Greetings, I am Yordic Meyers. Today I am going to be talking about MMO's and currency and why, I feel, Shroud is doing it wrong. This is entirely my opinion and I will be using other games to back up my claims. I've chosen for these examples Shroud(obviously) Legends of Aria and Star Trek Online. I will also not be turning this into a straight out 'bash port' post as that isn't my intention and will make a point, where applicable, to provide positive reinforcement where it is due as well as pointing out flaws in the metrics I am pressing it against. No system is perfect and I don't want that to be the idea behind my post. There are three big issues I have with how Portalarium is handling it's online currency (hereafter referred to as Crowns). Perceived loss of value, Imagery, and perception as a whole. The above image is the Crown purchase window as it appears in game. The bundles of Crowns are price lowest to highest as 750 for $10, 1600 for $20, 3200 for $35, 6300 for $60, 10,750 for $100. This is where the first problem comes into play. Back at the time of the change over Crowns were at $1= 1 Crown. They were then changed over to a 1 crown->100 Crowns system which had the effect of assigning the thought of 100 crowns to $1. They then compounded the issue when they announced this new pricing structure. This created the perceived loss of value on the part of the customer where their $10 is only getting them a $7.50 in value. This loss of value doesn't affect just people who were around before the change either, as I will demonstrate. If you expand out the $10 used in the image to it's full range of $10.00 and put it against the 750 you can see something doesn't add up and will feel like you are getting a raw deal. It puts the customer in the mindset that this would not be a good use of their money. This same issue carries on up to the $20 and the $35 levels as well before jumping to a bonus amount at $60. It creates a state where there is no even ground, you never get what you pay for, you either get more or less. It is important to note this is not taking into account the subscription level as that is it's own problem and doesn't play into most peoples gameplay since it's not as in your face, only being referenced before logging into the game. The player also has another issue to deal with when looking at this page which is my second problem. The imagery of crowns is very sketchy, showing a small stack of four coins for 750 crowns, a small stack of coins for 1600, a still small stack for 3200 before jumping to a cup HEAPING with coins for 6300 and a chest SO FULL it can't be closed for the $100 dollar tier. This reads as an attempt to show that $10 is very little and that $100 dollars is a giant amount. It's manipulative and unnecessary, but it's the least of my problems. These all lead to the image I see now, buying Crowns at $10 is punished versus buying them at $100 being rewarded. Your customers should never feel like they are being punished whatsoever, especially when making a purchase! This is the exact reason it is so hard for me to justify making purchases in shroud whereas in other games it's not even an issue. Next I want to compare it to something new and similar. Legends of Aria just got it's premium currency store an...it's not good. Here is another case of Perception of Loss, but on a much higher scale. Five dollars for three hundred gems, a loss of almost half of your value and it doesn't get much better from there. The imagery issue is still there as well with the gemstones being a small amount at lower values where as the highest is a chest full to bursting. This imagery, however, is better in one way. The amount is indicated by the image as well as showing an extra amount outside(at 9.99 it shows a small bag with some gems scattered around representing the bonus gems.) While not as egregious it's still manipulative and should be gone. Legends of Aria has the benefit, however, of still being in early access which Shroud does not, meaning it's getting a bit of leeway with decisions and can still change them without the harshness of coverage. The store is also much more bare bones and needs much updating before it's ready. Now for my final example and what I feel shroud should be striving for. Again this is all just my opinion, and I don't want people to think I'm saying this is the only way it can be because I HAVE PROBLEMS HERE TOO! This is Star Trek Onlines currency purchase store. This storefront is a thing of beauty in my eyes. There's very little clutter going on, the images are all clearly cut out and show the image of the currency, the amount you are getting and the cost. You see what you are paying for and what bonuses you get straight away. Whats more this has the same 1-100 ratio that shroud does without punishing the player for only wanting to spend ten bucks here or there. There's no pictures of piles of cash, there's no odd formations of price points, there's just information on display. In summation I think shroud is not the worst when it comes to buying currency, I wanted to make that abundantly clear. I feel Shroud has a big issue to deal with with the way it portrays it's currency but I don't think anything I've found is intentional to say the least. I want to end this post with positives with Shroud's premium currency. I love the fact that Crowns can be traded between players, it's one thing that the other two do not have available. I love that you can earn it through random drops in the world which Aria doesn't do and STO has a different way of doing that is much tighter controlled. (You earn dilithium ore which can be refined once a day for refined dilithium in a limited amount which you can then use to buy zen from other players in a stock market-esque interface). I also Like that you can decorate your house with your crowns too, it adds an extra layer of intrigue to them rather than just another number.