Ben Cousins talks about Battlefield Heroes and PC Gaming

Gamasutra has an interview with Ben Cousins, lead designer of Battlefield Heroes. Ben gives a lot of details about the game in the article, Micro Payments, Free Play and Advertizing. One of the things that I took note of was this quote about Micro Payments:
We think there are two areas where people would be interested. First is your customization items, to change the way your character looks. Maybe you want the gold helmet and a huge mustache, or something like that; maybe a monocle. Those will be micro-items.

The other thing is what we call convenience items: So let's imagine that the two of us are playing the game, and you're playing the game every night for four hours, you're leveling up your guy really fast, but I've got like a wife and kids, and only play the game a couple evenings a week.

But I want to catch up with you, so maybe I'll buy an item which gives me double the experience points for a couple of days. So I'm still playing the game, I'm still having to be skilled at the game, but I'm just leveling up my character slightly quicker. So those are the two categories.

I love the idea of convenience items, I am a casual player, I have a wife and I have kids so I don't always get the time to play. One thing that I found when I was playing WOW was that everyone else in the guild leveled faster than I did because they had more play time. Even though I had more rested experience, they played more so they leveled faster. Having convenience items levels the playing field.

It might also keep the power levelers away from the game. Micro payments exist in WOW too. They exist when people buy gold or have their character power leveled by someone else. I think that DICE saw this and realized that they could use this revenue stream to provide the game and a better game experience. Power leveling and gold selling is big business in WOW so why not take that revenue stream and put it in the hands of the game designers.

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