@BKcore asked me to make a thread on a pay scheme, so here it is!
In my opinion there is a formula to making a free to play game, and it's mostly summed up by "If blizzard thinks it's a good idea, do the opposite." The steps look like this:
- Don't pay gate gameplay
- Make sexy skins/announcer packs (get the community to help with ideas)
- Emulate the compendium as much as possible
Obviously the boons of the first two are self explanatory. There's a reason Dota2 is basically printing money right now, and it would be silly to ignore their methods. As far as the third option goes, for those of you who aren't aware, the compendium is (was?) valve's method of converting viewers into players and vice versa. Players were awarded with things in game for viewing tournaments, basically. This could even be extending out to subscribing to Artillery's youtube, posting on the forums, you name it. Anyways, those are my thoughts. Discuss?
I agree that pay gating gameplay is bad, and grind gating is equally bad, as both create uneven playfields and provide unfair advantages. It hurts new players, who feel gimped and powerless as they are put at an unfair disadvantage. It hurts the game's image as a serious competitive game, and puts off competitive players before they even try the game. Competitive is about skill, not spending more time or money than your opponent.
As you may know from my progression thread on the Feedback section, I'm very critical of anything involving gating gameplay elements (unless it's a side-grade instead of a material advantage, i.e., just another option, like a character in a well-balanced fighting game).
The best pay scheme for a competitive PvP game is one that is fair, that is, no gameplay unlocks, and variable, meaning that everyone can support the game as much as they want via gameplay-unrelated purchases. Players who wish to spend hundreds or thousands of dollars are able to do so. New players can try the game for free, so there's no monetary barrier of entry and no buyers remorse.
A player that never buys anything still helps Artillery, though indirectly, as they provide better matchmaking and lower queue times for everyone, introduce friends to the game, and give exposure to the game by posting about in online forums and supporting streamers.
The real gain is in the players who are willing to spend lots of money. If the pay scheme feels fair to them, instead of feeling like a milking scheme, they are willing to spend more money. They trust the devs and feel treated with respect. Make your customers happy so they want to give you money.
Now, to implement such a scheme you can introduce any kind of cosmetic/metagame stuff:
Anything that doesn't interfere with gameplay too much will do, as in, skins/outfits/hats shouldn't alter unit/hero's silhouettes and alternate colors shouldn't act as camouflage. Players have to easily see and understand what's happening in a battle.
Perpetually releasing gameplay unlocks motivates the devs to bloat the game, makes balancing harder as there's exponentially more combinatoric complexity with every new unit, makes for uninspired and generic units released due to business reasons instead of gameplay reasons, and increases the burden of knowledge and the barrier of entry of the game as time goes on.
True, DotA 2 has a great scheme based on cosmetics to support the game as an e-sport, which helps Valve organize tournaments with ridiculous prize pools (20 millions on The International 2016), as the players have incentives to support the prize pool and become viewers. For context, DotA2 has a cosmetic reward scheme where player's can buy a "battle pass" before a tournament. Part of the proceeds go to the tournament's prize pool, so players directly support the e-sports scene. Players are given cosmetic rewards for purchasing it, and are encouraged to watch the tournament (predicting winners with the "compendium") and play the game (quests) to receive even more cosmetic rewards.
I'm not sure if I should be saying this, as I think that no gameplay unlocks is the best scheme for players and I'm against the current progression system, but there's a reasonable compromise that makes gameplay unlocks not so terrible.
The trick is making the gameplay unlocks alternatives, extra options, instead of material advantages. Unlocking units is bad because they cause clear-cut unfair advantages. You can have Celesta with the good T2 and T3 units, vs Celesta with only the 3 default units. The former is strictly better while the later is objectively gimped. Lack of units hinders flexibility, countering capabilities and in practice makes for far worse army compositions.
My proposal, or rather compromise, is having only hero unlocks with all units being unlocked by default. Assuming that all heroes are reasonably balanced, having more heroes than the opponent gives you slightly more options but no clear-cut advantage. Celesta with all white units unlocked vs Vela with all white units unlocked feels fair, or at least way fairer than the previous example.
This unlock scheme, while not perfect (perfect is no gameplay unlocks) is at least better than heroes + units unlocks. Right now, you cannot realistically play a faction with no units unlocked without gimping yourself and your team. Heroes-only unlocks greatly diminishes that problem.
I feel like for this game, excessive amounts of skins/hats etc. would negatively impact the gameplay a lot more than selling in-game currency for real money. It can work fine for MOBAs with only hero units for the most part but with lots of different unit types in play, it can make the game a lot less readable. I don't think selling in-game currency will have much of a negative impact as right now you can easily unlock units by playing.
Guys, I know you are super against gating gameplay, but how are they going to be incentivised to create more content if it is all free automatically? I think Spartak has a super valid point about the readability of the units if a lot of unit skins are introduced. There is a bigger problem than there is in Mobas.
Personally I envision a lot of different units so I think it's unreasonable to expect to get all the content for free, especially in a F2P game.
I think a cardgame approach would be cool for Guardians of Atlas but it would require a certain critical amount of additional units in the game at launch-
E.g when you make an account, you get a starter deck i.e 1 hero + 4-5 units. This should include units to make a viable Gen1 deck, so for example Vex + Dervishes, Apocalytes, Emberfiends and Cinder Beetles.
Every 5 levels you get a hero token. Every 10 levels you get a deck token. This could be sped up in the beginning 10 levels. In addition you get credits, maybe a bit less than now. 200-400 credits per game. There could be daily quests to get additional credits. You'd still have the option of buying stuff specifically. You could also buy booster packs for a certain amount and that would be a gamble in which you could get 3 cards of a sum more than the price of the booster or less. For example if the booster for 3 cards cost 4500 or 5000.
In addition there would be your standard monetization of all the stuff. Credit booster, xp booster, x amount of a hero, y amount for a deck. season pass'es and full game unlock ala smite.
If there is a lot of different units, there could be a collection element that feels fun and rewarding.
One thing to note is that Dota2 benefits from people having to create multiple steam accounts which seems to be more troublesome and more of a barrier against multi-accounting.
It could be a lot easier to make a lot of GoA accounts which would make it possible to go in and troll a lot easier. Especially if everything is unlocked. There just doesn't seem to be any incentive against bad behaviour that puts your account in danger.
To be honest, I think it is worse to have developers do hours of work that is freely accessed, than to time-gate some elements, and maybe get people to spend a few bucks. And to be honest, I don't see that not having access to all the units is that much of a disadvantage, especially not in a blind-pick environment. Once I have the deck I think is good, I can be quite competitive with it. After a few games, like 10-20 games, I probably have another deck that is competitive.
Here's also a consideration. Hopefully there is a gradient of players so that it's not that big of a deal that you don't have the best deck possible at a lower level. I think players who want to be competitive will research community content, and they'll get to a competitive deck quite easily.
Another option is to level gate ranked play, but be a lot more reasonable than LoL. Maybe around 5-10 hours playtime (that's about 10-20 games). In that time there will be enough level-based unlocks for people to have a good amount of units to play around with.
I don't know where the assumption that more content equals a better game comes from. Yes, having variety and more choices in asymmetric games is great, but where do we draw the line? There's a point where more gameplay content bloats the game (I'm looking at you MOBA's) and makes reasonable balance impossible to achieve.
The right way to go is decide beforehand how many factions, heroes and units the game really needs and stop releasing gameplay content when you reach that number. Maybe it's something like 4 factions, 4 heroes per faction and 10 units per faction. It's definitely not 20 heroes per faction and 50 units per faction. Why would we want a system where Artillery is driven to hurting the game in order to stay profitable? Isn't it better to design a monetization scheme that doesn't end biting the hand that feeds you?
Agree with that, which is why I think that focusing on releasing and customizing heroes is the way to go, as there can only be 3 heroes per team at once, while there are lots of units. Also, some cosmetics don't visually pollute the battlefield (voice announcers, voice lines for heroes, taunt/emote/dance animations, and even death animations). SC2 has some unit skins that don't affect visual clarity at all. As long as the units preserve shape and silhouette and are stylistically coherent they turn out well.
That's the only way I can tolerate any kind of gameplay unlocks. Note that personally I prefer no gameplay unlocks at all, to avoid an uneven playfield. Either via free to play with monetization through cosmetics or pay to play model.
In game credits, daily quests (they're a great harmless Skinner box to reward consistent play) and booster packs can be applied to cosmetics exactly the same way you would apply them to gameplay elements.
Is that really a big enough problem? If it turned out to be so, you could always require some bot games / casual games before allowing an account into ranked play. Also, the fact that the game is free to play is the bigger contributing factor to that problem. A troll doesn't care what unlocks they have.
Or maybe it can feel grindy, burdensome and discouraging.
Thought a lot about this subject, as I want this game to succeed, so here's my bit of input. Free-to-play games usually make money from customizations, microtransactiony stuff, or "premium accounts" as we call them. Customizations are common because they allow either us or the characters chosen to be seen as the how player wants, be it that you want your character to look sexy, you wanna role-play, or it simply just appealed to you. Microtransactions as I say in this discussion (as really everything here is a microtransaction) are things like the various types of boosters, season passes, campaign unlocks, etc. Premium accounts usually let you have access to any combination of the previously mentioned items, at the cost of a payment up front, or monthly fee.
Customizations in this sort of game are gonna be tricky because you have a lot of unique units, and changing up their in-game models with 3D cosmetics would add confusion to those in-game. Applying paint ("camo") skins would be easy enough, just modify the paint job on the characters wouldn't make them too confusing so long as you limit certain colors or whatever within reason so that way the units don't blend into the map. The real issue is gonna be the 3D modeled skins. I think it could be done with the heroes and their basic required unit, but limit it to that. You see the heroes constantly no matter what during the game, and for the beginning part you most certainly see the starting unit as well, so applying reasonable skins to them wouldn't be confusing for players. I also think there should be a special skin as a reward for playing with that hero for a certain amount of times or wins (like a Master skin or something). The other thing you gotta consider is the nature of the game. Right now to me it has a semi-cartoony nature to it, no reason for any "sexy" skins, but there can be a small measure of goofiness to some skins and I don't think it would retract from the game at all. Also, depending on events, you can have themed skins as well, like a special one from the team that you could get only from playing during the anniversary of the game, a tourny, etc. Also depending on how far the base buildings go, skin customizations for those would be nifty too, one that I would love to see at least.
Next, microtransactions. You have a level system, so xp boosts are gonna be a must. Depending on how the devs go with the unlock system, a credit booster would be needed as well. I think they should try to do something of a campaign system, basically have a central campaign that would be for free, then have expansions that would require some money to play. That way, everyone can see the basic story, and if they want to they can see the other sides as well. You could make it so that way there are campaigns for each hero, have either a central hero, or a central few for the central campaign, then have the other heroes' campaign be the expansions. That would allow for extra content for additional hero releases, and would help satisfy those who look for the lore-side of things (myself hehe). Another type of microtransaction would be for the competitive side of things if this game takes off. Tournaments are gonna be a thing, so following the Dota 2 way for that would make a lot of sense. Gifts in this game wouldn't hurt either. Being able to send your friend an xp boost or skin would be super fun as well.
Finally, Premium accounts. Depending on the amount of microtransactions you have, having one type would be the most beneficial. You would want this to be really appealing if implemented, which means you would need to expect a lot of future content, or gradual access to all of the other types of in-game purchases. Personally this is the idea that I would back the least, as I don't think this would be appealing enough to buy myself, but hey, it is an option with a lot of the previously said stuff.
My personal thoughts. I would love customizations, as it would help give incentive for the community to become involved with the game. I would also love a campaign system, either overall, or for each hero, even if I had to buy some of them. It would help make new hero releases "bigger," and would also help keep interest in the game longer during those releases. Adding a premium account would depend on how much of the other buyable stuff they plan to add, and how often they plan to release more content.
Keep in mind, I am just trying to give ideas here, maybe one or two of them will stick, just my opinion on what could be added.
Tl;dr: Hero 3D skins, unit paint skins, base cosmetics, xp boosts, credit boosts, campaign expansions (potentially hero-centric), possibly Premium accounts
Why not just have the perfect system with no gameplay unlocks?
This is the same thing that was said for heroes of the storm, and that game is hilariously imbalanced because of it. Just emulate the gold standard, dota.
You can't unlock heroes in HotS as fast as you can currently unlock content in GoA. Not even close. You can unlock everything in the game in about a week right now and I'm not even talking about playing 8 hours a day.
Not a lot of companies can emulate what Valve does. DotA has such a huge community that Valve will make money even a very small portion of them pay any money. Not only that but DotA allows Valve to add new players to Steam, which is where they make most of their money.
Besides, like I explained in my post, it would be very hard to implement lots of skins in this game without negatively affecting gameplay so that won't be "gold standard" for GoA.
I was thinking of skins too, but yeah you are kinda right this is RTS/MOBA and that will be hard to implement.
PS: don't forget we could get HUD skins
Where the assumption that gameplay unlocks milk more money than cosmetics comes from? Players can still just grind them without spending money at all, which isn't that bad, as free to play players still benefit Artillery in many indirect ways.
Cosmetics provide a virtually limitless upper cap on how much a wealthy player can spend in the game without negatively impacting gameplay. And players feel better by buying the cosmetics they like and want, instead of feeling forced into buying gameplay unlocks to stay competitive or avoid the grind.
Love the idea!
Some players will get the units for free by playing and some players could just pay some money to accelerate the progress if they are impatient and have disposable income.
I am not against cosmetics. It should be both: unlocking new units/heroes + buying cosmetics. If your remove the former, you have to compensate with the latter and I explained how excessive amounts of cosmetics would negatively impact the gameplay for GoA.
Yeah, subtle skins based on recolors or different color patterns that don't alter the unit's shape and silhouette can work for units. And with heroes it doesn't matter what you do, as there's only 3 heroes per team that don't change throughout the game and they are already easily differentiated by big health bars.
What's great is that you can have that currency-based progression system without gameplay unlocks and apply a level system, xp boosts, credit boosters, daily quests, loot crates and gifting to the cosmetics system.
There's a way to make hero/unit skins/recolors/color patterns work. And there's a whole array of other non-battlefield-polluting customization: voice lines, voice announcers, HUD skins, taunts/dances/emotes, death animations/effects.
Why this wouldn't be good idea like @Spartak said.
We all atm know how Cinder Beetle looks and what it do.
Now imagine you see some shiny thing with "hat, different size or whatever" in enemy units, and you are stunned cause of that, so you will have to go ASAP click on that unit and see what name of it is. And you lost 1-3 sec or more just to obtain information that would affect negatively gameplay.
That is reason why skins on units would be bad idea!
Unit skins is the most tricky cosmetic to do well without interfering with gameplay, I do agree, but it's not unfeasible. They can be subtle. As long as they don't alter the unit's shape too much it's fine. See SC2's unit skins.
Plus, you can make a cosmetics scheme without unit skins, anyway.
Sure. But then you are further limiting your avenues for microtransactions. You are proposing to remove progression and then only make cosmetics for heroes and UI/announcer packs. I don't see how GoA can make enough money with such limited options for microtransactions. If the game had millions of players, then what you are suggesting might have been viable but it is unfair to expect such a model right now.
I'm not proposing removing progression, I'm proposing replacing gameplay-based progression with cosmetics-based progression.
That's a lot of stuff already, plus other proposals I've made. Btw, they already have cosmetics in mind whether they end up putting in gameplay unlocks or not.
By that logic, should Artillery make it pay to play? Nope, because that reduces the player base. Gameplay unlocks also reduce the player base, though way less than pay to play. Cosmetic-based free to play is what gets you the bigger player base, which is something the RTS genre desperately needs. The more players, the easier it is to draw even more players, since players introduce their friends and higher stream viewer counts are free marketing.
How much money they make, given a specific business model, scales almost linearly with the amount of players. If they have a small player base they won't make a lot of money either way. Even if they had millions of players, they should be using whatever business model makes them most money, unless they want to make the game a serious e-sport and have the biggest player base possible, which is where the free to play with cosmetics business model excels.
Then what you are proposing is even more unsustainable. You are saying there should be no progression to unlock gameplay elements and therefore there should be no way to pay for those gameplay elements. Then you are also suggesting there should be cosmetic progression so cosmetics should not be exclusive things to get by paying money. The only players that are going to pay for this is who care about cosmetics but can't even be bothered to play games to unlock those cosmetics.
I don't think that is a reasonable expectation. I think it is completely reasonable to have a progression system that can be sped up by paying money (as long as you can unlock things without paying money at a reasonable pace) and have cosmetics that can only be purchased with real money.
I think everyone provides good points. I don't mind gameplay unlocks as i'm going to play so much that I'll get most stuff anyway. I think making the game fun enough to not care about whether stuff is unlocked or not is fun, and the discovery process is quite fun, as well as addicting.
I think: Units and Hero unlocks + Unlock Progressions boosts through leveling + scope of limited cosmetics gain without money + most cosmetics limited by money,
I would love new units getting added forever. I don't mind some units becoming unviable. That's where the a lot of exciting moments happen in this game, when people take units that are rarely used and use them in a really cool way it just blows my mind and it is super awesome when that happens. I want the unit and hero roster to be deep, and I want to discover them as if I'm catching pokemon on Arctora.
Think about it from the perspective of a casual player, or a young kid, or just a curious and excited player, rather than a cynical gamer. I think progressions are reasonable as long as it doesn't take like days of non-stop gaming to pick up a new unlock (Like champions in League). If I can get 4-5 unlocks a day in the beginning, and maybe 4-5 unlocks a week at level cap, I think that's very reasonable. There's also ways to make the system be on the side of the player. E.g. choice between specific choices for people who want to get competitive quick, or random packs that are a bit cheaper, but catering to completionists or gambling players who want some randomness and unlocking everything quicker.
That's a good point, thought the specific amount of grinding required to unlock something is what encourages spending money, see Overwatch's Summer Games loot crates or CSGO skin drops. They aren't technically exclusive things, but it's extremely hard to get the cosmetic you want without spending money.
Also, I'm not saying that every cosmetic should be unlockable via grinding. Some may be money gated, some may require unreasonably long grinds (maybe coupled with randomness), some may be easier to acquire without spending money, as a means to encourage more frequent play (coupled with daily quests to encourage daily play).
Yeah, if gameplay unlocks end up staying, there absolutely should be multiple payment options. Those options should satisfy full f2p players, grinders, gamblers and competitive players that don't tolerate bullshit. I won't be willing to play if there's no unlock-everything-in-one-payment option but there's a perpetual gameplay content release schedule.
I beg to disagree. I already feel my creativity and exploration ability is limited. How can I chose what faction to play if I can't try every unit? I'm only playing the one faction I have unlocked until I get enough money to try a new one. I'm forced to unlock everything before I can confidently decide what faction I like more. Some players may make the wrong purchases and conclude that they don't like the game, when in fact they just haven't been able to find what suits them best.
But my whole point about gameplay unlocks is that they are bad because of the unfair uneven playfield they create. Progression systems and effective monetization schemes are achievable without having to shit on competitiveness and fairness.
All major e-sports have no gameplay unlocks, except LoL and HotS. It's hilarious and ridiculous when Riot has to provide tournament players with fully-unlocked accounts so they can be competitive.
I didn't have time to read every post to the end atm, but I agree with many points, especially being very careful with unit skins/skill reskins so we don't have to "learn" 3 different looks for each thing.
Path of Exile is another great example of good f2p, but a very different genre that opens up a lot more content.
One thing that could be worth investigating from PoE is their "supporter packs" deal, which range from $50 to at least $1000, and they create new packs maybe 2 times per year. Some people scoff at their high prices "LUL who's gonna put $1000 on this" and as Sir said, the most important are those who put in a lot of $$$, and as it turns out, those expensive packs in PoE sell pretty damn good.
Now, they always come with some sort of in-game addition in their name (Like design your own unique) which perhaps isn't possible in the same sense in GoA (Or how about design your own critter? I dunno, needs to be capped I guess, just throwing ideas).
And most packs above $100 comes with some physical item (T-shirt, soundtrack CD, signed items etc).
Every pack also comes with corresponding forum titles and a hefty amount of "microtransaction points".
At least that kind of packaging makes me more interested in putting in the $$$ and it also makes you feel more like you're supporting the company. As compared to just putting in $10 to buy that single microtransaction you want.
PS. I don't think cosmetics should be able to get without putting money in
Lots of good stuff in there. It will give us a good baseline of ideas/expectations for when we have the talk internally.
Keep it up!
I'd pay for an awesome hero death animation.
I vote for (like many said in this thread)
@Sir Since you beg to disagree, I will have to grant you that right! However, I must do my own begging in return.
1st, I think from a perspective of no prior knowledge, players will indeed be in quite a restricted situation to get a feel of the different colours to begin with, but I think you create a very specific situation that might not be applicable to everyone, or even the majority of players. Hopefully, the typical GoA player has had some influence from a stream, community content or watching a tournament. Hopefully after playing a few games they have gotten an impression of the theme and capabilities of the other colours. They might think, okey, I think X colour look interesting, let me use my next deck token or some of my accumulated currency to try this out. It should be very quick to unlock an ok deck of the different colours. Almost all cardgames have this progression model, and it works for a lot of people. I want something similar, but a bit more accommodating, I think card acquisition is a bit too slow atm in games like Hearthstone.
2nd, assuming blind pick queue, or even just hero drafting, I would think that, if I build a competitive deck, which upon the starting deck shouldn't be more than 1-2 units, any additional unlocks does not really provide me with any gameplay advantages. How is a new player going to know what to get? Well, if they are serious about it they will research and find out from community content. If they don't do their research, it will probably take a bit longer. But it should be a process that feels organic. If I play a game and find out I'm missing something, like a Precognitor for example, it shouldn't take more than 3-4 games at most to just pick it up specifically. Ideally you don't have to play any additional games at all and you have already accumulated enough credits in order to unlock what you want and you just snatch up the unit.
Hopefully they will get the pacing of this iterative process right, and if they do, it's not that bad I think.
So, I disagree with your impression of the gameplay advantages that having a large card pool provides. I also disagree with your perception of the pacing that I suggest, I really feel like you chose to interpret my suggestion in its most restricting version, which is not what I want at all.
Also with skins, I'm sure there is a good balance for this, but the less intrusive they are on gameplay, the less they become worth I think. So by satisfying our goal of not having intrusive cosmetics, we are also limiting the possible income from cosmetics. That being said, there's a lot of awesome suggestions for alternative cosmetics items and effects. Love Hoolabandoola's suggestion of larger founder's pack stuff with merch! Need to scale T1 unit plushies!
On another note: I'm a 100% against in-game stat boosts like the Rune system and talent systems. I don't think unit unlocks are as bad as these.
Yeah, it almost looks like the art style has been specifically chosen to sell stuffed animals. All units are cute as fuck.
Of course, right now the progression is reasonably fast, at least compared to the worst offenders: LoL and Hearthstone. But what about when there's more heroes and units?
And also, if the progression is as fast as you suggest, there's not that much incentive to spend money on it, so we may as well remove it. Why force everyone to grind when only a small part of the player base will feel compelled to spend money on gameplay unlocks?
How much extra fun do you actually get by having gameplay unlocks versus not having them? Is it more than the extra fun you get by playing whatever you feel like whenever you want? Is it more than the sorrow I get due to the grind and the burden of researching what to buy next (I have some sort of optimization OCD)? Would you dislike a game because it has no gameplay unlocks? How much do you care about competitiveness and fairness in a PvP game, in principle, not in the "meh, I guess it's not too terrible" sense?
How do you feel about having only hero unlocks instead of heroes + units unlocks? (Of course, they could still release extra units under that system).
Haven't you already had the business model talk? By the way, do Ian, Ankur and Mark have all decision power on business matters, or there's more people on the team with enough influence?
By my tone on this forum I may seem somewhat critical with Guardians of Atlas, so I should say that the game is absolutely great both gameplay-wise and style-wise and has a lot of potential to further improve. You are pushing the RTS boundaries with a truly unique idea. I just don't want you to fuck up the business model and progression system and end up as yet another unfair, grindy and soulless free to play game.
@Sir I will admit that I haven't provided a comprehensive solution that solves everything. In particular, how do you pace it so that you provides incentives to pay as well as not being too punishing for the free player. Personally I think it is possible with quick unlocks in the beginning and slowing down towards higher levels\level cap. I could be totally wrong.
I think I'm more trying to find a solution that gives the devs an avenue to be compensated fairly because I have an interest in their cash flows going back into the game's eventual esports scene. To me giving feedback is kinda like a negotiating table, if I come demanding them to work thousands of hours and offer nothing in return, that's unlikely to result in a deal.
Personally I'd love to have everything unlocked from the get-go, and I was originally among the first who spoke out against the locking system. But I don't really see it get solved without this kind of progression system, assuming that we rule out B2P.
That being said, I do think that there is some shady psychological addicting stuff that can be achieved with a unlocking system, and I think that can be beneficial for the game. Admittedly I understand that your demographic gets shafted pretty hard in this scenario. But I think a Full Game option ala. Smite is a good compromise.
@TokOwa Any progression system is extremely powerful, and even more effective with daily quests and randomness. You can make cosmetic-driven progression systems, you don't have to use gameplay unlocks for that.
Why not? Either gameplay unlocks are meaningful and hard to get so we end up with a grindy pay to win mobile game, or they are trivial to unlock, and as such pointless and not that profitable compared to cosmetics.
I think that the assumption that cosmetics are less profitable than gameplay unlocks comes from people who buy neither of them and think that buying gameplay unlocks is more "rational" than buying cosmetics.
Hmm, I don't have anything against cosmetics, I just think there is a limitation to how much you can do cosmetics in a game like this, somewhat akin to the statements made by others above.
I don't want all cosmetics to be unlockable by gameplay, this means that potentially all the work the dev does can be attained for free. That's unreasonable. I don't mind some cosmetics unlockable by chance or progression. I don't think that there will be enough cosmetics available to make a system that you envision possible given the resources of the dev team.
I don't think it's as black and white as your second paragraph implies.
Personally I don't want to spend any money on either gameplay or cosmetics unlocks, but I understand that my views aren't representative of the whole audience. I also think that if the company does well, by providing monetization options for players who are willing to pay, it also benefits me as a F2P player. And the negative impact of having to unlock units and heroes isn't enough to outweigh the benefits of a successful Artillery.
I don't think I make any claims about the rationality of buying gameplay unlocks over cosmetic unlocks, and I don't think my opinions or suggestions hinges on those assumptions either.
unit cosmetics aside what about the map cosmetics. Purchasable themed maps or creeps wouldn't affect gamplay and could only be seen by the player purchasing it.