Issue#8: Can’t pay to win! How?

Briefings of the Present, #3

When Issue#7 “The Three Golds” was being assembled, en elegant Cthuling clerk dressed up as a dodo suggested to split a huge chunk of it into a new post.

This is how this issue was born: while it’s a new topic, and it’s about the present and not about the past, it’s still the natural continuation of the previous one.

Can’t pay to win! How?

One of the key features of good game design in a game where you can buy gold or items, is to make sure it doesn’t turn into a pay to win. This is very tricky and have to be tailored specifically to the game itself.

Easy, but faulty, solution

Some games attempt to solve this by only allowing cosmetic items to be bought with real world money, so that this doesn’t alter the game itself: you can’t buy anything which gives you a real advantage at all.

This, however, doesn’t work for one simple reason: people want to buy gold, and will do it. You may try to prevent them from doing so, you may stomp your feet to the ground all you want, but they will still find a way to do it. Remember “solution water” from the Issue#2 of this devlog: explicitly allow Users to do what they want to do, so that at least you can control it, track it, maybe even adjust it a bit.

Buying gold, not items

Having Users buy gold, not directly items, is not a solution “per se”, but it makes it much easier to have everything under control: there’s only one single point of entry, and that’s the “money → DG” conversion. Still, we now have to examine all ways that DG may be spent, to see if anything is unbalanced.

Season fee

The main use of DG is to pay for the season fee. This is the core DG sink, the base of the business model of the game.

Spending more DG only means having more Teams to sign in, and Teams require attention and investments in order to be properly profitable.

Bottom line, paying some DG you will have extra Teams that may or may not be profitable (earning you SG), so you could as well just trade DG for SG on the Market, if that’s what you are after.

The Market

Someone might be worried that if you can buy DG and then trade them to SG on the Market, means that you are basically buying SG… but that’s totally not the case.

As explained earlier, if you buy DG with real world money, these DG are “created”. If you buy SG on the Market, it means that other Users are selling them to you. At the price they want.

So, not only this doesn’t allow you to create SG, but it also doesn’t work for large amounts of gold: the Market has a finite amount of gold for sale, the more you buy, the more the price grows, up until when it’s no longer convenient to buy, or it’s just all gone.

So, we’re safe here.

The Dark Ritual

The Dark Ritual allows a Team to sacrifice a significant amount of supporters, pay some DG, and thus create a Brawler.

The peculiarity of the Dark Ritual is that it requires a much lower amount of supporters than its counterpart, the Ivory Ritual, i.e. it gives you access to higher‑level Brawlers much earlier.

However, it’s not free.

You do need to have a non trivial amount of supporters to do that, and you consume them in the process. This means that:

  • You need to have gained those supporters, by playing and winning normally.
  • Once you run out of supporters, you can no longer do it, no matter how many DG you have.
  • Since you no longer have these supporters, they won’t come to see your Matches, thus decreasing your future SG income.

We’re pretty safe here too.

The Auction House

When any User creates a Brawler using any ritual, a new Egg will spawn, and said Egg will be automatically put to auction next week.

The Egg is used to create a Brawler, so buying an Egg you are basically buying a new Brawler, which you can customise, just like you could have done if you performed the ritual yourself.

The Egg will be put to auction in a random currency (doesn’t matter which ritual was used to create the original Brawler), and its entire sale price will be sank (in future part of that might end up in the Region’s coffers).

A User with a lot of DG will have an easier time winning these auctions, but:

  • These auctions have to happen, he can’t force them into existence. So there’s a pretty hard limit on what he can win.
  • As long as there is more than one User bidding a lot of gold… they’ll just spend their gold much quicker, up to the point it will no longer be convenient for them to keep raising the price.
  • Given that these Eggs only appear when a Brawler has been created through other means, even if you were to buy all the Eggs (and good luck with that!) you would only have half of the new Brawlers.

Bottom line

Users buying DG have some advantages but they are not game‑breaking, and can’t just pour insane amounts of money into the game until they win.

Aren’t you playing yet? You can go REGISTER just now! Here’s a code to get a season ticket for free… 8170‑5214‑9733

Instead, if you are one of the wise brawler masters competing for the Screaming Saltire… here’s a code for you! It contains an amount of Liquid Gold so low you’ll hardly believe I’ve bothered to create it at all… 7029‑1693‑2280

May your eggs spawn beautiful brawlers! 🎩

Get Ork Manager: Coal & Top hats

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