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Pay To Cheat AKA Amazing Unicorns

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[edit]
Players want to be creative. What we need are more virtual sandbox games where they can express themselves.
 
What I'm thinking of is a game where you'd ride animals around and reshape the landscape by shooting colors. Each color of pixel represents a material of sorts. So when you drop a blue bomb onto a yellow beach it'll splash water everywhere and you could draw a nice place to vacation.
 
The idea of reshaping worlds has been played with in 3d games like Spore. I've seen games that play with pixels, and/or voxels (they're pretty much the same thing to me). There's a lot of demand for for fully destructible environments, puzzle solving, and even causing trouble.
 
So a game where you ride around on unicorns reshaping the world fits the bill.
[/edit]
 
Before the OP edited this, the post was:

Online games with other players. Occasionally players want a quick rush, score big, and laugh at other players who spend a long time improving their skill.

I'm sure we all recognize the pay to win system and the benefits for selling those games. Some pay to win systems are based on escalation so that it gradually grows as the community grows. It opposes what I really believe, which is that games should be fun, without extras.

I ripped parts of this from the unwritten guide for scumbag devs. Now I'll pass it on to everyone else.

If you haven't heard, games are just giving away their gold now. Just pay them and they'll give you more gold than any gold farmer will make.

I just looked up some random evidence supporting the concept players don't actually want to play the games they love. The number wouldn't lie.
http://www.cnn.com/2011/TECH/gaming.gadgets/08/17/finishing.videogames.snow/

So why not pay to cheat?

There are games that let you pay for instant gratification. It costs $10 to twink your character in Spiral Knights. You'll achieve game-breaking power levels that otherwise would have taken 2 months of grind, you could even finish the game. I calculated the ultimate weapon in the game was worth $100 which would give any player a near immaculate pvp score. Even then you don't have access to the end-game content, which is a pay to play basis, but not a subscription.

Let's take it to the final level and admit it. Pay, and we'll let players break the game. We'll even supply custom coding for a low rate (let's call it at $200 for invisibility or a posh hat), a server that is anti-hacker that still allows custom gear, a vanilla server, and a free to play server.

If you or a player catches someone hacking in an anti-hacking server, have them pay a penalty to avoid banishment to hell. Praise the whistle blowers, burn the witches.

Have fun milking them for every penny.

Edited by Hodgman

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what's the exact question?

So far, you're the only one who asked a question. I'm waiting to see if anyone is able to add or take away from the concept of pay to cheat games, that's what every topic in the game design forum requires.

 

 

 


ask a real question
And you give something with real discussion value.

 

If you're trying to express disdain about the concept, you're being very light footed around it. Paying to cheat is a terrible idea. It is also a transparent business model of how online games should be run.

 

Or, maybe you really didn't understand?

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The problem with your pay2cheat model is that it eschews the psychological principles behind the pay2win models that makes them so addicting. Players invested in a skinner box are more likely to pay more, especially in small amounts. Whereas if players pay a single lump sum to automatically win the game, they lose the same level of investment in your content and are less likely to be return customers. However, if one looks to the very successful League Of Legends they can see a monetization model that is based on the cardinal opposite of pay2win. The League of Legends model is based on two things - a constant update and addition of content and emergent gameplay. This combination makes it so that every player will want atleast some of the paid content - somebody will have a favorite champ or skin - and that the game doesn't get old because it is constantly changing. This alternate monetization model creates a much higher flow of revenue and still keeps players happy without damaging the core balance of the gameplay.

 

My two cents. A pay to cheat model does seem interesting, but at the same time you'd be better off just bringing the 'cheats' into core gameplay and forcing players to pay upfront. It would create new interesting gameplay but have an equal if not higher conversion rate.

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What if you included exploits or cheats into the game that required premium content to access?  For instance, say you could cheat up a critical hit that does infinite damage, but in order for it to work, you have to be wearing a $5 suit of vanity armor, carrying a rare $5 sword with a $3 enchantment on it and use a $2 consumable at town to "charge" the effect for a single use.

 

You get $15 bucks from everyone who even wants to try to cheat, with a $2 "refill" charge for each subsequent time they use it.  Leak the "exploit" to GameFAQs after a patch, then pretend you don't know about it.

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What if you included exploits or cheats into the game that required premium content to access?  For instance, say you could cheat up a critical hit that does infinite damage, but in order for it to work, you have to be wearing a $5 suit of vanity armor, carrying a rare $5 sword with a $3 enchantment on it and use a $2 consumable at town to "charge" the effect for a single use.

 

You get $15 bucks from everyone who even wants to try to cheat, with a $2 "refill" charge for each subsequent time they use it.  Leak the "exploit" to GameFAQs after a patch, then pretend you don't know about it.

Ok, I'll build on this idea. It's potentially too elaborate, so it'd take some time for players to understand/believe it works. If the source was too anonymous it'd be unrealistic, like someone really wanted to stay secret. Smarter players would catch on if this happens once or twice, and they are usually dragging other players behind them, so it seems a bit short lived.

 

So I thought of two different exploitative systems where this may/may not exist.

1. Introducing new content all the time. It may have a game-breaking bug 50% of the time, and be overpowered 100% of the time. Sometimes it'll be a really obvious bug like the weapon doesn't appear when it's held (but you really never bothered to include the artwork). Other times the weapon might deal an additional digit of damage.

 

Obviously due to the overpowered nature of this the first-ins and new players grab it. Wait until complaints flood in about the bugs and you have a repeating system based on your suggestion, although much less elaborate.

 

2. Introduce the "genius," a long-standing member of the community. He's just another one of the guys. If you spend time creating a background and chatting with players you could fabricate a player, inject him into highscores (he could be 2nd or 5th place), pretend he has a private guild, have him show up on the forum, etc.

 

Now no matter how elaborate the exploit is, this player can find it and brag. He'll appear to be a normal player who wants community fame at the expense of player imposed balance and the developer (yourself).

 

... now, you have a repeating cycle where the players get a jackpot bug, they pay you to obtain it for a week.

 

This is actually very different from the topic though. I was suggesting you'd tell the players directly, "pay for the right to cheat." They get the modified game experience they want without any shady dealing.

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