Ebon Gate and Microtransactions

Monday, August 7th, 2017, 4:20:53 PM

Posting this discussion here for any that don't wish to post on the PC or Officials, though I am not sure how much that applies to this website.

There is currently a sizable debate taking place on the officials regarding the introduction of microtransactions into EG. You will no longer have unlimited access to the games for the cost of a ticket. There are other details to the festival, including tiered pricing for access, but the main argument stems around the gating of access beyond Simucoin paywalls. Here is the initial post in the thread for context:

Some may agree, others won't. Some won't care either way and continue to pay on these micro transactions being implemented on a large scale.

Maybe I'm just someone that likes how things functioned in the past and would like to see things stay that way....that's what I loved about Gemstone. What I do know is how much frustration and sadness I have hearing about how the last venue in GSIV (Ebon Gate) is taking an ugly turn to the micro transactions to nickel and dime customers.

I figured something distasteful would be coming our way when it was announced that EG tickets were changing to General Tickets and that a new currency would be introduced, but after hearing details of State of Elanthia from simucon feed, my thoughts about the direction this game is heading were confirmed (though I can honestly say it happened faster then I though it would). I can genuinely say I'm disgusted with the direction everything has gone the past few years. This was just the final piece that tipped me over the edge. I've been teetering for a while, but not anymore.

I hear EG will be open to all. I hear the theme is changing to island/beach and you can earn seashell currency that's strictly EG only. I know that EG tickets were changed to "general tickets" and the tickets may not even have any use at EG. I hear EG will having digging, but it'll work like DR and require you to buy shovels/pickaxes via SimuCoins. Games at EG may also fall into this SimuCoin category as well. I hear EG will have shops, but they won't be accessible unless you buy "a la carte" passes, which most likely means through SimuCoins.

So, gone are the days of being able to spend $40-75 (depending on the event and/or level of ticket) to have access to a week long event of shops/merchants and other special things only found at the event. Now they want everyone to have access to everything, but require you to spend money at the SimuCoin store for slot machine chances at digging, games and getting access to shops.

I thought maybe another year or two would be in store for the game staying away from all events being tied to nickle and diming folks for slot machine chances at stuff, but my estimated timetable was off. The entire game just feels like some sad attempt at cash grabbing now and I feel awful for those that have gambling problems that may sink ungodly amounts of money into the game for what I see as so little in return.

I suppose what I spend on the game is just a small drop in the bucket compared to other people.... The $700+ a year I put into it just isn't worth it anymore for me to support something that I find disgusting with how it's all changed. I have so much more to say about all this and everything else that bothers me, but it took great effort not to say what I already have without being nasty. I'm greatly disappointed and with a heavy heart, I bid this game farewell. I wish to remember this game how I once knew it and for what it was when I fell in love with it.


(The first and second of Wyrom's replies:)

I understand your (everyone's) concerns with the pricing structure to events. We balance the majority of everything at these microtrans events for smaller purchases. It might feel like you have to spend a lot, but that's if you want a lot. I could go into a lot of this, but I'd likely come off defensive. All I'll say is, you're allowing something to bother you that doesn't have to bother you. And you're also judging EG before it has happened. Just stop going to events if they bug you. Enjoy all the benefits that these events are giving the game as a whole.

One thing I heard a few times at SimuCon and that I see repeated on the forums is silver drain. I've talked about this before in more detail, but I'll say it again. Events are not silver drains. Events don't drain silvers. More silvers are generated at events and prior to events than are removed from events. When an event is happening, players just make more silver than ever before. If one trillion silver are made in a month on average, an event just causes players to generate 5 trillion silver a month before it starts. Silver drains require tedium.

Wyrom, PM

(And here is his last reply addressing a large amount of posts some time later. )

Have we really fallen so far down the micro transaction hole? Now we've gone from telling people that not all events are for everyone, when micro transactions are a concern, to just don't go to any events? I understand the sentiment of "wait for more details" but this makes me worry that I won't like them shen I hear them.

No, but at the end of the day, events are extras that we put on. They don't hinder gameplay. They are 100% optional to go to. If you don't enjoy something, the best way to tell us is by not going. Offer feedback (after the fact). Tell us where to improve.

So let me ask, straight up, can I pay $50 and get thr same level of access to EG this year that I got last year? Keep in mind that included digging and/or games for 8+ hours a day while the event was open. Beyond that are there any plans to continue running at least one yearly event which has a flat access fee to enjoy ALL aspects of the event without any micro transactions present?

Simply put, no. A person doing EG 120 hours during the course of it being opened is on the high side of everything. You represent a group of outliers when we look at the data. I've said this before and I'll say it again, the all-inclusive event ticket was not helping us grow. We hardly made our targets when it came to those revenue streams.

Whether you care about GM morale or not is up to you, but I will let you know that things are in a better position these days. Look at old posts or even look at the GM roster. We have staff that have been here for years. Turnover is not as high as it use to be. You have experienced staff who are constantly getting better at what they are doing.

Events are also a great way for GMs to earn some extra money.

I'm trying to trust you here because you've always been great. I hope the details you want us to wait for bear that out. It just sounds like every event is turning into a reskinnrd form of Dudkruin and I despise that pricing model. I justify event purchases on an enjoyment hour per dollar basis compared to buying a new console RPG. EG always met that criteria and DR never had.

Ebon Gate is not going to be a reskinned Duskruin. Yes, some of what we've learned from Duskruin is being applied to the new Ebon Gate, but GM Haliste and I had many meetings on Skype and through Google Hangouts on what to do here. I don't feel like I've ever done something to make you (the players) not trust me. You might not have been happy about an update, but I come here to keep the communication open with you.

Bottom line, if we've gone from some events aren't for me to no events are then maybe the game isn't for me anymore. Events are the draw that hooks me back in after a break. without them I'm likely to just fade away.

That's up to you. But we're also doing things that aren't pay events now too.

No offense but this statement really really bugs me. No passive agressivness here. You have said that about a number of events lately. Besides Briarmoon Cove, Ebon Gate was one of the truly fun events. I pay my 50 dollars and go get merchant, neat stuff, and play games for silvers or dig. I like Duskruin as well but that's a simucoin event.

Ebon Gate is going to be a great event. Try not to take offense to the comment. It was genuine when I posted it. We have to modernize our approach though, because doing things like we have been over the years... We have 30 years of data to support that.

If i don't like fluff maybe this one isn't for me. If i don't like this maybe it's not for me. Well I love EBON Gate and want to keep on loving it.

Ebon Gate has always been a venue to debut new stuff. It's not the most powerful event. It's not the most fluff event. It's always been an event where lots of GMs code new things. That's not changing.

DRUMPEL's math

I went to review your specific data after your original post, and I'm not seeing you having much historic data with pay events. But either way, I'll address the math.

Digging/Games have very low odds under silver. Events like Duskruin, DM, etc have much higher odds and always have results that give something of value. YOU might not value it, but we make sure the return is equivalent to the SimuCoin buy in. So while your numbers are accurate, it's not the same. And EG isn't going to be the same as the Duskruin Dig. But digging (and games) didn't ever make up a quarter of the attendees activity. Even the Necropolis was only completed by about 25% of accounts that went. I speak for the majority of the data when I say the numbers.

Ya'll are changing something that has been pretty much the same for a very long time, and in an unsettling direction. I understand that judgement is somewhat premature, but when the PM replies with for all intents and purposes "If you don't like it, go spit!," well...

Yes, we're modernizing the game and trying to grow. Nothing we did prior had growth. Nothing we did prior moved us in a direction other than in a downward spiral over the years. I'm not telling anyone to "go spit" but I'm certainly saying if you don't think you'd enjoy this, no need to go. It's an extra. You're not going to hurt our feelings if you don't want to go.

What I really dislike though, is the introduction of yet another form of currency. You continue to devalue Silvers, by simply not using them. You can say "events don't drain silvers" till you're blue in the face, but what you are doing does indeed have an impact on the economy of the game, and a healthy, robust economy is one of the hallmarks of Gemstone that most games have not been able to replicate. There has to be a use for the silvers we generate by playing the game on a daily basis. Introducing alt currencies takes away from that.

We drained more silver at the 2016 auction than we would have drained in 10 Ebon Gates. So I find it hard to get on that level that we're not draining silver in the same regard. Saying we are devaluing isn't true. This is very anecdotal. We just are balancing pay events differently.

I'll close this post by saying I also think a lot of you are forgetting about the SimuCoin Rewards every month as well. Some of you saving won't even pay a thing outside your subscription cost. It's hard to tell us this model isn't working when we are seeing participation counts that are 1000% higher than ever before. And I'm talking about people going to the event, not how much they bring in.

Wyrom, PM

Monday, August 7th, 2017, 4:29:16 PM

Link to PC for other responses: http://forum.gsplayers.com/showthread.php?110775-Ebon-Gate-and-Microtransactions