F2P模式的反饋迴路會對“付費贏”設計產生什麼影響?

F2P模式的反饋迴路會對“付費贏”設計產生什麼影響?

原文作者: Josh Bycer  譯者: Megan Shieh

我們之前已經討論過“反饋迴路”這個東西,也說明了它可以激勵玩家繼續玩某款遊戲。F2P目前極受歡迎,開發者們也開始學會利用反饋迴路來確保玩家花錢。在今天的文章中,我們將會討論“爲什麼F2P的反饋迴路會起作用”以及“它對會對遊戲的平衡造成什麼危害”。

什麼是反饋迴路?

在電子遊戲中,最常見的例子是“正反饋迴路”:創建一套可重複的動作,玩家通過重複這套動作來進階。最簡單、最有效的正反饋迴路之一是ARPG(動作角色扮演類遊戲)迴路:對抗怪獸 -> 獲得戰利品 -> 變得更強。

Ultima Online(from mmorpg.com)

Ultima Online(from mmorpg.com)

“負反饋迴路” 的作用是降低正反饋迴路的效用,使其處於受控狀態。在電子遊戲中,如若負反饋迴路太強,就會形成一個惡性循環,進階會變得越來越難,最終逼走玩家。

F2P遊戲的目標並非創造負反饋迴路,而是利用正反饋迴路來吸引玩家花錢。

強者越強

對於任何F2P遊戲而言,能夠把免費玩家轉化爲付費玩家是一件很不容易的事。一旦爲它花了錢,玩家就很難放棄這款遊戲。F2P模式的反饋迴路在帶有競爭元素或PVP模式的遊戲中最爲常見,而且這些反饋迴路都是圍繞着“取得進階,進而贏得戰鬥”而構建的。

這類遊戲中的絕大多數都包含以下場景:

首先,遊戲只會在你獲勝的時候纔給你獎勵,而不是參與了就有獎勵。如果你打了10場比賽,但只贏了2場,那麼另外8場比賽就等於是浪費了你的時間。

下一步是引入建立在“贏得X場比賽”之上的每日任務或頻繁給出的任務,完成這些任務的獎勵通常是有限制的;有些遊戲允許你花(可以用真錢買到的)遊戲內貨幣來增加所得獎勵。與普通獲勝相比,完成這些任務總能讓你收穫更多獎勵。

最後,遊戲中會有一個排位制PVP模式。玩家在排行榜上爬得越高,在賽事結束時獲得的獎勵就會越多。除了限時賽事活動之外,季度賽提供的獎勵最好。

這些選項的終極目標很簡單:使獲勝等同於進階。一旦玩家開始在遊戲中獲勝,所得的獎勵就會使他們變得更強。我們現在可以將F2P模式的反饋迴路定義爲:

在對戰中獲勝 -> 贏得獎勵 -> 變得更強

不過對於大多數玩家而言,啓動這個反饋迴路的方法是“進行首次消費”。大多數情況下,付費玩家之所以能夠擊敗免費玩家,僅僅是因爲戰況對前者更有利。獲勝的次數越多,贏得的獎勵也越多,獎勵越多進階就越快,等級越高就越容易贏…“富人越富”的法則正好適用於這些遊戲。

也正是因爲如此,我覺得與F2P遊戲相關的聯賽或電競聯賽不是很靠譜。的確,參賽者現在可能沒有花錢,但你敢說他們從來沒在這款遊戲中花過錢?再強調一次,一旦某人達到了幾乎所向披靡的地步,他們就不用再砸錢了,因爲接連不斷的勝利取代了花錢的需要。

你可能在想:“如果獲勝會提供獎勵,那你怎麼讓常勝者繼續砸錢?”

答案是:將所有常勝者都聚集到一起。

終極比拼

正如之前提到的,一旦人們進入了F2P的反饋迴路,他們就會開始超越其他玩家,尤其是那些不付費的玩家。最終,所有頂級玩家都會集中在排位賽或季賽中。這種時候,玩家間的力量懸殊就變小了,因爲每個人手上都集齊了最好的卡牌或選項。

對於像CCG(收集式卡牌)這種有固定選項的遊戲而言,這纔是競爭真正開始的地方。遊戲不再是關於“收集卡牌來打敗其他玩家”,而是準確利用手上的卡牌來建立一組最強卡組。例如,《巫師之昆特牌(Gwent)》中就有一個普通排位賽和一個專供高手挑戰的“職業天梯排位賽”。

對於這些玩家而言,花錢的誘惑力幾乎消失了。他們在日常比賽中囤積的獎勵,足以幫助他們獲得任何想要的新(推出)卡牌。就是因爲這樣,所以與其他類遊戲相比,CCG不常因爲其遊戲內F2P經濟體系而受到抨擊。因爲最終,玩家可以免費獲得所需的卡牌。

然而如果是基於Gacha的進階,情況就有些不同了。因爲物品可以通過升級而變得更強大,僅僅是擁有最好的卡牌/角色是不夠的。這時,裝備的比拼就會持續上演,因爲玩家們會想通過升級物品來取得微弱的領先優勢。在這種情況下,等級就沒有上限了,因爲只要玩家有變強的需求,開發者們就能加高卡牌的級別上限或推出全新的卡牌來吸引玩家繼續比拼;砸錢的需要也會隨之不斷提升。

時間與金錢一樣重要

這樣看來,我們總共有三羣玩家在玩這款遊戲:處於中低級別的免費玩家、花錢達到中高級別的付費玩家、爭取最高排位的頂級玩家。

花錢達到頂點的人越多,遊戲的付費牆就越穩固。一旦這種情況發生,開發者很難激勵其他玩家繼續玩下去,因爲這些玩家知道除非自己開始砸錢,不然過不了這個點。

解決這一問題的方案有兩種,第一種很簡單:不要把“Power(獲勝捷徑)”賣給玩家。

但如果非得賣,那麼你就必須爲免費玩家提供一個進階的機會。允許玩家通過簡單地參與比賽來獲得獎勵;同時給贏家更多獎勵。關鍵是除了贏家之外,你也得考慮輸家的感受,不應該讓任何人覺得自己是在浪費時間。就像之前說過的,當玩家意識到自己在被迫花錢時,他們就會離開你的遊戲。

如果想要人們繼續玩你的遊戲,你就不止得尊重金錢,還得尊重玩家花在你遊戲裏的時間,因爲兩者一樣重要。

很多時候我覺得,有些F2P設計師眼裏似乎只有短期利益和付費買“Power”。但你必須爲所有玩家都提供選項,這樣遊戲社區纔會健康。

本文由遊戲邦編譯,轉載請註明來源,或諮詢微信zhengjintiao

We’ve talked about feedback loops before and how powerful they are to motivate someone to keep playing a game. Given their popularity, the F2P genre has been making use of their own feedback loop to ensnare people into spending money. For today’s post, we’re going to talk about why this works and the harm it can do to game balance.

What is a Feedback Loop?

As always, let’s begin by defining feedback loops (for more, you can watch the video linked below).

The most popular example of feedback loops in video games are positive feedback loops: Which provide a repeatable set of actions that create progress within the game. One of the simplest and effective positive feedback loops is the ARPG cycle: Fight Monsters: Get Loot: Become Stronger.

A negative feedback loop is designed to reduce the effectiveness of the positive one to keep it in check. In video games, if the negative feedback is too strong, it can create a downward spiral where continuing grows harder and harder until the player stops.

For F2P games, they’re not about creating negative feedback, but exploiting positive to get people to spend.

Power to the Winners:

Converting a free player to a paying one is a big deal for any F2P game. Once there is that investment, it becomes harder for that person to quit playing. The F2P feedback loop is best seen in competitive or PVP-based systems, and is built around tying progress to winning.

You will see the following in some way, shape, or form in most of these titles. First, the game will only provide rewards when you win, not play the game. If you played 10 matches and only win 2, then you have wasted the time spent playing the other 8.

The next step is to introduce daily or frequent goals built on winning X matches. These rewards usually have a limit; some games allow you to spend premium currency to add more. You will always get more for completing these goals compared to just winning matches over the course of a day.

And then the final step is to have a ranked/ladder-based PVP mode. The higher the player goes in the ladder will provide them with more rewards at the end of the event. Season play provides the best rewards in the game outside of limited time events.

Ultimately the goal of these options is simple: Equate winning with progress. Once a player starts winning at the game, the rewards they earn will carry them. We can now define the F2P Feedback Loop as:

Win Matches: Earn Rewards: Get Stronger

However, the only way to start that feedback loop for most players is to make that initial purchase. In most cases, a paying player will be able to beat a non-playing one simply due to the abstraction being in their favor. “The rich getting richer” applies to these games, thanks to the rewards earned.

This is why I find talks about tournament or Esports-level discussions on F2P games questionable. Yes, the contestants may not have spent money on their options now, but I want to know what they spent lifetime-wise on that game. Again, once someone has reached the point where they are reliably winning most of their matches, those wins will replace the need to spend money.

I know what some of you are thinking right now: “If winning provides rewards, how do you continue to get money from winners?” And the answer is what happens when all those winners are all grouped together.

The End Game Arms Race:

As we’ve said, once people are in the F2P feedback loop, they will begin surging ahead of the other players; specifically the non-paying ones. At some point all the top players will be put together at the end of the ladder/season play. Now, the difference in power between the players begins to shorten, because everyone has access to the best cards/options.

For games that have fixed options like CCGs, this is where the competitive aspect really takes off. It’s no longer about hunting for cards to beat players, but about using what’s there to build the best decks. In Gwent for instance, there is both a regular ladder and a “Pro” ladder for high-ranked players.

For these players, the allure to spend money is pretty much gone. Any new cards added should be easily obtained by hoarding the rewards they win from their daily matches. This is why CCG titles aren’t as bashed for their F2P economies compared to other games. Eventually, you should have the cards you need and will not have to spend money.

However, when we’re talking about gacha-based progression, things go a bit differently. Because options can be leveled up to become more powerful, just having the best cards/characters is not enough. This is where the arms race continues, as players fight for micro leads by leveling up their options. The level cap can be extended indefinitely; along with the requirements to keep going up.

What ends up happening is that we have three groups of people playing the game: Free players who are in the lower to middle tier, those who spend to reach the middle to high tier, and the top players at the highest point jockeying for position.

The more people who spend money to reach the top, the more of a pay wall becomes established for the game. And once that happens, it becomes very hard to keep someone motivated to play when they know they have no way to get past that point unless they open up their wallet.

Consolation Prize:

Fighting against this issue has a very short answer and a longer one. The easiest way is obvious: Don’t sell power to the player. If you are going to go that route, either by choice or forced by a publisher, then you must provide free players a chance to progress. Time should matter when it comes to rewarding the player.

Allow players to earn a pack or get rewards by simply playing matches; with greater rewards for those who win. The point is that no one should feel like they’re wasting their time unless they win. As we’ve talked about before, when the player realizes that they’re being forced to spend money, they’re going to leave the game.

Time and Money are equally important to consider, and you must respect both if you expect people to keep playing your game.

Winner, Winner:

Too often it feels like F2P designers are only focusing on the short-term gain of whales and paying for power. If you want a healthy community for your game, then you must provide options to all the players. (Source: gamasutra.com  )