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Kelila

Donation Tracking

Something I've seen over and over again are people claiming that these "not for profit" servers are pulling in much more money in donations than they claim and devs are pocketing the money.  Now the people who actually believe that may just stuck under a tin foil hat, however ideas like this generate drama which then generates reasons to not play on the server.  That being said, it might be a good idea to track donations publicly so people can at least see money in money out. There might already be plans for this on the website, but it seems like this hasn't been largely discussed yet.

Now me personally, I think the devs should absolutely take a cut of the profits/donations, but that's a topic for a different time.

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9 minutes ago, Kelila said:

Now me personally, I think the devs should absolutely take a cut of the profits/donations, but that's a topic for a different time.

If CF proves to be the absolute bestest private server out there, yes. 

A progress bar to show that the next month of hosting is covered is a good idea.

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3 minutes ago, ilovecats said:

If CF proves to be the absolute bestest private server out there, yes. 

A progress bar to show that the next month of hosting is covered is a good idea.

One server that I am absolutely not advertising for, but I saw it linked on a reddit post tracks donations like this. A part of me thinks that's even a little too detailed. I'm not sure how difficult it would be to implement a page like that and if it's worth taking time away from gameplay development.

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Just now, Kelila said:

One server that I am absolutely not advertising for, but I saw it linked on a reddit post tracks donations like this. A part of me thinks that's even a little too detailed. I'm not sure how difficult it would be to implement a page like that and if it's worth taking time away from gameplay development.

That's great!

Now think about the other server which sells gear and fakes pop to make people donate to be able to skip login queues.

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10 minutes ago, ilovecats said:

That's great!

Now think about the other server which sells gear and fakes pop to make people donate to be able to skip login queues.

Yeah, there's definitely a nice spectrum of terrible ideas about donations that Crestfall can easily avoid ;)

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The only reason why Blizz is fighting so hart against private servers is money (obviously). Don't you guys think that full transparency is more likely to attract the attention of them, since they can see how much they lose due to the private server?

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So this is a continual item open for discussion amongst staff.

As I understand it, no donations will be sought from players until the realms are up, functioning and stable.

All donations will go towards the cost of funding the servers and necessary precautions like anti-DDoS protection. No siphoning off funds for the devs. Ever.

Conjecture:

No cash or even vanity shop, if the server is as good as promised donations should cover all contingencies. If the server is as good as intended and donations do not match costs, then obviously we overestimated the willingness for players to make a fair contribution for a quality product.

Donations are hidden unless requested otherwise 

Realms will run regardless of population if costs are covered by donations (this is particularly true for Zul'Dare)

Absolute:

This is not a standalone stock MaNGOS server (this is why we are still in closed Beta nearly a year after the forums opened). Working as intended, you'll be playing on Crestfall for years. To achieve stability we need a very good working relationship with the player base, so that donations are there to reward the work committed to that point as well as an investment for the work ahead. The only positive news is that the work gets progressively easier as we get further advanced in expansions, because more solid information is available or archived.

From what I've seen recently the amount of work involved for a fresh vanilla server is absolutely obscene compared to a C&P MaNGOS version.

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29 minutes ago, Amandil said:

The only reason why Blizz is fighting so hart against private servers is money (obviously). Don't you guys think that full transparency is more likely to attract the attention of them, since they can see how much they lose due to the private server?

You could also argue that the transparency is showing that there is no profit being made, so there wouldn't be any loss for Blizzard (they might not see it that way though).

 

21 minutes ago, Outstanding said:

Donations are hidden unless requested otherwise 

I had made the assumption that donations wouldn't be associated to individuals and there would be an opt-in to show a username, or just an opt-out to show an anonymous donation (If they are shown publicly at all).  I might be missing what you are saying here, Donations are hidden unless requested from the community? Or individual donations will be shown if requested by the donor?

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Posted (edited)

34 minutes ago, Kelila said:

I had made the assumption that donations wouldn't be associated to individuals and there would be an opt-in to show a username, or just an opt-out to show an anonymous donation (If they are shown publicly at all).  I might be missing what you are saying here, Donations are hidden unless requested from the community? Or individual donations will be shown if requested by the donor?

Donations would be hidden to all unless the individual(s) requested otherwise (this could be as part of the options available in the act of donating).

Some people like it to be known that they are donating (albeit as their personae) but most don't 

At all times, the default would be hidden to all

 

 

Edited by Outstanding
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Isn't there a legal difference from being not-for-profit and profiting off Blizzard's IP? Either way they can try to shutdown the server, but wouldn't openly profiting from it give Blizz more legal recourse to come after you?

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3 minutes ago, Calfuron said:

Isn't there a legal difference from being not-for-profit and profiting off Blizzard's IP? Either way they can try to shutdown the server, but wouldn't openly profiting from it give Blizz more legal recourse to come after you?

This is a whole big curate's egg. I don't think there's any point in conjecture as to what the legal niceties are. We have some factual information on Blizzard's attitudes to the PS scene.

First, that they issue Cease and Desist letters as a matter of habit

Second, that they tend to take a more pro-active approach to shutting down servers based in the US

Third, that they haven't shut down Elysium even though they use the same server-end provider OVH as Nostalrius did.

Fourth, that the negative reaction Blizzard received in shutting down Nost has had a significant effect on their Pserver perspective, hence the dog and pony show for Nost staff at HQ

Taking all this into account and the fact that there are far more options in hosting your own server these days (Open source from multiple sources) I can't see the point about Blizzard pursuing Pservers.

Hearthstone has 50m accounts, Overwatch has 25m accounts. The age of subscription games has passed.

I really don't think an EU based server with a small 5 figure sum community is going to cause Blizzard any sleepless nights or concern them enough to call in the lawyers.   

 QED

  

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4 hours ago, Outstanding said:

No cash or even vanity shop, if the server is as good as promised donations should cover all contingencies.

This is one part of why CF is great. Rare mounts and pets were supposed to be RARE and special. If you could just buy them it ruins the whole reason behind them. I'd rather just throw CF $20 a month instead.

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I've been pushing for Asura and Crogge to adopt a Nostralia-esque donations page so we can publicly keep track of what they get in. No firm comment one way or the other yet.

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I think this has become a bigger issue due to the various screw ups by Elysium. Had it been running more stable and with no leaks there wouldn't be much discussing re: donations. Heck they still have people supporting and donating. But Elysium is a dubious empirical example at best, if Crestfall becomes all we envision it to become that is. And small servers with open donations are just that, small servers. Not comparable. 

I'm personally against the idea of a donations page showing every and each dollar received. Crestfall doesn't owe full transparency to anyone. A free to use service with voluntary donations is what it is. Now I get the whole trust element but I believe it can be better instilled by quarterly (or monthly/bi-monthly) posts regarding the current financial situation. Having full insight in donations while not having full insights into the operation as a whole would just lead to more discussions and scrutiny. 
 

13 hours ago, Kelila said:

Now me personally, I think the devs should absolutely take a cut of the profits/donations, but that's a topic for a different time.

Also, I believe plenty of people donate with the devs in mind rather than server costs. I know I've done it as a token of appreciation for the free work they do. This is not to say that Crestfall should take cuts but rather that the large majority are less cynical than the vocal minority clamoring for full display. 

Give people a stable server that brings them joy and allows for nostalgia trips encompassing several expansions with quality management and staff; combined with some sort of report regarding financials (that doesn't have to be detailed like a damn tax declaration) and that will be more than enough in my opinion. 

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Posted (edited)

There are different things that go into this topic.

  • Public or private management of donations: Going fully public I think is the way to go, donating money to something and not knowing anything about where your money is going to is usually a red flag for donators.
  • Donator anonymity: This one is easy, the donator should be able to choose.
  • Direct or custom management of donations: This one is important and the choice is difficult, being able to donate directly to the service (hosting company for example) is nice and gives more transparency to the project, but this lets donators to charge back donations putting the project at risk (as we have seen recently).

For me, personally I would adapt the approach to donations as HumbeBundle:

  • Public management of donations so everyone can see what has been collected.
  • OptIn (or OptOut) for donations anonymity.
  • Custom management of donations.
  • The donator should be able to choose where the money is going, taking into account developers.

In the end, this topic requires a certain amount of trust from the player base to the team; in my opinion, if you don't trust them enough to let them manage your money, don't donate.

Edited by HarTstaRx
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1 minute ago, HarTstaRx said:

Public or private management of donations: Going fully public I think is the way to go, donating money to something and not knowing anything about where your money is going to is usually a red flag for donators.

This applies much more to the real world outside of pservers. 

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Posted (edited)

If the project's goal was to take donation money and run, they would be doing a very bad job at it currently. No ridiculous hype train, open donation tab and a promised release date to bait donations.

If this project is the most elaborate attempt at leading people on and taking their donation money (the couple thousand they *might* get), where's the incentive for the already passed year+ buildup? Surely they have better/more productive things (begging on a street or filling 10 cent ad surveys comes to mind ie.) to do than keep up a facade for a meager potential, not even guaranteed income down the line.

From this you could argue the devs must have some other means of income that isn't related to developing a private server for emulating a 13 year old game.

 

Whereas other servers with already dubious pasts and a proven history of monetization it might not be too big of a leap to conclusion that the project owners could indeed be living from or at least supplementing their other means of income by running a server.

Edited by Ciar
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