I propose to provide additional benefits to the VIP-subscription model, that make the game more alt-friendly for the paying customers with a running VIP subscription.
Disclaimer: Not all of the proposed ideas are my own. Many ideas have already been proposed in one or the other variant by other forum posters.
Why enhanced alt-friendliness through VIP-subscription?
First, there have been numerous and rather recent complaints, that the endgame grind has become exceedingly alt-unfriendly. A couple of customers are considering to opt out entirely of the grind and their subscription. If nothing is done, their number might increase.
Second, the VIP-subscription does not currently provide any relevant benefits for players at level-cap. If the VIP subscription is redesigned to support multiple alts, it might become more attractive to long-term players, increasing long-term revenue
What do I suggest specifically?
There are several different ways to make the game more alt-friendly and to combine "enhanced alt-friendliness" with a running VIP-subscription.
My proposition covers two aspects, that have become a tedious grind for players with alts, namely the trait point grind and the level-cap equipment grind.
Different approaches to cover the mentioned two aspects, or combinations of approaches are thinkable.
There also might be other aspects that I did not cover.
Posters are encouraged to criticize the suggestions and to provide alternative suggestions.
I. TRAIT POINTS:
Proposition: Trait points that are gated behind quest-chains or deeds should be automatically granted to alts under the following conditions:
a) at least one character on the account has completed the required quest-chain or deed(s)
b) the alt-character that is "freely" granted a trait point has reached the maximum level of the quest pack, that is required to obtain the trait point
c) the VIP subscription must be running, if the alt-character meets conditions a) and b)
II. END-GAME EQUIPMENT:
I propose two different models based on two different approaches. Alternative approaches are thinkable
Proposition A: Account-bound equipment
a) make all level-cap equipment (teal quality and up) account bound, provided the customer has a VIP subscription running
b) revert the equipment to character bound (with a choice what equipment goes to what character), when VIP expires
- conceptually a rather simple idea
- as long as the VIP subscription is running, the customer can share the high quality level-cap equipment between his level-capped alts, reducing the grind
- the customer still has to earn the equipment on at least one character, meaning that the system is not so much "pay-to-win", but rather a convenience that reduces repetitive multiple grind for alts
- if the classes differ in role (dps vs. tank/healer) and require different armor classes (light, medium, heavy), there might not be many pieces of equipment that can be shared
- not sure if the game engine is capable to change the equipment back and forth between "account-bound" and "character-bound"
- the implementation of the transition from "account-bound" to "character-bound" when VIP expires could be tricky
[suggestion: force de-equip all equipment that needs to become character bound and make it "bind on equip"]
Proposition B: Account-bound VIP-currency for the purchase of end-game equipment, that can only be spent during VIP
a) when a character completes a level-cap instance or raid, (s)he is granted an amount of *account-bound* VIP-currency depending on the difficulty of the instance or raid. The acquisition process for the VIP-currency is independent of a running VIP-description, similar to destiny points
b) as long as the character has a VIP-subscription running, the VIP-currency can be used by any level-capped character on the same account to acquire endgame gear from a special VIP-currency barterer
c) in order to discourage "pay-to-win", equipment that only drops on high difficulty levels or in specific raids/instances should only be barterable, if at least one character on the account has completed the instance/raid at the required difficulty level
d) optional: in order to reduce highly repetitive grinds in order to equip a large number of alts, all level-capped characters on the account get a monthly stipend of *character-bound* VIP-currency during a running VIP-subscription, that allows each alt to buy 2-3 pieces of equipment per month
- alt characters can be equipped individually and the equipment remains with the individual character, even if VIP runs out
- the customer still has to complete the instances/raids at the required difficulty level for at least one character. The VIP subscription merely reduces the repetitive multiple grind for alts
- this option is more flexible than the account-bound equipment model, because it is not based on (random) equipment drops, but a barter-currency
- the option is less random and more predictable than the current system of more or less random equipment drops
- conceptually more difficult than account-bound equipment
In my opinion the above mentioned proposals not only provide a real new incentive for level-capped players to purchase a VIP-subscription, they also provide some rather general benefits for overall game-play such as
- the easier it becomes to equip alts, the more flexible people will be when it comes to put together a group. This will make it easier for new players with non-optimal equipment or not overly powerful classes to be invited, because the players with many alts can freely chose what alt fits the current group best. In the current system it does not make sense for a player to switch in his direly needed tank to replace his not needed hunter, if the tank is already fully equipped.
- experienced players with many alts will be more willing to chose the alt appropriate for the current group, making it easier to take in and educate new players, that just have reached level-cap
- this, in turn, will increase the long-term healthiness of the game in general, and the long-term participation of a large number of players in the more difficult end-game activities.