Project Gorgon opens microtransaction shop full of stuff you can’t use yet

    
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Monetization is always a tricky topic in MMOs, especially when it comes to microtransactions, but that’s just the territory that Project Gorgon devs are trying to navigate right now, as they’ve just opened up the first iteration of the Project Gorgon shop, and the current offerings are… interesting.

As of this writing, there are three “Kickstarter-like” packages available for purchase — the Horseback Explorer II package ($50 US), the Thoroughbred Breeder package ($75 US) and the Horse Lord package ($500 US), each of which comes with “a free horse mount with basic Riding skill,” a number of months of VIP membership, and a few other goodies depending on the package level. What’s somewhat unusual about this, however, is the fact that the Riding skill isn’t even currently in the game, so the mounts that these packages grant are unusable until the skill is added.

Elder Game has been clear that it wants to steer well clear of “any ‘pay-to-win’ type scenarios,” and while it seems that it’s more or less succeeded with its current packages — depending, of course, on how you define that most nebulous of terms — it nevertheless seems like a somewhat questionable move to be charging money, especially in the triple digits, for content that isn’t even in the game yet. As for how the game’s community will react to that, we’ll have to wait and see as the judgments roll in.

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Schlag Sweetleaf
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PanagiotisLial1

that guy got to have hurt

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Eliandal

Oh! My! This, for some reason, set off a spate of giggles. This is an ‘all timer!’

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Schlag Sweetleaf

i was rather proud of the title;p

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Armsbend

Had that guy never watched a cowboy movie in his entire life?

> good Cash song schlag

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Schlag Sweetleaf

Yippie yi ooohhh
Yippie yi yaaaay

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Roger Melly

.

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Roger Melly

I have zero problem with this in a predominantly pve game as long as the skills and a variety of mounts can be achieved in the game itself through a little hard work .

If it was a game with wide ranging pvp it would be another matter entirely .

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packagegrope

‘free horse mount’ – uhh… that you have to pay $50 for?

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Sorenthaz

Here’s what the $500 package gives:

· Receive a free horse mount with basic Riding skill.*

· Plus special Saddlebags for extra storage capacity.*

· Receive a second free horse for breeding, along with basic Animal Husbandry skill.*

· Plus a pair of breeding tigers of high genetic quality.*

· Custom in-game title with the ability to bestow this title on anyone you see fit. (Note: Title must be game appropriate.)

· The ability to spontaneously create special snack cakes (20 per week).

· Staff of Leadership: this unique item helps you command the respect of those around you.

· Player House! One basic, instanced, in-game house.

· 5 YEARS VIP membership.

*= Thoroughbred Breeder package ($75 version).

If the VIP is going to be $10/month then the 5 years of VIP pays for the package itself (and then some since that’d be $600 in value). Then the rest of the $500 package is basically Kickstarter-esque rewards where you can throw a custom title on others, show off some sort of special staff?, conjure… lots of snack cakes, and then you get a basic house as well.

As for the $75 package, all it adds over the $50 one is some stuff related to breeding. Then the $50 is basically what folks could get from Kickstarter’s $75 Horseback Explorer sans the digital copy of Gorgon ($40 value), Beta/Alpha access, and forum/credits perks.

The $500 package is basically a redux of the Kickstarter Duke package (house, staff, snack cakes, 5 years of VIP) except without the game access/beta/alpha/special forum section/featured in credits stuff.

Staff of Leadership according to the Duke Package’s description: (You can force other players to perform a “bow” emote in front of you, up to 7 times per week.)

So basically this is just the return of a few Kickstarter packages but you don’t get as much out of them as you would if you had bought into it way back when. And they’re entirely optional for those who want to support the game but either didn’t get into the Kickstarter or would like to get more of the Kickstarter bits and bobs. Horse Lord package is basically just some fun items and then you get to access basic housing once it releases.

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astrid

To put the shop into context: This is something that has been repeatedly asked for by players in the forums. There has been a “Donate” option for a while that just allows players to give extra money to the game but there has been player demand for the ability to give the money and receive some game stuff in return.

And yes, said game stuff mostly isn’t in the game yet. =)

Note the following about the packages:
– nobody has to buy any of them
– most of the package perks will be obtainable in game through extra effort or in-game money
– I believe VIP time is supposed to be about $10 per month once VIP is actually in the game, so if you believe the game will make it to release and you will be playing enough to use the VIP, it’s actually a great deal even if you don’t care about any of the package perks.

I’m a player and I’m excited by this. Yep, I’m biased because it’s my favorite MMO, so I hope this doesn’t come across as some rabid reflexive game defense but my opinion is making games isn’t free and I’m really appreciative of the efforts by the devs to make contributing to the game fun for the players.

(There has also been a lengthy forum thread where they’ve been asking for feedback on what we want to see in the shop: https://forum.projectgorgon.com/showthread.php?2022-Discussion-What-would-you-like-to-see-in-the-new-Gorgon-Shop )

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Bree Royce

Hey just to be clear, that forum thread was one of our article’s sources and is linked accordingly – it was where we got the notes from EG about not wanting to be pay-to-win. We’re big fans of Gorgon, but similar cash shops from games like SC, AOC, Elyria get a lot of criticism – it’s surprising to see EG take that risk.

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astrid

Ah, I missed that you already had the forum thread linked as the source, thanks! I was mostly trying to do a catch-all response to the player comments below. I mean, yes, the article’s title is entirely correct and I giggled at it – paying for stuff that doesn’t exist does sound like a pretty silly concept.

It’s just that a shop is also what’s been asked for by the forum player base for several months now, so it’s not some nefarious dev scheme coming out of the blue. I’ve been reading the game forums for the last three years or thereabouts, and we’ve always been getting periodic comments about people wanting to donate to the game and not being able to because the devs were lagging behind on setting up the donation ability/Steam access/revised shop.

Now, not everyone who plays the game visits the forums, so it’s possible there will be lots of players unhappy with the shop but at least to me, it feels like the shop was created because of player demand. It might have been nice if there was more stuff currently in-game available in the shop ( titles are the only thing out right now, I believe) but well, the main other idea I can think of for a shop is cosmetics, and I think I’d rather wait on some more graphics updates first…

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PanagiotisLial1

Yes they should just had opened voluntary donations which werent possible for quite a while now. I am pretty sure people would love to donate for such a unique project. The final decision is a bit questionable and probably not too well thought out. That said its not anything close to pay to win

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astrid

As far as I know, the green Donate button at the top of the forum page still allows you to make donations for any amount you like, assuming you are ok with using PayPal.

Also on that main forum page ( https://forum.projectgorgon.com/forum.php ), note that there is a display in the top right that shows how much money total has been donated to the game so far this year, from January 1 – March 21: $320. As I recall, the Donation page was operational all of last year and collected maybe close to $3,000.

That amount of money doesn’t buy a lot. PG also gets money from Steam sales now, so thankfully they are not relying on the donations alone but if they want to raise additional money, the new shop seems like a reasonable attempt to generate some bonus income.

( Sorry if I babble on here, I find the financials of making a game kind of fascinating. I don’t have any insight into PG’s finances beyond the openly posted donation amounts, but I imagine it’s very difficult for a game studio to come up with some way of raising enough money to keep going without annoying *some* potential customers. For PG so far I’ve seen the following comments:
Buy-to-play: Too expensive
Subscriptions: Not worth it/too expensive
Cash Shop: Pay to Win
Donations: Great idea ( but then see actual income above)

And in the meantime, I’d imagine the devs would like to be able to buy groceries and pay for server bandwidth. So yeah … I don’t really have any magic solutions. I’m pretty disappointed the Donate button hasn’t generated much cash for them, so I’m hoping the shop will work out better and not drive away potential buyers who think of any shop as pay to win.)

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PanagiotisLial1

The button is through paypal which I dont use. And I am sure I am not the only one. Can you believe I wanted to donate to them at some points small amounts like 10-20 usd and couldnt? That is quite silly they didnt think to add a direct credit card method.

3k usd total is close to nothing for a modern game’s developement and its probably why they are looking how they can cover it.

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astrid

Sure, I remember the PayPal complaint from before. It’s just … if they go through the effort of setting up a different donation method and make sure it’s secure and nobody’s credit card is going to get yanked, are they going to get enough donations from people that otherwise wouldn’t donate to cover the cost of that effort? PayPal is nice for small websites since it allows them to pass off the security concerns to PayPal instead of dealing with it themselves. It is of course not nice at all for potential donors that can’t or don’t want to use PayPal.

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PanagiotisLial1

they probably lose out on 1/3 of potential incoming donations as it is if not more. Sure paypal is more popular but consider around a third of people dont use paypal because of the probs paypal has.

For me, for instance, I never receive the code to activate/confirm paypal while I paid for it over 10 times. And supposedly these times will be refunded when the code works but it never appears on my statements and their customer support didnt seem to care.

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Bryan Correll

Pffft. In Project: Gorgon you should be playing as a horse, not riding one.

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Rolan Storm

*slowclap* What the hell are you doing, fellas? You were this beloved cute indie project and now BAM! You are EA wannabees. Like you did not know what reaction it will spark.

It’s not shooting yourself in the leg even.

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Armsbend

I’m no fan of EA but they have never been the dirtbag disaster that the kickstarter world is.

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Bruno Brito

but they have never been the dirtbag disaster

Surely, you jest.

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Armsbend

I’ve yet to see EA charge 500 bucks for something they haven’t made yet. In fact, I cannot think of any singular thing EA charged 500 dollars for at all.

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Bruno Brito

Weren’t EA doing some predatory stuff with it’s own workers to cut their pay? I missed the minute details, but it was something like Blizzard’s firing them and then recalling them without some bonuses or something.

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PanagiotisLial1

Its a marketing trick by EA(and not only) to lead customers into thinking they dont pay this much. See lots small costs needed to get what you want arent usually “thought out” as a total cost to get a thing.

Practically anyone who wants to find specific things in their lockboxes will have to buy a big amount often surpassing the 1k mark, There has been a lot of complaining about it and the rarity of some things on their boxes

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Rolan Storm

You had to do it, did you? Insert any other example instead of EA you consider the most appropriate for this case. Wasn’t the point of the comment.

I brought EA because I bought something from them I never used after a few hours of gameplay.

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Armsbend

$500 for a “a free horse mount”? What a sweet deal. It doesn’t get any better than $500 free!

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BalsBigBrother

“it nevertheless seems like a somewhat questionable move to be charging money, especially in the triple digits, for content that isn’t even in the game yet.”

So the Star Citizen model then?

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PanagiotisLial1

Not the best move, sure the game doesnt make a lot because it had only a b2p fee and nothing else at all, so, in my opinion, if the game instead asked the playerbase if they wanted to voluntary donate small amounts to help development might have been a better approach, cause they all want the game to thrive. That said at least these arent p2w elements – but still a weird decision from an otherwise very good – so far – developer

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Armsbend

Unfinished games shouldn’t make a lot.

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PanagiotisLial1

That unfinished game let everyone play free without any sort of fee for 2 years on an alpha version that was more playables than most betas. The current beta, which obviously you havent tried, is more playable than supposedly released games. Its easy to say things without testing out