Posted Thu, Aug 15, 2013 by Martuk
If you aren’t a fan of free-to-play or subscriptions, you may be happy to learn that Snail Games’ upcoming steampunk and fantasy inspired title, Black Gold, will likely use neither. Instead, Snail Games is taking a bit of a different approach with a system that they put in place for the Chinese version of the game that will allow players to pay for a save session.
Put down the pitchforks until I finish, then you can pick them right back up again. I promise. I'll even light the torches for you.
”We’re focusing on giving our players choices when it comes to their gameplay experiences – they decide what premium items to pay for and whether a play session is worth saving,”
“We decided to introduce an innovative monetization model based on player habits and overall gameplay time. Unlike a micro transaction model requiring the player to frequently shop for items, or a subscription-based model where players pay a monthly service, our model allows players to dictate their own gameplay progression.” - Mr. Shi Hai, Founder of Snail Games
The monetization model will allow players to obtain all items in the game without a cash shop, but where the paying part comes into play is when you acquire rare materials and high level equipment, after which you’ll have the option to pay for that game save to access it. Basic materials, PvP ranks, and other progression will be saved regardless of if you purchase a save or not, so you’ll at least not lose that.
“Black Gold Time” The Optional Time-based Monetization Model
Black Gold Online’s file save mode will record your playtime data, showing all materials and equipment looted in that specific timeframe. Players will be given a choice to purchase that specific “save” if you wish to acquire all of those items.
This system aims only at paying for rare materials and high level equipments: Basic materials and equipments can be looted immediately without purchase. Player progression in terms of experience and PvP rank for example, will remain even if you do not pay for the save.
And you better not forget if you do buy a save as they’ll only be held for 24 hours, so you’ll need to loot the items before then to avoid losing them. Putting aside how wrong looting a save sounds, let’s move on. You’ll have the option to select a timeframe for saves up to six hours with the option to stop and manually save early if there’s something that you want to loot from the save.
Players will be able to select a timeframe: every 1 / 2 / 4 / 6 Hour(s) for automatically saving their progress. Players can also end the auto-save early to save manually whenever they feel the need to loot the items gained so far. Upon creation, save files will last for 24 hours before they disappear.
By selecting the one hour auto-save, progress will be recorded every hour:
- SaveFile1 from 14:10~15:10, the player acquires a rare gun and a couple basic materials.
- SaveFile2 from 15:10~15:40, the player loots a rare material and decides to save before reaching the hour mark.
The player will be able to loot the basic material immediately, but the rare gun and material will only be looted if the player decides to purchase SaveFile1 and SaveFile2.
It’s unclear exactly what these saves will cost, but they will be paid for with virtual currency that will be bought with real world cash. Using the currency, you’ll be able to buy the save directly or try your luck with the “Lucky Draw” system for a chance at reduced cost or to receive loot without having to pay...if you’re lucky. So will each save be a set price, or will it increase based on the amount and type of loot acquired?
Credit & “Lucky Draw” System
Save files are purchased from in-game credits (bought from real-life money). Snail Games however, have implemented an interesting “lucky draw” system. There will be two separate buttons: you can buy the save directly, or select “try your luck” to have a chance at reducing the credits required or even obtain loots without any cost! This is a fun little option to maximize player benefits.
I’m not personally sold on the idea of paying for saves to access loot but I want to know what you guys think. Chime in on the topic in the comments below.