Let's talk about MTX

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Let's talk about MTX

Postby gemini » Mon Dec 17, 2018 7:14 am

Let's talk about MTX for a moment. It's an uncomfortable topic, but in today's gaming industry, it's a conversation that needs to (eventually) be had.

Also forgive me if I ramble or this gets long - it's 7am and I'm still nursing my morning coffee.

I'll preface this with saying that I remember reading that SoH will be monetized as a subscription (ie - x$/month to play). I think this is a great model for MMOs. It provides steady revenue while not leaning solely on MTX or Premium users like F2P. It's a risk too - any MMO based on this model will need at least a certain minimum of players in order to maintain its support and development structure.

MTX or "Microtransactions" -- There are several forms - Loot boxes, slot machines, pay-to-win 'gaacha', cash shop etcetera.

Now, the SoH team has a lot of integrity and love for their game, just like we do, so I'm confident they wouldn't add toxic or predatory MTX in, but I wanted to talk about one specific thing -- cash shop for cosmetics/convenience items.

This would probably come in the form of special costume pieces or auras or customizations - pay a small fee (or buy with special currency that can only be bought with real money), unlock x cosmetic pack. Unlock extra bank/storage space. Maybe even convenience / crafting items. This is, basically, a similar model something like Path of Exile uses (although the game itself is F2P, so they rely entirely on the cash shop for monetization). Path of Exile is a very good game.


I want to take you back to the past (cue AVGN music?) -- my first MMOs were Korean expats - Ragnarok Online, and another tiny little game that hit the west right about the same time Ultima Online did.

While iRO was huge, this other game was basically a US port of an even smaller 2D Korean MMO and had a small but devoted community (at its peak, it managed about 1000 people online simultaneously, and had ~6-8 fairly large zones and a single server). It hadn't even made the switch to Isometric like Ultima or Ragnarok.

One of the things you could do in this game was to take a newbie under your wing, cast some protection spells, teach them a bit about the game, and cast a special 'mentor' spell on them for some small bonuses to them and yourself when they reached a certain level. It encouraged helping out new players, and, curiously, every time you completed it, you'd get a little message that your "Karma" had risen.

What was Karma? Nobody really new - certain NPCs talked at you a little more positively.

Now, bear in mind, older MMOs were (in)famous for obscure quests to obtain rare items - there were no wikis, just a few fan-sites with mostly incomplete data. No one was data-mining every minor change the devs made and compiling everything into huge databases yet.

Myself, I was always helping newbies - new players just starting, friends and other random old players just trying to level up in the early game (it was very tough to do, and death was punishing)

Well, one day after helping a newbie, I got a message that my karma was so high that I could get a special reward, but it would drain all of my karma to nothing. (I think later on the consensus from the community was that it was triggered randomly between 70 and 100)

I took it, and got this very cool looking staff - I wasn't the first with one, there were 2 or 3 others, but it was very rare, and in a small community it grabbed a lot of attention. It wasn't the best, statswise, I even had several better weapons already. All the same I wore it around 'town' and I got compliments and whispers begging to tell me how I got it.

Anyways - this post is getting very long. This story was easier in my head this morning when I was thinking of it - but long story short -- eventually MTX / cash shop came to the game; cosmetics, convenience items - a lot of hard work on the art side was obviously put into these items (some of them made my little staff look downright sad).

What's the point? I don't know. If it happens, I'm fine with cash shops for cosmetics or convenience - there's always going to be someone who wants to throw money at stuff like that. Just ... remember that obscure quests and random .1% drops are fun too.

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Re: Let's talk about MTX

Postby Shezkah » Mon Dec 17, 2018 7:48 am

Thanks for the post!

I understand that MTX is a thing and am willing to deal with it and even enjoy it sometimes with two caveats:

1) Pay to win - You can make yourself godlike only with cash
2) Exclusive items in a game which is a spiritual successor to CoH would potentially be a killer

Now I doubt the devs would do the first, they seem as dedicated to making this game fun and fanciful as we are.
The latter, however, is easy to fall into. If the item and costume base is already crazy, varied, and large enough, then some special items you pay extra for wouldn't necessarily be an issue. The balance would be in making sure that both "free" (we are paying already, remember) and monetised items receive the same attention and detail, and that the monetised items weren't reducing options for the "free" items too much.

Let me give an example: In a game I played a while ago, obsessively, there were about five different swords worth having. Said game then introduced a sixth and seventh on an MTX basis. Something similar happened with crossbows and I believe mage robes (?) in another game. The first then proceeded to take a previously free item and make it paid. The second developed a huge pool of paid items and left their "free" (both were subscription games) items at a miserably small and plain number, making everyone who didn't buy paid weapons and cosmetics essentially look like the slave uniform wearers.

The first game had to massively overhaul their game to reclaim players who quit because they sucked in that and other ways, and to acquire more than a trickle of new players going forward.

The second folded.

And for good reason - people don't like to feel as if they are backed into a corner in what for them is their escape from being backed into a corner day in and out.

Now we come to SoH. As a spiritual successor to a game which placed huge emphasis on diversity, personal touches, madness, and variety, this game's players, especially the loyal ones who have waited for a long time to play, are expecting a similar level of "You can be yourself in the most marvelous way."

The danger of MTX is not MTX itself, it is an unbalanced or money-hungry approach, or a failure to realise that a decent game which sticks to its principles will, in time, always make money whereas one which darts about picking up scraps will lose players due to inconsistent and uncaring behaviour.

I don't expect the current dev team to EVER be like those people - they are far too dedicated to the spirit of this game and their hard work, long nights of sleeplessness, and very likely paying from their own pockets what should be company expenses to keep this going are a testament to that.

On the topic of EPIC LOOT, however, I have only this to say....

For Pony!

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Re: Let's talk about MTX

Postby brawlizard » Mon Dec 17, 2018 8:19 am

I wanted to point out COH definitely had some cash exclusive costumes.
The costume packs they sold for 5 to 10 bucks were awesome and I bought almost all of them.
You could easily say those were MTX etc
The line between small dlc and MTX shop is thinner than most are willing to talk about

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Re: Let's talk about MTX

Postby bitessmiley » Mon Dec 17, 2018 8:25 am

Ill just add that i live karma idea. Could have multiple usage. Use IT to unlock otherwise unobtailable things such as outfit pieces, custom atack/power/aura animation. Lets take IT further! We could designbour character animation And looks acording to theyre do And donts, archievments etc. Just

Edit: just realizacji its oftopic. Should i move IT to suggestions?

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Re: Let's talk about MTX

Postby Golden Ace » Mon Dec 17, 2018 8:50 am

No it is fine here, but it wouldn’t hurt to post your idea there too.

Also welcome to the forums!!!
♪ Sometimes you feel like a Tank, Sometimes you don't! ♫

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Re: Let's talk about MTX

Postby indigowulf » Mon Dec 17, 2018 1:00 pm

I can't believe I just did my whole replay on the WRONG post lol!!

I think all cash items should be purely cosmetic. Zero tolerance for pay to win. Let the kid in school with no job, who can barely scrape up money for the sub, have the same game play experience as the wealthy lottery winner, and everyone in between. This is coming from someone who plans to buy every cosmetic thing that catches my eye.... I don't want extra rewards other than the skin just because I happen to have a decent job. I already know how that feels because I look at the donation rewards and I know I'll never reach command and conquer level. The one skin that matters to me, pet skins.. and I'll never get there. I shrug it off because it won't change how the game plays for me- but if it did, it would sorta be a deal breaker. If there was a "and your pets also get a 5% resistance buff" I'd probably go sit in the corner and /cry.
~indigowulf global, SG Feral Storm (future founder!)

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Re: Let's talk about MTX

Postby Itlandm » Mon Dec 17, 2018 5:13 pm

There's pay to win, there's cosmetics, and then there's... CHARACTER SLOTS!
If the character creator is even remotely in the same league as CoH was (which is not a requirement for me to play, mind you, but if it is) or if the number of powersets that can be combined is even remotely in the same league as CoH (which would definitely help) then I am going to want lots of character slots. Lots and lots of them. How much does it cost to store that extra character on the server park? 1 cent? 0.1 cent? If we could got a modest number to start with, to get the altitis time to settle in our bones, you could easily sell them for a couple dollars each. Who doesn't have a couple dollars at any time?
I recently looked at the Korean (?) game Tera again. They have nothing like the mix and match of CoH, but they have a decent number of races and classes to combine. If they had an easy way to obtain character slots for $2 per slot, I would probably have dozens and dozens of them, instead of firing up the game once every few months and, seeing that there are no free character slots, closing it again.
So, in conclusion: CHARACTER SLOTS. FOR SALE. Please.

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Re: Let's talk about MTX

Postby indigowulf » Tue Dec 18, 2018 12:49 pm

Yeah, I'd buy character slots. I mean, tell me what my cap is and let me buy them all right now lol. My family is not surprised when I ask for in-game things for birthday/christmas.
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