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Xenavire
08-16-2013, 02:20 PM
During an interview at Gen Con Cory has spoken about a recruit-a-friend system with platinum etc, but he mentioned it might not be possible, due to the nature of the incentives and the hurt feelings if someone was to drop out.

So, what if the recruiting players were gifted sets of AA cards, or equipments, or some sort of non-currency rewards, that might be added to or improved by the number of people you recruit, and even the number of people your recruits have recruited?

I mean, the idea is really amazing, but I have the suspicion that platinum/gold, while incredibly awesome as a reward for recruiting people, will pose too much of an issue.

The rewards themselves should be of some sort tangible reward, otherwise the incentive dissapears, but should not be required to continue in the game - something like sleeves, or even random loot added to your keep after a certain number of recruits, or an amount spent by recruits - it could be a very rewarding experience without actually rewarding the player directly.

So, I hope we can help give Cory some ideas to improve, tweak, or modify his original idea to the point he feels he can implement it without fear of backlash.

The interview is here for those interested:
http://www.thehexvault.com/blog/2013/08/16/gencon-2013-interview-with-a-princess/
(Credit to Hex_Colin for the link, and I assume anything related to the link - correct me if I am wrong.)

Bailin
08-16-2013, 02:31 PM
I completely agree Xenavire. I think treating it similar to achievements/trophies in most popular games these days, or even like our double-back cards in Hex is a terrific idea. We can many tiers of unlockables and a tangible reward at each met threshold. Recruit 5 friends - here's a new sleeve, they recruited 1 each - here's a new merc, etc. While I certainly get the attractiveness of multi-level marketing, the application of it here, and reaping what is nearly a pure monetary reward can lead to a level of negativity, jealousy, spamming and drama. They have made nearly every choice in this game in favor of the enjoyment of its players so a lot of thought will go into anything of this nature.

I look forward to seeing many more of the "40-50" other features Cory has in mind as well. I really like hearing he has so many more plans for Hex, his crazy ideas being some of the more fun to listen to.

iscariotrex
08-16-2013, 02:41 PM
Color me old fashioned, but how about this as a reward system. You recruit people you know to play the game and are are rewarded with the ability to play the game you love with people you like. It sounds a little gimmicky, I know, but I would personally love to share my hobby with my friends and play games with them when we happen to be online at the same time.

Kroan
08-16-2013, 02:41 PM
Please not number of people you recruit. The game is f2p, and introducing a "recruit a friend" will a) lead to people creating multiple free accounts and b) spamming on other forums, which might give the wrong idea about what Hex is.

What I would love to see is that you can just add 2-3 friends as "reward friends" or something, and that you can collect together reward points by buying platinum. You then could trade these reward points in for promo's, sleves or maybe even boosters. This way you would still recruit your friends, which was the intention but wouldn't introduce problems mentioned at the start of my post.

Bailin
08-16-2013, 02:52 PM
While I get where you are coming from iscariotrex, I suppose we're simply trying to give options and ideas to the already considered concept introduced by the designers. While I and assuredly many others wouldn't mind if it didn't happen in any capacity, instead of just saying "bad idea", it's also good fun to see interesting ways it could be implemented.

From a company growth standpoint, it's an attractive concept. It's free marketing. Obviously more would take a part in it if there were incentives along the way. Though, as Kroan points out as well, having any type of infinite reward such as the initial idea proposed in the interview, would cause quite a bit of frustration and drama with spamming and such. Having things work as limited accomplishments, or a cap as Kroan suggests certainly help that out quite a bit.

Yoss
08-16-2013, 02:59 PM
Recruitment rewards are ripe for abuse in every game I've seen. The problem is verification of recruitment. How do you prove that it is a real person joining who will actually play the game? A credit card number won't work unless they also verify a unique name and billing address (and what about company cards). Maybe the same systems to detect VIP abuse could detect recruit abuse, but it seems like a big concern.

HyenaNipples
08-16-2013, 03:00 PM
Non-monetary exclusives seem pretty harmless.

locust
08-16-2013, 03:00 PM
Please not number of people you recruit. The game is f2p, and introducing a "recruit a friend" will a) lead to people creating multiple free accounts and b) spamming on other forums, which might give the wrong idea about what Hex is.


To prevent this make a similar sistem like league of legends, you only get the reward when your friend reaches either a certain level, or as a pvp draft or something.

As for the rewards themselves - sleves, altered art cards, extra loot, some unique cards, mercs, etc. Lets not make it a money issue and not a "must have" option. Just a nice simple reward

Xenavire
08-16-2013, 03:03 PM
See, I liked how WoW gave a free mount to players who were recruited, and exp boosts etc, but it didn't have the lure to play it free. Hex has the lure, and if a player went and payed, maybe you could get additional bonuses.

For example - recruit a friend, you get a small reward, like sleeves. Non-tradable, no issues with spammed accounts.

Recruited player finishes the optional tutorial - you get another small token of thanks, for bringing someone who was interested in the game. Perhaps a random playset of PvE commons for your keep?

Recruited player buys a booster for the first time - you get a free AA card.

Recruited player joins a draft for the first time - A fun merc for PvE.



Small things like this could be an incentive to recruit new players, while certain types of rewards would want you to bring players who you know would pay - or you would pay for them, giving them a free introduction into the game on your coin (should you want the rewards that badly.)

Now, these are examples, but it could work any number of ways. Perhaps the number of people is a bad idea, but I cannot claim their net worth is any better, but perhaps, like I showed above, certain milestones could be a good target?

Hemlock
08-16-2013, 03:11 PM
Even with new milestones, the problem Yoss presented isn't really solved. I could create a new account, do a draft on it, shovel the winnings into the original account, and collect the exclusives. Depending on what other strictures there are, I could do this once for each credit card I have.

Xenavire
08-16-2013, 03:20 PM
Well, it does depend on the rewards given - if its a one time thing, or something that is worth less each time you receive it, it would not be worth doing multiple times. On the other hand, you could structure it not by the milestones themselves, but the number of milestones - say 5 are for PvE, getting progressively harder/more time consuming, and 5 for PvP, costing more platinum as an investment. Then, based on the total number of milestones, you get rewards - say, the worthwhile ones start at 6-7, with the best at 10.

It would force the new player/account to spend more time and money for the better rewards - if it is someone trying to game the system, they are punished, and if it is a new player making the most of the game, they lose nothing.

iscariotrex
08-16-2013, 03:25 PM
It's cool Bailin. I can be kinda sarcastic, but I really don't mean to be an ass. I think I'm more with Yoss on the potential for abuse though. As far as free advertising goes I think all of the KS backers and what not have been hitting up social media and getting the word out, even from early days, not because Hex is a great game(it doesn't exist yet) but because they believe. Crypto will get all of that free advertizing by simply having a compelling product. Incentives become unnecessary.

In other forum threads they have talked about the concepts of Daily's, where you have a generally simple exercise to perform each day to get some reward. These are intended to get people to log in each day but tend to disenfranchise some of the player base. I'm for different modes of play and there being reasons for people to want to do them, but if these systems aren't carefully done, I think they will drive people off. Oh I'm not getting my daily bonuses or my recruitment bonuses lead to feelings of resentment when people start to feel like they are missing out. People should be here to play a game, not do homework.

I think Cory is brilliant, but not all ideas are good ideas. My main concern with the pyramid scheme hasn't been seemingly addressed yet and it is that the practice would take money away from Cryptozoic. It would enable a small margin of the player base to go infinite. It doesn't seem good to me, but I'm no economist.

Yoss
08-16-2013, 03:41 PM
Crypto will get all of that free advertizing by simply having a compelling product. Incentives become unnecessary.
Just like the dailies we're talking about in the other thread. Cory has said that the key thing about the MMOTCG idea is the community. If Hex can't generate a community by the strength of its content and excitement of its players, the game is dead and no amount of recruitment rewards and dailies will revive it. Case closed (as far as I'm concerned).

Xenavire
08-16-2013, 03:49 PM
Well, forget the idea of recruiting more players to boost the economy, what about ideas to bring new players in? A reverse pyramid? I don't know how to structure that, but getting a person to try hex is the first step to getting them stuck in and playing - sometimes people just ignore things unless rewards are dangled under their nose. While it would normally be their loss, we could find some way to make it more atractive, without unbalancing things.

However, I am a little empty on fresh ideas, so if someone could chip in and help me out here, it would be much appreciated.

bofedy
08-16-2013, 04:03 PM
How about this friendship levels could be called something else 1-10 you can link with 4 other friends while link you earn exp by playing games and when you level up you earn bla bla bla once you hit max you get something cool. you can link your friendship with anyone at anytime evan if your at max level just to help new friends or guildys. they also could add more levels to xpac so you could bring back old mate who might have left and get them attached to game again.

ossuary
08-16-2013, 04:04 PM
I think we should ignore the "don't even do this" arguments in this thread, since it's all just theory based on an arbitrary suggestion by Cory in the first place. Instead of saying "don't do this," which isn't constructive in the slightest, let's talk about what COULD make a system like this good, to help Cory and the team refine the idea - potentially for future inclusion.

From my perspective, as long as the reward system is tied purely to the purchase of platinum directly from CZE, there is no possibility for abuse. This would not be a reward that kicks in when you spend any plat that is sitting on your account, it would only accumulate from new platinum purchases through the CZE store. So you couldn't just trade stuff around between multiple accounts and go infinite, you would have to be actually generating revenue for CZE to see any revenue of your own.

For example, say CZE decided to incentive the referral program at a total of 10% (this is probably a ridiculously high number for an ongoing commission or finder's fee, but will make the math easier). You refer a friend to the game, and they enter the code you give them when they sign up, indicating you are their referrer. For every $1.00 USD they spend with CZE buying platinum, CZE credits you with $0.10 worth of platinum as well (because we'll be dealing with very small fractions in some cases, let's say it gets tracked and you get a monthly payout of platinum). Every time your friend purchases platinum directly from CZE, you get this credit as well.

Now, your friend loves the game, and brings in 2 friends of his own. These friends are now tier 2 referees. Whenever THEY buy platinum from CZE, a total of 10% of their purchases get divided up between your friend, and you, in your monthly plat deposit. Let's call it 9% to your friend (he should still get the bulk, since he brought them in), and 1% to you. The direct referer should always get as close to the maximum referral percent as possible, to make it a worthwhile endeavor to refer other people no matter how many levels down the referral tree you personally are. Say, the minimum you will ever get for your direct referrals will be 7%, no matter how many people are above you in the chain (if someone manages to get 10 tiers below them, they are going to be getting a fairly nice bonus, even at 0.01% of all spend from the bottom level).

In this system, CZE is never giving up more than 10% of their total referred income as free platinum, and that bonus can't be duplicated or farmed. It always results from real, actual spend. And the players doing the referring are always getting rewarded for their efforts, so long as the people they refer are actually spending money.

Xenavire
08-16-2013, 04:12 PM
Sadly, ossuary, that might be exploitable (although its a fantastic example.)

Say you make your main account, then a sub account (you would probably only benefit from 2 accounts anyway.) By buying all your plat in the referred account, you would be generating 10% more plat than what you are buying. So you spend $1, you get $1.10.

If we could stop that, the system would be fantastic, which is why I suggested alternatives to currency, but if you made it 'phantom' currency... Imagine points you accumulate, and you can spend those points on cosmetic rewards. Say that 10% is how many points you got instead, and you could use those to buy sleeves or new keep designs.

Still, abusable in it's way, but les attractive for pure abuse.

(My post quality is degrading the later in the night it gets, so I apologise.)

iscariotrex
08-16-2013, 04:43 PM
Point and counter point is constructive when trying to create a valid model of business. I provided counter point, reasons I thought this idea was weak. It is then the next persons goal to find ways to strengthen a given system to circumvent said concerns. Just ignoring anyone who says something you don't like is a sure method to breed in weakness. I understand you may disagree with me, and that is fine, but just telling everyone to ignore me and then saying I'm not adding to your discussion is flat out wrong.

Vorsa
08-16-2013, 04:59 PM
I'd go for something rather less intensive, and steering well clear of financial rewards - even in-game currencies.

E.g.

1. When players subscribe, they receive an e-mail with 4 "Kingmaker" friend codes and unlock a mercenary called The Kingmaker.

2. The Kingmaker mercenary cannot be levelled by any normal means.

3. Friend codes can be activated during account activation - or maybe at any time (so a social element amongst initial player base also) - limit one "Kingmaker" friend code activation per account .

4. The first time an account with an activated "Kingmaker" friend code subscribes, they gain a Kingmaker themed card sleeve and The Kingmaker of the player that codes belongs to gains 5 levels.

5. On particular milestones - such as all 4 "Kingmaker" codes being activated, 6 month anniversary, 1 million subscribers, etc. - send out a bonus friend code so people have greater leeway, for a win-win all-round.

6. If a success, the next year Cryptozoic can send out another mercenary with their own associated codes (2013 could be the year of "Kingmaker" codes, 2014 could be "Midnight Shepherd" codes) - the older ones don't expire though, so could with time become desirable for the associated sleeve.

This avoids the free-to-play dummy account bloat, and while of course it can be circumvented by someone making 5 accounts and subscribing with them - giving Cryptozoic $16-20 to level a mercenary harms no-one and adds to the development coffers. :D

Daer
08-16-2013, 05:13 PM
How about instead of a pyramid scheme just a straight referral program. You recruit someone, they spend $20 on the game, you get a promo card. Done. Have a different promo card for 1, 2, and 3 recruits.

Yoss
08-16-2013, 05:21 PM
How about instead of a pyramid scheme just a straight referral program. You recruit someone, they spend $20 on the game, you get a promo card. Done. Have a different promo card for 1, 2, and 3 recruits.
Assuming the promos are at all worth it, you recruit yourself three times, pay $20 each time to get the promos on your main account, transfer the $60 Plat to your main, then jettison the now-useless accounts.

I guess if the promo value is very low relative to the friend buy-in required then it would work because the above abuse wouldn't profit. (You'd just buy off the AH for, say, $5 and keep the other $55.)

d00dz
08-16-2013, 06:20 PM
Any referral benefits should not be tied to the economy. I have strong opinions against having gold/platinum benefits from a referral system. It just screams exploitation and abuse and the in-game economy will suffer as a result.

On the other hand, I can get behind other benefits such as sleeves, mercenaries (both of which are not tradable) and probably an in-game title (which should also not be tradable). I also support Xenavire's idea on milestone unlocks.

keldrin
08-17-2013, 01:08 AM
OK, I we assume, that the abuse of creating extra account spam to boost recruit numbers is taken care of somehow...
What about a special mercenary? A mercenary that requires new recruits. to unlock levels... Might even be a blend of xp and recruits needed to unlock the mercenaries abilities.
Could be called something like "The drill seargant." Or "the Orc Recruiter". and his powers would revolve around bringing something like orc conscripts into play.
I know, would be a bit of a pain to get leveled, but kind of a cool merc when fully leveled.

jaxsonbatemanhex
08-17-2013, 01:29 AM
While I haven't been keeping up with the thread, I'll point out that they said during the KS that each account needs to be tied to a unique credit card number. I don't know how hard and fast they'll stick with this (for example, a parent wanting to have an account for himself, and an account for their credit card-less child could pose issues), but if it remains the case then making multiple accounts for referral benefits won't be as simple as signing up 100 times.

Unhurtable
08-17-2013, 02:14 AM
due to the nature of the incentives and the hurt feelings if someone was to drop out.

I do not understand this part. Could someone explain?

Velorath
08-17-2013, 05:26 AM
I feel like recommendations or reviews posted on forums come across as disingenuous when they're followed by "when you sign up, please use this referral code". When I read a post from somebody telling me how great a game is, I don't want to feel like they're just trying to get me to sign up for their own personal gain. Just the other day I was looking at reviews for an iphone game (forget the name of it), and literally every single review was something along the lines of "This game is a lot of fun! If you sign up using this referral code it will give you a free rare item.". That immediately turned me off of the game.

I don't really think there's any way around that issue or the problem of people spamming as many people on facebook and twitter as possible unless you make the reward so trivial it's not worth the effort.

Xenavire
08-17-2013, 05:55 AM
I do not understand this part. Could someone explain?

Cory was talking about people dropping their 'pledge', so to speak, and then signing up under someone else, transferring the bonuses to a new person. This would especially hurt if you relied on that persons platinum use to supplement your gaming.

He explained it himself much more clearly in the recording.

Chiany
08-17-2013, 05:59 AM
I don't mind recruiting rewards, but I really hope it's not with platinum.
Gold maybe, or something cosmetic like in WoW.

blakegrandon
08-17-2013, 03:07 PM
How about instead of a pyramid scheme just a straight referral program. You recruit someone, they spend $20 on the game, you get a promo card. Done. Have a different promo card for 1, 2, and 3 recruits.
Penn and Teller Easy Money:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NNPxHd46yVg
^ Pretty much sums up how I feel about Pyramid scams.
Can we just call it a Pyramid Scam, it's much easier and evokes more realistic feelings about what a pyramid scam involves.

The downstream is never sustainable, unless you cap the amount being distributed.

I personally invite all my friends to play the game with me, I don't need some arbitrary award to get my friends playing the same games as me, because they're my friends.

Having "Referral Bonuses" just leads to spammers posting anywhere and everywhere, even if it's for minor rewards.

I'm currently having to deal with a "relative" who is most likely try to get me to use some of their ACN "services" and I just found out a bunch of people I know got sucked into some "energy drink" pyramid scam, so the idea of a pyramid scam in a game that I want to play for fun annoys me.

I find the need to have referral rewards for getting your friends to play unnecessary, are you guys really not going to want your "friends" to play unless you get something tangible for it?

zadies
08-17-2013, 03:30 PM
Hem only really a scam if the product is a scam... If the product is something you would get regardless, and advertise for regardless it is not a scam.
Now do I like the idea as a referral bonus i,'m not sure, but to saying it is a scam means the product is not worth purchasing which I would have to disagree with.

Maphalux
08-17-2013, 04:36 PM
I just think the whole idea is a no-no. Providing incentives to get people to sign up under you will produce a very cut-throat and unfriendly player base. The closest example I can come up with is Beachbody. You know, the company that makes P90X and all that.

They have a similar system. It is a real product too. But you would be disgusted with the amount of underhanded dirty tricks people pull to steal other people's sign ups. The scam in this case isn't the product itself, it is by the people who stand to benefit by you spending tons of money and linking it to them so that they get credit.

Hex should be about fun. It should be about the game. It shouldn't be about building a pyramid with you on top. I would hate for HEX to be associated with the kind of behavior something like the Platinum Crown idea would foster in the community.

AbandonAllHope
08-17-2013, 04:49 PM
I would advise making the player recruitment rewards account bound. That way, when you recruit players, you can't "abuse" it in a way of trading your rewards away or selling it, because they are bound to your account since that account earned that reward for recruiting people. This way it will turn into a personal reward rather than a reward that only holds value in your eyes. I would also really hate to see this recruitment concept to turn into a "gain 10% of your recruits spendings". I would, just like other players suggested, make it sleeves, or cards of sorts.

But the most important point I'm trying to make, is to make the reward account bound, and don't make it a money reward. THis way you can collect those rewards, but they can't be abused in a way that you can make profit out of it.

I also don't think a recruited played should be rewarded, because than nobody will just make an account, they will always want to be recruited. This will just make people randomly spam their recruitment number rather than actually trying to convince people to play.

blakegrandon
08-17-2013, 06:09 PM
Hem only really a scam if the product is a scam... If the product is something you would get regardless, and advertise for regardless it is not a scam.
Now do I like the idea as a referral bonus i,'m not sure, but to saying it is a scam means the product is not worth purchasing which I would have to disagree with.

Not to get too off topic but pyramid scams by their very structure are set up as a scam. A scam always has an air of legitimacy, but the numbers for a pyramid scam don't work and the majority of people will always lose their money.

Pyramid type rewards for mmorpgs don't work for the same reason that pyramid scams ultimately fail, because there are only a finite amount of people that you can rope in.

A game shouldn't "need" a pyramid structure to get new players, if it does then there are fundamental flaws that should be addressed instead...

Take WOW's refer a friend system, sounds great in theory, but the people that would sign up are generally speaking already signed up.

Plus aren't we sick of all of our friends telling us to play X, getting us to click their referral link, and being used for each other's gain?

I love Hex, but if my friends aren't playing, maybe I should take the hint and not bug them into playing a game they're not interested in....

ossuary
08-17-2013, 08:45 PM
The key difference between a pyramid scheme / scam and a referral bonus program is that pyramid schemes often have a buy-in to get the right to become a "member" of the pyramid.

For example, you could just be a customer of Hex and pay your normal money for Platinum, OR, you could pay us $150, and we'll make you an elite member! Every person you sign up to play Hex, you'll earn FREE Platinum for every dollar they spend!!

^^ THAT is a pyramid scheme. Most of the people who get suckered in to signing up never recoup their "investment," that's how the people on top make their money.

Just being clear on what the distinction is. :)

Gorgol
08-18-2013, 01:11 AM
OK, I we assume, that the abuse of creating extra account spam to boost recruit numbers is taken care of somehow...
What about a special mercenary? A mercenary that requires new recruits. to unlock levels... Might even be a blend of xp and recruits needed to unlock the mercenaries abilities.
Could be called something like "The drill seargant." Or "the Orc Recruiter". and his powers would revolve around bringing something like orc conscripts into play.
I know, would be a bit of a pain to get leveled, but kind of a cool merc when fully leveled.

I wonder if they could do something similar but that revolves around it being leveled by raiding with the person you recruited or when 2v2 and 3v3 or group play comes into the game that it levels through play with your recruited people instead of just incentivizing people to mass sign up, even if they do they'll at least have to play the game as well to get the end result. I think this would foster community a great deal, and it wouldn't be so much that you'd need "at least X people recruited" or put forth some need to mass spam recruit in different places. The point of recruiting people should be to have more people to play with.

blakegrandon
08-18-2013, 05:26 AM
Just being clear on what the distinction is. :)

Well Yea, but a referral bonus program is actually even more annoying because there is no buy-in :-p

I know it's wishful thinking but I'd love to see a game without a referral bonus program, with no guild spam recruiting and also without gold/platinum spammers in chat... I miss the old days when chat was used to actually chat.