My various ranting on the alternatives to WoT's pricing model continues today with a couple ideas that I think would work. At the very least they'd make me happy which is really all that counts, isn't it?
Two of the questions I hope to answer today, as posed by Stormtrail, are:
1) If we're not talking about traditional subscription models, how would you tune the pricing structure? i.e. are you tuning this so that anyone can log-in with a premium account, contribute nothing to a battle, and make a sustainable credit/exp income so that they can research/buy whatever they want with minimal involvement?
2) Is there some level of "progress" that you expect or would prefer to see for premium members?
My biggest gripe with the game is that it holds players back from enjoying the game on their own terms. I hate grinding through certain tanks just to get to one I'm interested in. It serves absolutely no purpose as far as I'm concerned. Does playing 150 games in my IS-3 really make me a better IS-4 player? The answer, unfortunately (based on my play) is no. I think playing lots of games, in general, will make me a better player. It has been pointed out to me that the current WoT model serves to keep the lower tiers happy and full and ensuring players don't rush off to the top tiers as soon as they can. This may be true but I think there are other ways to achieve this.
|As luck would have it, this is the first image that appears on a Google search for IS4. Not what I had planned, but oh well.|
Many FTP or Free to Try games limit the content until you pay. World of Tanks can be played free throughout without limitations- in theory. It's not easy, but it is possible. WoT's game design puts a credit squeeze on you as a player. This squeeze lessens if you purchase a premium account. The problem is that it is still limiting as even with a premium account, and a good performance in a match, you can still lose credits. This forces you into buying a premium tank, or using the (generally) profitable Tier 5 tanks to earn credits to 'fund' the higher tier tanks.
In case you don't play WoT, to put this in perspective, a Tier 5 tank can earn you up to 20k (on average) with a win. A Tier X heavy tank costs 6 million credits to buy and can lose 20k per battle even with a win. A good premium tank (like the T59) earned me an average of 35k per game. I think it would be fair to say that for every 2 battles in your shiny Tier X tank you'll have to play 3 in your rusty Tier V to keep afloat with cash.
What if WoT's higher tiers were only accessible to paying customers? What would the actual impact on the game be? The lower tiers would still be full with free players, and paying customers could play how they want. In this scenario, of course, profit would still have to be based on performance in battle (to prevent botting and such) but it could mean, simply, that the worst you will ever do, with a win, is to break even. Cuts out the potential for botting, doesn't award laziness or bad play, and most importantly, doesn't punish the paying player who does pretty good in a high tier match. Simliar to yesterday's idea, this could be a 'downloadable content' pack for the upper tiers (9-10) or a monthly fee (a sub if you will). The rest of the game could stay free.
|The Maus. Someday, baby, someday...... Skin photo from here.|
This ties into one of my other ideas: A Two Tier Premium System. I think that dropping the monthly cost of a premium acccount to 6-8 dolars (from around 9-10) may result in more sales. You could then offer a Super Premium for $15 for all those high rollers like myself who just want to play and don't have the time to grind for credits or experience. You could add an extra 25% (or whatever) on top of the regular premium for experience and credits. This would make playing at the higher tiers bearable. Would it result in piles of cash for these Super Premium users? Maybe, but so what? Every credit I've earned, I've then spent on other tanks. It doesn't make me better, nor does it give me an advantage in-game. Once you've bought your tanks and modules the tank is as good as it can get. You can't transfer, or sell your in-game credits so the potential for abuse in the real world is nill.
|In game credits does not equal real-life money.|
These two suggestions are, of course, colored by my view of the game which is based on how I play. I realize that this may not be how everyone plays. I like my top tier tanks well enough, but I have plenty of lower-tier tanks I enjoy. Most of my activity takes place in the Tier 4-8 range even when I'm paying for premium. I offer these suggestions, then, thinking that not everyone would rush to the high tiers if they were more affordable or if they could buy their way there. I could very well be wrong but the reality is we'll never know- unless of course, Wargaming.net decides to implement these ideas with a nice commission towards yours truly!
Tomorrow I'll chuck out some more ideas about game tweaks/pricing models I'd like to see including Faction Loyalty Rewards and Choose Your Own Premium Tank.