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Kickstarter Community Thread: Subscriptions & Microtransactions


Pathfinder Online

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CEO, Goblinworks

2 people marked this as a favorite.

MMOs are a bit different than most video games because they have substantial ongoing operational costs in addition to the cost of their development, and so they require that players continue to pay to play the games after they're released. Pathfinder Online will be no different.

There are two ways that most companies operate the business of their MMO; either subscription or microtransactions.

Pathfinder Online is going to allow players to use both systems. If you wish to pay a flat monthly subscription that's automatically billed to your payment method, you'll be able to do that. Or, if you want to pay as you play in smaller incremental amounts, we'll enable you to do that as well using microtransactions.

During Early Enrollment we'll only have the subscription system available. It will take time to develop and test the components that we'll eventually have available for people to purchase using microtransactions.

If you are a Crowdforger, Crowdforger Buddy, Crowdforger Alpha or Crowdforger Guild backer you'll get several months of subscription time with your pledge. You can choose how and when to use that game time; you can use it immediately when you're granted access to the game, or you can wait and not start play until the game has reached Release, or you could use some time in Early Enrollment and some after Release. You'll be able to control when your subscription time is being used.

During Early Enrollment, you'll have to have an active subscription to access the game, but that will change after Release. After Release we'll have a lot of different options available for you to pay to play the game in increments less than a one-month subscription.

Our goal is for you to be able to play the game at a cost that you're comfortable with, scaling up or down your level of participation based on your purchases.

Our microtransaction system will also allow you to buy some consumables that will make playing the game a bit easier, items that you'll be able to use to make your character look different and interesting, mounts that are distinctive, and other ways of making you stand out from the crowd. Our commitment to the players is that nothing you can purchase with microtransactions will be mechanically superior to the materials created in-game through character activity.

We are also intending to have a system where you can trade game-time with other players for in-game currency. We think systems like this, similar to the PLEX system created by CCP for EVE Online, address a lot of issues with real-money-trading and strikes a good balance between controlling the in-game economy and rewarding players for mastering the game and spending time playing and the interest of some players to increase their enjoyment of the game with real-money purchases.

We're happy to engage with everyone to talk about these plans in as much detail as we can at this stage of development and to hear what the community thinks about this topic as well.

Goblin Squad Member

I think this may have been brought up a while ago, but it's worth repeating again.

Have you considered having players sell skymetal for gold instead of just training time for gold? The more that is exclusive to the cash shop, the less I seem to like F2P games.

There is a stigma against people in F2P games that spend a lot of money, and I'm guessing there are a lot of people who could, but don't buy things in the cash shop because they don't want to be labeled as such. If it is impossible to tell if they bought skymetal with cash or gold, I think more things would be sold than usual games. And you bring in a larger crowd when playing for free doesn't mean you can't experience the game at its fullest.

In the end I think GW would make more money selling skymetal, other than just training time.

Goblin Squad Member

Valkenr wrote:

I think this may have been brought up a while ago, but it's worth repeating again.

Have you considered having players sell skymetal for gold instead of just training time for gold? The more that is exclusive to the cash shop, the less I seem to like F2P games.

There is a stigma against people in F2P games that spend a lot of money, and I'm guessing there are a lot of people who could, but don't buy things in the cash shop because they don't want to be labeled as such. If it is impossible to tell if they bought skymetal with cash or gold, I think more things would be sold than usual games. And you bring in a larger crowd when playing for free doesn't mean you can't experience the game at its fullest.

In the end I think GW would make more money selling skymetal, other than just training time.

Seconded, doubly so when things like consumables etc... While I have no idea what they are going to be, there is a direct contradiction in some ways when it comes to "convinience items". Army 1 that has to go back to town for X, vs army 2 that has X appear to them on the spot, and thus is able to utilize army 1's movement backwards and push them back further, clearly has an advantage in war. IMO this is the only thing in PFO's current model that I fear could turn into "pay to win". Of course having those items existing outside the cash shop as well, would assist in matters.

Goblin Squad Member

I know when I was under 18 I only played games that could be purchased or were free. I never spent a cent on in-game perks. This was because I wasn't allowed a debit card and my parents wouldn't let me use theirs and them just pay them in cash for anything gaming related. So yeah I only played Free to Play games but nobody made money off me after the initial purchase.

As soon as I turned 18, I got a debit card and started playing subscription based games.

The problem with micro transaction games is ALL of them contain an element of pay to win. It's large quantities if players who pay little or nothing propped up by players who spend TONS on micro transactions to become insanely powerful, decked out with the absolute coolest mounts, gear, etc.

So I really prefer systems where you really need a subscription to play and any other transactions are very limited. People who won't pay a subscription generally won't pay anything making them pretty worthless additions to the community in terms of pulling their weight monetarily.

Goblin Squad Member

1 person marked this as a favorite.

I thought at one time the game was going to be free to play, with a subscription being needed only to train skills.

Has this changed?

Or is using the in game currency to buy subscription time how we get free to play?

Goblin Squad Member

2 people marked this as a favorite.
Summersnow wrote:

I thought at one time the game was going to be free to play, with a subscription being needed only to train skills.

Has this changed?

Or is using the in game currency to buy subscription time how we get free to play?

In Early Enrollment you must have a subscription to log in, the subscription includes training time.

In Open Enrollment you don't need a subscription to log in, but you must purchase skill training to advance your character.

Goblin Squad Member

Valkenr wrote:
Summersnow wrote:

I thought at one time the game was going to be free to play, with a subscription being needed only to train skills.

Has this changed?

Or is using the in game currency to buy subscription time how we get free to play?

In Early Enrollment you must have a subscription to log in, the subscription includes training time.

In Open Enrollment you don't need a subscription to log in, but you must purchase skill training to advance your character.

Thats what I read earlier and thought they were shooting for, somehow this new thread made that less clear.

CEO, Goblinworks

Skymetal is going to be the name of our MTX microcurrancy. Everything you buy in the store will be purchased with Skymetal, including training time.

Coin is our placeholder name for in-game currency. The only way to get Coin will be to earn it, or sell training time.

CEO, Goblinworks

Valkenr wrote:


In Early Enrollment you must have a subscription to log in, the subscription includes training time.

In Open Enrollment you don't need a subscription to log in, but you must purchase skill training to advance your character.

This is the current plan.

Goblin Squad Member

Glad to know I can split up my kickstarter subscription time, I was curious about that.

Goblin Squad Member

Ryan Dancey wrote:

Skymetal is going to be the name of our MTX microcurrancy. Everything you buy in the store will be purchased with Skymetal, including training time.

Coin is our placeholder name for in-game currency. The only way to get Coin will be to earn it, or sell training time.

So no selling Skymetal for coin?

Goblin Squad Member

Ryan Dancey wrote:
Valkenr wrote:


In Early Enrollment you must have a subscription to log in, the subscription includes training time.

In Open Enrollment you don't need a subscription to log in, but you must purchase skill training to advance your character.

This is the current plan.

I'm glad to hear this. I was also somewhat worried since this wasn't explicitly stated.

I'm also curious about Valkenr's question. I'm assuming the system wil work something like this:

Go to the in-game store or online to purchase Skymetal Bits.
Use Skymetal Bits to purchase gametime or other items.
Sell gametime to other players for coin.

I think Valkenr's question is "can you sell other players Skymetal Bits?" Though I guess if you can sell all the other items you could buy it works out the same way.

CEO, Goblinworks

1 person marked this as a favorite.

No, no Skymetal for Coin. The market will regulate the value of game time for Coin. If we set a price of Skymetal for Coin, the market will always price it at whatever the conversion rate we establish is. That would be harmful to the smooth functioning of the system and open the door to the bad RMT guys again.

Goblin Squad Member

@Ryan

Are you saying that players won't have control over how much they sell game time for?

Goblin Squad Member

Why do you have to set the price for Skymetal for Coin? Why not let there be a global market for Coin and Skymetal exchange like how GW2 does with gems?

Goblin Squad Member

I could see this kind of regulation needed in the beginning for sure.

CEO, Goblinworks

@Valkner - that's right. The market sets the price, and that price will vary based on supply and demand.

Goblin Squad Member

@Ryan

Why are you taking this approach, rather than letting players control the price?

Goblinworks Executive Founder

I'm still confused; one of the questions on the table is "Can buy and sell orders be placed on skymetal bits directly, or only on the transferable items bought with those bits?"

The two possible transaction histories are
A)
Goblinworks sells skymetal for cash to player A
Player A sells skymetal for coin to player B
Player B buys time for skymetal.

B)
Goblinworks sells skymetal for cash to player A
Player A buys time for skymetal.
Player A sells time for coin to player B.

option A links the coin price of playing time to the coin price of the other convenience items. Only if those other convenience items can be constructed out of coin does that set a limit on the price of training time.

EDIT: Wait, isn't the free market setting the price pretty much exactly the same thing as a player deciding how much they will sell for? The difference is that someone who wants to make a deal that isn't favorable to the market is going to have a lot less volume, with a minimum of none.

Goblin Squad Member

@Decius
Ryan said he doesn't want to allow players to sell skymetal for coin. The only thing we can sell for coin that is purchased with real $ is training time.

CEO, Goblinworks

@Valkner - you can set an offer to sell price. If someone sets an offer to sell under yours then they'll sell before you.

Goblinworks Executive Founder

Ryan Dancey wrote:
@Valkner - you can set an offer to sell price. If someone sets an offer to sell under yours then they'll sell before you.

... Assuming a few common assumptions about the market.

Is it possible to make a purchase from someone besides the lowest bidder, perhaps because they are a competitor that you wish to not support, or perhaps in order to give business to someone that you like more?

But yeah, the seller with the lowest price and the buyer with the highest price will probably hit their volume limits first.

Goblin Squad Member

So players do set the prices,and the market works it's self out over time. Will this function like CoX where you place buy/sell orders, and the highest buy order goes to the lowest sell order?

Ryan Dancey wrote:
No, no Skymetal for Coin. The market will regulate the value of game time for Coin. If we set a price of Skymetal for Coin, the market will always price it at whatever the conversion rate we establish is. That would be harmful to the smooth functioning of the system and open the door to the bad RMT guys again.

I'm still not understanding the reasoning behind this. If players traded skymetal, instead of game time, it should function exactly the same, and it brings more people into the skymetal trading market than you would see in just the game time market.


The issue will be that if Goblinworks allows trading Skymetal for Coin, then the value of that will fluctuate wildly. RMTs will always look for a way to game the system, that's how they operate. In a system that allows for trading Skymetal for Coin this could mean that RMTs could flood the market with Coin their bots have gathered, devaluing the Skymetal and making it far cheaper to purchase training through Skymetal rather than subscriptions. At the other end of the scale, the RMTs could let the well dry up a bit which then means that Skymetal's price would be artificially inflated. In the first scenario, the player benefits but Goblinworks loses out. In the second, the player loses out and Goblinworks profits. In both situations, the RMTs win.

Goblin Squad Member

I see mounts are on the list of items. Does this mean there is no mounted combat?

Goblin Squad Member

Jameow wrote:
I see mounts are on the list of items. Does this mean there is no mounted combat?

No, there will be mounts, the super-cool looking ones will be the ones you pay skymetal for.

Goblin Squad Member

That's a big disappointment to me. Particularly in a game where territory control and large battles is part of the scope.

Goblinworks Executive Founder

Kastarr: All of the behavior that you describe also applies if 'time' is sold instead of skymetal. Economically, if the market begins efficiently priced, then no individual can make a profit at the expense of others; he may be able to hoard a lot and cause a temporary change in prices, but he can't buy above the highest buy order and sell below the lowest sell order and still make money. (If the highest buy order is above the lowest sell order, the market is broken- instead of placing an order, one of them should have executed the other's order.)

Goblin Squad Member

Jameow wrote:
That's a big disappointment to me. Particularly in a game where territory control and large battles is part of the scope.

You must have misread me,

There will be mounts.

Most of the cool-looking ones, will be the ones you buy for skymetal.

There will be mounts in the game that you buy for coin. They will just be less flashy for the most part.

CEO, Goblinworks

@Jameow - that's a very odd leap of logic. I don't understand it.

Goblin Squad Member

Perhaps I'm getting ahead of myself, but generally if you can purchase mounts, they're just a travel items, otherwise it does give an advatage to those buying mounts for combat. But thinking on it more, I suppose this isn't necessarily the case. Either being mounted in combat won't automatically give you an edge, or purchasable ones aren't useful in combat, but since the system isn't finalized, obviously I have no idea.
I'm probably jumping the gun.

Goblin Squad Member

You still have to train mounts to use them.

I would hope GW wouldn't put anything more powerful in the RMT store.

And I hope the ability of your mount is directly proportional to your training.

Goblin Squad Member

Will skymetal-purchased items be immune from PVP theft/destruction? I can't see myself buying anything for real money, if that would practically turn a virtual mugging into a real one.

Goblin Squad Member

Valkenr wrote:

You still have to train mounts to use them.

I would hope GW wouldn't put anything more powerful in the RMT store.

And I hope the ability of your mount is directly proportional to your training.

That's my concern too, which is why I assumed it meant no mounted combat. I hate it when mounts become essentially just a non combat speed buff. Anyway, I shall bow out of this subject now that I have a better understanding, as I have hijacked the thread on a side issue :p

Goblin Squad Member

Sounds like the typical hybrid "free" to play system that a lot of games are using. Which I loathe with a burning passion. Disappointing, but I guess not entirely unexpected considering how everyone else does it.

It's not a deal breaker, but it does touch on a pet peeve.

Goblin Squad Member

Slaunyeh wrote:

Sounds like the typical hybrid "free" to play system that a lot of games are using. Which I loathe with a burning passion. Disappointing, but I guess not entirely unexpected considering how everyone else does it.

It's not a deal breaker, but it does touch on a pet peeve.

I prefer pure subscriptions, but this is the way the market is going. You need huge numbers of players to maintain a game on subscriptions alone, and there are simply too many games out there. It worked 5 years ago, but now the slices of pizza are too thin.

Goblin Squad Member

Kevin C Jenkins wrote:
Will skymetal-purchased items be immune from PVP theft/destruction? I can't see myself buying anything for real money, if that would practically turn a virtual mugging into a real one.

I would hope that if you bought something with real money it wouldn't be loot able. Otherwise its like putting a giant Bulls eye over your head.

Goblin Squad Member

Ryan said that some items will be 'soul bound' and not appear in your husk.

Goblin Squad Member

Wonder if that only means it can't be taken or that it also cannot be destroyed.

CEO, Goblinworks

@All - I think I feel comfortable saying that nothing you buy for Skymetal should be lootable.

Goblin Squad Member

Will those choosing the monthly subscription route receive a monthly "allowance" of Skymetal from which to purchase these mounts in the store?

CEO, Goblinworks

@V'rel Vusoryn - no.

Goblin Squad Member

@Ryan

Will training time be lootable? Just that specifically, since it is also sold for coin.

Goblin Squad Member

Ryan Dancey wrote:
@All - I think I feel comfortable saying that nothing you buy for Skymetal should be lootable.

Thank you for that... what about them being destroyed as a result of getting looted?

Goblin Squad Member

I guess I'm not seeing any point to paying a subscription, then, after Release if all it does is grant access to the game for which you don't have to pay for anyway?

Unless you're saying the Microtransaction system is to allow folks to purchase game time in an "as they go" and that the store is its own other thing that you buy consumables from that make the game easier.

Which if that's the case why even offer subscriptions if we can essentially just pay for the time we are logged in? Who wouldn't do that?

Goblin Squad Member

V'rel Vusoryn wrote:

I guess I'm not seeing any point to paying a subscription, then, after Release if all it does is grant access to the game for which you don't have to pay for anyway?

Unless you're saying the Microtransaction system is to allow folks to purchase game time in an "as they go" and that the store is its own other thing that you buy consumables from that make the game easier.

Which if that's the case why even offer subscriptions if we can essentially just pay for the time we are logged in? Who wouldn't do that?

A subscription turns on skill training, even when you're not logged in. Buying time isn't referring to login time... you can sit around all day using a safe town as a graphical chatroom, but your skills don't get better without a sub. or buying training time.

Goblin Squad Member

Kevin C Jenkins wrote:
V'rel Vusoryn wrote:

I guess I'm not seeing any point to paying a subscription, then, after Release if all it does is grant access to the game for which you don't have to pay for anyway?

Unless you're saying the Microtransaction system is to allow folks to purchase game time in an "as they go" and that the store is its own other thing that you buy consumables from that make the game easier.

Which if that's the case why even offer subscriptions if we can essentially just pay for the time we are logged in? Who wouldn't do that?

A subscription turns on skill training, even when you're not logged in. Buying time isn't referring to login time... you can sit around all day using a safe town as a graphical chatroom, but your skills don't get better without a sub. or buying training time.

Which only changes my question slightly in that if I have trained all the skills I need/want then why have a subscription? At that point I can just purchase the requisite amount of time I need if I have to retrain because skills got nerfed or changed in such a manner they are no longer desirable.

Goblin Squad Member

Subs during beta, so I'll take it from there. If we can get PfO out early, and good buzz from the players already in, who knows, F2P safety net might be put on ice?! I do see the need for allowing players to try PfO however. That's important.

CEO, Goblinworks

@V'rel Vusoryn - the cost of everything you get with a subscription will be higher if you buy it ala carte via micro transactions.

Goblin Squad Member

Valkenr wrote:
I prefer pure subscriptions, but this is the way the market is going. You need huge numbers of players to maintain a game on subscriptions alone, and there are simply too many games out there. It worked 5 years ago, but now the slices of pizza are too thin.

Oh, I get why it's happening. I just really really hate that payment model.

Now, if there was a "premium subscription" that'd be ridiculously expensive but include anything and everything the micro-transaction market could ever hold, I would be all over that.

I subscribe to games because I don't want to worry about not having access to content (and yes, "cosmetics" is content. In fact, it's pretty significant content). I don't like when games go out of their way to bully you into subscribing, and then hit you over the head with the micro-transaction market.

I don't want to worry about which parts of the game I want access to. Or manually keep track of how much I've spend so it doesn't go out of hand. That is actively reducing my enjoyment of the game. I find it stressful. I want to be able to pay an upfront subscription and never have to think about it again.

Sadly, stress-free gaming seems to be a thing of the past.

*grumbles*

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