I had to post a letter yesterday, a rare thing in this age of electronic communication. It’s been so long since I’ve posted a letter, the price had risen and I had to rummage in the family stamp trove to find the correct postage. Whilst rummaging, I stumbled across a Christmas stamp from 1980. Back then, it cost 15c to send a Christmas card by post; it cost 55 cents last Christmas. That’s a measure of inflation over the past 33 years.
Dimensions underwent a sudden inflation on June 12th this year, with the release of new dimension items vastly more expensive than pre-F2P. The sudden hike in item prices left many players feeling exploited by the apparent push to credit purchases. Cries of ‘cash cow’ entered the forum threads as players let their thoughts be known. How accurate is this player perception of dimensions as a cash raising exercise?
Daglar, game director at Trion, says that dimensions are not a large part of store income and the cash cow perception is inaccurate.
Third – No, dimensioneers are not a huge % of our income from the store, nor have they ever been expected to be. I’ve seen the “cash cow” threads – it’s just not accurate. No one wants to have to pay credits for anything of course – but were not “extra targeting dimension players” over any other type of player.
Bill “Daglar” Fisher
What keeps this controversy alive, months after F2P was introduced, when we should have settled in to the new world order? I’ve generated a few statistics in order to have a closer look a the state of dimension items in the game. What follows is a count of dimension items available through game play like achievements, crafting or fishing as opposed to those items only available for platinum.
|Category||In Game Before||Added After F2P|
|Less than 1 Platinum||121||9|
The ratio of dimension items available through game play to items available by purchase with platinum has changed dramatically since F2P. Before F2P, the ratio used to be 1.97 in favour of game play. Since F2P the ratio is 0.38, the number of items available through game play has been swamped by the number of items added via platinum purchase. That’s not surprising when we look at the number of items introduced in the game play categories. Events, fishing, lucky coins, crafting and questing had no new items added while items available for platinum increased by 796.
If we look at the items available for less than one platinum* on the 8th of September, 78% of old items could be purchased for less than one platinum. Of the items introduced with F2P, only 1% can be purchased for less than one platinum. Combining both pre- and post-F2P dimension items, 14% cost less than one platinum now, that’s one hell of a shift in the purchasing power of our platinum.
As an example of dimension costs, the plant category is typical of dimension item categories. The current average cost of plant items is 15 platinum and 30 gold. Using the plant category average, a 1000 item dimension would cost 15,300 platinum to build.** That’s months of platinum farming for the average player.
How expensive should it be to build a dimension? To me, a reasonable figure is 1,000 to 2,000 platinum, that’s a few weeks of solid farming. It is possible stick to the cheaper options, items gotten through fishing or crafting, and only purchasing items less than 1 platinum, but with all those pretty, new items added with the F2P conversion, who wants to limit themselves like that? It doesn’t seem like much fun.
High platinum prices drive purchasers toward credits. That’s not a bad thing if balanced correctly but balance doesn’t seem to be the current state of affairs. Eighty-six percent of dimension items are priced at 1 platinum or more. That’s 86% of dimension items pushing players to spend credits rather than spend their game time eternally farming platinum.
Dimensioneers may only contribute a small amount of the overall profit but we’re a small community. Perhaps a better question to ask – “Is the burden of making a profit fairly shared between all aspects of the game or do dimensioneers carry an extra burden?” I’d hate to think that 86% of the rest of the game is geared toward the cash shop.
Perception depends on where the viewer is standing. Daglar sees a large picture and says there is no intent to treat dimensioneers as cash cows but I’m not sure my statistics back up his belief. From the viewpoint of dimensioneers, looking at their own small corner of the game, do dimensioneers have support for their cries of ‘cash cow’? My own opinion is “Moooooooooooo” ***