WHAT I THINK IS WRONG:
As a fan of the MechWarrior franchise, I want to do everything within my power to help you guys, as a business, succeed. Usually, that means spending money on the products that you have to offer. However, despite being a fan of the MechWarrior franchise, I find myself hesitating to spend any more money on your game as it currently stands- and the biggest factor that is detracting from my willingness to buy is the pricing.
It just seems to me that paying upwards of $30 USD for a Hero 'Mech seems a bit steep, and I honestly wouldn't be able to tell you I feel like I got my money's worth if I spent 4500 MC on a Fang or Flame. That aside, camoflauge schemes will cost approximately $5 to select a pattern for- and will jump up to around $10 if one decides to purchase colors for it. While this may not sound too bad, with that same amount of money, I could purchase an additional 7 'Mech hangar slots. That's 7 potential new chassis with various hardpoints, engines and loadouts that are conducive to gameplay and my experience as a player, for the same expense as a design limited to one chassis and 3 colors. I don't think I would have minded this aspect too much if it weren't for the fact that MechWarrior has always been about customization- whether it came to practicality or cosmetics, and putting a hefty fee on an aspect of MechWarrior makes it less likely for me, as a part of the playerbase, want to explore it.
I understand that you have to find a way to make money off of a service that you're offering for free, but as a costumer, I feel that the extra services you are offering at the current price aren't favorable for us. It simply seems that we are giving up too much and receiving too little as compensation. I also realize that you may be tinkering around with pricing to see what range nets you the most profit, but asking for $30 USD for a chassis and then accepting money at that price speaks to me that you believe the current pricing is worth paying for. While I don't particularly believe anyone over there has malicious intent to milk money out of a fanbase with blatant disregard to how they feel, I can't particularly say that the practice seems entirely fair to me either.
WHAT I PROPOSE TO ADDRESS IT:
Having played multiple free-to-play games, I find many of them follow a rather similar business model. I don't work in the games industry, so I can only speculate as to why, but if I had to take a guess, it would be because the model has seemed to work for companies- enough to make reasonable amounts of money, and I don't think it would be a terrible idea to port it over to MWO, if not at least temporarily to gauge how things work.
In many other free-to-play games, essentially everything is available to the player through in-game currency that can be acquired through gameplay. In order for there to be motivation to spend money, the items are often listed at cheap prices, with their cost of in-game currency being exponentially higher. If I were to apply this example to MWO, it would boil down to something like paying 2,500 - 3,000 MC (or potentially less) for a Pretty Baby, while at the same time, asking for a C-Bill price of 25,000,000 or so. This way, there's nothing forcing the player to pay money to obtain this new piece of equipment if they wanted to, but it would be astronomically easier if they did. This method offers the same services to those who wish to pay and those who don't, with the key difference between the two being ease of accessibility.
If you wish to retain Hero 'Mechs as Premium-Only content, then perhaps a better suited example would be the camoflauge schemes. As it is, I don't believe 500 MC is a good investment for a single color- regardless of whether it is universal across chassis' or not. Forcing players to pay in order to get access to a feature that would otherwise be largely unavailable to them seems like cosmetic customization is a privilege that should only be granted towards those who have invested in your game. It also speaks to me with the current pricing that you believe cosmetic customization of my Mech is worth $2.50 per color and $5 per design. It seems a bit unreasonable to ask this much for a component of the game that is so minor in terms of gameplay, but important to the individual. I imagine very many people would enjoy the option to reasonably personalize and stylize their 'Mech without great expense.
A system that, from how I see it, would be more fair would be to make colors cost 100-150 MC, perhaps even less. There really isn't any reason why I would pay more for a color than I would an additional 'Mech slot, and for something as small, yet significant as customization to the player, a single color should be worth their potential investment. At the same time, making colors available for 1,500,000 to 2,000,000 C-Bills would prevent barricading off any players who would want to see a feature of the game you've implemented, but don't have any money, and at the same time would require them to put in some level of commitment to the game before they can fully gain access to it. I imagine many people would also be more willing to purchase a color if it didn't take up such a significant portion of their MC wallet.
MC pricing as it stands is the greatest detractor from me wanting to buy new things or spend money on additional MC. I can't say I feel a particular sense of satisfaction with my purchase after I've laid down 500 MC (nearly half of the minimum MC purchase) on a singular color. While I enjoy MWO in all it's perks and flaws, one thing that stands out to me as drastically different to me is your cash shop, which by comparison to many other free-to-play titles out there, seems overpriced and much less than worth my money.
On a more personal note, I still have a little over 4,000 MC sitting in my wallet from my Founder's purchase, and I can't say with conviction that there's anything up for sale that I believe is fairly priced enough for me to want to spend it on. I think it goes without saying then, that until some things are changed, any future MC purchases are completely out of the question- if I have $20 to spend on a game, I should walk away from a purchase spree with $20 worth of content. That doesn't ever seem to be the case, unfortunately. I know there are many that share this same sentiment, and I hope my open letter to all of you can give you some insight into your pricing system, and can take it into a new direction that is satisfactory for both the companies and the players.
I hope you review my complaints and suggestions with a degree of sincerity. I'd hate to see MWO fail and I'd gladly contribute money to prevent that from happening- but as things stand, I can't see myself doing that without feeling as if I'd wasted some of it.
A concerned player
Edited by Egomane, 27 March 2013 - 03:24 AM.
Third option has to be Abstain