I just had an idea that might make free trials possible!
Free players would be spawned on their own small parcel of property. (Paid players would have this starting option as well.)
Free players would be able to do everything normally on their property, except they would not be able to leave their land or interact with other players. This way they can see the world and experience the game a little, without interfering with the actual economy. Their role in the world economy would be as if they were a private person who just kept to themselves. For them, it would be like playing a single-player game in a tiny world.
After 30 days or whatever, their account would require payment. If unpaid, or if they went inactive, their parcel of land would revert to unclaimed land and reset its resources.
What is the cost of the game? Will it be a one time price?
- I am willing to pay a one time price of $50 (like when I used to buy in stores)
- For full access of game as the updates are added every week or month or whatever.
- Paid Members
How large is the FREE plot for FREE players?
- limitations of what can be done on plot?
- I think after 30 days most would not pay unless the game was like Skyrim like.
> must have advanced trading/economy/crafting/questing system from the get go.
First Earth would have to basically be able to beat the EXPECTATIONS of a lot of free 3D games downloadable online that already include pretty much everything for free, no strings attached. .....before players would be willing to pay.
A better way is to give access to ALL players with no limitations BUT if you want to get enough and do more you will have to earn PREMIUM game currency through hard work in game to be able to have eventual access to better gear/tools etc in game.
-example: Salem The Game
Those who choose not to want to work hard can just buy the PREMIUM COINS.
- Rich people with disposable income wanting an edge
Example of Xsyon's free trial: Free players play on separate world which is reset once a week to its original state.
It was similar for Wurm Online, but it has been changed later to allow free players into real world, but with no ability to create claims, which would protect their proterties.
This change brought many new premium players to Wurm, probably because new players could see all the possibilities of the game.
Personally, I think the mix of the two, which is similar to what you proposed - free players have their own small area where they can build etc.
But they can also leave this area and travel around the world. However, when they leave it, they become invisible to other players and cannot interact with anything.
I would agree with Procne.
The Xsyon example is possibly too short a time for players to develop a 'love' of the game. To me it would be rather frustrating for a reset to occur every week.
I play Wurm (have played for over two years) and of course, like many, began as a free player. After about two weeks, able to do all of the skills (albeit at a low level) I soon began to realise that it was a game that I enjoyed.
I think that limiting what a starter player can do or where they can go would limit the chances of them becoming a Premium Player. It is all about getting the balance right and I think your idea does just that.
O played Xsyon and Wurm online. Xsyon was way to limiting and Wurm had a level cap (that really pissed me off) when I saw my swimming skill no longer going up.
I think Runescape has the best balance when if comes to free players and premium players. 70% of the world is fully accessible but a few skills and premium special quests are limited unless you upgrade. Either way, It took me 3 years to complete all the free stuff before I joined premium areas for better opportunities to make fast money in specific spots.
I still think, however, that the best way for games of the future is NO LIMITATIONS and allow two types of players to enjoy the game:
1.) Hard Workers (willing to take twice the amount of time to get to the same result as premium members) with no penalties. Obviously, it will be harder to get what you want, but at least you don't leave anyone out from enjoying the game.
2.) Wealthy Players (they buy all the options because they want to be the first to control something, do something way faster than everyone else, and are willing to pay to get enough resources or what not to get that special skill set. Obviously, these players will be way ahead of everyone, making it harder for free players to find things first, claim land and acquire resources for that first house.
Either Way, there will be enough paying players if you code the game in a way that ENTICES those that MUST have an advantage over everyone else.
If the balance is done poorly, you will end up with swarm of first time logged in players who will realize how limiting it is for free players, and just end up never coming back. personal experience, I have played 100's of games (logged in, played for a day) and then never came back because everything seemed un-reasonable. I now only play open, source, collaborative effort games because the players are involved in the process, the developers sought out a partnership with other open source and developers who know marketing ventures (donors) willing to invest in the game.
A One Time $50 price for game (for all future updates).
can't beleive I'm agreeing with Glossen, but the idea of free players having almost full access and a premium type thing to allow those who can/will pay to either advance faster or have access to better things would give you a better mix of players. once a person has played a game for a while and can see what they like about it and see how paying could help improve that they're usually willing.
for example if premium players were able to claim a parcel of land or harvest resources easier(half the work?) I'm sure people would pay for that advantage.
There are some good thoughts here, thanks everyone. I do read every post carefully even when I don't reply. I'm in agreement with Procne and Spolmit.
Regarding premium accounts. The economy is designed as pure capitalism. Premium in-world benefits would make it no longer capitalist. That would be counter to the game's design. In practice, it would cause unrealistic imbalances in the in-game economy. (This is also my reasoning for making the game subscription-based.)
Free and paid players need to be integrated in a way that's completely consistent with a capitalist economy.