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Lilandraa
Posted - 2011.06.28 20:45:00 - [1]
 

Edited by: Lilandraa on 28/06/2011 22:18:43
In the [CROWD SOURCE] Microtransactions vote thread, i voted for Cosmetic items MT only, with some requirements. But the reply I ended up writing was so long it turned into a thread of its own. I was trying to explain my views on the market and my worries about MT systems in EvE.

I've read a lot of arguments lately for and against MT in a competitive non f2p mmo, but I feel that the core issue is not being stressed enough: the ability to turn cash into ingame wealth or power. Isk, not just power items. So in this thread I'll explain my understanding of the eve market and the effects of cash flowing into the game. I'll also explain why I feel that CCP can't control the cash to isk market the way they seem to intend, and I'll propose an alternative MT system that includes a control by the player base and market.

I haven't played this game as long as some of you may have, so I know I sure as hell don't know everything. If you feel that I'm wrong, then please enlighten everyone and let's at least have a discussion about the market for cash to isk trading in EvE and vanity items MT.

And to anyone who takes the effort, thanks for reading Very Happy

*give me a minute, posting the rest asap

Lilandraa
Posted - 2011.06.28 20:48:00 - [2]
 

Edited by: Lilandraa on 28/06/2011 21:13:18
I believe plex only worked (read: didn't break the game while allowing ppl to trade cash for isk(power)) because it was a contained market with a built-in control. Because plex was only good for game time the (real) demand for plex was relative to the percentage of the eve population willing to trade isk for game time (except for some market manipulation by players). Another good argument for plex was that cash for ingame money trading is going to happen in any mmo, so you may as well have some oversight and control over it. The amount of cash flowing into the game through plex hasn't broken the game for me and that amount would only have increased relative to the eve populations' growth (and the popularity of game time for isk). I'm against cash for power or ingame money in any comptetitive non-f2p mmo, but even I thought the plex system was pretty ingenious.

Now ccp wants to introduce some more cash to isk markets in the game. I know that's not what they're "meant" to be, but they facilitate it. I'm not against that as long as it's equally limited and there's a strong control in place. I think there's enough room in eve for a little bit more cash to isk features because I believe eve players will be able to adapt and overcome a SLIGHT isk advantage that a cash->isk trader might have. Also the fun these features might add to the game could be worth it, like being able to buy game time for isk is pretty awesome.

Vanity items work great for players as there's no competitive advantage and they work great for ccp because of their relatively low development cost (and there's no subscriptions lost like with plex). I'm worried though that enlarging the market for cash to isk items (plex and AUR items) could imbalance the game. It's undeniable that the percentage of the eve population that would buy vanity items for isk if they were available at reasonable prices is much larger than the percentage willing to buy game time for isk.

So without the self-regulation through demand mechanism that plex had the only control left for the flow of cash to isk through the AUR items market is through controlling AUR items supply. If that really is the plan I very much wonder how much supply they're planning on. Because in order to keep the game balanced that way they MAY have to either:

A. Make plex prices very low to saturate the market quickly: that's a no go i'd think!
B. Keep plex/AUR items very expensive: Doesn't really fix the problem and will probably just cause discontent.
C. Keep plex/AUR item supply FAR below demand: Would put a domper on MT sales and annoy the players who now really want their vanity items.

So in my opinion they can't control the market through AUR item supply alone. I believe the only way to control the flow of cash to isk is to tie it directly to either an activity or the growth of the eve population with a ratio that the eve universe can cope with. With microtransactions I believe that control should be required items for each microtransaction that have to be earned through an ingame activity or traded on the player market. If you couple microtransaction items to ingame earned items you make the eve universe adapt in order to accommodate the coming inflow of cash. Any item that is added through microtransactions has already been "worked" for ingame and the price of a MT-required item on the player market would be relative to the price of its finished MT'd product (minimizing cash to isk profit). Ofcourse that would break one of the important ideas behind microtransactions: saving yourself the trouble of earning things.

Lilandraa
Posted - 2011.06.28 20:51:00 - [3]
 

Edited by: Lilandraa on 28/06/2011 22:51:17
So this is where I ask CCP to be bold as they claim they are. Try and think outside the popular MT box for EvE. There are two big differences from the standard f2p MT model anyway; you've got lots of paying subscribers and the eve crowd is NOT your average mmo crowd. If anything, Eve is about EARNING stuff ingame through dedication of time and effort, more than any mmo I've played so far. I think eve players are happy to put in a little bit of work, and will still be just as excited about the exclusive vanity items that MT offers them.

This approach would provide several controls with which the player market can be allowed to incorporate MT-items and eventually find the right prices. MT required item spawn rates can be managed and a price can be set for the required items’ reprocessed materials (or an npc hand-in reward). In the case of disruptive market manipulation by players, like artificial scarcity over a longer period, the spawn rates can be adjusted upwards to compensate. In case of market saturation, reprocessing the required item or handing the item in to an npc for a reward should be more profitable than selling the required item on the player market. With varying supply and shortages due to required item spawn rates and market activity you can add a whole layer of trading, collecting and combining gameplay to MT. A gameplay mechanic of its own that doesn't affect the balance of power.

That would solve the issues with anything "appearing out of thin air", supply and demand of the AUR items market would be controlled through the eve population and the exchange rate (profitability) for cash to isk could be managed through plex and AUR store prices. CCP could manually change the cost of plex/AUR items or link aur item prices to the required items market to throttle the amount of cash to isk flowing into the game. Such a link “could” mean for instance that CCP would lower the AUR price of an MT-item if its required item is abundant on the market, and raise the price when it becomes scarce again. If CCP could find the right price for required items' reprocessed minerals (or npc rewards), the right spawn rate for required items and the right price/exchange rate for AUR store items, I think the eve universe would very well balance itself out around vanity items microtransactions.

Funny part of it is: CCP would have paying subscribers working FOR them making them even more money, while they're having fun!

Final note: I’ve not discussed Dust in this post because I don’t really know yet how exactly it will tie into the ingame economy. I think another thread would be more appropriate for that discussion though.

And if anyone got this far, thanks for reading!

Kaelie Onren
Minmatar
Posted - 2011.06.29 11:22:00 - [4]
 

Edited by: Kaelie Onren on 29/06/2011 11:22:27
It's actually quite simple.
AUR is introduced to control the PLEX prices. As CCP has no way to control plex prices directly (when I say price, I mean price in ISK, as we will assume that changing the USD cost of PLEX is a no go, as that is pinned by the monthy subscription price)

so, how do you control the price of something that you can't control directly? By controlling the supply or demand of it. (It's exactly how the fed controls the value of USD by tweaking interest rates.)

So how can you control the price of PLEX? by providing a PLEX sink. IE AUR and the stuff it can buy.
They DON'T want to introduce anything that will affect the game mechanics. Really, they don't. Why? because that will just cause people to get angry, and it would make USD->PLEX->AUR more likely than just if the items were vanity. For vanity, the AUR supply will come mostly from ISK wallets of trillionaires, which is exactly what CCP wants, and what Trillionaires want too. Maybe things like custom corp logos can be bought with AUR, and other things that show wealth. Besides, you can't exactly fly your Titans around Jita to show your superiority. But you can sure as heck wear a monocle.

Lilandraa
Posted - 2011.06.29 11:58:00 - [5]
 

Edited by: Lilandraa on 29/06/2011 12:33:30
Thanks for the reply :)

Originally by: Kaelie Onren
It's actually quite simple.
AUR is introduced to control the PLEX prices. As CCP has no way to control plex prices directly (when I say price, I mean price in ISK, as we will assume that changing the USD cost of PLEX is a no go, as that is pinned by the monthy subscription price)


Agreed, though I've read that CCP has limited the supply of plex in the past in order to control the market.

Originally by: Kaelie Onren

so, how do you control the price of something that you can't control directly? By controlling the supply or demand of it. (It's exactly how the fed controls the value of USD by tweaking interest rates.)

So how can you control the price of PLEX? by providing a PLEX sink. IE AUR and the stuff it can buy.
They DON'T want to introduce anything that will affect the game mechanics. Really, they don't. Why? because that will just cause people to get angry, and it would make USD->PLEX->AUR more likely than just if the items were vanity.


So if I understand correctly you do agree that vanity items sales through MT would facilitate cash->isk trading to some extent.

Originally by: Kaelie Onren
For vanity, the AUR supply will come mostly from ISK wallets of trillionaires, which is exactly what CCP wants, and what Trillionaires want too. Maybe things like custom corp logos can be bought with AUR, and other things that show wealth. Besides, you can't exactly fly your Titans around Jita to show your superiority. But you can sure as heck wear a monocle.



How exactly does the aur supply come mostly from ISK wallets of trillionaires when AUR can only be made from plex, which can only be created with cash? Even if those plex would've already been in the game before vanity items mt (why youd want a plex sink), a lot of plex may not have been exchanged for isk yet. In other words, their real value atm is only their cash investement untill they are sold on the isk market by the person who bought them for cash. The turnover rate/profitability for plex on the market was linked to the actual amount of plex consumed by the population for game time, whereas now it would be linked to the demand for vanity items instead.

Also it may not be possible to fly your titans around jita, but those extra iskies may well fund a war in nullsec.

*couple of edits in the last paragraph


 

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