Don't knock customization -- It might seem pointless, and like no one would ever spend the time or money, but it appeals to a certain kind of player. And don't forget that things like real-world cell-phone bling (ringtones, cases, backgrounds) make (or used to, perhaps) a good deal of money for relatively little effort.
I'm not convinced this is a 'low effort' feature to be honest. I think it can be quite an investment and rarely pays back.
Plus it's a single player experience only. There won't be much 'showcasing' what you've earned per se.
can easily share their purchases on facebook
Unless you mean a screenshot, things like Facebook Connect actually take a little too much time for the breadth of this project.
really like the idea of paid add-ons that add a new "mode" of play; in a run-and-jump platformer users may be able to pay for a ninja rope or gravity boots for example. The game should be satisfying and completable without this add-on but might be easier or allow access to some additional content if it's purchased.
I can see how this could translate to acquiring certain abilities. For example, the 'grappling hook' may not be necessary to complete the game, but it helps you reach some areas faster, and some areas you can't otherwise reach (which would have hearts, etc). Neat/simple.
Might even be better if the player is forced to have only a few items in his inventory, as these 'advanced gear items' could fill two roles, leaving you with one more slot for potions what/not.
You could also consider additional inventory slots, which I believe were quite successful for Realm of The Mad God.
That makes sense. Many games do so. Thanks for pointing it out!
Incremental upgrades to existing items might work too - 10% additional damage, larger splash range from bombs, etc.
Increased damage could be detrimental to game balance, but larger splash range, shorter fuses and the likes would make some sense.
The general concensus amongst F2P developers seems to be that you need to have at least some consumable content, so maybe additional bombs or arrows (perhaps with a daily or per-level cap on the number purchased) is still worth considering.
'daily' makes me shiver in fear of an energy system. I'd like to avoid gating players from being able to play based on 'time'.
While I think its acceptable to monetize player's impatience, I don't like to artificially cause that impatience with a system as arbitrary as energy.
Focusing on ammunitions may be too 'optional'. Potions might make more sense?
Single-player games are often explicitly pay-to-win, and that's not a problem in that context
I disagree. Pay2Win in single player experiences removes player pride and involvement. I'm ok with player having the feeling they've invested into the game, but no one's happy about feeling like they've cheated. It's important to keep a certain level of challenge and avoid making the rest of the game mundane after they've paid.
Once a player has monetized, the developer should unfold a red carpet to their feet, not make everything less fun afterwards because its suddenly too easy.
I think Ravyne was on the right track. Instead of pay2win or pay2cheat you think of it more as just pay4easy. You start playing the game starting in a standard 'winnable by most' difficulty and have the option to purchase items that effectively bring you into a 'winnable by more' difficulty realm. Enchantments on swords that do more damage or on armor so that it protects you more. Maybe items that negate elements of a boss' attack. Maybe some sort of teleport item that allows you to fast travel.
I'd like to think that the concept of side-grades would be more appealing though. This is what I like most about jbadams' post: tools would change the game plays, but wouldn't necessarily make it factually easier. What's fun about tools is that, each player can define what their playstyle is, and stick to it, without it ever being a dominant strategy.
If you are used to speed-run, then 'fast boots' may be the thing for you, but some 'explore-it-all' type of guy might go for a very different gear set.