Black Gold will ask players to pay for save files containing rare items.
In the realm of MMOs, developers and publishers are always looking for new ways to monetize their titles while still maintaining an image of freedom (and free stuff) to help draw in players less inclined to pay or subscribe for their play time. That in mind, Black Gold, currently in its beta phase, has revealed its own monetization model and it's an interesting one, to say the least.
Inspired by the many myths and fairytales throughout Northern Europe, Black Gold combines fantasy with gothic steampunk feel. These two worlds are also alignments that players can choose. On one side is a world of fantasy, filled with magic drawn from the life and nature found around the ancient jungles and temples of the terrain. The other is the world of Steam, a mechanized society of giant walking cities, which utilizes engineering and mechanized equipment to gain supremacy.
Little is known about this title at the moment. It's due for a first impressions unveiling at E3 2013.
Rather than selling microtransaction items and such in a typical fashion, Black Gold intends to make its money through an "Optional Time Based File Save Model." In human speak, this translates into selling game saves. According to a recent announcement on the Black Gold website, players will be given the option to set a time limit. After that time limit expires the game will create a save file recording all the rare items and materials they found. If they want to keep that rare stuff, they'll need to purchase the save file with in-game credits. In-game credits, of course, are purchased with real world money.
"The system aims only at paying for rare materials and high level equipments," said the announcement. "Basic materials and equipments can be looted immediately without purchase." Likewise, player progression, experience and PvP ranks won't be tied to the game saves. It's an interesting model to be sure, but somehow we can't shake the feeling that some players might be annoyed by the prospect of finding something in-game and then having to pay to use it. Part of the fun of finding a rare item is getting something unusual for free. Black Gold trying to monetize that is something we could see backfiring.
Source: Black Gold