks City of Titans. Sure, I’ll check out what you have to offer.

See? An open market at work.

But even if I were jaded and said that City of Titans is just taking advantage of the current climate to promote their game, it wouldn’t matter. Because City of Titans is now one more to add to wave. And that wave, seemingly, is coming and gaining size and speed.

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A Dad Supreme

Based on the limited amount of people likely to play this title or even hear of it, it’s a Captain Obvious move.

There really isn’t any room to gouge since it probably wouldn’t clear 8,000 subs if that. Why antagonize 20-40% of that amount in an attempt to gain a few extra dollars?

This game doesn’t appear to be trying to make any profit but probably just to break even in operating costs each year, in that case lockboxes don’t make any sense at all.