Career Officer
Join Date: Jun 2012
Posts: 2,772
# 1 C-Store Kickstarter Projects
12-09-2012, 11:58 AM
The idea I basically have from one of the Ask Cryptic threads - someone asked about funding a Romulan faction via a kickstarter. dstahl's reply suggested they may even be interested in such an approach, and pointed out that for example some Klingon ships they designed effectively lost them money.

A kickstarter is an excellent way to gauge the interest of the community and also to convince sponsors that an idea is worth it.

The new aspect idea here is: Instead of trying to go outside to the kickstarter sites, why not do this entire approach inside the game, with the C-Store?

So, Cryptic reads posters wanting new KDF ships. Instead of deciding whether they do it or not based on past replies, they instead launch a C-Store community pledge project.
They still need some initial groundwork probably - some basic artwork, a general description of the ship's abilities. But that's all. From then on, they allow players to pledge Zen to the project.

If the goal of the project is made within the time limit, the project is funded. If not, the Zen is returned to its owners, and it will not be made.
Stretch goals could contain additional features - for example, a second skin that can be mixed.
High-Priced Pledges may grant additional rewards - like getting a special version of the ship with a universal bridge officer or pre-requipiped with Mark XII gear, and possibly even naming the ship or the history after the pledge.

This has a few advantages
1) Cryptic can decide beforehand how much it would cost them to make a ship and set the price fair.
2) Players can invest as much as they like, potentially more than they would if they bought the ship regularly in the C-Store using traditional methods. That will cost them more money, but it will also make projects possible that would otherwise not be realized.


It should be clear: it is still a kickstarter. While as a pledge, you may get some bennies for it - everyone will have access to the item in question eventually. So it is possible to even fund new mission concent this way - if some want a new Featured Episode Series in Fluid Space, then even non-pledges will be able to play it -the pledges just ensured that the episode would get made. (ANd maybe they get bonus rewards for participating.)

Example C-Store Kickstarter Projects
  • New Ship Costume for Existing Ship Type (Say, a new Galaxy Class Variant)
  • Entirely new Ship
  • New Mission or Featured Episode
  • A new PvP Map
  • A new game feature (say, a Duty Officer Smartphone App that uses your in-game DOFFs)


So, what do you think? Is this an interesting idea? or is it just money gouging from minority interests? Does it pose insurmountable technical or legal challenges to implement? What kind of projects would you be interested in? It this the best thing since sliced bread?

EDIT:
This is the quote that triggered the idea:
Quote:
Q: (stoleviathan99) I noticed in an interview that you joked about a Kickstarter-style financed Ferengi faction. While it was a joke, I've noticed more gaming, toy, and entertainment companies using this model of financing. (Mattel just did it with a Castle Greyskull remake by Four Horsemen, by taking pledges for pre-orders.) I personally like it because it aligns paying for rewards with having a say in the content development process. Is that something that Cryptic might seriously investigate?

Dstahl: The Ferengi faction was the joke, but the kickstarter idea is something we?ve discussed because with only so many artists on the team, there is a massive backlog of ships that players want and only so many we can make. However, if we used a kickstarter model, we could potentially add more resources to getting ships that a majority of players want to see in game. Heck there might even be a future when externally designed ships could gain enough player interest that they would end up in STO. The Vesta and Odyssey class starships are a good example of this. It may also help us determine which KDF ships to make, because there have been several KDF ships that we actually lost money on unfortunately. This is one of the reasons why we are holding off on making a ton more KDF ships because we really need to get more KDF players into the game and that is a much bigger issue.

Last edited by mustrumridcully0; 12-10-2012 at 01:01 AM.
Commander
Join Date: Jul 2012
Posts: 426
# 2
12-09-2012, 12:24 PM
I think the primary issue would be that Cryptic would inevitably want a veto on content (because they want to be able to direct the story), and that Cryptic would have to have allotted specific developer time to push that content out.

I could see possibly three solutions to this.

1. Cryptic 'farms' content. They allow Foundry authors to submit content ideas (like Klingon missions, etc), set a minimum interest threshold at which they'll adopt them into the game (and exercise story control), and then split the reward of the Kickstarter with the author. The author makes the mission content, Cryptic integrates it into the storyline and adds rewards (so it's a part of the regular storyline), and the author gets some money/reward/recognition/whatever.

Problems with this? Legal issues undoubtedly. Resolvable? Sure. Problematic? Very possibly. But this could be a great way for Cryptic to essentially build unique, KDF-specific faction content with very little effort, or expand adventure zones like New Romulus with a plethora of content and missions that they don't have to spend developer time on themselves.

2. Cryptic 'stages' content. They allot a specific amount of developer time to Kickstarter content, and then set up kickstarters, possibly two or three at a time, to let the community decide what those developers will do and pay their salaries. So you might see three kickstarters up- Cardassian Faction Reputation, Ferengi Faction Reputation, Deferi Faction Reputation- and then any kickstarters that succeed get queued up in order of success and then they start the process over again when those developers are running out of things to do.

Problems with this? Fewer legal problems, but I imagine it would be an unstable revenue stream for Cryptic that may not be viable, operationally. It would, however, allow for greater content than just new missions because the developers would be part of Cryptic's team and could do things like change game mechanics, add new ships, develop new environments, etc.

3. Cryptic uses Kickstarter as a revenue source for things they want to do but otherwise couldn't justify. They basically say "Look, we'd like to work on redoing all the old ships skins, but we just can't justify the cost. However, if the community pulls in $300,000 in Kickstarters, we can economically justify that."

Problems with this? It's basically what everyone hates about the lockbox ships and the Starbase Featured Projects, except with real money. I could see a significant backlash if they were to choose this option.
Captain
Join Date: Jun 2012
Posts: 907
# 3
12-09-2012, 01:52 PM
Or how about this:

Cryptic gets off their butts and starts developing content instead of fluff and grindfests.

You know... treat this game like a real MMO and develop forward-going content accordingly.
Those of us who see things for what they are need to get it through our heads that no matter how much we rant about it, THEY WON'T CHANGE!. We can either live with it, or we can go find some other game to play until it too embraces the same tactics. The reality is, STO is what it is, and it will not be anything else, no matter how much some of us may want it to be...
Republic Veteran
Join Date: Jun 2012
Posts: 6,675
# 4
12-09-2012, 01:54 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by sirsitsalot View Post
Or how about this:

Cryptic gets off their butts and starts developing content instead of fluff and grindfests.

You know... treat this game like a real MMO and develop forward-going content accordingly.
The fluff, and grind is content.
Captain
Join Date: Jun 2012
Posts: 907
# 5
12-09-2012, 01:56 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by neoakiraii View Post
The fluff, and grind is content.
If you say so...
Those of us who see things for what they are need to get it through our heads that no matter how much we rant about it, THEY WON'T CHANGE!. We can either live with it, or we can go find some other game to play until it too embraces the same tactics. The reality is, STO is what it is, and it will not be anything else, no matter how much some of us may want it to be...
Career Officer
Join Date: Jun 2012
Posts: 2,772
# 6
12-09-2012, 03:01 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by squishkin View Post
I think the primary issue would be that Cryptic would inevitably want a veto on content (because they want to be able to direct the story), and that Cryptic would have to have allotted specific developer time to push that content out.

I could see possibly three solutions to this.

1. Cryptic 'farms' content. They allow Foundry authors to submit content ideas (like Klingon missions, etc), set a minimum interest threshold at which they'll adopt them into the game (and exercise story control), and then split the reward of the Kickstarter with the author. The author makes the mission content, Cryptic integrates it into the storyline and adds rewards (so it's a part of the regular storyline), and the author gets some money/reward/recognition/whatever.

Problems with this? Legal issues undoubtedly. Resolvable? Sure. Problematic? Very possibly. But this could be a great way for Cryptic to essentially build unique, KDF-specific faction content with very little effort, or expand adventure zones like New Romulus with a plethora of content and missions that they don't have to spend developer time on themselves.
I wasn't really thinking about using community authors for this, and since it would all happen within the C-Store and with Zen, there would be no real "profits" to be shared here.

Quote:
2. Cryptic 'stages' content. They allot a specific amount of developer time to Kickstarter content, and then set up kickstarters, possibly two or three at a time, to let the community decide what those developers will do and pay their salaries. So you might see three kickstarters up- Cardassian Faction Reputation, Ferengi Faction Reputation, Deferi Faction Reputation- and then any kickstarters that succeed get queued up in order of success and then they start the process over again when those developers are running out of things to do.

Problems with this? Fewer legal problems, but I imagine it would be an unstable revenue stream for Cryptic that may not be viable, operationally. It would, however, allow for greater content than just new missions because the developers would be part of Cryptic's team and could do things like change game mechanics, add new ships, develop new environments, etc.
This is more along the lines I thought. Cryptic outlines a project they would like to do - people can invest their Zen in it, and if the goal is met, the project is made. If not, it's shelved. Cryptic can only do a limited number of these projects. The advantage of kickstarters is that they set a time limit in which the project must have been backed. For Cryptic, the income would not necessarily be steady - but the mere presence of the project could already increase their revenue, as people would buy Zen to pledge to something - if it doesn't get made, they get that Zen back, but they do not get the money they spend the Zen on back. If a kickstarter project does not meet its goal, there is still a drawback for Cryptic - the Zen is still available to the customer, so he will have no need to buy new Zen for the next kickstarter. That should avoid Cryptic starting kickstarters that will not work out in hope of generating hype and people investing Zen for something that never happens.

Quote:
3. Cryptic uses Kickstarter as a revenue source for things they want to do but otherwise couldn't justify. They basically say "Look, we'd like to work on redoing all the old ships skins, but we just can't justify the cost. However, if the community pulls in $300,000 in Kickstarters, we can economically justify that."

Problems with this? It's basically what everyone hates about the lockbox ships and the Starbase Featured Projects, except with real money. I could see a significant backlash if they were to choose this option.
Keep in mind that kickstarters are not exclusive projects - even if only 500 people financed the thing, the results will still be available to everyone. (Not neccessarily for free). For example, there are game projects out there in the kickstarter world - for some pledge levels, you can get the game if it gets made as reward, but that is neither a given, nor does that mean that the game will not be made available to a wider public (for whatever price is deemed appropriate by the persons doing the kickstarter.)
Career Officer
Join Date: Jun 2012
Posts: 1,909
# 7
12-09-2012, 03:08 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by neoakiraii View Post
The fluff, and grind is content.
Technically, yes.

But it's not the kind of content people want. The vast majority of the time, when someone says they want content, they mean they want story content. That is, missions that are not inherently grinds, that further the - or at least a - plot pertaining to STO's overall story.
Captain
Join Date: Jun 2012
Posts: 907
# 8
12-09-2012, 03:12 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by jexsamx View Post
Technically, yes.

But it's not the kind of content people want. The vast majority of the time, when someone says they want content, they mean they want story content. That is, missions that are not inherently grinds, that further the - or at least a - plot pertaining to STO's overall story.
That is what I associate the word "content" with.
Those of us who see things for what they are need to get it through our heads that no matter how much we rant about it, THEY WON'T CHANGE!. We can either live with it, or we can go find some other game to play until it too embraces the same tactics. The reality is, STO is what it is, and it will not be anything else, no matter how much some of us may want it to be...
Captain
Join Date: Jun 2012
Posts: 6,209
# 9
12-09-2012, 03:21 PM
Problem with story content is that people spend a few days for stuff the devs have worked months on and are in the same boat as before they added new story content. UGC and grind content can keep players entertained for months until better content comes around.
Captain
Join Date: Jun 2012
Posts: 907
# 10
12-09-2012, 04:40 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by starkaos View Post
Problem with story content is that people spend a few days for stuff the devs have worked months on and are in the same boat as before they added new story content. UGC and grind content can keep players entertained for months until better content comes around.
And yet foundry authors who only have spare time to spend producing their missions and not getting paid a dime for their efforts manage to produce way more missions, some of which are of better quality than Cryptic has ever produced, and in significantly less time.

What is Cryptic's real excuse?

Corporate red tape and a design process that bottleneck's development of story content.

They need to hire more content developers and divide the team into systems development and content development. Content would ideally use existing systems in each mission.

If they would do that they could produce content faster.

But we all know they won't. They have made it clear by example of Season 6 and 7 how they intend to developm the so-called content for each season. And you know what? As distasteful as it is to say this, I support them.

The truth is that no matter how much content they develop and how often they deploy it, they will never be able to outpace, or even be on-pace with how fast that content is consumed.

However, with the dilithium and mark costs associated with Seasons 6 and 7, and their demonstrated ability to manipulate the availability of Dilithium, they can ensure that the progression through a season's content actually spans the entirety of the season. They are setting the pace of our progression, ensuring that we cannot, without significant time investments, get ahead of them.

I suppose that in a way we who have begged and pleaded for content delivery are to blame for this direction. By regulating the number of marks that can be gained through daily missions, and the flow of Dilithium by both limiting its availability and through the daily refinement cap, they have cured Whatnow syndrome. You can only legitimately ask, "What Now?" when you have actuallty completed all forms of progression.

I made my initial post about Cryptic getting off their butts to lead into the above. Whether we want to acknowledge it or not, Season 7 demonstrates a lot of work having been done. Almost every location in the Tau Dewa Sector Block has playable content in it. there's a massive ground zone with several different environments, also with their own content. And it is tied to a progressive Storyline. They've balanced the costs of progression so that it will take all season to complete it.

As to the OP about kickstarter support of projects? No. I will not support that. I've accepted the game as it is, and I am having fun in it, because I am playing it at my own pace. I'm not in a race to get to the end as fast as I can. If things start feeling tedious, I log out and do something else.

I do recognized that what I am willing to accept is not good enough for a lot of people. But I have been fighting against Cryptic's design direction since the beginning, and now after almost three years, nothing has changed. So I am done. I am just going to play and enjoy it as long as I can. And when it is no longer fun for me, I'll take a break.
Those of us who see things for what they are need to get it through our heads that no matter how much we rant about it, THEY WON'T CHANGE!. We can either live with it, or we can go find some other game to play until it too embraces the same tactics. The reality is, STO is what it is, and it will not be anything else, no matter how much some of us may want it to be...
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