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What if Jagex went the Zynga way?

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Those who use Facebook (I'd assume that's most of you) are probably aware of Zynga's many games, such as FarmVille, Mafia Wars and and CityVille. Zynga's revenue model is very different than that of Jagex: instead of charging a monthly fee, it lets players access most of its games' main content. However, players can spend premium in-game currency to buy enhancements and exclusive equipment, etc.

 

Consider Mafia Wars, for example. The game's premium currency is Reward Points, which can be used to reset wait timers, refill energy, skip parts of quests and do many other things. Reward Points are given to players when they reach an even-numbered level, and they are occasionally obtained by opening Mystery Bags or doing surveys, but the absolute quickest way of obtaining them is to spend real money.

 

This made me think: what if Jagex did something like this? Suppose that every player is allowed explore RuneScape in its entirety, but has the option to spend a premium currency, such as on the follwing:

 

  • Bring dead crops back to life and/or make them grow instantly
  • Cut the wait for doing a D&D activity
  • GP and resources (food, potions, raw materials, etc.)
  • Skip parts of quests (not everything, because that would take away the fun)
  • Exclusive POH furniture, pets, emotes, equipment, etc.
  • Make pets mature instantly
  • Unlock abilities without having to reach the required level

 

Assume that the currency can occasionally be obtained for free. How do you think it will affect players in general? The economy? RuneScape as a whole?

 

Personally, I think it would depend on how such a system is implemented. If Jagex suddenly switches to this model, I imagine that most players will be very upset about being able to simply "buy one's way" to the top. It would be very unfair if someone is able to unlock the ability to smith rune plates at, say, level 25 smithing, just because they paid real money. This would probably also throw the economy into chaos. It would also offer an unfair advantage in PK'ing. Imagine a level 3 player casting fire surge! (Although this can be solved by excluding combat spells from early unlocking.)

 

On the other hand, if RuneScape started out like this on day 1 (so that players are used to it), then I think it may bring in more revenue for Jagex. For example, someone who frequently buys "special" features in Mafia Wars is likely to spend more than the $5.95/month that Jagex is asking, especially because it could cut down on grinding.

 

I think it would be too late for Jagex to switch to this model, in the unlikely event that they ever decide to do so. However, it may come in handy for a future game. Thoughts?


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I think anything that explicitly undermined achievements in runescape would not be good.

because there wouldn't be much left in RS if not achievements.

I mean i guess they can do it to a limited extent. +10% with refer a friend for example.

But, they should be cautious to push it any further than that.


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Although I think RuneScape needs to become less of a contest of "He who spends most time wins", I would be hesitant to add anything in-game that either explicitly or implicity gave a player a certain advantage over those who cannot pay as much. Spending real life money on making crops grow instantly and protecting them from death would generate a ridiculously high profit rate in-game and could easily be seen as Real World Trading.

 

If that's the path Jagex chose to follow, then I don't see why botting is such a crime. Thankfully, we're only arguing this as a hypothetical scenario.

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I'm not a huge fan of the Zynga model, but I respect their honesty about being only about the money.


Was Deathknell, but the password recovery never worked for me. So I'm this now. Whatever. Someone get me some damn fried chicken!

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http://www.pcgamer.com/2011/06/22/eve-online-now-sells-70-monocles/

 

They could do something like this. I hope they don't, though. Especially the 70 bucks for an ingame cosmetic item.

 

Imagine the shitstorm that would ensue.


SWAG

 

Mayn U wanna be like me but U can't be me cuz U ain't got ma swagga on.

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rs is a much more competitive game for it to work

 

but they may add more "semi-rwt" stuff....like refer a friend and gamecard benifits but not so much a premium currency.

 

most people that play scape like being on an even playing field and putting in many hours compared to zynga its not really about putting in many hours but more skill/buying premium stuff lol.


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I may have quit already, but if I was still playing, this would've been the final nail.

 

I loathe Zynga's setups for their abhorrent games, which require pouring a lot of money (despite their claim that it's mostly free) and have plenty of friends (although this thread is mainly about the money spending part). Personally, the fact of it undermining achievements and having to spend extra real life dollars would make it feel like being the wealthiest in real life will give you the upper hand.

 

Thinking about it makes me cringe.

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They could make it work. Of that, I have no doubt. But who knows if even a company as stable as Jagex would survive such a drastic change to their main game?


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I don't think it'd work so well. The games you described there are virtually built around that model; RuneScape isn't. I don't see a way that would successfully incorporate a newer model like this into a game that's pretty much fixed around its current model.


Linux User/Enthusiast Full-Stack Software Engineer | Stack Overflow Member | GIMP User
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...Alright, the Elf City update lured me back to RS over a year ago.

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I don't think it'd work so well. The games you described there are virtually built around that model; RuneScape isn't.

 

True, it couldn't fully convert so easily. But there is definitely ample room in runescape for microtransactions that could have large impacts on the gameplay, don't you think? It's only their integrity and stable existing model that's keeping them from doing so, isn't it?


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I don't think it'd work so well. The games you described there are virtually built around that model; RuneScape isn't.

 

True, it couldn't fully convert so easily. But there is definitely ample room in runescape for microtransactions that could have large impacts on the gameplay, don't you think? It's only their integrity and stable existing model that's keeping them from doing so, isn't it?

 

I'm not so sure.

 

What do we think of when we think, "large impact on gameplay"? The two things that come to mind are weapons and bonus experience.

 

If you offer weapons that are only available through microtransactions that exceed the power of any weapon currently in the game, you get a backlash from players that don't wish to pay more [outside of their membership fees] to "be on a level playing field".

 

If you offer bonuses to leveling for a set period of time (kind of like a BXPW), then you get backlash from players that don't wish to pay more [outside of their membership fees] to level at a similar rate.

 

The trick here is to offer stuff that people would actually want, and stuff that would be considered fair. I'm not sure any item could be crafted that would exist like that.


Linux User/Enthusiast Full-Stack Software Engineer | Stack Overflow Member | GIMP User
s1L0U.jpg
...Alright, the Elf City update lured me back to RS over a year ago.

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I don't think that would go over well. Although, Jagex has already tested the waters of microtransactions in runescape, so, it's probably a natural progression of things. Yeah, I can imagine it happening, something like a bonus xp weekend for registered facebook users, or something.

 

However, I wouldn't personally give an iota of damn if (as someone else alluded to) they introduce cosmetic items that cost $50+. I'd just lol when I see them in game by bankstanders


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I'd be completely done with RS.

 

There are plenty of games like that rising up that aren't FB; DC universe's online playerbase shot up 1000% when they switched to using that model, and it's sort of expected out of "dying" or "dead" Mmos to milk whatever left.

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If Jagex went the Zynga way? There's be uproar.



"Imagine yourself surrounded by the most horrible cripples and maniacs it is possible to conceive, and you may understand a little of my feelings with these grotesque caricatures of humanity about me."

- H.G. Wells, The Island of Doctor Moreau

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