Let's talk about those microtransactions
Microtransactions are, let's face it, a cancer on gaming, and Dragon City is absolutely loaded with them. Every single solitary event is designed to get people to pay heaps of real dollars to get ahead. The heroic races are one prime example.
So what's the alternative?
I suggest there be a subscription option, which would then limit or even eliminate those microtransactions. I know that it's far, far easier for a development team to get rich off of multiple 20 dollar payments for a measly 300 gems (you can get three times that from Freebie Island when the rewards are doubled without paying a cent), but it comes off as greedy.
Hey, lay off! They have to make money somehow! They have employees to feed!
Exactly. That's why I'm suggesting this. A VIP option would be more than enough to pay for salaries, server expenses and more if thousands of people were subscribed if the sub fee was between 5 and 15 dollars a month. The current design of microtransactions is not to feed employees-- it is to get rich.
There could be different VIP levels, like bronze, silver and gold and the gold option would get the most benefits. Many other multiplayer games have this type of setup, and those games are usually successful.
Of course they could still leave those ridiculous pay-to-win options in game if they so desire, but I think a VIP option should come with incentives to invite paying customers to use it.
Incentives (for gold service) could include:
- A free handful of gems every day, perhaps around 35-40. 20 is too few and 50 is too many (not that I would ever say a handful of 50 gems is too many gems)
- A random card pack to open once a week or once a month
- An extra dragon to breed on the breeding event island exclusive only to paid members
- a large pack of orbs, once a month or week, for the epic or legendary dragon of your choice
- Reduced breeding and hatching times by 50%
- Fewer kills needed to rank up a dragon in battles
- Reduced training time by 12 hours
- Fewer fog coins needed for mazes and islands, or no fog coins at all
- Fewer items needed for each lap in heroic races
And perhaps more. These are just a fraction of possibilities.
If the gold service included all of that (and more), I and many others would absolutely pay a monthly premium fee for it. I would even pay it if it was as high as 15 dollars a month, and if I would pay it, so would others.
H-hey, you get more stuff than me?! That's not fair!
Now, if you're a free to play person, you might yell that this is unfair. It's not, at all. In fact, adding this to the game, and completely removing microtransactions entirely sometime in the future, would make the game better for you, not worse. In other words, premium payers would be paying Social Point the real dollars to improve the game for free-to-play players, to make their experience also more enjoyable.
Free-to-play changes that could be made if microtransactions died off:
- More event tokens would be given to you to make up for the fact that you can't buy them, but you still wouldn't acquire as many as paid members. However, you'd still be able to acquire more dragons and more items than you would with the current system. Although paid members would get more, you would get more than you're getting now, or finishing an event might still be doable with more work. As of right now, free players cannot even finish events or collect all dragons within it unless they dump money into the game, even if they pushed as hard as they could and worked overtime on it. With VIP members paying for the game, they wouldn't need to leech money off of you so much, and might give you more options.
- Gem prices would either be lowered considerably, or more options to acquire gems in the game would be added, furthering your gem usage to speed up hatching and breeding, two things necessary for heroic races.
- Many events in the game would change around the idea that VIP members exist, which means they would also be changed for free players to keep it fair for both parties. The biggest complaint about being free-to-play in Dragon City is not being able to properly participate in events because they don't have money. That's just wrong to me. VIP members would get more bonuses, sure, but free players would still get to participate.
Please, Social Point. Take this into consideration. No one, I repeat no one, other than the developers and marketers who are benefitting, enjoys microtransactions. There is so much shame, guilt and revulsion attached to it. Tiny little payments inside of mobile games is what's destroying gaming in general, and it takes advantage of people who are addicted to collecting.
Please add a sub fee instead. That's all I have to say.