Dave Georgeson – EQ Franchise
Holly Longdale – EQ2 Producer
Thom Terrazas – EQ1 Producer
What’s this panel about?
* An overview of our current business model.
* What we don’t like about it and how we intend to fix it.
– Most of which should come as good news
* Short presentation and then Q&A
We are not going to reveal numbers because of competitors, but we’ll give ratios and percentages.
Most popular items in EQ
– Large Bags
There is a big difference between the EQ and EQ2 marketplace. EQ players aren’t that much into appearance gear. It sells really well in EQ2.
(slide of pie chart of EQ Marketplace items by revenue)
Slide: Most popular items (EQ2)
* Appearance items
* Prestige housing
Slide: Marketplace vs. Memberships
But you should know
– We want to do LESS in the marketplace. Yes, you heard that right, less.
F2P Should be good for ALL of us
* Burden of proof is on SOE
– You only pay if you’re entertained
* More options lets more types of players stay longer
The other model is “Pay and hope”. You pay and don’t know if it’s going to be good or not. I’m an advocate for Free-to-Play.
But the current model isn’t perfect…
* Here are some issues with it… and how we intend to solve them.
Both of the EQ and EQ2 teams have grown over the last year. That’s really unusual for games of this age.
Issue #1: My items ain’t sex-ah!
-In-game rewards never seem sexy enough.
– Marketplace items always look better.
* Marketplace purchases have “prom dress” syndrome.
– Emotional connection very tenuous/temporary
Once you see someone else with the same item, you don’t want to wear it anymore.
Solution: Tradeskillers and recipes
We do not have a schedule for this. This is things we WANT to do.
– Stop selling most appearance items for SC.
– Turn those items into recipes for TSers.
– Require a special reare component. Can be gathered or purchased for SC.
* Create a new storefront within marketplace
– Show all items that can be created by TSers.
Issue #2 “Devs need to work on the GAME!”
* Team split between in-game assets and marketplace assets.
Most of our focus should be on the game.
Solution: same solution
* Moving items to the tradeskillers means most of our work refocuses on game elements again.
* Still create loot and TS variants, but only filling two buckets instead of three.
* And best items are most often in-game.
Issue #3: There’s an item for that?
* Many useful items not popular because of poor presentation
– Health/power/self-rez potions, portable globes, etc.
* Inconvenient to get when you need them
* Newbs (and non-shoppers) don’t know they exist
* If these items become popular, it makes everything else more flexible
Make SC items more convenient. When you die, one of the choices is buy a self-rez with SC. Make it easier for people who like these items to use them.
IMPORTANT The Double Up arrow in the Character Revive window only appears if you choose the bottom option “Revive Here”. Point of Need doesn’t mean a huge SC button on every page.
Solution: Point of Need
-Point of Need interfaces
– One-click purchasing (ok 2 click, because of Amazon patent)
– Less clutter in the marketplace
– Success with this allows us to funnel other items back into the game
Issue #4: Prices are too high!
* We started out with higher prices due to “star pony” success with WoW.
– Copying WoW is always a mistake (oops)
* High prices increase rarity, but are otherwise a poor choice.
We want microtransactions to actually be micro.
Sometimes we’ll release expensive rare items, but some of these consumable items should be a lot cheaper.
* PoN interfaces let us lower prices per use dramatically!
Self-rez scroll normally 150SC, but each PoN push might be 25SC.
Arcade pricing is the goal.
That way, our effort goes into the game itself and the entertainment value. We don’t have to keep feeding the marketplace.
* Wanted to do this in 2012, but we needed systems work first (PvP, DM, etc.) to make those stable.
– System upgrades needed to be free, so we had to charge for new content this year.
* Last expansion packs?
– As a pack, hopefully yes
– But new content rolled out continuously
* Desire is to give away content for free to all players
– Entertain you first, then create ways for you to leave money behind if we did our job entertaining you.
This is a risk for us, it’s voluntarily deciding to make less money. This might be the last year of paid expansions.
Why do Krono?
* Allows coin-poor players to participate in the broker
* Healthier TS economy
* Allows flexible membership options
* Undermines gold farmers
We got rid of SC memberships cause we were losing our shirts.
Why do Player Studio?
* Connect creative folks to the game
* Letting players create items for each other so devs can go back to focusing on the game.
END of slide presentation.
Important: A lot of this is ideas we are talking about without schedules or details. Things we want to do.
Q: Can players contribute music to the game?
A: Good idea, we’ll write it down.
Talking about yesterday’s PlayerStudio panel and all the items people want to make. Mentioned voice packs as something that someone asked us about.
About players making really complex items like character models, armor, etc. One of these days down the road, we’ll probably just shovel these tools over the fence and see if anyone tries it. It’s stuff there’s just no way we could document it all.[Editor’s Note: People treating this as a free-for-all Q&A.]
One thing we are talking about is the possibility of receiving XP in EQ2 for playing Legends of Norrath.
Q: A lot of the stuff on the Marketplace is HEIRLOOM or NO-TRADE.
A: We recognize it as a problem but don’t have a solution right now.
Q: Can we pay for Subscriptions with Paypal?
(adding to our list)
Talking about Point of Need and having SC buttons everywhere.
SJ: I don’t want players to think we always have our hand out.
Q: We shouldn’t have to go to Facebook, Twitter, or another third party site to find out about SOE games. (applause)
(summary: we agree. It’s a big effort to redo our website.)
Talking about banner ads for EQ and EQ2. Marketing is targeting down to the point where people who already play EQ and EQ2 won’t see those ads. [Ed Note – I’ve seen quite a few ads for EQ2 on websites]
(some additional questions, a few on-topic)
IMPORTANT UPDATE The Double Up arrow in the Character Revive window only appears if you choose the bottom option “Revive Here”. Point of Need doesn’t mean a huge SC button on every page.
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