COMMUNITY - FORUMS - GENERAL DISCUSSION
A thought on selling COE to potential publishers
+9

During last nights multi-hour impromptu Q&A Caspian expressed some frustration in his attempts to market COE to potential publishers. He described publishers that refused to read his 8 page comparison of COE to other MMOs, publishers that wanted loot crates and micro transactions, and publishers simply not understanding the appeal COE has for so many.

Now this is just my opinion, but from what I can tell Caspian has viewed the problem in marketing COE as being too different from modern MMOs for publishers to grasp, and so has set out a way of making the difference clearer. I think this may be a mistake. These publishers are business people looking for the safest same old same old proven model that they know will make a return on their investment. By marketing COE has something revolutionary and different from any game ever made you spook developers. They don't see something new with potential, they see something risky and unproven. What I would do instead is market COE as being a continuation of old proven models.

Simply put, I would market COE by simplifying it, call it a sandbox MMO, compare it to games that have similar mechanics, such as Ultima Online, Ark, Darksouls, etc. Sandbox MMO is a familiar term to publishers I would hope, and by comparing them to games with proven models they can grasp COE through the bits and pieces of each.

Additionally, one analogy that came to mind is comparing COE to a economic market place. People have needs and the market gives them the ability to fulfill those needs through opportunities that take advantage of their skills and abilities and their personal interests. Thus COE is about offering a variety of different players fun and interesting roles to fill. That is the day to day experience on COE, filling their role as a king, blacksmith, soldier, merchant, etc. And each role functions as its own game within a game, with tasks and skills. Curious what peoples thought are on securing a publisher and the best way to go about it.


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12/20/2017 9:14:33 PM #1
+0

well suppose the simplest way to describe it to a "publisher" A sandbox MMO set in the middle ages: EVE online mixed with Dark Souls.


12/20/2017 9:18:23 PM #2
+2

If the problem the publishers have is with the business model, I'm not sure highlighting the game play, mechanics, or community interaction is going to assuage those concerns.

That being said, I haven't listened to the Q&A yet so I'll go catch myself in case I'm far off base...


12/20/2017 9:20:21 PM #3
-2

Posted By john lionheart at 4:14 PM - Wed Dec 20 2017

well suppose the simplest way to describe it to a "publisher" A sandbox MMO set in the middle ages: EVE online mixed with Dark Souls.

Pretty much what I'm getting at. EVE is a great comparison. medieval mid fantasy EVE with Dark Souls like combat. The specific combination of examples I do not know, but something along these lines.


12/20/2017 9:40:21 PM #4
+6

GoT, but online.


12/20/2017 11:45:21 PM #5
+2

Where can I read the Q&A?


12/21/2017 12:00:17 AM #6
-13

It's not surprising at all that Caspian is having trouble getting the value proposition across to publishers: it's a mess. To start with, the most prominent feature of the game, aging & dying, is an immediate turn-off without further exploration. Why would anyone want to have all of their investment in a character disappear? This requires explanation of the business model and Sparks, etc, which may alleviate the initial shock.

Then you hear about the crime & punishment system that locks players out of the game for hours or even days and you start wondering why the developers are so intent on punishing their customers.

At that point, you're playing defense, trying to explain why you think people will want to pay money for these experiences.

I would ordinarily suggest that the game needs new branding, but I'm not sure that's possible any more. The game is so heavily associated with "Aging & Dying" that it's become its signature feature on the street.

I doubt there's time to re-brand for the benefit of a new publishing partner at this time. There may, however, be sufficient time to re-brand prior to launch.


12/21/2017 12:11:03 AM #7
+6

Posted By Kleos at

He described publishers that refused to read his 8 page comparison of COE to other MMOs, publishers that wanted loot crates and micro transactions, and publishers simply not understanding the appeal COE has for so many.

Something that keeps being overlooked or not mentioned in suggestions within discord about this topic is why those publishers did not want to read 8 pages.

If they did read it all then they might've understood the appeal of CoE, but the thing is, marketing in any form needs to be quick and have impact. So instead of going into details maybe some keywords would have gotten them hooked.

Let me try to explain this in a baker & confectionery analogy with two similar approaches but different endings:

An acquaintance told you about a shop from which he had tasted the most amazing caker ever, and even tho you are not much of a cake person he recommended checking it out. You walk into the store of a shop you've never been to, with expectations high because of the recommendation but not knowing what await you.

The disappointed path:

You see a glas counter filled with different cakes, from fancy to funny, wedding to birthday cakes, all very beautyfull but not what you came for.

Skipping past the cakes you see the following counter having a nice assortment of cupcakes, muffins and some brownies, all inside sophisticated boxes. You think they look fine but are nothing new and skip past them quickly to the back end of the store where the last counter waits.

Upon coming closer your eyes grow wide and your heart filled with hope and dreams as you gaze upon boxes which seem to contain small confectionery. In the heat of the moment you pick the prettiest one out, buy it and take it home with you.

After getting comfy you open it and take a bite with great anticipation just to be met with hard and unrelenting disappointment, with each bite the grief of not getting what you wanted digs deep into your tasting buds. You shout out "Oh NUTS!", it was pralines.

The satisfyied path:

You see a glas counter filled with different cakes, from fancy to funny, wedding to birthday cakes, all very beautyfull but not what you came for.

Skipping past the cakes you see the following counter having a nice assortment of cupcakes, muffins and some brownies, all inside laid out seperately. You notice the sides of the brownies having green spots and take a closer look, but fail to discover the reason for the suspicious color and ask the clerk. It's pistacio, the only kind of nut you find acceptable and since you have not seen any brownies with them in it you give it a try and decide to buy some after finishing browsing. After finding such a rarity you inspect the other products more carefully but don't find any other innovative delicacy and continue to the back end of the store where the last counter waits.

Upon coming closer your eyes grow wide and your heart filled with hope and dreams as you gaze upon boxes which seem to contain small confectionery. In the heat of the moment you pick the prettiest one out, but the brownies you saw make you think about the possibility of special ingredients and so you ask about the contents of the box. The one you picked had pralines made with or containing almonds and hazelnuts, not what you hoped for. The clerk points you toward a box in a rustic style, apparently containing what you wished for, buying your items you go home.

After getting comfy you open the box and take a bite with great anticipation that meets with soft and creamy happiness, with each bite the joy of getting what you wanted gently envelops your tasting buds. You shout out "Ganache!", it was truffles.

From this story I wanted to point out that just showing off a small detail instead of packing it neatly can bring the desired outcome.

Since we don't know in which way those presentations went and if those publishers would have been swayed by a different approach, all we can do is speculate. I trust SbS on doing a good job, just some people prefer junk food instead of home cooked meals.

Lastly, just an opinion of mine is that those publishers wanted short presentations with 1 page of informations instead of those supposedly 8. In this case the strategy of keywords might have hit the spot, just like suggestive commercials the ad-companies do.

With the idea of some advertising companies, instead of explaining the plans and reasons for making characters in CoE have a limited lifespan and the ressources being finite, some might find it more alluring to simply read the sentence "Your decisions matter, everything has consequences, action follows reaction."


Member of The Covenant of the Veil

Friend and Conquest Code: 457008

12/21/2017 3:40:33 AM #8
+0

Small thought, half in jest:

Just add blockchain as the method for wealth management and transfer for the dynastic, GoT-like, economic game!

Fly little birdie.


Imgur

12/21/2017 3:51:32 AM #9
+2

Posted By Sareseras at 7:11 PM - Wed Dec 20 2017

Posted By Kleos at

He described publishers that refused to read his 8 page comparison of COE to other MMOs, publishers that wanted loot crates and micro transactions, and publishers simply not understanding the appeal COE has for so many.

Something that keeps being overlooked or not mentioned in suggestions within discord about this topic is why those publishers did not want to read 8 pages.

If they did read it all then they might've understood the appeal of CoE, but the thing is, marketing in any form needs to be quick and have impact. So instead of going into details maybe some keywords would have gotten them hooked.

Let me try to explain this in a baker & confectionery analogy with two similar approaches but different endings:

An acquaintance told you about a shop from which he had tasted the most amazing caker ever, and even tho you are not much of a cake person he recommended checking it out. You walk into the store of a shop you've never been to, with expectations high because of the recommendation but not knowing what await you.

The disappointed path:

You see a glas counter filled with different cakes, from fancy to funny, wedding to birthday cakes, all very beautyfull but not what you came for.

Skipping past the cakes you see the following counter having a nice assortment of cupcakes, muffins and some brownies, all inside sophisticated boxes. You think they look fine but are nothing new and skip past them quickly to the back end of the store where the last counter waits.

Upon coming closer your eyes grow wide and your heart filled with hope and dreams as you gaze upon boxes which seem to contain small confectionery. In the heat of the moment you pick the prettiest one out, buy it and take it home with you.

After getting comfy you open it and take a bite with great anticipation just to be met with hard and unrelenting disappointment, with each bite the grief of not getting what you wanted digs deep into your tasting buds. You shout out "Oh NUTS!", it was pralines.

The satisfyied path:

You see a glas counter filled with different cakes, from fancy to funny, wedding to birthday cakes, all very beautyfull but not what you came for.

Skipping past the cakes you see the following counter having a nice assortment of cupcakes, muffins and some brownies, all inside laid out seperately. You notice the sides of the brownies having green spots and take a closer look, but fail to discover the reason for the suspicious color and ask the clerk. It's pistacio, the only kind of nut you find acceptable and since you have not seen any brownies with them in it you give it a try and decide to buy some after finishing browsing. After finding such a rarity you inspect the other products more carefully but don't find any other innovative delicacy and continue to the back end of the store where the last counter waits.

Upon coming closer your eyes grow wide and your heart filled with hope and dreams as you gaze upon boxes which seem to contain small confectionery. In the heat of the moment you pick the prettiest one out, but the brownies you saw make you think about the possibility of special ingredients and so you ask about the contents of the box. The one you picked had pralines made with or containing almonds and hazelnuts, not what you hoped for. The clerk points you toward a box in a rustic style, apparently containing what you wished for, buying your items you go home.

After getting comfy you open the box and take a bite with great anticipation that meets with soft and creamy happiness, with each bite the joy of getting what you wanted gently envelops your tasting buds. You shout out "Ganache!", it was truffles.

From this story I wanted to point out that just showing off a small detail instead of packing it neatly can bring the desired outcome.

Since we don't know in which way those presentations went and if those publishers would have been swayed by a different approach, all we can do is speculate. I trust SbS on doing a good job, just some people prefer junk food instead of home cooked meals.

Lastly, just an opinion of mine is that those publishers wanted short presentations with 1 page of informations instead of those supposedly 8. In this case the strategy of keywords might have hit the spot, just like suggestive commercials the ad-companies do.

With the idea of some advertising companies, instead of explaining the plans and reasons for making characters in CoE have a limited lifespan and the ressources being finite, some might find it more alluring to simply read the sentence "Your decisions matter, everything has consequences, action follows reaction."

I agree with you that they want a short but simple presentation. I find it utterly embarrassing that someone liking making the big bucks can't be bothered to read 8 pages. Certainly COE is an amazing game and the more you learn the better. But that takes time they are clearly unwilling to present. You can't hope to highlight everything in the way that drew me in and many others. Perhaps something short and simple would work better. I know Caspian knows this, but I do think an 8 page report is the wrong approach. I think referencing known successful games with aspects of COE is far better but I won't pretend to have all the answers.


12/21/2017 4:28:10 AM #10
+7

Not having seen the Q&A, I'm just tossing this out in a general response to the ideas mentioned above. I in no way know the intricacies or details of getting a game marketed to potential investors, but I do want to see this game succeed.

First of all, don't change the game just to get it out there. If this is truly your passion and mission to make this as it is, don't compromise your core values to get there.

If you don't believe in lootboxes, or pay to win, or whatever, then don't put it in just to get the funding. Anybody can make that game, and it will be made. And it will get funded. Because it is easy to do. And it will also be another soon forgotten game that made no difference and did nothing to advance the genre or the industry.

And perhaps that is the tactic you should take. Somewhere out there in investing land there has to be a person with the same ideas of reinvention and going against the grain. It may not just be the traditional game community. You have gone out of the box so far, why stop now?


12/21/2017 9:09:33 AM #11
+5

If potentially investors who are making millions of pounds a year can't be bothered to read 8 pages I would suggest that is not the 8 pages that are the issue.

Publishers in general (businesses in fact) are risk adverse and want the known easy sell. Look at all the CODs for example. They are also very greedy so such an old fashioned and straight forward monitisation plan is not in their interests.

Now I don't want them to change the game just to get publisher money but it does need that money. I wonder which companies Caspian has approached? Maybe approaching companies that don't traditionally operate in the mmo market and their aren't wedded to the current business meta could pay off.

A company like Paradox Interactive for example may be a good bet. They have no mmo experience but they have worked with companies such a Obsidian and recently brought White Wolf so they clearly have rpg experience, not to mention Caspian had talked about ck2.

What ever the outcome fingers crossed this game gets finished!


12/21/2017 9:41:41 AM #12
+3

Posted By grandad1982 at 10:09 AM - Thu Dec 21 2017

Now I don't want them to change the game just to get publisher money but it does need that money. I wonder which companies Caspian has approached? Maybe approaching companies that don't traditionally operate in the mmo market and their aren't wedded to the current business meta could pay off.

I could imagine with all the aspects that are available in CoE that not only game publishers would be potential business partners.

From a social reserach or marketing standpoint no other game could provide information the same as CoE with OPC and then NPCs having more elaborate AI than the common MMO.

If looking from another perspective you can also see it as an educational game. People will have to read more than in other games to properly make contracts, so this increases their linguistic skills especially in younger generations. Or just take a view at the architecture mechanic which has builders think about the layout, stability and even the environment where they build.

What I want to get across with this is that SbS is in no way building a game, they are building a world. And with that in mind it would be no surprise if other non-game publishers would take an interest.


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Friend and Conquest Code: 457008

12/21/2017 10:35:00 AM #13
+7

I have to say this doesn't surprise me considering SBS's very modest monetization plan with pretty much just sparks and souls, a model technically more generous than your average subscription model. Thus it's unfortunately obvious enough that most publishers would not find the project enticing as innovation turns them off while profit turns them on.

However, I have said, and say it again, I am perfectly open to additional post-launch funding solutions if done right.

Microtransactions and lootboxes however is ridiculously predatory and would affect Elyrias otherwise closed economy quite negatively, so I hope SBS never cave in to that.

But in the BBC interview Caspian said they felt the expansion solution could been a decent model for them IF it didn't force everyone in the community to make additional investments. However, I believe they can reinvent that model similarly to how they reinvented the subscription model with the spark system.

For example, they could do crowd-founded expansions on their website (as opposed to on kickstarter) with more modest goals and reward tiers (preferably much less than 1K). The rewards could be spark(s), SP, "seed" packages (with blueprints, recipes etc.), research clues, artifacts, and similar. This would allow them to pursue the expansion model, while keeping it an optional expense for the players, avoiding the problem of financially burdening the more casual and less invested players who aren't prepared to put down the extra money an expansion otherwise would demand from them. Doing the crowd-funding themselves would also allow them to run the campaign through the entire development period, allowing more people to jump on board than what the one-month window of kickstarter allowed.

It might not convince all publishers, but it's going to be a way better bargaining tool with companies that care more about profit than innovating games. Perhaps even make it viable for them to stay independent.

Posted By grandad1982 at 10:09 AM - Thu Dec 21 2017

A company like Paradox Interactive for example may be a good bet. They have no mmo experience

They are a good suggestion, one of the few PC publishers I know that are open to creative pursuits and innovation at the expense of larger profits. However, I know they have had experience with at least one sandbox MMO before though, which was considered a failure. It doesn't hurt to see if they might be willing to give it another whirl, but I wouldn't hold my breath...

12/21/2017 10:54:26 AM #14
+3

I think the Idea of Souls need to be more upfront it took me days really to understand (I think I do) that when you die, your skills are still attached to your Soul and when you create that next char with the soul you are not starting over.

I think this should be up front and present in giant neon lights


Role of Government: To help those who can not help themselves, to provide those who can help themselves with the support they need.

12/21/2017 1:50:33 PM #15
+4

It's all about finding the right publisher, you can try to show it whatever way you want. When companies only care about milking people, it won't matter how great the game may or may not be. It's a problem with the whole gaming world at the moment. More and more companies and putting lootboxes through everything. When they started to appear in single player games you know it was all downhill. Not that I was ever really a fan of heaps of DLC some companies do either.

Of course doesn't help this game appears so different for most MMOs out either. Sure it could be somewhat compared to EVE, but then not really either. As the line of thinking goes, people just expect any new MMO to be another WoW clone.

I didn't hear the Q&A, so no idea if Caspian gave any hints to who they have gone to so far. But hearing these publishers can't even read 8 pages. It's like handing in a resume, no interview spends more than 30 seconds looking at it. I would have assumed when millions of dollars are on the line, people would put more effort into the whole thing.

I only hope SBS doesn't cave to some greedy company. Now also wishing I could dump more into the game.


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