It's been a while since I have posted (I moved to the other side of the planet and started a new job that eats up all my free time). Something keeps drawing me back here, and that's a very good sign (in my mind) for a game to be.
This is just an introspective commentary ~ please feel free to regard or disregard anything within. I am positive much of this (if not all) has already been discussed.
I was thinking about the last attempt for Exile Online to get funding through, I believe it was KickStarter. Honestly, GoFundMe might be the better direction for a crowd-funding option, since the time is open-ended. But, as a suggestion, reduce the donation amounts, and use USD (United States' Dollar) instead of the GBP (Great Britain Pound). Not many people can genuinely afford 200 British pounds... that's a hell of a lot of money. Case in point... take Everquest Landmark, they initially had just three levels... approximately 50, 100, and 200 USD.
The digital components that you offer are almost literally free once they've been designed, so the amount charged is really a matter of discourse. It might be valuable to add, if you want a greater sum of money, CUSTOM apartments for those people who donate LARGE sums. Say, 2000+ USD. Keep with a global standard currency (I am *not* American BTW). The bulk of your player-base will come from North America.
But, by way of example, you give me a quality package for $200 USD, and I'll give you my money NQA (no questions asked), even if I have to wait two more years for the product. Fact. I am willing to bet you'll find a lot of people willing to drop 50-200 USD on the project far more willingly than 200 Pounds (for some of us in North America, that's a half month's pay, and in some cases, a month's rent). Aim for the general demographic, and remember that you're offering digital options... if you have a micro-charge environment (a FANTASTIC example of this is Lord of the Rings Online) that is well balanced... you'll find people will throw a LOT of money at the game because it is in manageable amounts.
Do I want a slick private apartment in an exec part of town? Oh hell yes!!! Do I want TWO? Sure, but I'd rather have a shop, or a building, or a whole complex... or even a small city block.
Do try to balance to avoid pay-to-win scenarios.
I'm rambling... and I'm sure it's been thoroughly discussed... and my two bits have likely been talked about a million and one times. I am just another voice among many... but, I do know my way around games, real-world market and economic systems.
I've been gaming since the 80s. Hell, I've been gaming before the World Wide Web even existed (albeit, not much before), but one thing is certain... this game, this game NEEDS to exist. Make it accessible to those people who can only scrounge up $50-$200 USD (with only a few bigger options available), and you'll make OODLES of cash.
For example... make things upgradeable. If someone buys in for $50, but later is gifted $200 at Christmas and wants to upgrade to the $200 package... make it doable for the remaining difference.
Do make huge packages available... but not numerous ones. EG: One for $500, $1000, and $2000 USD. Make those include a small shop (plus a custom executive apartment as might be included in the $200 package) for $500, a small apartment building (with 10 basic apartments where 10-20% rent goes to the owner, or somesuch thing, PLUS a store) for $1000, and a custom exec apartment atop a 50 apartment building with a bigger store (designed for $2000.
Make those things available in-game through play-time... but it would be a LOT of work, like A LOT A LOT of work. This will mean that people who can't afford said items with real-world currency could play for it (which eliminated "pay to win"). Make the app for apartment design available from the start... so people can SEE what they could do IF they can afford it. This basically takes the design work and passes it off to the consumer, and allows for the devs to decide what restrictions to put in place.
I think I ran all over the map with this post.
Basically... Ultima Online for housing flexibility. Everquest Landmark for packaging. Lord of the Rings Online for micro-charging. And every crazy-awesome detail you guys have been packing into this so far for the straight up "I hope this is as amazing as I think it will be" factor!
Rambling done, for now. Whatever is decided... I can't wait for this to finally be a thing! (PS: Please push it through STEAM... being able to use their wallet system will be a HUGE advantage! Not to mention getting green-light projects in play, and pre-purchase packages with HUGE global visibility! Even my students here in Japan use Steam!)