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《英雄联盟》免费模式编辑本段回目录

最近我的同事叫我玩一玩《英雄联盟》……一开始我是很担心玩不好,但结果是我没有花多少时间就把召唤者玩到23级了(还有7级),而且我喜欢得不得了。

我开始思考这款游戏提供了那么多免费内容,为什么/怎么还会这么赚钱。在我写上一篇关于《Candy Crush Saga》的系统设计的文章时,我对这个问题的兴趣基本更加浓厚了。虽然《Candy Crush Saga》主要是靠玩家的冲动消费和消耗性道具赢利的休闲游戏,而《英雄联盟》是一款硬核PC游戏,但二者的赢利策略既有类似也有不同的地方。我想通过这两方面,分析一下这款游戏为什么这么成功。

言归正传,我们来探讨一下为什么《英雄联盟》的免费模式会这么成功。

LoL_banner(from gamasutra)

LoL_banner(from gamasutra)

关于《英雄联盟》(以下简称LOL)

说到LOL的整体体验,可以说是游戏设计与赢利系统完美结合拉动存留率的又一个光辉的典范。同时,Riot成功地把游戏的留存率转化为IAP消费。他们并不依赖冲动消费,而是专注于玩家沉浸感、留存率,把玩家对游戏的依恋和感情转化为消费。

LOL是一款竞技型免费游戏,玩法设计上的用心使它获得“世界上被玩次数最多的游戏”的荣誉。

社区建设:最重要的原则

你要记住的第一件事是,LOL是一款竞技型、社区导向型游戏。在竞技型游戏中,免费玩家必须像付费玩家一样处于同样平衡的游戏区域。太多“花钱买赢”的玩法会导致免费玩家流失、抑制社区的发展,且最终减少月活跃玩家人数、降低转化率。

游戏应该在免费和付费玩家之间保持公平和平衡。Riot在设计LOL的赢利策略时,始终遵循这条原则。

一个事实:LOL已经被美国政府承认为电子竞技运动项目。被专业队伍选中的职业玩家现在可以轻松地移民到美国。

平衡性

基本上,这款游戏提供了一个公平的竞技环境,除了某些英雄平衡性问题,游戏本身对非“花钱买赢”的情况贡献微乎其微。另外,必须注意到:任何重要的玩法物品,增益道具或英雄总是可以用免费的软通货(影响力点数)购买。只有时区转移、名字变更或装饰性物品需要用真钱购买。

通过保证所有玩家都能够获得可能影响玩法的东西,Riot进一步确保玩家之间的公平。

这个设计配方是有效的;2012年底,LOL成为世界上被玩次数最多的PC游戏,日活跃玩家平均达到1200万,月活跃玩家3200万。

英雄

LOL有大量可玩的英雄,准确地说是114个。每一个可玩的角色都有自己的特点,有不同的技能和操作风格。如果说多样性是生活的调味料,那么LOL绝对是生机勃勃的。

除了系统,对游戏策略影响最大的就是英雄了。在休闲和竞技模式下有数之不尽的英雄匹配方式。英雄不断地更新、调整和平衡,使游戏始终保持有趣。

114 Champs(from gamasutra)

114 Champs(from gamasutra)

易玩性

角色的设计有超级可爱的,也有无敌性感的,还有极其丑陋的,涵盖了各种各样的风格。为了吸引潜在玩家和留住现有的玩家,广泛的吸引力是必须的。一般的角色设计以硬核玩家的审美为标准,但多样性确实存在!

CharTypes1(from gamasutra)

可爱萌-性感-邪恶(from gamasutra)

CharTypes2(from gamasutra)

Teemo外表很萌,但在战场上表现非常凶悍 (from gamasutra)

英雄故事

在我之前的文章中,我提到故事是很重要的,无论故事是肤浅的还是深刻的。故事可以使玩家更好地融入游戏世界。

LOL的114个英雄,每一个英雄都有自己的生动的背景故事。虽然这只是一个小细节,但也是整体体验的一个重要方面。故事增加玩家对游戏的沉浸感,使玩家对英雄产生情感联系。这种情感联系/依恋可以刺激玩家购买英雄。故事使玩家对英雄念念不忘。

worldmap(from gamasutra)

worldmap(from gamasutra)

核心转化系统

货币

LOL提供两种货币,二者在发挥各自的用途的同时,又协同促进游戏的经济。

影响力点数(IP)

影响力点数是从玩游戏中获得的软通货。任何参加比赛的玩家都会获得这种货币作为奖励,无论输赢。胜利的一方获得的奖励稍多,但最重要的是,无论玩家是输是赢,玩游戏本身就能得到奖励。通过奖励双方玩家,Riot保证被打败的一方基本上不会难受太久。尽可能降低玩家的挫败感,有利于提高玩家留存率。

Riot点数

Riot点数是LOL的硬通货。这种货币只能通过支付真钱获得。玩家可以用Riot点数购买游戏中的大部分(但不是全部)东西和功能。

购买指引

等级达到3时,Riot会赠送400Riot点数给玩家。400Riot点数算不上大钱,但足以把玩家引入二元货币系统。这种做法还让玩家明白,用Riot点数消费比刷IP更划算。

这种免费赠点的做法基本上是一个价值定位。

硬通货vs.软通货

转化金钱确实有它的优势:节省时间。当玩家把他们的钱转换成Riot点数时,他们可以立即购买任何英雄、皮肤或消耗性道具,就像现实生活一样,花钱就能立即得到游戏的主要内容。

转化真钱还能让玩家把IP用在属性强化上(游戏邦注:也就是符文)。符文只能用软通货购买,所以如果玩家能把绝大部分免费货币用在这里,他们 就可以把自己的英雄变得更强一点。

奢侈道具

皮肤:这是我的英雄,有很多人的英雄也跟它一样,不过这个是我的。

每个英雄都有2-5套可以改变外观的不同皮肤。皮肤通常是娱乐性的、带有流行文化色彩。皮肤的价格各不相同,而且样式层出不穷。皮肤只能用硬通货购买。

皮肤纯粹是一种装饰性道具,对玩法没有任何影响。购买皮肤是LOL把玩家对英雄的感情转化为购买力的好例子。

SkinCulture(from gamasutra)

SkinCulture(from gamasutra)

Sona(左)和Pax Jax(右)

例子:如果你(玩家)有最喜欢的英雄,并且已经玩了一段时间,那么你应该对它产生一定的感情。购买皮肤是保持英雄新鲜感的好办法。

额外的符文页面

rune page(from gamasutra)

rune page(from gamasutra)

这是针对真正的LOL“鲸鱼”(游戏邦注:即大额消费的玩家)或专业玩家的升级道具。在初始阶段,LOL只允许玩家拥有2张符文页面。玩家当然想进一步强化他们的英雄。但是,取决于竞技需要,符文组合变化多端。考虑符文组合是很费时间的,所以加入游戏时选择预设更快得多。

召唤者可以购买额外的符文页面:

A、昂贵的英雄IP(6300)

B、花更少的真钱购买590 Riot点数

C、大批量购买有差价的Riot点数

新英雄

LOL每3-4周会发布一个具有新技能和背景故事的新英雄。发布第一周,新英雄的价格会比较高,这时主要是鲸鱼玩家会购买;而其他玩家会等之后成本降低再购买。

除了促进转化,新角色还拉动月留存率。新内容总是能吸引某些离开的玩家回来看看。每一个新英雄的出现通常伴随着新玩法机制。

maxres default(from gamasutra)

LOL即将出现的新英雄(from gamasutra)

特别提醒:有时候,新英雄会比旧英雄更强大,不知是不是故意的。但通常在发布一段时间后,新英雄就会被“和谐”掉。更强大的新英雄可以拉动转化率(“花钱买赢”),但要把握一个度。

消耗性道具

与大多数免费游戏一样,LOL中也有消耗性道具。这些消耗性道具可以帮助玩家升级和刷IP。

增益道具

增益道具允许玩家买时间和避免刷游戏。LOL中有三种类型的增益道具可购买。

增加IP

Boost2Icon(from gamasutra)

Boost2Icon(from gamasutra)

在有效时间内,玩家每一次游戏都将获得200%的影响力点数。

增加IP(只适用于胜利方

Boost2Icon(from gamasutra)

Boost2Icon(from gamasutra)

在有效时间内,玩家每一次获胜都将获得200%的影响力点数。

增加经验点数

Boost3Icon(from gamasutra)

Boost3Icon(from gamasutra)

在有限的时间内获得200%的经验点数,使玩家的帐号更快升级。升级更快意味着玩家能更快挤入30级排行榜。当玩家达到30级,这个道具就不能用了。

时区转移

想跟世界另一部分的朋友一起玩吗?你可以购买这种道具来切换你的帐号时区。

改名:名声坏了,或者厌烦旧名字了?

重新命名而不必再花钱创建新帐号。

每周促销

每周都有某些英雄和皮肤打折50%出售。这个促销价格适用于硬通货。这种活动的目的是引诱那些难以转化的玩家转化,以及刺激经常花钱的玩家再花钱。

促销鼓励玩家花钱省时间,而不是花时间刷影响力点数。促销刺激冲动消费。

批量销售

tpa_splash_2(from gamasutra)

tpa_splash_2(from gamasutra)

与奢侈道具接近,“批量”意味着玩家以低于单价的成本一次性购买多名英雄和多套皮肤。批量购买也是每周更换,可以在商店页面查看。

批量Riot点数

你花的钱越多,每美元购买到的点数就越多。玩家通过花更多钱获得差价的优惠。

RPStore(from gamasutra)

RPStore(from gamasutra)

强化增益道具

Boost1(from gamasutra)

Boost1(from gamasutra)

甚至增益道具也有更好的效果。

留存系统

每日IP促进留存

每24小时,玩家赢一场比赛可以多获得150IP.虽然这个量不算大,但确实提高了留存率,有效增加了日活跃玩家人数。留存率越高,意味着转化率也越高。但是,额外IP奖励对玩家的沉浸感要求更高,因为他们必须获胜才能得到它。

为了得到这些红利,玩家可能得多玩几盘。因此,在游戏上花的时间越多,转化成付费玩家的可能性就越大。

每周英雄试玩

你可以玩的英雄不多,并且最近你遇到了一个自己非常想尝试的英雄?但他/她太贵了,你不想浪费自己辛苦挣来的点数购买一个可能并不喜欢的英雄?

不用担心,Riot贴心地送上每周英雄试玩服务。每一周,Riot会循环放出10个可以试玩的英雄,玩家可以借此尝试自己心仪的英雄。

这个每周英雄试玩达到了3个目的:

留存率:这给玩家一个每周/每日回来尝试新英雄的理由。

沉浸感:让玩家享受一个他们原本可能不会购买的的英雄。

转化率:一旦每周试玩结束,玩家也许不想花时间刷IP买这个英雄,而是想立即获得这个英雄,于是他们就会花真钱了。

玩家进阶

除了以上所有内容,玩家的“玩透”LOL的旅程中充满了进阶。从升级到解锁内容再到收集英雄;玩家总是有事情可做。一般进阶过程排列如下:

1、玩家第一次与电脑对战

2、升级后玩在线

3、继续升级以解锁新玩法

4、购买第一个英雄

5、继续升级

6、解锁更多英雄

7、达到20级,解锁符文

8、得到所有符文

9、达到30级(满级)

10、继续解锁英雄

11、提升排名

12、……

社区整合

简单地说,如果你的朋友玩LOL,那么你也可能去玩。因为LOL是一款社区驱动型游戏,Riot将社交功能整合起来,便于玩家与好友一起游戏。可以在线看到好友、观看好友比赛以及联系好友,都是最大化玩家沉浸感的必要功能,这是通过社交手段提高留存率。

我的改进建议

在跟朋友讨论了我的前一篇文章后,有朋友问我,如果我是设计师,我会怎么改进。所以冒着被笑话的风险,在此我写了几点改进LOL赢利模式的建议。

自定义批量

我会设计一个允许玩家批量购买任何英雄。批量的英雄越多,价格就越便宜(折扣上限30%)。这样,等不及促销的玩家就可以一次性购买多名自己心仪的英雄。根据英雄的成本,批量中的英雄的价值是成比例的,所以这个系统就不会被滥用。

这种自定义批量可以达到的目标有:

1、立即转化那些等着购买“合适的批量”的玩家

2、为玩家提供另一种转化选择

通过把折扣率上限在30%,一般的50%折扣促销就不会受影响,一样能鼓励冲动消费。自定义批量还可以避免玩家购买到自己已经有的英雄。

愿望列表

我是不太容易被转化的人,我希望LOL提供一种类似于Amazon或Steam的愿望列表功能。如果我想要的英雄正在促销,游戏应该通知我。这样就有可能刺激我去购买了。

总结

以上就是我对LOL的免费模式设计的一点见解。虽然我觉得这个系统有公平、平衡,我仍然很好奇读者是否同意我的看法。如果你喜欢本文,就请关注我的其他文章吧。(本文为游戏邦/gamerboom.com编译,作者:Sheldon Laframboise)

Why Freemium Feels So Damn Good in League of Legends

by Sheldon Laframboise

Why write this article?

Recently my co-workers convinced me to try League of Legends… I was pretty apprehensive at first but it didn’t take long before I was a level 23 summoner (still 7 levels to go), playing during lunches having my face (figuratively and literally) melted off and loving every moment of it.

I began to wonder how/why this game is so profitable but manages to offer so much content for free. This interest was fueled even more by my previous article where I discussed the systems design of the most popular and profitable mobile game currently on the planet – Candy Crush Saga. While Candy Crush focuses mostly on impulse buys and consumable items, League of Legends is a hardcore PC game with a similar but at the same time, very different strategy. I wanted to sample both ends of the spectrum to see what made these blockbuster titles tick.

So without further ado, let’s discuss why freemium feels so-damn-good in League of Legends.

The Game

About League of Legends

When you look at the the overall experience of League what you see is another shining example of a game design cohesively matched and working with its retention and monetization systems. At the same time, Riot has managed to take the conversion directly out of the game and place it separately into the in-game store. They typically do not rely on impulse purchases, but instead focus on player engagement, retention and build conversion through player attachment/emotion.

League of Legends is a competitive freemium title built with gameplay specifically in mind which has earned it the title of the most played game in the world.

Build Community: The Most Important Rule

The first thing you need to remember is that League of Legends is a competitive and community driven game. In a competitive game, free players need to be on the same balanced playing field as premium players. Creating too many (if any) pay-to-win scenarios drives off your free players and stifles the growth of your community. This reduces your monthly active users and drives down potential conversion.

The game is fair and balanced between freemium and premium players and its monetization strategy is really built with that in mind.

Random Fact: League of Legends is an eSport and has even been identified as such by the U.S. government. Professional players can now more easily immigrate to the United States when drafted by professional teams.

Let’s Talk More About Balance

Typically the game is a level playing field, with the exception of some champion balance issues the game itself offers very little to no “Pay to Win” scenarios. On top of this, it is important to note: Any impactful gameplay item, boost or champion can always be purchased using the free soft currency (Influence Points). Only timezone transfers, name changes or vanity items require real world money conversion.

By ensuring that anything that can affect gameplay is accessible to all players, Riot further ensures players are evenly matched together.

It’s a design formula that works; as of late 2012, League of Legends is the most played PC game in the world with an average of 12 million daily users and well over 32 million monthly active users.

Champions, Lots of Champions

League of Legends has a lot of playable champions, 114 and counting to be exact. Every playable character is unique, with different skills and play styles. If variety is the spice of life, then League is definitely full of life.

On top of being a systems driven game, champions are where League gets most of it’s metagame. There is an endless possibility of hero match-ups in casual and competitive play. Heroes are continually updated, tweaked and balanced to keep things interesting.

I hope you like champions – there are only a few to choose from…

Approachability

Character design can range from ultra cute to hyper sexualized to something from your deepest, darkest nightmares. Broad appeal is essential to increasing potential player base and retaining players. Typical character design leans more toward core/hardcore gamers but the variety does exist!

Cute and Cuddly – Hyper-Sexual – Born of Evil

Special Note: Teemo maybe cute, but he’s the spawn of Satan on the battlefield.

Every Champion has a Backstory

As I mentioned in my previous article, story is important regardless of how shallow or deep that story may be. Stories can help drive player engagement and will ground the player into the world.

Every single one of the 114 champions in League of Legends has a fleshed out back story tied to their character which is easily accessed via the champion overview. While this is a small touch of detail, it is certainly an important aspect to the overall experience. The story helps engage the player and build attachment to the champion. This emotional connection / attachment helps fuel conversion when the player wants a champion or has experienced a champion and then wants them later. The story makes the champ additionally memorable.

Core Conversion Systems

Currencies

League of Legends offers two currencies, both serving unique purposes while also working together in the game’s economy.

Influence Points

Influence Points are soft currency gained from playing the game. Any player that competes in a match is awarded this currency regardless of victory or defeat. Winners are rewarded with slightly more points but it is important to note whether a player wins or loses, that both are rewarded for playing. By rewarding both players, Riot is ensuring that the sting of defeat is mostly left inside the arena. Frustration is diminished significantly and player retention is easier to maintain.

Riot Points

Riot Points are League of Legends premium hard currency. This currency can only be obtained from converting real world money. This currency let’s the player buy most, (but not all) of the games features.

An Introduction to Spending

Upon hitting level 3, Riot grants 400 free RPs to the player to spend. 400 Riot Points doesn’t buy much but introduces the player to the dual currency system. This introduction also shows the player that it takes a lot less Riot Points to purchase than grindable Influence Points.

The free introduction is basically a value proposition to the player using a gift.

Premium Currency vs. Grind Currency

Converting money does have its advantage: Saving time. When a player converts their money to Riot Points they can instantly purchase any of the games champions, skins or consumable boosts. There is no need to grind the IP – as real world conversion instantly grants access to the main content of the game.

Converting real money also lets the player focus on spending their Influence points on stat boosts (known as runes). Runes can only be purchased using soft currency and as such, if the player can focus the majority of the free currency here, they can max their champion potency a little faster.

Summoner Whale Items

Skins: This in my champion, there are many like it, but this one is mine.

Every champion in the game has generally between 2 to 5 unique skins which will change the way the champion appears on the battlefield. Skins typically are amusing and often have pop culture references buried in them. Skins prices vary, with the odd feature skin popping up from time to time. Skins can only be purchased using premium currency.

Skins are purely a vanity item and offer no real impact to the gameplay. Purchasing a skin is a great example of League of Legends ability to monetize the player using emotion.

Video Game Sona (Left) & Pax Jax (Right)

Example: If you (the player) have a favourite champ, and have been playing it for a while, odds are you are somewhat emotionally invested into that champion. Buying a skin is a way to keep that champion fresh.

Additional Rune Pages

This is an upgrade for the true League of Legends “whale” or pro player. League only lets a player have 2 rune pages on their profile. True min/maxers would want to have greater fidelity optimizing their champion build. With a huge variety of rune combinations available a player could maximize their stats depending on the competition. Building rune combinations takes time, so selecting a preset is much faster when joining a game.

Summoners can purchase additional rune pages for:

a) The IP cost of an expensive champion (6300)

or

b) For the small real world cost of 590 Riot points.

or

c) In bulk for a reduced cost of Riot Points

New Champions

League of Legends sees a new champ, designed with new skills and backstory released usually every 3-4 weeks. New champions come at an increased cost for the first week to further promote first day purchases from whale customers. After which the cost is reduced for everyone else.

On top of helping drive conversion, new playable characters also drive monthly retention. New content will always bring back customers who want to see what it is all about. Each new champ usually comes with new gameplay mechanics unique to the game.

Meet Lucian the newest, latest and greatest hero to be arriving to League of Legends soon.

Special Note: Sometimes, and this may or may not be on purpose, new champions will be more powerful than the existing characters. The new champ will usually be balanced some time after release.  More powerful, first day release champions can help drive conversion (pay to win) scenarios but need to be addressed quickly

Consumables

League, like most other freemium games contains consumable power-ups. These consumable items are used to help the player in their leveling and Influence point grind.

Boosts

Boosts essentially allow the player to buy time and avoid the grind. There are 3 types of boosts available for purchase.

IP Boost

Gives the player a 200% influence point boost for every game played within the consumable duration time.

IP Boost (Wins only)

Generates a 200% bonus to influence points earned per game won.

XP Boost

Increase XP gained by 200% for a limited time, allowing the player to level up their summoner account more quickly. Leveling up faster allows the player to more quickly access ranked games at level 30. This consumable is no longer used once the player hits level 30.

Timezone Transfers

Moving, want to play with a friend on a different part of the world? You can buy this one time use item to switch your account timezone.

Rename: Got a bad rep, or just tired of your summoner name?

Rename your profile without having to create a new account for a small fee.

Weekly Sales

Every week certain champs and skins will appear for sale, usually for up to 50% off. This sale price only applies to the hard currency in the game. Sales exist to entice players who are difficult to convert and to further monetize players who spend often.

Sales encourage the player to save time and to spend money rather than grinding to the full Influence point value of a character. Sales promote basic impulse spending.

Value in Bulk: Bundles and Upselling

Bundles

Closer to a whale items, bundles allow players to buy multiple champions and skins at once for reduced cost. Bundles also switch from week to week and are easily seen on the top slider of the store page.

Riot Point Bulk

The more money you spend, the more points you get per dollar spent. The player gains value by spending more money.

Boosted Boosts

Even boosts have better efficiency and dollar value per tier.

Retention Systems

Daily IP Boost Retention

Every 24 hours a summoner is awarded an additional 150 IP for winning a match. While this value isn’t very big, it drives retention up and increases the daily active users in the game significantly. Larger retention means larger chance of receiving additional conversion on top of this, earning the reward may require extra player engagement since they must win in order to receive it.

The player may have to play extra rounds in game to receive the bonus. More time in game, means more chances for possible monetary conversion.

Weekly Champion Cycle

So you don’t have a lot of playable characters and you recently played against a champion you really want to try? He/she/it is just too expensive to buy and you don’t want to waste your hard earned points of something you might not like?

Lucky for you Riot Games offers a weekly champion cycle. Each week Riot cycles a new selection of 10 champions to try. This gives the player a small sample of new champions to play around with.

This weekly champion cycle accomplishes 3 core freemium needs:

Retention: Gives the player a reason to return every week/day to try a new champion.

Engagement: Lets the player enjoy a champ they may have otherwise not played.

Conversion: Once the week cycle runs out, the player may not want to grind the Influence Points over the next week, and may just want to access that champ immediately so they may convert real work currency

Player Progression

On top of all the content, start to “finish” League is full of player progression. From leveling up to unlocking content or collecting champions; players always have something to strive for. General progression is easier to list in bullet point form and goes something like this:

Play your first matches against the computer

Level up enough to play online

Keep leveling up to unlock new gameplay types

Purchase your first champion

Keep playing and leveling up

Unlock more champions

Hit level 20 to unlock the top rune tiers

Get all your runes

Hit level 30 to compete in ranked games

Keep unlocking champions

Increase your ranked status

And so on, endlessly….

Community Integration

Simply put, If you have friends that play, odds are you will play. Being that league is a community driven eSport, Riot has integrated social features to easily get friends together and take it out on each other in the battle field. Easily being able to see friends online, spectate their games and contact them is fundamental to maximizing player engagement and to help retain players through social means.

What I would add/change:

After some discussions with people about my previous article, I had some ask me what I would do differently, so at the risk of putting myself out there, here are a couple of things I would love to see added to the League monetization model.

Build Your Own Bundle (Monetization)

I would design a system that would allow a player to bundle together any champion in the game. The more heroes bundled, the cheaper they all become (within a cap of say 30%). This would allow players who aren’t quite willing to wait for a sale, commit to purchasing multiple heroes at once based on what they deem to be valuable to them. Values of the heroes in the bundle would be scaled accordingly to their cost so not to risk abuse of the system.

Create A Bundle would accomplish:

Greater immediate conversion on those midground players waiting for that “right bundle”

Offer another conversion alternative to the player

By making the cost reduction cap at 30%, traditional 50% off sales would still retain their value and encourage impulse spending. Bundling your own selection would also curb the issues of current sales where the player may already own champions in that bundle (making it less valuable).

Wishlists

I don’t monetize easily – I wish League offered the ability to create wishlists similar to Amazon or Steam. If a champion I want goes on sale, I am notified. Knowing it is on sale, and being reminded would help drive my potential for lower end base conversion.

Summary

This concludes my critical lens of the League of Legends freemium design. While I find the system rewarding, fair and balanced, I’m curious to hear if you agree! If you like the article, feel free to read some of my other work, visit my site and even follow me on twitter!

Thanks for the read!(source:gamasutra)



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