Pathfinder Monetization

I have almost finished Pathfinder Adventures (as much as has been released). I have completed story mode on most of the characters and most of those stories on the highest difficulty, along with a strong stable of quest characters. I have done this without paying a cent, and I already have enough gold to buy the rest of the adventure path. There was a little early grinding, but for the most part just trying out my new cards has generated enough gold to get the next cards.

I have enjoyed Pathfinder Adventures, but I do not really have a reason to pay them other than to donate. Just playing gets me the RMT currency I need to keep playing. I will soon have reached escape velocity and have nothing to do with my imaginary gold except buy imaginary treasure chests for a few more random cards. I could easily have all the gold needed to buy the next story path of adventures before they get done coding Rise of the Runelords.

Having enjoyed the game, I would like to compensate them, but I do not see a reasonable increment (or benefit there from). $25 for the whole thing is not unreasonable, if you do that at the start. At this point, the remaining content I could buy costs less than the gold I have on hand. There are smaller increments of gold available for purchase, including a daily gold offer that makes sense for a regular player, but again I generate my own gold by playing. The only thing I cannot acquire that way is the promo card pack, which seems available only with the $25 “box purchase.” And I already own almost everything else in the box.

This seems to be the fate of most F2P — either games are designed around monetization in a way that makes them not worth playing or the monetization is an afterthought and there is little way/incentive to reward good developers for the game. Many of us in F2P games have made regular purchases as a de facto monthly fee (Kingdom of Loathing) or buy a package as a voluntary “box cost” for a game we like (Team Fortress 2). In both of those examples, what you can spend money on is neither necessary nor sufficient to motivate a purchase, but instead the game falls into a pleasant middle where you chip in a bit of money for a bit of fun, decoration, or non-required power, where you do not begrudge the money because you are getting great value for the game. That is what I am looking for in Pathfinder Adventures, a bonus to encourage me to chip in but not one that feels like a P2W wall nor one that feels like idiotic benefit-cost. It is a narrow eye to thread.

: Zubon

Yes, I know that TF2 became a hat sales operation after that initial pack, but I maintain that there was a lot of pent up demand to pay Valve for the great value TF2 was in the Orange Box.

4 thoughts on “Pathfinder Monetization”

  1. I have the same ‘problem’ with both CoC and BB; they give you enough of the currency that you really don’t need more, plus there really isn’t anything you MUST spend it on.

    They got me with CR though, so in the end SuperCell still ‘won’.

  2. The reason F2P has worked so well for me is that almost every title I have tried (we’re talking mostly MMOs here but also a few mobile games) assumes that the parts I am interested in (low-level pottering about, by and large) is the bit they need to give away free to get people through the doors, while the stuff they think people will pay for (go-faster stripes, flashy capes) is mostly stuff I would pay to have removed from the game entirely.

    Consequently I have barely paid a cent for my gaming for about five years and yet my gaming experience has improved by at least one order of magnitude. I do occasionally think of buying something just to encourage the developers of a game I particularly enjoy but frankly there is the very opposite of a shortage of really great, free MMOs, I will never, ever get to try, let alone seriously explore, them all, and so it seems a bit pointless to give money to any one of them rather than any other.

  3. With the game I am a developer for we recently modified a portion of the game that was giving out large amounts of the game currency you can pay for and is our only income from the game. This resulted in a number of angry emails from players that have never paid us a cent and they can still earn the currency just at a much reduced rate.

  4. You’re exactly right, the sweet spot is hard to find. I play a lot of board games online and they seem to do it well with expansions. Ascension and Small world are good examples. Give the whole board game away free, then charge a couple of bucks for the expansion. Makes them money, but doesn’t feel like they are ripping you off or you are really doing without if you don’t buy. I bought the whole PACG at $25 on day one, b/c i was already a fan of the tabletop game. I knew after five minutes of play they did a good job with the port so that was all the incentive I needed. But I also knew it was a day 1 purchase if I was going to do it. After “earning” some of the cards and expansions through gold, I would not have been able to justify spending the whole $25 on the rest.

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