To Monetize or not to Monetize

I’m working on a game on Story Nexus called Orchestra, after the tabletop game of the same name that I made a year and a half ago or so and I’m currently redesigning the rule set for.

My biggest issue coming up is whether or not to monetize the game, and if so how. Obviously I need some more content before I can monetize solely on the criteria of action refreshes (StoryNexus mandates the use of an action pool, which helps since I don’t have super huge amounts of content), and it is not very polished in the grand scheme of things, something which I am working on as I do a partial rewrite of mostly unreleased and still-on-a-notepad content (the tutorial and several of the not-quite-finished things are always sources of irritation to me), as well as the first Metamorphysis (one of the factions in-game) story mission.

I’m planning for the primary source of income to be “expansion packs” set in alternate timelines that allow the characters to experience important parts of the world’s backstory, in the form of the Somalia Incident and Independent Agencies, both of which are set in the direct prelude to a cataclysm.

In addition to this, however, I plan to sell content that is more cerebral. One of the things I’ve been working on for a while is creating tester rewards that are meaningful. Currently I just toss about items, but that’s cheap and unbalances the game unduly.

My current plan is a little more flexible. I’m currently working on a side plot that anyone who is a tester has access to in the form of an item (this will require me to go back and look at everyone who’s ever submitted meaningful feedback or bug fixes other than through the survey, which had its own rewards, and give them an item that opens up the plot). When they have this item, it opens up gateways into a quest of intrigue and investigation that is not on the scale of an expansion pack (I’m thinking 10-15 storylets, so it’s more of a tabletop game session rather than a full on campaign), but would be able to be sold for a really cheap price (I’m picturing 2 Nex, which, if I recall correctly, is 50 cents, as a launch price, potentially ramping up to 4 Nex after it has been out a while as the regular price).

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