Insert 25 Cents to Continue

Alternate game revenue model: the game is free to play, but there is a small fee to create a new character or rez (or every third rez, whatever). This would not be a new model, since it was how we used to play games in the arcade before this wacky internet.

Thoughts?

: Zubon

12 thoughts on “Insert 25 Cents to Continue”

  1. No one would want to die over and over trying to figure out the strat to your raid bosses either.

  2. Some of us were actually discussing this over dinner this earlier this evening. In terms of pay to play models, it does have a track record. Who knows, it might even be possible to implement it properly in this day and age.

  3. Since you should be able to ‘complete’* any game without ever having your character die with sufficient skill the issue of ‘having’ to die shouldn’t be a barrier.

    MMOs where you must go through multiple wipes to figure out the right strategy are flawed.

    * I am aware complete is a difficult idea in an MMO, but consider it seeing all content for this example.

  4. There’s a difference between saying one should be able to obtain end-game without dying and whether one CAN get to end-game without dying. There’s many problems, such as lag or bugs in aggro systems (or simply crappy aggro systems) that will cause a player to die. So while theoretically by the design you should not be able to die if you play it safe 100% of the time, there are many unknowns that the player cannot control thus the developers must take the blame, not the players.

    You also leave out PvP, which, in many games, isn’t always about skill but can many times lead to gear vs gear or level vs level situations. This means no amount of skill can make you win, and I think this will be true for as long as MMORPGs keep the ‘RPG’ part of their name. While you can say this is a flawed design, the developers must again take the blame for it, not the players.

    As for requiring wipes and being flawed design. Eh…have you ever played a game in which you knew right away 100% of the time what to do? You could then argue that a lot of games give you leeway in that you can learn the fight progressively but still not die, which is true. In fact, it’s generally the harder games that are so hard that one mistake may kill you. I have only experienced end-game in WoW, so I can only speak from that perspective. In WoW you have 40 man raids. I think there is a fine line to cross on whether or not a boss is too easy or too hard. Using the progressive design in a 40 man raid I think is just asking too much of people. That’s saying you’d have to have all 40 people on the same track thinking the same thing at the exact same time, which just doesn’t happen.

    This is where the harshness of the death system comes in. This is where I think the flaw of the design is. If a game is going to require you to die, which I think will happen in many large scale fights, regardless of how many hints they give you to defeat the boss, then the death penalty should not be incredibly harsh. Otherwise, you’re punishing players for your design, not their mistakes.

    In fact, I’ve seen a game in which death wasn’t merely a punishment but an actual gameplay element. It was a crummy game, but it made use of a karma system in which you got bad karma for killing things and good karma for ressurecting people, and thus your karma decided whether or not you were a devil or an angel. Without people dying, there wouldn’t be a way to increase karma in that game.

    What I’m getting at is to say that a game SHOULD or SHOULDN’T be a certain way is actually restrictive to the design. There are outside of the box ideas that could easily make the “should be able to ‘complete’* any game without ever having your character die” idea and totally turn it upside down.

  5. Properly implemented, I think it’s a great idea. The hardcore players willing to invest disposable income into their characters pays to rez, thereby subsidizing the game for the casual gamers who are mostly willing to start new characters when their old ones die. The casual gamers will thus end up playing the “unwashed masses” while the hardcore gamers will have the really uber characters, which is exactly how any game built on the basis of harnessing the Massive effect should and has to work.

    Such a game could and should not be based around “winning” by “seeing all the content” – if that was the case, it would get no casual players at all since nobody wants to replay old content. Instead, it would have to be a game where the actual gameplay is dynamic and content is generated by the players.

  6. lufia22 wrote:
    “As for requiring wipes and being flawed design. Eh…have you ever played a game in which you knew right away 100% of the time what to do?”

    I think you are missing the point, you are not supposed to have knowledge of exactly what to do, but the game should present you a problem and if you are sufficiently skilled (most of us are not though, lets be fair) you can react to it and solve the problem, dodge the missile, or whatever and survive.

    As to PVP, that should be skill based too, remember I said you should be able to complete it if sufficiently skilled, which means the game needs to be designed to make this true, no MMO is there today.

    Also I am not saying that clever ideas in which death becomes a gameplay mechanic are wrong, however they couldn’t reasonably be used with a “pay-per-death” payment model.

    The thing with a using a pay-per-death is that it will assume that you will die, you must die so they make money.

    The trick is to make it possible that you can do it without dying and so instead of players who walk away saying its unfair they died there and the game is stealing their money you get players always wanting to pay to get back to life because they believe they could have done that last bit without dying, they were just a bit too slow/fast/dodged the wrong way etc.

    You need to generate the same feeling that kept people pumping coins into xenon2 and its like, but in an online game.

  7. Death and ressing in MMOGs is bad enough as it is. We don’t really want to give the companies an incentive to kill us more often. It would lead to models like (shudde) Gauntlet…

  8. Yay Gauntlet! Pay for food, pay for weaps, pay for life. Everything costs 25cents. you need food badly.

    I actually think you could port that system to an MMO fairly well, assuming some elaboration and balancing. I think particularly key in this idea is the notion of a single ammount of real money for every transaction. None of this 2 for 3 dollars health potions or some crap. Pick one ammount of money, say 25cent or 10 cent or whatever, and slap that on everything. That makes a hard line against which to balance your “merchandise.” Things that should be more expensive than that bottom line require ingame prowess and energy to obtain. This leads, just as Lachek said, to the “unwashed” and the paowerful. You then design a dual game. The first element is the “arcade” section of the game. This you design however you like, but you are required by the laws of the market to make it fun for all of those players that are gonna die a lot and enjoy the use of your 25 cent beverages and mini-enhancements. Once you have this market covered, you have a whole base game from which to allow hardcore players to work their way up. Make it require skill to play the game without dieing and hence skill to advance into the more rpg aspect of the game.

    With that being as far as I’m prepared to go in this little fantasy, I’ll still stick in that after spinning the wheels on this one for a few minutes it looks more and more to me like you could actually use something like this to design a game that provides a real world motivation to be excellent in the game and hence actually develops a more skilled and determined playerbase the higher up the game’s hierarchy you go. (;p ) This, it seems to me, might be far closer to “the perfect game,” where those who play casually enjoy the addictive repettitive and instantly gratifying elements of the game while those who play to excell are put into higher and more pure forms of competition as they succeed. I can almost see the first cross platform arcade/MMO in quarterbooths and home pc’s around the world.

  9. I think I’d try a game like this, but the Gauntlet analogy is what I’m thinking. I’d also think it would need to be almost grief-free to avoid possibilites of ganking and costing customers money. Almost to ToonTown levels (you have to do intense amounts of effort to really cause harm to anyone in there, and it’s not worth the effort unless you’re some sort of freak who’d like to get caught anyway).

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