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Samkiud Feb 11, 2015 @ 5:41pm
DLK Studio Concept of "Free-to-Play"
Many gaming companies cover their backs saying that their games are "free-to-play", meaning that you don't pay a pen to actually play the game. The thing is that to fund themselves they kind of force the players, at certain point, to expend real money to get gameplay advantages, unlock gameplay features and else, and this is where the "pay-to-win" comes from.

Talking about the genuine concept of free-to-play, there's a indie company from New Zealand called Grinding Gear Games. They founded the concept of "ethical microstransaction", which consist that the real money the players expend in their game (Path of Exile) doesn't affect at all their gameplay, instead they get recognition for their support by giving them forum banners as Supporters, and with the Coins (in-game real money currency) they buy cosmetics, outfits, weapon effects, aesthetics stuff and such.

In DLK Studios case, what is going to be their business model? Their games will actually going to be genuine free-to-play? Or there are going to gameplay advantages for players that expend real money? If they're planning to give gameplay advantages to the players who pay, will the in-game currency be tradeable?
Last edited by Samkiud; Feb 11, 2015 @ 8:50pm
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Showing 1-2 of 2 comments
DLK Studios  [developer] Feb 11, 2015 @ 8:38pm 
Hi Samkiud,

Great question! Basically we are intending to monetize the game via 4 different in game purchaes.
1) Conventional Booster Packs
2) Skins for your Avatar (3D model representation of you character with abilities to augment deck)
3) Custom Emotes for your Avatar (Animated Gestures)
4) Cosmetic Particle Effects

We've honestly spent so much time thinking about how to monetize while still remaining true to the genuine idea of free-to-play. Although games like "Path of Exile" have been able to successfully develop a business model that is genuinely free to play, the exact same business model, in our opinions simply could not function in a trading card game atmosphere. If we were to revoke the ability for players to purchase packs, it simply would not be a trading card game. That being said, we know a lot of players who play will not want to spend a single cent on card packs, and we respect that, we don't want to punish said players in a competetive atmosphere.

I'm going to digress for a second here (sort of). I personally play Hearthstone, and have not spent a single cent, and that was okay for a while. I found that I was enjoying the ranked play right up until I hit a, what I like to call, "pay barrier". At a certain rank I was clearly facing people who had spent considerable $ on the game and it was very difficult to win. The only way for a free-to-play player to combat this is for them to go through a win-loss cycle where they consistently lose games until they drop out of the "paid" rank to the "free" rank and then earn some gold. This is effectively a grind. No one likes that... I don't think...

We realize that it is honestly impossible to combat the above problem in a trading card game (honestly if anyone has a good suggestion we would love to hear it, we've spent many a night scratching our heads over this problem).

What we have come up with instead is a way for players to face off against each other on a level playing field in order to earn in game currency and eventually attain all the cards they may want. The way in which we're doing this is through a completely separate gameplay format that we've decided to call the "rotational format". We've essentially based this concept on ideas present in games like League of Legends and Smite. The idea is that a pool of 40 cards will be available to all players (the same pool of 40 cards). These cards will rotate on a weekly basis, and will be randomized by the system. Players will have to build decks using this pool of 40 cards (40 distinct cards, typically rule is no more than 4 of an identical card in a deck, and a minimum of 40 cards per deck).

To be clear, we're not taking away the traditional build your deck competetive format, where players with a larger library of cards may be at an advantage (it's just the nature of trading card games, I can't think of one in which this isn't the case). We're simply providing a way for players to play the game without experiencing the unpleasantries of losing to players who do spend $ on cards.

One other thing, just to be clear, we are never intending on having silly things like purchasing energy to play, or special "spend $200 this week and get this amazing OP promo card" events, we are strictly sticking to a traditional trading card game model.

Adopting this rotational format provides two benefits.
1) Players do not feel underpowered and overwhelemed due to lack of cards ($ will give you no advantage).
2) It provides a very interesting and dynamic metagame that effectively changes up every week (gotta keep things spicy!)

I know that's a lot of text there (not even sure if it's logically structured), but we genuinely want to be as transparent as possible with anybody who's interested in playing our game.

Now to answer the question related to in-game currency. At this point, we don't believe in-game currency will be tradeable, there is simply too many problems associated with something like this for a free-to-play game. The idea that an individual could play on multiple computers are once and trade currency between accounts in order to attain an unfair in game advantage is one example. We are intending on making cards tradeable via an auction house system (different that most other games in that you can put your cards up on the AH with the request of a card instead of a currency... hope that made sense).

If anyone has any other questions we encourage you to ask :) Thanks again for asking Samkiud.
Samkiud Feb 11, 2015 @ 9:12pm 
Awesome. You have strong basis there. Another very good (my favorite so far) TDC game that have managed very well to keep a fair-enough free-to-play business model is Duel of Champions.

You guys seem to have everything geared up. Keep it up. I'm anxious to play your game soon.
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