Please don't make the game Free To Play!


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Goblin Squad Member

Ryan Dancey wrote:
@Tasarak - no worries.

Understood. Thanks for the clarification Mr. Dancey

Goblinworks Executive Founder

GrumpyMel wrote:
DeciusBrutus wrote:


As long as there isn't the option to spend more money to be mechanically better than those who spend the baseline amount. Being able to buy an arbitrary amount of power is what drives me away from most Facebook games, even though they are basically single-player and I don't need to spend anything to play.

THIS EXACTLY.

I'm ok with someone saying "If you want to play baseball in our League, then you gotta pay the entrance fee".

I'm not ok with someone saying "Every $5 gets you an extra Run."
If a game does that, I'm walking, because at that point it ceases to be a game.

Which is why baseball created the salary cap- so that rich teams *coughNYYcough* couldn't get all the players they wanted by offering much more than anyone else could.

There's also no official rule that says a MLB team needs to spend any minimum amount on salaries, but rec league teams aren't in the same league.

The point of the metaphor was to show that a "salary cap" on how much win you can buy does resolve the issue- and there have been official statements which indicate that that cap will be at the monthly subscription price.

Personally, I don't understand people who buy cosmetic items, because I associate it with conspicuous consumption, which I also don't understand. 'Utility' items, such as 'deed completion' items on LOTRO, indicate a design flaw- they are saying that the game is more valuable if you remove part of it. If they are included at launch, then they are also making the explicit claim "We decided to make the game with a known flaw, even though we know how to reduce the severity of that flaw and implemented a method to do so."


GrumpyMel wrote:


THIS EXACTLY.

I'm ok with someone saying "If you want to play baseball in our League, then you gotta pay the entrance fee".

I'm not ok with someone saying "Every $5 gets you an extra Run."

I see where you are coming from but I think this just proves the sub model is a bad one, just as well. It's not paying an entrance fee. IMHO.

It's also not 5 bucks to get an extra run.

The Subscription model is 5 bucks 'just' to step up to the plate. Each and every time you step up, period. Strike Out or Home Run it's 5 bucks.

Also a game like WoW is what 20 bucks for the battlechest, 20 for the next expansion after that, 20 for the next, and I saw Cataclysm is still like 40 bucks at Wally World so...that's nearly a 100 bucks for someone to get in. That's a hell of an entrance fee fella. Add in the Panda one and that's jacking the fee up higher.

A game like Guild Wars is a better model, or any model that lets you buy the game in store/or pay for it online, and get F2P. My entrance fee is the price of the game. There is no reason after that for a monthly fee. After that let purchases for 'outside the core' races and classes to be availble for minimal fee. (like 5 bucks per class/race)

Goblinworks Executive Founder

KingmanHighborn wrote:
GrumpyMel wrote:


THIS EXACTLY.

I'm ok with someone saying "If you want to play baseball in our League, then you gotta pay the entrance fee".

I'm not ok with someone saying "Every $5 gets you an extra Run."

I see where you are coming from but I think this just proves the sub model is a bad one, just as well. It's not paying an entrance fee. IMHO.

It's also not 5 bucks to get an extra run.

The Subscription model is 5 bucks 'just' to step up to the plate. Each and every time you step up, period. Strike Out or Home Run it's 5 bucks.

Also a game like WoW is what 20 bucks for the battlechest, 20 for the next expansion after that, 20 for the next, and I saw Cataclysm is still like 40 bucks at Wally World so...that's nearly a 100 bucks for someone to get in. That's a hell of an entrance fee fella. Add in the Panda one and that's jacking the fee up higher.

A game like Guild Wars is a better model, or any model that lets you buy the game in store/or pay for it online, and get F2P. My entrance fee is the price of the game. There is no reason after that for a monthly fee. After that let purchases for 'outside the core' races and classes to be availble for minimal fee. (like 5 bucks per class/race)

Going with the metaphor, it's $5 each season. That covers the cost of maintenance on the ballpark; maintenance on the ballpark needs to be paid by someone every year, and I would rather it be clear and upfront rather than being built into the concessions.

Why would you prefer a high upfront cost to a smaller periodic one? When I thought that way, it was for reasons which I just realized I was projecting onto others.


High upfront cost, but no FUTURE mandatory periodic ones. With WoW you get an enormous upfront cost + fairly expensive (to me at least) periodic costs. I'd rather pay right now, and not have a vacuum cleaner attached to my wallet later.

All the upkeep comes from the sell of the games themselves, and the occassionaly optional buys.


I believe Guild Wars has it to where you buy the game and that is it.

Though I vote for a hybrid system.

Say 50$ or 10-20$ upfront for the game. Depending on if it is bought on a disc or digitally. And then have the micro-transaction store alongside a V.I.P. membership.

Similar to how Final Hope was. It was 5$ for the game 10$ if you bought the elite version (15$ value if you bought every separately) and then had a V.I.P. membership that got you a free adventure module and a slight boon starting at a week and going up to a year. I was a sandbox game with modules being themepark dungeons.
It is now community ran and free-to-play because people loved it.

This format has long been overlooked as horrible but there is a reason Guild Wars is popular even more than say the FtP Vindictus from Nexon.

I know if my computer could handle it I would be willing to pay 20$ for a Digital Download of the game then say ~5$ for a module that adds a dungeon or 2. And I know of about 12 other who would as well. If all else fails after a while do what Lord of the Rings Online did and switch to Free-To-Play and give those that adopted it early a reward. Heck most people I know of would be fine with a auto-generated E-mail saying thank you if the game was unique. And PFO sounds that way based on what I have heard.

Don't know if it had already been mentioned but there you go.

Goblin Squad Member

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KingmanHighborn wrote:
GrumpyMel wrote:


THIS EXACTLY.

I'm ok with someone saying "If you want to play baseball in our League, then you gotta pay the entrance fee".

I'm not ok with someone saying "Every $5 gets you an extra Run."

I see where you are coming from but I think this just proves the sub model is a bad one, just as well. It's not paying an entrance fee. IMHO.

It's also not 5 bucks to get an extra run.

The Subscription model is 5 bucks 'just' to step up to the plate. Each and every time you step up, period. Strike Out or Home Run it's 5 bucks.

No it's like having a gym membership. The initial costs of buying the building and equipment aren't all that company has to cover. They have to hire people to watch over the gym to make sure it isn't abused of vandalized. The equipment needs to be cleaned, maintained, and occasionally replaced. If they ever get in new and better equipment, those costs need to be covered.

A good MMO works the same way. It needs moderators, and tech support to make sure the server stays up and the game is not over run by hackers or people who behave abusively. Severs and other equipment need to be maintained and occasionally replaced, and ideally the world should continue to improve and expand which means having developers continually working on Pathfinder Online.

Guild Wars dealt with these issues by minimalizing updates and new content delivered between their NON-FREE expansions, or making you pay for that content like some of the quest packs. They also needed less powerful servers than most traditional MMO's because the way their game worked (Instancing everything outside cities.)

The fact is, if we want Pathfinder as a large seamless world, with regularly updated content, and quality moderation in a relatively bug and hacker free environment there is only one way to do that. Make sure that the ongoing costs that presents to GoblinWorks are covered somehow.

In order to cover the costs you will incur to Goblinworks if they deliver a product like the one I just described, and you played it for a lengthy span of time, you would have to pay an INSANE amount of money for the game up front. I'm talking 200$+

The simplest, most fair way to do it, is to charge you a monthly subscription fee. That means if you don't play the game that long, you aren't covering the costs of people who play it for years and years to come. If you do play it for long, you cover your own fair share.

Goblinworks is not a charity, nor can they afford to operate like one, and I personally don't want to see a ton of people leeching off the money other's put into this game so they can play without a subscription. If you play the game, you should be covering the costs you are incurring, and providing a paycheck to the people who work to bring you the product you are enjoying. That's my take anyway.

Goblinworks Executive Founder

Andius wrote:
...The simplest, most fair way to do it, is to charge you a monthly subscription fee. That means if you don't play the game that long, you aren't covering the costs of people who play it for years and years to come. If you do play it for long, you cover your own fair share. ...

That's the key- people who play for only a year or so should not subsidize those who play for many years.

For major content projects (expansions) I wonder if a Kickstarter would work.

Goblin Squad Member

Ouch!, I had this whole long response for KingmanHighBorn that I lost because NoScript freaked out about something the site was trying to do when I posted, but I'll try to summerize my main points...

- IMO, MMO's are dirt cheap in terms of cost per hour of entertainment when compared to many other hobbies or entertainment verticals. I'd gladly pay $30-50 per month for a HIGH QUALITY game.

- FTP/RMT, starts to take the "game" out of gaming and risks changing the RPG playing experience into an "Online Shopping" or "Casino" experience. Something I'm not really interested in.

- The Sub model does have a few shortcomings. Namely in limiting the games you'd only play once in a blue moon and limiting the ability to Try before you Buy. Which can be important in todays, long on HYPE, short on SUBSTANCE game atmosphere.

- My prefered model would actualy be a "Pay per Hour" of play upto a maximum threshold each month after which you'd get unlimited play for the month. Something like $1 per hour of play, upto a maximum of $20-25 per month at which point any additional hours would be free. That way all you'd be doing is buying PLAY TIME, the money you spent wouldn't directly effect your game play experience.... and the MMO Publisher would get paid (as they deserve, because it is thier livelihood) according to how much you used and enjoyed there service. The games you only played a little bit would get a few dollars here and there, still very inexpensive.... and if there was something you enjoyed and used a whole heck of alot, it'd still be very affordable at $20-25 for unlimited play.

YMMV.

Goblin Squad Member

I'm actually quite comfortable with the micro-transaction model. Maybe we could use a gold dollar-sign?

Goblin Squad Member

Normally I'd prefer to keep money and game separate and n'er the 2 shall meet during gaming. But this interesting situation of real money -> skill training -> in-game currency circle stirs things up in an interesting way. If I'm already experiencing an objective state of mind and analysing my economic interests then it's MUCH MUCH less of a problem from the player side. From the game side, it's a question of avoiding P2W. That is still tricky. But generally my definitive problem with F2P games is that you ask a player to make an objective choice while in a deeply subjective state of mind/reality-simulation - which is perhaps a violation of the spirit of games?. Either ask money questions before and after a game but never during the middle. As soon as the player has to make these choices during (or from the other side the game starts leaking it: other players running around with sword of "only for $5 extras!"), game play then I think the GAME is compromised. It becomes closer gambling or other activities where the game's "membrane" is burst.

So the skill-training is an odd one indeed where that loop money-training-skill-conversion-credits.

As time is the finite resource the market fights, then F2P is sorta unavoidable, but then comes the arm-wrestle with the players IN GAME with F2P! :( I would pay for a stand-out mmorpg that has depth and longevity easily, (time/lifestyle permitting) that effectively is paying for future enjoyment in the game. Most mmorpgs are not worth investing in this way currently so that sub model is becoming rarer (better to pay lots of little bits for lots of different games = better served for most players). But there's hopefully the exception that proves the rule: PfO/EvE.

Goblin Squad Member

As I understood PFO's revenue/access model:

Free 2 Play - Players can create characters, run around the world, do stuff, kill things, and inherently have an impact by presence. They can not advance skill training as an inherent part of this Access Model. If they acquire significant resources, they can purchase skill training as a part of the skymetal bits transaction process.

Subscription - These players have all the access of F2P players, but include skill training (and other nebulous "premium" services yet to be described) as a part of the package.

Additional Micro-transactions - Further MTX can be used to buy Skymetal bits to acquire "bling items", additional limited access content (dungeons, etc), and to quote the blog "Convenience consumables: Things that your characters might want to use in–game in lieu of relying on always having specialist characters with you while you adventure, or as a way to recover from an encounter that goes horribly awry". To my mind this means healing potions, scrolls to avoid the penalties of death (or assassination, hmmm?), weapon/armor repair kits, etc etc etc.

Nowhere on this is anything that represents a MTX version of a $5 sword that kicks ass, and anecdotal stringing of Ryan's comments on the matter also point away from a model that allows for "Paying to Win". Even if you "Paying to Train" you're not training any faster than anyone else. You are paying to gain access to the normal training method everyone else has.

Now, to reiterate my disclaimer, these are my impressions (supported by commentary and blogposts) of how this will work. I personally think this is a good way to allow access to the game, and will eventually lead to an increase in total subscriptions as more people will have easy access, and decide the game is worth paying to play. Downsides are the potential for Goonhordes to take advantage of this system to abuse the playerbase (this threat is ameliorated by the promise of considered moderation efforts).


So let me get this straight, if I go F2P I'd still have to pay to level to get my skill ranks? Or are we talking about adding some skill like making Stealth a class skill for a Pally? Or paying just to get more skill ranks then normal?

Goblin Squad Member

KingmanHighborn wrote:
So let me get this straight, if I go F2P I'd still have to pay to level to get my skill ranks? Or are we talking about adding some skill like making Stealth a class skill for a Pally? Or paying just to get more skill ranks then normal?

That's how I understood it. Doesn't mean you can't play, or play effectively. It just means the skill training advancement is stalled or on hold. You can still run around, gather resources, or otherwise promote your long term goals, you just do it with a frozen snap shot of your skills.

Consider; You could pay for a month or two, rank up skills to a comfortable level, and then go to the F2P model. From there you could potentially build up enough gold or resources to "purchase" skill training time via the skymetal bits. Maybe this is too unreliable for someone, or they win the lottery, so they go back to the subscription model and load up all the MTX content and bling they can get their paws on. They run all the stuff, wear all the bling, and gain all the notoriety, but they still skill train at the same speed as Newbish MacNooberson who starts a subscription on day one.

That's my take on it, anyway.

Goblin Squad Member

KingmanHighborn wrote:
So let me get this straight, if I go F2P I'd still have to pay to level to get my skill ranks? Or are we talking about adding some skill like making Stealth a class skill for a Pally? Or paying just to get more skill ranks then normal?

Mostly the first, as a f2p player, your skills do not advance at all as described by the GW blog. However you can purchase skill training in game from other players who bought extra skill training, admitted this will not likely be particularly cheap, I'd imagine that for low level characters it will take a significant amount of work to earn a month of skill training.


PFO's payment model is this:

- Player A chooses 'free to play'. He is able to do what he wants in the game with the exception of train skills unless he gathers enough in-game Coin to purchase said skill training time. This means that a player could play and train for free beyond the initial purchase of the game.

- Player B chooses 'free to play' but chooses to purchase skill training time through the store with real money. This means that he doesn't have to devote in-game time to the generation of resource to purchase skill training but also means that he can purchase skill training time as and when it suits him.

- Player C opts to subscribe. They have no restrictions on skill training time.

Now if players A, B and C all begin to train the same skill at the same time and A and B have sufficient skill training time purchased to cover the completion of the skill, then all players will finish the skill training at the same time.

This is not a 'pay to win' scenario. Purchasing skill training time either through the store or a subscription will not make the skills train any faster. If you are unwilling, or unable, to pay for skill training time then the likelihood is that you'll be a bit behind everyone else in terms of power unless you devote time to gathering resources in order to purchase skill training time in-game. However, I could see successful traders managing to play this game for gratis once their empires are up and running and they have a significant cash flow going.


Sooo... the ONLY way to get better at things is by purchasing "training," whether with real money or in-game gold?

>_> You can't just, you know, go do things (fight monsters, train sword fights with your friends, etc.) to get better?


No. If you want an MMO like that, then Elder Scrolls Online might be more your scene. The problem with skills-based MMOs like that are macros. I saw it all the time in UO; I'd go out fishing and find someone on a boat using a macro to improve their magic skills. Of course, I then killed them and took their reagents but that's not the point.

Simple repetition of skills means that to be competitive you have to macro, or the designer has to enforce restrictions on skilling up.

The model Eve and PFO follow permits a much more predictable curve which gives the designer breathing space. In UO, you could macro enough skills to kill anything in-game within a week, tops. Here, Ryan and the team can put out a roadmap that means they can concentrate on ensuring that the content we can access is vibrant and fun without having to rush out top tier content that then requires numerous hot fixes to get right *cough* Blizzard *cough*.


Also keep in mind that this model means that while you may have to pay for say, the first six months, if you can establish a reliable revenue stream you can then play the game completely free. This already happens in Eve where once you get past a certain point you can trade in PLEXes (Eve skill training time) which means you don't have to pay a thing!

And for those saying "I don't want to pay extra on top of the box cost", this isn't Call of Duty where server costs are paid for either a) by the game hosting service, e.g. Xbox Live or b) the players in the form of player-run servers. Goblinworks will need to a) maintain the servers, b) employ a creative team that will not diminish in size because they need to be working on the next content update and c) employ a team of administrators to ensure the game runs smoothly. This comes neither free, nor cheap.

Goblin Squad Member

Lictor Fedryn Mannorac wrote:

Also keep in mind that this model means that while you may have to pay for say, the first six months, if you can establish a reliable revenue stream you can then play the game completely free. This already happens in Eve where once you get past a certain point you can trade in PLEXes (Eve skill training time) which means you don't have to pay a thing!

And for those saying "I don't want to pay extra on top of the box cost", this isn't Call of Duty where server costs are paid for either a) by the game hosting service, e.g. Xbox Live or b) the players in the form of player-run servers. Goblinworks will need to a) maintain the servers, b) employ a creative team that will not diminish in size because they need to be working on the next content update and c) employ a team of administrators to ensure the game runs smoothly. This comes neither free, nor cheap.

Pretty much all this. It seems to me to tick a lot of boxes that creates a win-win situation for the devs AND the players at whatever extent they wish to progress into the game. :)


And your telling me thousands of game copies of 60$ or more plus the eventual expansions plus add on content further then that won't cover all that, the cost of making the game, and paying the people that make it?

Goblin Squad Member

KingmanHighborn wrote:
And your telling me thousands of game copies of 60$ or more plus the eventual expansions plus add on content further then that won't cover all that, the cost of making the game, and paying the people that make it?

That was enough to cover the creation of stand-alone PC games in the past. Why would you think it's also enough to pay for all of the on-going costs of running an MMO?

Yes, Guild Wars does it, but their servers are very limited in many ways. They're operating more like Diablo on Battle.net. In other words, they're not running a true MMO, where you can run into other people out in the wilderness.

Goblin Squad Member

KingmanHighborn wrote:
And your telling me thousands of game copies of 60$ or more plus the eventual expansions plus add on content further then that won't cover all that, the cost of making the game, and paying the people that make it?

lets say we look at this from a math perspective. we know GW is going to go with a limited release of only about 4500 seats at launch (partly to manage the very server costs related to this discussion), so we'll start there. Assume out of those seats, they get 100% conversion rate (aka all units sold, no returns) on this mythical $60 box price. this results in a touch over 250k, and is gross, not accounting for production costs like burning CDs, printing boxes, distribution to local stores ("typical" distribution model) or alternately the cost of digital distribution (contrary to popular belief, this is not a free service provided by the universe). Lets say for a sec that all these costs represent 15%, an arbitrary number purely for discussion. This leaves us with about 230k. Say they have 8 developers maintaining the game, and they never have any ideas to expand the employee base. if they burn all of that money just in payroll, ignoring facilities costs like rent of the building, taxes, bandwidth & server costs, developer hardware costs, customer service & tech support, that covers an average of about 30k per developer in salary for 1 year. That's about 2/3rds an estimated average salary for an ENTRY level developer, much much less a lead or executive. And all this assumes they have zero designs at any kind of profit margin, and the ability to pay back whatever investor's they get.

Estimates for the costs of developing WoW at launch were around $63 million. SW:ToR is guesstimated at over $200 million. Even if we compare this to Skyrim which costs maybe $18m without all the connectivity features. As you can imagine, the subscription model is pretty essential to accommodate the initial start up costs, as well as the potential maintenance, to say nothing of the costs of advancing the games capacity or features or content.

TL;DR a modern MMO costs way more than what you can imagine.

Goblin Squad Member

KingmanHighborn wrote:
And your telling me thousands of game copies of 60$ or more plus the eventual expansions plus add on content further then that won't cover all that, the cost of making the game, and paying the people that make it?

Ah, that's a tricky debate, I'll side-step for now.

No, I was not looking at PfO{F2P + Skill Training} in accounting terms. I was thinking that:

1) F2P -> cuts a barrier to entry (among downloading client, registering a/c, learning game, making friends, taking time to do all this...)

2) Also if you then buy some skill and level up, then take a break the player can keep their account active and still pop in and out as it were until they decide more skill training is wanted to open/explore more options.

3) Some players might find all they want with some training then either stop or have enough currency in game earning to buy skill training without real money.

--

And this all suits Goblin Works: Some steady revenue stream, committed players who've probably payed a certain amount, open for newbies at F2P competitive rate etc...

And also the whole gradual thing with skill training meaning players level gradually (real time in/out of game) + merit things.

--

My main concerns for F2P:

1) Opens the game to hackers/undesirables
2) F2P creep towards P2W/commercialization starts affecting gameplay

. If the product is good and the rate of pay is reasonable, then happy to pay/invest in the game, doubly so for a mmorpg. Gone are the days of playing mmos where top level/"end game" = game over; is the antithesis of investing time in an mmorpg virtual world!

Goblin Squad Member

I would like to see PFO have a system where you pay for convenience and rate of advancement. There should be a 15$/mo baseline, and no more than 5$/mo more to max your advancement rate. Anything past that should be fluff.

Everything that is bought with $$ should also be obtainable with in-game transactions. Before it was said that training time would be sold player to player, but not skymetal. I would like to see skymetal be sellable in-game. With this system the company can boast free game-play, but nothing is really free,someone paid for everything bought in the shop. The trick is doing this in a way that doesn't ruin the in-game economy.

I would also do the same thing diablo did, but probably for different reasons. Don't allow player-player money transactions for a while to let the in-game economy develop, perhaps 5 months, then only allow training time to be bought and sold so the more veteran established members can start seeing some free game time, then with the double in monthly admittance, release the selling of skymetal and absorb training time into that system.

Goblin Squad Member

KingmanHighborn wrote:
And your telling me thousands of game copies of 60$ or more plus the eventual expansions plus add on content further then that won't cover all that, the cost of making the game, and paying the people that make it?

What, exactly, do you think maintaining a MMO with a staff of sixty costs?

Goblin Squad Member

KingmanHighborn wrote:
And your telling me thousands of game copies of 60$ or more plus the eventual expansions plus add on content further then that won't cover all that, the cost of making the game, and paying the people that make it?

And pay for:

-Servers
-Bandwidth
-Advertising
-Licensing to Paizo and the game engine(most game engines take a large cut)
-Real-estate
-Equipment
-Software($1000-5000 per program per person)

Box sales are usually a little short of covering the cost of production.

Goblinworks Executive Founder

KingmanHighborn wrote:
And your telling me thousands of game copies of 60$ or more plus the eventual expansions plus add on content further then that won't cover all that, the cost of making the game, and paying the people that make it?

Only if the average player plays for three months or less.

If Goblinworks chooses a business model with the perverse incentive to create a game that results in high churn, they will not create the game that anybody wants.


While certainly not a forced behavior, the goal of a f2p system is to make a lot more than $15/person/month once the income is normalized over the entire game population. You have those that won't pay a dime, those that will pay a few bucks here and there throughout the month and those few that will buy everything under the sun. 2/3 of those people are likely putting out more than $15/month. Put a game like PFO where you have to either pay in game gold or real money to advance I bet you'll have 2/3 of the population spending more than this. It'll turn a profit if it catches on at all.


Lictor Fedryn Mannorac wrote:
Also keep in mind that this model means that while you may have to pay for say, the first six months, if you can establish a reliable revenue stream you can then play the game completely free. This already happens in Eve where once you get past a certain point you can trade in PLEXes (Eve skill training time) which means you don't have to pay a thing!

If this really is the case, then I feel a lot better about the pay-for-skills model. Is skill training... instant? Like, in EVE, you buy a better ship - do you just "buy" better fighting abilities? Or do you have to devote in-game time to developing it?

Do we know if different skills (magic, swords, leadership, healing, etc.) will cost different amounts to train? Or if there will be a limit to how much you can train at a time?

ALSO, everyone always seem to talk as if there are two options - a $60 box price, or a F2P model. Isn't there... something in the middle? People worried about hackers/undesirables getting in on free to play, why not introduce a SMALL startup cost - say, push the game at $15 or $30 box price. From there, you can pay for skill training, pay the extra $15/month for extra or whatever and what have you.

This minimizes the downsides of the F2P model but also doesn't incur a huge ding on players wallets for having to pay $60 for a game plus a $15 for extras fee plus $XX in skill training costs.

Goblin Squad Member

Reliken wrote:
Lictor Fedryn Mannorac wrote:
Also keep in mind that this model means that while you may have to pay for say, the first six months, if you can establish a reliable revenue stream you can then play the game completely free. This already happens in Eve where once you get past a certain point you can trade in PLEXes (Eve skill training time) which means you don't have to pay a thing!

If this really is the case, then I feel a lot better about the pay-for-skills model. Is skill training... instant? Like, in EVE, you buy a better ship - do you just "buy" better fighting abilities? Or do you have to devote in-game time to developing it?

Do we know if different skills (magic, swords, leadership, healing, etc.) will cost different amounts to train? Or if there will be a limit to how much you can train at a time?

ALSO, everyone always seem to talk as if there are two options - a $60 box price, or a F2P model. Isn't there... something in the middle? People worried about hackers/undesirables getting in on free to play, why not introduce a SMALL startup cost - say, push the game at $15 or $30 box price. From there, you can pay for skill training, pay the extra $15/month for extra or whatever and what have you.

This minimizes the downsides of the F2P model but also doesn't incur a huge ding on players wallets for having to pay $60 for a game plus a $15 for extras fee plus $XX in skill training costs.

I've favored 30$ cost +a 15$/month VIP membership that included skill training with no mechanical benefits past 15$ and free expansions all along.

Xeriar wrote:
KingmanHighborn wrote:
And your telling me thousands of game copies of 60$ or more plus the eventual expansions plus add on content further then that won't cover all that, the cost of making the game, and paying the people that make it?
What, exactly, do you think maintaining a MMO with a staff of sixty costs?

Well. If all of those are full time employees being paid Alaska's minimum wage, (Which we know they aren't given the amount of education and experience being asked for.) this game has 0 development costs or fees incurred outside employee wages like the cost of equipment, facilities, advertising etc.

We are talking $900,000 dollars a year. I'm guessing that is VERY LOW estimate, and that Goblinworks employees are going to get paid A HELL of a lot more than 15k$ a year, which I believe is in the poverty level. I'm going to guess it's somewhere more in the range of 50-100$k average, putting the cost on employees alone at 3-6 million a year aka 50-100k box sales per year.

They'll be allowing 4500 people in originally? Doesn't sound like that would even BEGIN to cover their costs.

Goblin Squad Member

I find it highly unlikely that skill training will be "instant" as that goes clearly against the ideas of a time based system. If its "instant" then you'll just essentially pay for each "iteration" rather than actually spend time. Maybe its essentially semantic, but from my perspective, you don't pay then no skill training. play all you want, but none of those magic bars will creep forward. if you can pay to get the same after the fact... kinda defeats the purpose. If the skill model is anything like EVE, than each skill has a differing time requirements based on how specialized it was, and how advanced each skill was along its own axis. In simplest terms, the more powerful the skill, and the more time spent training it, the longer it takes to train the next tier. How that translates from railguns and tractor beams to axes and fireballs, only time will tell.

Several people have illustrated how there's plenty of space between a $60 box and f2p. For starters, I think its unlikely there will be an actual box containing something as archaic as a few discs. Just to keep the costs minimal, I'd expect a pure digital distribution model. Additionally, the pricing model seems to me, much like the intent of the game, is to provide as many feasible options of access as possible.

Goblin Squad Member

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Gruffling wrote:

I find it highly unlikely that skill training will be "instant" as that goes clearly against the ideas of a time based system. If its "instant" then you'll just essentially pay for each "iteration" rather than actually spend time. Maybe its essentially semantic, but from my perspective, you don't pay then no skill training. play all you want, but none of those magic bars will creep forward. if you can pay to get the same after the fact... kinda defeats the purpose. If the skill model is anything like EVE, than each skill has a differing time requirements based on how specialized it was, and how advanced each skill was along its own axis. In simplest terms, the more powerful the skill, and the more time spent training it, the longer it takes to train the next tier. How that translates from railguns and tractor beams to axes and fireballs, only time will tell.

Yeah Ryan has bene pretty clear, there is no way to accelerate the time, skills still level like they do in eve. The difference is when you run out, instead of both not playing and not training when you run out of plex, you only are not training when you run out of skymetal. Reaching an archtypes capstone will take 2.5 years roughly, if someone buys 2.5 years worth of training time at once, that only means they don't have to pay again for 2.5 years. There are no current plans to offer any way to bypass this time.


All systems of access (F2P, MTX or sub) are working on the SAME skill training system, just from different angles.

Imagine that Pathfinder Online is a holiday resort. Holidaymaker A buys direct, holidaymaker B buys through a travel agent and holidaymaker C through a website. Regardless of how they purchased their ticket, they all get the same facilities.

Goblin Squad Member

For me the problem is not that F2P will attackt an immature audience or that F2P could mean P2W (which it won't in PFO).

For me the problem is that in sandbox games characters of low training are useful.

Really, in WoW who cares about a Level 20 character? For most players this character doesn't even exist.

But in a sandbox game you could find yourself swarmed and overwhelmed by these characters. And if you want to place a bounty on their head they are gone, deleted, to be replaced by the next iteration.

That is my only concern with F2P in Sandbox RPGs.

Goblin Squad Member

You're going to have to pay something for training. I can see it taking many months to collect enough gold for a month of training time, and then more months to collect the next month.

I wouldn't be surprised if a character was not competitive until they had 3 months of training time under their belt.

IMO it would be unwise for GW to allow characters that have not generated any positive income to be competitive with people outside of their 'level', even in large numbers.

Goblinworks Executive Founder

Clearly, characters will be competitive in the first three months, because they will be competing. It will take much, much longer to figure out the counters and counter-counters to everything.

Goblin Squad Member

One on one a new char will of course not be much of a problem for a well trained char.

However 20 to one will be another story entirely.


Get enough Low-Skill Pilots in EVE flying cheap frigates and you can take out larger, more expensive ships with better pilots.

Thats whats possible in this kind of game. And honestly? I love the idea. In WoW, you take 80 level 20s, and theres still basically no chance in hell you'll be able to take down an 85. Why? Because they can't hit the guy, and he has more Hp than all of them combined. Best they can do is offer a distraction while another 85 comes and takes the kill.

In games like EVE and, hopefully, PFO, if you are able to organize that many low-skilled people, you SHOULD be able to do something with them. Its realistic, too. Medieval Armies were basically just filled up with peasants, anyways. Despite their lack of skill, get enough of them to swarm an enemy or shower him with poorly aimed arrows, and he'll go down.

I like this idea. It'll be hard enough to organize that many people anyways, so its not like you'd see whole armies of them. Not often, at least.

And yes, MicMan's right, one on one (or even with a small numerical advantage), a new character will not have much of a chance against a well trained character.

Goblin Squad Member

I agree with Crustypeanut that it is desirable to have "low-level" characters have an impact even in battles with "high-level" characters.

For me, the main reason is that it creates an incentive for successful groups to continue to grow, rather than to get enough characters to run their favorite-sized raids and then stop recruiting.

In order for The Seventh Veil to actually achieve our goals, we're going to have to grow quite a bit. We already have about 50 members, and haven't really been aggressively recruiting. Expect that to change as we get closer to launch :)


Plus, the more you recruit, the better chance you'll get good players who'll stick around for longer.

Back on my old WoW Guild during The Burning Crusade (When WoW was decent still), we were one of the more hardcore raiding guilds on our server, and while we had a limited amount of 'actual' raiders, we basically allowed anyone into the guild who was a friend of a guildy. This meant we had ~200 people, despite having only 25-30 actual raiders. While most of the 'casuals' were just here for the company, we occasionally found that some of them were quite skilled, and joined the ranks of the raiders. Mostly, we'd find out their skills during 5 mans or the odd 'casual + alt' 10 man raids.

Basically, I'm agreeing with Nihimon - the more people you have, the more gems you'll find amongst 'em.

The bad part about some F2P issues is that those players CAN'T join guilds, and thus are basically destined to play a solo-game. The new F2P version of WoW comes to mind. They can barely talk to people, let alone interact and make friends. Can't invite people to groups, can't talk in general chat, can't join guilds.. its boring as all hell. EVE is different, at least, in that guilds can choose to allow Trials into their corporations if they so wish, so that they can hopefully influence the players' decision to stay.

I know I'm more fond of a game where I can meet people. An MMO that makes new people have a hard time meeting others is just wrong.


I'm coming into this thread very late, can perhaps someone explain to me exactly why/how this 'skill training' is pay to train?
(Or point towards the thread where it already is?) :)

Is PFO not using the same game system as Pen&Paper PFRPG? In other games (NWN, DDO) that are based on the paper version of the game it is the same, your 'skills' are your 'skills' and you put points in them when you level up.

I see some very well-thought out and well-explained arguments on both sides of the fence here, but I seem to be missing vital information.

Thanks,

On another note, My preference is admittedly NON-PvP.

(Spoilered why if you care to read)

Spoiler:

This is how I enjoy a game. And it's mostly a time issue. I have so little time to play ANYthing as it is, I don't want my precious few minutes a night to be spent recovering from being assassinated by a fellow player, when I just wanted to do a quick quest or explore a new area.

I do enjoy the ability of the new game models that allow me to see my friends (rarely, but occasionally) but I miss the old days when you bought a game and played it by yourself. Game time was not 'social time' for that I went and saw my friends. In person. :) I miss the days when I could be in the middle of a game, save my game, shut it off, and come back the next day for 1/2 hour to pick up where I left off.

I still enjoyed the game just as much as the person who spent 4-6 hours a day on the game. It just takes me a lot longer to finish a game. if at all. Am I the only one who misses these games? ;P

My major concern is that no matter how well-constructed and incredible the game is, it's enjoyment will be minimal, or at least short-lived, for me personally due to PvP. (This has been my experience in other games I have tried, notably CoH/CoV)

Add in the concerns I'm forming about F2P/P2P, paying to raise skills, etc, and I fear that I may never get to enjoy this game that I was very much looking forward to.

{/endodmiddleagemanrant} :)

Goblinworks Executive Founder

I think the most relevant source to understand the basics of this thread is Goblinworks Blog: Money changes everything.

Really, to get most of the context, you should read all of the blog posts; there's only one every two weeks.


Ragadolf wrote:

I'm coming into this thread very late, can perhaps someone explain to me exactly why/how this 'skill training' is pay to train?

(Or point towards the thread where it already is?) :)

Is PFO not using the same game system as Pen&Paper PFRPG?

Nope. The game system is designed from a scratch with intent to capture the feel of classes but it won't be anywhere close to d20 game-mechanicallywise.

Quote:
In other games (NWN, DDO) that are based on the paper version of the game it is the same, your 'skills' are your 'skills' and you put points in them when you level up.

As far as I understand there won't be class level as such. Your character will have multiple skills. One of those skills will fill it's progress bar as the real time passes until it reaches certain threashold and give you a skill up. You can change the skills in the queue for training probably at any time and progress already gathered will stay if you stop training skill before gaining another level in the skill.

In addition to skills character will have merit badges gained by performing certain deeds, reaching skill thresholds, performing quests, etc, that will grant certain abilities normally associated with Pathfinder classes.


Its supposed to be very similar (but different, too) to EVE Online's skill system. Except where EVE has 'certificates' that are mechanically useless, and skills that give direct bonuses, PFO is supposedly the direct opposite.


Ah, thank you all very much.

The last three posts just made everything else SO much clearer!
:)

Much obliged,


KingmanHighborn wrote:
I'm on the side of F2P I always will be. Most people with the cash to play WoW or other monthly fee games come off as elitish to me, and If I pay 60 bucks or more for a game, plus the eventual expansions, it is just wrong to charge a monthly fee. It's just a big iron bar between the haves and haves not. Again I champion DDO, as I've found it to be pretty mature in terms of people and it's great fun, even though the difficulty curve is a bit too high. (IMHO)

I remeber when DDO was around 50 dollar initial purchase and a 15 dollar a month subscription before it went pay to win. Don't get me wrong i am all for F2P with some sort of control and exceptions on more money equals more power. SWTOR's f2p model irritates the heck out of me, but i forked out the money for a collector's edition of the game and a year sub and i got screwed on the change to f2p. Most subbed games i have plaid prior to them going f2P and post F2p have suffered horrendously imo on game play and content after the change, only exception has been city og heroes/villains, but ncsoft shut it down so its kind of a moot point now i guess. My point is both sub and F2p can be exactly what you described a big iron bar between the have and have nots.

Liberty's Edge Goblin Squad Member

Ryan Dancey wrote:

I'm not really commenting on Pathfinder Online in specific, but I can tell you by far the overwhelming momentum in the MMO space is for games to allow players to spend money to be mechanically better than those who do not.

You don't have to like it, but you should get used to it. It will be the new normal.

I know, I know, I am way late to this :D Ryan, I know it is the new norm for MMO's, and, no I don't like it, but I am also aware that the companies behind the MMO's have to make a profit, so I can accept it. I recall a post you put up but the particulars escape me at the moment, but I hope PFO will be a blended game, meaning that a basic member pays $9.95/month, Premium pays $15.95/month, and everyone has access to the micro transaction system. Premium members could simply have an option for an additional character(s) in their account, but unlike those who have Destiny's Twin, they can only train one at a time. This way they can have FREX two characters for $15.95/month, rather than the $19.90 it would cost for two accounts (yes this would allow for training of two characters at once, but many gamers can't always afford more than one account, especially those still in college). This will keep PFO from being "Free to Play" with all of the problems that has (gamers who would otherwise not play joining just to be total arses), while keeping the player base to those committed to making PFO a real treat for players as they have a financial stake in keeping it so (the monthly cost). Just MHO, naturally, but a good compromise to limit those who would join for free just to grief paying players.

Goblin Squad Member

Gloreindl wrote:
Ryan Dancey wrote:

I'm not really commenting on Pathfinder Online in specific, but I can tell you by far the overwhelming momentum in the MMO space is for games to allow players to spend money to be mechanically better than those who do not.

You don't have to like it, but you should get used to it. It will be the new normal.

I know, I know, I am way late to this :D Ryan, I know it is the new norm for MMO's, and, no I don't like it, but I am also aware that the companies behind the MMO's have to make a profit, so I can accept it. ...

It is interesting that we just sort of accept this tendency in modern business philosophy to emphasize the supply side as defining the product rather than the demand side. Cobblers don't make your shoes to fit you anymore. Instead shoe manufacturers make shoes of several standard sizes and with appearances projected to sell. The customer has to fit into their product rather than requiring the product to fit each foot.

It is a basic change from the business ideals I was taught should be. Other hand, it was Hentry Ford who told Americans 'You can have any color of car you want as long as it is black."

It is somehow just accepted. The scales at which such businesses operate render the value of the individual customer essentially moot compared to the average of hundreds of thousands of customers who, after all, really cannot afford an individualized alternative.

So too has it come to be that the trend in MMO game development defines the MMO rather than the preferences of the individual customers. We have to fit their model or not play MMO games, since we cannot build them ourselves and very few of us have the wherewithal to make our own.

This is ultimately the attractive piece for PFO: By limiting the amount of content to be produced by the MMO development team to tools for the users to craft their own game within that environment we have an opportunity to build the real game ourselves, among us. It is as if Ryan and the GW Team is trying to provide us with the means to create custom-made content while holding to the 'overwhelming momentum' these games are marketing.

I think we should count our blessings.

So, in sum, what PFO is should be a set of tools whereby the players get to suit themselves, and that is the more intresting focus of their development. But where these sandbox games get out of whack, so to speak, the developer has to focus regulatory mechanisms. That is why so much time and effort is being spent on PvP, what with all the conditions and consequences and counter-consequences. PvP is critical to enable the full range of potential, and it is at the same time the most complicated and far-ranging game element, and the very most dangerous for the future of the game. It has to be done rightly for the rest to be worth doing.

Therefore PvP is the most frequently discussed game element... but what the actual meat of the game will be will depend on us, and how we use the tools being built for us.

Goblin Squad Member

I know I'm late to this discussion, but I'm hoping that PFO follows a subscription based revenue model, but with the Plex option that EvE online uses.

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