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Opinion: Ladders Should be Free: 12/17/2013 21:57:54

Level 55
EDIT: The purpose of this post is "if you want to grow the game and get a bigger player base, here's how I - totally internet rando who doesn't know shit - would do it". Not "I want this." And I know ladders are technically free, but it was a catchier title this way.

Okay, I'm very new to the ladders, going through my placement games (3-3 at the moment. Feels okay). Getting my ass totally kicked on the seasonal ladders. Whatever, still fun :). And it's basically awesome. And now that I'm playing it, I can see it's totally worth $30. But I donated only because I found out the game was run by a single guy and he could probably use the money. Beforehand, I definitely didn't think it was worth it.

So great, it's an alright system, but it just seems to me that it's totally backwards. If you want to get people to put money into the game, you have to hook them first. The ladders - it seems totally apparent - ought to be hook, the heart and soul of the game. They should be the thing that gets people to donate, not the thing people donate to play.

For context, I've come from league of legends where there is ranked play. Abstracting away all other details and differences, this is the addicting part of that game - the thing that keeps you there and keeps you spending money on micro transactions. The game is great, but people just love to have a number attached to their name and to see quantifiable proof that they're improving (or at least totally better than that other guy). Got to get that elo up. To make it even better, this game auto-generates new ladder games until you tell it to stop, making it even more likely to keep people around and potentially willing to spend money.

So, what's the point of this all?

In my opinion, the creator should make ladders (or at least the first one!) available to practically everyone. Like, level 10 requirement or something for at least the strat 1v1. Something stupidly low. Maybe other ladders open up as you level, it really doesn't matter. You're going to increase your competitive pool (and this is the group that will feel more willing to spend money) immensely. You'll have competitive 2v2 ladders. You could have 3v3 Europe ladders, whatever.

But the ladders are the main draw of membership, so you'll need to add new draws there. Maybe add features that are never available or only at high levels. Maybe add access to maps that are only available at high levels. People are impatient. But people are also leery of spending $30. Look, I know it says membership is a low price and it sort of is in one sense, but that's also a lot of money. Put in micro transactions, the ability to pick and choose features to buy with the option of later spending the remainder of the $30 to pick up a full membership, and you'll probably see a big increase everything - even full memberships.

I don't know a ton here, and obviously since I bought a membership I'm one of your success stories, but it just seems to me - and maybe I'm full of crap and wrong, but I don't think so - that there's a lot of untapped growth potential here. The money's just on the wrong items.

I have no idea if this will get read and I've had an account for like less than 2 months so it's totally possible there's a bazillion things I'm not considering. But maybe an outside perspective is a good thing? Eh, don't care. It's the internet, totally okay to just write crap no one might ever read.

TL;DR: Ladders ought to be the hook to this game. Make them super accessible and use micro-transactions for features/whatever to get people to spend money. Upside: possible drastic growth of the competitive scene combined with increased income for fizzer.

Edited 12/17/2013 23:30:16
Opinion: Ladders Should be Free: 12/17/2013 22:18:43

Level 58
the creator should make ladders (or at least the first one!) available to practically everyone.

all the ladders are already free, they unlock when you lvl up (although not before you reach a 'high level').
Opinion: Ladders Should be Free: 12/17/2013 22:46:59

Level 60
So you are saying 30 bucks is a lot for a membership, but then want to take away their best attribute?

And yes, they already do unlock as Hennns said, just not as low as you would like.

IMO, getting people hooked starts with doing away with %75 luck as standard. To me it stunts the growth of new players so much that if you gave them a taste of the ladder you'd scare them away. They just would not be as good as they think.

What you should do is just join lots of 1v1 strat tournaments. Then you can get a ladder like feel early on.
Opinion: Ladders Should be Free: 12/17/2013 23:07:42

Level 49
Abstracting away all other details and differences, this is the addicting part of that game - the thing that keeps you there and keeps you spending money on micro transactions.

Well, this is the key point, WL has no micro transactions. I don't know if LoL is pay to win, but many other games are, and should Fizzer ever decide to put up a shop to sell 'special super airlift cards' or the like, basically anything that gives an advantage in-game, I - and I suspect this is true for the big majority of 'regulars' - would immediately stop playing.

I'm quite sure Fizzer knows this, and as far as I know it's not the direction he wants this game to take anyway. Which leaves open one other area for micro transactions: eye candy. Here we have the new clan feature, though it's hardly a 'micro'-transaction. And also the little blue M I guess - it's like a "I DONATED" bagde nowadays. Another possibility I can think of would be to sell something that makes you level up faster. Anyone stupid enough to buy something like that deserves to be poor and homeless so I say go for it.

Other than that, what's there to monetize in WL?
Opinion: Ladders Should be Free: 12/17/2013 23:10:57

Level 55
Lol isn't pay to win, thank god. It's pay for cosmetic things and pay to get access to content faster. I'm absolutely not advocating pay to win - that would be awful.

But I can think of plenty of microtransactions (probably some stupid ideas here, but I'm just spitballing):

- early access to some high-level features such as custom scenarios or whatever new-feature-of-the-month the seasonal ladder is introducing, like local deployment. Make people pay for their impatience
- "premium maps" that do things that other maps couldn't do such as change over time. Probably not viable competitively, but whatever.
- if you're making ladders open, make a pay-access ladder that, I dunno, has playoffs with fun trophies that go on your profile. Cosmetic shit.
- early access to ladders: if they're free and one is open at low levels, you can charge a few bucks for each of the others that theoretically open up at higher levels. More pay for impatience
- color priority? If someone without it is in a game, you get your color and they get to repick.
- all the non-ladder features that are currently part of membership, broken down into reasonably sized bundles

I'm sure there's plenty else. If it's a few dollars, it's much easier to justify spending money on and you can still add membership as something that picks up the whole package at what would end up being a slight discount, with the fun "M" next to the name.

Edited 12/17/2013 23:28:27
Opinion: Ladders Should be Free: 12/17/2013 23:15:48

[REGL] Pooh 
Level 59
Merchandising! Merchandising!

Where the real money from the game is made.

-WarLight the T-shirt,
-WarLight the Coloring Book,
-WarLight the Lunch box,
-WarLight the Breakfast Cereal,
-WarLight the Flame Thrower. (The kids love that one)

And last but not least, Warlight the troll, of Illuminati.

May the WarLight be with you!
Opinion: Ladders Should be Free: 12/17/2013 23:18:48

Level 55
Nevermind, what Pooh said is obviously better. His schwartz convinced me. <3
Opinion: Ladders Should be Free: 12/17/2013 23:26:03

[REGL] Pooh 
Level 59
Best way to monetize is tie clan size to membership.

Clans can have X people minimum. For every member, max size of clan grows by Y.

Clan Size = X + (# Members)*Y

Some possible numbers are X=5 and Y=2

So, a clan with 5 members could have 15 members max.

This can also tie into the Clan Battles that is rumored to be in progress, whereas large clans have a slight advantage due to more numbers (Not saying it would be a 20v15 battle, but there would be more options for people to specialize into 1v1 or 5v5, etc.
Opinion: Ladders Should be Free: 12/17/2013 23:35:33

Level 49
Best way to monetize is tie clan size to membership.

That might work - if you cut the membership prize by 90%.
Opinion: Ladders Should be Free: 12/17/2013 23:36:01

Level 51
u are a moron getting to level 30 in league takes way longer than level 48 in warlight
Opinion: Ladders Should be Free: 12/18/2013 00:02:00

Level 55
@Seahawks: Yeah maybe, but just objectively, it's more addictive too. Also, it doesn't need to grow nearly as aggressively - it's freaking huge. And there's something that simulates ranked play in accessibility and ability-to-pair-you-with-reasonable-opponents available immediately. Maybe if there was something of that sort available immediately that would cause the same growth in this game. But joining 1v1s manually and hoping for a reasonable opponent is enough of a barrier that it does - I would guess - drive away a decent portion of people. There are what, less than 200 people currently ranked on the ladder? I wouldn't be surprised if you could get to 600 easily almost immediately and it's a snowball effect from there. But I mean, I'm making those guesses up obviously. It's possible I'm full of crap.

Also, ad hominems? Have I posted on the internet? :P

PS: Also, there are microtransactions that let you level up more quickly in league. That's something that this game could have too if it did something to kill lotteries - which would be pretty trivial.

EDIT: Also, the availability of the ladders at level 48 is not advertised or well-known so people don't even know they're working towards that - kills all incentive.

Edited 12/18/2013 00:12:14
Opinion: Ladders Should be Free: 12/18/2013 00:43:55

Level 57
I personally don't see the big huzzah about levels and I know it's richly ironic coming from a player who's already maxed out on all the features, but...

Micro-transactions, while a good way of generating more income for WarLight, would fundamentally undermine Fizzer's original goal of creating an Indie game where players could compete, socialize and just kill some time. Knowing that Fizzer is running WarLight on *six?* highend servers these days, which costs a significant amount of money (if he's renting them, than even more so), I think it's safe to say that he's not actually making, and probably never did, a profit. I may sound like just another European drunk on the welfare state touting socialism here, but not everything has to be profit oriented.

However, I agree that we need to pull in more players and if Fizzer started making more money through this site he could undoubtedly make some amazing updates at more regular intervals *hint, hint* >.>

In my opinion, I think it'd be great if he brought another 2-3 ladders online and if he needed help, I doubt he'd have trouble finding some experienced programmers more than willing to donate their time *think of how it'll look on your resume, eh?* If that were to happen, then making one of them open to the lower levels and giving them a taste of the competition might awaken their inner strategy-nerd and get them hooked and let's face it, WarLight is a heck of a cyber-drug and many of us are more than happy to reel in some suckers looking for a high.

Bad jokes aside, there's one problem with low level players and something about the current set up that weeds out the casual slouchers from the junkies. The WarLight community thrives on multi-day games, which requires dedication. Most noobs aren't able or willing to offer the commitment that this place requires and the last thing we want is a ladder drowned in players ranked by boot victories gained from no-shows.

Something I've seen a lot in LoL, Dota and other online games of that nature is that players will tune out for months at a time and come back for a binge when their life takes a dive or their girlfriend/wife/favorite porn site is temporarily unavailable. WarLight, while open to this sort of use, would likely see a sharp decline in quality if there weren't so many dedicated players who showed up several times a week (or day) to check their games, chat with cyber-friends and promote general anarchy on the forums by feeding sociopathic trolls.

For the teal deers; long story short, change is good, but in small manageable doses. If Fizzer is really tight for cash he can set up a donation tab and let the players fill his coffer, otherwise we can assume he knows what he's doing :]

Edited 12/18/2013 00:47:15
Opinion: Ladders Should be Free: 12/18/2013 00:47:44

Level 49
Seahawks has 'retired' from the forums; just treat him like he lives in Florida.
Opinion: Ladders Should be Free: 12/18/2013 01:15:50

Level 55
@Hauptmann: The binging style of gameplay and its non-compatibility with multi-day games is a good thought that I um, completely forgot about. I never play real time sooo... anyway, point being, perhaps a seperate real-time ladder could acomodate those gameplay patterns. Maybe? *shrug*

Edited 12/18/2013 01:15:59
Opinion: Ladders Should be Free: 12/18/2013 04:20:04

Level 46
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