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Paying to enter a shop?


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#1 Wickedrob   Members   -  Reputation: 181

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Posted 11 March 2013 - 11:49 PM

My gf came up with this idea, I honestly dislike it.
If the price is too high it makes the player grind more, too low and its almost pointless..
I could understand a shopping key or even randomly appearing shops but the idea of paying makes me scream wtf.
So what are your guys questions, comments or ideas?

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#2 Alpha_ProgDes   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 4692

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Posted 12 March 2013 - 12:47 AM

Here's a twist. You get to go into a shop one time for free. Just to see what's in it. You can even buy something that first time. But the second time, you pay a small fee. Let's say, 1G. Now if you leave the shop without buying anything, the price goes up to 2G. However, if you do buy something it stays at 1G.

 

But the real question is this: what exactly are you trying to accomplish with: paying to get into a shop/shopping key/randomly appearing shops?


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#3 ShiftyCake   Members   -  Reputation: 569

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Posted 12 March 2013 - 02:41 AM

To expand further on Aplha's words, what he's asking you is what's the context.

let's define a few things first:

A-randomized shop

B-some sort of "key" to enter shop

C-pay to enter shop

 

Now you have your three different ideas, let's put it in the context of a game.

Dungeon Crawl: A and B OR A and C

RPG: A OR A and B OR A and C

Fighter: A OR A and C

 

As you can see, defining the genre first and inputting what would work in the genre is a sure way to figure out whether your idea is worth expanding.

 

Now, moving onto what you asked. Is it worth paying money to enter a shop? Yes, and no.

Again, its genre wise, but I'm going to stick with a dungeon crawl since it is the easiest type to explain.

 

Paying money to enter a shop, for a dungeon crawl, is in itself a useless idea seeing as money is such a huge factor in those games, you will either have to, as you said, go too high a price or too low. Yet, it's like anything. It doesn't work because you've only found the core of an idea, the expansion of that idea and how you approach it is what will define its uses.

Say every time you pay to enter a shop, the price doubles. So strategically, you'll have to calculate how much money you have, and if its worth going into the shop right now. This will cause a lot of strategic gaming, unfair deaths, hate/love towards the game etc.

Another idea would be that you can either use a key, or pay money. Yet if you pay money, you have to take a roll that defines how much money is wasted. So if you don't have a key on you, and you take a chance, you could end up losing all your precious gold.

 

So yes, your gf is both right and wrong at the same time. Paying money to enter a shop is, in itself, utterly useless. Expanding the idea is what makes it a worthwhile mechanic in your game.


If, at any point, what I post is hard to understand, tell me. I am bad at projecting my thoughts into real words, so I appreciate the knowledge that I need to edit my post.

 

I am not a professional writer, nor a professional game designer. Please, understand that everything you read is simply an opinion of mind and should not, at any point in time, be taken as a credible answer unless validated by others.

 

I do take brief bouts of disappearance so don't worry if I either don't reply to you or miss certain things. I am quite a lazy fellow.


#4 Alpha_ProgDes   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 4692

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Posted 12 March 2013 - 02:56 AM

Or to reword what I said: "What problem are you trying to solve?" or "Why do you want that feature in the first place?"


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#5 warnexus   Prime Members   -  Reputation: 1502

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Posted 12 March 2013 - 08:36 AM

Why change the formula? You don't see games doing it. It does not make sense. You're penalizing the player to go into your shop.


Edited by warnexus, 12 March 2013 - 08:38 AM.


#6 Alpha_ProgDes   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 4692

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Posted 12 March 2013 - 08:40 AM

Why change the formula? You don't see games doing it. It does not make sense.

 

You're in the Game Design and you're asking "why change the formula?"? Part of the point of Game Design is push if not break out of the box. And yes, this particular feature "doesn't make sense" because there's no context. Not because he's trying to do something akin to having grass to fall up.


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#7 Milcho   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 1177

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Posted 12 March 2013 - 09:05 AM

I don't know about paying to enter a shop, but I can think of something similar.

 

In GW:Nightfall, there was a end-of-campaign vendor who sold unique armor. This vendor wasn't in a town or some persistent place, but was actually at the end of an instanced area that was only accessible once you defeated the last boss of the campaign. 

 

This was done in a way to prove that you've beaten the campaign (or at least that's how I saw many used it), and to increase the difficulty in obtaining what was supposed to be a somewhat rare armor. On top of that, since the vender required a unique item to get his armor, it also made it impossible for someone to just trade that item to another player so that other player could then get the armor.

 

In essence, it made it so that there's no way to cheat your way to get the armor. 

 

It's not quite similar to paying actual gold, but you could probably use that to similar effect. Some high level auction houses require payment to be access IRL, and it's one way to sort of show your status in a game anyway. Though for this to be useful in any way, you would have to make the shop that requires payment to enter actually sell something unique and unobtainable anywhere else - otherwise it becomes meaningless.

 

I don't think any other way would work that well - for example having all shops be pay to enter makes it just a meaningless and unrealistic gold sink, that's likely to just annoy players, while you could potentially achieve the same effect just by raising prices of the items in the shops.



#8 lmbarns   Members   -  Reputation: 460

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Posted 12 March 2013 - 12:03 PM

I'd prefer having different shops buy/sell for different prices and have a black market where after earning trust or something unscrupulous individuals will offer to fence your goods or sell you some "hot" items for cheaper than the store. Maybe the stores only buy for half what they sell for while the other individual offers 60%-70% when they buy but they only need a few items at a time (randomly generated what they want?)



#9 Haps   Members   -  Reputation: 1315

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Posted 12 March 2013 - 03:32 PM

"Wirt" is an NPC from Diablo 1 that would charge the player to even look at the single item he had for sale, but it could be higher quality than the regular store had available. Maybe you'd get lucky, maybe not. It was a form of gambling, if you were really hard up for a significant upgrade and money wasn't a concern, making it an alternative to farming for drops, or when the regular quality gear for sale just doesn't cut it.

 

As the others pointed out, it can work within the context of your game. If there's a reason to do it, even if it's not always reasonable, you can create situations where the players decide whether to pay and having that control could improve their experience. Can they get a discount there, making it worth it for large purchases? Are premium items available that aren't normally for sale? A wider selection so they don't have to travel to six different places?



#10 Lailokken   Members   -  Reputation: 356

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Posted 12 March 2013 - 04:19 PM

You could perhaps set it up as a festival, or bazaar. There could be an admittance fee, but none specifically for any one particular shop.

 

You could however, have shops/merchants who cater to specific classes, or those who have certain skills or are a certain level. The black market idea that Imbarns mentioned would be cool too. It's always great when shop owners will buy, as well as sell.


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#11 orizvi   Members   -  Reputation: 276

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Posted 12 March 2013 - 05:01 PM

A tax to get into the City where the best and wealthiest merchants are as opposed to the Towns where its free to enter but the selection is smaller and worse.



#12 Alpha_ProgDes   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 4692

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Posted 12 March 2013 - 05:15 PM

A tax to get into the City where the best and wealthiest merchants are as opposed to the Towns where its free to enter but the selection is smaller and worse.

 

I would assume something similar to this method would be used in freenium games and the like.


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#13 lmbarns   Members   -  Reputation: 460

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Posted 12 March 2013 - 09:35 PM

Just remembered, back in Ultima Online on your crafting character if you joined the different NPC "Guilds" you got a discount on items through that guild, (mage guild gave mage discounts) but you could only be a member of one guild at a time. So it was kinda like a membership..


Edited by lmbarns, 12 March 2013 - 09:35 PM.


#14 wintertime   Members   -  Reputation: 1876

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Posted 13 March 2013 - 09:33 AM

Paying to enter a shop without providing anything extra seems to me just an annoyance to beginners with naturally low money.

 

The one point where it could make sense to me is if there is new randomized items in a shop every time you enter. Then it basically makes people pay for abusing the randomizer to get a better item, though I would not let the payment grow per use as people clicking the randomizer button 1000x would have to pay 1000x the amount of gold already and better items get less and less likely. Higher quality shops could have a higher price per click, so everyone can at least go into some lower level shop without being completely cut off.

That could trick people into paying ingame for their doings instead of abusing safe/load or back and forth travelling between 2 shops, if it goes faster.



#15 kseh   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 2203

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Posted 13 March 2013 - 11:36 AM

I kinda see a parallel to an annoying IRL parking experience I had recently.

Paying $15 for parking is nothing in the scheme of things. Considering that I need to be in that building to tend to important business and advancing my life long plans, it is irrelevant. Yet, I realize there are some things I need that I don't have with me. And as the minutes tick by I realize I would like to have them more and more. Another $15 isn't too big a deal, is it? Though there was the parking fee from just yesterday as well. And that time earlier this week. It's all going to credit and haven't paid that bill just yet. That really starts to add up. Do I really need that stuff I forgot or can I make do with what's at hand?

IRL, my income isn't going to increase dramatically and I would consistently be thinking that sort of thing. Do I really need to be here? Have I planned for everything? What are the risks involved. Kinda sucks in life but it can have potential to be fun to think about playing a game. But in a game it's generally expected that income increases significantly across relatively short playtime. That set fee to be where you want to be becomes more and more irrelevant. Should it become irrelevant? If it does that fee is only a nuisance as it's a couple more seconds and button clicks preventing you from doing what you've made up your mind on. Nothing is going to stop you. There's no pause for reflection anymore.

So, similar to what others have already suggested, I would say that if you add something like a fee to enter a building, you have to make sure that planning what you're about to do is fun and that it stays fun across the entire course of the game.
 



#16 Randel   Members   -  Reputation: 326

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Posted 13 March 2013 - 01:09 PM

I can think of a few ways this could work:

1. These shops have some extra complementary service - like a healing fountain, repairing facility, or haircutter. Or a tray of 'free samples' like healing potions or food items. The cost of entrance goes towards accesing these extra features in addition to the shop itself.

2. Black market shops - If you are trying to sell a bunch of stolen goods (or just things you can't normally sell) you might have to pay a fee "Ta prove you ain't just wastin' ma time.". The money you would gain from selling the items offsets the entrance fee.

3. Similarly, if shops normally have a limit on how much money they have on hand and you're trying to unload junk, certain wealthy shop owners dedicated to buying stuff might require an entrance fee but in exchange they have a much higher amount of gold on hand so it should be possible to unload all your vendor trash on them.

4. In addition to the above, they could have an extra special deal on certain staple items like healing potions, ammo, or whatnot. Lets say your average shop buys items at 50% list price and sells at 200%. Special shops buy certain items at 75% and sell at 150%. However, if you pay the entrance fee, and sell enough vendor trash that the shop owner runs out of money then he changes tactics.

"Wow, you've got alot of stuff to sell. Tell ya what, I'll give you a special deal".

At that point, he buys and sells health potions (and other staple items) at the same price ( effectivly treating those items as another type of money) he might also open up a list of special items or powerful/expensive equipment.

Since the only way to open up these special deals is to empty the shop owners funds, the player is guaranteed to have a decent amount of money so once they achieve this they can either buy up a massive number of healing potions/items or get the rare piece of equipment.

5. Paying the fee upgrades the shop - Probably doesn't make sense in an economic sense but maybe every time you pay the fee, the shop upgrades a bit, adding features or better selection or funds. Perhaps this would be better as an investment system where every time you buy stock in the shop you can make a suggestion like "get more potions", "more money to buy items with", "install an alchemy set", or "better prices for animal furs".

This would better suit it if these are one or two shops the player visits on a regular basis so upgrading them is beneficial.

6. Otherwise, I suppose if it's a one-time investment (like buying a membership), it could be a way to unlock new areas in a way. Like, the shops control the respawn areas, teleportation gates, save areas or the like and paying the fee unlocks them.

7. There is a way to eliminate the entry fee. Either paying a larger membership fee, fullfilling some condition (like sell/buy 1000 gold worth of stuff), or defeat the boss monster of the area. This encourages the player to complete this objective in the area. Such as, if defeating the boss eliminates the fee, that shows how your actions are earning you fame.

8. Fluff to show how desperate the situation is, or how important the NPC is. Say you enter a camp or village with injured people and the town healer is busy helping people. You can ask to buy stuff, but she demands a fee to open her "shop" and makes it clear the money will be going to getting more medicine. She's running a hospital, not a market stall.

Similarly, while the royal wizard can teach you spells, you have to pay money upfront to show you're serious and to compensate for distracting him from his regular duties. (in both cases, fulfilling some objective may remove the fee out of respect for your actions).

9. The "shop" in question isn't meant to be a place you regularly go to. More like a club or special event. Put all the strippers, movies, booze, or mini-games in this location for when players want to take a rest from the main adventure and goof off.

Maybe each town has a "inn" and a "tavern". The inn is meant for visitors and just has the beds, bar, and quest board that wandering adventures use. The tavern is meant for the locals and has better booze, conversations, and games or whatever. If you're new to town you have to pay the fee to get in (it keeps the riff-raff out). If your fame in the area becomes great enough, or you buy a house in that town, then you can enter without having to pay the fee.

In-universe, the entry fee is the locals way of keeping undesirables out of the "safe zones" without necessarily barring the player from that area. Could even be paired with a karma meter of sorts. If your character looks suspicious, the guy guarding the door can increase the fee while if you look more respectable it can be decreased or waived accordingly.

#17 Alexwbc   Members   -  Reputation: 153

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Posted 13 March 2013 - 03:17 PM

Fantasy:

- Some shops area are available only for Guild Affiliate. You hadn't to pay directly for enter the shop, but the membership to the Guild of your choice costs money

- You're a foreigner in the new town where there's a law which forbids outlanders to have trade and affair other than a restricted area (you can shop only in some limited shops) but during a quest in the area you're given the chance to bribe (pay money) someone which will give lend you a "special pass"

 

SciFi (I suppose "credits" and "shops" are virtualized from sort of vending machine you can find around)

- Our hero is an outlaw, so can't buy things with his name... so in order to access to shops need a new blank "ID" which can be buy from hackers (if the game is "team based" you can have special bonus when one of these "hackers" join your party). The blank ID works only for a restricted time/game chapter when police find out what were you doing and put the new ID in the blacklist... so the player need to buy another one.


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#18 creeper   Members   -  Reputation: 132

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Posted 13 March 2013 - 08:23 PM

A 'sellers market'  where the goods are in such high demand (and the supply so low) that even the chance to buy is an advantage.

 

To be in such demand (like for survival) is an abormal situation where there can be only a few handled customers possible (supply runs out fast)  or there is some exclusivity where lookeeloo customers are a waste of the merchants time (and people who want to look but not buy might be 'milked' as a side business).

 

Product with entertainment value ? Then purchase may not be the main business .

 

Generally there is sufficient competition (or l;ack of real need)  that the merchant EXPENDS money to get prospective customers.






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