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(Heated Discussion) Free to Play Solution

Discussion in 'UHall' started by tatey, May 27, 2011.

  1. tatey

    tatey Guest

    Inspired by another forum (by user facattac) who was inspired by other game models, this idea could work really well to bring people and money back to Ultima Online:

    Among all of the regular subscription and paid servers, EA will add another server that is accessible by anybody (paid or not). Anybody can download the game, patch it, and play on this one server for free. No character transfers are allowed to the server, however, characters with their skills only are allowed to transfer off. This way, all of the paid servers are left intact and unaffected by the free to play.

    What does this mean?

    Any previous/returning player, and any new player, can get a feel for what the current Ultima Online looks and feels like. They can play on this server for as long as they wish. The server itself will feel partially like the Test Center (meaning that although it's fun, it's not the same authentic experience as a paid server). If the returning player or new player decides to reactivate or set up a new paid account, they have the option to transfer the character that they built on the free server to one of the paid servers for a discounted rate. The transfer would include the character and skills only (no items).

    If the character transfer option did not exist, then the incentive for someone to pay for an account and "start all over again" would be diminished. But if you offer a cheap transfer, it could be very worthwhile.

    Thoughts?
     
  2. TheMac

    TheMac Guest

    Re: [Heated Discussion] Free to Play Solution

    personally i think people would farm the "free server" because likely there would be no gm support or very little. and if everyone there was "new" or returning then people would have an obvious advantage. thats just my 2 cents.
     
  3. tatey

    tatey Guest

    Re: [Heated Discussion] Free to Play Solution

    Thanks for the reply!

    That's totally fine though, people can farm away on the free server, the items are useless there anyways. It would be like the test server with regards to items, they're not valuable. As items can't be transferred off the server, only the character with skills. I don't see anybody buying and selling items on the test center :)

    In fact, it may be the case that when you create a character on the free server, you are given a set of items to get you started. The focus on the free server would be to stir up interest in the game, and get people to want to transfer off the free server to the paid ones.
     
  4. Re: [Heated Discussion] Free to Play Solution

    You could also go with a lower total skill (or cap on the skills) cap. Say 500 total skills, or 80 skill cap instead of 100.

    It would give you access to SOME of the game, but not free access to all of it. You could play for free, yes, with the major handicaps (no access to high level spells, weaker against mobs than a normal player would be.)

    Imbuing would be near worthless with an 80 cap, yes. Which is also part of the point.

    NOW. Also. If someone wanted to know what their skills would be like without the handicaps. They could sign up for a Trial (14 day) account and log into a normal shard, work the skills... or...

    ...simply log into Test Center.

    TEST CENTER, should not. SHOULD NOT, be available, for any reason. On the Free to Play accounts. All they should have access to is their own handicapped shard.

    Again, the Free Shard's ONLY purpose would be to draw new players to the game. Not to promote playing mainly on a free shard.
     
  5. Woodsman

    Woodsman Guest

    Re: [Heated Discussion] Free to Play Solution

    Basically an endless trial on a restricted shard, interesting, except that they have problems maintaining separate rulesets between the existing shards and Siege/Mugen.

    The problems with attracting new players still exist regardless of a free shard or the 14 day trial we currently have.
     
  6. tatey

    tatey Guest

    Re: [Heated Discussion] Free to Play Solution

    Those are great ideas too. Capping the skill points I think would be a great idea, maybe not as low as 80, maybe just to 100... but whatever, the specifics are just that... specifics. But the idea is right on, that's a great way to make the server exactly as you say... incentive to promote the game, not just the free server. I think everyone would agree that we don't want the majority of people to make the free server their home.
     
  7. tatey

    tatey Guest

    Re: [Heated Discussion] Free to Play Solution

    I see your point, but I only think that it's partly true. There is a huge population of people that play a wide range of free UO servers (and for specific reasons, some of which are reason enough to not bring those players back to UO regardless), but I think there is a large population of people that are simply interested in the game and a fourteen day trial might not be enough to spark the interest. The game takes a little bit of time to grow on you (or at least it did for me).

    Also, with a bigger population interested in the free server. That's a lot of people that could be converted into paying accounts if EA listened to their demands. I think it puts a tangible goal for development. If I was a developer and actually saw how populated a free server was, I'd wonder why they don't pay for a regular one, then I would work to fulfill those demands.

    But maybe not! Either way I think it would be a good idea to introduce people to the game.
     
  8. ChReuter

    ChReuter Guest

    Re: [Heated Discussion] Free to Play Solution

    I've not yet seen a logical arguement why F2P would save UO or even why some people are so interested in it. I surely hope it's not that some people who play are having a hard time paying the monthly bill, because if that's the case than maybe a MMO of any sort is not in your best interest at this time.
     
  9. tatey

    tatey Guest

    Re: [Heated Discussion] Free to Play Solution

    So then do you see a reason why we shouldn't have a free to play server separate of the normal ones? There are only positives that I can think of, or that have been brought up, so far.

    Free to play makes the game more accessible to more people. If you had to pay $13 to try something, that you didn't even know if you would like, would you? Some people would, some people wouldn't.
     
  10. Woodsman

    Woodsman Guest

    Re: [Heated Discussion] Free to Play Solution

    EA could just extend the current trial accounts to two months. People could get access to all shards, but like the current trial account, they couldn't own a home, access Fel or some of the other areas, or go above certain stats. Those three things are things that you wouldn't want free/new players to have anyways. You definitely wouldn't want new players on a trial/free account wandering into Fel.

    It would be easy to change the 14 days to 60 days, and 60 days should be enough time for somebody to figure out if they find UO worth paying $10 a month for. If 60 days is not enough time, make it 90 days or even 120 days.

    UO's trial is very good compared to other games, and extending it would be so much easier than some kind of new pay model or brand new shard. I don't know why people don't push for some kind of extension on the trial.
     
  11. Re: [Heated Discussion] Free to Play Solution

    *ahem*
    We would want the peeps that >would risk< one monthly fee(2 starbucks)
    there is already a 14 day "free trial"

    Your idea, makes the fee payers >pay for< the slackers on the free shard
    (it is a math / real world thing) (the trial plays on existing shards under the ruleset)

    You (it seems) propose a fully enabled "free shard" that they can stay on as long as they like(are you gonna prevent fee payers from playing there? how ??)
    would need to tie it into the Housing server ... see "one house for siege WITH one house on another prodo shard" <<problem
    The land on the free shard ... would fill up ...with a bunch of "just in case" housing <<problem
    If ya can have a house there ... and pay no monthly fee ... ALOT of fee payers ... would set up house >there< because there are no "barriers" to RMT
    and there likely ARE going to be a LOT of free loaders there
    Economy trashed in short weeks (rmt doesn't care WHERE the money/suckers come from ... they'll go where ever a market opens)
    All the prodo shard scripts/hacks and scams will work there
    just a larger set of noobs to exploit. <<problem

    TC is a cess pool due to lack of GM support
    and, although there is recent mention of "coming improvements" for prodo shards
    Guess where the bulk of GM calls will come from?
    Your proposed free shard ... with its larger set of permanoobs AND cheapo prodo converts
    (again: how could you >separate/identify< a free shard vs prodo account?)

    *shrugs*
    btw ...
    Which prodo shard and how long ... have you played? Napa? :lol:
    :danceb:
     
  12. popps

    popps Always Present
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    Re: [Heated Discussion] Free to Play Solution



    I assume that upon transfering from the "free" server to a regular server, the character will be stripped of ALL armor, weapons, pets being rided AND also of any and all 105, 110, 115 or 120 skill CAPs they had.

    Bottom line is, be able to transfer ONLY a stripped character (not even clothes as some like robes, cloaks can be replicas with good stats or aprons like tangle and crimson....) and with AT THE MOST skills up to 100 points (GM).

    But then, I wonder, why bother ?

    Just provide to a player deciding to play on a regular server after trying out a free server, an ADVANCED token which raises the wanted skills up to 85 which is quite close to 100.......

    Also, there are already out there player run, unsupported servers so, all those wanting to "try out" UO before paying for it on a regular shard have the chance.

    Bottom line is, I do not see much of a point to make a free to play server.
     
  13. Mongbat137

    Mongbat137 Visitor

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    Re: [Heated Discussion] Free to Play Solution

    By the way, Age of Conan just announced that it's going free-to-play soon. Just like Everquest 2, Lord of the Rings Online, D&D Online...

    But hey it's all a fad and I'm sure this F2P stuff will all blow over, right? lol
     
  14. Re: [Heated Discussion] Free to Play Solution

    To the OP- I like this idea, sounds reasonable good thinking :D


    I like this addition also!

    Personally I don't see it happening, but I think it could draw in new interest in the game so lets hope they atleast think about it for 5 minutes :D
     
  15. Re: [Heated Discussion] Free to Play Solution

    The problem with that is the new player will get boosted in skills without having to do anything, making them work up there skills on there own will give them a feel for the game, guaranteed on the free server people will help each other raise there skills and new friendships will be formed :D
     
  16. Siteswap

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    Re: [Heated Discussion] Free to Play Solution

    Is that quite right? The player could only transfer to a regular production shard if they upgraded to a paid account. As soon as they upgraded to a paid account then they could use powerscrolls on the freeshard and why wouldnt you let them carry that across the cap increase from used powerscrolls to the production shard? What we are talking about here is NON ITEM TRANSFER ... whether that be pets, gold, unused PS's or any item for that matter.
     
  17. Siteswap

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    Re: [Heated Discussion] Free to Play Solution

    The free trial accounts are already abused and used for many nefarious activities on current prodo shards. Why would you want to further increase the problem by extending to 2 months?

    The freeshard suggestion here provides a very good solution, without the current trial account problems, and without compromising the existing prodo shards.
     
  18. Woodsman

    Woodsman Guest

    Re: [Heated Discussion] Free to Play Solution

    If we assume that free accounts will be abused, then we should be really strict.

    The OP mentions only allowing skills to be transferred and no items or anything else, but I'd go further and say the skills would need to be capped. Otherwise, there is nothing is to stop scripters from using a free shard to build up a bunch of accounts and then sell those accounts. People are selling accounts all the time as it is or offering powerleveling services on other sites, and you would be making it so that they could make these accounts for free.
     
  19. Lord Raven

    Lord Raven Seasoned Veteran
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    Servers and software cost $$ to maintain so a free server might be free to the players, but it will cost someone $$. Since EA isn't a charity, that means the costs to operate, maintain and support these "free" servers would fall to the regular subscribers.

    The game is free to download, and comes with a 14-day free trial.

    I have reservations about seperating new players from vets, as this game takes a lot of time to learn. Right now, new players can ask questions in town, and interact with other players. They can also hook up with a guild that can really help them get started.

    If they were all stuck on a new player free shard, who is going to help them? I also oppose the plans for UO to have a seperate new player area for the same reasons.

    Who is going to want to spend time developing a "throw away" character, then start all over again if they decide to pay?

    I think the existing system is fine as it is. However...

    EA could make the Test Center the free shard. There, new players could experiment with different templates, see all the goodies available to paying players, while learing the game with experienced players. Since player info on the Test Center gets wiped and there are no transfers, that seems like a fair place to start.

    The Test Center servers are already set up and running, and would not pose additional expense to EA. You can't underestimate player interaction as a key element in new player retention. On Test Center, new players would be able to interact with veteran players, learn what skills are needed, and learn about guilds. If new players are isolated, they are more likely to become frustrated and quit.

    The bottom line is... if you want to attract new players, or get previous players to return EA needs to get out there and advertise this game.

    I subscribe to EA's Twitter feed and UO is NEVER mentioned. The last time I saw a write-up of UO was an article titled: "Abandoned Ware #4: Ultima Online." The article was about a free shard, and didn't even mention that UO is still an active game supported by EA.

    EA needs to promote the game.
     
  20. Woodsman

    Woodsman Guest

    That is actually a really good point and is probably the strongest argument against a new player/free server.

    They did mention in the video yesterday that vet players would be able to work with new players, so it sounds like the part about new players jumping into the game while the rest of the game downloads in the background is just temporary, similar to the existing new player experience of messing with stuff in New Haven.

    I saw that article, but I see UO mentioned a lot in passing on Massively usually a couple of times a week when talking about likes/dislikes of UO.
     
  21. Mairut

    Mairut Guest

    Re: [Heated Discussion] Free to Play Solution

    Facebook games are F2P, and you can spend $$ (or pounds or whatever) to buy the special items or privileges on those. Just look at how well they're doing, and you can see why F2P might "save" UO.

    There was a thread here in Uhall just yesterday, talking about all that, if someone wants to post a link or the title for it.

    These FB games function on a different...level I guess? in that they don't take a lot of commitment to play or to keep playing, but there's not a whole lot that an MMO can do in that regard without completely changing everything, especially not one this old (imho). I know that (for UO), if I'm gone for a month or two, I almost have to relearn the game. I mean I've got the basic functions down, but you have to learn about all the new content that was added. Games like farmville will add new content, but usually it's not as game-changing as what UO will have added to it.

    The trick to using F2P is to get new players addicted to a game via a limited F2P so that they'll want to upgrade and join the collective. :grouphug: New paid subs=game is around a bit longer...presumably.
     
  22. Siteswap

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    Its a terrible point and totally wrong.

    If a free shard were to open, you can bet that hundreds of existing UO players would create free accounts there and set up guilds to help new players, including encouraging them to join prodo shards. The free shard would have plenty of experienced players prepared to help.
     
  23. Siteswap

    Siteswap Visitor

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    And im afraid this is an even worse point. What you are basically saying is let everyone play for free and have unlimited items, gold and every skill at the click of a button and then tell them thay can pay on shards that dont have these things but they will have to pay extra to in effect downgrade. How many new players do you think will buy that idea?
     
  24. Woodsman

    Woodsman Guest

    The production shards already feel empty enough as it is, and you're wanting to make them feel even emptier by having players go to another shard and invest a lot of time in rolling new characters and new guilds to help new players? It's better to let players use the existing resources they have on the production shards.

    We need to be bringing people together, not giving people another reason to go to a secondary shard.

    If you watch the latest dev video, they specifically mentioned that new players would be able to interact with veteran players, who could mentor them. That is a change from providing a totally isolated new player experience, although I guess they'll be isolated while the client finishes downloading. They are also revamping some dungeons and mobs for new players.
     
  25. popps

    popps Always Present
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    Re: [Heated Discussion] Free to Play Solution



    Because, to my opinion, a free shard, without much control, is at a higher risk of being abused by stuff like cheats, unattended macroing and blah blah.

    What works for items and why they should not be transferred to other shards, works, IMHO, ALSO for powerscrolls and so, increased CAPs.

    That is why "if" characters from free shards were to be allowed transfer, along with items they should NOT, as I see it, be allowed to retain their increased CAPs from powerscrolls they got on the free shards......

    There is also the market issue that if characters were allowed to transfer already "scrolled up" to regular shards, they would NOT need to obtain powerscrolls on regular shards and this would either reduce PvP or reduce the selling of powerscrolls on regular shards. In either case, not a good thing considering that those players who play regular shards have been paying subscription while those on a free shard paid nothing.......

    That is why if a free shard was ever to be allowed and transfers from it made possible, the characters transferring should only be able to do it strip naked (because clothes CAN be items with good mods...) and also strpped of any and all increased CAPs and points above 100 GM skill.
     
  26. Woodsman

    Woodsman Guest

    Re: [Heated Discussion] Free to Play Solution

    UO is $10 a month. How are you going to break that up into F2P micro-transactions so that we don't end up paying more than $10 a month? EA would obviously not offer one-time micro-transactions, because they would have to price them high enough to counter the constant revenue stream from year after year, and that would be a very high price since every house-holding account is worth at least $120 a year.

    For a micro-transaction F2P systems like with other games, how about:
    Housing - $2 a month?
    Access to T2A, Ilshenar, Malas, Ter Mur, Tokuno - $2 a month?
    Item insurance - $2 a month?
    Able to use skills above 80 - $2 a month?
    Able to use mounts, recalls, and gates - $2 a month

    Now we are at $10 a month.

    Now you are increasing the amount of transactions, and the chances of one of those transactions going wrong, but let's pretend that nobody ever has problems with their transactions with EA.

    Let's pretend that I have multiple accounts, including some that are holding houses. We'll say 4, with two that I actively use and two that I have for houses.

    I was paying $40 a month.

    Under a micro-transaction F2P system, with my active accounts, I'm paying $10x 2 for a total of $20, and with my housing accounts, and we'll pretend I have houses in Malas, so I'm paying $4x 2 for a total of $8.

    I went from paying $40 a month to $28 a month. EA is now getting $12 less per month, $144 less per year, just from me. I could be a cheap ******* every now and then and drop some of the micro-transactions that I don't need, and if I was a Luna vendor or RMTer, I would keep my extra houses in Britain, saving me the access fee for extra lands, so I could knock off $20 or more on top of that.

    Extrapolate that out among all of the people who have extra accounts for houses. For every 1,000 accounts that fall into that category, you're looking at a revenue of $120,000 - $150,000 a year for EA, depending on if people are paying by the month or per six months. We'll pretend that every house holding account would want access to Malas/Ter Mur/Tokuno under a micro-transaction F2P system, so now you are looking at going from a revenue of $120,000 - $150,000 a year for every 1,000 house-holding accounts to under $50,000 a year for the micro-transaction F2P system.

    You might argue that if the price was reduced for house-holding accounts, then the amount of house-holding accounts would increase, but EA would consider that a huge risk. A risk on par with offering secondary houses on an account for a fee, which could cause people to ditch accounts.

    EA would never sign off on a system that would allow people to pay much, much less on their house-holding accounts. That would cost them money and hurt UO.

    From a player perspective, there is also no guarantee that EA wouldn't start adding additional micro-transactions on a monthly basis
     
  27. Lord Raven

    Lord Raven Seasoned Veteran
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    The test center gets wiped from time to time so nothing is permanent there. If they want goodies they can keep, they they would have to pay.

    I only offered this as an alternative to a seperate free shard for new players, which I don't think is a good idea. (read my first post).

    Bottom line, software is already free, 14-day free trial... don't need anything else except for EA to promote the game.
     
  28. Siteswap

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    Which EA wont, and we can hardly say that the existing 14 day trial is a resounding sucess to bring in new players can we. Meanwhile the population continues to dwindle. Uo is losing players faster than it is attracting new ones.

    Time to try something different!
     
  29. Woodsman

    Woodsman Guest

    Like bringing the graphics into the 21st century :lol:

    One big thing with new players is the new player tutorials/quests. I really hope they improve on those. WoW has a lot going for it, but the new player/quest stuff gets overlooked a lot. WoW does a very good job of bringing new players into the world, so to speak. It's been mentioned before in other threads, but the first gryphon flight that Alliance players take, literally within minutes of entering the game, really leaves an impression that it's a big game world and that a lot is going on, and it gives you glimpses of things that you want to go back and do.

    UO starts you off on a dock and you walk around a very small area.

    Due to technical limitations, I'm still not sure how you could take a new player in UO and give them that same kind of introduction that WoW does.

    They did say they wanted to start new players off in normal towns instead of New Haven, which might be a start, but they should do something with NPCs and with getting more players back into the towns. Mesanna mentioned more player bazaars outside of New Magincia.
     
  30. Siteswap

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    Heh heh. Now thats a whole new thread in itself...
     
  31. Woodsman

    Woodsman Guest

    Or 20 or 30 threads :)

    I think they really need to work on the new player experience, and I know they say they are, but it's really important. I don't think WoW would be as insanely successful as it is if they hadn't done a good job of immersing new players within the world, while giving them a little tour of the world.

    That's one problem with a free shard as a way to attract new players - a free shard would still be using the same graphics and same quests that we have in the current UO, and the same frustrations that new players have with UO now would still be present. Whether they are paying $10 a month or not, they are still going to be starting at the same dock and being told to look in a box or look in their bag.

    For the sake of argument, I'm going to assume that we will get decent high-resolution graphics with the EC, so what remains? From the start, a new player needs to grasp how big and unique of a game world UO is, how much there is to do within UO, and why UO is different from other games, and why people come back to it. I know I'm getting away from the topic of the thread, but a free shard can't do that, and without those things, I don't see how new players can be turned into vet players, especially these days.

    Most MMO players these days are used to trying out multiple MMOs and outside of people heavily invested in the long-term/guild or corporate play of Warcraft or EVE Online, they don't stick around too long which is why with most new MMOs, you see a sharp decline in numbers over the course of time. The majority of players who have never played UO have played some other MMO, and so new player experiences that consist of go here, open this, grab this, talk to this person are not enough, because they get that in the other MMOs.

    They have to be shown why UO is unique and why people come back. Until that is addressed, we are not going to see a noticeable uptick in new UO players who stick around past a month or two.
     
  32. popps

    popps Always Present
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    Why do people put so much emphasys on the "looks" of a game I will never understand.....

    I mean, I can understand that a game should not be really ugly looking but honestly, I personally do not think UO looks ugly. It may be outdated, but people have been playing it for many years so I think this allows one to say that UO ain't ugly looking.......

    This said, since graphics require quite a big investment in time and money, what is the point, I ask, to take away so much resources from contents and merely put them into the "looks" of a game ? Personally, I'd rather play a game that looks "fine" and not gorgeous but when I play it I have a blast of an experience because of its contents......

    I mean, don't get me wrong, if there is abundance of resources, an excess of them, then I am fine that they might be invested into graphics, but if choices need to be made, than I say that content comes before the "looks" of a game.....
     
  33. Striga

    Striga Guest

    Merge? ... No
    Shard gate? ... No
    Free to play? ... No
    Money? ... Yes Yes
    we are plucked chickens that's all!!
    no words.....:(

    Thx to all players that want changes ........

    No changes? Ok Close all and give to veterans players a big bonus and start with a new UO!
     
  34. Woodsman

    Woodsman Guest

    It's because most of us aren't playing on 15 inch monitors anymore. When a $200 cell phone has a higher resolution than the main client, well :lol:

    If content was all that mattered, then UO would have hundreds of thousands of players and we wouldn't be able to walk around the majority of shards and easily place 18x18s or towers.

    UO has content. UO needs new players.
     
  35. unified

    unified Guest

    I have been playing this game for a very long time. I think it is the best game out there in terms of content. I am fine with the graphics because I am used to it.

    Now to reality ...

    Most new players, those who have never played this game, laugh at the graphics and won't even give the game a try because of it. If this game does not get new players, then it will lose subscribers through attrition, and there will be no new players to replace them. While graphics is not a big deal for you and I, it is something so big that new players can't get past it because they have played other games, some of which have lower subscriptions than UO, but better graphics.

    As veteran players, I can tell you that my mother and I started playing this game bacause we played it on the Nintendo years earlier and loved it. We wanted some of the experience back, and the graphics did not matter. Now, it really does, and I am saddened that earlier attempts to overhaul the graphics failed.
     
  36. Zoeydamnies

    Zoeydamnies Visitor

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    My thoughts on f2p:

    Tier 1 (never paid a dime):
    All current limits in place.
    You should have access to only Brit and t2a. (but not ML dungeons)
    Should be endless.

    Tier 2 (have paid a subscription at least once)
    Access to Malas, Tokuno and Ter Mur (if upgraded, but not the Underworld or Abyss), mainly for access to player vendors.
    1 small, non-customizable house.
    No use of PS.
    Or maybe this is just a cheaper fee.

    Tier 3 (full subscription)
    everything.

    I have not thought this out too far, just some preliminary thoughts. I know that stratics folks will find the holes in it.

    ZO
     
  37. NuSair

    NuSair Babbling Loonie
    Stratics Veteran

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    I hope most of you realize...

    The only difference now between f2p and what we have now, is that we pay a monthly fee.
     
  38. tatey

    tatey Guest

    :p Napa Valley FTW 13 years ago... but only 4 years active! (off and on)

    Yes I'm proposing a fully enabled free shard. Paying subscribers are welcome to play there too, and I think they should. People can set up guilds to help recruit free players onto paying accounts into their home guilds on whatever shard they play on. It would be a good support system.

    There doesn't need to be any housing, otherwise if there were... who cares if it fills up? Just like the test center, all regular paying subscribers could have a house there, on the TC, and on their home shard. Also, why not wipe the shard now and then? The point being, that the server is for learning about the game, not a home server.

    Free loaders? Bring em on, the more people that play there the more people will end up subscribing. There will be a net gain for EA (people canceling and moving to the free server, versus people paying and moving to a regular server).

    Economy trashed... doesn't matter for that server at all. The TC is designed to TEST characters and new patch material, not to make it a home. If people choose to, I guess they're welcome to. The same mindset is for the free server. It's a place to learn and introduce the game to masses, not to stay. If people choose to stay, they will, and that's ok.

    Doesn't even need to be a GM staff on the server, it can be run by EMs, or volunteers... but the seer/counselor thing is out the window I guess (thinks back in time).

    Yes, the idea would be that characters who activate an account from the free server would be transferring one character with skills only, and be given the regular start up items when they arrive at their new home server (bank account wiped, everything wiped).

    The reason why people would transfer would be because the advanced characters would cost more money than this transfer service. Also, people will grow attached to that character and might prefer to keep that character when they arrive to the new server. Heck, if only for role playing purposes.

    The amount of skill cap is up to debate, but I'm mostly agreeing with a 100 skill cap limit.

    EA would experience a net gain in the amount of money that they receive from 'opening the flood gates' to players. Subscriptions would pay for the server cost. But that's up for debate within EA, not really for us to care about. Our concern should be on our experience.

    The game does include a 14-day trial... which is a very limited amount of time, which also requires a credit card, which has a lot of restrictions on the new account, and which is a system that should be removed from production shards because as someone mentions: people use them for illicit and cheating purposes.

    New players and veterans will actually not be separated, anyone can sign onto this server (paid or free). Guilds will flock to the server, as well as good natured people, to look for and help new account players. There's also no risk in giving someone items there with the fear that they're just trying to milk veterans, since they're not on a production server. The help would be more genuine and meaningful.

    Making the test center the free shard could work, but doesn't give a new player the accurate experience of working for skills, etc. All in all I don't think it's a good idea.

    Plus it wouldn't hurt EA to consolidate a few old unpopulated servers (which they have publicly discussed doing as being possible for the future), and there you go, no extra $$$ for server overhead. Problem solved again. :)
     
  39. tatey

    tatey Guest

    I also just had an idea to help differentiate between players: all players that do not have a paid subscription could be permanently designated as "young" that cannot be denounce. Also, all paid members could be designated as "veteran" that can also not be denounced.
     
  40. Mairut

    Mairut Guest

    Re: [Heated Discussion] Free to Play Solution


    Good god, a wall of text!


    I only read like... the first 2 sentences about mini-pricing or whatever you were going on about.

    My point with THAT was that's how games on FB do it. They let you pay for free, get you hooked and involved, and then make you pay for double whopper with cheese.

    Now, the point that I was making, and that you seem to have completely missed (reading comprehension ftw) is that there's no need to make mini payments for crap like housing in a game like UO. Just make a small part of UO free to play, and if they want housing or regular gameplay or whatever else, then they pay the sub fee.

    What you think I said, (I think) is that we need to do it like FB and make it f2p and make everyone buy everything...which is totally inaccurate.

    Now, going on, the reason that we might want to use something like F2P for UO is that it gives these new players a chance to get into the game (not necessarily ADDICTED like WoW players are :p) but enough to make them want to keep coming back for more.

    See how, in that mini-paragraph ^^^ I didn't say anything about FB? The only correlation between FB games and the point I was trying to get across is that we should get people hooked on UO and then make them pay for double whopper with cheese. Get it?

    I'd also like to point out that this concept or whatever isn't "true" F2P.

    In fact, I think I'll call it "a demo that you play for however long you feel like", or ADTYPFHLYFL.

    At any rate, you're making it waay to complicated.

    If you need an example for what I'm talking about, take a look at Runescape. Now, instead of having new players cornered on a small part of a shard, just stick them on test center like someone else has already suggested.
     
  41. Woodsman

    Woodsman Guest

    Re: [Heated Discussion] Free to Play Solution

    So why not just make the trial longer, like I mentioned last week?

    EA is not going to offer little f2p options that allow anybody to scale back any accounts (and cost EA money from lost full subscriptions) so we're back to the extended trial.

    My wall of text is obviously a moot point since EA will not do anything that might lose them existing revenue, and since they are going to be using the Ultima Forever stuff to start pushing the Ultima franchise.
     
  42. tatey

    tatey Guest

    Re: [Heated Discussion] Free to Play Solution

    The point of having a free server is actually to add both to the player's experience, and also to the revenue of EA. Like I mentioned earlier, whether or not EA would gain or lose money is really up for people within EA to debate. But it's a loss leader server, you offer a service for free to give them a taste of the what the actual game is like, and you do it off the production paid-for servers. Now the questions would be: how to make the free server feel like the test center as far as making it feel impermanent and not a home to stay on. Just like how very few people claim TC1 as their primary shard, the same needs to be said about the free server. Whether or not that happens with limited skills, no housing, etc... however, the risk with limiting game features would make it a unique server that some people might actually ENJOY staying on, so ideas in that realm would be appreciated too.
     
  43. Woodsman

    Woodsman Guest

    Re: [Heated Discussion] Free to Play Solution

    Without a graphics update and better quests and a fixed EC (among other things), the player experience is not going to be very different than what we have now, especially if you are new to UO. If anything, the old graphics and the problems that we currently experience are going to keep them from becoming subscribers :lol: :(

    If we are looking at it in terms of getting additional revenue for EA in the hopes they would invest it back into the game (they won't, even when UO is profitable, they still laid UO developers off), then the quickest and easiest solution would have been to fix the game codes store long before now. They should have been added a lot of pixel crack every few months. When I came back, I expected there to be several dozen unique things. Instead I find a mix of tokens and heritage items that were around before I left with a few new things.

    I'm sure that there are people who might not be able to figure out during the 14 days of the trial whether they like UO and whether they think it's worth $10 a month, and I understand that there are people who cannot afford $10 a month for UO and f2p might get some of them to take another look.

    However, because the dev resources are so incredibly limited, ultimately they need to be putting all of their resources into improving UO in general, because if they don't, attrition will continue.

    f2p options would be much more viable if UO had a solid foundation that appealed to people who have never played UO. That foundation would have to include graphics that aren't from the 1990s and it would have to include a stable modern client that is recognizable to people who are used to modern MMOs.
     
  44. Woodsman

    Woodsman Guest

    Just for reference on bumping up UO's trial account to a month or more, here are the current limitations:
    - 14 days
    - No housing
    - No Felucca and certain other lands
    - Can only get the basic ores/logs.
    - No champ spawns
    - No factions
    - No PS or other related scrolls
    - Other minor things.

    Those trial accounts can experience pretty much everything that UO has to offer with home ownership being the only major thing left out.

    The trial accounts could have the time extended right now, without having to wait for any of the very scarce developer resources to be freed up to work on f2p stuff.

    Here's are Warhammer Online's "Endless Trial" limitations:
     
  45. Mairut

    Mairut Guest

    Re: [Heated Discussion] Free to Play Solution


    PotAto, pOtato. :grouphug: