Sunday, February 14, 2010

A Challenge, a Free idea, and Warhammer Online

Bootae has issued a challenge:
A challenge for my fellow bloggers!

First take the assumption that the game isn’t in the alleged maintenance mode and there’s not only money for new content, but you have access to new content that’s been in development over the last year. So we’re writing this in a happy place. Now then, if you had control of Mythic what would be your plan for WAR in 2010?

Broken down into Spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter, what would be your strategy for changes, improvements and expansions to the game?
Follow on past the jump for what I would do if I were Mythic in 2010.
Spring

I would start the year by pulling a Chronicles of Spellborn and announce that Warhammer Online: Age of Reckoning is 100% free to play.  However, development has been frozen as the game is prepared to be launched as a Free 2 Play game supported by micro-transactions.

The lead up to summer will be full of hard work and long hours as the rebirth of WAR is put into place.

Summer

Tentatively known as the "Relaunch", Summer would feature the Free 2 Play version of WAR hitting the market.  Major changes would be:

1. Consolidation to a single server.  Zones are instanced into multiple copies as they are filled up.
2. Tiers 1-3 are completely Free 2 Play (similar to the current endless free trial).
3. Access to Tier 4 content and capital cities is subject to a Tax System (see notes below) for level 31+ characters.
4. Capital cities will be centers for live events that start on a bi-weekly basis.
5. Capital cities will become the center for almost all end game activity and content.
6. Scenarios will be restructured to coincide with the new live events.
7. Capital city sieges will be moved to live events on a bi-weekly basis, Fortresses would be included as stage 1 of the sieges.
8. The end game would be re-focused to the new live events system.

Tax System

It was tough to think of a micro-transaction system that is unique, yet simple.  What I came up with was a Tax System.  To access certain tier 4 zones or cities, players are required to pay a Tax or carry a Debt.  The Tax can be paid by a pool of funds purchased for real money, called WARCOINS.   WARCOINS are tradeable in game to other players.  After paying the Tax, access is granted for 24 hours to the content.

If a player is unable/unwilling to pay the Tax, they can opt to carry a Debt.  That debt decreases the effectiveness of the player's character and gets worse the longer the Debt is incurred.  The Debt can be cleared in one of two ways:  paying the Tax for the area or electing to purge the Debt (instant death, sent back to a tax-free zone.  Or its purged after leaving a Tax zone for a non-Tax zone.).

Example:  Joebob wants to join a Tier 4 scenario.  For a Tax of 1 WARCOIN he can enter without a penalty or he can join with a Debt and be subject to decreased effectiveness.  After leaving the Scenario, he can rejoin and start a new debt or if he paid the Tax, he is paid up for 24 hours of access.


Fall (seriously, who calls it autumn?)

Two additional capital cities will be introduced: Greenskins and Dwarves.
New dungeons and new live events in each.

Winter

Two additional capital cities will be introduced: Dark Elves and High Elves.
New dungeons and new live events in each.

Misc. details

Along with the Tax system, traditional micro-transactions and account services would be available: bag space, bank space, mounts, name changes, class changes, etc.

All transactions would be completed in-game if a linked payment method is available.

WARCOINS would be given out via contests, live events, and possibly for in-game achievements.  Again, they would also be tradeable between players in game.

Tax Debt is only active for the current zone.  Changing zones starts a new Tax Debt and does NOT add to the previous Debt.
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