What would a good micropayment system look like?

My previous post on micropayments got me to thinking about how I would go about designing a system like this.

Games are huge systems and charging piecemeal isn’t inherently wrong. But games that implement micropayments should follow guidelines when ever they charge money.

  • Each payment should purchase a system that was designed with the best intentions to provide the experience promised.
  • Each system should be a new or different experience that isn’t an upgrade of other systems. For instance, if we were to charge 5 dollars for each character class in a typical MMO, Knight, Wizard, Cleric, each experience would be very different, and each class could function correctly. It is a terrible idea to charge 5 dollars for “Knights who can do more damage” or “Clerics that can heal more”.
  • Players should not pay to shortcut an experience. Games are generally about the Beginning, Middle, and End. Buying a “max your level” upgrade is like paying an extra 10 dollars just to watch the end of a movie and is ultimately cheating a player out of the game itself.
    • This might bring up the argument, what about players that don’t want to level and want to skip ahead? If your game is so miserable that people want to pay in order to get to the good stuff that only happens after a 1000 of hours of grind, then you haven’t provided the players with a very good experience at all.
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