Our take was that "sidegrades", not giving an unfair advantage able to break the game, could fit the bill. The other advantage of sidegrades is that they also answer our need to offer to our founders some real value behind the gifts we give them. We wanted to thank you by giving you value and unique items for your support and your trust. But where this sidegrades concept is coming from and what is this exactly? Well this is a mechanic from the game itself that we decided to bring to the store. The name is coming from Nosgoth which used this wording to define something equivalent but not superior. Understand Sidegrades as a progression from and to the sides.
Basically it is a horizontal progression providing variety at the opposite of an Upgrade which is a progression to the top or vertical progression increasing power. In the game we have a little bit of vertical progression, but the progression is really about unlocking more variety, getting more tools and toys to battle. This principle applies to the class's progression as well as to the gear's progression. I can unlock the plasma gun cert and loot a plasma gun of energy issue (More damage but lower rate of fire) which will replace my standard plasma gun issue. In addition I can upgrade any of my plasma guns and increase their overall efficiency with modules which I can find only in game. You also need to know that an upgraded plasma gun will take more points in my character build, meaning that I will need to remove something else. So our take was why not selling the plasma gun of energy issue?
Not only had the team at Behaviour listened to what we had to say, they considered our opinions, which really are the opinions of the Eternal Crusade community at large, important enough to include them in their own monetization plans. Not only that, but they went so far as to come up with several options that they thought would work for all sides, AND they were going to include the community in the decision-making process!
For me, this was the ultimate example of the kind of “transparency” that Miguel has been espousing since the announcement of Eternal Crusade. A victory, not for one side or another, but for all sides, with everyone's needs being addressed in a fair and honest fashion. And this is happening at the very beginning of the development cycle, which speaks volumes for Behaviour's faith and trust in the community. I can only imagine where this will go from here. Might this be the first time, at least in my own personal gaming experience, that the game community and the game's developers will truly collaborate on an entire gaming experience?
Would you like to be a part of this ongoing experience? Head over to the Eternal Crusade website, register for the forums, get yourself a Founder's Pack if you believe in the team, and hop into the forums with both feet. Get your ideas and opinions out there. We know that Behaviour's credo has been “BeTrue, BeFair, BeTransparent”, to that I would add, from a fan's perspective: BeHeard.