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Johny

Arma 3 Server monetization

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I'm an ArmA II server operator and one of the few remaining servers left for ArmA II and there really aren't many of those left. I'm going to write my point of view as a ArmA II server owner and try to explain how it will affect me and perhaps even my playerbase. Today I was served with a cease and desist letter from the Bohemia legal team. It is pretty dam scary being the little guy and getting sent one of those from a companies legal team just trust me on that one. I wasn't even aware that we were breaking rules with what we were doing as ArmA II servers had been operating this way practically since the games release with no issues. 

 

We're currently making barely enough to operate our ArmA II server and it is getting progressively worse month on month as players slowly move on to ArmA 3 or just lose interest in ArmA 2. The reality is for my server that we wont survive with limited monetization or no monetization in the long run and I hope BI realize the reality that I am facing and hopefully make more accommodating rules for ArmA II. It is a somewhat small and fragile community at this stage of the game and enforcing ArmA 3 monetization rules truly isn't helping (just ask around). It currently costs us a fair penny per month to rent our dedicated box from a fantastic hosting company which offers DDoS protection unlike previous hosts we have had but that isn't cheap.

I've went out my way today after receiving the cease and desist to speak with fellow community owners of which most most were already using voluntary donations and see how it has been affecting them, mostly because I wanted an idea of how we would be looking funds wise when we switch over to voluntary donations. Not good. The few that were willing to speak to me had the exact same concerns I had when switching but are already living my fears. Some have had to cheap out to survive and are going with cheap, low quality hosting which offers poor server performance especially on high player counts and others I spoke with flat out said they will most likely be shutting down shortly due to money problems.

I respect Bohemia as a company and I truly respect that you are only trying your best to do right by the players not the server owners. I understand that A3L and other servers have perhaps have abused the very kind nature of Bohemia in the past, but I have to say I feel personally very frustrated and almost angry as someone who hasn't tried to gouge our players for money in the way these ArmA 3 servers have (A3L charging to join the Alpha or Beta) or server owners setting up the entire server as pay to win and for personal profit and gain.

 

Why suddenly go after what few of us there are left after all this time? There have been no mass complaints on the ArmA II side as far as I know at least unlike ArmA 3 where A3L and other servers clearly took way too many liberties with BI, mod creators and players to make a quick buck. Why must me, my server and my players suffer because of those assholes.

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Wow thats some wannabe heartbreaking crap. 

 

I used to have server hosted by Vilayer, with no problems for a year, we vere 3 people group so we used to split the server cost in 3 shares. And we had never problem to pay for it. We didnt even have a donations. We paid everithing including teamspeak ourselves.

Now I host my Arma from home for free. (private games for my clan only)

 

You come here, openly admiting that you break rules, (not just BIS rules but law, as i dont believe you paid your taxes from the server income.) for years. And asking to be alowed to break them further? 

 

You got some nerves, man.

 

500dollars per month for server? you can have your own powerfull rig to host your server on, for 3 months worth of payment with such cost. Who with half a brain would rent for such prize if you can buy? Also Most expensive server hosting i found was below 100 dollars per month, usual what i can find is 60, and they are good ienough, so i sense some more bullshit here.

 

 

 

as i said you have some nerves. 

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Thanks for the response Mirek, but no bullshit here. I wouldn't come here and waste my time if I didn't believe what I was saying. Vilayer is one of those hosts I would class as low quality and most of the people I have spoke with about them in the past didn't recommend them. Yes, I openly admitted I am breaking rules but we are now compliant. I mean it was only yesterday after all that someone from BI reached out to us after years without issue. Hosting your own server from home is cool but not something I think we could realistically do. We have paid taxes on our income. What we are asking for? What most of the big servers on ArmA II have been doing since 2009 and something without any issue between now and then which only became a big issue once these ArmA 3 servers started to really fuck some people over. I'm going to switch to cheap hosting and we might be fine for all I know, but I genuinely believed what I was saying and attacking me for it really isn't cool.

 

My message might have been a little over the top but that is honestly because I was upset and angry about the situation when writing that.

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We have paid taxes on our income.

so, you openly admits you actually making profit ? I suggest you read the Arma games EULA ...

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We're required by law to pay taxes on our servers income. I don't feel like I can win on here at least give me a little bit of understanding. Yes, some months we made more then our server required which is what will ultimately allow us to stay up for at least a few more months without problem. There was a blind eye turned to this for six years with probably thousands of servers coming and going over the years without any actions being taken to stop this practice while ArmA II was still your main title. Even speaking on here about this now is a rather painful experience.

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Hosting your own server from home is cool but not something I think we could realistically do. 

 

How the hell is hosting from home a problem?

For what you state (and i honestly dont believe it to be true) you payed 500 USD a month for just the game server.  So dont you try to tell me you cant afford to buy sufficiently powerfull server rig. And i kow that you can get sufficiently good internet connection for  tyny fragment of what you used to pay, unles you live in north korea.

 

 

 

There was a blind eye turned to this for 6 years with probably thousands of servers coming and going over the years without any actions being taken to stop this practice while ArmA II was still your main title.

So breaking rules is ok as long as you dont get caught?

 

I honestly cant believe what iam reading here.

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Hello James,

can you please share what is the name of your community? We have several cases open. so I am not sure which you are referring to.

 

In any case:

Why you, why now? - Most probably your community was reported to us for infringing on Arma 2 and so we investigated it.

 

But still, sending C&D letters is one of the last resorts, prior we usually try to communicate with the community for weeks, so it is highly unlikely you got served with a C&D letter out of the blue. We have always tried to contact and work the issues in a friendly manner and where possible suggest alternative ways of monetization.

All we are asking of our communities is to start following the rules. We have not threatened anyone to sue them over past damages and the money they made. 
 
While I understand that running a server and community costs money, you need to understand there are rules and you need to follow them. There are other ways of rewarding donators (teamspeak priviledges, forum badges, etc.) which you can use without having to sell in-game weapons.
 

You need to remember that monetization beyond voluntary donations was not allowed in Arma 2 so your argument, that you have been doing so for years, doesn't really help your case. Basically you are hinting that have made 36 000 USD by violating our license (not to mention the law) and that we are the bad ones for not stopping you sooner. 

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You broke the rules, you got caught, put your big boy pants on and deal with it, you'll get no symapthy here.

If you and your community can't run a server without selling items then close the server.

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Hey Johny,

I don't really feel comfortable sharing my servers name on here. I'm going to stick to the official means of communication I was provided, however I appreciate your response though and I do see some of your points.

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James,
I understand. If you use the official communication channels, then feel free to reference your post, I will make sure the info gets to me.

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nope, there is no donate button, but otherwise yes.

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Hi,

 

My 2 cents on this whole issue is personally this is killing off Arma 3 servers. when i joined the scene 5 years ago back on Arma 2 their where thousands of servers, then Arma  3 came along and people where wary of moving across as mods where new and full of bugs. Then you decided to add monetization ruling and server numbers have been in decline ever since. People are not moving over from Arma 2 in droves in fact Arma 2 is actually seeing an increase in servers currently. The majority of people who play Arma 3 dont play it for the original game alone. dont get me wrong with out it mods like exile and epoch wouldn't exist! but most players buy arma 3 to play Mods. Now for modders to continue modding they need donations and the bulk of their donations come from gaming communities. gaming communities get their donation from their players which believe me is really hard under your current rule set. so what does that mean? well gaming communities get less donations so cant donate as much to modders, modders get less donations so cant dedicate more time to mods so mods slow down or are not made. players then stop playing Arma 3 and go back to Arma 2 where mods are already widely available. Arma 3 overall is a much better game than Arma 3. you have made so many improvements over the prev title. if you want Arma 3 and also Arma 4 to have the same success as Arma 2 you need to abolish this monetization ruling. players simply wont donate for  clothes or hats, they want building parts and guns. this donation model where players can donate for game changing perks is what helped Arma 2 get so successfull. if you want players to move over from Arma 2 to Arma 3 their needs to be more Mods released and for that to happen gaming communities who host servers at massive costs need to be able to cover their costs. i can see from the forum above that your getting barely any feedback on here but you only need to do a search on reddit to see the negativity to this Trial. Now from what i have read you keep referring back to how the old widely used donation system is against your rules, maybe you rules need to change to help accommodate people who play your game. no one has really touched on the fact that gaming communities make your company millions of dollars each year. with out us you wouldn't have players. so maybe help us help you sell games by adjusting your rules so us gaming communities can survive. 

 

Pozzer18

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Hello Pozzer18,

it seems that you are under a mistaken impression that gamechanging perks as rewards for monetizations in Arma 2 have been allowed. They are not and they have never been allowed. Only voluntary donations are allowed for Arma 2 and current Arma 3 and Dayz monetization rules extended those voluntary donations. So this new system actually gives more legal options to monetize our games and servers. Also a bonus is that it gives us a way to reward people, who do not infringe on the IPs of modders. 

Of course this would not be effective without enforcement, which is why we stepped our game in that area and are now pursuing monetization infringements with much more zeal than in the the past.

 

 

Hi there,

 

Just wanting to ask, these guys are breaking monetization rules aren't they?

 

http://spectregaming.co.uk/forum/m/34209954/viewthread/24842288-donations

Thanks, we will take a look.

The best way to report these communities is to use the "Contact us" form at http://www.bistudio.com/monetization

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Hi,

 

My 2 cents on this whole issue is personally this is killing off Arma 3 servers. when i joined the scene 5 years ago back on Arma 2 their where thousands of servers, then Arma  3 came along and people where wary of moving across as mods where new and full of bugs. Then you decided to add monetization ruling and server numbers have been in decline ever since. People are not moving over from Arma 2 in droves in fact Arma 2 is actually seeing an increase in servers currently. The majority of people who play Arma 3 dont play it for the original game alone. dont get me wrong with out it mods like exile and epoch wouldn't exist! but most players buy arma 3 to play Mods. Now for modders to continue modding they need donations and the bulk of their donations come from gaming communities. gaming communities get their donation from their players which believe me is really hard under your current rule set. so what does that mean? well gaming communities get less donations so cant donate as much to modders, modders get less donations so cant dedicate more time to mods so mods slow down or are not made. players then stop playing Arma 3 and go back to Arma 2 where mods are already widely available. Arma 3 overall is a much better game than Arma 3. you have made so many improvements over the prev title. if you want Arma 3 and also Arma 4 to have the same success as Arma 2 you need to abolish this monetization ruling. players simply wont donate for  clothes or hats, they want building parts and guns. this donation model where players can donate for game changing perks is what helped Arma 2 get so successfull. if you want players to move over from Arma 2 to Arma 3 their needs to be more Mods released and for that to happen gaming communities who host servers at massive costs need to be able to cover their costs. i can see from the forum above that your getting barely any feedback on here but you only need to do a search on reddit to see the negativity to this Trial. Now from what i have read you keep referring back to how the old widely used donation system is against your rules, maybe you rules need to change to help accommodate people who play your game. no one has really touched on the fact that gaming communities make your company millions of dollars each year. with out us you wouldn't have players. so maybe help us help you sell games by adjusting your rules so us gaming communities can survive. 

 

Pozzer18

 

Hi Johny

 

sadly it appears you haven't read my entire comment and have instead stopped halfway through. i have clearly stated this is against your rules and have also asked that maybe it is your rules that need to change to help gaming communities survive. I also feel that your stance on selling ingame items such as guns etc is unfair when yourselves are in fact already doing this through addons. If we pay extra and buy your weapon pack we can then have more powerful weapons than players that dont buy said Addon this contravenes your very own rule set. i understand that you make the rules as it is your game so to speak, but i would also say a big chunk of the people playing your game are doing so to play the modded scene. As a developer if you cant see that these rules will ultimately kill off your game your insane. With out communities putting servers up to attract players the future doesn't look bright. So back to my original point, maybe your rules on monetization need to change to better help gaming communities survive as we in turn will help your company sell games

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Hi Johny

 

sadly it appears you haven't read my entire comment and have instead stopped halfway through. i have clearly stated this is against your rules and have also asked that maybe it is your rules that need to change to help gaming communities survive. I also feel that your stance on selling ingame items such as guns etc is unfair when yourselves are in fact already doing this through addons. If we pay extra and buy your weapon pack we can then have more powerful weapons than players that dont buy said Addon this contravenes your very own rule set. i understand that you make the rules as it is your game so to speak, but i would also say a big chunk of the people playing your game are doing so to play the modded scene. As a developer if you cant see that these rules will ultimately kill off your game your insane. With out communities putting servers up to attract players the future doesn't look bright. So back to my original point, maybe your rules on monetization need to change to better help gaming communities survive as we in turn will help your company sell games

If they can NOT afford a Server (on their own), they can NOT have a Server. It`s as simple as that...

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"Monetization rules are killing servers and communities, this has been okay for 5-6 years already..."

What the hell am I even reading? The whole issue didn't even exist until DayZ came. I don't remember any kind of donation perks happening in Arma until DayZ hit big, Wasteland and Life followed that success. Can anyone name a game mode where donation perks etc. happened back in the day? There were usually maybe 20 public servers that were populated with a good luck and most of it was Domination and CTI.

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 I also feel that your stance on selling ingame items such as guns etc is unfair when yourselves are in fact already doing this through addons. If we pay extra and buy your weapon pack we can then have more powerful weapons than players that dont buy said Addon

 

Is it fuck... Everyone can use the same weapons, the people who don't buy the DLC just have to contend with pop-ups advertising it every now and again. Fact check first, then make whatever wild accusations you like, just know that you're talking out of the side of your neck.

 

 

sadly it appears you haven't read my entire comment and have instead stopped halfway through. i have clearly stated this is against your rules and have also asked that maybe it is your rules that need to change to help gaming communities survive.

 

 

 

If people have that much of a vested interest in a community's survival they will donate, even without your much hallowed "perks and bonuses". I've been part of a group for almost 3 years and have no qualms about donating money to help cover server costs, with absolutely no perks, benefits, bonuses or sexual favours in return.

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Now for modders to continue modding they need donations and the bulk of their donations come from gaming communities

 

We've invested hundreds of hours over months and months in our terrain, we don't do it for monetary gain, we do it for the challenge and love of the Arma series, once finished the terrain will be released for all to play and for free, I work full time and that pays my bills, terrain building is something i do for fun.

 

The money needed for software licences we paid out of our own pocket, around £100 give or take (Mikeros tools, L3DT pro, extra Dropbox space etc), no doubt other fees will be needed in the future but that's fine, we never expected or want to profit from it.

 

So modders do not need donations, it's an added bonus to recieve some and we're definitely not alone in working for free and fun, for the benefit of the community :)

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Is it fuck... Everyone can use the same weapons, the people who don't buy the DLC just have to contend with pop-ups advertising it every now and again. Fact check first, then make whatever wild accusations you like, just know that you're talking out of the side of your neck.

 

 

 

 

If people have that much of a vested interest in a community's survival they will donate, even without your much hallowed "perks and bonuses". I've been part of a group for almost 3 years and have no qualms about donating money to help cover server costs, with absolutely no perks, benefits, bonuses or sexual favours in return.

 

 

try flying a helicopter that is part of the DLC i can 1 million % confirm you cant!

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try flying a helicopter that is part of the DLC i can 1 million % confirm you cant!

 

You can however be a passenger in them and unlike other games, you can still play on DLC enabled servers.

DLC costs money to produce, BI staff deserve a wage and server admins can choose not to spawn DLC content, it still doesn't justify selling items for a profit, you claim donations support modders, your donations don't support the games authors, unless you've been somehow donating to BI.

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You can however be a passenger in them and unlike other games, you can still play on DLC enabled servers.

DLC costs money to produce, BI staff deserve a wage and server admins can choose not to spawn DLC content, it still doesn't justify selling items for a profit, you claim donations support modders, your donations don't support the games authors, unless you've been somehow donating tagain as i porev 

 

again as i have prev mentioned a large portion of people who have bought the arma games do so for the custom content and not the core game. with out gaming communities and modders etc i guarantee this game series would sell significantly less games. if the problem is that BI do not get a cut of the donations used to help run a server maybe that could be included in any new rules. most gaming communities are not looking to make a profit they are simply looking to help fund a server. the problem is A3L got greedy and started making thousands of pounds a month and that is now one of the reasons BI is clamping down on this sort of donations. i get that 100%. the only issue is they are not affecting A3L from making money they are infact affecting the smaller communities that dont make a profit. i know all the guys following this thread will bash anyone trying to make a point in regards to this, that is probably why their is only 14 pages of feedback in over a year. you only have to visit reddit and observe some of those threads to see the impact this is having on the wider community. i applaud all of you for not needing donations to be able to survive however i can guarantee that the majority of gaming communities can not afford this and ill also revisit my earlier point with out gaming communities this game title will not be as popular as it can be.

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To a degree i see your point, however look on any server browser and the vast majority are empty, it would do the community a favour if they closed.

 

Our community run 3 servers full time and 2 for part time/one off missions, we have a TS3 server and forum, we get donations now and then but give nothing back but a thanks, our regulars are Arma fans and our clan are all long term friends, when donations don't cover the costs we chip in a few £/$ each, it's peanuts really, we all work so we don't miss the money.

 

If you really have to sell items to survive then perhaps you shouldn't be running a server, think about it, we don't need or want P2W or servers ran for profit, we want well ran servers, ran by admins who care about a fair experience for all players :)

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