I saw it mentioned but couldn't see the source, although I see it's now been posted. I'm mostly surprised it's taken them this long to offer a pay-for-perks mode, although the way it's described does rather remind me of the Penny Arcade "Disparities". If they make the free players too weak I don't know how much benefit they'll get from the change. But I wouldn't mind spending an hour or two there to see what all the fuss is about.
17 Dec, 2012, Hades_Kane wrote in the 3rd comment:
Is this "Gemstone III: Dragon Realms" ?
If so, that was actually my introduction into MUDs and my first MUD, back in 1996 when it had a link on the front page of the games section on AOL.
I might have to pop in, and see if my vague, old memories of it are jogged at all :p All I can seem to remember are a large starting town with a bank or inn near the square, a trail leading north, and old house with a goblin, and getting an old wooden stick.
I still think back in awe sometimes of the magic those games seemed to have held in my early days of MUDing. Even something as simple as finding a wooden stick felt like an entire new world opening up.
It's kind of a shame knowing that even with as much of a part of my life MUDing has been over the last 13 years, it'll never have that magic or sense of discovery that it once did.
18 Dec, 2012, Hades_Kane wrote in the 5th comment:
I didn't consistently MUD after 1996… I played DR for a few months before my noobish ways got me kicked from both the game and AOL (separate incidences).
It wasn't until a couple of years later I discovered zMUD and it's built in list of games, and later MUD Connector. I first MUDed 16 years ago, but it's been between 13 and 14 that it's been a primary hobby.
I could sit and tweak this post for another week, but I'm going to go ahead and stop messing with it and post it now.
We've talked about this in the past a bit and now it's time to talk a little more about it, because it's getting ready to happen.
Before I get into details and specifics, I'm going to state (or more correctly, re-state) a few things I said in the past that are very important to keep in mind.
1) The plan here is NOT to remove any abilities, features, or benefits from any subscriber levels. Merely to add options for those who wish to avail themselves of them.
2) Nor are we planning to increase the price for a Basic or Premium or Platinum subscription.
3) The ultimate goal is to eventually separate out as many things as possible so that we can end up with an option to play DR using a completely free subscription. It will not be the equivalent of a basic subscription as it stands now, but free subscribers would be able to improve their experience by obtaining the features that are important to them. (Note, if they were to purchase all the features individually to mimic a basic subscription, it would end up being cheaper to just subscribe, which is the entire point.)
4) We are also planning on adding some bonuses and perks for being a long-term BASIC subscriber.
5) This will not affect the billing cycle for your subscription(s) in any way. Nothing about your billing time or date will be changed. If you do participate in what we're about to talk about, however, you WILL incur charges that will be processed "instantly". (More on that in a bit.)
On Tuesday, we plan on re-opening the new Play.Net store and begin our foray into the world of Micro-Transactions. The DR store will open first and the GS store will open later.
For those who don't understand what MicroTrans is or how it works, lemme sum up:
When we open the new store, we'll be selling packages of SimuCoins in various sizes/amounts. You can purchase a few, or you can purchase a lot. If you plan to spend lots of them at some point and buy one of the larger blocks, you'll get bonus SCoins. If you just want a few for now, you can just buy one of the smaller packages. You can also choose not to buy any at all, of course.
We have updated our billing system and worked with our payment processing company so that when you purchase SCoins, that transaction is verified and authorized instantly (or virtually instantly). Those coins can then be spent in-game for various special items, bonuses, and benefits. The coins are NOT transferrable, but many of the things we'll be selling are. The fact is, we (and all games out there) have customers with lots of RL money and not a lot of time and we have customers who have lots of time and less RL Money. So if you have lots of plats and don't particularly want to spend any extra money on SCoins, the idea is that you will be able to find people who are willing to buy them and then sell SCoin items to other players (i.e., you) for plats.
Eventually, we'll also be updating the Box Office so that event tickets can/will take SimuCoins (and we're planning on letting folks spend spare/leftover coins to discount event tickets, too). The huge benefit with that change will be that we won't have to shut off ticket sales for anything a day in advance anymore. If you want to jump into a quest or event at the last second, you'll just spend your SCoins and instantly be eligible to attend the event. No more REPORTing at the last minute or missing out on an event if I'm not around to manually add folks to an event. This will also allow us to create future quests that you can "spin up" whenever you want, so if you get a few friends together and want to run through the Prison or Akigwe's Tower, you can, without having to contact quests or billing or anything like that.
The coins themselves will never expire and aren't physical items that you have to keep up with in-game, so they can't be stolen or lost or "oopsed" away (unless you spend them, of course). There are some things sold for SCoins that will be permanent and some that will be temporary, either lasting a set number of charges or a certain number of days. There will be some that affect your entire account and there will be some that are good for one character.
It's important to also mention that in many cases, similar items will STILL be available in auctions, as quest prizes, as crafting patterns, as randomly found treasure, or as other types of rewards, available purely for in-game coin (or Hollow Eve tickets or Prison Scrip or whatever). There will be multiple tiers of these items, just like there are tiers of weapons or armor. Randomly found items will be of lower quality or capacity than special merchant versions. Quest Loot will be better, Special Auction versions will be better, and SCoin store items will be even better. I'm also going to say that SOME items will only be available for purchase with SCoins, some will be available for Scoins or LTBs/Premium Points, and some will remain available for LTBs/Premium Points only.
Items will range in cost, depending on their power level, charges, effectiveness, rarity, etc.
When we open the store, the first items intend to sell are:
* Jump Jewelry - Each individual piece will work for 30 days from the date of purchase and then become inert. They will initially come with 30 charges and then can be recharged an unlimited number of times during their lifespan. Once purchased, the jewelry can be freely sold, traded, or given to whoever the purchaser wants. (We're leaving them rechargable, at least for now, so that there's a bit of player interaction preserved.) We'll probably also eventually sell JJs that have a finite number of charges for those who don't play a LOT during 30 days, so you can keep them and use them until they wear out. We might even offer permanent ones at some point in the future. To give you some idea of a price range, these could range anywhere from somewhere around a dollar and up, depending on their lifespan/charges, etc.
* In-Home Storage Items/Containers - For Premium Homes only, the initial plan is that these will be limited edition items and might sometimes also be limited quantity. We can have "Items of the Month" and can rotate between items that take up different slots (bed, wall, table, etc.). We can do sets/themed items, items that commemorate events, or items that are specific to certain times of the year. These are going to be more expensive than the JJs, because we're talking about permanent increased storage capacity.
* Portable Forge Wands - Like the JJs, these will be fully transferrable (or even shareable) and we'll probably offer them in two formats: X number of days and X number of uses. As mentioned before, they'll be better than the ones sold at auction. These will be more expensive than JJs, less than the storage items, again, depending on their lifespan/charges/potency.
Other items that will be sold fairly soon consist of:
* Crafting Storage - This will be like vaults inside the crafting halls that will only accept materials, resources, and crafting implements. (No more lugging all that stuff around with you all the time!) * Vault Slots - Sold in blocks of 25, available for anyone (up to a limit, of course). We'll probably offer options for 30/90/180 days and maybe even permanent. I'll also say that we're going to be adding a few slots for free to all Basic Subscribers based on how long you've been active, as a bonus and a thank you. * Skillset Boosters - Instead of a simple skill or all skills (like RPAs), these will boost specific skillsets (Combat, Survival, etc) * Summonable "golems" - Some might help you carry things, some might offer healing, some might offer repairs, etc. * Refreshing Droughts - Stamina boosts, mana boosts, etc.
Items that will be sold when we're closer to a "Free DR Subscription" only for those who want to play DR for free (and it should be obvious why they'll cost SCoins) include:
* Experience boosts * "Normal" Bank Account * Vault access * Homes * Provincial Passports * Increasing your circle cap * Access passes to certain hunting areas * EXP Drain while logged out * and others
Again, these will only be available to people who are playing for FREE. Those of you who are subscribing won't see a change in the benefits from your subscription, but those who are not paying anything will be missing out on certain things (unless they want to a la carte them…or subscribe).
Other items that we're considering (but no promises) selling:
* Freeing up a specific qualifying name from a qualifying cancelled account - Qualifying accounts will have to have been closed for a certain amount of time and the qualifying characters will have to be below a certain circle or played for less than a certain amount of time. This won't preclude us from doing a purge in the future, but if you have a specific name in mind and you don't want to fight someone else for it, this might be a good option for you. * Character Name Changes - I'll repeat…considering * Character Portraits - These would have to go through an approval process, but I'm looking into allowing folks to submit a picture that they've drawn or commissioned that people will see when you LOOK at their character (provided you're using a compatible front end, of course). Note that I'm also going to be looking for artists that want to work with us to take commissions (again, providing they meet certain quality and content standards). * More - To a reasonable extent, the doors are open for suggestions.
We're probably going to give everyone a few SCoins to start out, if for no other reason than as a thank you for being a subscriber and a thank you for waiting so patiently for X3 to be released. It's also possible that we might run occasional promos for coins and might even give out a few coins to subscribers each month (extra for Premium and Platinum). No promises on those last two, but it is something I'm looking into.
Folks, don't panic about this. Bottom line, this is going to be a GOOD thing and when we ultimately get to the point of a Free DR Option, it'll be even better.
We're going to have a new category and a few topics set up in the Simutronics forums so that we have a centralized location to talk about this, but until then, we'll open things up here for discussion, comments, etc.
So after searching around and reading various threads, it looks like the whole "free to play" thing is more of a (very) long-term possibility, maybe, assuming that their microtransaction system is profitable.
But for the time being, it seems they'll just be introducing the microtransaction system - you can buy blocks of "SCoins" to spend on various things, similar to IRE I guess, except that you'll also have to pay the subscription (starting at $15 per month for a basic account, up to $50 per month for platinum). Quests cost extra of course.
In short, it looks like they want to double-dip on payment models - they obviously like the idea of getting extra cash from microtransactions, but they don't want their players to stop paying monthly subscriptions.