Cash Stops Can Be Confusing

Conversions of business models seem to be a complicated matter.  SWTORs hot bars, EQ2’s well, everything, LOTROs descent into madness – all show that it’s a hard thing to figure out how to make a buck.  I’ll give Rift and TSW a thumb’s up mind you, those were pretty good at the start.  Wildstar, while probably one of the most forgiving F2P games out there, is a true headscratcher in terms of trying to make money.  The devs are learning though, so that’s good – the Shade’s Eve fabkit is no longer single use, flair is dropping in game, so there’s some progress.

Aside from costumes, items in the cash stop are nearly all single use, single character – mounts, pets, consumables and service tokens (I’ll get to these in a minute).  I don’t mind that so much, since you want repeat purchases.  What I do mind is the price point against repeat purchases.  See, Wildstar allows you to create a lot of alts.  I think my account, since I bought a box a while back, allows for 14 characters.  Mounts and pets don’t cross the character line, so if I want the same mount I need to buy it multiple times.  At $15-$20 a purchase, I don’t see how this makes any lick of sense.  I’d gladly pay it for the entire account, for sure!  A month’s subscription cost for a mount ain’t a bad deal at all.  There are plenty of posts on reddit and on the official forums about this topic alone, I’d expect some movement eventually.  I’m in a pickle mind you, since there are limited time mounts (for Shade’s Eve and zPrix) that will go poof soon, and they are neato.

Service tokens are the solution to the game’s gold sink.  Sure, they let you teleport a 2nd time across the world but aside from leveling, I don’t know anyone who would actually use them for that purpose.   They are really meant to bypass RNGsus when re-rolling runes.  When that starts costing a plat or so per re-roll, service tokens are looking pretty tempting.  They are decently priced but nearly directly tied to power increases.  For at most 35 tokens, you can get the best rune slot setup possible, with a further max of 5 for every new piece of gear.  You still need the runes to insert, and those can’t be bought from the store, so there’s some fancy wall there.

The game also has a variant on lockboxes, with some fortune coins to gamble with.  There is so little push on this, I’m curious if people are even aware that it exists.  It’s quite different that other F2P games.

The real kicker for me though is the subscription option.  There are benefits, sure, but they are so weak I don’t see why anyone would be subbed more than a month.  Getting MORE rep or cash/credits just means you hit the cap faster.  I hit the elder gem and omnibits cap weekly already, so there isn’t exactly an incentive there.  For those that don’t, even that isn’t really motivating.  You don’t get a discount in the shop, you don’t get any NCoin either.  You actually seem to get more benefit from buying directly from the shop, in terms of that progress bar at the top, than you do from subscribing.  So, I’m not quite sure why it’s even an option.  I’d be curious as to what the beancounters are saying though.

EDIT: Syp has a post similar in tone.

I’m kinda hoping they tweak it a bit more, because the stuff in that store is making me feel like

frymoney

zPrix

Yesterday’s patch added the zPrix event to the game.  It’s a set of 3 hoverboard races, with 4 options for rewards each.  There’s also a hoverboard mount in the store (with the above issues) and it looks super cool.  That’s right, super.  The races themselves come with a teleport button to the starting line.  Each one is just around a minute, minute-and-a-half long.  You win by finishing, not by getting an amazing time.  Rewards are a title, costume pieces and housing items.  I ran all 3 on 2 characters, so the costume is fully unlocked and I have a burning wall of fire on my housing plot as well.

The races themselves are quite a lot of fun.  Trying them the 2nd time had me looking for shortcuts, or better lines through to make better time.  Quick, easy, fun.  Nothing wrong with that!

The patch also applied some changes to the Quiet Downs instance for Shade’s Eve, or at least did so for me. The starting point is random now, though the map is the same.  (For those struggling to get through the maze in time, the end goal is the ? in the middle of the map.  Just south of that is the graveyard, which is really quite easy to spot from a distance.  In that graveyard are two tombs with a wall at the back – the wall has a fence on top – the goal is behind that fence.  I’ve been unable to jump that fence so I instead take the a different path.  The right most tomb is surrounded by a gate.  One of the corner posts of that gate allows you to jump to the higher wall (east side).  I jump up there, and head north to the end point.  I can clear with about 90 seconds to spare.  Also, you can miss 2 objectives and still get a gold medal for 50 Shades, it that matters to you.)

Jack Shade has also been tweaked.  He has many more attacks, summons jabbits, has pretty nasty AE and is actually a fight I need to move around in now.  I’m hoping this was just me hitting a simple bug, but the previous fights were just DPS runs, with an interrupt every so often.  Every run ends with a loot bag, so I’m stocking up on housing decorations.

Two events at once, both are quite fun.

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