The 'Free to Play PvE' Player and Why They Might Not Be Spending Money

    • The 'Free to Play PvE' Player and Why They Might Not Be Spending Money

      Cory mentioned during the interview that it was a problem how few pve players spend money... yet the game offers them no incentive to do so.

      Let's take a look at the store experience from the perspective of a player who is somewhat well informed but is not interested in pvp or tournaments, shall we? (forgive me if I get the order and placement of some things wrong, I'm not at home so can't confirm)

      This new player opens the store, and is immediately greeted with the pvp packs. Now, having read some of chat and some of the forums, he has seen the constant advice from people saying 'never open packs, use them in tournaments in stead - it's way better value'. Which is accurate, but it tells him that buying pvp packs is not for him, since he has no interest in tournaments. So he moves on.

      He is then greeted by the 'other packs' segment. He sees pve packs for a gold price and is like 'okay well that's cool, I can spend gold and get packs and maybe even get some bonus rares out of it', but still has no reason to spend MONEY on the game.

      He moves to the Chark Mart and sees the Kismet's Reserve packs for a fairly high gold investment but offering him some really cool stuff. This is, again, interesting to him but doesn't motivate him to spend money. He moves down and sees the Battleboards and has two thoughts. First of all, ten bucks is an awfully high investment by his standards for a single cosmetic item. And second, this is predominately for PvP since each PvE encounter has its own board anyways. Then he sees the Phoenix Deck and is even more shocked, 20 bucks for a single purchase? That's insane by most modern standards.

      He then comes to the conclusion that he has no reason to spend money on the game, and goes back to playing PvE, occasionally popping into the store for a PvE pack or a Kismet's Reserve pack.




      Now, looking at the above, you may think I'm saying that the battleboard and phoenix deck are too expensive. I promise you, that's not the feedback to be taken away here. It's okay to have cosmetic purchases that are priced higher than what your average free to play gamer expects to play since they're not targeted at those players(the phoenix deck and battleboards are targeted at the collectors, the people investing significant money into the game). But you ALSO need items that ARE targeted at those players. The average 'f2p player' is expecting to pay a couple bucks for a transaction, at most. The items we have in the store make it look like the entire game is not for them, because they're the ONLY items that are there.

      Some easy win suggestions:

      AA PvE Champions(complete with AA talent tokens like spell sprites, ranger pets, etc.)
      Extended Art PvE Champion tokens
      Alternate Art PvE cards for small plat purchases(pick high visibility targets, if possible)
      etc.

      If anyone else has any other suggestions... remember these should be mostly non-gameplay impacting purchases if at all possible, and the type of thing that can faesibly be sold for 1-5 dollars per purchase. That's what Hex needs. They need small purchases to make those people who are used to paying small amounts start getting involved.
      Gamer. Streamer. Photographer. Writer. Anime Lover. Possessor of Stuffed Animals.

      Also... I'm terrible at this game.
    • I would posit that very few free-to-play PVE players go to the forums, let alone go to the forums enough to walk away with a 'packs are for PVP' mentality engaging with what folks have written about it.

      EDH would help to bridge the PVE -> PVP gap a bit, honestly.

      Apart from that, I dig the ideas you have among some of the potential value-adds as long as the pricing is set at an appropriate level that doesn't end up overbearing or needling.
    • Blackwood wrote:

      I would posit that very few free-to-play PVE players go to the forums, let alone go to the forums enough to walk away with a 'packs are for PVP' mentality engaging with what folks have written about it.
      Considering the topic comes up in the in-game chat a lot as well... I wouldn't be surprised if more people were aware than you think. But you're probably right that a lot of people don't know that.

      Blackwood wrote:

      EDH would help to bridge the PVE -> PVP gap a bit, honestly.
      I'm not so sure. I rather doubt your average pve player would be any more interested in queuing for that than for pvp, unless they had friends to introduce them to it. But I'd rather not get into a discussion about this specifically, as certain elements tend to make this type of discussion unpleasant.

      Blackwood wrote:

      Apart from that, I dig the ideas you have among some of the potential value-adds as long as the pricing is set at an appropriate level that doesn't end up overbearing or needling.
      That's exactly it... they need to give people lower priced purchases to offer things that are interesting for the average PvE player. It can be tempting to go all out on every cosmetic and make them all cost 10-20 bucks... but when you do that, you alienate the people who are looking to make small purchases.
      Gamer. Streamer. Photographer. Writer. Anime Lover. Possessor of Stuffed Animals.

      Also... I'm terrible at this game.
    • What if Hex said, forget the pure f2p player. If you want to make reasonable gold then you need to subscribe. Or if you want to unlock a certain dungeon then you are going to need to pay some plat.

      POE or LOL are obviously games where small cosmetics makes the devs major bank. I am not sure that will work for Hex. At least not now because pve is not fleshed out. I just don't see alot of people paying for a AA character picture when there are only two zones.

      The post was edited 1 time, last by Pandaemonium ().

    • Pandaemonium wrote:

      What if Hex said, forget the pure f2p player. If you want to make reasonable gold then you need to subscribe. Or if you want to unlock a certain dungeon then you are going to need to pay some plat.

      POE or LOL are obviously games where small cosmetics makes the devs major bank. I am not sure that will work for Hex. At least not now because pve is not fleshed out. I just don't see alot of people paying for a AA character picture when there are only two zones.
      There are a few concerns with that...

      1) That type of business model has failed for countless games lately. People aren't willing to subscribe to games anymore unless the game has an enormous fanbase like WoW or Final Fantasy. Most MMOs nowadays go to some form of microtransaction based model.

      2) There're some inherent problems with offering a subscription AND then also charging for the game content as well. It creates the impression of extreme paywalls.

      3) Hex would lose a LOT of goodwill, when they already don't have that much, if they simply abandon all the F2P players they've been trying to attract and say F*** you to all of them.


      i, personally, think it would end EXTREMELY badly if they tried that route, especially after all the effort they've gone to to bring more f2p in using things like account leveling... I could be wrong here, but I think it's a really negative message to send. 'We attracted you in with promises of free to play content, but now we're going to charge you for all new stuff' - comes across as, essentially, false advertising even if it is not ACTUALLY that from a legal perspective.

      In stead of having a bunch of free to play players you could potentially get money out of if you found the right incentive, you'd have... nobody. And a lot of people spreading the word that Hex is greedy, deceitful, etc.
      Gamer. Streamer. Photographer. Writer. Anime Lover. Possessor of Stuffed Animals.

      Also... I'm terrible at this game.
    • Eraia wrote:

      Pandaemonium wrote:

      What if Hex said, forget the pure f2p player. If you want to make reasonable gold then you need to subscribe. Or if you want to unlock a certain dungeon then you are going to need to pay some plat.

      POE or LOL are obviously games where small cosmetics makes the devs major bank. I am not sure that will work for Hex. At least not now because pve is not fleshed out. I just don't see alot of people paying for a AA character picture when there are only two zones.
      There are a few concerns with that...
      1) That type of business model has failed for countless games lately. People aren't willing to subscribe to games anymore unless the game has an enormous fanbase like WoW or Final Fantasy. Most MMOs nowadays go to some form of microtransaction based model.

      2) There're some inherent problems with offering a subscription AND then also charging for the game content as well. It creates the impression of extreme paywalls.

      3) Hex would lose a LOT of goodwill, when they already don't have that much, if they simply abandon all the F2P players they've been trying to attract and say F*** you to all of them.


      i, personally, think it would end EXTREMELY badly if they tried that route, especially after all the effort they've gone to to bring more f2p in using things like account leveling... I could be wrong here, but I think it's a really negative message to send. 'We attracted you in with promises of free to play content, but now we're going to charge you for all new stuff' - comes across as, essentially, false advertising even if it is not ACTUALLY that from a legal perspective.

      In stead of having a bunch of free to play players you could potentially get money out of if you found the right incentive, you'd have... nobody. And a lot of people spreading the word that Hex is greedy, deceitful, etc.
      I think it would send a horrible message to tell people here is a AA character slot when there is only two zones of content. The ultimate question is does the kismet reserve packs bring in enough plat. If the answer is no, then Hex needs to do some serious thinking.

      Better to piss off the people that are putting in no money onto the game, rather than the ones willing to pay for pve content.
    • IMO, they should sell PvE deck upgrades to players. That come with rare/legendary/racial/equipment. (Could all be PvE exclusive, if needed)

      There is a ton they can do to motivate f2p, but w/e is done, has to make them feel like the advantage they will get will make it far easier for them to 'f2p' after they spend a little.
    • Pandaemonium wrote:

      I think it would send a horrible message to tell people here is a AA character slot when there is only two zones of content. The ultimate question is does the kismet reserve packs bring in enough plat. If the answer is no, then Hex needs to do some serious thinking.

      Better to piss off the people that are putting in no money onto the game, rather than the ones willing to pay for pve content.
      I think you're underestimating the negative word of mouth upset customers spread. Research has proven that upset customers tell several times more people than happy customers and that people will remember an experience that ended negatively far more frequently than the opposite.

      What horrible message would it send, in your eyes?

      For me... it sends the message that they're willing to allow people to customize their experience, and that they're committed to the pve experience since it's a potential revenue source for them.


      Opalia wrote:

      They could also do like they do now - keep on improving HEX - sooner or later the player base will grow and income will grow.
      If they weren't commenting that they're concerned about the profitability rate of PvE players, I'd agree with you. However, since they openly admitted this was a concern of theirs, I think it's time for them to start looking at what options there are for people to invest money and realising that right now the only people their current offerings are serving are the top-end.
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      Also... I'm terrible at this game.
    • This is a conclusion after what, two years of PVE content being available with releases? Especially now with Hex self-publishing, it's pretty clear that the current approach for monetization isn't making PVE worth Hex's while, so to speak, as it stands. Unless if something changes, I can imagine it's pretty hard to justify the cost involved with continuing to generate new PVE content when A) As stated the actual co-op multiplayer / raids / etc. are far away, B) Realistically folks are jamming through new adventure zones to completion inside of a week after 6+ months of development leading to said release and C) There's essentially nothing worth 'chasing' in PVE since there's nowhere 'competitive' to use it, whether that translates to PVP a la EDH or PVE a la exceptionally challenging content.

      Problem is, there's really never going to reasonably be actually challenging content without more and more ridiculous 'puzzle' elements or, essentially, more and more overbearingly powerful A.I.-exclusive powers / cards / etc. Tuning that up invariably makes things unassailable for any 'casual' player, pushes towards the gearing up / deck-building element that fosters 'Oh hey ruby ranger obliterates every encounter with aggro' situations and likely the bemoaning labeling of 'Hex PVE is pay to win too!!!' decrying from the drive-by reviews.

      Look, I love the PVE Hex has and wish there was a lot more of it, and more importantly, more interesting things to do with what's there--but even having been on this ride for years and having been a very enthusiastic backer and supporter with my wallet, I can't discount that if Corey's saying flatly that the PVE F2P -> financial conversion is disappointing, it bodes very much for a much heavier focus on the PVP side of things even more so than has already been the case.
    • This is not necessarily on-topic since Eraia mentioned "Free to Play PvE" players on the topic but...what about the F2P PVP players? That sounds like the hardest crowd to extort money from. I mean, I am kind of one of them, I have spent like, 20-30 dollars by Set 2 and have not spent a cent since then. I am not going to buy any PvE cosmetic nor do I see the Phoenix sleeve or the battleboard as essential. What can Hex do about this kind of player, assuming I and they are considered F2P in their mind?

      On the PvE side of thing, the PvE is underdeveloped at the moment and trying to monetized this part of the game is foolish IMO. I would just feel Hex is greedy, personally, to monetized something that has not been developed that much. I guess mercenary can be an option. If we don't just lock our vision on the store items, I would argue that if a PvE player has bought platinum to buy mercs on AH, then he/she is a paid customer. And from the current amount of content, I would personally choose to grab a merc over some fancy art. Here's a problem with PvE art, especially without multiplayer support in PvE, they are not able to be shown to anyone in-game. PvP AAs are great because not only are they collectible for the collectors, they can be showed off to their opponent in a PvP match. You can feel the joy of Herofalling your opponent in style, knowing that the opponent can see your swag, but the AI boss is not going to acknowledge your AA cards. And even if Hex makes the AI say something, it wouldn't bring much joy anyway knowing that it is a generated message.

      The post was edited 4 times, last by Goliathus ().

    • I don't think that Hex fosters PVP as free to play conceptually; short of having the constructed queue be free to enter (but it is Constructed, so the decks themselves are going to require investment) there's straight up no translation of 'free to play' when it comes to PVP. More to the point, how can they possibly offer any smaller transaction than the already dirt-cheap cost of entry for e.g. evo limited? It just doesn't make any financial sense.
    • Blackwood wrote:

      I don't think that Hex fosters PVP as free to play conceptually; short of having the constructed queue be free to enter (but it is Constructed, so the decks themselves are going to require investment) there's straight up no translation of 'free to play' when it comes to PVP. More to the point, how can they possibly offer any smaller transaction than the already dirt-cheap cost of entry for e.g. evo limited? It just doesn't make any financial sense.
      So if I run a gazillion PvE dungeons to fund PvP, I am not F2P; but if I stay in PvE forever, I am? Either way, Hex is still not getting any money from players that do that and judging by the Corey's thread, they seem to want to earn some money from players that do that.
    • NicoSharp wrote:

      Opalia wrote:

      They could also do like they do now - keep on improving HEX - sooner or later the player base will grow and income will grow.
      The business as usual approach. I like it :)
      I think the problem with that strategy is that Hex current attitude is not adding formats until the playerbase gets bigger, but I believe adding wide variety of formats is key to growing playbase and converting f2pers. People have a wide variety of tastes and budgets so odds are they will find something to suit them if there are more options. I understand the spliting the queues issue, but there are tech and strategies to handle that.
    • Goliathus wrote:

      This is not necessarily on-topic since Eraia mentioned "Free to Play PvE" players on the topic but...what about the F2P PVP players? That sounds like the hardest crowd to extort money from. I mean, I am kind of one of them, I have spent like, 20-30 dollars by Set 2 and have not spent a cent since then. I am not going to buy any PvE cosmetic nor do I see the Phoenix sleeve or the battleboard as essential. What can Hex do about this kind of player, assuming I and they are considered F2P in their mind?

      On the PvE side of thing, the PvE is underdeveloped at the moment and trying to monetized this part of the game is foolish IMO. I would just feel Hex is greedy, personally, to monetized something that has not been developed that much. I guess mercenary can be an option. If we don't just lock our vision on the store items, I would argue that if a PvE player has bought platinum to buy mercs on AH, then he/she is a paid customer. And from the current amount of content, I would personally choose to grab a merc over some fancy art. Here's a problem with PvE art, especially without multiplayer support in PvE, they are not able to be shown to anyone in-game. PvP AAs are great because not only are they collectible for the collectors, they can be showed off to their opponent in a PvP match. You can feel the joy of Herofalling your opponent in style, knowing that the opponent can see your swag, but the AI boss is not going to acknowledge your AA cards. And even if Hex makes the AI say something, it wouldn't bring much joy anyway knowing that it is a generated message.
      If you're buying things on the AH with plat or participating in limited tournaments, you're removing plat from the environment and thus not technically 'free to play' since you're creating a 'plat vacuum' as it were and that plat has to have come from somewhere. The only two ways plat exists right now are people buying it and the occasional Platinum Plunder.

      A free to play pve player may never engage with the plat economy. They may not even engage with the economy at all, since they may just be content with the cards they farm.

      Blackwood wrote:

      Look, I love the PVE Hex has and wish there was a lot more of it, and more importantly, more interesting things to do with what's there--but even having been on this ride for years and having been a very enthusiastic backer and supporter with my wallet, I can't discount that if Corey's saying flatly that the PVE F2P -> financial conversion is disappointing, it bodes very much for a much heavier focus on the PVP side of things even more so than has already been the case.
      It's true, which is why I wanted to start this discussion. The problem isn't that PvE can't earn money, but that Hex isn't giving it the tools to do so. There's a way for PvE to bring in money, but they need to position it and monetize it appropriately. And they're not doing so.
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    • Goliathus wrote:

      So if I run a gazillion PvE dungeons to fund PvP, I am not F2P; but if I stay in PvE forever, I am? Either way, Hex is still not getting any money from players that do that and judging by the Corey's thread, they seem to want to earn some money from players that do that.
      That's not how you presented it--you presented the premise of a free to play PVP player e.g. someone who isn't interested in the PVE content. There is no concept of a free to play PVP player in the Hex financial ecosystem unless if there is a way to generate the ability to acquire PVP content reliably through PVP alone.

      You presented the question of what Hex could introduce for small transactions to court a player like that--and my ask in return is 'what could they possibly offer?' Cheaper queues than EVO? Do we eventually arrive at $4 queues? $2? Completely free queues where you don't keep any cards, but if you place highly you might get some?

      Eventually things tip over into just dumpstering the fiscal value. For instance, if there are phantom queues for free drafting but no collection growing, I would argue that a not insubstantial number of players who enjoy solely limited PVP but don't give a damn about building a collection would happily play that queue in perpetuity--without ever generating revenue for Hex.
    • The problem with monetizing PVE players is that you have to give them something they want, and you have to give them a reason to want that thing.

      Cosmetics probably aren't going to be very attractive to a pure PVE player right now, because they don't really have anyone to show their pretty stuff off to. When we get raids, PVE cosmetics will make much more sense. There are a bunch of other potential ways that people could be allowed to show off their cosmetics, but none of them are trivial in terms of dev-time.

      Paying for power is basically impossible to do without ending up looking like "to beat this boss, please insert $5", which is going to turn people off like whoa.

      Paying for convenience might be a thing, but people generally only want to pay for convenience for something they're doing over and over. I don't know whether there are pure-F2P pure-PVE players who farm extensively, but my intuition is that there probably aren't. The only real reason to farm PVE right now is to subsidize your PVP career.

      Conclusion: PVE needs an endgame of some kind before it can be effectively monetized.