Minion Masters

Minion Masters

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@BaboonLord  [developer] Nov 22, 2016 @ 1:35am
Game pricing in depth
Minion Masters has a purchase price and it also has in game purchase options. This is not a traditional approach and therefore we find it important to explain why we have chosen this direction.

Continued development
We would like to keep developing on Minion Masters and constantly make it bigger, better and stronger. This costs money of course and so we can choose between donations, expansions or microtransactions. It is unlikely to succeed with donations. Expansions tend to divide players and are rarely used in PvP games.
Many players are used to Microtransactions from other online PvP games and it allows us to make frequent updates without dividing the player base. It also allows people to get everything for free by returning the favor of being much more available in matchmaking as they simply play more.

Player numbers safety
Many online games has started as premium games, but later on converted to “Free to play” to get more players. These games have typically not planned for this conversion, which sometimes makes the pre-existing player base suffer from a lot of new systems. We will not have this conversion problem, as the game has these systems already and there is no changes required if the conversion is needed. This is also kind of a safety net for the game, that ensures the possibility of improved player numbers when wanted.

Why the game has a price
There are several reasons for why Minion Masters has a price and is not free to play.
The price means that whoever purchases the game and plays it, will be more interested and has a much higher chance of enjoying it, resulting in better vibes in the community.
The cost will also give us better control of player numbers, allowing us to form the experience with the core community before more and more players join.
Every now and then when we might need more players, we'll invite players from our own community and our partners who are serious about gaming such as Alienware and SteelSeries.

The Premium Upgrade
The idea behind the Premium Upgrade is to make the game feel less like a free to play game. It includes both a great instant value package, but more importantly extreme progress boosts that will enable you to acquire a significant part of the launch content without any further paying. As we keep developing the game and add more content, you will then have to pay or play to acquire that content as mentioned above.
The Premium Upgrade might not be available at launch, or it may change, as we want to reward you - the players who help us form the game from the start.

Handling pay to win
We aim at making payments equal to quicker progression and more variation, rather than higher chances of winning. Our goal is that - players with very few rare Minions should still be competitive against players with a lot of them. We will be looking carefully at the best players decks to make sure this is the case, and we will try to find methods for showing it to you as well. Additionally we'll make sure everything related to gameplay can be acquired by playing.

Last edited by @BaboonLord; Nov 22, 2016 @ 6:00am
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Showing 1-15 of 60 comments
I personally dont think it seems too bad but for alot of people it depends on what you can buy, the premium option seems like a good thing as long as it doesnt provide TOO MUCH of a boost. You were talking about buying minion card spins directly which i think will make quite a few people angry since that is kinda p2w although not directly (alot of people are scarred from Hearthstone). And then arena and master skins i think would be brilliante. While its about keeping up cost having too high a price on ingame items will discourage people even more, i wouldnt mind paying a few dollars for a skin i like but some games do stuff like "10 dollars for this skin" and ESPECIALLY in a paid game that seems like alot. That is also something else i think is a bit of an overlook. you say people are used to microtransactions, and they are. In free games, and mainly for fluff to make you look cooler. The balance is fairly decent and i agree that common cards can build some pretty effective decks but at the same time it sucks to lose to an enemy with a card you dont have knowing that he might just have bought it from spins.

I am looking forward to the test tommorow and although i think the reasoning is alright i think the existing pricetag will hurt the income of players and the ingame microtransactions will multiple that pain tenfold due to how happy people are about flinging around "p2w" as a term.
@BaboonLord  [developer] Nov 22, 2016 @ 2:48am 
Thanks for the comment Zouls and thanks for the recent video upload, saw more than an hour of it :)

I agree this is a very touchy subject which is also why we'd like to engage in a transparent dialogue about it. I think all online games that lasts for years whether fremium or premium finds a way to sell extra content to make up for the upkeep costs. New examples are Overwatch which used premium and in-game purchases as well. I think it's good to have that from the start if possible, to avoid frustration later on.
A "Card game like this" is different from a Moba, it's less complex to have all characters in a Moba than having all the cards in a card game. But the cool thing about a Moba is that you only need a few characters to play competitively, you basically don't need to pay for that, but if you want them all and have a very varied set of options, you may have to pay unless you play a lot.
I think that's a good approach to competitive games with in-game purchase options.

Skins make a lot of sense as well, but from the data we've collected, players are not as interested in purchasing cosmetics as they are in gameplay variations. However we shall see, if the community supports us by purchasing a lot of cosmetics, we might be able to change the pricing on gameplay options.

Online games can be considered a bit like a society, where people contribute with what they can to make it all work together:
- Some players will contribute by playing a lot and thereby often being available in matchmaking, that should be rewarded.
- Some players may be able to support the developers to ensure consistent updates, that should be rewarded.
- Some players might be able to stream and make new players interested, that should be rewarded (we're looking into a Twitch integration that rewards streamers and their audience for playing).

Good luck on your ranking tomorrow :)
Last edited by @BaboonLord; Nov 22, 2016 @ 2:51am
th_pion Nov 22, 2016 @ 3:17am 
I recommend explaining what will be available to who in detail as well. People are still confused about whether or not they get the premium upgrade or not.
@BaboonLord  [developer] Nov 22, 2016 @ 5:59am 
Hi th_pion, in the mail that came with the free access key, we also linked to the blog that describes what the key comes with, if you haven't read it, here it is: http://blog.betadwarf.com/2016/10/our-new-game-minion-masters-hurry-get.html
Last edited by @BaboonLord; Nov 22, 2016 @ 6:02am
" New examples are Overwatch which used premium and in-game purchases as well. I think it's good to have that from the start if possible, to avoid frustration later on. " i think that is where the phrasing seems odd. and the example too. because

A: Overwatch was a full launch price with EVERYTHING affecting gameplay unlocked
B: There was no such thing as premium, no exp boosts or anything. Simply the upfront cost and a slightly more expensive version with more skins
C: The loot boxes ONLY gives fluff items that makes you look cooler.

They use a "pay to skin" model. Imagine if they locked certain heroes behind a farm wall or a pay wall. There would be an absolute outrage. I mentioned hearthstone earlier which has become notorious for being pay to win due to having to spend thousands of dollars to get "good" cards. I think thats an easier thing to compare to because there you can also use the argument " but you can still win with a starter deck" and idd you can. but there will always be slightly better decks, slightly better things. The fact that the "card" pool in this game is alot less can tip both ways, it can make it alot easier to balance or it can be a case where there is no way to compensate from lacking certain cards.

I am really enjoying the game and i hope for the best community, i dont mind paying to look cooler but already now i sometimes have the bad taste of "damn he was lucky enough to get that legendary from the spin" that would become alot worse when it changes from "Oh he was lucky enough to get it" (Equality of chance, i had the same chance of getting them as he does) to "Oh he probably bought it, i wish i had the money to get those cards"

I apologize if it seems weird and i am nothing but a simple gamer ofc, cant tell you how to do stuff since you guys knows the most. But the line for pay to win for most people is when it goes from "his dedication / luck got him that card" to "His wallet got him that card". would it be possible to balance out? yes. is it possible to balance out? Yes. As long as it stays a case of "Letting the people behind catch up" instead of "Letting the people ahead get even more ahead" (which is such an iffy line and damn am i glad i am not the one to balance it out)

Hopefully i can get to atleast gold 2 tommorow or something along it.

EDIT: Reading the mail you just linked i can see you use "Premium" as a "one time cost" which is quite a poor choice of words since it implies a "none premium". I would recommend saying something along the lines of "Getting all of this for a single one time purchase!"

EDIT2: I read it through again. now im even more confused. Bugger.
Last edited by Twitch.tv/Zoulsgaming; Nov 22, 2016 @ 6:18am
th_pion Nov 22, 2016 @ 6:12am 
Originally posted by @BaboonLord:
Hi th_pion, in the mail that came with the free access key, we also linked to the blog that describes what the key comes with, if you haven't read it, here it is: http://blog.betadwarf.com/2016/10/our-new-game-minion-masters-hurry-get.html
I think the blog entry is not very clear on the topic either.
@BaboonLord  [developer] Nov 22, 2016 @ 7:29am 
th_pion, okay I'm sorry if it's confusing, that's not intended. It says what the free key we mailed out on Nov 12th contains and it does not include the premium upgrade. Hope that answers your question.

Thanks for the feedback Zoulsgaming, it is indeed complex as you say yes :)
Hearthstone is a good comparison since both games deal with cards. I think Hearthstone does a good job at making you able to get competitive decks without paying, I'm not sure how much they focus on that, but we will however focus on ensuring competetive play is possible for everyone. We will also make it easier to collect all the Minions.
Regarding your Premium key confusion, I think the above description of it might work better than the blog post.

But yeah as long as you're enjoying the game and you feel competitive, I think it's going well.
Originally posted by @BaboonLord:
th_pion, okay I'm sorry if it's confusing, that's not intended. It says what the free key we mailed out on Nov 12th contains and it does not include the premium upgrade. Hope that answers your question.

Thanks for the feedback Zoulsgaming, it is indeed complex as you say yes :)
Hearthstone is a good comparison since both games deal with cards. I think Hearthstone does a good job at making you able to get competitive decks without paying, I'm not sure how much they focus on that, but we will however focus on ensuring competetive play is possible for everyone. We will also make it easier to collect all the Minions.
Regarding your Premium key confusion, I think the above description of it might work better than the blog post.

But yeah as long as you're enjoying the game and you feel competitive, I think it's going well.

Okay so its like this

You have base game and premium upgrade. We get the base game because we are beta testers. In case the game ever became free to play that would be the base game. If people (Who weren't part of the beta) wants to play the game they HAVE to buy the premium upgrade. which also gives access to the game. The split will allow you guys to transition to F2P model easier and also give out "base games" while still having potential revenue by having some of the people who got the game for free buy the premium.

Premium gives more Gold, More EXP, and instantly unlocks some customization options.

Is that right?
@BaboonLord  [developer] Nov 22, 2016 @ 8:05am 
Hi Zouls,
Yes that's right.

And the active alpha testers gets an extra bonus shortly after the game is released for each Saturday they participated.

Also we'll probably give all players an extra bonus if we ever go F2P, whether they have the Premium Upgrade or not.

Edit,
The premium content will soon be detailed, what you assume about it is close to correct I think.
Last edited by @BaboonLord; Nov 22, 2016 @ 8:57am
Baartabah Nov 22, 2016 @ 2:01pm 
+1 for honesty BaboonLord, that's indeed a good idea to bring this up now.

Like Zouls, I can't really get behind the fact that money could buy cards. If real money affects game balance in any way there's gonna be hate, especially if people already paid for the game.
I think you should keep things cosmetic too.

A few years ago i came across a Youtube channel made by an other indie game dev called Lachhh who gives what i think is a really neutral point of view about microtransactions.

Here are the links :
Part 1
Part 2
Part 3

I hope it'll give you insights about how to deal with this in the best possible way.
I like the idea of premium, since its basically a one time purchase and then skins, both for masters and arenas. Direct spin purchases will be very iffy. some people will disagree with exp boost but that is a grey area where people wont instantly scream "P2W"

I like that you guys were honest enough to say "this was our plan" but still take into account when we discouraged it. Have you made a final stance on it yet?
@BaboonLord  [developer] Nov 22, 2016 @ 11:23pm 
@Baartabah, @Zouls thanks.

I appreciate that you're trying to understand us as well, means a lot, we have made a final stance on it yes. Here's some extra elaboration:

1. We know from data that cosmetics don't sell well and that gameplay sells better. If we go purely for this, there's a risk we can't support the game.

2. Since it's a card game, collecting cards is a big and fun part of the game, and there should almost always be yet another card you can collect. If there was no other way than to play and acquire cards over time, I think there would be something similar where people would say their opponent is lucky because they got X card - that another player doesn't have. I think it would be extremely challenging to satisfy all players on this topic and I'm not sure any card game has done so, so far.

3. The premium upgrade is a challenge to design for a card game, but we think a lot of players will appreciate it. It will greatly increase your collection speed for a long period and parts of it will last forever. Note though that if we support the game with rapid updates for years to come, that wouldn't be enough. However that doesn't mean it has to be the same cost as Hearthstone either.

4. We have already spend a lot of time designing the in-game economy and we're almost done. It got halted a bit since we prioritized server stability during the alpha, but last parts will soon be added. The point being is that designing and implementing these systems are extremely expensive, so we can't afford to change it now. We based it on data and help from industry veterans. We are indeed players of these types of games ourselves and our office represents both people who play for free and pay, and we will focus on making it fun and meaningful everyone.

Well. That is at it is then. Just expect at best a small backlash at worst a huge backlash for allowing you to directly buy gameplay affecting items. I believe the statistic but what it doesnt take into account is "why". WHY do people buy gameplay items more? do you think its because they think its more worth the money, or because they feel FORCED (Eyyy pun) to buy it? I agree with getting new cards is cool but on the other hand if you want a competitive playstyle there will ALWAYS be certain decks that needs 8 specific cards and can't work if you are missing one.

The whole "carrot on a stick" progression is excellent and almost mandatory in gaming culture now a days. I for one would love to see Master Progression. Much like heroes of the storm so everytime you play a game as a master you gain a certain amount of exp for it out of the game. If it then gave rewards such as borders (For the circle when you enter the game and it shows both names) or even after having invested alot of hours gave a unique skin i feel like that would be a carrot on a stick that alot of people would be able to go for without feeling like they specifically had to go for "grinding" master levels.

I believe Gaben once said that only 2% of people who play a f2p game actually spend money on it, and i can easily imagine it being less for a bought game. On the other hand Whales also exist, One guy that worked within gaming did a presentation on how 99% of the money earned came from 1% of the buyers (due to whales).

I believe a game that is interesting to look at would be Rocket League, its a 20 dollar game. Obviously we all know they had a massive success in launch which provides less need for revenue (to be fair). They had tons of customization you could unlock and then they released Car DLC's for like 2 euro per car. I bought all of them even though i dont use the cars, cause they added something cool and for a low price.

Thanks for being open. I hope you guys will succeed indeed, and i can promise you if i ever feel like it does end up as P2W i will be the first to let you know. Lets hope it doesn't.

EDIT: In case it isnt clear. i am all for the one time premium purchase (since it allows people who play less to still have a chance to catch up) and skins. Its the direct purchase of spins i think is what will get the most hate. Again due to the difference of "Letting people catch up" and "Letting the people ahead get even further ahead"
Last edited by Twitch.tv/Zoulsgaming; Nov 23, 2016 @ 12:24am
@BaboonLord  [developer] Nov 23, 2016 @ 12:30am 
Thanks for your thoughts Zouls, much appreciated.

Rocket League is cool yes, but if we went that way we couldn't go free to play if needed, to guarantee a big player boost without depending on skins only. I think you're right that it works well for them because they had massive success.
At the end it's about making the best guesstimate that will make everyone happy. I hope it helps to engage in dialogue with people about to minimize any backlash, but since this is our 3rd game, I'm very aware that we can't please everyone. But I still think who should strive to do that, and I will be listening to you once you have feedback in the future, just don't abuse it ;)

Also see you online tonight, we have a few balance changes to shake up the meta a bit :)
METAL STORM Nov 23, 2016 @ 6:48am 
Originally posted by @BaboonLord:
Also see you online tonight, we have a few balance changes to shake up the meta a bit :)

Balances changes sounds nice, btw on saturday, when twitch already added "Minion masters" game to their library there was still no streams on your frontpage here: www.betadwarf.com/community/
Perhaps you need to look into that!
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Date Posted: Nov 22, 2016 @ 1:35am
Posts: 60