His Excellency Aethien wrote:
idiggory, King of Bards wrote:
I think the problem is the cost of development (in both time and dollars) to bring in a group of people who are largely not going to be your most profitable player population..
I think you're wrong here. The dabbling in everything players are the ones who will be buying the little extras, who'll spend $15/month just to run around in the world and who are relatively easy to keep happy and stick with the game where the hardcore PvP and PvE players are much more fickle and will quit when the game isn't exactly as they want it anymore. Or if the game doesn't change, the players will get burned out and quit because of that.
I've seen a whole lot of hardcore raiding guilds fall apart because people burnt out from the rat race (myself included), I've seen plenty of hardcore PvPers who quit (and sometimes came back for a bit and quit again) but I'm betting the large casual guilds who do a little raiding and a little PvP are still around on the server with a lot of the same people while there's been a few generations of hardcore players who have come and gone.
But those are the people who most frequently leave because they actually exhaust the content, which is primarily due to the way content is currently structured in games. I you have to wait 3 months between new raids, it's not surprising you're going to get burned out. Create a dynamic content system that doesn't rely on a developer patch schedule to create the content, and you'll be more likely to keep those players.
But my experience with F2P games suggest that you're actually fusing two very distinct groups into one category of "dabblers" without actually looking at the reason they dabble.
There are people who dabble because they're not committed to any content and are just sort of meandering through content. These people largely don't invest much in the game. This is the group I'd actually call dabblers.
But then there's the group of people that are incredibly popular who are invested in areas of the game not typically associated with something like endgame content, and so end up dabbling in other bits of content because they're pursuing that end without any dedicated content. In TOR, these are typically people who love the story aspect, and are constantly creating new characters, playing the game as an RPG, and perfecting their characters' looks. They'll probably run dungeons at least once, for the story factor and any particular gear skins they want. I almost never see them PVPing.
They aren't "dabbling." They're pursuing a horribly under-utilized content stream that should be there, but isn't.
These are the people who would spend money and time to get their in-game house exactly how they want it, and do it multiple times for multiple characters. They easily have the highest ROI in the game.
Raiders have never been WoW's most profitable group. Nor have PVPers. Ever. But they've been the most consistently serviced until recently. The reality is that, had things like pet battles and the farm been introduced two expansions ago, and given a small fraction of the attention they gave raiding, the game would have gone much stronger, much longer.
A dynamic world actually pursues those players with the sort of content they're inclined to care about - the content that lets them pick and choose which battles to fight based on RP reasons, and not just give them a single "kill the bad guy" objective. A game that figures out how to design content for the "casual" players who care is a game that's going to make a lot of money.