We want to get your feedback and thoughts about some changes we think need to be made to Boundless.
The aims are:
- Iterate the Levelling rewards to give players control over their reward.
- Have a solid and fair set of post release monetisation options so that we can expand and maintain Boundless for many years.
Player Path and EXP:
One of the aims of Boundless is to let players choose their own path. Some players love building, some hunting, some crafting, some (hopefully) spinning on the Centraforge, and many something of everything! We have a general design aim to make sure that the balance of the entire game is flat. By flat we mean that the game doesn’t overly reward or under reward any activity. Spending an hour mining or an hour hunting should reward the player equally. This is in the form of EXP, and while buffs or taking on more challenging actions may yield higher amounts of EXP, the idea is that when comparing equivalent actions the EXP reward will be equal between the different activities.
NOTE: Balance and iteration is still required in EXP generation, for example - large group meteorite hunting is currently overpowered. Please give us feedback on actions that you feel are under or over rewarded. We also need to keep balancing the Feats. Ultimately there shouldn’t be a single ideal strategy to gain EXP.
Player Leveling Rewards:
When players level up we also want to reward players in a flat way. This would mean rewarding all players in a way that they feel is additive to their ambitions in the game. Leveling rewards are currently split into Skill Points for progressing your character and Plots for progressing your build.
Player Leveling Rewards - Skill Points:
The Skill Point system is flat. As they’re rewarded independently of your particular actions and it gives the player total control over how points are invested and the path you take whilst progressing your character.
NOTE: The Skill Tree will be iterated in a coming release. The iteration attempts to fix a collection of complaints and shortcomings in the current system, namely: skill costs changing during progression, the clunky interface for respecing a character, allowing players to experiment with build-outs before they have the required points, making the trade-offs between skills more explicit, adding sizzle and oomph to the higher end skills, making the skills themselves clearer about what they achieve (I’m looking at you crafting skills!), making sure that the skills aren’t OP in any particular activity and allowing single characters to master a significantly broader set of skills by having multiple skill-sets that can be switched between. Everything here will happen totally independently of Alts which will still remain.
Player Leveling Rewards - Plots:
Unlike the Skill Points the rewarded Plots are not flat. Plots are super valuable to builders, but useless to players who (say) exclusively enjoy hunting or gathering or mining or exploring. They’re a reward that has a different value between players, ie. they’re not flat. For example, only 50% of players use 50% of their plots. Some players are desperate for more plots, some players have many unused plots.
Ideally we would switch to alternative mechanism for rewarding players for levelling, that allows them to select a reward they consider rewarding or additive to their ambitions in the game. Builders could still opt for plots, but what reward might a hunter prefer? We want a system that simply lets players choose their own path and their own reward when levelling.
Introducing - The Exchange:
Currently the game rewards completed Feats, Objectives and Levels in realtime. No matter what is happening the game spams the rewards into the HUD. This can be distracting and cheapen the moment of achievement and celebration. You may even miss what the rewards are. So we want to move all collectable rewards into a new interface called the Exchange.
The Exchange collects your completed rewards for Feats, Objectives, Levelling, and in the future Contracts, Player Gifts, Clan Dividends, etc. for you to then accept once ready.
The Exchange doesn’t change what the rewards are, but rather gives you control over when you collect them.
Maintaining a Subscription-free MMO:
Boundless is a subscription-free MMO which means you buy the game at a fixed price and can then play the game forever without having to spend a penny more. We’re proud of this fact and think it’s honest that players know exactly how much they need to spend to play the game, and that for the price of a standard game can play for 100s or 1000s of hours.
We are going to be supporting Boundless for years to come, adding new features and content regularly, and along with the cost of running the servers, this means we will have ongoing bills to pay and so require ways of making money through the game.
Given that everyone who plays the game will have already paid for it, the amount of money we need to make is lower that for a free-to-play game, so that we won’t need to aggressively extract as much cash as possible, but instead can offer some nice to have extras and players can buy them or not.
So what can we offer in Boundless that will help us maintain the game whilst not corrupting it?
Introducing - Cubits:
As described above, we want to add flexibility to the rewards in the game, so that players have more choice in what they recieve. Some players might want more plots to build more expansive structures, whilst some might be happy once they have a decent-sized base and would like their character to look more awesome. Ideally we can find a range of rewards that satisfy everyone. It’s their choice.
We’re looking to replace the fixed plot awards on levelling with a new currency called Cubits.
(Cube + bit = Cubit, it even looks like a piece of a cube.)
Initially players can then exchange their Cubits in the Exchange for Plots.
We’re planning to expand the possible exchange options so that players who don’t want plots feel like their getting an alternative reward that satisfies them, for example: wearables, body tattoos, face masks, and other cosmetic items, and admin options such as skill resets and character redesigns.
Buying Cubits for real money:
We plan to allow players to buy Cubits with real money, as long as we stick to the following principles:
- Nothing that can be bought with Cubits is considered “pay-to-win”.
- Players always gain enough Cubits through normal play to be get everything they need to enjoy the game.
- Players can continue to gain Cubits through normal play so that they can save up for anything on offer given enough play.
What can I exchange my Cubits for?
Everything here can be earned by playing the game and earning Cubits or buying some Cubits.
Initially you will be able to exchange Cubits for:
- Plots - which are gameplay items, but given that you still need to explore, find, mine, trade, craft, build, chisel, everything that goes into the beacon to build prestige we don’t think they’re pay-to-win. We think the plots and beacon system are mainly a anti-griefing, permission and space reservation system.
NOTE: Players can already gain more plots by buying higher level backer tiers. The perks of “N% more plots” will continue to apply to plots gained via Cubits. So the backer perk is a lifetime perk.
NOTE: We will make sure that beacon size alone isn’t sufficient to game footfall. If you have a bigger build, you’ll need to deliver block variation, chiselling, otherworldly tints, etc.
- Wearables / Equipment Skins / Tattoos - a range of tintable cosmetic customisations. How you look in the game has no effect on gameplay. Wearables can’t be traded in game and will exist in a unique inventory interface.
NOTE: We have an alternative armour system planned as part of the forge that works alongside wearables, but I don’t want to go too off topic in this post. There will be spun armour, but it’s is disconnected from the cosmetic wearables, ie. you can’t build armour for Cubits.
Skill Respecs / Character redesigns / Renames - respec your character for some Cubits, and other common MMO admin functions.
Stickers - a range of tintable sticker decorations to customise your builds. The Original concept is here.
Additional real money purchases:
The following items will also be available to buy for direct real money only, and not cubits:
Cubits - as above.
Your own World - purchase your own world. You can whitelist who can visit (including ‘everyone’) and whitelist who can claim plots (including ‘everyone’). You can configure the world as completely private if you’re a parent wanting a protected space for your family, or as protected-but-open-for-visitors if you’re a pro player or clan who wants to townplan like crazy. The world will be part of the Boundless universe and will fit into the standard world level hierarchy. You can opt to have any level world. You can purchase a world for a range of durations. The Original post is here.
Supporters Club - support the game and join the supporters club (name tbd). The purpose of this is to support Boundless and a good comparison is Discord Nitro. It’ll bundle a range of cosmetic and fun additions, including: more options for tinting your character, tattoos and wearables, use emojis in chat, colour your name in chat, a little icon next to your name in the HUD to highlight your support, and more! You can join the supporters club for a range of durations.
NOTE: The Supporters Club doesn’t have a final title yet. It is currently labeled as “VIP” in the development GUI but this name has been rejected because it suggests the players are somehow more important than standard players. And this isn’t the intention.
We’ve been thinking about how we would introduce some optional monetisation for a long time. We’ve always known that we would need to cover the cost of expanding, maintaining and running the universe. But we’ve left this to later in development, because it would have been pointless without a solid game to build it upon. We’ve tried to make sure that these items are considerate and respectful of the game and community that we’ve all contributed to. We welcome all feedback, ideas and criticism to help us make a better Boundless.
We know there’s been a lot of discussion about possible pay-to-win in the forum since last week, and we never intended that Cubits would slip into the public-facing version of the game without the above introduction and explanation. We intended to have this conversation with you directly first - although, to be clear, this kind of direction is something we’ve always needed to plan for (see “Maintaining a Subscription-free MMO”).
So we appreciate that for some of you, alarm bells may well have started ringing. No final decisions have been made about the exact launch configuration, and this will be shaped with you all now. Thank you for your patience and understanding while we work through this. I’ve definitely read all the posts with interest to learn about everyone’s expectations.
Rather than just a knee-jerk post to answer half a theory, our preference will always be to take a bit more time to present the thinking and full picture. There’s lots to digest here, so we’ll be watching the comments in this post for the next week or so. “No feature survives first contact with players” - so we will come back with iterations and additional suggestions, so please be honest about how you feel. The feedback we get here is a crucial part of sense-checking how we prepare the game for a successful full launch and long long life.