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Goblinworks Executive Founder

Oh... MTX BPC for reskinned equipment?

Goblin Squad Member

Sintaqx wrote:
Even if the items that can be purchased are not superior, as long as they are equivalent then it will be used to purchase items to sell directly in the game. This bypasses everything, and has serious disruption potential. Someone with a bunch of cash can dump it into the game and strategically disrupt the market. On the surface this is good for GW, but it's bad for the players, and thus it's bad for GW.

One thing that I know was confirmed and has not been repealed that I'm aware if is that PFO will have it's own version of PLEX.

PLEX or Pilot's Lisence Extensions are an item in EVE redeemable for 1 month of game time. They can be purchased with real money then sold on the in-game market for in-game currency.

Upside is that it will entirely rid the game of gold-sellers, who generate a lot more problems than just the availability of game currency for cash, including spamming, scamming, account hacking, and stealing credit card numbers.

The downside is the concern you just made, which is a completly valid and understandable concern by the way.

I just feel that PLEX is the lesser of two evils.

Goblin Squad Member

Andius wrote:
Sintaqx wrote:
Even if the items that can be purchased are not superior, as long as they are equivalent then it will be used to purchase items to sell directly in the game. This bypasses everything, and has serious disruption potential. Someone with a bunch of cash can dump it into the game and strategically disrupt the market. On the surface this is good for GW, but it's bad for the players, and thus it's bad for GW.

One thing that I know was confirmed and has not been repealed that I'm aware if is that PFO will have it's own version of PLEX.

PLEX or Pilot's Lisence Extensions are an item in EVE redeemable for 1 month of game time. They can be purchased with real money then sold on the in-game market for in-game currency.

Upside is that it will entirely rid the game of gold-sellers, who generate a lot more problems than just the availability of game currency for cash, including spamming, scamming, account hacking, and stealing credit card numbers.

The downside is the concern you just made, which is a completly valid and understandable concern by the way.

I just feel that PLEX is the lesser of two evils.

In EVE market disruption and manipulation occurs regularly but the size of the player base makes it hard to achieve by a single player injecting real money because of the amount of player held capital and the total real money value of daily trade.

As an example of the excess capital floating around in game, I know one individual who recently purchased a 1000 of a particular ship at 110 million ISK each as a market speculation due to a recent patch changing that ship and making it more useful and more expensive to manufacture. To do that with real cash would have needed $2000 real money.

The sucessful large scale manipulations are generally done by alliances and often by interfering with supply. The most famous example being the Goonswarm Ice interdiction where mining of an essential POS fuel was effectively stopped for months by organised in game attacks on miners.

Goblin Squad Member

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Lam wrote:


Consider that B purchases 100 swords from cash shop. GW puts out offer to sword vendors for 100 swords at 'market price'. Vendors sell 100 swords and make profit within game. Nothing is CREATED outside the game, just shifted. Cash shop becomes 'retailer' for vendors. Question is what is reasonable 'mark up' for GW between coins paid vendors and real world cash the GW shop gets.

If there are not 100 swords in the vendor stock, then Cash Shop should have higher price and Vendors and Craftsmen are offered premium to produce and sell to 'game'. This is a little twisting of economy, but still represents real effort in the game economy. The question should be how much SHOULD Cash Store sell that has not been produced and what is the premium (3x or 5x).

Lam

The mutable cash price with a premium only serves to fix the exchange rate, which has serious effects on non-produced cash shop items that can be sold in-game, like goblin balls. By necessity, a goblin ball has a fixed cash value. If you have a sword for sale at a high end price of 10 coin, and this translates to $.50 in the cash shop, that means a goblin ball is worth 300 coin. The market for goblin balls has now been castrated since we now know that the official exchange rate is $.05 per coin.

At this point you might as well offer people the ability to buy coin directly, because with very, very little gaming you can do this yourself. Simply corner the market in a region, make sure you hold all the inventory for a cash shop item, place it all on the market for an excessive price, one that a normal market would not tolerate, and buy your stock from yourself for cash at a rate of $.05 per coin.

If the cash shop assumes the value of the sword is based off of the base component cost, then you run into problems where a merchant is paid far less than he posted the item for. Look at tech 2 ships in eve. The base cost for a heavy assault cruiser might be listed at 20m ISK, but the market price is 150m ISK and it costs 140m ISK to manufacture. Which do you use? This one can be used to print coin as well, it just has a higher initial investment cost on top of it's other issues.

If the cash shop items are unlinked from the in-game market price but still draw from that item pool you still get coin printing. The start up cost is a bit higher, but the payoff is even greater. Simply put up a single sword of your own on the market with a 15 digit value. Buy every sword listed for cash. Have it delivered automagically to your destination settlement. Repeat as desired.

The best thing to do is to sell blueprints/recipes/schematics/etc on the cash market and have them constructed in-game, or skins that can be applied to in-game items.

Goblin Squad Member

Sintaqx wrote:

com·mod·i·ty

kəˈmäditē
noun
1. a raw material or primary agricultural product that can be bought and sold, such as copper or coffee.

Coin is not a commodity.

Reading the Wikipedia entries for Commodity and Fungibility, I'm fairly certain I used language appropriate to convey the intended meaning.

It's counter-intuitive, but there's a lot in Economics that makes more sense when you start seeing Money as just another trade good.

Goblin Squad Member

Andius wrote:
PLEX or Pilot's Lisence Extensions...

Get with the program, Andius. They're Goblin Balls :)

Goblin Squad Member

I do forex trading as a hobby, and have an interest in macro economics, especially as it pertains to currencies and commodities. A currency can be a trade good, just look at the forex market, but all currencies are abstractions rather than tangibles. By their nature, a commodity has a basic value since it is a tangible product. A currency does not. A currency is more like a shadow of a commodity since it is an abstraction of standardized value and is therefore applied to the perceived value of the commodity in question. It's when you get into the comparison of abstractions such as stock markets and banking that things get weird and it makes more sense to view currency as a commodity. After all, at that level everything is based on it, so it does become the commodity.

In the case of the game, however, things are nowhere near that level of abstraction, so counting currency as a commodity is confusing. You can't make a tangible with an intangible.

Your intent is understood, it just doesn't quite work at a lower level of abstraction. :)

Goblin Squad Member

Sintaqx wrote:
By their nature, a commodity has a basic value since it is a tangible product.

I understand there is a specific use of the term that carries that restriction. I also understand there is a general use of the term that does not.

"Economic commodities comprise goods and services."

My meaning when I called Coin a "commodity" is that it is: 1) traded, and 2) fungible.

Sintaqx wrote:
Your intent is understood, it just doesn't quite work at a lower level of abstraction. :)

Are you saying that calling it a "commodity" doesn't work? Or are you saying my actual point doesn't work? Because my actual point was about the impact on individual traders, which is very low-level - not macro at all.

Goblin Squad Member

I mean that calling coin a commodity doesn't quite work at the level of abstraction that an MMORPG operates at.

Goblinworks Executive Founder

Coin is exactly as much a comoddity as swords are. They are both electrons that are hard to turn into dollars.


Continuing this discussion here where it's more appropriate.

Ryan Dancey wrote:

MTX pay to win: An MTX item is meaningfully better than the best item that can be created via player action in-game. No meaningful human interaction.

Selling Characters: A human had to play them to make them good, thus creating meaningful interaction with other humans in the process. The purchased character has no intrinsic superior benefit to a character you played from inception yourself.

Thanks for the clarifications.

I would like to counter with the typical definition of what pay-to-win means: paying cash to gain an in-game advantage or to skip content.

It's clear to everyone that cosmetics don't do this. Neither do toys that don't affect gameplay, like mounts and pets. Training likewise is fine because no matter how much money you spend, you can only train at the same rate as everyone else.

However, it is generally accepted among gamers that selling gear of any functional kind is automatically pay-to-win. The fact that you can craft something just as good is irrelevant. The cash shop item allows you to skip content--either the crafting process or the in-game transaction. Skipping either of these removes human interaction that would otherwise have to occur, and also upsets the playing field between someone wanting to play the game in a typical way (using in-game resources) vs. someone wanting to spend their way past that requirement. Not to mention if people feel the desire to skip content, how interesting is that content to begin with?

Regarding toons, I think it's fine if one player wants to sell their toon to another (as long as the toon was actually played by a human). MMOs have too long held the irrational stance that our toons are their property, and I respect this change of attitude.

However, if toons ever show up in the cash shop, that would be unacceptable for obvious reasons.

This game is going to be about advancement, loss and recovery. You should not want to allow people to spend their way past these stages. It will backfire in one way or another. If someone doesn't like the advancement stage, they're not going to like the recovery stage. If they bought gear to advance and lost it, they're not going to think "Oh well, I'll just throw more of my bar tab money at GW." They're going to think "Well that money just went down the drain, screw this, I'm going to the bar."

That's someone getting alienated from your game on an individual level.

On a group level, you may very well have lots of people willing to throw money at you over and over. But what sort of players will they be? What sort of players have they been in other games (ie: EVE)? These are the sort of people who pay their friends to hang out with them, and will join PFO because they'll see it's a game they can treat like it's their own private server. Get a significant number of them, fully equipped with everything money can buy from the cash shop, and suddenly there's a major problem in the balance of power. Actually, just get a bunch of them equipped with tons of healing potions. Still a big problem. Great for GW's bank account, but bad for the game.

If that doesn't scream pay-to-win, I don't know what to say.

You have lots of good ideas going for this game. Don't ruin it by underthinking the cash shop (or worse, by trying to redefine what is pay-to-win). I sincerely hope you take a look at every single proposed cash shop item and reevaluate it with this in mind.

CEO, Goblinworks

@Hudax - in a Platonic world where we could enforce human behavior out of game, there are all sorts of interesting MMO designs that might be fun to build. But in the real world where people will build and sell characters in ways that cannot be stopped, we are confronted with the choice of either ignoring it, trying to stop it (and often failing) and thus engaging in a predator/prey relationship with our customers, or facilitating it in ways that reduce overhead and increase revenue.

We'll do the latter.

Goblin Squad Member

Came across an interesting article on MMO economics which seems to suggest the subscription model isn't necessarily dead.

http://massively.joystiq.com/2013/09/19/a-virtual-economist-s-defense-of-th e-subscription-model/

http://gamasutra.com/blogs/IsaacKnowles/20130917/200455/A_measured_defense_ of_the_subscription_model.php

The argument seems to be based around MMO demographics: typically 30ish with reasonable income but responsibilities and little free time.

As a consequence the price paid per hour play time by this large demographic is not insignificant.

Goblin Squad Member

I agree with this comment in the gamasutra comments:

Bart Stewart wrote:
3. Another way to explain why players who invest in MMOs as worlds prefer subscriptions over F2P/microtransactions is because paying real-world money for in-game features breaks the magic circle. F2P affects the design of the game. The subscription model doesn't; that money exists entirely outside the world of the game. That immersiveness-by-design matters enough to some gamers (again, because they want to invest in a world) that they're willing to pay a recurring service fee for it.

He makes a few other good points. If the mmorpg devs are providing (1) a service eg regular updates ie devs are showing the players this thing is alive via the sub money (2) value of that stands-out from competition (3) Broad range of experiences offered

and to steal the above guy's terms more "grazers" than "grasshoppers". This last point that sub is a club fee for members perhaps that's what you really want?

In terms of stand-out experiences, UO discussion always shows that when players experience stuff where they use their ingenuity or others do in game that creates a story and real immersion; particularly if new information about something is discovered and causes a spike of activity where a few have undue influence for a short period of change then things react to it once news spreads. I'd say if there is a lot of discovery of this sort in PFO ie emergent and player-driven perhaps combined with information/discovery that is pushing new boundaries - those curve-balls that surprise players "if I do this - what happens," in a fantasy world where you can choose to try more or less any speciality, I think that's key.

Of course devs being able to further sell new experiences that don't break the magic circle that's gotta be additional surely eg players creating assets or shaping a hex for use in a map somewhere where one can GM it etc.

CEO, Goblinworks

I think MTX is also intertwined with theme park gameplay. The population who stays after the spike is likely to be willing to spend a lot more than the basic sub, and getting people into the game after the spike requires a very low barrier to entry.

Goblin Squad Member

Ryan Dancey wrote:
The population who stays after the spike is likely to be willing to spend a lot more than the basic sub ...

oh indeed they will ...

This for example:

EVE Collectors Edition

Goblin Squad Member

Ryan Dancey wrote:

League of Legends has nothing you can buy that makes you better than anyone else. All the things in the store are cosmetic.

They were so successful at this approach that their biggest competitor, World of Tanks, had to change their whole business model to remove "pay to win" objects from their store.

in my experience World of Tanks is very much a pay to win game.

Tank without golden ammo = bounce, bounce, bounce, insignificant damage, bounce, bounce...

Tank with golden ammo = one shot kill...

There are also tanks with bonus's to training, xp & in game cash, which while not true PTO certainly do certainly qualify as PFA, pay for advantage, that is certainly questionable in a competitive pvp game like WoT or PFO.

I would hope cash items for PFO are in fact cosmetic and now PFA or PTW items.

Goblin Squad Member

Summersnow wrote:
Ryan Dancey wrote:

League of Legends has nothing you can buy that makes you better than anyone else. All the things in the store are cosmetic.

They were so successful at this approach that their biggest competitor, World of Tanks, had to change their whole business model to remove "pay to win" objects from their store.

in my experience World of Tanks is very much a pay to win game.

Tank without golden ammo = bounce, bounce, bounce, insignificant damage, bounce, bounce...

Tank with golden ammo = one shot kill...

There are also tanks with bonus's to training, xp & in game cash, which while not true PTO certainly do certainly qualify as PFA, pay for advantage, that is certainly questionable in a competitive pvp game like WoT or PFO.

I would hope cash items for PFO are in fact cosmetic and now PFA or PTW items.

Well they made an annoucement and call it: "Free-To-Win": Wargaming kicks 'pay-to-win' monetization to the curb

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