There are many games around that are free to play, and have item shops to keep things running, I have seen many successful games, and many not so successful games based on item shops, I wanted to share my feedback on them, and help make this game one of the fore (Successful) and not the later (unsuccessful).
There are a great many number of ways to do item shops including:
Base the item shop items on giving upgrades higher success rates
Item shop has other in game items that give you better movement (like mounts etc)
Item shops that give cosmetic appeal
Item shops that give massive advantages to teams, clans etc.
Out of all of these, I find the ones that are focused in the purely cosmetic area tend to be the best. This is because the other systems break the game beyond playing, and no matter how much people try, its never balanced.
So here are some idea’s On things to add to the game for cosmetic’s or support, things that will not break the game.
First of all, Lets start with a way of using the items.
One idea is to add another button on top called “modifications”.
In this tab, there will be a layout of the ship displayed from birds eye view, with slots (like the mod slots) that can simply be dragged / added to from warehouse. Including slots for
Special Effects (active; happens when you activate an any ability or a specific ability.)
special effects (passive: runs all the time)
List of Idea’s for the item shop
A questionable addition : One of the things t hat can be added, though its unknown if it will break the game badly or not, is a set of ships that can only be accessed from being in a clan. They would need to be every so slightly better then the other ships, Say like 5% more stats, and another passive slot. something like this would give great value to being in a clan, especially if there is some sort of requirement in the clans to gain access to various types of these ships.
Weapons Colors : Add items that change weapons colors Make it something slightly better then just rotating the color frequency, something that makes it very appealing. Examples of this are when the ship fires, it does some sort of neat sound, or graphic ettect.
Engine Colors : Adding colors to the contrails, to make them every so more noticeable and fun.
Skin Changes : this is a big one, and probably the backbone of the item shop. These changes will radically alter the display color or even style of the ship. maybe it will add an extra wing, League of legends makes 300 million a year on skin changes, Why Can’t you? Changing a Demoes for example, to be alittle more inspiring of fear, maybe black as an example, would be neat, I’d buy one!
Manual Color changing options; Adding a feature to change colors of the ship manually may be a good or bad thing, depending on if you are going heavy on selling skins. If you are, its a great way to make money, and if you do a good job with the graphics, it will be very good income, But manual color change is also something that can while not costing alot, add up. If you make it 250 galactic standards to change the color, it would perhapse add up over time as opposed to one perm skin that will cost 3,500 gs.
Clan Modifiers don’t forget about clans, they can be a serious means of income if done right. an excellent idea for clans is adding a massive clan wide effects that cost lots. For example, clan wide contrails, that cost 5500 GS. Also Clan wide weapons fire, Etc. you can add these slots in the modifications tab. Another great idea is clan skins for stations (if a universe is added) which can cost 12500 GS.
Something that will make me quit this game (likely also others) is going the routes of upgrades or advantageous things from the item shop. I’v personally stayed in games for a short period because of being owned over and over, because a level 30 spent 2k on the game, and can now run around owning level 50’s. this is very broken, and badly and strongly needs to be attacked, and stopped before it happens.
Make this a lasting game like eve or Wow, 8-10 years, with millions, it has that potential, it just needs some more content (a universe and free travel) and you are set.
Believe me, the world is looking for a good MMOrPG and most certainly one with a combat style like this as the others have flopped (or halted in production)