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Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
I was thinking about how to construct a referral system when it hit me:

The assets used for lockboxes probably spike up revenue but damage retention. The assets used for vet rewards assist in retention and LTS sales but do nothing to spike revenue. Lobi Crystals are designed to do a bit of both but don't do either effectively.

That's when it hit me:

In addition to current methods of acquiring these items, it would make sense to integrate lockbox prizes, vet rewards, and lobi into a comprehensive rewards program.

Like how you get points on a credit card, you would get points for:

Referring a friend who downloads the game.
Bonus if they spend $10 or more within 30 days.
Poking a friend who hasn't logged in for 30 days and getting them to login.
Bonus if they spend $10 or more within 30 days.
Paying a monthly gold subscription.
Buying a Lifetime Subscription.
Buying points in bulk.
Buying certain C-Store items and services during featured events. (This could target under-selling items.)
Maybe limited reward points for Tribble test weekends, Foundry authorship (get 20 5 star ratings!), and participating in community events.

People who don't login would periodically get an offer for Reward Points for coming back and spending at least $10.

Now, with your reward points (which would be a purely OUT OF GAME CURRENCY), you would have access to a Reward Store.

The Reward Store would contain:

All lockbox rewards, including ships
All vet rewards, through 1000 days
All prior referral rewards
All available pre-order items (as an alternative to C-Points)
Gametime options, including monthly Gold and LTS (No reward points if earned this way)
Lobi Crystal bundles
Respecs (as an alternative to C-Points)
Renames (as an alternative to C-Points)
Species Respec (when added, as an alternative to C-Points)
Duty Officer Packs (as an alternative to C-Points)
First Officer to Captain Promotion (when added)
Exclusive species unlocks

The whole system could be engineered so that Cryptic gets the same profit or better than they do with existing methods but this rewards reinvestment into the game. It leverages all of the assets that reward retention (but fail to create revenue spikes) and all of the assets, like lockboxes, that create revenue spikes but risk damaging retention.

Nothing in here would be less expensive than it is presently although the costs could be spread out among multiple users through referrals or absorbed by dipping into STO's marketing and community relations budgets as a more effective way of generating word of mouth referrals or winning people back who left.

So a Galor or D'Kora is still going to cost an average of $200 but that $200 is absorbed by PWE marketing expenses, through purchases that would be unlikely to be made otherwise, and through the player and their friends spending money they would ordinarily not spend on things they would ordinarily not buy.