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PostPosted: Thu Dec 04, 2008 11:29 am 
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My 2 cents on funding - I really really like the idea to pay for improved features while keeping full game functionality free. Though I would gladly donate on a recurring basis (why is there no monthly recurring options for donations in paypal?) the idea of required subscription fee, no matter how low, sounds very bad to me.

I know several online games I play have that option, and while I'm not sure how much revenue it draws, they all seem to manage to make the option for paid additional content available and visible without making it obligatory or obnoxious. This will allow people who really get into the game get into it all the more and let the casuals stay casuals without losing out on any of the game play experience.


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PostPosted: Sat Dec 27, 2008 12:38 am 

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Sorry for repetition - I have not been able to read all the pervious 10 pages....

Not to sound cheap, but I am not a big fan of velvet ropes or paying for services that give an advantage. I'd probably pay a little bit but don't like the disadvantage it gives some players. It seems that there are enough people interested in the details of the game that paying for "artistic extras" that do not effect the outcome of the game could be worth it. For example, paying for custom artwork (including some of the the examples you mentioned), being able to "detail" your plane, being including in some of stories (or more details in emails), having something named after your character (naming rights for the fuel stations (within certain restrictions, of course)), etc.?

Also seems like there would be interest in "swag". And I think there are ways to sell it - such as Cafe Press - that would not require a large time investment. I don't know all the specifics, but I think that all you have to do is provide the artwork and they can put it on just about anything. Not sure how large their cut is, though....

A few other comments:
-Ads are fine with me - I like how they are used by players - adds character.

-I don't pay for any online games - mostly play non-computer games.


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PostPosted: Sat Dec 27, 2008 6:02 pm 

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Lord Gilbert wrote:
Come to think of it, I'm curious how many people actually do play other games.


I've played WoW for a number of years now (as well as many other Valve, Blizzard, etc. games) and feel this is a great compliment to it. Why? Because you can come to it when you have a minute, and that's it

One thing I find great about Sky Pirates is that it knows it's a browser game. It doesn't ask for you to stare into your flight time bar urging it forward. It doesn't take you, if you're there, to repair your plane between two patrols around a skyland.

I used to play Star Pirates. I played for a few months. I had early carpools to work or needed something to do while code is compiling in computer classes at university. The problem with a lot of other MMO browser games like Star Pirates is that you need to sit there. You can make a new attack every 4 minutes. Another ability to salvage debris every few minutes. And when you could, that simply meant a screen going "you've collected/won X!" If a player attacks you, you have to sit there and do nothing for 15 minutes while your ship repairs. Your pleasure can be determined by how fast your browser loads.

With Skyrates, player skill reigns. And when you sit down, you might have two pirate fights right there - and you have to fight off six planes, doing barrel rolls and loops and airbrakes - and worry about blacking out! When you win a fight against a thunderbolt, you feel it.

Skyrates compliments WoW well. I'm a bit obsessive with playing WoW, and I'm already in raids (10-40 people acting in unision). When there's a bathroom/food break, or if strategies are being explained between fights, I can immediately tab WoW, load up Skyrates, and have three dogfights above a skyland, plot a new course, and tab back in to WoW to kick {static}.

That's Skyrates' strength. It's great fun while you're playing it, and if you're friend knocks on your door because they're inviting you to a dinner out, your thoughts don't turn to "but I need to go upgrade my shields, the cooldown's almost up!"

Because Skyrates is a browser game. And it knows that.


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PostPosted: Mon Dec 29, 2008 7:50 pm 

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The reason I don't play MMOs is because I know that if I were to get bored and quit, I'm now wasting money. The point at which I pay for time on a game, not just the game itself, is the point where I stop. I've often wanted to play Eve Online, but I stop myself because paying per month is ludicrous for a college student, or (IMO) for anyone. I bought the game; why do I have to keep buying?

If Skyrates had a one-time fee, I'd totally pay it because I'm now part of the community and really want to keep playing. I'd pay as much for it as for many other computer games.

Also...OMG MODELS?! Can has Hades now kthnxbai? I'll paint it and hug it and love it and call it Thanatos...


You know, the merchandise thing would make you guys money from the dedicated community. :)


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PostPosted: Tue Dec 30, 2008 9:21 am 

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I play one other online game and it's a text based MMORPG. What they do for income is offer what are called "credits" which are an alternative form of currency that can be used to purchase various things that can be purchased using solely credits(IE artifacts, houses, pets, customized descriptions etc.) but there's also a built in market wherein you can exchange IC currency for credits. That sort of avoids the whole issue of having people with more money being vastly overpowered as there's a mechanic that allows for those who are dedicated to be on par with the credit buyers.


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 Post subject: A bit behind but.
PostPosted: Thu Jan 29, 2009 3:37 pm 

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Well I'm new to the game, but i'm already taken by it! Heh, I've been playing for only a few days and I already care enough to have read every single post on this thread and think about all the options.

The thing I really don't get is why people are willing to donate large amounts of money, or purchase frivolous items, or whatever, but the second that money is officially put towards a status upgrade they balk. I agree that money shouldn't effect the quality of the planes or basic gameplay, but having some nice features on top that can reward people willing to chip in for the devs!

Quote:
Though I would gladly donate on a recurring basis (why is there no monthly recurring options for donations in paypal?) the idea of required subscription fee, no matter how low, sounds very bad to me.

This confuses me a lot. You'd be willing to donate money every month unless the devs asked you to do it?

I hate to break it to people, but the reason recurring payments exist for games like WoW is because running them isn't free. Server cost, bug fixing, balancing and adding of new features all take dev time. You don't pay for mario over and over, because once its shipped to you they're done with it.

And please don't give me the broke argument. You guys can't seriously tell me that you wouldn't be able to scrape together something like $5 a month to get a few features and support a game you love. You pay twice as much to go out to a movie!
:razz:

All in all, I think the aesthetic improvements for money is an excellent plan (look at Nexon, they're a full company running on that plan), ads is a good plan, Pirate themed merchandise can never go wrong heh, and having a higher tier service for paying customers is a good plan. Just keep the core gameplay free and you've got a winning combo me thinks!

I'd rather the Devs be able to make this game a full time passion so that it can live up to all its potential. If that means I have to skip a large coffee each month and shell out a few bucks so I can have a pretty page, so be it! Its just like donating only the Devs reward ya for it!

:remygrin:


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 29, 2009 6:57 pm 

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The thing is, you're right. We could all scrape together an non-exorbitant amount of cash (9.99 a month?) for the game. However, I think a lot of people would be scared from that. It's an elephant-mouse situation, really. But I can't truthfully say I wouldn't join the elephants. It's easy to take things like this for granted. I think we've all done this in some way, and so, now that we've been faced with the idea that we might have to pay for something that was once free, we are balking. It's not irrational, it's human nature. I agree that paying for the game would be possible, I don't believe it is practical. I'd be put off slightly, and I'd certainly expect a great deal of improvement in the game. I would not pay for the game the way it is now. But a more involved, and fine-tuned version... well, that could be a possibility. I believe that cost and quality are two varying factors, and are specific to the life and status of each player. That said, I think that, given improvement, I'd pay.


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 Post subject: Re: A bit behind but.
PostPosted: Fri Jan 30, 2009 6:51 pm 
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Vitzkrieg wrote:
This confuses me a lot. You'd be willing to donate money every month unless the devs asked you to do it?


That sort of sentiment seems purely a principle sort of thing, weird, I agree. Speaking for myself though, as soon as there's a mandatory subscription attached to something, my mind will start comparing it to other things I pay money for.

For instance (because its in the ballpark of $10): do I want to play skyrates or have a netflix subscription? Or watch a movie in theater every month? Even if I can afford both, my mind will think things like this, and I would probably drop skyrates. A donation becomes more palatable because since I'm not obliged to do anything the need to compare things is reduced.

On the other hand, I have not donated yet, so there's obviously a problem with sustainability with that model.


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 Post subject: Re: A bit behind but.
PostPosted: Fri Jan 30, 2009 7:23 pm 

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Vitzkrieg wrote:
And please don't give me the broke argument. You guys can't seriously tell me that you wouldn't be able to scrape together something like $5 a month to get a few features and support a game you love. You pay twice as much to go out to a movie!
:razz:


Well, say you are going through a tough time finacially, and can't spend $5 on a game, then you are hosed for a month. And what if you have no source of income because of age or otherwise, then your parents have the say in it and would probably tell you off so they dont have to shell out five bucks and have you sit at the computer all day. I don't think that most parents would pay someone to help their kids be lazy(er). With donations, why is it that you are complaining about not having a set payment plan if you could just do that yourself for any amount you would like.

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PostPosted: Fri Jan 30, 2009 11:34 pm 

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Really, I'm quite new here, but I'm all about finding new angles or different ways to make money on games like this. Forward-thinking financial schemes are always of import to an endeavor like Skyrates, so here're a few wild thoughts that have crossed my mind.

A) Microtransaction that does not require time. Something relatively cheap; $5 buys you 5000 Skyrates points, which allows you to buy passes through certain territories. Say there are a few fueling stations controlled by the enemy which are a jumping-point between two major economic movers and shakers; in order to get between the two without a scrip of free passage, one would have to fly twice as far, but with the ticket in hand, one can make a hop over that island a set number of times per five minutes. Thing here is that one could buy these tickets with in-game cash, too. So you either pay a (relatively high) in-game fee to use a certain service station hop, or you can pay a (cheap, perhaps a nickel) real-life coin fee to use the same stop. This would allow quick passage between to be more lucrative for some, while free players could still benefit without gaining quite as much due to the high in-game fee. Balancing costs here would be vital, but I could see myself tossing five dollars into the account every once in a while to make use of such shortcuts.

B) Transactions to gain entry to certain areas. This is in the style of velvet-rope, but it doesn't work quite the same. First of all, I'd have these costs be non time-based; buying a license that expires in 30 days, to me, is akin to spending money on nothing; I like to have something unlocked for good once it's unlocked, so long as the cost in real money doesn't run too high. Say, for example, there's a particular island or set of islands which boast a simulator, an arena, or a free-market station.

A simulator would allow one to gain experience and skill without the risks or benefits of actual flight. These simulators would range in difficulty, and be priced accordingly, so that a rookie sim keycard would sell for $2.00 and allow one to tool around and gain a few first-tier skills, an intermediate sim keycard would sell for $5.00 and allow one to use the higher-up sims, and so on. To dissuade new players from buying a big sim keycard and that's all, the more expensive sims would be impossible to complete as a low-level character, and therefore afford no experience for time spent.

The arena would be similar, except with the spoils, cash, and risk attached; folks like me want to jump in and gun something down, and having that option closeby at all times would be a great reason for me to jump online more than once or twice a month as a passing fancy. Again, low, mid-low, mid, mid-high and high tier passes would be on sale for this type of zone.

Free-market stations would be a tad different; they'd be like a traders' guild, and they would essentially give a person a certain (read: one to three) number of 'charges' per day which would allow them to sell above or below normal price. If bread is green, you burn one Free Trade charge for that day and buy as though bread is purple, then run to an area where it's yellow, burn another, and sell as though it's red. Maximize profit while making use of the slots' worth of Free Trade points one buys. The first slot sells relatively cheap, the the second significantly less so, and the third and fourth ramping up from there. Being able to make a trade run that much more lucrative would be of import to a serious player; as a casual person, I'd be much more likely to buy one and toddle around with that, using it to occasionally boost my earning power. Like the others, this would improve incoming TP (I believe), and therefore function as a way to get a little more money as well as bolstering the experience gained from trade by a small amount.

Each of these passes could be purchased for in-game currency, but again, it would be much more expensive, and in-game purchased passes would be time-sensitive, while any tier of pass already bought on an account would remain active throughout the account's life, allowing all characters thereon to benefit.

C)Slots for actual custom avatars. I'm a furry artist. I want to draw my own avatar. I'm willing to pay for that privilege. Having a warning panel active for folks who decide inappropriate avatars are funny is likely a good idea, though, and I would say that doing a more thorough investigation of the cost of essentially allocating another 100k of space to each active account would be; if the cost is significant enough, making this a pay-per-month option would be a good idea, hopefully with an option to pay, I don't know, 10 months' worth for a permanent slot.

D)For the truly hardcore, it may be worthwhile to have custom logo or paint jobs available. I have no realistic idea of the cost of such a thing, but for a price, one could submit a simple graphic to be used as an emblem on the wings of their planes. This would require an actual person, and I'm not sure if it's a feasible idea in terms of cost. It would be relatively expensive, but, for example, remapping each of the in-combat plane graphics to include an (ordinarily invisible) blank slot on both wings which could have any square image of a certain size put inside might work well. This would be a nice way for guilds to really set themselves apart from others, and it would be a nice way to have the more hardcore groups pay a nice bit of extra for their experience. Akin to the custom sails in Pirates of the Burning Sea, I suppose.

E) Premium Species. Having a few options for more ferocious-looking or mythical creatures would be interesting; I know Furcadia has made a good amount on glowing avatars, wings, and the like, and I believe that having dragons, herps, phoenixes, or so forth would be fun. Having an extra mechanic in combat would also be interesting, and bolster interest in such a thing; having dragons able to spit flames out the sides of their cockpit during combat might turn out neat, but it would be quite short-range, and a slow-acting DoT, perhaps, to help it balance out.

F) Another suggestion for hardcore players: some variety of skybase for one's own use, with its own requisite (and likely quite expensive) cost in actual dollars for maintenance. Service, fuel and ammo bought at player-run stations could go to bolstering their in-game economic power, while their players would pay actual money to maintain the area. High-traffic or high-interest areas would be more expensive to buy and maintain, while folks out in the boonies wouldn't pay much. This could also unlock an R&D department where money could be spent to upgrade parts, or even open up a section of the site wherein one designs custom parts. This is extremely ambitious, of course, and may only come around once you guys are well-entrenched and have the time and leisure to create such a system.

G) Another facet of a pay-for-ingame-community system, perhaps one could (and this would have to be expensive as well) create and run their own weapons contractor. Heavy Weapons, Inc. shows up beneath my little starter Machine Gun; it might be neat to have a Kerras Industries brand under a slightly-modified gun. Zero-sum crafting here is likely the key, but being able to create a line of weapons for distribution from your own air station would be interesting, as would the capacity to, say, have it established that your personal line of weapons tend to be faster-firing and longer-ranged than the competition, but with a significantly more choked firing arc or a minimum range involved. This could be used to create some interesting, emergent effects, and gameplay to follow them. Plus, anytime someone buys or sells one of your guns, you get royalties!

All sorts of interesting possibilities, given enough money to develop and test them. Sorry if all this has been said before; I didn't have the time to go through the entire post, and am something of a newbie. >_>;


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 Post subject: Re: A bit behind but.
PostPosted: Sat Jan 31, 2009 3:37 pm 

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Vitzkrieg wrote:
Quote:
Though I would gladly donate on a recurring basis (why is there no monthly recurring options for donations in paypal?) the idea of required subscription fee, no matter how low, sounds very bad to me.

This confuses me a lot. You'd be willing to donate money every month unless the devs asked you to do it?


When the OP has money, s/he'll pay some cash. Indeed, s/he'll do it monthly, even. They just don't want it to turn into a game where monthly money is required from anyone. It actually makes perfect sense, but you sound like you're on a tear.

Vitzkrieg wrote:
And please don't give me the broke argument. You guys can't seriously tell me that you wouldn't be able to scrape together something like $5 a month to get a few features and support a game you love. You pay twice as much to go out to a movie!
:razz: :


No, actually, I don't. I'm on unemployment. I also don't get pedicures, buy a coffee at Starbucks, buy a package of brand name cookies, or any of the many little things people casually mentioned as things 'you do', that are so readily thrown out by people who believe their privilege to be the norm.

Until I can pay rent again, I certainly am not going to pay for a game, even one that keeps me sane like skyrates does. If skyrates were to go pay (which I don't think is a risk at all right now), I would sadly drift off to one of the many other free games that I can play when I need a break from hours a day of job hunting.

Thes.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Feb 01, 2009 12:21 am 

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Thespian is right on the money here. ( Pun intended ;) )
There are a lot of people who can and would donate monthly, but making it a requirement automatically excludes everyone who can't - which is also people from around the world who don't have easy access to online-payment methods, people still in school who don't have their own credit cards, and people who just don't have money for trivial expenditures.

Of course, I'm pretty sure the devs have no intention of making Skyrates pay-to-play, so that's ok.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Feb 01, 2009 1:39 pm 

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Jainey wrote:
stuff


So you're saying that the people with the most money should be able to be better than everyone else if the spend it on this game? I think there are enough games like that to go around, so why make a great game so crooked as to make it money based?

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Feb 01, 2009 3:53 pm 

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Bob The Psycho of Doom wrote:
So you're saying that the people with the most money should be able to be better than everyone else if the spend it on this game? I think there are enough games like that to go around, so why make a great game so crooked as to make it money based?


Skyrates is, essentially, a single player experience. So it wouldn't really bother me if there were people out there with an 'unfair' advantage. Because that advantage for them does not translate into a disadvantage for me.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Feb 01, 2009 10:17 pm 

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Grant wrote:
Skyrates is, essentially, a single player experience. So it wouldn't really bother me if there were people out there with an 'unfair' advantage. Because that advantage for them does not translate into a disadvantage for me.


A good deal of Skyrates feels single-player, as far as the gameplay goes - combat is strictly single-player. Trading is affected by other players' actions, but at a certain point, it's pretty hard to pick out one player's effect on all the others.

Influence, however, is players competing directly with each other, on a factional or personal level. And like it or not, influence is part of the game, and much-beloved by many players. Because of this, giving any competitive advantage (shortcuts between skylands, velvet rope access to certain geographic areas, better planes) to paying customers creates an imbalance.

I don't feel that this situation would be fair, enjoyable, or good for the game's sense of community.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Feb 01, 2009 10:41 pm 

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Yeah, but influence is similar to trading, in that the effects of a single player are hopelessly lost in the total. Presumably there wouldn't be a 'pay only' faction, either, so how would things be unfair? No less fair than they are now.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Feb 01, 2009 10:43 pm 
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Grant wrote:
Yeah, but influence is similar to trading, in that the effects of a single player are hopelessly lost in the total.


BV is probably spinning in his grave.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Feb 02, 2009 8:16 am 
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Beav's not dead, he just walked quietly away.

And yeah, Knappe's right. Individual influence runners can and do make huge differences. Last round over a quarter of all weekly influence was being put up by the top ten runners. Not to mention that governorship contests are entirely between individuals.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Feb 02, 2009 11:07 am 

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Grant wrote:
Presumably there wouldn't be a 'pay only' faction, either, so how would things be unfair? No less fair than they are now.


I don't think you appreciate how competitive some individuals and factions are in the influence arena. I don't doubt for an instant that if there was an advantage to be had by spending cash, many individuals and some factions would be reenacting the Cold War - at least, the spiraling "defense" budgets part of it. That would effectively exclude the cash-strapped from roughly a quarter* of the Skyrates gaming experience.

Maybe that situation seems reasonable to others; it doesn't seem so to me.

(*This is not to say that running influence is necessary to enjoy Skyrates, or that a fourth of all Skyrates players run influence, or anything like that. I simply mean that influence running is one of three or four major ways in which to play and compete against one's peers while playing Skyrates)

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Feb 02, 2009 12:34 pm 

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Knappekat wrote:
I don't think you appreciate how competitive some individuals and factions are in the influence arena.


You're right, I don't.

I don't think this is a concern for most players (the same most players that don't read the forum). If it ruins it for a few players, but pays for the servers, then I guess that's okay with me.

Even so, it's not necessarily a 'pay for influence'/'wins go to the highest bidder' situation; Even if paying the subscription/whatever is required to be a TOP INF PLAYER, it could be something like $5 a month for the most benefit possible.


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