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A New Monthly Pay-to-Play Server

15 Replies
dingy
11 April, 2016, 5:06 PM UTC

New server: Pay Monthly

I started on the Dark Plains server last July. I saw my league-mates with millions of offense/defense, and I was awed. I was inexperienced, and careless with my armies. I couldn't beat anyone we were warring against. My castle was practically useless. I calculated how long it would take me to build a multi-millions strong army, and was very discouraged by the results of my math. I was on the verge of quitting the game, when the Untamed Lands were announced.

In October on the Untamed Lands, I started a new castle, eager to have a chance to finally be able to compete with the best players on the server. The talk in the server was all the same. Everyone was eager to get a strong foothold on the new server.

In my quest to be queen of the new server, I spent quite a bit of money on sapphires. I did get to the top, fielding a powerful army, leading the server in battlegrounds and castle level for some time. I was proud of my castle, my reputation, and my accomplishments -- but in a way I was ashamed that so much of my success was owed to the money I paid.
I have not paid any more money since the early months, having been discouraged by the high cost of staying competitive with the other coiners. I am now quite disillusioned by the pay-to-win model, and refuse to participate any more in it.


My suggestion is to create a separate server that has a low monthly payment, where there are NO sapphire purchase packs.


A lot of players would jump at the chance to play in an equal access environment where their activity and castle management skills are the only factors that set them apart. No longer would the deepest pockets yield the best castles.

With a modest sapphire income, it would create a much more robust, active and engaging environment. Leagues would be more active and fun to play for. Tournament wins would be more significant. Strategy would also be much more interesting. With a finite sapphire income, it will force us to be more careful how we spend them. Different tactical schools would emerge and begin to separate the sapphire-spending styles of each player.

I think there'd be a lot less burnout on that server. So many new players quit because they can't compete with the coiners. When you're new it's so easy to make a mistake (or be outplayed) and lose your whole army. It's extremely discouraging to spend weeks or even months retraining your losses, when a coiner than buy a few packs, revive their losses, and be stronger than ever in a minute.

The bottom line is, give us a server with a monthly payment, with no sapphire packs. I think a fair price is between $5 and 15 a month.



Here are my recommendations to handle the changes to the pay-to-play server. I'd love to have some discussion on this to work out a solid, realistic system.


Sapphires:
Replacing sapphire packs could be done any number of ways:

  1. Create a new building that produces sapphires (up to level 20, and 25 with sketches would be good I think)
  2. Daily sapphires, awarded on your first login of the day.
    The Daily Loyalty Roll could award sapphires every day, starting at 800 at Day 1 and ramp up to 1500 per day at 90+ days.
    These numbers could be anything, obviously.
  3. A static allowance - everyone pays the same monthly fee, and gets the same monthly sapphires.
  4. A graduated pay structure. Say, the lowest available monthly payment could be $4 a month. Middle rates could be $8 and $12. The highest maybe $16 a month. And give different allocations of sapphires at each level.

#4, having different pay rates is my least favorite solution, but the one major benefit would be that it would allow people to play who cannot afford to pay very much. $4-5 a month would be very doable for a lot of people, and there would still be an incentive for people to pay more. I just wouldn't want to see a huge difference in sapphire allocations between the lowest and highest rates. The whole point of this server would be to shrink (or eliminate) the effect of pay inequality.
So the difference would have to be relatively small, i.e. 500 sapphires a day for $4 and 1000 sapphires a day for $16.

  • Every player should start with a cache of sapphires. Without it, no one would be able to start a league or buy a craftsman in the first week. I think 2.5k-10k would be good for day one. It has to be around 2k at least, for leagues.

What would be the best method for pay to play sapphire distribution?

Personally, I like the idea of a sapphire production building. But any fair method that gives consistent, equal access to sapphires for all players will be good.
Something that rewards regular activity would be fine, and in consistent spirit with the game. The daily loyalty roll already exists and would be easy to adjust to give sapphires.



**Training:
We should reduce training time for troops in the Sentry House.

In the game right now, people buy packs because training is too damn slow. So if I pay every month, and don't have access to packs, I should be able to build troops faster.
I think increasing training speed by 2x or 3x would help saturate peoples' castles faster.

Personally, I think the battlegrounds system would be significantly more playable if we could train troops 3x faster. It takes a pretty absurd amount of time to train enough troops to clear high level BGs, even pumping out from all 4 queues.
Also major losses from PVP would be easier to recover from with the combination of daily sapphires and a training speed increase. 
I would strongly advocate for this change to training speed.

**Resources:
If training speed is increased, resource production should be re-scaled to accommodate the increased cost per day.
With increased production, we could also increase the raid cap from 50k to 100k, increase the protection from catacombs, etc. Everything related to resources could just be scaled at the same rate of 2x or 3x.

**Training and Resources depends on the sapphire gains.
If sapphire gains are good enough, we wouldn't need to touch training time or resource production. We'd be able to invest the sapphires in speeding up our growth.
But personally, I'd like to see faster training times so we wouldn't have to rely 100% on sapphires to produce troops. The pace of training without sapphires is quite painfully slow.




Tournaments:
Adjust tournament winnings to reflect a more even distribution of sapphires among players.

This is what makes the pay2play server really interesting. Tournaments. This is where people would convert their daily sapphire incomes into gains and build their castles up in ways that are normally reserved for only the coiners.

In a level playing field where everyone has the same access to sapphires, competition for tournaments would be very healthy. It'd be quite difficult to win the tournaments, and the winners wouldn't simply be coiners - they'd be active, hard-working players who are truly the best players on the server. Winnings should reflect that.

Again, any number of solutions are possible:

  1. Simply increase the cap on wins to 25k for individuals, 5k for leagues. And adjust the lower amounts accordingly.
  2. Leave sapphire rewards the same, but for the top scores include more side rewards, like eldritch dragons, great western dragons, thieves, -50% boosts, longer construction boosters like the 8/12/24hour boosts, etc. etc.
    I think the improved rewards could be earned through the tournament points rewards we already have. Like a very high score would give a great western dragon, and an impossibly high score could give 2, for example. Alternatively, the top 10~20 in the standings could receive "purchase pack" rewards.
There really are a lot of ways we could tweak the tournament functionality and reward structure to work in a pay to play server. But I think this would be the most fun, to put the rewards we normally get from purchase packs into the top tournament rewards.



Leagues:
Adjust how sapphires are spent for league objectives.

When upgrading things like beacons, we can choose to do it fast with sapphires. We should be able to drop small packets of sapphires, like the 10/15/20k packets of resources. Say, each player can pay for beacon upgrades in increments of 2.5k sapphires.

Security:

Account security might be a big deal. Any thoughts?

My main thought is I think there would have to be some serious measures taken to ensure that every player only has one castle. IP address limitations might be an easy way.
Another game I play has a system where you can login to multiple accounts on the same IP address, but you cannot interact. Cannot attack the same target within 24hrs, cannot sent aid to each other. Something like that might work nicely here.




I really want to see this happen. A lot of players are very competitive, and the level of competition on a server like this would be on a whole new level. No one would be able to leverage any significant advantages over any other player without putting in a lot of work. Some people would invest in their infrastructure, some would invest in troops, some would hoard sapphires for a rainy day... The tactical implications would be very exciting.

When the time comes, I'd be more than happy to participate in a beta test to help the Plarium developers work out the right amount of sapphires to issue for each castle, test the playing environment.

What other mechanics would be important to change in a server with a monthly fee?
What can we do to see this become a reality?
Can we issue a survey to Stormfall players, asking how interested they would be in a pay to play server?

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4
Gadheras
11 April, 2016, 5:16 PM UTC

I would jump on a monthly subbed version of the game. Just Plarium will never do something like this, because. Its not enough for them. they want more.


and even they did, they still would gone with some variant of a cash shop to give coiners a big benefit.



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exxxe
11 April, 2016, 8:12 PM UTC

nice idea but there are lots of issues 

1)in any business one of the main goals is to maximize profit so why would they limit it with the same amount monthly


2)you are asking for 15k sapphs just as cache and for a building that produces sapphs in this case how much are you willing to pay every month


3)you are asking for a change in nearly every aspect of the game to put you up to speed we have been asking for beacon defense visibility for months nothing happened soo by the time this happens (if happened) your grand grand child would be playing not you


4)they will tell you that it will require loooots of balancing so again a lot of work just to limit how much money we would get thats not cool


5)what about raids (do they include saphhs ) besides the only thing you did here is to increase dependency on sapphs


6) lets say you can no longer pay what happens? (they wont allow farms that could be raided for sapphs )


7)good luck with training times 


8) the items in the black market are only there to let the coiners be happier if they do this all players will buy stuff equally which means killing all those items (they will become some out useless because you wont get any actual advantage now that everyone buys as much as you however it is interesting bcs players will focus more on buying and using them strategically)

9)im personally against it bcs there is a lot of work that needs to be done and improved to the game before adding such things
 
I'am me and that is what i care about :)
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jumy
11 April, 2016, 8:27 PM UTC

dingy said:



I started on the Dark Plains server last July. I saw my league-mates with millions of offense/defense, and I was awed. I was inexperienced, and careless with my armies. I couldn't beat anyone we were warring against. My castle was practically useless. I calculated how long it would take me to build a multi-millions strong army, and was very discouraged by the results of my math. I was on the verge of quitting the game, when the Untamed Lands were announced.

In October on the Untamed Lands, I started a new castle, eager to have a chance to finally be able to compete with the best players on the server. The talk in the server was all the same. Everyone was eager to get a strong foothold on the new server.

In my quest to be queen of the new server, I spent quite a bit of money on sapphires. I did get to the top, fielding a powerful army, leading the server in battlegrounds and castle level for some time. I was proud of my castle, my reputation, and my accomplishments -- but in a way I was ashamed that so much of my success was owed to the money I paid.
I have not paid any more money since the early months, having been discouraged by the high cost of staying competitive with the other coiners. I am now quite disillusioned by the pay-to-win model, and refuse to participate any more in it.





probably you do not realize..... so you think they all pay? Plarium policy is to destroy everything and everyone, think carefully

a war game vs Plarium, you win?

The truth hurts
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Inaginni
11 April, 2016, 9:30 PM UTC

I personally like the idea you're presenting. However, the sapphire amounts are too high. I think it would be more like 2000 sapphires per month for the lowest pack (i.e. your $4/ month). This monthly recurring amount would be more similar to other subscription style games. A dedicated sapphire building is unnecessary. For tournaments, I think, as is, they would be fine in this situation.


I like the idea of increasing troop build times, as you say it takes too much time to build up for anything. However, the resource part isn't so necessary. You can already raid for 100k as it is now. Doing 10 100k raids a day would still be able to max all 4 queues.
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dingy
12 April, 2016, 4:25 AM UTC

Of course, Plarium isn't likely to go for it. But how nice would it be to have an option to play a balanced game? Worth a shot ;)

And yeah, sapphire amounts, mechanics changes, that's all up to Plarium. Any of that can be changed or not changed. I was just brainstorming some ideas. The way I see it, the sapphire amounts are irrelevant. They could be 1 per day or 10k per day, doesn't matter because everyone would receive the same.

Bottom line, a server without the pay to win model would be significantly more fun and competitive. And it'd keep me playing, and paying.
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Ichezis
12 April, 2016, 5:06 AM UTC

From what I scanned before going to school, this seems like a great idea!

I'll make sure it gets passed on. I cannot promise it will be happening, but in my opinion this looks magnificent!

Thank you Lady Dingy for your suggestion! 
Plarium Global Moderator; "We can't help everyone, but everyone can help someone."
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Alyona Kolomiitseva
Community Manager
12 April, 2016, 7:11 AM UTC
Thank you for your ideas. If our developers ever decide to create a p2p server, they could be useful. But at this moment we are not planning to change current model.
Plarium Community Manager. Please note that I will be unable to respond to your private messages, review your tickets, or check your account information. All technical issues should be directed to our Support Team at plrm.me/Support_Plarium
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Gadheras
12 April, 2016, 9:26 AM UTC

Alyona Kolomiitseva said:


Thank you for your ideas. If our developers ever decide to create a p2p server, they could be useful. But at this moment we are not planning to change current model.

Wouldnt it be worth just create a new server with such a model to see how it goes? Not necessary change the current servers. Or are plarium worried to many players would move over to a p2p server, and revenue streams from the p2w ones would go down ?


Would think that it would be better get a fixed amount from a playuer/customer a month than nothing when they rather leave the game than take part in the p2w circus.



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Mehnslayer
12 April, 2016, 11:48 PM UTC

http://forum.plarium.com/kabam/en/stormfall-age-of-war/game-discussion/topics/subscription-model/ 

Also the links are broken, guessing the topics got removed >.> 

E 'n la sua volontade è nostra pace
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Gadheras
13 April, 2016, 12:34 AM UTC

Gadheras said:


Alyona Kolomiitseva said:


Thank you for your ideas. If our developers ever decide to create a p2p server, they could be useful. But at this moment we are not planning to change current model.

Wouldnt it be worth just create a new server with such a model to see how it goes? Not necessary change the current servers. Or are plarium worried to many players would move over to a p2p server, and revenue streams from the p2w ones would go down ?


Would think that it would be better get a fixed amount from a playuer/customer a month than nothing when they rather leave the game than take part in the p2w circus.




Ignorance is always afraid of change :p


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Alyona Kolomiitseva
Community Manager
13 April, 2016, 8:03 AM UTC

As I said, we don't have such plans at the moment. If there will be any, we will let you know.

Thank you for submitted ideas.

UPD

Feel free to discuss this topic.
Plarium Community Manager. Please note that I will be unable to respond to your private messages, review your tickets, or check your account information. All technical issues should be directed to our Support Team at plrm.me/Support_Plarium
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djmoody
18 April, 2016, 3:20 AM UTC

The business model for this game is to attract a small number of stupid people who will sink thousands into a game worth no more than $5.

It happens because it's multi-player and it's a competitive RTS war game. People with inadequacies (or sometimes just very rich people) get caught up in pay to win as you did. If you are competitive its hard to lose. It can be difficult to distinguish between playing and taking part which should be the fun and winning at all costs which you need to do to feel good about yourself.

Unfortunately because there are enough ppl willing to sink stupid money into stupid games they are able to make a living out of this.

- Create rubbish RTS MMO.

- Create just enough content to allow players to become invested

- Don't bother with any major updates post release, minimise your ongoing investment

- Looks for ways to monetise the competition between players

- Keep you player base small so support costs are minimised

- Rinse the coiners

- Let game die, start another basic RTS MMO with minimal development investments, rinse and repeat


That is the RTS MMO genre in a nut shell. Plarium is by no means the only developer/publisher rinsing this business model.

In the end though its the players that enable this BS business model. If people didn't allow themselves to get sucked into crazy coining in incredibly basic, poorly supported game with little to no new content then developers would have to create decent RTS games for us.

Now RPG based MMO's tend to be much fairer models. They need a large player base to give the game world an alive feel, so the model is take a modest amount of money from a large amount of people. Bear in mind that the scale of support needed for such games, both technically to support thousands of simultaneous connects and also within the support team makes these major business, that need major investment at significant risk.

Ultimately at the extreme a Stormfall type of game needs just 2 players. As long as they are both equally as desperate to win and happy to coin the game would make money.

If you want to play a game that is subscription and made by a developer who still puts love into it's game then I suggest you try EVE.

Ironically it is us the players that killed subscription. In-game pay content game out of the far east market where pirating of games was rife. So games developers started giving the games away for free and collecting revenue through in-game purchases. Developers soon found out that some people will pay stupid amounts to support their hobbies which they become emotionally attached to. The route to easy money was discovered and the quality of game development went into a nose dive as the industry started to exploit the micro transactions money go round.



Everyone has a right to an opinion. No one has a right to their opinion being respected by other if it can't be backed up with rational and logic explanation
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Oracle
23 April, 2016, 10:42 AM UTC
nice idea, but it will encourage farming. where players starts cattle, get X amount of saphire and sell the cattle for real life cash, warcraft is like that. but nice idea.
Biohazard has killed the forum.
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Gadheras
23 April, 2016, 2:31 PM UTC

oracle said:


nice idea, but it will encourage farming. where players starts cattle, get X amount of saphire and sell the cattle for real life cash, warcraft is like that. but nice idea.

"Psssst! want to buy a level 80 castle?" Newsflash, it already happens...


A subscription based server, would actually make problems with alts and bots less. Where as now we are infested with the use of alts and bots.



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jumy
26 April, 2016, 1:13 PM UTC

if you understand how this game ....... is impossible Monthly Pay-to-Play Server, the Plarium communities almost destroys Plarium under own will, they earn when someone falls into the trap

if all are at par can not squeeze the chicken and can not have 100 times your troops in 1 day.... becomes too obvious and do not derive profit

this looks more like a psychological test (pay and pay more) than a game for gain and give fun


ps. for community i mean the fake community (like 1000 people by Plarium team), in the community i never entered and ditto all other real people (PR ?)

The truth hurts
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