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Etherdrifter

Freeplay Experiment

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At the moment there is a clear divide between folks who think wurm should retain its subscription based model and those who think otherwise.

 

We're all educate people here, so why not experiment?

 

The servers used for the challenge maps must be gathering dust; why not create a "free play" server on one of them.  Fresh cluster, never to be connected to main cluster, one island (PvE).  Deed upkeep is set to 4x existing rate and offdeed decay is doubled, merchants sell mirrors, map size is release/pristine.  Maybe add in some other items as cash shop only on that cluster.

 

Give players the option to move their character from the FREE server TO the PAID cluster at any time (one way trip with all items).  Run the server for 3-4 months; if its a success keep it as is (and consider a PvP server); if its a failure turn it into a subscription server, essentially how release/pristine used to be, and give folks a 1 month window to move over to the main cluster if they so desire.

 

Either way its using existing resources in a way that allows the exploration of a new business model (also gives a large injection of players).  It'll wind up cheaper than a large advertising campaign and likely draw in more players regardless of the outcome.

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Technically WU is the free to play server, after initial purchase price anyway,
Where is the incentive for a person from the free server to move to one of the subscription servers?  In most cases the 4x deed upkeep wont be an incentive to leave the free server, you would need a huge deed for the savings to match to the cost of premium.
 

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jesus just go play wu already

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27 minutes ago, Greyfox said:

Technically WU is the free to play server, after initial purchase price anyway,
Where is the incentive for a person from the free server to move to one of the subscription servers?  In most cases the 4x deed upkeep wont be an incentive to leave the free server, you would need a huge deed for the savings to match to the cost of premium.
 

 

The point is that if the free server is making money on par with the subscription servers then it would class as a success (and if it does succeed then your argument is moot); if it makes less money then it would class as a fail and acts as an illustrating point to your argument (but in failing its given a large group of folks a taste of wurm and I'd say more than a few of those would make the transition to subscription).

Either way CC gets some valuable data on a potential paymodel change; it gets some free advertising ("wurm online free for 3 months") would likely hit a fair few sites, and, of course, it has been done before already for a shorter duration (challenge servers).  The issue with the challenge servers is folks felt it was not something worth investing in, hence the notion of being able to "save" your efforts via transfer/perpetual server existence.

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Who would pay to host the servers if WO became free? Would developement have to be strictly volunteer work? I know a lot of it currently is done by volunteers to my knowledge, but I imagine having some paid members  to help orchestrate things makes the gears actually turn? It creates accountability. Would WO become f2p with purchasable in game items in your example? Thats something i definitely would not like to see.

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And you're forgetting that really, only the mayor has to pay for the deed. So you and 15 of your closest friends could play on the same deed and be paying way less than what premium would cost for each toon, even with the 4x deed cost buffer. 

 

Sorry, but -1. We have to keep supporting the game we love through premium.

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I've bought and payed for wu once and will never have to again. I don't even mind having to 'start again' if a server closes and in my experience its the PvP servers with the highest likelihood of closing prematurely. I'll never go back to grinding on a 1x skill 1x timer ever again, which I think is the games biggest draw back. Sure by the time you build your first 1x1 house you feel pretty accomplished.. But that can take quite a long time to do. For some money isn't even the issue.. Its the tedium and time involved that's the problem. Only vets stick around because deed work doesn't take 16 hours to do to have some sort of visual impact on what you can accomplish. Sure this idea is perfect for those without money to pay for premium, but without faster skill gain or timers the game gets dull fast for most. There are a lot of other issues in new player retention but time and money in a game that takes forever to get anything done has to be one of the biggest issues.

 

However this game has come too far with older players feeling hard done by if timers or exp boosts were added. So the game will continue to decline...

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If it is free, it should have more shortcomings and hardships than just 4x deed upkeep. someone can have minimum deed upkeep and use the other areas as farm, cave etc. The main idea is good though. New players quit the game when they learn they need to pay premium to be able to do most things. They dont stay enough to get used to and like the game enough to be willing to pay for it.

 

Free wurm server could be a survival server with creatures being much much stronger than in normal wurm online servers, with humanoids breaking down buildings. Fast creatures (like hell horses, spiders for example) being fast enough to easily catch you unless you have a really fast well geared horse. Stuff like that, maybe more disadvantages on other fields.

 

In my opinion nobody who is already in normal cluster should be able to move to the freemium server and people who started in the freemium server shouldnt be able to bring any of their possessions, only their character skills (if skillgains are the same), paying for passage (if they started that character 5 months ago, they should pay 5 months of premium in order to enter the normal cluster).  They should be able to enter the normal cluster anytime they wish, since they pay for the months they spent there if they enter the normal cluster, but never able to go back to the freemium server after that just like the other people who are already in the normal freedom cluster, no items transferred inbetween.

 

However, there would be many ways to exploit that server and it needs to be prevented. For example, one person could just channel grind or faith grind easily with a lot of priest alts helping one priest, then only transfer that one priest to normal server.

 

It could be a nice server to test new feature or changes more naturally, letting the new players explore the game more before having to make a decision etc. but also the server in such settings done properly looks like a lot of work

Edited by Maiev

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3 hours ago, Soil said:

jesus just go play wu already

 

QFT.

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5 hours ago, Soil said:

jesus just go play wu already

 

1 hour ago, Wargasm said:

 

QFT.

 

24 minutes ago, FranktheTank said:

 

Sure but what happens when there are none left? WU will be the only option for you also before to long.

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Wurm is a business, bills have to be paid, employees paid. F2P games charge for every little thing you want to do, or harass you with advertising. No thanks. Entertainment needs to be paid for, same as anything else, either by buying WU or paying the (really low compared to other games) WO sub. 

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I seem to be a little loss on how a free server will make the game money, guessing it will be a free game with items for sale like the current way of most on the market?

 

I play mostly games on steam thesedays because I really cannot stand item shop games, I prefer the current low cost of Wurm's subscription based model myself. 

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I think i's going to need some more sources of income than just deed upkeep, even if by increasing the upkeep x4 you also increased the minimum from 1s to 4s.

It would probably need things like skins, which could be applied to player created items. Extra face/hair/etc options through more expensive mirrors.

 

The problem in general with full f2p is that most of the income for those games tends to come from 1-5% of the players, whom buy almost everything. Wurm doesn't have that many players and likely also doesn't have enough artists to keep pumping out interesting high quality skins at a high enough rate to generate enough income for f2p to work.

Due to this I don't see the free server making enough money, it's more likely to end up costing them money compared to the current situation.

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f2p games aren't really free to play at all, because you have to pay for it somewhere down the line, WO has a sub fee, that's why I wont play it, I had a brief look a long time back, but It was like for an hour and I was gone,

 

I prefer games that you buy once and play as long as you like, like everyone here has said, bills have to be paid, so at the end of the day, you either play a sub game or you buy outright, I prefer outright, this is why I no longer play big business on ipad it just got too damned expensive.

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I suppose eventually the WU updates will have to come at a price like other games sell their updates.

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1 minute ago, Cecci said:

I suppose eventually the WU updates will have to come at a price like other games sell their updates.

that will be the day, that I delete WU and move onto one of the other plethora of games I have here, or one of my many tapestries I've started lol.

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Well I posted this last night and I'm quite amused by some of the reactions; especially the usual kneejerks "how will wurm pay for itself if it goes free to play".  Let me ask you a question in return; where to from now?  

 

The current situation is leading to a slow but steady decline, its not a lack of features that's doing it (we've had some amazing ones over the last year), its not a lack of space (the servers are largely empty), and it certainly isn't the various balance fixes this year (that just causes old player attrition to spike before settling out).  "Things are fine as they are" is just going to lead to the same question being asked down the line but, this time, with far less options.

 

The notion here is not to move wurm to free to play; but to see if free to play is a viable model for wurm by running an experiment to see if it *CAN* pay for wurm online.  If it can't then all that has been lost is the server cost for 3 months, and the influx of players will likely cover that cost.  The parameters I have suggested are a basic outline; one I will gladly admit requires refinement (the faith group abuse never crossed my mind), however, the core idea is to see if wurm could make the transition to free to play while still remaining profitable.

 

This experiment has been run before in the form of challenge (since the challenge servers were entirely free to play, though they were aimed at testing large scale PvP); however, they were designed to be short lived whereas this experiment is designed as a long term experiment.

 

As a final parting thought; the idea is out there if the devs want to take notice.   We're currently here : -500 subscriptions in 12 months, -48,000 per year (reasonable given that we're just coming down from the cooking update peak).

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9 hours ago, Etherdrifter said:

 If it can't then all that has been lost is the server cost for 3 months

 

9 hours ago, Etherdrifter said:

whereas this experiment is designed as a long term experiment.

 

Make up your mind.

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The current situation is leading to a slow but steady decline, its not a lack of features that's doing it (we've had some amazing ones over the last year), its not a lack of space (the servers are largely empty), and it certainly isn't the various balance fixes this year (that just causes old player attrition to spike before settling out).  "Things are fine as they are" is just going to lead to the same question being asked down the line but, this time, with far less options.

 

 

You seem to think that the subscription is the main problem for lack of growth. Herein is your extremely naive and incorrect assumption. You also seem to be completely devoid of any business knowledge or sense, and offer little of value beyond "F2P experiements PLZ!!!".

 

Then again, 99% of these threads in this forum are absolute garbage.  Sorry, but this is no exception.

 

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I see a lot of "you have to pay the bills" and "wurm is a business" etc, but where does this come into the matter?  What I have suggested is the exploration of an alternative (and very successful) business model, not a kneejerk change but a timelined experiment with a clear success criteria (1.  "Did we make more profit than we would have off of subscriptions" and 2. "Did player numbers increase?").  The only case against such an experiment is that it is not worth carrying out since it would fail and/or worsen the existing issues, but then I don't think many (if any) on this forum have the level of knowledge to argue either of those scenarios well.

 

Hopefully someone will either provide a definitive and well argued reason (with some nice references) as to why this suggestion is a bad one that should be ignored, or, provide an argument stronger than my own by (backing it up with industry experience and references) as to why this suggestion should be considered. 

 

I reckon I've said my piece.  Those among you with a brain will read the argument laid forth, parse it and either, agree with it or disagree with it based on its merits after actual thought takes place.

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1 hour ago, Etherdrifter said:

I see a lot of "you have to pay the bills" and "wurm is a business" etc, but where does this come into the matter?  What I have suggested is the exploration of an alternative (and very successful) business model, not a kneejerk change but a timelined experiment with a clear success criteria (1.  "Did we make more profit than we would have off of subscriptions" and 2. "Did player numbers increase?").  The only case against such an experiment is that it is not worth carrying out since it would fail and/or worsen the existing issues, but then I don't think many (if any) on this forum have the level of knowledge to argue either of those scenarios well.

 

Hopefully someone will either provide a definitive and well argued reason (with some nice references) as to why this suggestion is a bad one that should be ignored, or, provide an argument stronger than my own by (backing it up with industry experience and references) as to why this suggestion should be considered. 

 

I reckon I've said my piece.  Those among you with a brain will read the argument laid forth, parse it and either, agree with it or disagree with it based on its merits after actual thought takes place.

My brain works fine thank you very much, you experiment is typically seen as a last ditch by AAA games that need more capitol to continue, most of the games I've experienced do not grow but continue to limp along with little change except to piss off a portion of the player base that is " ok " with the sub model they started with.

 

It's been awhile now that the no sub, pay for what you play argument has come into existence, a strong argument I've seen over the years is " why should I have to pay for 30 days when I can only log in for 8 etc.", so the answer seems to be make a game free with skill caps, treasure boxes to buy keys for and god knows what the hell else to make people think they are getting a break not paying a monthly sub.

 

If anything subs are cheaper in most cases, Wurm business aside, any road to a non subscription based model opens a door to making Wurm like most the games I loath to play these days, you've offered little to make this server different than a WU server besides 4x upkeep, very little merit to discuss when you start such a vague set of rules to the server your wanting to be discussed.

 

The only clear Divide I see is the one between your ears.

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1 hour ago, Etherdrifter said:

Hopefully someone will either provide a definitive and well argued reason (with some nice references) as to why this suggestion is a bad one that should be ignored, or, provide an argument stronger than my own by (backing it up with industry experience and references) as to why this suggestion should be considered. 

 


I'm going to be the "asshat" that turns that argument around.   Do you have some nice references that support your idea?   Do you have any industry experience to backup your suggestion?  You're asking people to prove a negative, and that is a fallacy.   You need to prove your claim, not the other way around.
 

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imho, on a freeplay experiment, a pvp server would be better (seeing it's already p2w through armors up to a bunch of traders specific items).

 

Ressurecting challenge would do that quite well. No cluster swap. No large staff assistance (only bugs). The classic faster skillgain and a better fight system.

 

Prevent any money transfer between clusters - offer new trader wares (like crates of dirt / bricks / mortar) - higher upkeep cost - and the usual pvp related items and you will have a server where everyone will have a need for RL cash to get an extra edge.

 

Keep in the rewards and their redeem way, make them either legacy items (not remove on server reset) on challenge or allow players to sell the redeem key on the forum (which would still allow players to make cash out of the game as some did / already do).

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