Ascent: Possible future payment options

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shathiell

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Ascent: Possible future payment options

Postby shathiell » Sun May 01, 2016 4:46 am

Hi Guys,

I wanted to raise this again given something Jam mentioned on the game forums around "Any ideas/feedback on this welcome".

Today we have a subscription model + an initial purchase model for the game. This is being perceived as something which people are pushing back against even though the subscription itself is smaller than most out there.

Before going into suggestion mode I want to cover some of the other online games I play today and their funding models:

WoW

I actually haven't played this for a while, however it is one of the few sub-only MMO's left in the market. What is interesting is that, alongside the monthly subscription, it also has the following:

  • Up-front payment for the base game
  • Payment for each expansion
  • Cash shop for things such as mounts and instant level 90/100's

Honestly, I don't know how long this whole model will be sustained. It is no secret that their sub numbers have dwindled over the years and while each expansion sees a surge in these they quickly die away after a few months. Anyone attempting to enter the market and model off this is asking for trouble.

Diablo 3

Simple Buy-To-Play model, with expansions costing as much as the base game whenever they come out. No cash shop implemented at this time.

Path of Exile

Free-to-Play model, with cosmetic cash-shop with some convenience items (Such as more bank space). I honestly have no idea how they manage it, but they seem to be very successful. I can only assume they have tailored their game to a market which is well defined and has an existing, strong user-base.

Elder Scrolls Online

Buy-to-Play model, with an optional subscription which provides a little convenience (Extra XP) and coins to spend in the cash-shop. The cash-shop is made up of mainly cosmetic goods such as mounts, pets, armor visual, as well as convenience such as XP boosters, mount-speed increases, heath potions.


Star Wars: The Old Republic

Free-to-Play model, with an optional subscription which provides cartel coins and convenience (XP). It is also used as a gate to content earlier than Preferred (Players with no active sub but paid money at some stage) and free (Players who haven't paid a cent) players, with some taking months to release. Cartel market contains unlocks to allow preferred games to be similar to subscription games in that most of the paywalled features become unlocked. This model has been under scrutiny a lot since release, with a lot of push-back around it as often you are better off being a subscriber.


Elite: Dangerous

Buy-to-Play, with expansions with an extra cost which include things Ascent already does today (Such as planetary landings). There is a cash shop for ship skins as well.

Star Citizen

Buy-to-Play, but unknown what ongoing cash-shop will be. It is said that they might sell in-game currency once the game is released, with the current ship-based cash shop going away once the game is released.


So with all of that in mind, what is the best funding model for Ascent going forward? I think there is enough evidence out there that the forced-subscription is frowned upon, no matter the cost (ESO learned that the hard way, forcing a re-release 12 months later as a buy-to-play game) and I can't see Ascent charging what other Buy-to-Play games do and be successful ($50-60+) so what is left? Ascent has an interesting challenge as I believe it has released too much to go down a DLC path like E:D and it doesn't quite fit into everyone's pre-conceived notions of what a Space-Game should include. With that in mind, here is my thoughts/suggestions for the game:

  • Split the base game up into 3 x modules; Combat, industry (including OSB/ISB) & exploration (Including colonies) with each one coming as a cost. This will allow you to sell the base game with an increased cost, but not perceived as that much of an increase. You can hopefully satisfy all three playtypes this way, with people only getting what they want.
  • Make the subscription optional. Each player who subscribes will get Stellar Credits, along with convenience measures such as incease of skill gain for mining/trading/skimming and decrease in research times (I was thinking of influence here too, but that is too P2W I think). Anyone who doesn't sub doesn't get SC's and will need to buy them via the cash shop (For this to work, we would need to remove the colony upkeep costs).
  • Implement a proper cash-shop, however instead of using real-world currency SC's are the currency of the day. Everyone who wants to use it either uses the SC's they get as part of the subscription or buys their own.
  • What is in the shop? I was thinking skins, however Jam has said that wouldn't be enough, so besides skins it will include ships you can't build in-game but will not be overly-powerful to make them P2W. Some ideas here include different models for the same class ships, different abilities (Such as a Class 14 carrier like a boomerang for example), or even specialisations (Mining ships which are only good at mining). This can extend to skins/models for your colonies. What if you wanted to make your colony like ancient rome? What about Victorian London? What about Viking-styles?

Please post your ideas below. I am sure we all want this game to succeed and if someone has the award winning idea I am sure Jam would appreciate it :)
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davh62

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Re: Ascent: Possible future payment options

Postby davh62 » Sun May 01, 2016 8:23 am

Some of my thoughts from a business aspect.
Don't change the current financial model, non or premium works fine as is but..

1. Forget the three premiums & roll them into one payment a month. So premium is premium period. That payment should be realistically $10 AUS. It's currently far to cheap too work as an effective business model. Alter the buyable SC in line with this to synch.

2. Change subscription length options on checkout & allow small discount for varied subscription lengths. For example 10% off for 6 month sub, 15% off for 12 month sub.

3 Add additional card payment methods( worldpay, sagepay etc.). Yes set up costs will be incurred along with transaction fees but the new subs with offset along with it being tax deductible.

Other thoughts....

Moar buyable DLC please! As well as being a valuable source of income to run alongside the residual, the players love this stuff in MMO's. Guild ss, bolt on cargo modules, ship decals the list is exhaustive....... eventually :D
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Ghostwish

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Re: Ascent: Possible future payment options

Postby Ghostwish » Mon May 02, 2016 3:13 pm

I'm just going to point out that SWTOR has a horrible free to play module that has strangled its growth. They basically limit the features of the UI behind a paywall. Please disregard their module, as it is a horrible idea.

But I am 100% behind Dav's suggestion. More cool ships, please!
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tobascodagama

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Re: Ascent: Possible future payment options

Postby tobascodagama » Mon May 02, 2016 5:11 pm

Moar buyable DLC please! As well as being a valuable source of income to run alongside the residual, the players love this stuff in MMO's. Guild ss, bolt on cargo modules, ship decals the list is exhaustive....... eventually


I agree! More mid-tier ships with unique distinguishing features (like the Bowhead's directional thrusters) would be great. Maybe even some unique buildings and module blueprints would be nice, too, even if they're essentially just reskinned versions of existing buildings.

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