Unlimited Hero Roster: How to Make $ and Retain Users

FranklynStreet Posts: 8 Just Dropped In
Dear Game Devs,

Congratulations on making a fantastic game that fulfills my craving both for Puzzle Quest, as well as one that appeals to my inner comic book collecting nerd. But we have some problems.

The game is free, which is great. I've been playing it for about a week now and love a lot of what I see, and I understand that you want (and need) to make money out of this. But I think you've made a huge mistake when it homes to the hero roster.

The hero tokens are ridiculously hard to come by. Now, for the casual fan that's going to grab the free app and play it very occasionally, that makes no difference. They're never going to give you any money anyway. And for the kind of ocd gamer with deep pockets, they can already buy Iso-8 and Hero Tokens at a ridiculous cost on the app store (up to $100 and $50 for packets of each!). But one of those types of gamers you're not going to make any money off of, and the other kind is rare and will spend money no matter what you do.

What you need to do is appeal to the gamer that will continue to play your game, keeping the community you're building alive, and allowing the game to have a long life-- so that you can make money along that very long ride. It seems like you're already pretty dedicated to providing continuing content. So what would keep the gamers playing the game? An unlimited hero roster. You know, so that the people playing your game can make a larger personal investment into the game and have a desire to keep playing and experiencing the content. Now, I don't mind paying something if I think the game is worth it and I'm spending my time on it, but right now those hero tokens and the roster size are prohibitive, and are pushing me into not playing.

I've spent $5 on hero tokens. It was a very conscious decision of what seemed like a fair and worthwhile amount to spend on a mobile game that I've been enjoying. Nevertheless, I have over 10 covers (belonging to about 4 characters) sitting in my reward list that I can't claim because my hero roster is currently maxed at about 12 characters. And I've still had to delete about 5 characters. I'm hoping I'll be able to find 800 more hero tokens in the next week so that I don't have to delete those other 4 characters' worth of covers in my reward list before they expire, but that seems very unlikely simply because there aren't that many options for them in-game, and I've already collected a lot of the early rewards that feature them. I'm certainly not dumping $50-$100 on a mobile game at the outset.

So here's the solution: Make an option (for say $10) for an unlimited hero roster. That way the app is still free and people can check it out and play it initially for free, and if they like it and want to put the time into it, they'll pony up whatever a fair price is (to me I'd say $5-$10 for a mobile game).

Then you'll have people more committed to playing your game, and they may even, over time, spend even more cash on Iso-8 and hero tokens to level all of these characters up. If you open up the breadth of that hero roster, you're enticing the user base with a larger world for them to explore. And someone playing this game for weeks, months, or even years, is going to be more likely to buy Iso-8 or Hero Tokens over time. I'd also put whatever people have already spent on purchases towards the purchase price of that unlimited roster size.

Here's the thing. For me, as a gamer of all kinds, I want to see all the content, experience everything the game has to offer, and level up every character. And you guys have done a lot of great working going into balancing all of these characters and how their abilities work together and play off of each other. Give the users a chance to experience the depth of the gameplay you've been working on. Because right now the only two choices are to play the game for free and have a tiny roster and feel pained every time you have to delete characters or covers, or to spend more money than you would on a console game just to collect all of the characters and not feel like you're missing out on a large part of the game.

Let the leveling system and the health system be the aspects driving the purchases. And you'll make more money selling that unlimited roster size, and additional monies down the line from users who subsequently kept playing and eventually felt more comfortable about dropping another $5 or $10 here or there on more additional purchases, than you ever would have on people wanting or willing to spend significant amounts on purchases out of the gate.

If you don't find a better way to adjust the roster function, I know that I won't be spending another penny on the game and probably won't be playing it much longer-- I can't justify paying the amount I would on a full retail console game on a mobile game through front-loaded purchases. The smart move is to offer a smaller purchase that really extends the gameplay beyond the initial free app... and then provides the opportunity for future transactions down the line.


  • A nitpick, you mean hero points, not tokens. Tokens are rewards that one exchanges for covers.
  • FranklynStreet
    FranklynStreet Posts: 8 Just Dropped In
    Yes, I do mean hero points-- which you can currently use to buy roster space or for training. Not be be confused with the cover tokens you exchange for a cover to raise up an ability by a point. I guess I was thinking of them as hero tokens and cover tokens, since the icon for the points are still a little token symbol.