I pitched a very similar idea on the City of Heroes forums back when I was obsessed with that game. (Ah, the memories.) For whatever the reason, it didn’t take too well. I’m hoping that the community here will be more receptive to it. It would be a TERRIFFIC public relations boost and would help get this game more attention. It’s free advertising, really…plus it would help so many people. And again, the attention certainly couldn’t hurt, as we definitely need it to keep these servers alive. (Matrix Online ring a painful bell for anyone?)
So here it is in a nutshell. Give everyone the ability to checkmark an option on their account. This option will be to pay an extra $1-$5 tacked onto their monthly bill. This extra cash will be donated to some named charity organization…such as the Children’s Miracle Network for example. The player can checkmark $1, $2, $3, $4, or $5. They will continue to be billed that amount with each gaming cycle until they opt out of it or change it to a different amount. Life time or bulk subscribers will still have the option, and will be billed separately per month.
Now…here’s the fun incentive. Every time you donate, the total amount that you’ve donated is pooled. When you reach certain “milestones” in collected donation money, you earn neat in-game rewards…similar to how veteran rewards work in this and other online games. However, the rewards for this would be relevant to the program. For example, here are a few ideas for certain milestones.
1. Officer Title: “Role Model” (Many more can be unlocked with different milestones.)
2. “Commemorative Plaque” – An item that looks just like the cardboard cutout that the children from TNG episode “Disaster” made for Picard. This could either be a simple collectable, an item that offers a temporary buff, or perhaps a decorative item if bridge customizations are ever introduced.
3. Child Prodigy skin – Allows you to make a child character, for those who want a kid genius like Wesley Crusher as one of their bridge crew. Lord knows why you’d want him, but whatever. (Or maybe you’re a genius child captain yourself…or maybe an android model…or an alien species that ages differently…whatever. The option for it is now there.)
4. Real life “commemorative plaque” – After a particularly high milestone, they physically mail you an actual cardboard commemorative plaque, similar to the one Picard got, but with a more relevant message inscribed.
Those are just SOME of the many possibilities that could be used as incentives to get people to donate, and are of course subject to change and debate. Just throwing them out there off the top of my head. There could perhaps be server-wide rewards for meeting whole community goals, too. It’s a neat alternative to the C-Store, since it helps folks out AND boosts PR.
To my knowledge, NO MMORPG currently on the market has any kind of feature like this. We NEED this. If this is implemented, it WILL receive attention, as Star Trek Online will be setting a new standard that has not been explored by anyone before. Don’t make me recite a geeky credo about “exploration”….I’ll do it, I swear! Make this so! (Ohhh…damnit…couldn’t help that one.)