Forums » General Pantheon Discussion

Encouraging Pledge Upgrades

    • 1625 posts
    October 11, 2018 9:12 AM PDT

    I was encouraged to see the October newsletter mention that recent funding objectives have been met - and even more encouraged to see recruting of new team members.

    The newsletter pointed out that the game is still partially crowdfunded and the support of people like us is still valuable.

    Looking through the pledge levels I noted (not for the first time) that there is often little benefit to the player for a significant increase in pledge level. Obviously this varies based on what level you are and what you are increasing to but things like pre-alpha testing are essentially unavailable since pre-alpha is almost done and alpha, beta, name reservation and the like are shared among many pledge levels.

    Is this a good time for people to suggest what new incentives might motivate us to increase pledge levels - personal rewards I mean we still have the good feeling of supporting the game? This has been discussed now and then but perhaps answers will be different now as we get  close to alpha testing.

    One thing that should not be done is giving away any reward for a previous pledge (at least unless the upgrade is to the pledge level that gave that reward). Many of us were not here for the original campaigns and might suggest something that was offered for an early pledge without having any idea that such was the case. Not should any reward for a previous pledge be reduced in value. Thus, taking early name reservation as an example, a second tier of name reservation with priority over the first tier should not be considered even though technically both tiers would be "early".

    Obvious possibilities include (but only if this could be done with the cost to VR being significantly below the revenue):

    An array of shirts or sweatshirts or other clothes with the name of the game on them and perhaps pictures of classes, Gods or monsters. I note that companies like The Mountain do exactly this by means of private labeling. I do not know what it would cost. 

    Mugs, plates or other dishes - same general concept.

    Small relatively inexpensive pictures that could be framed and hung. Yes I know - no need to frame them since they are obviously guilty. 

    A tastefully iced and decorated Pantheon cake.

    Each year it becomes more common and cheaper to get things delivered by UPS or FedEx or USPS so ideas that may not have been feasible a few years ago might work today.


    This post was edited by dorotea at October 11, 2018 9:12 AM PDT
    • 133 posts
    October 11, 2018 10:10 AM PDT

    I would suggest a permanently-running alpha server, and then whoever upgrades, would get the ability to log in, into that server, and play right now and also in between testing phases.

    As in, uninterrupted until the real release. (of course, with any updates in between, and we accept that it might be buggy as hell)

     

    That would make me upgrade my pledge.

     

    Considering that my original pledge was $300 some years ago, any amount that would be a significant upgrade for it, is not an amount I would give for mugs, plates, cake or other fluff.

    Also, my idea does not stretch into the real release - no in-game gifts or anything that would give me anything (much less any advantage over players who did not pledge), except that I would know zones better.

     

     

    • 1194 posts
    October 11, 2018 10:22 AM PDT

    Well personnally I couldn't upgrade my pledge even if I wanted to. I already paid enough for alpha testing and I have to pay a second pledge for my GF...

     

    I think the dichotomy here lies on the line between "Encouraging pledges upgrades" and "Making pledges a must have" and really, I wouldn't know how to do it properly.

     

    To me, pledge levels are roughly Beta and Alpha access tiers, with Protector beeing for people caring little about alpha but willing to support the game more than for the basic level, and Pathfinder for Alpha acces with Adviser and Cohort for players already having what they wanted but willing to spare more for the game's development.

    • 18 posts
    October 11, 2018 12:27 PM PDT

    dorotea said:

    An array of shirts or sweatshirts or other clothes with the name of the game on them and perhaps pictures of classes, Gods or monsters. I note that companies like The Mountain do exactly this by means of private labeling. I do not know what it would cost. 

    Mugs, plates or other dishes - same general concept.

    Looks like pay-to-win to me. Shirts keep you warm so you can play longer. Mugs etc = drink/food to play longer! No thanks

    • 1074 posts
    October 11, 2018 1:07 PM PDT

    Many of us pledged when it was a lot cheaper.  Any additional pledge amounts would have to not be tied directly to the current tier system.

    I'm not going to pay 250% of what I paid originally just to get the same perks I'm already getting, before I can pledge an additional amount for extra perks.  Unsure if I explained that well?  Does that make sense?


    This post was edited by philo at October 11, 2018 1:08 PM PDT
    • 317 posts
    October 11, 2018 1:10 PM PDT

    I doubt there will be much for changes as this would make people's higher pledges less valuable by reducing the disparity.  If they did change something like this just to get more money from pledges it could be an omen of changes to come in future game development IMO.  

    • 932 posts
    October 11, 2018 3:41 PM PDT

    I am certain that I am in the minority in this, and I am ok with that....

     

    I've upgraded my pledge twice.  While I am glad that there are "perks" to pledging and upgrading, I didn't do so because of them.  They're just an "added bonus".  I pledged because this is largely crowd funded and wanted to see it completed.  Don't get me wrong.  I'm not going to turn down any of the "perks" from my pledge level, but they're not what induced me to pledge or upgrade.

     

    That being said, I initially pledged sometime around 2016, so after the whole "super cheap to pledge" phase that some of you made it in on.  I don't begrudge anyone getting the same "perks" as me for a significantly smaller pledge.  Good on you for getting a great deal.

    • 173 posts
    October 11, 2018 3:52 PM PDT

    philo said:

    Many of us pledged when it was a lot cheaper.  Any additional pledge amounts would have to not be tied directly to the current tier system.

    I'm not going to pay 250% of what I paid originally just to get the same perks I'm already getting, before I can pledge an additional amount for extra perks.  Unsure if I explained that well?  Does that make sense?



    Yeah, realistically, they would need to "grandfather" people that had old pledges in and just have them run a separate (parallel) track OR figure out a way to "adjust" the old pledges to the new system, so that you are only ever gaining perks.  For example, if you had a $100 pledge back in the day that has the perks the $200 one does now, then going to the $250 pledge now should cost you $50, not $150.  That is, your pledge should be adjusted or "scaled" up so that you're only paying the difference between your perks, not the difference in price between two disparate systems.

    I had the same problem when I went from the old pledge that had just the Beta access to the old pledge that had the Alpha access, but this was around the time they were changing them, so there was some weirdness in where my old pledge fit in (since the new pledge at my initial pledge price didn't have several of the perks that my original one did, and I had to do some research and question asking to make sure I wasn't actually going to lose things by paying more money.)

    I understand how we got to where we are, but it is kind of a weird system because of it.

    • 2060 posts
    October 11, 2018 4:21 PM PDT

    I really don't think they should do anything to it. The focus is/should be obtaining new pledges, to opening up new players to the idea of Pantheon and gaining their support and not trying to figure out ways to milk those already supporting because honestly the pledges are pretty great as is. 


    This post was edited by Iksar at October 11, 2018 4:21 PM PDT
    • 271 posts
    October 11, 2018 5:38 PM PDT

    I want to throw more money at this game.  If they give me any reason to do so, I will.  I'm in for the Knight's Alpha package from way back.  No point upgrading to Pre-Alpha at this point, but if they go ala carte with RL Merch and things like more bank space or character slots, I'll be happy to cough up some additional coin.  Maybe pre-pay the first year's subscription fee at a decent discount, I'd drop a lump sum for that as well.  

    • 122 posts
    October 12, 2018 7:36 AM PDT

    Do we really want this to be like Star Citizen? Not that I have anything against it, but I've spent a lot of money on that game and eventually just had to leave it entirely until release when my tab hit $800. Not saying I don't want to support Pantheon, but... Nothing suggested except for a permanent alpha server has been incentivizing. Logistically, I think it's a terrible idea and they should minimize costs where they can to maximize production.

     

    If you want new pledges, most new pledges aren't going to shell out $250. You can't offer alpha for less than that. If they made new items for cheaper tiers, they would probably need to be provided to upgraded tiers. So I am at a loss on how to entice new players. IMO, if they like what they see with Pantheon they will probably pledge. If not, they are probably anti-preorder/anti-pledge and that's a whole different ballgame now that the game is rolling forward.


    This post was edited by Rogue at October 12, 2018 7:37 AM PDT
    • 41 posts
    October 12, 2018 9:50 AM PDT

    I plan on upgrading my pledge once more after I am settled from my move. The "perks" are a secondary reason. I do so in hopes of helping the development of the game to move forward more fluidly which may result in a sooner release date for everyone. I'm no longer concerned with the "if" the game releases. It's all a matter of "when" and if my contributions help get things from point A to point B, all the better!

    • 150 posts
    October 12, 2018 10:39 AM PDT

    If they would set up a test server and say that it will be updated once a week (or whatever seems appropriate as I'm not on their team) with the current build, never wiped unless it was absolutely necessary, was on 24/7 (other than patch times) and could be accessed by anyone who has pledged for a nominal fee (say $5 per month or something), I'm betting a lot of people would sign up for it.

    So you have the money people have already pledged which gives them their benefits towards the testing tiers and final release.  You get money from anyone who pledges just to be able to play on the 24/7 server now.  You get the recurring monthly alpha-sub money for anybody who wants in on the 24/7 server now.

    Even though I don't have a lot of free time right now I would pay the $10 a month just so my wife and I could log in and screw around now and then.

    • 271 posts
    October 12, 2018 1:06 PM PDT

    Easiest way for them to make a ton of money would be with player housing.  Monetize it.  It's not pay to win, but it would be something in demand.

     

    They could make a certain amount of houses in each starting city available to buy (with RL money).  It would be a prestige thing.  They could do the same thing with large guildhalls, keep them limited, and guilds will band together to raise the funds so they can get the property and status.  It's easy money.  And it has no impact on actually winning the game other than perhaps as an additional recruitment tool.  They could even still do this if they had to make player housing instanced, though the prestige would be shot.  Still, lots of people would buy them to tinker around in.    

     

    Someone mentiond Star Citizen, they make their cash off the ships, but Pantheon could do something similar with housing.  There was an MMO called Revival that got cancelled after a few years of development, it was a horror based MMO, but they did this with their player housing and made a ton.  Think the average house was $300 and the guild manse's were in the $1000s.  They sold out pretty quick.  

    It all depends though.  If they don't *need* the additional funding, then might as well keep RL money out of the game.  If they do need it, then they have to focus on non-pay to win methods of raising significant capital.  Easiest way to do that is QoL features like additional bank space and character slots, but the most efficient way is prestige items (houses, boats, pets, limited time collectibles (be it for player housing or RL merch), ETC....

    • 173 posts
    October 12, 2018 2:01 PM PDT

    Searril said:

    If they would set up a test server and say that it will be updated once a week (or whatever seems appropriate as I'm not on their team) with the current build, never wiped unless it was absolutely necessary, was on 24/7 (other than patch times) and could be accessed by anyone who has pledged for a nominal fee (say $5 per month or something), I'm betting a lot of people would sign up for it.

     

    The problem with this is that, especially in pre-alpha, not all the systems work, they don't have staff to maintain and watch the servers all the time, and the servers have not been stress tested.  That generally will happen in later alpha and then truly in beta.  In pre-alpha, they may slowly expand the active users, but they aren't trying to stress test the servers before all of the architecture is there.  Something like this would force them to do the server stability thing first, instead of bug squashing and feature implementing.  There's a reason the stress testing usually happens towards the very end of the development cycles.

    I do understand what you're saying, though.  I have a $150 or $250 pledge (forget which), but I would probably pay $5/month for pre-alpha access as well.  It would generate more money for them since I'd be paying it (but the alternative is $250 to the next tier, which is a lot of money to be out all at once, and 250 / 5 = 50 months at $5 before I would break even, or 25 months at $10 to break even, and pre-alpha won't last that long in either case), and generate another tester for them.

    I kind of disagree with the bling and irl items, as all of these things are money sinks.  They cost time to design, commission, and ship to people means that, unless the pledges were more expensive, it wouldn't pay for itself.  After all, the point of pledges is to make money.  So if a $50 differences pledge involves a $25 hoodie, $10 comemorative mug, and $10 for shipping, that leaves them with only $5 net profit, and that's ignoring the time they would spend designing the logos and issuing the orders to the printing companies to make the goods for them.

    Digital perks are far easier/cheaper (a title costs nothing in design resources, nor does a special item or pet or tabard), and make more sense as the game is...well, a game.  Other than things like maps (that give an indirect in-game advantage) and soundtracks (for us audophiles) or coffee table art books (for the art fans), most other things are just so much paperweight to sit on your desk for a few years before boxing up and stuffing in your closet or storage building for the rest of your life and then willing to your grandchildren who won't want them, either.  (I, personally, tend to avoid game packages/collector's additions with physical goods.  I'd rather have digital or maybe small/light physical goods like a cloth map or something.  And I don't mean digital items that give a bonus, just something to take out a decade from now and remember that I was there from the ground floor, like a pet or in-game drink mug or other cosmetic item.)

    EDIT:


    It all depends though.  If they don't *need* the additional funding, then might as well keep RL money out of the game.  If they do need it, then they have to focus on non-pay to win methods of raising significant capital.  Easiest way to do that is QoL features like additional bank space and character slots, but the most efficient way is prestige items (houses, boats, pets, limited time collectibles (be it for player housing or RL merch), ETC....



    Gotta hard NOPE on that one.

    The point of Pantheon is to work for what you get, either solo or with groups, to put in the hours, etc.  A single extra character slot or small starting bag, maybe.  A special mount barding (but only for when you get your first mount "the hard way"), maybe.  But extra bank space, prestige items (ESPECIALLY if they can only be gotten with irl money, but even if not, it's still P2W), are all real in-game advantages.  They are trading money for time at best - you get your house things with money instead of having to put in the time and work in-game to get them - and at best, is trading money for exclusivity - if you can only get the items/perks with real life money and NOT with in-game effort (keep in mind, even if you can get it with in-game effort, it's still bad, since players can't tell if the person with that awesome item/thing got it from their own hard work or from the size of their wallet...)

    Star Citizen is going with a different model than Pantheon is...so it's not really exactly comparable.  SC is about being in the universe and being able to have a second life/alternate life type of thing.  Pantheon is more about the world, personal effort, and the other people in it.


    This post was edited by Renathras at October 12, 2018 2:06 PM PDT
    • 271 posts
    October 12, 2018 2:39 PM PDT

    Well, you can't earn a house in Pantheon or any MMO really.  It's just a gold sink.  But it could be much more profitable to the company if they make it based on RL cash instead.  There are enough other gold sinks available in the game to monitor the economy.  Houses are pure down time or vanity items.  They have no bearing on being good at the game or showing skill.  So, they inherently are not pay to win.  They are, however, fun to explore and waste hours of time decorating.  They are the perfect thing to monitize for extra investment capital.  And because it's RL money, VR could literally spreadsheet the value of each item or house and determine if it helps bring revenue to the project that can be used to make the actual gameplay experience better.

    By prestige items, I don't mean anything you can get in game.  I mean personal collectable items that the individual person enjoys.  Nothing that you can gain in game or has anything to do with accomplishing anything.  Just fluff.  Buying a RL figurine of a lore person to put on your shelf for example.  Buying the cloth map to hang on your wall is another example.  In game, maybe something like various pets you keep in your house that you can enjoy but has absolutely no bearing on the game.  Instanced housing would be a prestige item.  It has no bearing on the game, but people can enjoy on a private and personal level if they so choose.  

    GW2 did the extra bank space thing and made a ton of money with that.  It's not pay to win, its Quality of Life (QoL).  Hoarders and collectors can hoard and those that don't, won't pay for the bank space.  Bigger backpacks are a different thing, I'm not too thrilled with those because they directly impact gameplay, impact a key crafting resourse (backpacks), and I would consider those pay to win.

    So, to be clear, by prestige items, I'm talking about things that are personally meaningful, not gameplay prestigous.  None of them could be earned in game.

    • 932 posts
    October 12, 2018 5:38 PM PDT

    Rogue said:

    Do we really want this to be like Star Citizen? Not that I have anything against it, but I've spent a lot of money on that game and eventually just had to leave it entirely until release when my tab hit $800. Not saying I don't want to support Pantheon, but... Nothing suggested except for a permanent alpha server has been incentivizing. Logistically, I think it's a terrible idea and they should minimize costs where they can to maximize production.

     

    If you want new pledges, most new pledges aren't going to shell out $250. You can't offer alpha for less than that. If they made new items for cheaper tiers, they would probably need to be provided to upgraded tiers. So I am at a loss on how to entice new players. IMO, if they like what they see with Pantheon they will probably pledge. If not, they are probably anti-preorder/anti-pledge and that's a whole different ballgame now that the game is rolling forward.

    Minimize costs??  If they minimized costs any more, they would not exist.  They are a skeleton crew.  They are utiilizing hosting rather than utilizing their own infrastructure.  Maybe you should learn what it takes to develop an MMO before you tell them what they need to do with costs.

    • 622 posts
    October 12, 2018 9:54 PM PDT
    incentives to upgrade? No thanks. Slippery slope.


    Also, it will take the same amount of time regardless of how much money we throw at them. They are a solid team and are creating a solid product.


    If you desire early testing access that much i am sure they can fit you in. I, for one, like a more polished game - that is why i chose beta pledge. Could i afford more? Maybe. Would i pay more? No.


    Patience is a virtue.
    • 143 posts
    October 12, 2018 11:12 PM PDT

    leave the pledges alone. but, I would pay $10/Week for Pre-alpha. 

    I plan to do the $250 pledge soon, if they don't mess with them. 

    • 12 posts
    October 13, 2018 9:10 PM PDT

    For the record I have not played an MMO since VG.  I don't know what the name of the level I pledged but I do know the value.  I could have donated a hell of a lot more but I want to play before I start adding to what I have put down.

    VR could easily have a weekly subscription, if you will, to pre-alpha for all of us who donated a nice chunk of change.  The weekly allotment could be added to our "base" and move toward that $1,000 or more number.  It would almost be like paying rent.  Not many people can drop $250 to $500 all at once but over three months, if they believed in the product, could make payments like a vehicle.

    Something to consider.

    VR
    Algrinon

     

    • 497 posts
    October 14, 2018 8:16 AM PDT

    Iksar said:I really don't think they should do anything to it. The focus is/should be obtaining new pledges, to opening up new players to the idea of Pantheon and gaining their support and not trying to figure out ways to milk those already supporting because honestly the pledges are pretty great as is.

    I agree completely with this.

    Hard no to monetizing cosmetic features (like housing), too.

    • 133 posts
    October 15, 2018 5:55 AM PDT

    I bid $20 / month for a guaranteed pre-alpha (and alpha, beta and whatever) access, 24/7 (except when the server is being updated), also in between phases (so, even if alpha is finished and beta comes in 6 months, I get to continue in between).

    Characters and anything should not be allowed to be transferred from that server to production servers; once the production servers start, a hard wipe of everything.

     

    Absolutely no in-game anything for money on production servers.

    No bank slots for real money, prestige items for real money or anything of that sort. Hard "no". If they even start with that, I'm out.

    Because if they introduce even a little bit of that now, when the game hasn't even started yet, then by the time we're 1-2 years into production, they'll be selling everything and anything, and it'll be a pay-to-win cesspool.

    • 1191 posts
    October 15, 2018 6:30 AM PDT

    I've upped my pledge and I do not expect any special game things from VR because of it. I could not swing alpha testing, I could do the amount for beta testing, but I don't think I would be a very good tester. I imagine a steady income stream is important in development so I've been consistent in my small boosted amount.

     

     

     

     

     

     

    • 12 posts
    October 15, 2018 2:04 PM PDT

    Aethor said:

    I bid $20 / month for a guaranteed pre-alpha (and alpha, beta and whatever) access, 24/7 (except when the server is being updated), also in between phases (so, even if alpha is finished and beta comes in 6 months, I get to continue in between).

    I think this is a little low.  Maybe $100 a month.  I say this for two reasons:

    1.  We want to help fund Pantheon.  They need cash and we do not know what the pre-alpha server server is capable of supporting.

    2.  We need to make sure people really are doing it for the right reason.  Is it just to play the game and start solving quests; making maps; creating third party software?  Or are they doing it for the love of the game.  

    If they had 100 people pay $100 a month that is a $10,000 check a month that they wouldn't have had.  Maybe they up it to $200.

    I think many of us would fork that money over to make the game better.

    • 497 posts
    October 15, 2018 2:25 PM PDT

    Algrinon said:If they had 100 people pay $100 a month that is a $10,000 check a month that they wouldn't have had.  Maybe they up it to $200.

    I think many of us would fork that money over to make the game better.

    I think "many" is a bit generous.