Greetings avatars! We shared a lot of information yesterday in our short live stream and it was both exciting enough and potentially confusing enough that it deserved a post in writing that people could read and absorb. Our history is pretty well known and our “cash shop” has been with us since the start. For years it has been a burden in terms of public opinion, usability, and time consuming maintenance. When we compare ourselves to other live online role play games with a similar money model, we find that we are almost the only game in the entire crowded market that has a vast cash shop on a website and then almost nothing available in game for purchase. We also added premium currency long ago but never really made full use of it in game. Time for that all to change! Within the next 2 releases we will move to a store model similar to 95% of the other games in the field. Our website will primarily only sell Crowns and rewards programs and possibly 1 single item for episode 2 access. There will probably be another small section that will be hidden for stuff like POTs and support. All the items in the store will be available through the Crown Shop interface. From what we’ve been seeing, most players don’t even know this exists but if you look at the interface buttons in the upper right hand corner of the game, the second one in from the right is a Crown Shop. Click this and you can access a few dozen items from the game anywhere, without needing to talk to a merchant. When we mentioned this during the stream I saw a few people scream, “No! The interface is slow and doesn’t show the items or have information!” They are right and that is why our biggest task with this switch is moving to a whole new interface! We’re currently working on pulling all the information for items on the web store into the interface. Items will all include a detailed description, most will include a screenshot, and those that don’t will show the actual model for the item when selected. Also, currently the in game crown shop is SLOW to load even with a small number of items. We are fixing this to prebake this data instead of loading it all from thousands of item definition and data files. This slowness was actually the reason we stopped adding items to the in game store for a while but a fix is almost ready to go live. In addition to matching the features of the web store, by moving it in game we can improve it in a number of other ways as well. The web store has no good system for localization which means it is only available in English. The new crown store in game will be localizable just like any other in game text! In game you will be able to filter and search and sort items. We will have items tagged for different categories so instead of clicking through pages and pages of goods and scrolling you can just click “Weapons” and “Elven” and it will show you just the items tagged with those! If you’re shopping for new lights for your house, just choose “decorations” and “lights”. We are also hoping to have other data in them so you can do things like show “Recently added” items or just “Sale” items. To make sure existing players are aware of the in game crown store and go try it out, I’ll be adding a number of small “blessings” to the game. You’ll get one at random with any crown store purchase. I have about 25 different small blessings designed and it will apply one at random. These will last a day and will basically be shorter, possibly weaker versions of existing in game blessings or obsidian potions. We’ll probably keep these around until a release after the store work is finished to make sure people go and find the crown store in game since even the seasoned adventurers I talked to didn’t know it existed! I hope to have these live in a patch next week. Have you ever noticed that sometimes our sales stay up longer than promised. Well some of that is due to us wanting to be nice to players outside the US who have time zone issues to deal with but the main reason is because currently it is complicated to turn on/off sales and only a few people can do it. The new in game system will be broken down to allow anyone on the team to turn it on or off and we’ll also be able to schedule sales to start and end. So as for sales and pricing. This is another area where we’ve looked around and identified that we’re a bit off base on many prices. Part of this is due to us knowing we were doing big, week end sales and so we priced stuff higher than we should have. With this major transition coming up we’ll be adjusting many item prices down to somewhere in between the current price and the sale price. Once the new store goes live we will have far fewer sales and they will be much smaller percentages off. Most items in the new store will be cheaper than the current full price store BUT when on sale, they’ll roughly the same or slightly higher than the current prices. There will be some exceptions to that rule but that is our general target. Going forward we’ll probably also do fewer or no “Everything is on sale!” type sales. This is largely done this way now because of the less than stellar system we use now to put stuff on sale. So again, repeating again for clarity. New store prices will be adjusted. In general, new store prices will be lower than current full price store but slightly higher than current sale prices. Another big thing that we will be fixing during this time is our actual premium currency! While the $1 = 1 Crown thing is easy to understand, it does not give us the resolution we need to price things correctly. For instance, to match the cash shop, we would have to do things in full $1/1COTO increments. The resolution also means we have to make drops of them very rare. When this change goes live, after the maintenance down time concludes, you will log in to find that all of your crowns turned into 100 crowns. This will happen in your inventory, bank, and even on decos. The decos will look like a single crown but when picked up, they will turn into 100. For Vendors, we aren’t sure which option we’ll use but we’ll either adjust your numbers on your vendor or, more likely, we’ll cancel out all your crown sales/purchase orders. In game, you will still see crowns drop but at 100x the rate of the current ones. This also lets us do things like sell dyes individually if we choose. Previously we would bundle all the cheap items together in large packs because we couldn’t do sales smaller than $1. We’ll also be taking advantage of the new greater crown resolution to adjust our prices. While we knew what our targets numbers were before, we couldn’t actually get there because of rounding error involved with the low crown prices. Price Count $10.00 750 $20.00 1600 $35.00 3200 $60.00 6300 $100.00 10750 Also, going forward do not expect to see many if any crown sales. We plan on moving crowns back to being the stable bedrock of our pricing structure and keeping the sales primarily in game. If do any crown sales it will only be for major events like Lord British’s birthday or the release of some major new content and will only be a small discount. Also, we’ll likely make some small adjustments to the rewards program to make sure it stays the best exchange rate for buying crowns. I’ve had a few people point out that due to the crown sales, currently it is promised to be the best rate but you can actually get slightly better with a large crown purchase on sale. You still miss out on all the extra stuff so we still consider it a great deal but we’ll be fixing this going forward to live up to its crown promise. One more exciting thing coming soon is the ability to upgrade deeds in game for crowns. The current plan is that you will be able to right click on a deed and get a menu showing you the cost to upgrade it. We plan on making it so you can upgrade for the price difference in the crown store. No trade deeds from the story-line will likely be upgradeable but remain no trade but we’re still evaluating that option. Also, in case you missed the stream, the other exciting thing coming is the ability to purchase a permit for row house demolition. There will be a cheap option to turn a row lot into a an empty lot with no houses on it that can be used for whatever. We see this as a huge win for players who have their main lot but also have a row lot or two in storage from the storyline. Now you’ll be able to put down a row lot to turn it into a play space, crafting area, or a dedicated garden. Wow, that ended up being a crazy long post! Lots of stuff to talk about. For those with short attention spans who just skip to the end, here is the tl;dr version: Current crown target of $1 = 1 COTO will turn into $1 = 100 COTO All your existing crowns will turn into 100 crowns Many prices will adjust downwards to be between current and sale price Sales will be smaller and fewer and for the most part Thanks and you can look forward to these changes in the near future!