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News & Features Discussion  » PlanetSide 2: Membership Model & P2W

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  SBFord

Associate Editor - News Manager

Joined: 6/28/10
Posts: 13422

 
OP  9/19/12 12:19:39 PM#1

Matt Higby has a new post on the PlanetSide 2 forum about the ongoing discussion about the membership model that will be offered to players. He begins the post with a long train of thought about what Pay to Win means and how he feels that the PlanetSide 2 membership model should not be considered as such.

In Planetside 2 we don’t restrict your character from any type of gameplay based on paying money. No weapon, vehicle, attachment, continent, class or certification is unavailable to you as a free player. Everything and anything that can affect gameplay is available to unlock through gameplay. This is a big deal. It would be extremely easy for us to make tanks and aircraft restricted to members only, it would be very easy for us to sell exclusive guns on the marketplace for Station Cash. We wouldn’t do those things because we have a commitment to ensuring that the game remains legitimately competitive. 

Read the full post on the PlanetSide 2 forum.

Associate Editor: MMORPG.com
Follow me on Twitter: @MMORPGMom

  Lowfer69

Advanced Member

Joined: 7/20/04
Posts: 61

9/19/12 12:38:46 PM#2
And yet those things are all restricted in their other "Free to Play" titles. So why would we believe this to happen here? I am not a Sony hater but I have tried Free Realms, EQ 1 & 2 and, Vanguard and there are restrictions of the type spoken of in each of those models. I find it hard to believe there isn't a catch somewhere. I am also not one of those fools who believes I should be able to play a game for free. Developers have to eat too. I'm just saying it's hard to believe there are no restrictions for free account folks.
  Zefire

Novice Member

Joined: 9/21/10
Posts: 700

9/19/12 12:44:55 PM#3
If it's like guild wars 2 that they sell only cosmetic ,character slots boosts etc wil be good, anything else will be fail
  mmoguy43

Spotlight Poster

Joined: 3/31/09
Posts: 2300

9/19/12 12:55:59 PM#4

I'm going to post this for those that aren't clicking on the link to learn what exactly their model is..

 

Okay, so “access to stuff” is out as paid benefit. So too is “more powerful stuff”. So what do we do to keep the team employed in these jobs we love creating games that hopefully you guys love too? There are two things that we are considering selling in the game: Cosmetics and Convenience. That’s it. Seriously.

Cosmetics are pretty self-explanatory, I think everyone “gets it” with cosmetics and won’t be too upset at buying camo patterns or decals for real money.

What about Convenience, what does that mean exactly?

For us, convenience is purely the act of unlocking something faster, whether that means through buying a side-grade weapon directly with a StationCash microtransaction or earning certification points faster due to a boost or membership. That leads us to the real topic of the thread (which will probably end up being shorter than this “aside”, go figure).

Planned membership benefits

As I mentioned before, none of these things are set in stone and we’re posting them now so that we can hear your feedback and adjust if needed. We’ve spent a lot of time trying to model a membership that gives great benefits but does not gate specific functionality or gameplay and allows the game to remain completely competitive. The current plan is to have membership affect your character advancement in three primary ways, each of which will additionally be accessible via a “boost implant” available to all players – yes, this does mean that players who are members will be able to double down on one area if they choose to.

1 – Passive Cert Growth. This is often mischaracterized (by myself as well) as “offline cert points”. It’s actually just passive cert gain that works if you are online or offline. With the current plan all players will gain cert points passively over time at a set rate. Members will get a faster rate. The current penciled in benefit for membership is 50% increase to the speed which passive cert points are granted. This does not affect cert points earned via experience.
2 – Automatic experience boost. Members will accrue experience at a 50% increased rate. This will affect “active” cert point gain, as well as battlerank gain.
3 – Automatic resource boost. Members will accrue resources at a 50% increased rate. This will affect the rate which you can acquire consumables like grenades, spawn beacons and med kits, as well as vehicles and Auraxium unlocks.

Additionally:
4 – Increased resource pool caps. As Auraxium is uncapped, this only affects Catalysts, Alloys and Polymers, it’s a 100% increase to those pool sizes. This allows you to spawn some additional vehicles, grenades and consumables if you have no resource income on the map before you’re tapped out.

5 - NEW: Members will receive priority slots in the login queue over non-members.

  • New membership benefit suggestion: Members receive priority in the login queue. We will add this to the membership benefits.
  • New membership benefit suggestion: Members receive early access to some cosmetic customization. Like this idea and we'll see what would be involved in implementing it. Stay tuned.
  • Boost implant clarification: Most of the benefits laid out above can already be purchased a la carte as boost implants, +50% xp, +50% resource and +50% to passive cert points will be available as 1, 3 and 7 day boosts. Pricing is not final.
  • RE: Alpha Squad boost: The Alpha Squad 6 month +10% resource / XP boost does stack with membership, but not other boosts. It uses the boost slot and is overwritten if another boost is applied. You may only ever have one boost active at a time.
  • RE: Resource gain = meta-power for teams: I definitely understand the basic argument of "If my entire empire is free players and the enemy empire is all members, they'll have an overwhelming advantage, therefore pay-to-win QED", but it's a fundamentally flawed hypothetical situation. We have to assume that that membership adoption will be balanced just like we have to assume that skill level, average played time, etc. across empires will be roughly equal. Most of the arguments I've seen against resource gain bonuses in membership come down to something like this. As I said from the get-go: definition of what "pay-to-win" is and sensitivity towards that are going to vary a lot person-to-person. To me, being able to spawn more vehicles with resources (which are just as powerful as a free player) or buy more grenades (which are just as limited in terms of how many I can carry at once as a free player) still comes down to convenience. Yes, the member would be able to field more vehicles once 'resource starved' and will be able to fill their pools faster once no longer resource starved. They won't suddenly have a super tank that lets them crush all the puny free player tanks, their success on the battlefield is still entirely player skill based, they'll just be less impacted for re-deploying to the battlefield. That is a huge benefit, no denying it. Is that "buying power"? Well, that depends on your definition.

 

Taking the time to read it... this looks to be the best F2P implementation I've encountered. Or should I say the only one that feels fair. It is certainly not EQ2x or Vanguard's F2P model.

Let's build the ultimate MMO 1 feature at a time
http://www.mmorpg.com/discussion2.cfm/thread/398555/page/1

  Stizzled

Tipster

Joined: 9/13/07
Posts: 1048

Kill Your Heroes

9/19/12 12:56:45 PM#5

Having a 100% increase to your resource pool, bringing your total up to 1500, is what I consider P2W. That is something that cannot be earned as a free player, it is an advantage that can only be purchased with money, which is the very definition of P2W.

 

Premium players won't be able to field vehicles faster, but they will be able to field them longer, which is very important. As a battle drags on the free players are going to run out of resources, making it impossible for them to field vehicles. Premium players on the other hand will still have plenty of resources left, allowing them to keep spawning vehicles. That is a clear advantage no matter how you look at it.

 

I can see many outfits requiring premium memberships, as without premium your going to be less effective in the long run. This will lock many free players out of an important part of the game.

 

I find it funny that Higby basically admits that it is a clear advantage, but feels that players will balance things out. Well, that might happen, but, I don't think it's ever a very good idea to rely on players to balance things out in a competative game.

  GrumpyMel2

Hard Core Member

Joined: 3/24/09
Posts: 1824

9/19/12 1:05:02 PM#6

Well,

I would consider what he described, as far as I understand it,  as a form of "Pay 2 Win" but at least a generaly tolerable one....

I can live with the idea that a "member" who pays X fixed amount has mechanical advantages (and there is no other way to describe faster resource, exp and certification rates in my mind) over a player that is playing nothing...

What I wouldn't consider tolerable is someone that spent 50X having a mechanical advantage over the "member" who spent  X. For example if you could buy a grenade for $1 whenever you wanted.....the guy who had access to 50 grenades an hour has a clear advantage over the guy who has access to 5, and the guy who has access to 100 has an advantage over him. That kind of stuff just breaks a game, IMO. It sounds like at least they are avoiding that here.

  SpottyGekko

Elite Member

Joined: 9/26/04
Posts: 2906

9/19/12 1:13:38 PM#7

Of course, the current "Membership Benefits" are a first draft. They will be changed and adjusted before launch.

 

In fact, they've already been adjusted. The original list of features has already been expanded based on player feedback.

 

And the idea of ONLY giving "passive certification point gain" to Members was dropped. ALL players will now get it, but Members will get 50% more than others. That might even be reduced to a lower % rate, given the ongoing player feedback.

 

It's really encouraging to see how many changes are made due to player feedback. I don't believe I've ever seen such an interactive development process in any other MMO beta. It's a TRUE beta, not a pre-launch demo...

 
  hfztt

Hard Core Member

Joined: 5/31/05
Posts: 621

9/19/12 1:15:09 PM#8
Yeah, 4 is pay to win. Its a tangible advantage on the playfield that cannot be gained through any other means than paying.
  mmoguy43

Spotlight Poster

Joined: 3/31/09
Posts: 2300

9/19/12 1:19:13 PM#9
Originally posted by Stizzled

Having a 100% increase to your resource pool, bringing your total up to 15000, is what I consider P2W. That is something that cannot be earned as a free player, it is an advantage that can only be purchased with money, which is the very definition of P2W.

 

Premium players won't be able to field vehicles faster, but they will be able to field them longer, which is very important. As a battle drags on the free players are going to run out of resources, making it impossible for them to field vehicles. Premium players on the other hand will still have plenty of resources left, allowing them to keep spawning vehicles. That is a clear advantage no matter how you look at it.

 

I can see many outfits requiring premium memberships, as without premium your going to be less effective in the long run. This will lock many free players out of an important part of the game.

 

I find it funny that Higby basically admits that it is a clear advantage, but feels that players will balance things out. Well, that might happen, but, I don't think it's ever a very good idea to rely on players to balance things out in a competative game.

You call it P2W but have you even been playing the game? 750 resources is more than enough to keep fielding vehicles for hours for a decent player. If you are terribly unskilled and constantly loosing vehicles and draining your resources the maybe you will get to keep pulling out tanks a bit longer as a member but it doesn't make you win. Skill > what you pay for hence not P2W.

Let's build the ultimate MMO 1 feature at a time
http://www.mmorpg.com/discussion2.cfm/thread/398555/page/1

  Stizzled

Tipster

Joined: 9/13/07
Posts: 1048

Kill Your Heroes

9/19/12 1:21:09 PM#10
Originally posted by GrumpyMel2

Well,

I would consider what he described, as far as I understand it,  as a form of "Pay 2 Win" but at least a generaly tolerable one....

I can live with the idea that a "member" who pays X fixed amount has mechanical advantages (and there is no other way to describe faster resource, exp and certification rates in my mind) over a player that is playing nothing...

What I wouldn't consider tolerable is someone that spent 50X having a mechanical advantage over the "member" who spent  X. For example if you could buy a grenade for $1 whenever you wanted.....the guy who had access to 50 grenades an hour has a clear advantage over the guy who has access to 5, and the guy who has access to 100 has an advantage over him. That kind of stuff just breaks a game, IMO. It sounds like at least they are avoiding that here.

Overall it doesn't sound like a bad system. My only problem with it is the 100% increase to the resource pools. Which, I will admit that it's not a huge issue. I've been in battles that have raged for 4-5 hours and never ran out of resources, it's just the principle of the thing. Having said that though, it may become more of an issue as the game ages and more and more people cert into decreased wait times on vehicles.

  sirphobos

Advanced Member

Joined: 6/10/11
Posts: 602

9/19/12 1:23:17 PM#11
As a beta player I really don't see the higher resource cap as a big advantage.  A minor convenience that you can buy more stuff at once, sure, but the cap is reached pretty quickly anyways.  I haven't really had any issue with having enough resources (other than Auraxium) to get anything I needed.
  User Deleted
9/19/12 2:40:42 PM#12

Buy to play for the win :) I know these games have to make up there money from various percs but this doesn't sound like pay to win to me . Just more fastracking various parts of the game . I'm intending on buying the War Z and now this .

I'm tired of subscription based games that go free to play and I'm sure buy to plays a more viable buisness model for most mmos .

  Unshra

Novice Member

Joined: 6/23/05
Posts: 382

9/19/12 3:38:12 PM#13
Originally posted by Zefire
If it's like guild wars 2 that they sell only cosmetic ,character slots boosts etc wil be good, anything else will be fail

 

I am not sure if you know this, but Guild Wars 2's system allows a person with enough money to exchange Gems for enough gold to level a character to 80 and fully gear them in exalted gear. This process would only take a few hours at most and of course that person would end up spending several hundreds of dollars (US).

 


Because flying a Minmatar ship is like going down a flight of stairs on an office chair while firing an Uzi.

  Malasorte

Hard Core Member

Joined: 10/23/08
Posts: 49

9/19/12 4:41:04 PM#14
Originally posted by Lowfer69
And yet those things are all restricted in their other "Free to Play" titles. So why would we believe this to happen here? I am not a Sony hater but I have tried Free Realms, EQ 1 & 2 and, Vanguard and there are restrictions of the type spoken of in each of those models. I find it hard to believe there isn't a catch somewhere. I am also not one of those fools who believes I should be able to play a game for free. Developers have to eat too. I'm just saying it's hard to believe there are no restrictions for free account folks.

also they made weapons available permanently with SC only on Bullet Run and u can only rent them for a few days with ingame money ... i for one hate the rent option with ingame money and real money to get that weapon permanent ... it makes the game even boring

since the weapons bought with real currency most times, in most fps that did this, are usable since lvl 1 even if they are a high lvl weapon

i would be fine with the real currency option weapons that need no lvl to use and with the rent for a few days with ingame money if they had the option to be bought with ingame money permanently when u have the lvl and currency required

making the weapons rent only with ingame currency and permanently with SC only lowers the game quality, competitivity and removes the "achievement" to reach a lvl, get the currency needed to get the weapon u like permanently and this makes a game boring, only worth playing for a bit if u have nothing else to play or if u wait a few days for some other game afterwich the game like that is good for uninstalling and never think about it ever

i miss when the game was called Hedone

also Blacklight Retribution model is the best model ... u can buy with zen or ingame money everything except some decals, skins, but those are ok with zen only ... and they have the permanent option for ingame money 2 besides the cheap ingame currency rent for those weapons ... when they add new weapons for a timethey are zen only bought and after a month or so they add rent option with ingame money and after a few months they add permanent option with ingame money for those weapons also, but when that game lauched they already had a lot of weapons that could be bought with zen or ingame money, rented for 1,3,7 days and to rent a weapon for a day u needed to be good in one single game ... if u werent that good u still could do like 5-6 games and get the money for that weapon for a day ... but the best thing was that u would try to play your best to get as much currency and xp as u could in order to lvl up and get the weapons, items, armors, etc  when u reached the needed lvl permanently ... adding a + to the game besides all the mods u can play and things u can accomplish

 
  AutemOx

Novice Member

Joined: 11/01/04
Posts: 1719

9/19/12 6:28:23 PM#15
Sounds excellent to me.  I have been playing in beta and it is definitely a fun game especially when you join an outfit.  I will not mind putting money into it occasionally and getting a blast out.

Play as your fav retro characters: cnd-online.net. My site: www.lysle.net. Blog: creatingaworld.blogspot.com.

  AutemOx

Novice Member

Joined: 11/01/04
Posts: 1719

9/19/12 6:30:36 PM#16
Also it is important to know that resource pools does not = win.  You can have a bunch of resources, use them to pull a air vehicle, and then get taken down by 1 soldier with anti-air.  If you guys still do not understand how more resources does not give a player an advantage in PvP, search google for 'planetside 2 side-grades'.  There are no significant upgrades in PS2.  There are no levels or gear like in traditional MMORPGs.

Play as your fav retro characters: cnd-online.net. My site: www.lysle.net. Blog: creatingaworld.blogspot.com.

  TeknoBug

Novice Member

Joined: 10/13/07
Posts: 2166

9/19/12 6:41:52 PM#17

Didn't seem like a P2W until I saw increased resource pool cap... oi vey. I don't think this will matter much for those that just want to shoot at players though.


  Dakirn

Hard Core Member

Joined: 2/16/04
Posts: 363

9/19/12 7:43:15 PM#18
Originally posted by Unshra
Originally posted by Zefire
If it's like guild wars 2 that they sell only cosmetic ,character slots boosts etc wil be good, anything else will be fail

 

I am not sure if you know this, but Guild Wars 2's system allows a person with enough money to exchange Gems for enough gold to level a character to 80 and fully gear them in exalted gear. This process would only take a few hours at most and of course that person would end up spending several hundreds of dollars (US).

 

Not as much as you'd think.  Buying Gems, changing to Gold and then buying crafting mats is a super fast and efficient way to easily level.

 

Most people don't buy the "P2W" argument with GW2 because they think only WvW matters.  Well if they think gold doensn't matter at all, they should look into how many mats you'd need to buy for that "cosmetic" Legendary gear.. because it's pretty sick.

  jedensuscg

Novice Member

Joined: 1/18/06
Posts: 212

9/19/12 8:29:53 PM#19
Originally posted by Stizzled

Having a 100% increase to your resource pool, bringing your total up to 15000, is what I consider P2W. That is something that cannot be earned as a free player, it is an advantage that can only be purchased with money, which is the very definition of P2W.

 

Premium players won't be able to field vehicles faster, but they will be able to field them longer, which is very important. As a battle drags on the free players are going to run out of resources, making it impossible for them to field vehicles. Premium players on the other hand will still have plenty of resources left, allowing them to keep spawning vehicles. That is a clear advantage no matter how you look at it.

 

I can see many outfits requiring premium memberships, as without premium your going to be less effective in the long run. This will lock many free players out of an important part of the game.

 

I find it funny that Higby basically admits that it is a clear advantage, but feels that players will balance things out. Well, that might happen, but, I don't think it's ever a very good idea to rely on players to balance things out in a competative game.

Not sure is this is a typo or bad math, but 100% of 750(the current cap) is only 1500, not 15000.

As for the pay to win argument.  This is the best F2P model I have ever seen.  Yes you are going to have advantages if you spend money, that is really the entire point of the game.  If there was no advantage ot spending money, no one would, and therefore, the game would die a fast death.  However, I do not think anything is really pay to win in this game.  If anything, its really just a pay to unlock faster, because anyone can win if they are skilled at FPS's.

Pay to win would be spending station cash and getting a lock on rocket launcher, and then making it unavialable to unlock with in game recources.  But anyone can unlock the lock-on launchers with auraxium, but you can pay money to unlock it on day one.  But, as a beta tester for a few months, (back when everyone had access to lock-on's from day one) if is not really that huge of advantage.  People are just as deadly with dumb-fire launchers then when everyone had lock-on.

  Stizzled

Tipster

Joined: 9/13/07
Posts: 1048

Kill Your Heroes

9/20/12 12:18:13 AM#20
Originally posted by jedensuscg
Originally posted by Stizzled

Having a 100% increase to your resource pool, bringing your total up to 15000, is what I consider P2W. That is something that cannot be earned as a free player, it is an advantage that can only be purchased with money, which is the very definition of P2W.

 

Premium players won't be able to field vehicles faster, but they will be able to field them longer, which is very important. As a battle drags on the free players are going to run out of resources, making it impossible for them to field vehicles. Premium players on the other hand will still have plenty of resources left, allowing them to keep spawning vehicles. That is a clear advantage no matter how you look at it.

 

I can see many outfits requiring premium memberships, as without premium your going to be less effective in the long run. This will lock many free players out of an important part of the game.

 

I find it funny that Higby basically admits that it is a clear advantage, but feels that players will balance things out. Well, that might happen, but, I don't think it's ever a very good idea to rely on players to balance things out in a competative game.

Not sure is this is a typo or bad math, but 100% of 750(the current cap) is only 1500, not 15000.

As for the pay to win argument.  This is the best F2P model I have ever seen.  Yes you are going to have advantages if you spend money, that is really the entire point of the game.  If there was no advantage ot spending money, no one would, and therefore, the game would die a fast death.  However, I do not think anything is really pay to win in this game.  If anything, its really just a pay to unlock faster, because anyone can win if they are skilled at FPS's.

Pay to win would be spending station cash and getting a lock on rocket launcher, and then making it unavialable to unlock with in game recources.  But anyone can unlock the lock-on launchers with auraxium, but you can pay money to unlock it on day one.  But, as a beta tester for a few months, (back when everyone had access to lock-on's from day one) if is not really that huge of advantage.  People are just as deadly with dumb-fire launchers then when everyone had lock-on.

Yes, it's a typo that I just didn't care to fix. Fixed it for ya.

 

As to the hole P2W thing, as I stated in my second post, I don't think it's a huge issue. Anyone who's played the game for any length of time knows that resources aren't what capture and hold bases. The only reason I brought it up was to point out that they are including at least one feature that is P2W. As the game ages, who knows what other premium or cash shop only things they may introduce. I in no way meant that I thought their whole revenue model was P2W, the rest of it doesn't look bad.

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