Struggling to save a game? In Gamasutra's latest feature
, designer Joshua Dallman reveals the 10 principles that took Playdom's Wild Ones
from failure to success on Facebook.
One major point he rams home is the importance of having a well thought-out monetization strategy -- and how he had to think outside the box to make his model work.
"My solution was radical -- make all maps, characters, and clothing free (or as cheap as free) and open from the get-go, with monetization design centered around the most desirable thing players want in the game -- weapons. Everything else used to drive engagement and retention," Dallman writes.
"There weren't enough maps to sell, and selling maps is a poor choice for monetization anyway, as maps are the platform for engagement. Characters were also few in quantity and a critical mass of free characters was needed for basic engagement and retention and player customization of their personality," he says.
While many would consider avatar customization crucial to players showing off to one another, in a Worms
-inspired combat game like Wild Ones
, he argues, the place players really want to show off is on the battlefield.
"Here, the status is in your ability to inspire shock and awe on the battlefield via your willingness and frequency of use of expensive and rare weapons -- not what color fedora you're wearing," Dallman writes.
The full feature goes into great depth on how Dallman modified the game to raise engagement, decrease pain for players, and propel it towards success. Better yet, many of the principles within apply not just to free-to-play or social games. It's live now on Gamasutra