Currency purchacing in shroud and percieved loss of value

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Doctorface, Sep 27, 2019.

?

What do you think?

  1. Good point,the coto buying needs to change

  2. It's fine the way it is.

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  1. Doctorface

    Doctorface Avatar

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    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.
    [​IMG]
    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.
    [​IMG]
    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.
    [​IMG]
    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.
     
  2. Spoon

    Spoon Bug Brigade - Bug Hunter

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    The imagery in both Shroud and LoA are mimicking mobile app premium currency.
    Unfortunately it is a proven concept that leads to more revenue. Hard to argue with success there.

    The problem that shroud has there though is not the imagery or the number visceral feeling but rather that the starting point is kinda too high at $10 - you'd typically want to have around a $1 starting point that no-one should buy. This since the model is showing 6 values where you'd expect most customers to buy the 2nd or 3rd where the 1st is only a gateway. While 4 5 6 is there for the top strata only and not normal customers.
    But that is due to the high transaction fees that they have since they don't go through a bigger shop (like apple store or steam store etc) so they have to eat any credit card fees etc.

    For instance:
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    etc


    Agreed mostly - the value proposition in those numbers are much more attractive. However those are for dollar only, the value proposition in the numbers would be very different in other currencies.
    Nitpicking I would have liked the bonus to be in a bigger font though with a tally as well:
    ......20 000
    ......+3 000 bonus
    total 23 000

    ..................................$200
    EDIT had to add the dots since the prefix spaces were removed by xenoforo.
     
    Last edited: Sep 27, 2019
  3. Spoon

    Spoon Bug Brigade - Bug Hunter

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    One of the smartest (and most evil) business models of that format that I've seen is in Dragon Mania Legends.
    Its one of many timer games with a gold currency and a premium currency.

    https://dragon-mania-legends-wiki.mobga.me/Gems#Purchasing_Gems
    What is smart there is that they have a VIP membership that gives some timer bonuses.
    Where when you buy stuff in the store you get X number of VIP days on top of the value bonus.

    Which means they can do drives like "7 day VIP on your first purchase", or "double VIP days with purchase", or "item X on sale, buy it and get 2 VIP days"..

    They even had one promotion where if any member in a guild (clan) bought something in the store, then everyone in the guild (max ~30 players) got a loot present box.

    etc
     
  4. that_shawn_guy

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    I do agree that the pricing model is clearly based on the mobile gaming model. For me, part of the argument for changing to a $1 = 100 pricing is to move away from that appearance.

    Historically, the life span of a player on mobile is very short compared to a PC MMO. Even for the "MMO" mobile games. Those games have no choice to but to get psychological with every aspect of getting money from their players. Most players are not going to be there long enough to get $1000s out of them. Ideally, that is not the case on the PC as players can stay hooked on a game for years/decades as the game evolves.

    The main issue I have is the way the perceived loss of value of our current pricing model comes across. Sure, at the high end the "pay more, get more" aspect provides a good incentive to put in more money. But, on the low end, it feels like a poor tax. I'll provide an example.

    Let say that All I can afford to put in is $10 a week. I put in $10 for 750 Crowns. Compared to the higher tiers, I just paid a 250 Crown tax because I couldn't put in more. Instead of buying Crowns every week, I could save up and buy once a month for $40. So, I buy 2x $20 Crown packs and pay an 800 Crown tax. I guess I could think about saving up for the $60 to get to the bonus level....

    Drop the tax, keep the bonus, and maybe add a few more tiers.

    Don't make it complicated for people to give you money. This isn't a short lived mobile game that requires questionable tactics to get as many pennies as possible from a player for few weeks/months that you have them.
     
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  5. Drilikath

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    When they changed $10 != not equal 1000 coto and removing the $5 option, i completely stopped buying stuff. The lame excuse of we want to sell stuff for $.25 etc etc was all garbage as nothing is still under $1 or 100 coto really. If anything the price is higher, and now you can not trade stuff you buy on the store... Real GEMS port has become, well if we cant get people to buy from us, HELL with them buying from others either... Forced market... [Heritage Items]
     
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  6. Drilikath

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    Also remember having entire posts/threads deleted for calling port money grabbers when they made the move, but hey.. I still know nothing about game/game design/marketing or anything apparently. The small team at port knows how to bring together a player base woo woo!
     
  7. that_shawn_guy

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    Rather than devolving this discussion with comments questioning the motives of Portalarium, I propose we keep this a discussion about the point of the original post.

    As far as I can tell, the questions at hand are:
    1) can and should Portalarium change the cash for premium currency model?
    2) If so, what should that model be?

    Please, let's all try to stay on topic. I don't think anyone benefits from this or other similar discussions getting so out of hand that locking or removing become the only options.

    Thank you
     
  8. Sulaene Moon

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    They probably won't since it seems to be working for them.
     
  9. Synergy Blaize

    Synergy Blaize Avatar

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    "Seems to be working" (as the have made no changes yet)
    But has it worked out as they had hoped?
    Only "they" can assess that...
     
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  10. Sulaene Moon

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    No changes have been made.
     
  11. Stryker Sparhawk

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    Guild Wars 2 gems are 8000 for $100, 4000 for $50 - etc. The gem to in game gold conversion does float on a supply/demand formula of some kind.

    A skin for outfits is around 700 gems
    Packages for outfit, backpack and glider maybe 2000 gems
     
    Last edited: Sep 27, 2019
  12. Bedawyn

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    But they have made changes -- the crown conversion is less than a year old, I believe? A vet player can correct me if necessary. And the Heritage items, which Chris has implied/stated we can expect more of in future, are a new thing this summer. Last stream he pretty much said they want to kill -- or at least badly wound -- the aftermarket for Crown Shop items. That's definitely a change -- in the wrong direction.

    I'm fine with the graphics marketing for crowns, what really bugs me is that there's no option for microtransactions. (When $10 is the cheapest you can pay, those aren't microtransactions.) No microtransactions AND no ability to trade Heritage items AND no way for noncombatants to earn crowns in game since they don't drop at low tiers, all that together adds up to Pay to Decorate being the reality rather than the light-hearted joke it has been until now. And that means the huge pool of housing-oriented potential players they want (and have chosen to market to, I believe sensibly) will see the Crown Shop, interpret it as Pay-to-Win (because for us decorating is winning), and most of them will promptly leave again. :-(
     
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  13. Oakenhammer

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    As a point of clarification, the explanation was that they could provide more granularity with the pricing to provide items that cost COTOs between full dollar increments, not that items would be priced less than a dollar. As you can see in the COTO store right now, there are lots of items that reflect this (e.g. the new gustball packs are 375 COTOs).
     
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  14. Oakenhammer

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    COTOs can be obtained through harvesting too. Most of the COTOs I received thus far were actually from mining rather than killing things.
     
  15. Bedawyn

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    And where can you mine or harvest without ALSO having to kill things to defend yourself while mining? And without having to kill things to get to a level where you can reach those areas?

    I've no problem with them dropping more often in adventure areas. It's just that there's a disconnect in their marketing and the implementation. As I've said before, they need to drop more often in newbie areas -- not in large amounts, but just enough that a new player can get one, see what they are, and have hope of acquiring more. In the same fashion, if they want the pixel crack to fund the game, the people who prefer playing with pixel crack to combat need to PERCEIVE crowns as something they can realistically earn in game.

    The perception -- provided it's not an outright illusion -- that it's possible to get it on your own lowers the psychological resistance to buying crowns, because you're no longer paying for something you can't get otherwise, you're just choosing to speed the process up instead of waiting. Relying on people who can drop $20 or $100 at a time just for the sake of supporting the game.... well, it's great if established players can do that, but new players aren't going to, because the game hasn't yet convinced them it's worth supporting. If you have hope that your decorating dreams can come true, then you'll be willing to work/spend toward obtaining them. If they seem impossibly out of reach because you've been playing for months and haven't seen one crown drop, then spending real money on crowns will feel wasteful.

    No matter what your playstyle, the most important thing a game can give you is hope. Why would anyone spend money in a game where they don't have hope?
     
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  16. Oakenhammer

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    Random encounters, Outskirts, and the Owl's Nest Mine are low level areas with resources. However, I agree with your point that we need a more predictable method for obtaining COTOs through regular gameplay. If some COTOs were added to the supply bundles and/or a weekly quest that rewards COTOs, it could go a long way to allowing more people to experience COTOs.
     
  17. Alley Oop

    Alley Oop Bug Brigade – Bug Hunter

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    much. they don't drop much at low tiers. i've gotten them more than once in outskirts.
     
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  18. Drilikath

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    i pay $$ for coto, i then buy an item from the store. Then i am stuck with it forever.... How is that even right. I get vault items etc etc special items. But now most of them are being sold with a tag so i can not trade them. and they are not cheaper, they are the same price if not more. It is basically port saying as long as they get $$ they do not care. This is one of the major flaws with the system and why i said what i did supporting what the OP stated.
     
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  19. Drilikath

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    I can buy 10k coto from port, sell them in game for gold price that day. or buy an item and then sell that item down the road for gold price that day. What is the difference? Port doesn't get the sale to player two, or three, or four. just the original that is the issue.
     
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  20. Sulaene Moon

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    Do you know if anyone has asked Port that question on any of the Livestreams or Chris's stream? It might be a great question to ask them as there has be a good reason for it. I doubt they just decided to make nontransferable items without a reason.