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Private Server Monetisation

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Callum

Community Lead
It has been brought to our attention that some server hosts have added monetisation options to their servers. We are currently looking into this issue and are setting a policy which we will use moving forward. Until we announce the policy and our stance on this issue is made clear to you all, we have decided that we will not enforce any bans or blacklists for servers, however, once we set a policy we will enforce it as necessary.
 

Bridge_Troll

Veteran
WBNWVC
May I add something?

I dare say that I can speak for all sub-communities and such that host/pay their own servers if I say:

Please take into consideration that a at least semi professional server takes quite some resources that are only available in exchange for payment, such as a serverbox, teamspeak and/or webspace.

If you don't want to kill off a community that keeps up with their own dedicated servers, you have to give them space in order to generate some sort of countervalue to get even with running costs.

A "you keep the server running with your donation" just won't cut it to give enough incentive to potential donators, it's a simple fact.

Besides that, thanks that you and your colleagues take the time to work something out.

Kind regards,
Bridge Troll
 

Muzzle C

Sergeant Knight
WBNWWF&SVC
Bridge_Troll said:
I dare say that I can speak for all sub-communities and such that host/pay their own servers if I say:

Maybe there are some communities which run their servers through donations, but this is definitely not the case for all hosters.
At least i can say that CCC run their servers on their own.
I personally don't think that donations are bad tho. Some might want to support a hoster to keep their favourite server up.
But gaining any sort of advantage or feature through donation is really wrong. Whether it'd be "whitelist" status, custom armour or whatever, it would be "selling" through warband and that should be stopped.
 

TommyBristol

Regular
WBNWVC
Muzzle C said:
I personally don't think that donations are bad tho. Some might want to support a hoster to keep their favourite server up.
But gaining any sort of advantage or feature through donation is really wrong. Whether it'd be "whitelist" status, custom armour or whatever, it would be "selling" through warband and that should be stopped.


The point Bridge Troll is making is that without any sort of benefit or something of value that players can obtain by donating to a community, donations large enough to keep the community running won't be generated. PW communities especially have to invest a lot into a decent enough server box to not only to host the M&B server but all other infrastructure they need, such as script/map test servers, training servers, admin panels, forums, FTP servers, etc. that aren't required in the average TDM server. For a PW community to generate large enough donations to run this infrastructure without a reward system is a miracle in my eyes.


Yes I agree that there should be no huge advantages to those lucky enough to have spare cash to donate, as that's simply not fair for those who aren't so well off. However, benefits provided in the past by various communities, such as Phoenix, that provide a slight benefit without affecting the overall balance of the game should be ok. Bank caps, for example, benefit a player in regards to allowing them to store money though even with the default bank cap you should have plenty of cash to store / spend and thus not be put at a significant disadvantage in regards to the actually fighting / competitiveness of the gamemode.


In my opinion, an approach similar to ArmA (https://www.bohemia.net/monetization) would be suitable. If you are not aware of this system, they have a broad set of guidelines of things they accept as monetisation. In addition to this approval is required. A community must apply through a system for approval and once the monetisation proposals are review they are given permission and listed on a section of their website. This system allows them to have overall say of how people make rewards for donaters and allows them to exclude communities that they deem problematic by preventing them from adding rewards (something that may want to be implemented here to people who are known to steal maps, be extremely toxic to the community, etc.).


E - As Bridge Troll said, thanks for addressing and working on this issue. It shows to us that you still care about the communities that keep the larger M&B community alive.
 

Namakan

Grandmaster Knight
M&BWBWF&SNWVC
Gaining advantages, of whatever sort, after "donating" should not be allowed.


I have no issue with the way cRPG (giving tags on their discord, allowing people to vote on new items, and some purely cosmetic items/titles) or Mercenaries (access to stats collected about your play style after you donated) handle it, but gaining an actual advantage, like the bank caps Tommy mentioned or even actual items that others would have to farm for is a big no-no to me.
I've even seen a server offer a speed-bonus to donators, though I believe that has been removed quite quickly since people complained about it.


Really looking forward to what TaleWorlds come up with, this isn't an easy topic...
 

Bridge_Troll

Veteran
WBNWVC
Muzzle C said:
Maybe there are some communities which run their servers through donations, but this is definitely not the case for all hosters.
At least i can say that CCC run their servers on their own.
I personally don't think that donations are bad tho. Some might want to support a hoster to keep their favourite server up.
But gaining any sort of advantage or feature through donation is really wrong. Whether it'd be "whitelist" status, custom armour or whatever, it would be "selling" through warband and that should be stopped.
I understand that there certainly are servers that do not require the administrative effort which I was speaking of. To my understanding a "semi professional server" will be a 10+ people competent administrative team in addition to technical staff that manages databases, webpresence backend and implements new features/suggestions. I should've clarified that beforehand.

The point is, M&B was always a community and therefore also a mod driven game. Because of that you should give servers that open a platform for players to play on the opportunity to, as I already said, get even with their running costs.

How donations and related perks are allowed has to be clarified, which is the point of this topic, respectively a decision will be posted here. And as Tommy said, it might not harm to actually have a look at other community driven games that already had this issue and have overcome it with some clever ideas. No need to reinvent the wheel.

I do agree with Namakan, the idea that a donation should give you an actual gameplay advantage is "unhealthy". A donation should imply that the receiver shows his gratitude by giving you access to advanced mechanics that revolve around the game.
 

OliESC

Master Knight
Bridge_Troll said:
I understand that there certainly are servers that do not require the administrative effort which I was speaking of. To my understanding a "semi professional server" will be a 10+ people competent administrative team in addition to technical staff that manages databases, webpresence backend and implements new features/suggestions. I should've clarified that beforehand.
Ehm... CCC has all the things you are talking about. We also have a 10+ people administrative team and some of them are pretty competent, including coders, map makers, admins, web presence and a forum. We created own server mods, coded new game modes, organise public events, beside of ccc servers we also support the community by hosting servers for other popular Warband mods and we donate several servers for the actual WNL. This even needs additional administration and we don't take any money for it. We do it for the community for free. And we definitly aren't the only ones, there are many amazing projects made by people of the Warband community which were done and completed without the need to get money by the players.
When there's a 10+ people team and each ones give sth like 5€ per month you can easily organise lots of servers, tons of servers, huuuge servers with plenty of slots... there's no need to get any money by the community. If it was allowed to 'sell' game content it would just support a direction which is the opposite of what Warband and its community stands for. It would make it more difficult for server hosters who put in effort and who are creative based on their own dedication for the game and would benefit those server hosters who might create useless game content just to get money by it. I don't wanna say that donations and support by players is necessarily a bad thing, not at all. Ofc donations can be a help and are always welcome. But I remember people who hosted some little DM server and got the idea to monetise normal game content. The question is where to set the border.
 

K.A.

Sergeant at Arms
WBWF&SVC
I agree with Muzzle. Free donations without any return shouldn't be forbidden.
 

K700

Sergeant Knight
WB
Monetization allows keep game projects, even when the enthusiasm of their creators ends.
While donate does not give a gaming advantage, one that can not be obtained with farm, everything is fine.
 

Bridge_Troll

Veteran
WBNWVC
OliESC said:
It wasn't my intention to upset you. The core idea still stands. Obviously, if you have the money to pay all the resources by yourself, more power to you.
But if you can't, should that mean that even if you have provided a good idea and service to the communtiy so far, you shouldn't anymore because you cannot fund it yourself? I find this idea even worse.

If it was allowed to 'sell' game content it would just support a direction which is the opposite of what Warband and its community stands for.
True. Having a paywall between ingame content that affects gameplay is bad. The idea to host a good server and give players the opportunity to donate and receive some form of reward, which as previously stated could revolve around the game and should not be something that gives an in-game advantage, is very common. This would be a two channel system. You either help the server out with a few bucks and get some goodies as a thank you(a donation tag on the forum, donators being mentioned on the server etc.) or you can play just as every other regular player and never hear of donations. Not a problem if rules to that are formulated properly.

It would make it more difficult for server hosters who put in effort and who are creative based on their own dedication for the game and would benefit those server hosters who might create useless game content just to get money by it.
The idea whether a server takes donations or not would affect the competition between servers in a negative way as you described is absurd.
If any, you provide the same offer as a server that does take donations, you will most likely be the advantageous one. Same offer, but not depended on donations, that's a win for you. The other side is, that a server who takes donations is able to allocate more resources for his own community in order to improve itself. That would surely influence competition, but in a natural way.

But I remember people who hosted some little DM server and got the idea to monetise normal game content
We obivously have a malicious intent behind that. Ripping off players to gain money is a big no no and should be banned without a doubt.

In general, money that was given by players should to 100% be given back to them in a form of service that server offers. A server should not be a source of income but a service for and only for the community. Talking about setting the border; exactly here. Most importantly is, that if some sort of "donation for reward" will be allowed, to not only say where it is not allowed, but to exactly say where and how it is allowed.

This is surely an effort, but an effort that is worth so future projects that would otherwise fail because of insufficent funds, can actually be created.
 

OliESC

Master Knight
Yes, as I said donations are alright and can be a big help. I wouldn't mind if there's for example sth like some hall of donators-fame on a forum or even in game.
I just wouldn't like to see server hosters selling for example a player mod with special features only for those who payed.
 

Scandypandy

Recruit
In all honesty were it not for these private communities and the funding from their dedicated players, your game would be dead.

I hate to open with such a hostile remark, but the idea that you're going to turn to pretty much the sole thing keeping your game alive and kicking (something which is HIGHLY unusual by this stage in a game's life-cycle) with an implication that they will not be able to continue without adhering to whatever sudden new funding issues you implement is one of the most insane things I've read in quite some time.
As people have said before me, you can't run a server on "donate to us to help keep the server up!"
That isn't how it works.

If this is aimed at someone specific who is making stupid amounts of money a majority of which ISN'T used for the upkeep of their server and community, what's the point? If the people who send money don't gain blatant advantages or general nonsense like that, why implement this? The large communities such a thing would potentially apply to are so small in number that you could probably message them saying "hey, could you not do this kthnx" instead of doing something which has immediately set most communities on suicide watch.

There is absolute no downside to letting regular players donate to a server if it goes into the servers upkeep, and even if it's done via sending money to the designated "guy who pays for the server every month" what's the issue there?
Does this mean that any community-regardless of how excellent or large-which cannot fund itself doesn't deserve to exist? What about silly things, like people who get cosmetic skins for donating that give them a little unique thing without changing the core game?
What about any of that?

Have you checked into the Official Servers? How they been doing? How they been doing in comparison to the servers and communities run by the players who are keeping the game alive, keeping new players coming in and keeping things generally rolling during the 8-gorrillion year wait for the next Bannerlord Delay?
The people who make scripts in their own time to enhance the gameplay for their players? The people who will day in day out sit and admin these communities-not a fun past time which often sucks the fun out of the game-so that people might continue to enjoy it?

If people are trying to monetise the game for their own personal gain rather than the upkeep of their server, of course that's not really okay.
If people are leaving a donate button on their forums to help them pay for the server upon which they keep your game on life support then I cannot honestly see why you're all of a sudden swooping in with the swift hand of justice.

Absolutely daft.
Please contextualise your statement as soon as possible because if it's anything other than "we're going to hammer people who exploit players for cash" then it can honestly go in the trash along with all the communities big and small who can no longer afford to support your game via the hosting of the aforementioned communities.

I haven't been a native player for quite some time (I run a large community on NW and literally only made my account this post having been made aware to it by a friend) but to see this here makes me wonder if it'll soon spread all over the place.
Again, if I'm correct in the idea that this is going to be a hyper-specific "policy" which affects nobody other than those who are exploiting their players, then sure! If it's hammering down on people who allow players to voluntarily donate should they happen to wish help pay for the hosting of community servers, that's utterly insane.

If you're so uppity about communities needing support payment, why don't you just give wages to the various groups keeping your game alive xx
 

Emil

Squire
M&BWBWF&SNWVC
OliESC said:
Yes, as I said donations are alright and can be a big help. I wouldn't mind if there's for example sth like some hall of donators-fame on a forum or even in game.
I just wouldn't like to see server hosters selling for example a player mod with special features only for those who payed.
Let's not make it sound like the ordinary player is restricted from something that exist as a foundation in-game on any of the current servers.
''Pay or you won't receive a weapon!'' / ''Pay or you won't be able to join the server!'' / ''Pay or your character will be nude!''
I have just seen one server restrict items, namely a PW server, but they recently changed it so everyone can purchase more rare items from their store with the in-game currency.
The second server which comes close to ''special features'' is a server in NW, but it would be quite impossible to give each one of their +70.000 visitors a possibility of a handmade uniform in the scripts.

I honestly believe that those few servers I've seen rewarding their donators, winners of contests and admins are entitled to do so since its their servers.
These servers has got unique mods and unique game modes made from ideas not originally thought out by TaleWorlds.

The most important aspect is that their communities doesn't seem to have anything against the ability to donate nor the rewards.
The players in these communities are mature enough to realize that donations are necessary for the upkeep so they aren't behaving jealously, but rather like rational thinkers.
The hard truth is that an outsiders opinion doesn't matter if you don't know anything about the topic. ''I just wouldn't like to see'' -- Well, do your research before creating a theory about the reality, or a straw-man argument.

Anyway, this is an example of a working policy:

Does it hurt the community?
- No.

Does it give an advantage in-game?
- No.

Then it's fine, but if it does any of these things, then the player activity will naturally decline on that specific server as they will choose another server to play on, and TaleWorlds may destroy whats left.
I sincerely hope you all do some research into this and not just bash in the door without any considerations. Many players have seen TaleWorlds as non-interveners, which is also one of the causes of the games popularity.
It gives servers a chance to grow and set their own standards to discover which administrative, rules, game modes, scripts, role plays, conditions and behaviors are successful among the players.
 

Namakan

Grandmaster Knight
M&BWBWF&SNWVC
Scandypandy said:
In all honesty were it not for these private communities and the funding from their dedicated players, your game would be dead.


I find it incredibly hard to take you serious after that statement, to be honest.
 

EmielRegis

Sergeant Knight at Arms
Namakan said:
I find it incredibly hard to take you serious after that statement, to be honest.
Becouse obviously big community servers don't keep old games alive. Commonly known fact. Its official invasion servers, empty week after launch doing it.
 

Emil

Squire
M&BWBWF&SNWVC
Namakan said:
Scandypandy said:
In all honesty were it not for these private communities and the funding from their dedicated players, your game would be dead.


I find it incredibly hard to take you serious after that statement, to be honest.
Aye, but the multiplayer aspect would likely be dead if only official servers were allowed, and without the many ideas, scripts and game modes created by the private communities. The steam reviews about a ''great multiplayer experience!'' would probably be a more rare sight as a consequence. It would also be a huge loss if the many regiments established in the NW DLC were to abandon ship. The game is quite old after all, and now it's got a competitor equivalent to NW.

It's not a hidden fact that after the latest NW update, which led to every server having to update, also led to the NW Official servers being somewhat popular since everyone wanted to try out the update as fast as possible. The interesting part was how everyone swapped back to their respective private communities such as Minisiege and Napoleonic Roleplay the same second they went up again. Also, the whole NW community suffered a few months ago when NRP had it's identity crisis, aka lack of admins / exhausted admins. Most of the players didn't simply switch server, they stopped playing multiplayer entirely, awaiting NRPs return. Now I am not implying that NRP is irreplaceable, but they got a working formula and a very loyal playerbase. It would be unfortunate for anyone to waltz in and tell them off for some minor issue with donations. That would truly be damaging the community.

If I dare to speak of Holdfast: Nations at War; The very reason the community was dead on launch was because of official servers with lack of admins, lack of experienced admins and lack of changes in the elements to make each round a bit special or spicy. The game would've been so much popular if they had only kept their promises to many of the NW managements; we prioritize you. Instead the private communities was left empty handed while the official servers killed all community servers as there was no option to favorite servers, new players meant no prior experience with very old and established NW communities and everyone just joined the already populated servers, which by the way were the official servers. Then you play a few rounds and grow tired of the repetitiveness and quit the game, which by the way has no singleplayer.

It's not the first game I've seen killing themselves.
 

Scandypandy

Recruit
Namakan said:
Scandypandy said:
In all honesty were it not for these private communities and the funding from their dedicated players, your game would be dead.


I find it incredibly hard to take you serious after that statement, to be honest.

Why's that?
As it's already been said, the official servers are pretty much always empty. It's the same over on NW, nobody wants to aimlessly run around on a basically forgotten server. No harm to the developers since there is a fat 0 reason for them to really give a toss about their official servers outside of when they add new things to a game, but the fact is that the multiplayer scene is supported by private communities and nothing else.

I find it somewhat hard to take YOU seriously at your refusal to see this fact. What game do you think this is? It's essentially been on life support for a very long time now, with new players being drip-fed into the various servers by the communities that just won't quit. As Ewok said, it's the high level of quality and dedication to these private servers and communities that draws the people in and as I'm sure the developers know better than anyone, very little in this life comes for free.
Regardless, things are paid for out of the server owner's pockets with the odd donation from players to help them along the way.

But sure! Let's scare all the communities to other games or out of existence, I bet all those absolutely **** dead official servers will suddenly be FILLED with players and everything will go on as usual.


Warband is a unique game with a very dedicated fanbase, but to deny the fact that the multiplayer scene would be utterly, entirely and totally buried by now were it not for the efforts of private server owners isn't just naive or silly, it's outright delusional.
Some clarification on what this actual means is required because honestly bringing this in now all of a sudden seems very strange, very out of the blue and very pointless. I highly suspect this broad statement is in fact targeted at either an individual server or a small group of them, as opposed to the community at large.
I highly suspect this because as I have already said, to basically tell the people who are keeping the game alive "hey, can you not" isn't very bright.

But hey, let's kick back and say "whatever" because maybe Bannerlord will be out next week and that will DEFINITELY solve everything, right guys?
 

lolbash

Master Knight
WBNWVCWF&S
But sure! Let's scare all the communities to other games or out of existence,

So telling server owners not to force players to pay 50 dollars for an overpowered sword is "scaring the community away"?

This has to be a troll.
 
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