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blankseplocked [Proposal] Thorough changes to the AUR store; WARNING: Logic inside!
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Posted - 2011.06.28 14:02:00 - [1]

After this last week's emotional rollercoaster and digesting all the available info, I've finally bent in to the desire to write this thread OP (despite my better judgement).

1.1 -> PURPOSE

No doubt if you've even bothered to crack open this thread, you're either for or against Incarna(ge, or Monoclegeddon?), and will without a hint of further reading likely attempt to derail this thread so that it may join the ocean of other derailed threads;

Please refrain from doing so, at least until you've read me out (unless you're scared a 3 year old 'newbie' like myself might change your mind). It's been said elsewhere, but honestly - if you've ever had any love for EVE, you would realise that at this point you're only hurting it more than it is hurting you.

However, IF you are genuinely a lover of EVE Online, I welcome you to read on, and eventually make a constructive comment, even if this thread only ever gets it's one page and is swiftly forgotten in the depths of the Assembly Hall or is trolled into oblivion.


This thread's main purpose is to outline some ideas for how the AUR store can/could be turned into something remotely acceptable.
Obviously we are almost all in agreement that AUR STORE MERCHANDISE SHOULD NEVER GO BEYOND VANITY ITEMS (/allcaps, exclamation mark); so with that out of the way, here are my points of view on a few points the CSM might want to consider bringing up to CCP on the topic of the AUR 'micro'transaction store.


Currently the AUR store only accepts one kind of payment by design, and that is AUR. The purpose of AUR is to 'granulate' PLEX as to create a 'PLEX sink' out of desireability for the offered items. This is currently not the case, as nigh on ALL of the store items cost more than their real life counterparts. Indeed, any item in the AUR store which costs more than 1 PLEX is a redundant item, as the store might as well just charge PLEX instead of AUR. Because of this, my proposal revolves around redesigning the AUR store to accomodate for "multiple requirements for the sale of a vanity item", such as faction LP and standings to name a few.


-2.1- Bulletpoints
So, to satisfy the 'bulletpoint quota', here are some bulletpoints:

- Redesign the AUR store so that:
- All items cost less than 1 PLEX worth of AUR (optional: increase AUR value of PLEX for added granularity?)
- EXCLUSIVE items should require additional conditions [section 3.2, see below for specifics]
- BASIC vanity items should require basic, easy to complete conditions.
- ALL items AUR prices should not directly devide or multiply into 3500.
- DO NOT reimburse currently purchased items, people made a preemtive investment - market damage control has never worked IRL.
- Itterate on the Character Creator, so that we are no longer dependant on it for anything but our passport photos!
- Make vanity items destroyable in some way, either through podding/ship loss/station- or sov flipping.
- Make our character photos be more passport photos, less 'real time representation'.


Posted - 2011.06.28 14:04:00 - [2]

Edited by: JamesCLK on 28/06/2011 14:53:38
Edited by: JamesCLK on 28/06/2011 14:24:59
Edited by: JamesCLK on 28/06/2011 14:11:53
Edited by: JamesCLK on 28/06/2011 14:10:50
Some of the above may need some explaining.


-3.1- Granularity
As stated above (in part 2.0), the purpose of AUR is to granulate PLEX, and anything costing more than 1 PLEX worth of AUR is redundant. However, due to the nature of the current store, AUR is the only currency accepted. The problem there is that PLEX are not infinite, there are only as many PLEX as have been bought, and with the current system, requireing 4-5 PLEX for ONE item is MUCH too large a sink on this delicate market. By changeing AUR prices to be more in the range of under AUR200 for basic clothing items, CCP does not get bad press for selling 20$ virtual shirts (as they would only apparently cost ~1$) AND the 'I really shouldn't' feeling becomes a lot easier to ignore; it's the difference between buying four EVE battleship replicas on the EVE Online store for 250$ (with a discount) and buying one for 75$.

From my experience, us EVE players range broadly in income. Some of us have barely enough real $ to play the game, some don't even have that and buy PLEX to keep playing (with ISK from missions for instance). This means that it is VITAL that the PLEX market remains somewhat stable, and what CCP currently did with the AUR store was drop a huge rock into the bathtub - unfortunately, this bathtub is made of paper thin glass, so now there's water all over the bathroom.

The problem remains that it is vastly easier to make ISK ingame than $ IRL. Some people have billions of isk, whereas others do not. So how do you price things apropriately? You need to make it accessible to the average player, but also desirable enough for the 'upper class'. Currently, only the later can afford these things - but then again, the store IS called the NOBLE Exchange.

The bottom line of that point is: CCP made a big mistake by only using AUR in the NEx, and it has the potential to ruin the PLEX market fundamentally.

-3.2- Exclusives
The idea behind vanity items for $ is that people should be compelled to invest in their look. While this may seem like another argument for keeping space barbie and ken (no refrences to the ingame characters by those names intended, I love them too Wink) it is the fundamental driving and balancing force that seperates 'useless junk I'd never want' from 'holy moly, I WANT THAT NAO!'.

I would seriously put on the table that CCP SHOULD AND MUST itterate on the NEx. The current 'Navy' brand of clothes should not be available to everyone! If it is supposed to be a status symbol, it should be exclusive. And by exclusive, I mean have other requirements to obtain than having a lot of AUR.

Let me go a bit into depth on that last sentance.
One of the arguments in the recent EVE Tribune (issue 26 y6 - 'Incarna for them' go read it now, beat the rush!) is about just how different a playerbase the In- and Out of station environments risk to become.

While opening a whole parallel universe full of broaches and hair salons won't make our stuff go away - it will change its value. While winning war decs and masterminding null-sec wars might mean a lot in space - when you dock you can be eclipsed in stature by the guy who just spent a hundred real dollars on a new cod-piece.

The above quote is what the current NEx offers could lead into. WiS should require FiS and vice versa, otherwise the integral sci-fi MMO feeling is replaced with one where we have 'us' (the FiS vets and fans of spaceships alike) and 'them' (the people who have no interest in ever undocking). This is bad for EVE, and it is bad for all of us - most of all for CCP.

Posted - 2011.06.28 14:07:00 - [3]

Edited by: JamesCLK on 28/06/2011 14:31:12
The solution? Make any non ordinary and basic items in the NEx require additional conditions. It really is almost that simple, as it turns the 'rich sucker' navy jackets into status and acheivment symbols (and we all know everyone is secretly an acheivmentist). For example:

Caldari Navy 'Captain' Ceremonial Jacket:
-Caldari Captain Rank in Faction Warfare required
-2000 Caldari Navy LP

With the above pricetag, the Jacket in question could even be given as a faction warfare reward uppon rank aquisition!
All of a sudden, you stand out from the crowd; what you wear shows your status in New Eden.

And say you get demoted, or even fired? Well you can still wear the jacket, but it won't let you into that 'Caldari Militia Exclusive' Bar anymore, even less it's Captain+ area (also notice how now it isn't a vanity item, but because it is reasonably priced - affordable and somewhat exclusive, AND can be awarded through other means than the AUR store, it is much more acceptable than if it was AUR only).

This idea could and should be implemented for ALL non basic vanity items (how much would YOU pay for an awesome Guristas Monocle? Too bad you don't have the standings! :evil laughter:). Just as ship modules have faction variants, the basic NEx store items need faction variants, even if it is just another colour or slight model change. When was there ever a notion of the Incarna environment purposely being any different from the rest of EVE?

The bottom line of this point is: WiS feels like something that isn't EVE, one major contributor is that there is no requirement for Incarna features AS OF THIS MOMENT to rely on the rest of the features (and vice versa). CHANGE THAT! The two environments should be playable independantly, but should also reward those willing to use both! If CCP is scared that people will not use a feature, MAKE IT WORTH OUR WHILE!


-3.3- The Character Creator
I have a bone or two to pick with it (dev pun intended).

Yes, the Character creator CCP has developed with their Carbon tech resources is amazing, but it also has it's imperfections.
Currently, the NEx vanity items are indestructible. If you are podded with your monocle, it doesn't dissapear. This is a problem, as these vanity items are also on the market. The market for anything indestructible is doomed to eventually fail as supply increases and demand decreases (less people will want one as everyone already has one, suddenly the ones without monocles stand out).

Make vanity items destructible, but also less of an incentive to gank (current monocle wearers beware, 'THEY' are out to get you).
The character recustomisation should only be used for our photos, not our real time avatars. Changeing clothes outside of the recustomisation session should be as easy as refitting a ship: simply stand infront of your mirror and drag a piece of clothing onto your avatar. Rescustomisation should be kept as a passport photo opportunity/updater. I'm sure no one in their right mind always wears what they had on 5+ years ago when they took their last passport photo.

Here is the catch though. Make the passport photo update automatically every time you add time to your account. This is for both lore, and practicality reasons. For starters, it means that someone who 'loaned' a monocle for their photo and then resold it only has it until his next Liscence renewal (there's the lore refrence, when you update your liscence, you need to submit a new photo, nifty, no?). On a practicality level, since you already save the expressions, lighting and pose, automating the entire process for each character once a month shouldn't be a big problem for the briliant AI programmers at CCP.

Posted - 2011.06.28 14:09:00 - [4]

Additionally, with direct implications to this, add an option on the CQ mirror to access the garderobe (you know, the clothes dresser?), which would basically be a real time catalogue of all your accessible accessories (like a station item hangar but for clothes).

Issues that this solves:
- Jumping clones.
- Getting podded with vanity clothes.
- Changeing clothes without changeing your general appearance.

Damn, this is turning into a long post, just a bit more to go though...




-4.1- Conclusion
Right now, being CCP has got to be incredibly stressing. It's a hard job to develop and push out these expansions. Unfortunately the perfect fuel was added to the perfect storm, which lead to an apocalypse of before never seen outrage in the community. Trade hubs were locked down with protesters, rendering the game often unbearable to play in the long run for a lot of us. A now over 400 page Threadpocalypse/Threadtitan of rage was created in the process. The fact that leaked info was made public by EN24 at the same time made the situation so volatile it literally exploded. CCP took a while to realise just how much anger they were dealing with, it rivaled and probably even surpassed the T20 incident, which (as we should know) prompted the creation of the CSM. Just don't let that get to your head, ever. As players and customers, yes. We are powerful - but with great power comes great ponies/responsability; so if you want to ride the white pony, realise it might evolve into a horse and throw you off it's back.

-4.2- Shoutouts

To the CSM:
I trust your competancy completely, and I know that as much as Mittens 'doesn't care about' some or all of these things, he is the chairman and will do the right things in the end. Likewise to the rest of the CSM: show CCP the light at the end of the tunnel - just don't let it be a Fenrir freighter on colision course with their sturdy ship.

I don't know how your current methods of communication with the playerbase work on an internal level, but I would heavily suggest that you rethink them. As was mentioned elsewhere, starting a monthly Q&A newsletter in the shape of a devblog would be a huge step in the right direction. Preferably, create an EVE Gate feature to let players send their questions reliably and easily (it also makes eve gate more useful, the lack thereof being the primary reason so few use it to begin with). This last week has been nothing less than Public Relations-ageddon, don't ever let it repeat itself again (at least keep that mindset).

Don't get me wrong, I'm angry at you for releasing Incarna as unfinished as it is, despite whatever release shedule you had in mind, this is borderline 'incomplete feature that should only be on sisi/duality right now'. But I'm also more than willing to forgive you for all the mess if you let us help you clean it up.

To the Community:
CHILL OUT! CCP screwed up- admittedly big time, but it's time to put down the pitchforks and torches and to show everyone that you are capable of something other than rageing like spoilt brats in a toy store. Show CCP what makes the eve community great, show them why we love EVE and keep it dearly in our heart. We are all scared of what EVE might devolve into if handled incorrectly (see EA/Sony), but now that CCP has decided on what it's next steps are (flying the CSM to Iceland for the 2nd ever emergency meeting in the history of EVE) it is time to take a step back, take a deep breath, and take a fresh look at the situation.

I started blameing CCP initially, but now it's the community which is starting to look immature and irresponsibly hell bent on destruction. ARE YOU?!

Thank you for reading all of the above (assuming you did). You may now tell me how much of a CCP alt/supporter/naive person I appear to be. Or maybe you'll actually support this and prove how wrong I am in assuming the forum community only rages.

Posted - 2011.06.28 14:18:00 - [5]

Edited by: JamesCLK on 28/06/2011 19:42:27
I don't know if 4 posts can be considered an OP, but uhh... Laughing

Flame ON!

EDIT: Oh... I almost forgot! Embarassed
Do feel free to add your 'support' to this thread if you so desire. The option is right by your reply/edit text box. Thanks? Idea

Brutor Tribe
Posted - 2011.06.28 15:55:00 - [6]

The thing I'd like to ask you is:
Is the game better because these involve AUR instead of ISK/LP
Does CCP really need this extra cashflow to develop EVE?
Is this cashflow going to go to EVE at all?

Nariya Kentaya
Coalition Of Gentlemen.
Posted - 2011.06.28 17:00:00 - [7]

Originally by: Shandir
The thing I'd like to ask you is:
Is the game better because these involve AUR instead of ISK/LP
Does CCP really need this extra cashflow to develop EVE?
Is this cashflow going to go to EVE at all?

IMO, no, yes, and no, in that order.

Posted - 2011.06.28 19:36:00 - [8]

Edited by: JamesCLK on 28/06/2011 19:47:16
Edited by: JamesCLK on 28/06/2011 19:46:15
Originally by: Shandir
The thing I'd like to ask you is:
Is the game better because these involve AUR instead of ISK/LP
Does CCP really need this extra cashflow to develop EVE?
Is this cashflow going to go to EVE at all?

The game does not nescessarily become better because the NEx involves AUR instead of ISK or LP (or any other payment for that matter). However, I strongly feel that for anything that is off the general market (and is hence somewhat exclusive), no one currency should dominate. The existing LP stores charge tags, misc items, as well as LP and ISK. Surprised
ISK, by it's very definition is the base currency of EVE Online, no general transaction should not involve it - AUR or otherwise. ISK should be the majority cost of an item, with AUR/LP/anything else as a token side fee (if we're talking about creating items out of thin air; upgrades like the IW scorp should either come as paintbuckets for maybe a dozen AUR, some ISK, a faction standing with Ishukone requirement, or as the ship itself with the prior requirements plus a base Scorpion)Neutral

CCP does need this extra cashflow to develop it's three currently in development titles: DUST 514, WoD and ofcourse EVE Online (EVE is still in development, durr). There has been multiple threads on this in the general discussions part of the forum. Right now however, I'd rather point people to buy things from the real EVE store than the Noble Exchange (because you can get a REAL eve T-shirt for 20$ Laughing).

As an extention of that, the cashflow will probably not go to EVE alone. It is logical to assume that it would go to whereever CCP needs it most. Question

Posted - 2011.06.28 19:47:00 - [9]

I still say get rid of MT altogether. LP stores are the appropriate place for clothing and trinkets. If players want to earn them sooner, they can buy PLEX to get better ships and mods in order to complete more missions/FW in their available playtime.

However if the MT store is here to stay - ugg - then the OP has some decent ideas.

Posted - 2011.06.28 19:52:00 - [10]

Edited by: JamesCLK on 28/06/2011 20:01:46
Originally by: Toovhon
I still say get rid of MT altogether. LP stores are the appropriate place for clothing and trinkets. If players want to earn them sooner, they can buy PLEX to get better ships and mods in order to complete more missions/FW in their available playtime.

However if the MT store is here to stay - ugg - then the OP has some decent ideas.

Thank you, it's nice to know I'm not a fundamentally flawed individual!

I severely doubt that the so called 'MT store' will be removed, CCP wanted/needed a PLEX sink (a way that isn't adding game time to your account but still removes PLEX from the game - see the 'recent' change to plex that let you put them in your cargo hold and move them!) so that the ammount of PLEX created (ie. ammount of 15$ sent to CCP for a PLEX) increases. Indeed, right now, CCP probably makes a large percentage of it's money from PLEX! I say this because there is a much larger potential for multiple subscriptions values to be consumed with PLEX by a single player than without PLEX. Someone might fund their account with their credit card, and supply their character with ISK with PLEX, all of a sudden this person has doubled or even trippled his contribution to CCP!

EDIT: some random guesstimates:
- Right now there are over 2500 PLEX on the open market, that's 37500$ worth of PLEX.
- Most of these are in the quantity range of 1-2 units.
- The daily movement is about 260 last I checked, so that means that every day 4000$ of PLEX are put up for sale. That's 117,000$ a month.


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