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EE16/Roadmap

Maxen
Bottom line: we live in a world of instant gratification. We can go online, buy just about anything, and in many cases, have it delivered in the same day thanks to Amazon. We should stop looking at the Eve model because it's old. Eve has a well established following that continues to subscribe to that model (much like PfO has an established, diehard following still subbing.) But, I have to wonder how many new players Eve attracts and retains?

The trick is finding a model that satisfies the "I want it now" mentality while not giving away the farm. I think most of us still playing are likely Gen Xers (or very close to Gen X.) We're stubborn, loyal, and not afraid of hard work. If you're going to attract and retain the next generation of gamers, it's going to take a different model.
Paddy Fitzpatrick
Some of us are Millennials too you know (granted very early millennial in my case but still) Stubborn hard workers isn't exclusive to Gen X smile

Anyway, the other reason why the Eve model doesn't hold up here is because Eve came out as a full released game made by a full fledged game studio. None of this early access/enrollment type stuff we see here and with many other MMOs factored into this.

The Eve model isn't just old, it is unsustainable for an early access game that began as a kickstarter. The unfortunate fact of the matter is it never was. It is unpalatable to a number of new players who will inevitably compare the sub price to WoW since they are the same and seeing that this game is nowhere close to being completed as WoW is even back in Vanilla WoW. People will compare it to Eve and draw a similar conclusion that this game is simply not anywhere near where it needs to be to justify it. It isn't about instsnt gratification really, it is about managing expectations and not sticking to an offputting price model that sets you up for failure before you even get started.

People want to feel they are going to get a decent bang for the buck. If this were a buy to play game with a straight up non AAA box price and cash shop items that would be a lot more palatable to MMO players of both current and older generations. It is clear that our tiny little group of people are the only ones willing to pay a AAA title monthly sub for a game that is at the completion level of early access niche games on Steam. Some may be free to play, some may have a box price but I have not seen a single one with a subscription.

If you want to expand your player base beyond the extremely rare players like us you gotta adapt to the market you are competing in, namely the niche indie market. If not this game will die.
Paddy Fitzpatrick - Rí Ruírec of Fianna, roaming bands of noble warriors!
Member of the Kathalpas Coalition and home of bandits, privateers, and anyone looking to get away from the shackles of law.
Find us on PFO Discord
Maxen
Paddy Fitzpatrick
Some of us are Millennials too you know (granted very early millennial in my case but still) Stubborn hard workers isn't exclusive to Gen X smile

Sorry Paddy. I should have put in a disclaimer and not generalized. smile
Bringslite
Well some things definitely need re-evaluation. I have full respect for the original vision for the game and the Team's dedication to the original plan but… I can't help feeling that some of that plan is looking like it is realistically beyond a small team of two(within a reasonable time frame anyway), probably not as fun/perfect as imagined back then and definitely more non essential within a more realistic New Plan Concept.

The game lacks much that might make it worthy of a $14.95/month charge in this newer market and will be a long time catching up to that.

PVP, the economy, PVE, lack of expected "comfort" features (UI shortcuts, etc…smile, just too much needs attention.

If they could get 10,000 regular players at $4.99/month, would that be enough to get some more staff?
Virtute et Armis
-Unknown
Lisa Stevens
Bringslite
If they could get 10,000 regular players at $4.99/month, would that be enough to get some more staff?

Yep! It would make a world of difference.

So, if the game doesn't use a subscription model, then how does it make money? I have heard a lot of folks talk about how Eve's sub model is old and dated. Cool. So then what do we charge for? And remember, things like cosmetics and any art assets are harder for me to get into the game, since neither Cole nor Bob is an artist. Not impossible. Just hard to do in any volume. Many of the non-cosmetic cash shop items are such that folks scream "pay to win" when you implement them, such as catch-up xp or rebuilds. So what can PFO do to make money if it isn't getting a sub? Would a blended sub work? $4.99 per character with a cash shop? How about a free to play, but you can't get into T3 without a sub? I am open to ideas. Lay them on me. smile

-Lisa
Paddy Fitzpatrick
Unpopular opinion time.

I dont think charging to respecs would be a p2w feature. Other games do it for their cash shops, even in non f2p games. It doesn't make a character inherently and irrevocably superior to another, doesn't hide a key component required to advance behind a paywall, and it is optional if you like your build as is.

Respecing doesnt make you an inherently better skilled player nor does it eliminate the need to know what you are doing. No amount of tweaking your build will make you not suck at the game. It can help adjust your build to better fit your intended play style and whatnot but to doesnt give you more do or additional abilities that could only be purchased.

Now I know some people will see this and react by accusing me of being a "power gamer", possibly lament the supposed loss of "meaningful choices" and maybe even say something like "you have to live with your choice no matter what happens!" I say these are all knee jerk reactions that aren't nearly as big of concerns as we tend to make them out to be. Think about it, telling someone coming back after a yesr or two away to see his abilites have radically changed that there is nothing he can do about it now and it was their fault that they chose a path that they had no idea of knowing would change dramatically a few years later is a pretty cruel thing to say. Its not a big deal guys.
Paddy Fitzpatrick - Rí Ruírec of Fianna, roaming bands of noble warriors!
Member of the Kathalpas Coalition and home of bandits, privateers, and anyone looking to get away from the shackles of law.
Find us on PFO Discord
Bringslite
It isn't that difficult to name some "store" items and features that you could offer. The problem of some people hollering "Pay to Win!" is going to be there whatever you do in that direction. The tough part is picking items and services that are 1. POSSIBLE for Paizo to do and 2. Going to sell with vigor!

Set yourself a strict Maxim that you never break: We Sell No Items/Services That Are more Powerful Than what can be obtained by in-game play.
1. Maybe just do not sell completed items. Sell things like Aeon Stones, recipes, expendables, Azoth(done), ….
2. MAYBE DO SELL completed things but nothing that player's can't make, gear wise.
3. If POSSIBLE sell cosmetics through better color customization of buildings, gear, basically skins. Improve on this later.
4. Sell services like Name Change, Respec, Extra Character Slots, keep thinking….

I completely agree with Paddy that Resects ARE NOT P2W at all. They would be a "convenience" for a game that has had many changes. You couldn't become any more powerful from them than you could by starting to play right now with a pile of xp. I am not sure if they are practical to do for what you could charge but they are not P2W.

A key problem which I see game players grouse about in cash shops is the complaint that the shops are designed and priced for "Whales" mostly. DON'T DO THAT. Do make some items for Whales but definitely offer many items of Convenience that are lesser in expense. You do not want to target only Whales. You want to target ALL your player base.
Virtute et Armis
-Unknown
Suave
Lisa Stevens
Bringslite
If they could get 10,000 regular players at $4.99/month, would that be enough to get some more staff?

Yep! It would make a world of difference.

//……. How about a free to play, but you can't get into T3 without a sub? I am open to ideas. Lay them on me. smile
…….//
-Lisa

I like this idea, but I think with a larger pop, T2 gear might become the 'everyday' gear and T3 for important events. Why not limit the 'free to play' to T1 gear/skills only and T2 and above for paying? It fits in nicely with the training available in the starter towns. I've heard a few players complain that they would like to get friends to try the game, but paying upfront 'to try' seems like a high barrier. Another point to the T1 only is that it takes about a month to get you character ready for T2. Plenty of time to try to hook newbies and let them see if they want to go higher.

One negative I see to this suggestion is that when influence caps come back we will need some way to prevent the old, shady, habit of lots of 'free' characters padding the company rosters for influence expansion. Perhaps tie the new caps to paying only?
Bringslite
Oh, and tie it all up through the use of Azoth as your "store currency". I would also suggest that Azoth be gatherable or "allowanced monthly" for subscribed players. Not enough to make huge store purchases every month, just enough to make a player feel "well I have this little bit, might as well buy some more so I can get those things I want easier…."

It could be a small reward for subscription based players. It could be a very lucky find out in the world for those who play a lot and make the world feel alive.
Virtute et Armis
-Unknown
Harad Navar
Lisa Stevens
So, if the game doesn't use a subscription model, then how does it make money?

I may be wrong, but it seems that there is a consensus that lack of player population is one of the big issue holding the game back. It might be the biggest single issue that, if resolved successfully, will make it possible to resolve most of the other issues people have discussed. Of course, a lot depends on how you define "resolved successfully".

I rarely run into players in game. This means (for me personally) that I have few chances to join other players in trying to work escalations. If I was a new player, this would be one of my biggest impediments in getting recipes/spells/expendables which would help make my play more meaningful. If I was a new player in a low population game, I would like to have some ability to get (at least) T2 recipes/spells/expendables so I can advance my character. Being able to purchase them with azoth (in the store, rather than from a player) would really help. I suspect that the cost would go up with rarity and level.

From my perspective, a tiered subscription plan makes more sense than free-to-play entry with subscription advanced play. Linking subscription level to equipment tier may preserve the status of longer term players while opening possibilities for new players to try out the game. This could look like $4.99/mo to make/use T1, $10.99/mo to make/use T2, and $14.99 to make/use T3. Experience might still be gained over time, but to use the next tier of recipes/spells/expendables, or advance the player's character to use them, the player would have to increase their subscription level.

However, I think that a key component of increasing player population would be to provide more story texture to the game. The simplest path to this might be already in the road map: getting factions into the game. I believe that this might be a difficult challenge for a minimal programming team, but I think the benefits to a meaningful player experience outside of the territorial conquest model would be worth the effort. Additionally, having items in store (similar to free holdings and crafter/adventurer structures) that integrate with factions would help players feel more integrated into the game.
Knowledge can explain the darkness, but it is not a light.
 
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