View Full Version : Things I'd spend money on: Better Bank

05-31-2016, 06:43 AM

I'm often weary of aggressive monetization models in 'free to play' games, too often these turn into 'pay to win'. Fortunately, DDO has, for my personal taste, always kept it pretty acceptable. But in that light, there are a few things I really often ask myself 'why the heck can't I buy that yet'. One of those ideas I'd like to present now.

The problem:
For people like me, for whom the term 'packrat' is a slight understatement (what, I only have 35 bank toons...) one of the most glaring problems in DDO today, that is not part of the core experience, is the banking system. We got three different kinds now, four if you count creative use of selling items and buying them back later (not that I ever had to resort to that to store items through TRing.. *cough*). We got the personal bank, which is really the oldest system and the worst of them all - not in list form and not sortable. We got the TR cache, which is at least in list form, but you cannot obviously put items back into, and we got the shared bank, which is searchable and in list form. All of these banks have different rules, can or cannot store bound items and are in my experience a hassle to deal with. For example: clearing the TR cache can take an HOUR on busy times, just because it is so slow to move items (and then update the GUI).

I deem all of these beyond rescue. But I suggest keeping them around, and additionally offering a new bank. I'm going to call it the 'Kundarak Vault', but that is just a work-in-progress title - feel free to use it or use anything else devs ^^

The vision:
I want the following things from a new bank:

- Stores btc / bta and unbound items.
- Items are filterable, using categories, like the auction house is and can be searched for.
- Item transfer is immediate (read: very fast) and we can transfer items in bulk.
- The bank is unlimited in size and accessible to everyone, monetization is done on a 'per use' basis.
- (optional) The bank also stores money (plat)
- (optional) The bank also stores collectibles and reagents (red & green bags)
- (optional) The bank also stores augments

The proposed solution:
Implement a bank that looks like the auction house interface. You can search for items using categories, filter by level (including a 'useable by me' checkbox), filter by item types, by proficiencies and so on. Items are highlighted depending on whether they are bound to character, unbound or bound to account by using colored backgrounds. I can select to filter for btc/bta/unbound only too. I can mark items to store (like I can mark them as junk) and store them all using a single button (that has a confirmation dialog that show the cost before doing so) on the bank interface. The whole btc/bta/unbound thing is handled transparently - if I don't specifically filter out, all kinds are shown and are handled in the same way. The bank is not affected by any form of resurrection, the items in your inventory and regular bank still make it to the TR cache - the whole 'Kundarak Vault' runs beside the existing system. This also allows persons whose TR caches constantly are full to offload some of that to the 'Kundarak Vault' because it stores btc items too.

The monetization:
I am well aware that a system like this would cost developer time, and probably more then just a couple hundred hours, this more looks like a two to three sprint (for those unfamiliar with the term just replace 'sprint' with 'approximately one team for two weeks') task. As such, there needs to be a solid monetization model behind it, if we want it soon-ish. I am aware most of you probably would want it "immediately and for free" but that is just not how it works in real life. I also see this as a way for constant money dripping in to turbine, which in my books is a good thing.

Therefore I suggest the following:
- You can spend AS on the bank, there is a button that when you click it subtracts 1 AS and adds 10 Transaction Points - also consider adding a dropdown or something for higher conversion rates (i.e. one to spend 1, 10, 50, 100, 500 AS at once, so I don't have to click 100 times if I want to use 100 AS).
- Whenever you store an item, a Transaction Point is used up.
- Retrieving an item is always free (you paid when storing it), because you never want to have the situation that a player cannot access their items because they are out of cash. Not being able to store a new item in the 'awesome' bank but instead having to use the personal bank is acceptable, but being unable to retrieve items because you are short on cash is not.
- VIP players (those with a subscription) receive 100 Transactions for free each month.
- Premium players (those that spent some Turbine Points in the past) receive 100 Transactions for free (as a one time bonus) when the system goes live.
- F2P (players that never spent any Turbine Points nor have a subscription) receive 10 Transactions (as a one time bonus) when the system goes live.
- All prices / free points etc. are ofc suggestions - something that I personally feel like a good balance and would obviously have to be decided by the devs when implementing such a system.
- I strongly feel that it would be good idea to grant some transactions even to F2P players - good way to get them hooked :P
- If needed, the optional features to store money (plat), collectibles, reagents and/or augments could be features sold seperately for Turbine Points, even though I am not strongly in favor of that idea. Also the conversion rates would probably have to be adjusted for those cases - i.e. you pay for storing a *type* of collectible, but any further collectibles of the same type are free or something along those lines.

If additional incentives for premium or VIP players versus F2P players are deemed to be required, the difference could be made by where the bank is accessible, i.e.:
- Accessible only at a specific banking NPC (including on the Airships ofc)
- Accessible in any public zone, like for example by adding it the the main menu (where you can also access i.e. enhancments)
- Accessible even in a quest (this one is problematic from a pay-to-win perspective and should really only be considered when serious additional monetization is deemed necessary, probably not a good choice)

Advantages and usages of the system:
If you are like me, you have a hard time throwing away anything - but hey, spending 1/10th of an AS each time I get a new item to store it 'forever', for the off chance that I ever need it - sure, I'll take that deal. It allows packrats to collect gear without having to feel guilty because all that hard farmed gear (read: dropped by random chance ^^) just will be destroyed when TRing, because hey, inventory space is limited and the TR cache already is overflowing.. sigh.
It also makes it so much easier to find all your items - I might be an extreme case with my 35 bank toons, but even just having like four or five of them quickly becomes a hassle - where did I store that lvl 16 version of the Bracers of Air? Do I have one or two Epic Slice daggers? I know there was this quarterstaff with 2 augments and combustion at around 12.. or was it 10... I have it, but what was it's name again (-> Tinder if you are curious)? All of these and more questions would be easy to answer if the bank had the interface as described. And it would, finally, make banking more hassle free - never again having to log to bank toons to move an item would so much increase the 'off-time' in this game, it be worth every single AS spent on it, in my humble opinion.

If you made it this far, let me know what you think. Would you use such a system? What would that level of convenience be worth it for you? Do you think it absolutely needs a way for f2p players to use it a bit too? If a developer could chime in and tell us how realistic / hard this would be to pull off from a technical point of view I would be interested in that too; maybe I am far off with my guess? Would't be the first time (-;

And finally the obligatory disclaimer:
- English is not my native language, there might be spelling errors.
- Yes I do like DDO currently even though the current banking system is a bit of a sore point. No I won't just quit and you can't have my stuff.
- Yes 35 bank toons is excessive. No you can't have my stuff (well, if you need something specific and reasonable and are on Sarlona... PM me).
- No I won't just throw it away. Might still use it some day. You never know.
- Full disclosure: I am a premium player, not VIP, not F2P.
- If you scrolled down here because 'tl;dr' then I am sorry you never learned to read well in school. Blame your government.

05-31-2016, 12:46 PM
So, I might as well post my responses.

VIP getting 100 items per month seems like a lot of value to just add to VIP, I get it they (mostly) pay for the game, but that means in a year they can have 1,200 items stored permanently without having to pay (more) for it. (My suggestion would be VIP get 100 when the system goes live, like premium, then something like 25 per month)

As a premium I’m often loathe to spend much on non-permanent upgrades, and I’d be more likely to buy extra shared bank slots (or sooner) then this system, simply because 20 more shared bank slots is something I can use on all characters/servers permanently, while in this system I pay per every time I store an item once. The UI improvements of this could be added to the shared bank or personal bank systems, but then where’s the monetization in that? For this system to be a success people would have to spend MORE money on it then they would have already spent on shared bank/personal bank slots.

Can I haz ur stuff??? Plz?? :D

The blame your government made me laugh ;) I do, but our school system here must be pretty good, I actually read the post from top to bottom.