Need suggestions/edits on my design of pricing donation ranks

Discussion in 'Server & Community Management' started by HSIkMy, Jul 10, 2017.

  1. Hello helpful people of Spigot,

    I need some suggestions designing good donation ranks for an upcoming server. I would maybe like some specific answers, but I believe that my case is general enough that it might be extended to many other servers out there.

    So I already have a small, relatively mature community on a CS:GO gun server ( in eastern US. Since Minecraft's playing population is increasingly comprised of kids (~8-14yrs old), I want to start a new server, which will be linked by Bungee to get a headstart with my existing players, and will be targeted much more towards younger people. I didn't run into many logical problems planning core game mechanics with the intention of attracting this target audience, but I do need help on designing profit. (Earning money is quite important to me, because I do not have a large budget to run the server as a student.)

    The Minecraft server market appears to share many similarities with that of mobile games. For example, while PC games usually require huge client downloads, both mobile games and Minecraft servers are much simpler to try out for free (and easier to access by young people), and thus favor the freemium model, where the game is free-to-play and people pay for virtual goods within the game. Because of this, I have researched a lot about designing/monetizing a mobile game, and I have learned a lot, but....

    Getting people to make purchases seems to be very different for Minecraft. For mobile games, many kids have Apple and Google Play accounts, and regularly receive giftcards that allow them to continuously make small payments. No matter how young players are, many have control over their own purchases since the money in that account is effectively theirs. However, Minecraft donation shops mostly require a Paypal payment. This leaves two options for kids: 1. use a Visa/Mastercard gift card, 2. ask their parents to buy the virtual goods.

    And thus, the question becomes, how do I design donation ranks that will suit these methods of purchase?

    I have a rough draft on my pricing of ranks in order to extract the most sales for these two types of customers. It will be very important when I will design the exact perks included in them. Please see how I can improve upon this draft, thanks.

    (For my specific case, I have a $7.99 rank in my old server that I would like to remove in favor of the new ranks. So I am opting for the first two ranks to have a price difference of around that much, so people that have the old rank can get new rank #2 for the same price as a normal player would pay to get new rank #1.)

    In my current plan, I will open 5 ranks for my new server, with the following prices:
    1. $15.00
    2. $22.99
    3. $59.99
    4. $119.99
    5. $149.99
    These ranks do seem like incremental, boring ranks, but I did a lot of crunching numbers in making those up. I used some marketing/pricing tactics in these rank prices with the intention to both make people more willing to purchase, and get them to spend more than they intend to.

    First and foremost (and the most obvious), the $22.99 price of the second rank. I aimed that at people who want to buy visa cards on their own - bank gift cards must be loaded at least $25, and many people (including me) do that exact amount each time. However, I intentionally designed this rank to be cheaper than $25 by two dollars because:
    1. People feel better about their purchase if they have leftovers. Even two dollars are good for some virtual items. Add five dimes already in your Steam account and you have a CS:GO key.:cool:
    2. I want people to buy other stuff from their donation store. People also perceive a purchase as better worth if they buy more items with their money. Even if the other ones are really cheap.
    3. To be $7.99 more than the first rank, whose price I have a relatively specific reason for.
    Since I just mentioned it, I'll explain the first rank ($15.00).
    1. Many online items (games, and ranks on other servers) are for $9.99. So if one buys a $25 gift card they'll be able to buy this rank for $15, plus the other item they want.
    2. If a kid wants to buy a rank, the parent could sometimes agree, but only wish to buy the cheapest one. $15 is not much cheaper than $22.99 to lose a lot of revenue, but this difference is also big enough to be a significant saving to the buyer nonetheless.
    3. The reason that it's $15 not $14.99 is because that as the cheapest rank, it is often bought by customers sensitive to price. Those people almost always round up .99's. While $15, being a very simple and common number, might be perceived as "something in the $10 range", $14.99 might be perceived as "almost 5 dollars more than $10" to these people.
    The third rank is priced as $59.99. Sort of more generic than other ranks, but this is meant to be a "best-value" flagship rank with many perks for a not-so-prohibitive price.
    1. This is the exact same price as many AAA games on release. I don't know if this is true but people could associate this price with a good quality and value. (Or it could work the other way if Call of Duty continues to piss people off with their junk $59.99 games:rolleyes:)
    2. Exact half the price of the fourth rank. I'll explain it now...
    The fourth rank is priced at $119.99. This rank serves a perfect dummy rank. I will design it to have just a few handful features over the third rank, even fewer that have a significant impact on gameplay. It's here mainly for promoting other ranks:;)
    1. This is double the price as the 3rd rank, but not many extra features. It might help people perceive that rank as better value and be more likely to buy it.
    2. It will promote sales of the last rank too, as it is just $30 cheaper and missing a ton of features.
    3. Due to this very low base value, I can safely do extremely high sales on this rank. Parents likely only visit the store if their kids ask them to buy stuff. Thus, they will only see the sale going on now, and have no idea what prices usually are. (That's most likely why mineplex and hypixel are constantly doing 50%+ sales - it looks like a steal for parents.) By putting a high sale on this rank, I can thus advertise an otherwise lackluster sale with a big [UP TO 50% OFF].
    And finally, the last rank, at $149.99. There's not much to be said about this rank. It's simply one designed for the richest of people, and contains the best features.
    1. Already mentioned this in the last rank, but at just $30 more than it you get much more in-game features. This attracts older, high-paying players a lot.
    2. Prohibitive price and rare sales create a luxurious feeling. This adds to the pride that those whales are getting from buying it.
    3. Due to its rarity, other players will hopefully think: "Oh, this guy has the best rank and killed me. I'm just too unlucky to meet such a player. It probably won't happen next game.
    4. But due to its very existence, other players will also hopefully think: "No, I'm not P2W, the $60 rank isn't EZ mode, if anything the $150 one is."
    5. Intentionally left it at 149.99 instead of 150.00 despite the luxurious feeling a whole number can provide. The reason being that it will be exactly ten times of the cheapest rank. The two ranks will become associated, the cheap one looking more expensive and the expensive one looking not so prestigious.o_O

    And that is my rough blueprint for the pricing of each rank in my new donation store. Please speak out if you have experience or have an improvement to make upon my idea. Thank you all very much.:D
    #1 HSIkMy, Jul 10, 2017
    Last edited: Jul 10, 2017
    • Like Like x 1
  2. Sounds pretty good. I would make sure you have most of the perks finished before you release them, though. With the VIP on GC, it's $8 for pretty much two commands. Even though I've purchased VIP, it wasn't for the "~SC_2010" nickname, it was to support you. Though, most players, especially the audience you are targeting, don't care about the support part; all they want is the special features. Having a majority of the perks done before the release of these new ranks would be more beneficial to your profits.
    I know you haven't decided the perks part of the ranks, you just want to know if those are good prices. I think they are good; and like you said, having sales all the time will not only lower the price, but also make it look like you are getting a good deal (because you are) and will make people more temped to purchase the higher ranks because 'it was only $10 more than the previous rank and has a lot more benefits'.
    I'm confused about what that means. Does that mean that players whom currently have VIP will get the second rank for free? Or does that mean that people whom already have VIP wont get any of the new ranks, but the new ranks are $8 off for them?

    Kind of off topic: What are some ideas for non-EULA-violating rewards do you have in mind for these new ranks? Weapon skins are a great addition for cosmetic items for donator ranks. However, in my perspective, it doesn't seem like you are wanting skins anytime soon, or you would've already asked me to convert all of the guns into UV textures (and I will eventually, but I want to make all the models look very nice before I go through the pain of making and UV-ing all of the textures). Another thing could be knives. Make all knives only accessible to donator ranks (more expensive ranks having more knives). They would have the same stats as a normal, free knife, but makes you look 500% cooler when you have them. Also donator rank exclusive skins are another option.