Crowfall with it’s constant drip of small bits of information has released their pricing FAQ. This has raised my interest meter to “high”. There’s small bits of stuff like “PLEX” and a cash shop based on skins, but not stuff that affects the in-game economy. The most important thing is obviously that the game is going to be Buy-2-Play, meaning you buy the box and get the game.
Why does this matter almost the most at this point? One of my favorite devs, Jeff Strain, wrote way back in 2007 some of the most important words for MMO creators, in my humble pundit opinion. Unfortunately, ArenaNet took his speech down since Strain moved on to create Undead Labs, but thankfully it appears archived here.
Decide on your business model first, and then build your game around it.
So simple. Anecdotally, this is why I had such a tough time with Wildstar‘s pre-launch hype because they were holding their cards way too close.
Anyway, since Crowfall is eager to share their business model so soon, and my favorite one to boot, I am on board. I was already on board since I’ve been wanting a non-spaceship EVE for some time. I am a early backer to Camelot Unchained as well, which is subscription based.
Don’t get me wrong. I have nothing against subscriptions. I feel they can definitely work and have worth as as business model that a customer would want. EVE, once again, being the shining star, in my opinion, for how a subscription game should work. The subscription+expansion model of World of Warcraft, I do not as much appreciate.
I think the main thing with Buy-2-Play is it hits that feeling of my Steam library. This is both good and bad for the MMO dev. Good because it gives them money they might not otherwise get, such as the case of Elder Scrolls Online getting my money in a month for going Buy-2-Play. Bad because the business model in itself does not create “stickiness” or “community”.
That’s the thing, if I subscribe, I feel like I have to use that service. If I own it, say in the case of the excellent The Secret World, I am fine “getting around to it”. Clearly I belong to no true community in The Secret World, and I mostly play it to muck around with friends or go solo through the story.
Guild Wars 2, which is Buy-2-Play, is clearly aiming a lot of it’s content and updates at people who are lightly part of the community. Weekend warriors, perhaps. With WvW and PvP, it offers more, in that sense, but both are still easy to get in to for said weekend warriors.
This is why Crowfall is verrrrry interesting. They are creating a game that appears to have community investment of some sort, at least more than Guild Wars 2, World of Warcraft, and the like, but they are using a business model driven towards people that want to accumulate. I am both pleased (put me in the sure-buy category) and worried.
Anyway, I’ve been following it ever since they started their countdown, which is probably going to be their Kickstarter. They have interesting ideas, which deserve some punditry.