I’ve been thinking about the Shop for a while, basically since I’ve been playing this game as it is in a sense, the backbone of the developers’ design. What’s that you say? “I thought collecting gear and matching gems was the backbone of this game!” Oh you peasant! The real heart of the game, its life blood so to speak, is how often the developers’ can get you to purchase items from the shop. There will be plenty of people making every possible decision based around never spending a single penny. But many others will make decisions based on the value of the acquisitions they can obtain with sometimes modest, sometimes more grand purchases. We all know that if nobody bought anything, there would be no game! So let’s continue on the assumption that the Shop is fundamentally important to the lifecycle of the game and is in some ways as interesting as the game itself.
Some ground rules:
- The Free-to-Play (F2P, freemium) game model is the design mode of PQ3. I do not care to argue over whether the choice to make PQ3 f2p is good or bad, or whether it makes the game bad in absolute terms compared to PQ1 or PQ2. The game is the game and that’s what we’ve got to play with.
- My interest is simply how the Shop functions. I have no interest in debating whether the designers are casino slum lords or drug dealers or any other scurrilous term bandied about due to a distaste for F2P design. People are free to make choices about their purchases, whether its going out to eat, what car to drive, and how much they want to spend on games or gaming transactions.
- My focus will be on the functionality and the values offered in the shop: what is offered, at what price, and how these things change from update to update. I would love to hear feedback from folks about their thoughts and experiences on all things Shop-related as long as it is not “the shop sucks!”. We get it! They will never get your money!
- All Pricing discussion is in $US. Sorry!
- Crowns - currently a purchase-only currency; the baseline for evaluating the purchasing power of other currencies as both gems and gold can be acquired directly (and indirectly) through crowns
- Gems - in-game awarded currency from completing storyline quest matches, sidequests, participating in PVP and Leaderboards, and other means. The primary source of gems for new players is storyline/sidequest playthrough. The total gems able to be earned this way is 5,626 per playthrough (or 28,125 for all five playthroughs). Other than weekly PVP participation (average of a few hundred to over 1,500 per player), there are few other ways to earn gems through gameplay
- Gold - In-game awarded currency from playing PVP, Skirmish, Dungeon, Storyline, and Sidequest matches. Additionally can be earned from the follower Elyra. Subject to caps based on the level of the follower Auri. Essentially an inexhaustible currency as it can be earned from virtually all play modes.
- Honor - In-game awarded currency earned from playing PVP ranked matches. Can not be acquired with Crowns, Gems, or Gold and therefore is not currently considered as part of this analysis as it represents a means of in-game exchange for other resources (keys, food, ore, etc.)
Current Shop prices of Crowns, Gems, and Gold:
The baseline purchase price for Crowns is 250 / $4.99 or essentially $0.02 / Crown (this pricing has been consistent Pre and Post-0.35 Update). Larger lot purchases of Crowns can be made for a discount. For comparison purposes, all reference to Gems and Gold purchases will be in terms of the baseline Crowns purchase (250 Crowns). Gems can be acquired at the equivalent of 500 Gems for / $4.99 (250 Crowns) or essentially 2 Gems / Crown. Gold can be acquired with Gems for 2,000 Gold / 50 Gems (20,000 Gold / 500 Gems) or essentially 40 Gold per Gem. Therefore we can extrapolate that at least in terms of purchased currency, Gold is valued at 80 per Crown.
There are currently 6 Daily Deals (8 if you are an active VIP) that are priced in one of the three currencies: Crowns, Gems, and Gold. Prior to 0.35, most daily deals were expressed in Gold. However, with 0.35 there has been a significant shift away from Gold deals to Crown/Gem Deals. How much of a shift?
This detail is based on 80+ Daily Deal observations Pre-0.35 and 60+ Daily Deal observations Post-0.35. For non-VIP players, out of 6 available Daily Deals, this translates to two fewer Gold-based deals than before, a pretty drastic change. This is somewhat offset by the change to the Daily Deal refresh: Pre-0.35 it cost 75 gems to refresh the Daily Deals; Post-0.35 it now costs 20 gems for the first refresh, 40 gems for the next refresh and so on. Therefore, for the player that was willing to part with gems on a daily basis (at least one Daily Deal refresh Pre-0.35), they are in theory better off because they now have an more deals to choose from for less gems, and if they choose to refresh at least twice (60 gems in total), then they actually end up with more Gold deals than Pre-0.35 using 1 Daily Deal refresh. For the player that never used gems on Daily Deal refreshes, he/she is clearly worse off in terms of making Gold deal purchases.
So what can you purchase from the Shop? Currently it breaks down into the following categories (from most common to least common based on my observations):
- Random Gear/Minions/Spells
Let’s take a look at each of these categories Pre- and Post-0.35 in the next post.