... for money, that is. I've been thinking a lot over the past few months about homegrown ways you can bring more money in through the game. As opposed to shelling out for advertising or other out-of-game avenues. Why not use the game itself as a steadier revenue source?
What I mean is you need to give us reasons to keep buying and spending crowns without making us feel exploited. For the most part, I think this means renewable purchases. So here are some ideas. I hope other people will chime in with things they'd feel willing to spend money on, too.
This is already one of your main moneymakers. It's a reliable method of bringing in funds, though probably not as robust a method as you'd like. So what about enhancing private worlds to make them more attractive to buyers (especially if you're going to ramp up world generation in general)? For example:
- make purchased worlds have a slightly higher chance of spawning with good paintings/heads/platinum/etc.
- make purchased worlds have a higher number of dungeons, head bunkers, etc.
- make purchased worlds have slightly better loot drop percentages
- make purchased worlds more likely to contain new rares for the first few days after releasing the new items
Alternatively, you could offer another category of worlds with the above perks. Maybe charge an extra 100 or 200 crowns. Even if the percentages were modest (e.g., 10% more dungeons, 10% higher chance of good stuff spawning, etc.), people would likely throw an additional couple hundred crowns at it. I know I would.
I haven't thought all these through all the way, so there might be problems. If there are I'm sure people will point them out, ha.
- Offer the 8000-crown pack special ALL THE TIME (not just as a special sale). In other words, make sure your best deal is always available. I can't tell you how many times I've considered buying crowns but decided to wait for the 8000 pack because 1000 free crowns is 1000 crowns, then by the time the 8000 sale comes around, I've forgotten what I wanted the crowns for, so I don't buy any.
- Offer the sale-rate crowns all the time to onyx moons (and do NOT offer special sales beyond that). In other words, make your best possible crown rates available to onyx moons all the time. Not only will this give people a reason to spend enough to become onyx moons, but it also will make your proven spenders more likely to keep spending.
- Make slight boosts in luck related to the number of crowns you have in your account (e.g., maintaining a balance of over 1000 crowns gives a slight, very slight, percentage boost in your chances of looting a rare)
- Bring prices of cosmetic items wayyyy down -- you're more likely to have 25 people spend one dollar each than one person spend 25 dollars all at once. It's crazy that some cosmetic items cost more than entire mini worlds. People are much more likely to casually toss off 25 crowns for a hat than they are to shell out 250.
- Put some sort of subtle but visible tag or mark on cosmetic items that are not, and never will be, available as daily loot or in red chests. People spend money on designer jeans to show off the label. At the very least make clear note of such items in their descriptions in the crowns store. I might see a hat I just HAVE TO HAVE, but if I think eventually it's going to be a daily loot drop or that I can get it from a red chest, I'm gonna be hesitant to shell out crowns for it.
Another renewable money source would be something people pay for on an ongoing basis. For example, I'd pay a small monthly fee (a buck or two each, depending, or maybe a lump sum for all) for things like:
- the ability to place and mine without the new dupe-busting delay nerf (even just in owned worlds would be great) ... seriously, I'd pay five bucks a month for this alone
- the ability to give exact amounts, or at least to give all of an item at once
- the ability to play without having my person icon appear next to the world on the world tele screens (in other words, for a chance to explore abandoned worlds without the game constantly announcing what world I'm in to anyone who hits the "popular" tab) ... another thing I'd pay five bucks a month for
- the ability to mega zoom on owned worlds (for epic screenshots, or even super-fast resource assessment) [or just fix the damn camera feature in the map already] ... could also be a one-time purchase accessory, though you won't make ongoing money off it if you do that
- the ability to use additional API search parameters: I want to be able to view *all* results with &per_page=100; I want the ability to search by gen date, by gen version, by number of teles, by number of protectors, etc.
- the ability to search for my private worlds or worlds I'm a member of: Now that I can no longer run the Unity version on my Mac, the only way I can get to these private worlds is by smacking the "owned" or "member" button over and over, hoping the one I want will show up, hoping my clicky finger doesn't automatically click to refresh again just as I recognize the one I want...
- the ability to turn off sky dirt evaporation for owned worlds: sometimes I really want a flying dirt hovel
- the ability to turn off critical hits, which I hate, hate, hate under every circumstance they occur
- the ability to shovel as fast on a Mac as is possible on a PC
- the ability to use a net (and all other tools/melee weapons) as fast on a Mac as is possible on a PC ... especially important now that there are daily challenges that sometimes rely on grinding
People will hate this, but another moneymaking idea might be some sort of tax on trading. Maybe you get 5 free trades per day, and after that, you have to pay one crown per trade, or something like that. Or you have to pay 10 crowns for a trading license that lasts a certain length of time but allows you to make as many trades as you want during that time. Or maybe a month-long license for unlimited trading costs five bucks. Or maybe issue a special license for trading the more costly or rare items, or a special tax on those sorts of trades. My point is: Trading is a hugely popular activity in the game. So... do like real life and find a way to capitalize on it.
I think there are ways to balance these sorts of buyable privileges and game-wide taxes to prevent the game from being too much of a pay-to-play/pay-to-win experience. Mostly you'd be targeting your power users -- your biggest spenders and more veteran players -- without hugely affecting the gameplay of newer or less advanced players.
Holy crap I wrote a book. Sorry.