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The best micro-transaction model - Pure Horizontal

Creslin321Creslin321 Baltimore, MDPosts: 5,359Member

Sooo I am more or less a cash shop hater.  I feel like just about every MMO cash shop I see has some kind of issue with it.  Even fairly innocuous cash shops like purely cosmetic ones can take the fun out of working to achieve your gear, since you can just buy it instead.

BUT, there is one cash shop model that I have zero problems with whatsoever, and I really hope that it becomes the dominant model in the future.

I'm not sure if this model has a specific name, but I call it the "Pure Horizontal" model.  By horizontal, I mean that if you consider actually advancing through the game with any given character to be "vertical," then horizontal would be the amount of options you have to advance through the game.  So in a pure horizontal cash shop, no vertical progression is ever inhibited, and no advantages or "special treatment" over other players is ever sold.

In a pure horizontal cash shop, you are selling the player options.  A great example of this is how you can buy new characters in LoL.  If you wanted, you could literally not spend a dime in LoL, get really good with one of the default heroes, and even become a tournament level player.  The players vertical progression with the options they have available is not diminished at all, but can spend money in the CS to open more options for themselves.

An MMORPG example of this kind of CS implemented in a game, would be a game that was F2P, but you only get one character slot to start.  You can go through the game with your one character without restriction, but if you ever want to play another character, you would have to buy another slot.  Obviously, the CS would have to be expanded upon with different horizontal restrictions for F2P players and cash shop options, but you get the jist.

I feel like this kind of CS is the best because has none of the typical problems attributed teh cash shops, like P2W or deliberately grindy game-design, but it encourages the player to spend money since most players like to experience different options in the game.  

Thoughts?

Are you team Azeroth, team Tyria, or team Jacob?

Comments

  • thinktank001thinktank001 oasisPosts: 2,027Member Uncommon

    How is more character slots horizontial?    All I see is a publisher selling you more inventory space.

     

     

  • laokokolaokoko TaipeiPosts: 2,003Member

    You mean in certain mmorpg, you can't play certain class because it's locked, and you need to pay extra to play it?

    No, I want my option.  I dont' want them to lock everything so I can't enjoy the option. 

  • AlBQuirkyAlBQuirky Sioux City, IAPosts: 3,828Member

    I see what you are getting at Creslin. With a F2P model, you could run 1 character through the whole game, with no artificial obstacles thrown in your path to "entice" you to buy the cash shop "artificial obstacle removers", per se. If you'd like to run another character through, pay for another character slot. That makes sense.

    However, aren't the alt-itis players being targeted here, to pay for the rest of the F2P players' fun? I tried looking at the other play types (raiding, grouping, crafting, PvPing, soloing, PvEing, etc.) and could not find a way to "tax" them without throwing artificial barriers in their way (such as limited number of raids/week, limited number of PvP activities per week or month, etc.). Is there a way to charge the other play styles in a cash shop without throwing artificial barriers in the way?

    PS: I, too, hate cash shops with a passion :) I yearn for the days when my money for the box price used to give me the whole game, not just bits and pieces of it.

    - Al

    Personally the only modern MMORPG trend that annoys me is the idea that MMOs need to be designed in a way to attract people who don't actually like MMOs. Which to me makes about as much sense as someone trying to figure out a way to get vegetarians to eat at their steakhouse.
    - FARGIN_WAR

  • thinktank001thinktank001 oasisPosts: 2,027Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by AlBQuirky

    Is there a way to charge the other play styles in a cash shop without throwing artificial barriers in the way?

     

    That is the design of the microtransaction model.   

     

  • jagd1jagd1 istanbulPosts: 281Member
    Originally posted by Creslin321

    An MMORPG example of this kind of CS implemented in a game, would be a game that was F2P, but you only get one character slot to start.  You can go through the game with your one character without restriction, but if you ever want to play another character, you would have to buy another slot.  Obviously, the CS would have to be expanded upon with different horizontal restrictions for F2P players and cash shop options, but you get the jist.

    Thoughts?

    Something like that might be possible but not character slots because anyone can open a new account for other classes .

  • crazynannycrazynanny PopowoPosts: 173Member

    The best cash shop I've yet seen was actually so hated RMAH. It has way smaller influence on game itself as in order to get profit devs need people to play game, so nasty restrictions are actually hard to apply.  It's goes like this:

     

    Game being no fun -> less people playing -> less people selling items for RL -> less profit.

    While in regular F2P it/s more like that:

    Game being no fun -> people go to cash shop -> get P2W effect(feeling superior to those who don't pay) -> profit.

     

    Surely I agree that LoL system is really nice and not P2W. But I have to yet see quality MMO that doesn't develop game around it's cash shop. I mean sure it always starts nice with promises of convenience not advantage, but somewhere along the way $ temptation is just too big. Reason is simple - monopoly and unlimited supply results in greed and changing game so it offers more and more incentive to go to cash shop. Not mention exclusive items that people can't get in the game(RMAH can't have cash shop exclusive items).

    RMAH of course isn't completely free from influencing gameplay, as devs want people to trade rare items, thus making game more loot-centirc. But if properly masked it can fit in gameplay nicely and they can't overdo it, cause they need healthy population with new people coming to make profit. I see it as lesser evil.

     

    Anyways yeah, what was suggested in OP would be best cash shop, but I simply think it's not possible in reality(at least in MMOs).

  • laokokolaokoko TaipeiPosts: 2,003Member

    And which game you talking about that use RMAH?

    If you mean diablo 3.  The effect is minimum because it's a solo game with no pvp.

  • crazynannycrazynanny PopowoPosts: 173Member
    Originally posted by laokoko

    And which game you talking about that use RMAH?

    If you mean diablo 3.  The effect is minimum because it's a solo game with no pvp.

    D3 is actually lobby game with social aspects, but I think about idea in general. The merchandise and RMAH rules of course  could be different in order to make whole deal more balanced while maintaining profit for both sides. PvP doesn't really change that as long it's properly desinged(skill being as important as gear).

  • HatefullHatefull Posts: 773Member Uncommon

    I think what you are getting at, your point, is going to be the future.  Planetsdie 2 and The Secret World are both games that come to mind with your 'horizontal' cash shop model.  

    People will not tolerate pay to win for long, but people love to buy new costumes for their toons and I think game dev companies are starting to see this.   Being able to customize your look and even your playstyle, without  being able to acquire an advantage over another player that chooses to just grind it out, is all good in my book.

    So yeah comsmetic or 'sidegrade' cash shops = the future imo.  Pay2win...dying in the gutter I hope.

    If you want a new idea, go read an old book.

  • rissiesrissies aurora, COPosts: 161Member
    Originally posted by Creslin321

    Even fairly innocuous cash shops like purely cosmetic ones can take the fun out of working to achieve your gear, since you can just buy it instead.

    Purely cosmetic gear doesnt have stats. So you'd still get the fun of working to achieve the real gear that turns you into a badass or w/e. 

    But as far as your horizontal model goes? Players who don't like cash shops still wouldn't like cash shops. There's people complaining over GW2 "only" offering 5 default character slots and making player pay for more like its a heinous and unreasonable act. LoL heroes have a pokemon appeal, but real mmorpg characters and classes don't have that at all. You aren't picking just which hero you're going to play for this next game, you're picking a character that represents you in a persistant world for the next few weeks/months/or if you really like it: years. Not to mention the people who are unsure about what class they want to play, what if they decide midway that they don't like their class? Do they have to buy another slot or lose all their progress with this character? What if they don't really like the next class? If the player keeps finding situations full of lose/lose choices and buyer's remorse, how long are they going to stick with a game? 

    Honestly? I really doubt there is any one-size-fits-all payment model that will suit every game and gamer, and so "best" is purely subjective and is only accurate on the individual level.

  • TheLizardbonesTheLizardbones Arkham, VAPosts: 10,910Member


    Originally posted by Creslin321
    Sooo I am more or less a cash shop hater.  I feel like just about every MMO cash shop I see has some kind of issue with it.  Even fairly innocuous cash shops like purely cosmetic ones can take the fun out of working to achieve your gear, since you can just buy it instead.

    BUT, there is one cash shop model that I have zero problems with whatsoever, and I really hope that it becomes the dominant model in the future.

    I'm not sure if this model has a specific name, but I call it the "Pure Horizontal" model.  By horizontal, I mean that if you consider actually advancing through the game with any given character to be "vertical," then horizontal would be the amount of options you have to advance through the game.  So in a pure horizontal cash shop, no vertical progression is ever inhibited, and no advantages or "special treatment" over other players is ever sold.

    In a pure horizontal cash shop, you are selling the player options.  A great example of this is how you can buy new characters in LoL.  If you wanted, you could literally not spend a dime in LoL, get really good with one of the default heroes, and even become a tournament level player.  The players vertical progression with the options they have available is not diminished at all, but can spend money in the CS to open more options for themselves.

    An MMORPG example of this kind of CS implemented in a game, would be a game that was F2P, but you only get one character slot to start.  You can go through the game with your one character without restriction, but if you ever want to play another character, you would have to buy another slot.  Obviously, the CS would have to be expanded upon with different horizontal restrictions for F2P players and cash shop options, but you get the jist.

    I feel like this kind of CS is the best because has none of the typical problems attributed teh cash shops, like P2W or deliberately grindy game-design, but it encourages the player to spend money since most players like to experience different options in the game.  

    Thoughts?



    I cannot argue with your statements.

    I would add to them that I like the idea virtual land ownership as well. I wish I could remember the name of the MMORPG, but you could buy or maybe rent a plot of land. Nothing else was restricted in the game. On that plot of land you could build more or less anything you wanted. It was a 2.5d, UO-ish game. Anyway, I thought that was a really good way to have a cash shop.

    ** edit **

    Link Realms! That's the name of the game I was talking about. The game was free to play and everyone had the same character progression, but players could buy realms where they could build castles, dungeons, farms, etc.

    I can not remember winning or losing a single debate on the internet.

  • Creslin321Creslin321 Baltimore, MDPosts: 5,359Member
    Originally posted by AlBQuirky

    I see what you are getting at Creslin. With a F2P model, you could run 1 character through the whole game, with no artificial obstacles thrown in your path to "entice" you to buy the cash shop "artificial obstacle removers", per se. If you'd like to run another character through, pay for another character slot. That makes sense.

    However, aren't the alt-itis players being targeted here, to pay for the rest of the F2P players' fun? I tried looking at the other play types (raiding, grouping, crafting, PvPing, soloing, PvEing, etc.) and could not find a way to "tax" them without throwing artificial barriers in their way (such as limited number of raids/week, limited number of PvP activities per week or month, etc.). Is there a way to charge the other play styles in a cash shop without throwing artificial barriers in the way?

    PS: I, too, hate cash shops with a passion :) I yearn for the days when my money for the box price used to give me the whole game, not just bits and pieces of it.

     The example I proposed definitely does target alt-itis players, but I think it could developed further to not specifically target them as much.

    Also...my ideal microtransaction model would be one that also allowed players to buy a $50-$60 "package" outright that would give them what would be expected of a B2P game.  Like maybe you get 10 character slots for $60 flat-out, or you can buy them individually for $8...once again, simplified example, but you get my drift.

    Basically, I think that a microtransaction model should be aimed at giving players more options on how they want to purchase the game, not less.  They can purchase it in traditionally B2P fashion, or they can purchase it in "horizontal pieces" if they want.

    One of the things I hate about many F2P models is that they take away the traditional B2P option...and a lot of times, I just don't want to deal with the cash shop.  I would like to be able to just pay my $50 and opt-out of it all together if I really like the game.

    Are you team Azeroth, team Tyria, or team Jacob?

  • maplestonemaplestone Ottawa, ONPosts: 3,099Member

    The best microtransaction model: none.

    Once you start down the dark path, forever will it dominate your destiney.

  • LoktofeitLoktofeit Stone Mountain, GAPosts: 13,666Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by AlBQuirky

    I see what you are getting at Creslin. With a F2P model, you could run 1 character through the whole game, with no artificial obstacles thrown in your path to "entice" you to buy the cash shop "artificial obstacle removers", per se. If you'd like to run another character through, pay for another character slot. That makes sense.

    However, aren't the alt-itis players being targeted here, to pay for the rest of the F2P players' fun? I tried looking at the other play types (raiding, grouping, crafting, PvPing, soloing, PvEing, etc.) and could not find a way to "tax" them without throwing artificial barriers in their way (such as limited number of raids/week, limited number of PvP activities per week or month, etc.). Is there a way to charge the other play styles in a cash shop without throwing artificial barriers in the way?

     

    What you are calling artificial barrier here is just a gateway to the paid content. If you go to a park or fair, but there is a ticket price for certain rides or areas, do you consider that artificial barrier or an admission price?

    There isn't a "right" or "wrong" way to play, if you want to use a screwdriver to put nails into wood, have at it, simply don't complain when the guy next to you with the hammer is doing it much better and easier. - Allein
    "Graphics are often supplied by Engines that (some) MMORPG's are built in" - Spuffyre

  • TheLizardbonesTheLizardbones Arkham, VAPosts: 10,910Member


    Originally posted by maplestone
    The best microtransaction model: none.Once you start down the dark path, forever will it dominate your destiney.

    That's silly. There's nothing inherently wrong with micro-transactions. I think Creslin is on to something with the idea that money should not affect vertical character progression. That's really what people are afraid of with cash shops.

    I can not remember winning or losing a single debate on the internet.

  • maplestonemaplestone Ottawa, ONPosts: 3,099Member
    Originally posted by lizardbones


    That's silly. There's nothing inherently wrong with micro-transactions. I think Creslin is on to something with the idea that money should not affect vertical character progression. That's really what people are afraid of with cash shops.

    It's completely corrosive. The game ceases to be a game and decays towards simply being an advertising medium for microtransactions.

  • TheLizardbonesTheLizardbones Arkham, VAPosts: 10,910Member


    Originally posted by maplestone
    Originally posted by lizardbones That's silly. There's nothing inherently wrong with micro-transactions. I think Creslin is on to something with the idea that money should not affect vertical character progression. That's really what people are afraid of with cash shops.
    It's completely corrosive. The game ceases to be a game and decays towards simply being an advertising medium for microtransactions.


    It doesn't immediately follow that having micro-transactions will lead to the game becoming focused on the micro-transactions and nothing else. There will be references in the game to whatever micro-transactions are available. This makes sense, especially since players prefer to make whatever purchases they're going to make in the game itself. The influence micro-transactions have on development is a choice that developers make while they are working on the game. It isn't automatic.

    There are a lot of different ways to go about advertising a cash shop. You can be overt, like Family Guy Online, with popups that tell you developing the game isn't free and you should buy something from the cash shop. You can be covert, like Star Trek Online with the boxes that you have to buy a key for in the cash shop, or you can be something else, like Link Realms, where you don't really notice the cash shop in the game unless you want to buy some land. I have no real idea how it works in other games.

    I do think developers would be tempted to lead players to the cash shop. I think they would be tempted into coercing players into buying things, especially if they think they can get away with it. How it all plays out is a choice.

    I can not remember winning or losing a single debate on the internet.

  • rissiesrissies aurora, COPosts: 161Member
    Originally posted by maplestone

    It's completely corrosive. The game ceases to be a game and decays towards simply being an advertising medium for microtransactions.

     

    That's really melodramatic. A game is still a game. Microtransactions don't change that anymore than subs do (because if you haven't noticed companies pushing people to get friends to sub or to increase the length of their sub then you haven't been paying attention) ~ pretty much all games, both video games and irl, have their share of advertising being pushed on the public. But they're still games :/ 

  • KarteliKarteli Providence, PAPosts: 2,646Member

    Games today are just so structured around only a fixed amount (usually 1) of progression.

     

    Horizontal to me means more than that.  It is one starting location that has many routes to get somewhere else.  Vertical is all about you need to do this, in order to this, and you need to do that to get here (fail in many games).

     

    Developers balk at horizontal games, but .. shoot .. if you want to get customers this is what is needed.  Past attempts have been PVE vs PVP to each get to some end ... but True Horizontal means more than that .. give 100 different activities to appeal to a large crowd, with each member capable of reaching the end.

     

    End note, Horizontal is a good thing - Vertical drives players away.

    Want a nice understanding of life? Try Spirit Science: "The Human History"
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U8NNHmV3QPw&feature=plcp
    Recognize the voice? Yep sounds like Penny Arcade's Extra Credits.

  • AlBQuirkyAlBQuirky Sioux City, IAPosts: 3,828Member


    Originally posted by Loktofeit

    Originally posted by AlBQuirky
    I see what you are getting at Creslin. With a F2P model, you could run 1 character through the whole game, with no artificial obstacles thrown in your path to "entice" you to buy the cash shop "artificial obstacle removers", per se. If you'd like to run another character through, pay for another character slot. That makes sense.

    However, aren't the alt-itis players being targeted here, to pay for the rest of the F2P players' fun? I tried looking at the other play types (raiding, grouping, crafting, PvPing, soloing, PvEing, etc.) and could not find a way to "tax" them without throwing artificial barriers in their way (such as limited number of raids/week, limited number of PvP activities per week or month, etc.). Is there a way to charge the other play styles in a cash shop without throwing artificial barriers in the way?


     
    What you are calling artificial barrier here is just a gateway to the paid content. If you go to a park or fair, but there is a ticket price for certain rides or areas, do you consider that artificial barrier or an admission price?
    I see your point, as it costs nothing to get into the game :) I guess it would all come down what the dev/pub decided to include in the game for free.

    - Al

    Personally the only modern MMORPG trend that annoys me is the idea that MMOs need to be designed in a way to attract people who don't actually like MMOs. Which to me makes about as much sense as someone trying to figure out a way to get vegetarians to eat at their steakhouse.
    - FARGIN_WAR

  • thinktank001thinktank001 oasisPosts: 2,027Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by Karteli

    OK I read through the responses, and (nearly) everyone seems to point to a cash shop.  A Horizontal design doesn't need this, it could very well be P2P.

     

    Games today are just so structured around only a fixed amount (usually 1) of progression.

     

    Horizontal to me means more than that.  It is one starting location that has many routes to get somewhere else.  Vertical is all about you need to do this, in order to this, and you need to do that to get here (fail in many games).

     

    Developers balk at horizontal games, but .. shoot .. if you want to get customers this is what is needed.  Past attempts have been PVE vs PVP to each get to some end ... but True Horizontal means more than that .. give 100 different activities to appeal to a large crowd, with each member capable of reaching the end.

     

    End note, Horizontal is a good thing - Vertical drives players away.

     

    The thread is about Cash Shops.   That is why every post is discussing it.  

     

    The fundamental design of a cash shop is to get players to pay for upgrades.    The problem with trying to build a nonintrusive cash shop is that every player is different,  and what each considers an " acceptable " microtransaction varies too. 

  • bobfishbobfish SouthamptonPosts: 1,688Member

    The point of micro transactions in free to play games should be to provide a new option to players, it is how it works in Asia. The option is, you can either do it for free, but likely time consuming, or you can pay for it. Depending on the game this can either be fluff or power, but either way the choice to do it for free is there.

     

    Unfortunately that is not the most profitable route in the western market, so what we get instead is the option that you either pay for it or you don't get it at all! Hard sell, instead of soft sell.

     

    This is what is wrong with current free to play games.

  • RydesonRydeson Canton, OHPosts: 3,858Member Uncommon

    I have no issues with cash shops.. normally.. 

         It all comes down to the company making a profilt , one way or another..  If a company needs 15 million a year to stay profitable with full employment, that becomes their bottom line..  If the company can only obtain 250k subs, at $15 a month, this means they need to stay sub'd for 4 months to break even.. Anything beyond that is pure profilt (less taxes).. lol  Even with subs, there is nothing in law that says a comapny MUST charge $15 a month..  I'm really suprised that companies do not consider lessening their monthly cost instead of going F2P immediately.. Has anyone really wondered how many subs would stay if the monthly cost was lowered?  I know I would.. 

         As for the F2P with RMAH and cash shops.. It is what it is..  The company still wants $60 a year from you, rather it be 4 months of subs, or cash shopping 2 flying mounts for example..  Personally, in most games I thnk forcing gamers into a "pay us or else" model chases more away then it retains.. However, so many gamers place a negative tone to cash shops.. Think about it for a second.. When you go to an amusement park such as Disney, are they not cash shopping you around every corner?  YES , they are.. The one thing I like about cash shops is that it really puts the devs in the corner to produce and create GOOD content, or lose.. 

        In any case, how a customer pays for their entertainment is very subjective, and no one is right or wrong.. I do like it when people have options.. There is nothing wrong with games having both a sub based options and F2P options.. Both can co-exist IMO..

  • jusomdudejusomdude Somewhere, KSPosts: 2,401Member

    Seems with something like this the nickel and diming would be infinite.

    *in shady voice*

    "Look at this shiny new class, he has a few different abilities than everyone else, don't you want to try him?"

    Month later it's a new class.

     

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