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The Pub at MMORPG.COM  » Splitting F2P and subscription into distinct servers?

20 posts found
  Bananaramaa

Novice Member

Joined: 1/16/07
Posts: 35

 
OP  3/27/13 3:48:42 PM#1

Let's say you design F2P servers made with limited content with cash shops to unlock. But also offer flat subscription servers split from f2p servers, would you still have the appeal of trying the game f2p along with the ability for paying customers to be on a level playing field? That way people who like finishing the game  and unlocking extras or getting ahead whatever can still do so by paying extra cash into it on f2p servers and people who like a flat server can choose the sub model.

I personally can't stand cash shops, there are a few reasons I won't go into but I wonder if this could be a fix. I kinda think that even though the above is not a fully fleshed out model there could be a way to combine the two models and attract the best of both.

What do you think? Is there a way to combine the two models and still have the game profitable, popular and functional?

  TheScavenger

Hard Core Member

Joined: 7/05/12
Posts: 687

Those who ask a question, are stupid for 30 seconds. Those who never ask, are stupid for life.

3/27/13 4:20:50 PM#2
The reason to go F2P is to boost activity on servers that already exist. To keep the payers happy that there is more people. The reason MMOs die off, well, a big reason, is that servers get emptier and emptier and zones become dead. Which makes even more people leave.

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  jmcdermottuk

Hard Core Member

Joined: 6/10/06
Posts: 787

3/27/13 4:28:26 PM#3

What happens when a F2P player decides he want to sub? Server transfer? What if he has friends on the F2P server or he joined a guild or plays with relatives?

Seems like it's not achieving the goal of getting people to sub, that's the real objective. Get players in for free and convert them to sub accounts. You're just making problems if you seperate them. How else would your sub players pull out their uber mount that the F2P people drool over, only to find out they need to sub to get one? The idea is to generate interest and desire to sub, and nobody can help the company do that more than the already subbing players.

  Quizzical

Guide

Joined: 12/11/08
Posts: 13388

3/27/13 4:40:18 PM#4

Puzzle Pirates did that.

The problem is that an item mall relies on a tiny fraction of people spending enormous amounts of money.  If those people can get everything they want for a $15/month subscription, then they'll do that and the tiem mall doesn't work.

  Aelious

Elite Member

Joined: 9/27/11
Posts: 2437

World > Quest Progression

3/27/13 4:52:08 PM#5
You could have channels like TERA and limit free players to "free" channels, allowing subs to move freely around. That does eliminate the main reason for having F2P: existing players having more people around. It's also good for finding new spenders but more often than not the spenders would pay a sub to begin with. As super server technology becomes commonplace I wonder what use free players will have in games that could have a sub.
  Ezhae

Advanced Member

Joined: 9/03/06
Posts: 734

3/27/13 4:52:38 PM#6
Originally posted by TheScavenger
The reason to go F2P is to boost activity on servers that already exist. To keep the payers happy that there is more people. The reason MMOs die off, well, a big reason, is that servers get emptier and emptier and zones become dead. Which makes even more people leave.

Exactly. Splitting the two only benefits F2P players really. They will have the numbers to keep the community feel alive, they will have easier times with grouping, more active PvP, etc, while the paying server will slowly get emptier and emptier because there will be no one to play with. 

  maplestone

Novice Member

Joined: 12/10/08
Posts: 3109

3/27/13 4:58:55 PM#7

Once you start down the dark path, forever will it dominate your destiny.

  Bananaramaa

Novice Member

Joined: 1/16/07
Posts: 35

 
OP  3/27/13 7:39:50 PM#8

Hmmm... you all make some very good points here.

You know I guess it's not really so much having a set reward per month for subsribers that bugs me so much. It's the cash shop. Those things are horribly immersion breaking and I'll bet they reck the economy to a degree.

Think we'll ever see F2P games ditch the cash shop and do optional subs only? Is the cash shop just greed or would the model be unable to survive without it?

Hopefully with these lower budget sandboxes everyone's predicting there'll be room to make moves like that. Mind you, as I understand a fair few p2ps have cash shops anyway.

  jmcdermottuk

Hard Core Member

Joined: 6/10/06
Posts: 787

3/27/13 7:45:24 PM#9
I'd prefer it if they did something slightly different to your original idea. I'd like to see all those intrusive cash shop pop ups disappear when you sub, and just have one icon on the toolbar for the shop instead. If someone is paying their sub then let them enjoy the game without immersion breaking cash shop ads on everything.
  waynejr2

Hard Core Member

Joined: 4/12/11
Posts: 3734

RIP City of Heroes!

3/27/13 7:46:50 PM#10
Originally posted by maplestone

Once you start down the dark path, forever will it dominate your destiny.

 Kind of like eating that first salty chip out of the bag!

IMO splitting is generally bad.  Besides the transfering between subbing/unsubbing, you don't have the same haves vs have nots.  As much as that sounds horrible, there are people who purchase sparkly horses to show off to those who don't have them.  These are the Barle test  Achiever types.

 

 

 

 

 

  Quizzical

Guide

Joined: 12/11/08
Posts: 13388

3/27/13 9:49:35 PM#11
Originally posted by Bananaramaa

Think we'll ever see F2P games ditch the cash shop and do optional subs only? Is the cash shop just greed or would the model be unable to survive without it?

You could do something like the Champions Online "free to play" model, which basically amounts to a subscription game with a generous free trial.  Free players can do all content and go all the way up to the level cap.  The main disadvantage of not subscribing is that you lose a lot of customization, so you get your choice between a bunch of really gimpy builds.

  User Deleted
3/27/13 10:00:20 PM#12
Splitting the playerbase like that is generally a bad idea. It's one of the major things which brought Hellgate: London down. It's also ruined the communities of several multiplayer capable games, albeit with DLC instead of sub fees. I'm sure there are exceptions, but in my experience any game which does this will fail.
  Loktofeit

Elite Member

Joined: 1/13/10
Posts: 12258

Currently playing EVE, SMITE, Project Gorgon, and Combat Arms

3/27/13 10:15:43 PM#13
Originally posted by Quizzical

Puzzle Pirates did that.

The problem is that an item mall relies on a tiny fraction of people spending enormous amounts of money.  If those people can get everything they want for a $15/month subscription, then they'll do that and the tiem mall doesn't work.

Correct about Puzzle Pirates being a pioneer in split servers, but on the rest, it simply doesn't work that way.

"reiles on a tiny fraction of people spending enormous amounts of money."

While 'whales' do contribute a good bit, the 10% that spends isn't all spending a fortune when they play, and most don't spend more than the $15 a month.

" If those people can get everything they want for a $15/month subscription, then they'll do that and the tiem mall doesn't work."

This is also false. It's not about monthly spend but the ability to spend when they want and how they want. There are a lot of different behaviours among F2P gamers. Perm buyers often mostly buy the permanent items when they come out and rarely buy the time-limited items. Collectors buy things like rare items, set items and limited run items. The most popular items across the board in F2P games are the gain accelerant (XP boost is the most common) or buff items. The pattern of buying those ranges from the players that won't step a foot outside of town without one running to the people that uses them occasionally as a 'catch up' item.

Putting all this stuff on the subscription side wouldn't necessarily be an incentive for them to switch to a monthly rate as the appeal of some of it would actually be less. Also, since many don't spend money on the game every month, the perception would be that the subscription side would cost them more, and in a lot of cases that would be true. 

     

"And wikipedia is as accurate as Britannica. Wikipedia is very reliable. You would be hard pressed to find a more reliable source for these kinds of things." -fivoroth

  rojoArcueid

Elite Member

Joined: 8/13/09
Posts: 5556

"It is double pleasure to deceive the deceiver". - Niccolo Machiavelli

3/27/13 10:18:29 PM#14
Originally posted by Quizzical

Puzzle Pirates did that.

The problem is that an item mall relies on a tiny fraction of people spending enormous amounts of money.  If those people can get everything they want for a $15/month subscription, then they'll do that and the tiem mall doesn't work.

the problem is that companies dont want that anymore. THey want the subscribers to buy cash shop on top of the $15/month as well. We have been seeing that for a while now. And thats where their greed shows off. Like they cant get enough from a sub and a box.

My endgame begins with character creation and ends with a new mmorpg

  Loktofeit

Elite Member

Joined: 1/13/10
Posts: 12258

Currently playing EVE, SMITE, Project Gorgon, and Combat Arms

3/27/13 11:08:32 PM#15
Originally posted by rojo6934
Originally posted by Quizzical

Puzzle Pirates did that.

The problem is that an item mall relies on a tiny fraction of people spending enormous amounts of money.  If those people can get everything they want for a $15/month subscription, then they'll do that and the tiem mall doesn't work.

the problem is that companies dont want that anymore. THey want the subscribers to buy cash shop on top of the $15/month as well. We have been seeing that for a while now. And thats where their greed shows off. Like they cant get enough from a sub and a box.

That's a good point. By splitting the playerbases, they are leaving money onthe table by limiting what the players on one side can pay.

"And wikipedia is as accurate as Britannica. Wikipedia is very reliable. You would be hard pressed to find a more reliable source for these kinds of things." -fivoroth

  nariusseldon

Elite Member

Joined: 12/21/07
Posts: 19773

3/28/13 12:10:41 PM#16
Originally posted by Bananaramaa

Let's say you design F2P servers made with limited content with cash shops to unlock. But also offer flat subscription servers split from f2p servers, would you still have the appeal of trying the game f2p along with the ability for paying customers to be on a level playing field? That way people who like finishing the game  and unlocking extras or getting ahead whatever can still do so by paying extra cash into it on f2p servers and people who like a flat server can choose the sub model.

I personally can't stand cash shops, there are a few reasons I won't go into but I wonder if this could be a fix. I kinda think that even though the above is not a fully fleshed out model there could be a way to combine the two models and attract the best of both.

What do you think? Is there a way to combine the two models and still have the game profitable, popular and functional?

Certainly it is doable, and may fit those who won't play F2P. However, from a dev point of view, is there a business reason to do so?

F2P players outnumber P2P 6 to 1. F2P is already making as much money in 2012, and probably will make more than P2P in 2013. I doubt there is a large group of gamer/consumer who don't accept F2P at all .. big enough for this to make business sense.

Maintaining two code-base, two sets of rules & design ... are expensive.

  Quizzical

Guide

Joined: 12/11/08
Posts: 13388

3/28/13 12:53:30 PM#17
Originally posted by Loktofeit
Originally posted by Quizzical

Puzzle Pirates did that.

The problem is that an item mall relies on a tiny fraction of people spending enormous amounts of money.  If those people can get everything they want for a $15/month subscription, then they'll do that and the tiem mall doesn't work.

Correct about Puzzle Pirates being a pioneer in split servers, but on the rest, it simply doesn't work that way.

"reiles on a tiny fraction of people spending enormous amounts of money."

While 'whales' do contribute a good bit, the 10% that spends isn't all spending a fortune when they play, and most don't spend more than the $15 a month.

" If those people can get everything they want for a $15/month subscription, then they'll do that and the tiem mall doesn't work."

This is also false. It's not about monthly spend but the ability to spend when they want and how they want. There are a lot of different behaviours among F2P gamers. Perm buyers often mostly buy the permanent items when they come out and rarely buy the time-limited items. Collectors buy things like rare items, set items and limited run items. The most popular items across the board in F2P games are the gain accelerant (XP boost is the most common) or buff items. The pattern of buying those ranges from the players that won't step a foot outside of town without one running to the people that uses them occasionally as a 'catch up' item.

Putting all this stuff on the subscription side wouldn't necessarily be an incentive for them to switch to a monthly rate as the appeal of some of it would actually be less. Also, since many don't spend money on the game every month, the perception would be that the subscription side would cost them more, and in a lot of cases that would be true. 

     

Kongregate once said that for one particular game, about 40% of their revenue was from players who spent over $1000 on the game.  The item mall model doesn't rely purely on whales, but giving up most of that 40% by having them only spend $100 each would be a huge hit to the model.

-----

If you have a "subscription" server with a pay to win item mall on top of the subscription, then you're not splitting F2P and subscription into separate servers anymore.  You're splitting into one item mall business model on one server and a different item mall business model on a different server.

While there are a lot of different ways that you can go with a business model, the main attraction of a subscription model is to avoid the pay to win item malls.  If you tack that on top of a subscription, then you've completely killed the appeal of a separate subscription server.

  Loktofeit

Elite Member

Joined: 1/13/10
Posts: 12258

Currently playing EVE, SMITE, Project Gorgon, and Combat Arms

3/28/13 1:53:19 PM#18
Originally posted by Quizzical
Originally posted by Loktofeit
Originally posted by Quizzical

Puzzle Pirates did that.

The problem is that an item mall relies on a tiny fraction of people spending enormous amounts of money.  If those people can get everything they want for a $15/month subscription, then they'll do that and the tiem mall doesn't work.

Correct about Puzzle Pirates being a pioneer in split servers, but on the rest, it simply doesn't work that way.

"reiles on a tiny fraction of people spending enormous amounts of money."

While 'whales' do contribute a good bit, the 10% that spends isn't all spending a fortune when they play, and most don't spend more than the $15 a month.

" If those people can get everything they want for a $15/month subscription, then they'll do that and the tiem mall doesn't work."

This is also false. It's not about monthly spend but the ability to spend when they want and how they want. There are a lot of different behaviours among F2P gamers. Perm buyers often mostly buy the permanent items when they come out and rarely buy the time-limited items. Collectors buy things like rare items, set items and limited run items. The most popular items across the board in F2P games are the gain accelerant (XP boost is the most common) or buff items. The pattern of buying those ranges from the players that won't step a foot outside of town without one running to the people that uses them occasionally as a 'catch up' item.

Putting all this stuff on the subscription side wouldn't necessarily be an incentive for them to switch to a monthly rate as the appeal of some of it would actually be less. Also, since many don't spend money on the game every month, the perception would be that the subscription side would cost them more, and in a lot of cases that would be true.   

Kongregate once said that for one particular game, about 40% of their revenue was from players who spent over $1000 on the game.  The item mall model doesn't rely purely on whales, but giving up most of that 40% by having them only spend $100 each would be a huge hit to the model.

-----

If you have a "subscription" server with a pay to win item mall on top of the subscription, then you're not splitting F2P and subscription into separate servers anymore.  You're splitting into one item mall business model on one server and a different item mall business model on a different server.

While there are a lot of different ways that you can go with a business model, the main attraction of a subscription model is to avoid the pay to win item malls.  If you tack that on top of a subscription, then you've completely killed the appeal of a separate subscription server.

Yellow: I think you're reading a lot more into that statement than what's really there. A subscription MMO that has been around for 6 or more years could easily have that same statistic, no? It seems like you have projected your own assignment of time and frequency to that sentence even though Kongregate gave no such numbers in their talk or article. They did, however, state that those numbers were coming from a high ARPPU game, not the average game.

Green: Agreed. Not sure where you were going with that, as we're talking about separate servers.

Orange: That seems an odd reason. I haven't seen any polls or presentations that have indicated that people pay subs to avoid item malls. Do you have a source for that?

 

"And wikipedia is as accurate as Britannica. Wikipedia is very reliable. You would be hard pressed to find a more reliable source for these kinds of things." -fivoroth

  NorseGod

Apprentice Member

Joined: 2/28/12
Posts: 574

3/28/13 1:57:29 PM#19
I just don't invite them (leeches) into my groups. Always a burden, either it's crap gear or skills. I'm not dragging them along as an "equal", because they are not.
  Arclan

Spotlight Poster

Joined: 1/29/07
Posts: 1372

"Ideas are worthless. The only currency that holds any weight is the ability and drive to execute."

3/30/13 9:41:11 PM#20

Agree with O.P. I prefer subs, and based on a recent poll on these forums, so do a majority of the posters on this site.

Actually, I have no interest in FTP whatsoever.

Luckily, i don't need you to like me to enjoy video games. -nariusseldon.
In F2P I think it's more a case of the game's trying to play the player's. -laserit
video game company layoffs are twice the national average.