Are you perhaps familliar with the “rested xp bonus” or whatever it’s called in World of Warcraft?
Let me drop a cool little story related to it on you:
When Blizzard initially tested their XP system, it had a stamina function, where playing for extended periods of time would lower your XP gains. It was, and I quote, “a xxxx Disaster”.
People “felt like xxxx”(another quote) when their stamina ran out, and would drop out of the game to wait for it to refill.
In an attempt to remedy the situation, someone came up with a brilliant idea. They made a new baseline for the system roughly equivalent to the ‘penalised’ state, and turned the old baseline into a ‘bonus’ you could earn on top of it.
It was a glorious change, which made people feel great about comming back to the game, instead of feeling bad about leaving it.
Not only people would play the game more, but those that only played as long as the bonus experience was available would leave feeling sattisfied with their efficient use of time.
Currently, Star Conflict has a mildly frustrating baseline, which additionally makes you feel bad about losing, and worst of all, it has mechanics(a new one recently added) that make winning feel like xxxx as well.
By the power of bullet points, here are Star Conflict’s Reward and Monetization issues, and how to fix them(two point wonder version at the end of the post).
- Maintenance fees are frustrating.
You know what’s worse than losing? Having to pay for repairs using your already lower earnings. Especially if you had your ship torn up trying your best to win.
Just flat out give us less money per match, and let us crash our ships as many times as we want while trying to win.
While you’re at it, just turn missiles into “missile modules”. Give us an infinite supply, and limit us only with the number fired per spawn. You don’t charge us for fuel and ammo, so for consistency sake don’t charge us for missiles.
Sure, some people will cry for a bit about how they earn less money, but at least people will be allowed to have fun again with their expensive ships they worked so hard to earn.
Meanwhile the overall economy will be roughly the same.
- Failing on a loot search is even more frustrating.
So you win a match, and you get to loot stuff. One of your attempts fails. The signal you get is that you got less loot.
Why in the world would you do that?!
Looting after a won match is our moment of triumph. Don’t spoil it with a stupid red marker and a penalty buzz for finding no loot.
Again, lower the baseline, and eliminate the failure penalty. Overall economy is the same, but players don’t feel like they got screwed over by chance.
- Failing to claim loot you already saw is even more frustrating than failing to loot!
For the love of god, revert the recent module looting change.
Why would you chose to tease your players, when you can offer them incentives to play more, and pay more that aren’t frustrating?
Putting a pop-up demanding money for a chance to get something nice is not how you make money. That’s how you alienate the playerbase.
And you don’t just wave a shiny gun in front of someone’s face and tell them that they may or may not get it. Just give it to them straight away! They’ll feel awesome! They’ll want to play more!
If you really have to monetize looting after a battle, you chose the WORST way possible, that is not how you encourage impulse buying…
How about a button after a lost battle asking us if we’d like to “rent a stealth probe” to “try cutting our losses”? I know I’d pay a small fee after a bunch of losses to treat myself to some compensation loot.
Or maybe a pop-up that would let us spend a dollar/euro or two to “scan for valuable components” which would highlight a green(with a chance of purple) item before our loot attempt? That’s a ton of impulse cash right there! And nobody would feel bad about it!
- Losing your premium status after a week is a major downer.
First impressions are very important, and it might seem like it makes sense to let the player feel how good it is to have premium time early on…
But your first impression should be of the game how it is for a free player!
By giving us a whole week of premium time, you calibrate our expectations at a state that’s meant to be a bonus. Much like the WoW stamina anecdote, you make us feel xxxx about not having premium, instead of feeling good for having it.
Start a player off with no premium time, and give it to them as a reward for their achievements. Give them 3 days once they reach level 4(1 day for each level gained), then give them 1 day whenever they advance a level. Maybe give it to them for earning a number of achievement points.
Just don’t start them off with it, all it ends up doing is adding an extra reason to leave, on top of the current T3 balance issues(and the gnereal spike in T3 “difficulty”).
- Almost nothing in the shop is worth the price!
Okay, so 50 cents for 24 a hour License is pretty rad, and you can get an even better deal if you buy GS in bulk and make a long term commitment. You probably can never make an effective use of the full duration, but it’s still a good deal.
The stickers are a minor detail, but there is enough of them and they’re cheap enough for everyone to feel special…
And that’s it.
Smaller versions of my Premium bonuses that are proportionately almost infinitely more expensive? Pass.
~3$ for a T1 ship I will never use because I’ll be way out of T1 by the time I decide if the game is worth spending money for? Nope.
~7$ for a T2 ship I will also never use, since the Premium afforded me enough cash to get the free ones, and I need them anyway for unlocks… Nope.
~15$ for a T3 ship that’s inferior to it’s free equivalents? I dunno, if I spent the cash on premium time, I’d be able to escape the tier quicker, and I’d still need the free ships to progress… 15$ is already streching it for a single item anyway.
~25$ for a T4 ship… NOPE! NO WAY! Not even that stupid horse in WoW was worth 25$.
The point I’m making here is that after you get your one favorite sticker, there is nothing interesting to get in the shop.
Premium ships are inferior, and don’t contribute to your progression.
Booster modules are something you’ll only fill with the credit bonuses that give you an edge in combat(paid for courtesy of bonus credits from the premium time). Their effects that are worthwhile would do better as impulse buys described in the previous point.
There is literally no incentive to spend money here, unless you really want to escape T3 and head for T4, in which case you can simply get an extra week of premium time.
The issue here is slightly deeper than the others, and requires a change in how you monetize your game to fix.
For starters, let us buy out ships from the regular tech tree. Just make sure you don’t overprice it. Best to make our progression through the tiers is a lot smother first(an issue for a separate post), or you’ll run into the problem of the system becoming a greater frustration.
Second step would be to enable ship skins. You could repurpose the current premium ships for that. Being able to make your ship look like any of the tiers, while still having the top stats would certainly be worth cash. Again, extreme care not to overprice. Around 10$ is an industry standard for cosmetics, though simply swapping a model for a retextured version of another ship should probably be cheaper(around 5$), with the full 10$ price reserved for truly unique/cross faction skins.
Third and final, make stuff cheaper! That Premium plasma cannon is no way near worth the 5$ you’re asking.
Hell, there’s no way in hell I’ll ever pay more cash to outfit my ship than I paid for the ship!
NO! MAKING THE SHIP MORE EXPENSIVE IS NOT THE SOLUTION!
ALL CAPS IN BOLD HELPS ME GET OVER THE RIDICULOUSNESS OF THAT IDEA!
Well, there you have it folks. The problems and solutions as I see them.
Probably won’t get me hired, probably someone will disagree.
Hopefully wasn’t a waste of time.
- Get rid of the failure penalty , reward success. Keep overall economy roughly the same.
- Make stuff worth buying , instead of forcing us to pay for basic things.