Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Why I will never buy Nexon credit again

You would think that in the era of Free to Play games, companies would be intelligent about how they promote and get players to buy their products and try to make the system as convenient as possible.

I recently started playing Dragon Nest because I wanted a game to have fun with friends by running around bashing stuff in the face.  Simple.  And I personally have no problem chipping in a few bucks here and there for F2P games for some of the vanity stuff or bag upgrades and whatnot.  I understand it takes money to run the game and have no problem with the F2P model in general.

So, I am upset about how complicated the system is and how they force you to use systems that are plain stupid.  Let me explain:

In the game you get a starter package for your character, like other asian MMOs these give you coupons and potions and whatnot to help you get into the game.  Well I noticed I had a couple coupons for a discount on a permanent bag slot upgrades.

Although I didn't read it all the way through, I did notice it said that you can't buy with Nexon Credit.  Well, after clicking on it, it shows the discount with the NX icon and the remaining NX after the discount.  So it seems that if I buy the NX currency, then it wouldn't necessarily be credit.  After checking out the pricing I see that, Hey I could buy both discounted items for 5$.  Neat!  And I thought that this is a good way to get your players spending the in game currency by giving them some limited time discounts.  Good marketing, or so I thought.

So I buy the NX Credit, just five bucks worth, and find out, that only NX Prepaid, which I had no idea what that was, could be used to buy the discounted items.  Yes it says you cannot use NX Credit, but that makes no sense and I bought the currency and thought that 'Credit' meant you could charge it and pay it later.

So I'm like, well okay, I guess I have to get this prepaid shit and then get these discounts.  Well it turns out that getting the prepaid 'currency' requires me to either go physically buy a specific card at a store or sign up for this whole online cash transfer bullshit program that looks like a pain in the ass.

This system is a load of jack.  I may play their game still, but probably for not much longer, and I just don't understand this kind of marketing.  It would be VERY smart for them to give you discounts, make it quick and easy to just enter your card and get what you want, but instead, they make the system confusing and a pain in the ass.

Maybe I'm just cranky since I just got off work, but I know that I won't ever be buying Nexon Credit again since it's a load of crap and the 5$ I bought can't even buy any bag slot upgrades without a discount.

If you guys are planning on playing a Nexon game, just beware and read that shit thoroughly.  And Nexon, if you ever read this, please get better marketing guys; if it pisses me off, I'm sure it's gonna piss a lot more people off as well.  (I'm generally a pretty passive and forgiving person with this kind of stuff).

Friday, February 22, 2013

[Study] Monetization in Games

Monetization in Games:
Lately the topic of monetization in games seems to be a hot topic.  With many PC games transitioning away from a subscription based model to free-to-play / cash shop based models and with the rise of mobile and tablet games using new types of monetization strategies I have been thinking about new ways to monetize games and when types of strategies are appropriate.

Here are some strategies that are currently used in mobile and pc games.  My goal in this post isn't to talk much about what is currently used but to generate new ideas and discuss alternatives and the types of games that different pay structures could be used in.

Mobile games tend to use a few different strategies.

Grotland Media has a slide show that sums these up so I'll post the link here and just list the four they talk about:

- Pay per download (PPD)
- Freemium
- F2P
- Advertising

I am much more of a PC gamer personally and PC games tend to use a few different models too:

 - Buy to Play (one time purchase)
 - Subscription (dying out to a degree)
 - Free to Play (cash shops, virtual currency)
 - Buy + DLC updates

If I've missed anything on that list feel free to add to it, it's just a quick tally of various systems I've noticed in games lately.

What I want to talk about however are two alternate pay strategies that I thought of.  Admittedly the scope of these strategies are limited to a few game type ideas but I think that people can be more creative about making money off games as long as it's done with the right type of game.

The two strategies are:  Pay per Server Session and Pay to Win (not so much a strategy as a philosophy)

Pay per Server Session:
  What do I mean when I say pay per server session?  Well, first of all let me quickly describe the type of game I think this would work well with and then I'll explain why it would be good.  A competitive, pvp oriented (or with heavy pve competition) MMORPG where each 'world' has a set time in which players race to kill the final boss of the world and advance through levels and the world.  Advancement would need to partially carry on to the next 'world' and would have to leave you with a sense of accomplishment but discussing the game type is another conversation.

  Pay per Server session would basically involve paying to create your character on that server.  Basically you would pay for a server slot.  If the world progression lasted for three to six months at a time, you could charge 10-15$ per character slot on a server with possibly a free one with limited progression for a "trial" character.  

  This would require a very specific type of game, but I think that in a competitive game with limited time and rapid advancement, this could substitute a monthly subscription without jumping to free to play entirely.  You could offer limited advancement for one free slot on the server or offer an entirely free to play server that simply resets every so often.

  The problem with this game type that I see is a need for rapid releases of content and constant updates to the game to keep people advancing through 'tiers' of servers.  (If you progress a certain distance in a Level 1 server you can join a Level 2 server, etc).  You would have to have enough content to satisfy hard core players and something to this degree might only be viable when procedural generation becomes a lot better.

Pay to Win:
  Despite the stigma against Pay to Win, I believe it is a completely viable strategy.  The problem is that it is used in way too many places that it simply does not belong.  

  The biggest place I can see a straight up Pay to Win scenario being acceptable is in Collectible / Trading Card Games.  In tabletop card games, the more cards you buy, the better sets you have and the more likely you are to have a better deck and win with more powerful cards.
  However to balance this out, free trading would be necessary and deck building would be important as well.  Essentially, you would be better off buying "packs" as you have better trading options with a larger card base with rarer cards.

  A gambling factor has to absolutely be present.  Yes, I call this Pay to Win, because paying money gives you a heavy advantage compared to someone who doesn't, however with trading and a random factor to buying card packs, the philosophy of Pay to Win could work out very well.  It works in table top games and I think it can work well in mobile card games as well.  (As mobile seems the best platform to build a card game on).

These were my two different ideas of alternative strategies / philosophies that I haven't really seen yet.  What about you guys?  What are some less commonly used monetization strategies and when would they be acceptable to use?

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

[SBX:I] Updates and Bug Fixes (Ver 0.03)

SBX: Invasion:

  Well I have some updates and bug fixes for SBX:Invasion.  I uploaded a file to Mediafire yesterday here:
   http://www.mediafire.com/download.php?6y4p2w8lk646dfq  - old
  http://www.mediafire.com/download.php?7kae40nupohq2j2 - new V 0.03

  Level 2 is now finished and the logs are current for the newest file.

Dev Log:  2-12-13

  -  Changed Pathing System for enemies.  I had broken it trying to do something else but I reworked the entire system so that it is better and fixed a lot of bugs.
  -  Added in walls that adjust their sprites based on the walls around them to connect forming a single large wall.
  -  Lots of other little bug fixes.

The first log seems like little things but it set the groundwork for the work I did today which will be coming up soon in the next release.

Dev Log:  2-13-13

  -  Fixed enemy pathing (again).  There were still a lot of bugs with the path finding system, particularly when you walled off your base entirely.  I had made the system too complex, so I simplified it and it works a lot better.
  -  Added the Item Destroyer to Level 1.  Now you can press shift to swap between your Item Destroyer and your Item Builder.  The Destroyer will destroy any building, wall, turret or generator under your mouse with a left click.  Right click to cancel and press Shift to go back to your Builder (Which I recommend you keep equipped most of the time)
  -  You can no longer damage buildings with your ship weapons.  Now that the destroyer is added, it is unnecessary and you don't have to be so careful where you shoot.
  -  Increased Player Basic Attack Damage by 50%, reduced Player Basic Attack Cooldown by 50%.  The player ship should be doing significantly more damage.
  -  Increased turning speed in short range mode for Player Ship, increased max flight speed and acceleration in long range mode.
  -  Added Red color to the Item Builder Costs on the GUI when you don't have the required amount.
  -  Generator1 range reduced from 600 to 400.
  -  Mousing over Asteroids now shows you how much Ore is remaining.
  -  Asteroid Ore reduced from 1000 to 500 per asteroid.
  -  Block Wall:   HP reduced from 100 to 50,  cost increased from 10 to 20 Metal.
  -  Steel Wall:  HP reduced from 250 to 120, cost increased from 20 to 40 Metal.
  -  Mining Station:  Gold cost increased from 100 to 120
  -  Gun Turret:  Rate of fire reduced.
  -  Missile Turret:  Rate of fire reduced.  Ore cost increased from 40 to 50.
  -  Enemy 3:  Increased level 1 HP from 450 to 550.
  -  Reduced gold drop amount from Tier 3 enemies slightly.

All in all these changes make level 1 a bit harder, but definitely doable.  You should be trying to build walls to path enemies around your turrets or they will do too much damage to your base.  I increased the metal cost of walls so that you can't just wall off your entire base and keep rebuilding.  I may reduce the cost a bit.

A lot of the new patch is balance changes and hopefully I'll have Level 2 out and some new buildings, generators and turrets to try out!

Check out this screen shot of nearing the end of Level 1:

Dev Log:  2-14-13  (Current)
  - I finished another section and uploaded the new file.
  - Level 2 is finished.
  - Lots of bug fixes, Miners now select a new asteroid instead of blowing up if one is available.
  - Added flame turrets, extended generators, and mining research centers
  - Generators now power a specific number of turrets.  Basic Generators power 3 nearby turrets and Extended Generators power 5 nearby turrets and have a higher range.
  - Lots of other little things but level 2 is active in the newest file!  

Here is a screen shot of Level 2:

Stay tuned for more updates later.  Things to come:
 - More stuff to build
 - Sabotage enemies that target your generators and turrets with massive damage.
 (MUCH LATER) - sound effects and music - minimap - level select - save / load games

Well that's it for now,  cheers-


Friday, February 1, 2013

[SBX:I] First official Update


  Well it seems it's not doing well at the Jam, it was a bit slow as I didn't have time to tune the wave timer as much as I would have liked because I simply ran out of time.  Anyway, I've updated the file and fixed a bunch of things people complained about.

  What is new in the update:

  Version 0 - Build 001

  - No more intro level, now there is a Tutorial Level and then Level 1
  - Mining Stations can hold 2 miners to start
  - Built interface for mining stations
  - Made it so you can purchase additional miners for 50g by clicking on the station when available
  - The Hud now shows build cost below the name
  - Waves now spawn more quickly and scale in length as the level goes on
  - AIUA from SBX2 now informs you of new information at the start of each level
  - Improved the rendering of graphics
  - Reduced View Max Scaling from 200% to 180%
  - Reduced Gun Turret Rate of Fire, increased Missile Turret Rate of Fire and Power
  - Bug Fixes

So perhaps this will make things a bit more intuitive and a bit easier for new players.  If you have any feedback or suggestions, leave a comment here or comment on the game link at:


You can also download the game from the above link or here:

MediaFire: SBX:Invasion V0_001

Thanks for reading and once I get Level 2-3 done I'll post a new update and some screen shots as well.