Selling Slots

Kill Ten Rats authors have previously come out for selling RMT fluff, and have featured games that use that funding model. What games will sell you more character slots? Guild Wars does. Sword of the New World effectively does so, selling slots for in-game currency that you can buy with meatspace dollars.

For the player, this offers convenience and potential savings. All your characters are associated with one account, so you have one monthly fee, you need not re-buy the expansions, and any special account upgrades (RMT fluff, veteran rewards, etc.) apply to your new characters. Keep all your characters on the same global name in City of Heroes.

For the developer, this has some advantages over trying to sell second accounts. You have fewer of the problems that arise from people using multiple characters at once, many who will not but another account will pay a one-time upgrade fee (maybe multiple times), and you get that money now. Policing for discipline is easier when the player is not a hydra. The only ongoing cost is storing more characters per account (perhaps not insubstantial).

Let’s say $5 for one additional slot per server, and you must buy at least four at a time to prevent transaction costs from eating the money. Alternately, you could have several subscription options, some of which offer more character slots or other premium services, but you would need to decide what to do if a guy with a 16-character account wants to cut back to a non-premium account.

: Zubon

6 thoughts on “Selling Slots”

  1. I think it can be done more effectively, along with other services f.i. openID option when you will be able to sign your blog posts with your in-game nameS etc. etc. Please don’t forget the necessity to MIGRATE from game to game every now and then…
    At least how our team understands what customer needs and wants.

  2. For the player, this offers convenience and potential exorbitant costs. You pay $50 for the account, which will come with a default of 1-3 character slots once those running the service realize they can get away with this, and must then pay extra to explore the full breadth of gameplay styles. I can’t imagine how far my money’s going to go once I’m suckered into paying subscription fees _and_ piecemeal account upgrades.

  3. I’m assuming away crippleware. That may not be a good assumption, but I am not going to pay $50 for it, so it is fair for anything I am going to play. Consider as an add-on to existing games like City of Heroes, World of Warcraft, or The Lord of the Rings Online™: Shadows of Angmar™. Alternately, EVE Online comes with only three character slots, and that is without this option. Sword of the New World may have gone with that idea, since it has four character slots and encourages a large family, but it has no box cost.

  4. Guild Wars has been incredibly successful with their micro-transaction system. By default, the game allows 4 character slots for your first campaign, then an additional 2 for each additional campaign you add to your account. $10 gets you another slot. They also sell skill packs, a $5 “game of the year” gear pack, and a brand new “Bonus Mission Pack” with new content and rewards for a few dollars.

    I suspect GW2 will make good on GW’s initial concept of no monthly fees then a few bucks for regular content updates rather than the full boxed campaign approach they would up taking for GW1. Imagine content updates the size of a typical LOTRO Book for, I dunno, $10 or $15 maybe? I have no problems with that since I’m not paying a monthly fee. Compare that to EQ2 which charges the monthly fee plus charges for those bonus content (whatever they’re called) addons which I hear no one plays anyway so it isn’t worth the purchase?

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