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Crowfall Crowns - Official discussion thread

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10 minutes ago, Tyrant said:

I think this covers most of what we are doing and why we're doing it.  https://crowfall.com/en/news/articles/founders-update-more-on-crowns-and-guilds/

We simply can't have a currency bank in the EU and that drove us to an actual MTX currency, but we had this in our plans at some level from the beginning.  https://imgur.com/a/KfS5TEl

We simply aren't going to sell high dollar items for the EK's moving forward and we aren't going to sell power in the campaigns (period).  We're certainly aiming to be a "good guy" given we want our competitive PvP game to have as level a playing field as possible.

Ah right the guild crown bank. That makes a ton of sense.

That doesn't clarify my biggest concern point. Will we have the option to always buy exactly enough crowns to purchase items if we choose to do so and do not wish to accrue unspend currency, essentially "overpaying" for items with a price point below the minimum crown purchase amount?

Further, as a matter of transparency can we get the 'real' currency value of items listed in the shop alongside their crown price (e.g. the amount of real money you would pay if you clicked the "buy exactly enough crowns to afford this item" or even as that button directly) so that crowns act as a good faith token system and not as a cost obfuscation mechanism?

Edited by PopeUrban

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and even before this point we had the whole thing about europe account credit values being "frozen" presumably as a means to 'comply' before proper implementation too


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e.g. this

https://mmoexaminer.com/crowfall-changes-store-credit/

+

http://massivelyop.com/2016/12/06/crowfall-locks-up-eu-store-credit/

i'd link a direct source - but old news articles are still broken....

http://crowfall.com/en/news/store-credit-changes-for-eu/

forcing me again to trawl the internet archive....

https://web.archive.org/web/20161220210314/http://crowfall.com/en/news/store-credit-changes-for-eu/

Quote

STORE CREDIT CHANGES INCOMING

 

We have some store-related news today -- most of you won’t be affected, unless you are one of the few European players who have “credit” in your digital wallet.

It has come to our attention that we need to make a change to our digital store. If you’ll recall, earlier this year we signed a partnership agreement with Travian Games to help us bring Crowfall to Europe.

An interesting side-effect of having an official “presence” in Europe is that we can no longer allow people to have in store “credit” in real-world currency.  (EU laws don’t allow you to hold on to real-world currency unless you are a bank!)

What does this mean for you?

For the overwhelming majority of you, nothing. In our community of 34,000 backers, less than 15% live outside of the U.S.  Of those, only those who (1) live in Europe, and (2) have stored credit on their account will be affected.

For those that ARE affected, we need to do what most MMO companies do: convert this credit into some kind of in-game currency that can be used to purchase things from the store. We aren’t quite ready to do that yet (adding a digital currency to our store is a non-trivial amount of work!), so as we move towards that, here is the order-of-events:

  1. On Monday, December 19, we will be disabling the ability to add stored credit to your wallet and locking all European digital wallets until the in-game currency can be added to the website.
  2. Once the digital currency is online, we will automatically convert your credit into digital currency.
  3. At which point, you’ll be able to use that currency to buy items in the store, just as before.

To be EXCEEDINGLY clear:  you will NOT lose your store credit!  We apologize for the temporary hold on your ability to purchase things with existing credit, but please understand that it isn’t something we have a lot of control over. Our only other option is to be out of compliance with European law while we develop our digital currency system, and that doesn’t seem like a good idea.

We’ll keep you updated on the progress here, but it is likely to be a few months before we implement it. In the meantime, we thank you for your patience.

If you have questions about this, please see the Crowfall.com forums, or you can contact customer support:

STORED CREDIT FAQ

Q: Will I lose my stored credit?
A: No, but if you live in Europe, then it will be converted to the in-game currency.

Q: When will the in-game currency be implemented?
A: The best answer we can give you right now is: sometime between now and launch (in 2017).  It is a priority, so hopefully sooner rather than later.

Q: Can I get a refund of my stored credit, instead?
A: Unfortunately, no.  The vast majority of stored credit that exists was not created by people putting real cash in their wallets.  It was created by people consuming pledge packages and then redeeming some of the items back to the store for credit (often for more credit than the cost of the package!).  Our refund policy is covered in our Terms & Conditions (Terms of Use), and it only covers actual purchases.

Q: What will the conversion rate be?  For example, $1.00 USD of stored credit will be worth how much of the in-game currency?
A: We have not decided what the conversion rate will be at this point.  As with all our designs, we like to have them iterated in our internal testing before releasing details.  Rest assured that we will convert store credit at the best rate possible, and fractional amounts will be rounded up (i.e. in your favor).

 

Edited by Tinnis

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1 minute ago, PopeUrban said:

That doesn't clarify my biggest concern point. Will we have the option to always buy exactly enough crowns to purchase items if we choose to do so and do not wish to accrue unspend currency, essentially "overpaying" for items with a price point below the minimum crown purchase amount?

Further, as a matter of transparency can we get the 'real' currency value of items listed in the shop alongside their crown price (e.g. the amount of real money you would pay if you clicked the "buy exactly enough crowns to afford this item" or even as that button directly) so that crowns act as a good faith token system and not as a cost obfuscation mechanism?

We don't have a current plan to offer items for both currency and crowns.  We have packages of crowns but there is always a likelihood you'll have some left over.  This is standard for microtransaction currency implementations.  Our minimum Crown purchase is $10 and I don't think we have anything in our store under $10.  That said, we are not against experimenting with other models, though in general we stick with tried and true unless it's an area we specifically want to innovate in.  Do you have example games that allow "buy the exact amount of tokens"?


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28 minutes ago, Tyrant said:

We don't have a current plan to offer items for both currency and crowns.  We have packages of crowns but there is always a likelihood you'll have some left over.  This is standard for microtransaction currency implementations.  Our minimum Crown purchase is $10 and I don't think we have anything in our store under $10.  That said, we are not against experimenting with other models, though in general we stick with tried and true unless it's an area we specifically want to innovate in.  Do you have example games that allow "buy the exact amount of tokens"?

Maybe I was unclear. Its not about offering the items for sale directly (as you've illustrated that causes problems and makes the guild token bank and token trading unfeasible in the EU) but rather allowing players to actually buy just what they want rather than expecting them to essentially overpay for a lowe price item if that price falls below the minimum token package.

In general shops that implement token models avoid this pitfall by ensuring that token prices (in actual currency) align with the token cost of items (for instance, if you can only buy in packages of 100, there aren't any shop items that cost, for instance, 150, or 275, etc. etc.) and most have an option when viewing a store item to "buy tokens" in the amount of the cost.

I'd have to hunt for token based shops that implement this as my go-to example for ethical customer-first microtransactions in Path of Exile, but that's a real currency system rather than a token system so its not 1:1

I'll use the merchant pack pig and current packages as an example of the problem here.

The merchant pack pig costs 1500 crowns. In theory, that means this is a 15 dollar item. However I can not buy 1500 crowns and pay 15 dollars for the item I want. I can at minimum buy 2 1000 crown packages (a waste) or buy the next tier package of 2300 crowns for 20 dollars.

However, This leaves me with 700 crowns. That's fine if I actually want to buy more crowns in the future, but considering the goal here is that these are completely optional cosmetic items... You're asking me to pay 20 dollars for a 15 dollar item and leaving me with 700 crows that aren't useful unless I spend another 10 dollars... With which I end up with 1700 crowns, and buying the closes amount would be another 1500 crown item... which leaves me with 200, which is again an unspendable amount and so on.

This is a common model that is pretty anti-consumer because I don't actually have the option to simply pay you the actual cash value for an item I want. I only have the option to effectively overpay for more than its value, only to earn an unusable amount of currency, which even if I buy another item, leaves me with an unusable amount of currency, and so on to create a spending loop that is not entirely based on you selling me items. It is a loop that is in stead based upon you selling me unusable equity that only has value if I buy more stuff.

You're using my unspent balance as a psychological trigger to convince me to buy more crowns in stead of simply allowing me to buy the thing I want for what its worth or choose to create my own "bundles" by bulk buying crowns.

If all I want is a 1500 crown item, I'm overpaying for it by five bucks, and there's nothing else i can buy with that five bucks. If there were something I could buy for 500, it would be slightly better, but currently all of your items have costs in multiples of 500, but your $20 and $50 "bonus" packages grant me "funny money" I can't actually use for anything. In the case of the $20 package, I'm not actually gaining purchasing power by spending on the bundle. Unless I buy another bundle.

This is an inherently manipulative system that isn't granting value for bulk purchases and only serves to use common psychological tricks to encourage spending by hijacking some of my purchased currency in an unspendable bubble.

With your current shop prices this could be easily remedied by offering a 500 crown package for $5, and ensuring the "bonus" crowns from the $20 and $50 packages actually equated to a usable amount of currency so that I can pay you the list cost value of items or CHOOSE rather than be FORCED to buy currency amounts I can't use with larger bulk packs in anticipation of future purchases.

It is a "standard" for the same reason blind loot boxes are a standard, it deliberately obfuscates the actual cost of items, hijacks equity, and employs psychological triggers to encourage further purchases rather than the ethical approach of allowing the user to purchase exactly enough shop equity to buy the thing they want, and asking them only to purchase items at the list value.

Edited by PopeUrban

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I think if they add a $15 option to the crown store, that would fix the issue. 

The only "odd" costs are at 1500, 4500, 6500 and 7500. You could buy 1, 3 or 5 of the $15 packages to get the 1500, 4500 and 7500 items. The 6500 items would most likely be covered by buying 4 of the 1500 packages. In none of these cases would you need to spend more than the actual cost of the item, though in all cases you would likely end up with crowns left over.

The $20 package gives 300 extra crowns, so if the $15 package gave 150 extra crowns, that would work out pretty well. 4 x 1650 would be 6600, which is enough to buy the 6500 items, at an actual savings of $5.

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15 minutes ago, Arkade said:

I think if they add a $15 option to the crown store, that would fix the issue. 

The only "odd" costs are at 1500, 4500, 6500 and 7500. You could buy 1, 3 or 5 of the $15 packages to get the 1500, 4500 and 7500 items. The 6500 items would most likely be covered by buying 4 of the 1500 packages. In none of these cases would you need to spend more than the actual cost of the item, though in all cases you would likely end up with crowns left over.

The $20 package gives 300 extra crowns, so if the $15 package gave 150 extra crowns, that would work out pretty well. 4 x 1650 would be 6600, which is enough to buy the 6500 items, at an actual savings of $5.

Pretty simple solution as well. Don't get me wrong here I don't want to be the "ACE IS EVIL" guy here. I suspect this is similar to dauntless' implementation of loot boxes. They saw a model as "the standard" and didn't really think about it, and later transitioned to a less anticonsumer model that treated customers and their money with more respect. I'm hoping this is a similar case, where ACE saw a "standard" model without cosnidering the manipulative facets of the model that made it the standard in the first place.

I really do think ACE has a high degree of its respect for its customers and hope that by bringing this up they consider the issues I've raised.


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I missed one. The Woodland Hills Parcel sells for 2500 crowns. However, with a $15 option, players could buy the $10 package and $15 package and get 2650 crowns. There's no monetary savings, but they still wouldn't have to spend more than the actual price and would have 150 crowns left over.

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1 minute ago, Arkade said:

I missed one. The Woodland Hills Parcel sells for 2500 crowns. However, with a $15 option, players could buy the $10 package and $15 package and get 2650 crowns. There's no monetary savings, but they still wouldn't have to spend more than the actual price and would have 150 crowns left over.

Might be simpler if they keep the current price norms to just do the 500 for $5 in that case. The $20 pack is still useful if you want to just have odd amounts of crowns for trade or your guild or whatever, but you're never hitting a thing where you don't have the option of just buying the thing you want. That 150 crowns left over is still an issue if all you actually want is the woodland hills parcel, as you're still left with no option but to buy it for, effectively, more than it's "worth" based on the store price.

Interested in hearing @Tyrant weigh in on this with his thoughts, as his word is, as I understand it, law for stuff like this.


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1 hour ago, PopeUrban said:

I'd have to hunt for token based shops that implement this as my go-to example for ethical customer-first microtransactions in Path of Exile, but that's a real currency system rather than a token system so its not 1:1

Actually, Path of Exile sells "Points" that you use to purchase stuff. $5, $10, and $20 bundles equal 50, 100, and 200 points. Items range from about 10 points to a few hundred points, in increments of 5. It's a pretty simple system and you can easily buy exactly whatever you need (or close enough), assuming you are spending at minimum $5 (which is fine, I get that less than $5 and it's not worth it with the processing/credit card company fees).

Quote

This is an inherently manipulative system that isn't granting value for bulk purchases and only serves to use common psychological tricks to encourage spending by hijacking some of my purchased currency in an unspendable bubble.

This is very important. Microsoft Points were originally set up this way long before there were any rules about obfuscating purchases behind points systems, and it was incredibly exploitative. It was impossible to spend all your points because the numbers never lined up. It's a cheap psychological trick to get people to spend more money than they want to.

And while we're on the subject... the idea of bonus crowns for spending more money is also an awful practice. It sounds harmless enough, it's a free bonus! But what actually happens is that psychologically the best price (135 crowns/1$) becomes the "baseline" and people that buy smaller packs end up feeling like they've been punished in most cases. People then either feel like they've lost value for buying a smaller pack, save up for the large pack instead of making lots of smaller purchases, or other similar situations which actually end up worse for both the players and ACE. That's another thing that Path of Exile does right. $1 = 10 points, always (the exception being some supporter packs, but that's because you get a bunch of unique cosmetic stuff, sometimes physical stuff, and then points equal to the dollar amount, or $5 less than the dollar amount, you spent on top of all the other stuff for your supporter pack purchase).

A good cash shop (from the payment standpoint, not the content end) will make it obvious what the value of $1 is without having that fluctuate, allow players to buy exactly what they want without overpaying, and not leave random unspendable points. That's how to treat your customers fair and not make them feel like they are being exploited. 

Edited by Svenn

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I acciedntly posted before seeing this thread....Crown shop is cool. Glad to see it up and the fact that it makes some items a little cheaper is very cool.

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5 minutes ago, Svenn said:

Actually, Path of Exile sells "Points" that you use to purchase stuff. $5, $10, and $20 bundles equally 50, 100, and 200 points. Items range from about 10 points to a few hundred points, in increments of 5. It's a pretty simple system and you can easily buy exactly whatever you need (or close enough), assuming you are spending at minimum $5 (which is fine, I get that less than $5 and it's not worth it with the processing/credit card company fees).

Ah right. In the past (at least from within the US client) all of the microtransactions were listed in USD (perhaps in addition to the token price?) or was it that tokens were used just for stash tabs and the ability skins/pets were RMT? Honestly it has been a while, and it is entirely possible that I don't have a complete memory of the system back when it first came out, so I apologise for any misinformation in regards to the current system! I should really reinstall it. I think they've added like twice as much game as at launch something crazy.


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Just now, PopeUrban said:

Ah right. In the past (at least from within the US client) all of the microtransactions were listed in USD (perhaps in addition to the token price?) or was it that tokens were used just for stash tabs and the ability skins/pets were RMT? Honestly it has been a while, and it is entirely possible that I don't have a complete memory of the system back when it first came out, so I apologise for any misinformation in regards to the current system! I should really reinstall it. I think they've added like twice as much game as at launch something crazy.

They release at minimum 1 expansion a year (typically one giant expansion and a few mini-expansions per year-ish). At this point they are up to 10 acts (they added SIX acts last year in one update), and a crapload of other content. They do about 3 leagues a year with unique rulesets too. And it's all free. Boggles my mind. Definitely one of my favorite games, one of my favorite companies, and absolutely the best cash shop in any game ever (enough that I've willingly given them close to $1000 without actually even specifically wanting anything from the cash shop).

Sorry, got a bit off topic here. ;)


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I agree with Arkade and PopeUrban that a little more granularity would be beneficial.  SWTOR has a $5 minimum purchase, though I think the $10 minimum is fine.  Arkade's solution of offering a $15 package sounds like the simplest, most straight forward solution.

I'm more concerned by the 35% bonus for buying the $100 package.  I'm trusting that you folks are using some marketing data I don't have access to for determining these prices but it feels a little high to me.

Or also consider, in addition or in lieu of the straight up bonus, adding a bonus for being a VIP subscriber.  Perhaps a VIP gets a 10% bonus on their crown purchases.  If you're going for a big ticket item like a manor, that would basically let the subscription pay for itself.  It might help migrate cash-shop customers into subscribers in the long run.

 

8 minutes ago, Svenn said:

the idea of bonus crowns for spending more money is also an awful practice. It sounds harmless enough, it's a free bonus! But what actually happens is that psychologically the best price (135 crowns/1$) becomes the "baseline" and people that buy smaller packs end up feeling like they've been punished in most cases

I agree with this for the most part but wanted to add that it /does/ make sense for ACE to offer /some/ incentive because of transaction fees.   A single $100 purchase brings in more money than than ten $10 purchases.  So I wouldn't mind seeing ACE passing that savings on to the customer but agree that the current 35% bonus seems high.

 

 

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This exact argument is currently raging in the closed beta of Magic the Gathering: Arena. The developers are selling "gems" in odd-sized bundles referencing "Bonus Gems" just like you guys are. The problem is, the things you can buy don't break evenly into any of the amounts. The lowest bundle you can buy is 1000 gems and packs cost 300 each (or whatever the exact amount is).

The point is, people are less disgruntled off about having to buy gems to buy stuff, then they are being forced to buy currency that doesn't easily break down into things they want to buy.

Take note @Tyrant there are some hills to die on, currency that doesn't break nicely into purchasable items shouldn't be one of them. I would hazard a guess that if you gave players the choice; "bonus crowns" or "buy $5 and spend exactly $5" that the later would win in a heartbeat. Still, I recognize that developers purposefully do things like sell currency and then not offer stuff to buy that nicely spends all of that currency for psychological reasons.  Don't be those people.

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32 minutes ago, Scree said:

This exact argument is currently raging in the closed beta of Magic the Gathering: Arena. The developers are selling "gems" in odd-sized bundles referencing "Bonus Gems" just like you guys are. The problem is, the things you can buy don't break evenly into any of the amounts. The lowest bundle you can buy is 1000 gems and packs cost 300 each (or whatever the exact amount is).

The point is, people are less disgruntled off about having to buy gems to buy stuff, then they are being forced to buy currency that doesn't easily break down into things they want to buy.

Take note @Tyrant there are some hills to die on, currency that doesn't break nicely into purchasable items shouldn't be one of them. I would hazard a guess that if you gave players the choice; "bonus crowns" or "buy $5 and spend exactly $5" that the later would win in a heartbeat. Still, I recognize that developers purposefully do things like sell currency and then not offer stuff to buy that nicely spends all of that currency for psychological reasons.  Don't be those people.

I'd like to chime in hear for a sec.....*clears throat*

 

Heeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeell no. 

 

I'm greedy and invested in this game. I want bonus crowns all day. Now I think reworking the shop prices to fit nicely into similar crown bundles is fine. The PoE example seems to be a solid idea. I don't care if I have extra though because I plan on playing Crowfall for awhile so anything left over is a win for me if I got it at a discount.

 

So I guess the most ideal thing to do is price the shop items as close to purchasable crown bundle combinations AND include the bonuses for buying larger bundles. That would satisfy both camps. 

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2 hours ago, Bashar said:

adding a bonus for being a VIP subscriber.  Perhaps a VIP gets a 10% bonus on their crown purchases.

It is mentioned in the FAQ that one of the possible VIP benefits will be a shop discount (no specific amounted detailed yet):

  • Discount pricing on any purchases

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The problem I have is the in game time invested to create some of these things is a total joke compared to the out of game time for cash buying of it. 

A simple Farm parcel is 1500 crowns. Or 15 bucks basicly.  That is an hour of work for most folks with a regular adult job. 

To make a farm parcel in game you need to have gathered 3000 premium mats.

1000 stone, 1000 ore and 1000 wood.  The average time roughly to gather a node is rounded to 30 seconds with movement and gathering time at best. (yes you can do it faster if very well trained just go with it.) The average drop amount when generally trained is 4 doobers per node. I will even give a little boost and round it to 5 for easy math.  3000/5 (Mind you with training you need 3 gathering focused accounts to get this average as well.)  600 nodes. times the 30 seconds = 5 hours. 

The cost in raw time is 5 times the cost of just tossing them the money in the cash shop. In just raw gathering time. 

That is exploitation.  That is where I would be screaming that ACE is screwing over their customers. Because the in game accrual of materials is nowhere near the costs of the cash shop. That is where the money grubbing, nickel and diming bitches will be placed as a fair point. At least in my mind. 

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Wait. I want to understand you right Srathor.

You want in-game items to be easier to make? As it stands crafters and gatherers will command superior prices from players willing to trade VIP for in-game items. 

Weird. I would have thought you'd come down the other way. You want your crafted items real-life value trivialized? Keep in mind the store-bought stuff can't be imported into campaigns. So in-campaign crafting could be incredibly profitable.

Edited by Scree

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7 hours ago, srathor said:

A simple Farm parcel is 1500 crowns. Or 15 bucks basicly.  That is an hour of work for most folks with a regular adult job.

That's assuming that the income of the median gamer is the same as that of the median customer.  A person who makes $15/hr is probably going to have less disposable income than a person who makes $75/hr, meaning that they have a slew of other expenses to consider before they'll think about unloading money on an MMO.  These prices indicate that ACE is targeting customers who are in the $75/hr or more bracket.  While I don't have any numbers to back it up, I don't doubt that ACE is using market analysis that indicates this demographic most likely to spend money on cash shop items in the first place.

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