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The current implementation of the in game store is hindering long term player engagement.

ploddab16_ESO
ploddab16_ESO
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As the title says, the current implementation of the in game store is hindering long term engagement with ESO. Crown crates, timed sales, crown store exclusive items... Right now it is safe to say that roughly 90% of what most PvE players want from the game is currently locked behind a pay wall that is targeted squarely at whales, those players who have the money to suddenly drop 5000 crowns in the middle or at the end of the month for an unforeseen limited time exclusive.

What am I talking about? Mounts, costumes, hairstyles, tattoos, mementos and housing decorations.

Right now I have very little motivation to actually play Summerset, purely because I know that while the story is great and the world amazing, as a player I have very little motivation to commit to more than a week's worth of playtime (in actual hours played, not days per say) because that's what it will take to earn what rewards Summerset will offer to me as a casual non-raider who tinkers with housing now and then. After Summerset is done with, I have no motivation to linger in the game on a long term basis between DLC releases, no desire to go back to Morrowind, to explore Orsinium again, to interact with any of the other pieces of DLC Zenimax has produced for the game.

How can this be remedied? The answer is simple: make the retired crown store items, as well as existing crown store items like mounts, costumes and furnishing items attainable in game by interacting with prior DLC content and the main game itself. You want that retired shaman outfit or some part of the Grand Topal decorations? Run Mazzatun and pray the boss drops it! Want the feathered headdress hairstyle for your Argonian? Cradle of Shadows! A Guar mount instead of a boring old horse? You get the idea.

The retired content just serves to show how much stuff Zenimax has produced that could have offered a tangible reward to players, but has instead been used to make a quick buck off of high spending players before being made unattainable to reinforce said players validation at purchasing these 'prestigious' limited time items. As a customer, it drives me away from putting too much money into the game because it feels like the studio is trying to use these tactics to milk my wallet dry between expansion cycles.

The pay wall should not be a pay wall. Instead, the crown store should serve as a way for players to have early access to new items and then to bypass a potentially long and painful grind (and I support this, long and painful grinds for certain things are great for games, just look at WoW, how many people are STILL farming ICC for Invincible to this day?) to attain what they desire from existing PvE or PvP content. Crown crates could even factor into this, as you could up the price on the permanent unlock from the store itself for things like costumes and mounts, yet sell a random chance at getting what you want from a cheaper crown crate that can contain any item on the store.

Right now I'd say that ESO is nearing a turning point when it comes to the crown store. I genuinely believe that the way Zenimax chooses to handle it will be what makes or breaks the future of ESO, and right now I would say that continuing to operate as they are now will break the game and drastically diminish the playerbase in the long term.

Anyone else agree?
  • VaranisArano
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    Yes. The crown Store is currently not about long-term player engagement, its about short-term profits for ZOS. (Though my preferred solution is that crown crates go away and everything in them is sold for crowns)

    Which I tend to think that investing in long-term player engagement leads to greater long-term profit, but apparently ZOS thinks otherwise.
    Edited by VaranisArano on May 22, 2018 8:52PM
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  • notimetocare
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    All I gathered from the post is "lemme get stuff free"

    Jokes aside, the crown store is about funding the astronomical costs of maintaining servers and employees as well as making a profit as any business MUST. Income will drop if you can eventually get things free. People will stop buying.

    Another thing you fail to understand is that the vast majority of MMORPG players are not long term so to speak. MMOs tend to spike population on new content patches and releases and then lull out until the next. And it is not content like crown store items that keep a population up, its the content they play. Dungeons, raids, pvp, etc

    The current system of the crown store is unlikely to have any impact on population
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  • ploddab16_ESO
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    People won't stop buying. As I said, an ideal system would be where you could earn what's on the crown store in game through a long grind that keeps the player engaged on the game because they have a goal to work towards. For those who want to bypass said grind, there's the option to buy what you want outright via the crown store.

    Now I'm not going to outright say I'm against crown store exclusives. Exclusive mounts and costumes on certain event times like christmas, april fools etc. are perfectly fine. But when the majority of the new items you see added to the game between major content updates are locked behind a pay wall it simply numbs any desire to play long term.

    And on the topic of failing to understand, I am well aware that the majority of most casual MMO players hop from game to game. I myself have become one of those players from time to time. However, the core of an MMO's audience, those dedicated players who stick around even during the content lulls, those are what truly keep an MMO going, even when it falls on hard times due to developer negligence or bad marketing decisions.

    World of Warcraft is a perfect example of this: Warlords of Draenor would have killed any other MMO outright, but that hard core of WoW players, the raiders, the RP-ers, the dedicated dungeon runners and PVP-ers, stuck with it and kept the game alive. And during those content lulls, it's not the whales who splurge on loot boxes that keep a game like ESO going, it's the hundreds of thousands more who pay out for ESO+ month after month, who keep logging back in to make new houses to show their other dedicated friends. A short term financial focus can do well for a while, sure, but at the end of the day, do you want ESO to maybe burn bright for a couple more years before people finally tire of the whale focused business model, or do you want ESO to stick around as long as WoW, and hopefully longer?
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  • Sektion67
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    Agreed, the OP pretty much nailed it. I have the money to spend in this game if I want, however, opening my wallet to get something unique is not fun. There's no since of achievement or cool game play moments to reflect on when going through many of your collections in this game.

    For example, I decided to login to WoW recently and hopped on my Hunter who is an engineer. I hit the hotkey for the mount and it's that crazy flying contraption I crafted using the skill line. I immediately remembered the grind, and all the things I had to do in order to acquire said mount. Now, do the same thing in ESO.... right.

    Many of us are hard on this game because we see the potential for a good game to be even better. As someone who pays the monthly sub, I feel like these type of experiences should exist and in order for me to keep playing long term, they'll need to exist. And just to be clear, I'm not saying the crown store should go away, what I am saying is there is room for both Crown Store items and more in-game rewards.
    Edited by Sektion67 on May 22, 2018 10:01PM
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  • Magenpie
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    "and I support this, long and painful grinds for certain things are great for games, just look at WoW, how many people are STILL farming ICC for Invincible to this day?"

    Agree agree agree. So much agree.

    I always go back to WoW, predominately because there's always something to do, always something to collect, I can indulge my RPG headcanon easily and I can do it for one handy monthly fee. I appreciate that enormously. But I also think it's important to offer players different ways of getting cosmetics. Not every one wants to grind ICC for Invincible with the terrible RNG, but then you can farm yourself some faction reputation and get some mounts/pets/whatever, that way.

    I would LOVE it if ESO used this system, and I would certainly stick with a sub if it did.

    I know this isn't what you're suggesting (and I can't stress enough how much I agree ;) ) I would be happier if all the cosmetic items ever released to buy were just in the Crown Store permanently. I understand the need for some exclusives with time limits - I'm fine with that - but removing items from the store, then adding insult to injury by 'maybe' returning them, but with an added RNG element AND a further cash payout in the form of crates - it's just infuriating. And I would LIKE to spend money on these things.

    I've just said this in another thread so I apologise for repeating myself, but at the moment, if the mood takes me and I want to make a Wood Elf, and want to dress it up with some Wood Elf things, it's entirely down to the ZOS Fashion Police to say if I can do that or not. I'm not going to buy items from the store 'just because' - I don't have the budget for that - so if I discover I've just 'missed' a load of Wood Elf related items/mounts etc, my enthusiasm for my new Wood Elf goes out the window and with it more of my enthusiasm for the game.

    This is supposed to be an RPG, LET players RPG with stuff from the store - or better still, as you suggest, take time to run around in the world and collect the items they want.
    Edited by Magenpie on May 23, 2018 7:44AM
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  • Turelus
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    Yes. The crown Store is currently not about long-term player engagement, its about short-term profits for ZOS. (Though my preferred solution is that crown crates go away and everything in them is sold for crowns)

    Which I tend to think that investing in long-term player engagement leads to greater long-term profit, but apparently ZOS thinks otherwise.
    If we could just remove marketing from the development side of things in video games that would be great.
    Why don't we let the developers develop and marketing can go back to just wasting money on banner adds and super bowl commercials.
    @Turelus - EU PC Megaserver
    "Don't count on others for help. In the end each of us is in this alone. The survivors are those who know how to look out for themselves."
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  • Wayshuba
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    People won't stop buying.

    Actually, many people do because they are getting pissed with the over-monetization of a B2P game and the in your face BS of the CS now.

    The CS used to be unintrusive - no more.

    The game used to be designed around play and enjoyment instead of trying to get you to buy stuff from the store - no more.

    Eventually, people just start to tune it out when it becomes too much and don't buy stuff from the store because they lose interest in supporting ZoS.

    I, and quite a few people I know, have now reached this point. Outside my ESO+ membership, I haven't the slightest desire to buy anything from the CS anymore.

    If that was their intent, they have succeeded well.
    Edited by Wayshuba on May 23, 2018 9:14AM
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  • Mavloc
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    I don't mind paying ZOS for items in a cash shop.
    What I do have a problem with are loot crates.

    I have no problem dropping a few hundred dollars in Warframe to buy prime gear, because the devs have shown they will not succumb to gambling exploits for money.

    It is entirely a moral and integrity issue. And ZOS is lacking in that department.
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  • BloodWolfe
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    I recently went back to WoW after thinking it was done for me but I'm loving it again. So many things to do in-game and feel like I've achieved something and where their is more focus on the game and not just how many items they can throw at us for an absurd amount of Crowns to nickel and dime us to death. ZO$' greed and nickel and diming with only focus on the crown store and shady tactics (the radiant apex mounts that can't be bought with gems, the ridiculous outfit system and the complete rip off that it is, etc...) has now completely pushed me away and back to WoW.

    I paid for ESO+ and played since launch and have no issues paying a subscription fee and I bought some crown packs on top of that cuz I know they need to make a profit but it's been becoming worse and worse (starting with the loot crates which I have never paid for a single one or intend to ever support) and I've had to draw the line (for myself anyway). I can afford it but I choose not too and have no put ZOS alongside EA as companies I will no longer support. I will play ESO as a completely free player now unless they change.

    Companies these days always look at short-term profits instead of long term. I personally would think long-term is better since well, long-term means being in a successful business longer but hey what do I know right? Whatever, but they've pushed me away. Instead of supporting this game I ended up spending my gaming money on new games over the last 4 or so months that could have gone here but went to other companies/games. Good job ZO$!
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  • notimetocare
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    People won't stop buying. As I said, an ideal system would be where you could earn what's on the crown store in game through a long grind that keeps the player engaged on the game because they have a goal to work towards. For those who want to bypass said grind, there's the option to buy what you want outright via the crown store.

    Now I'm not going to outright say I'm against crown store exclusives. Exclusive mounts and costumes on certain event times like christmas, april fools etc. are perfectly fine. But when the majority of the new items you see added to the game between major content updates are locked behind a pay wall it simply numbs any desire to play long term.

    And on the topic of failing to understand, I am well aware that the majority of most casual MMO players hop from game to game. I myself have become one of those players from time to time. However, the core of an MMO's audience, those dedicated players who stick around even during the content lulls, those are what truly keep an MMO going, even when it falls on hard times due to developer negligence or bad marketing decisions.

    World of Warcraft is a perfect example of this: Warlords of Draenor would have killed any other MMO outright, but that hard core of WoW players, the raiders, the RP-ers, the dedicated dungeon runners and PVP-ers, stuck with it and kept the game alive. And during those content lulls, it's not the whales who splurge on loot boxes that keep a game like ESO going, it's the hundreds of thousands more who pay out for ESO+ month after month, who keep logging back in to make new houses to show their other dedicated friends. A short term financial focus can do well for a while, sure, but at the end of the day, do you want ESO to maybe burn bright for a couple more years before people finally tire of the whale focused business model, or do you want ESO to stick around as long as WoW, and hopefully longer?

    WoW is a sub-mandatory game. It is a terrible comparison
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  • notimetocare
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    Wayshuba wrote: »
    People won't stop buying.

    Actually, many people do because they are getting pissed with the over-monetization of a B2P game and the in your face BS of the CS now.

    The CS used to be unintrusive - no more.

    The game used to be designed around play and enjoyment instead of trying to get you to buy stuff from the store - no more.

    Eventually, people just start to tune it out when it becomes too much and don't buy stuff from the store because they lose interest in supporting ZoS.

    I, and quite a few people I know, have now reached this point. Outside my ESO+ membership, I haven't the slightest desire to buy anything from the CS anymore.

    If that was their intent, they have succeeded well.

    Got numbers to confirm this? Or just short threads and polls? The fact the game still operates, the cs grows larger, and you see crown and crown crates items everywhere indicates otherwise
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  • Stormahawk
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    I agree, I feel like there is no point to run any of the content more than once since there is no reward for it, and aside from a skin or two, most of the rewards just take a quest to obtain.

    I have been spending less time in game because of it and even less money on the Crown store because without any rewards to work towards the game is becoming boring (I used to be one of the Crown Store "whales"). Long term player engagement is most definitely sacrificed by short term gains. Perhaps it is because ESO has no long term goals?

    For the actual few available rewards, the in-game rewards are also inferior to the Crown store counterparts. Take the clockwork polymorph that you get from the vet trial for example: it has no unique robot dance while the Crown store polymorph did have a unique robot dance.

    Also, number of mounts available as a reward for doing in-game content: 0
    Number of Crown store mounts: 40+ (lost count at this point)
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  • VaranisArano
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    Well, technically one mount, the sorted horse that's now a level up reward for reaching level 10. But if you had it already, zero.
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  • ploddab16_ESO
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    Wayshuba wrote: »
    People won't stop buying.

    Actually, many people do because they are getting pissed with the over-monetization of a B2P game and the in your face BS of the CS now.

    The CS used to be unintrusive - no more.

    The game used to be designed around play and enjoyment instead of trying to get you to buy stuff from the store - no more.

    Eventually, people just start to tune it out when it becomes too much and don't buy stuff from the store because they lose interest in supporting ZoS.

    I, and quite a few people I know, have now reached this point. Outside my ESO+ membership, I haven't the slightest desire to buy anything from the CS anymore.

    If that was their intent, they have succeeded well.

    Got numbers to confirm this? Or just short threads and polls? The fact the game still operates, the cs grows larger, and you see crown and crown crates items everywhere indicates otherwise

    An expanding crown store and a flood of timed sales and crown crates does not a thriving game make, especially when said game is B2P. You're looking at how much stuff Zenimax is putting onto the store, but at the same time you're not looking at player retention rates to show the counterpoint to that.

    The only message that ZOS sends by leaning so heavily on the crown store and the crates in particular is that they're marketing this MMO for the whales who don't mind shelling out hundreds of pounds on loot boxes and end of the month timed exclusives, and that they're far more focused on short term profit gains than long term stability.

    It's something I feel is very much reflected in the content they're pushing out as well. What we've gotten from the DLCs is nice, but it isn't really innovative. A new class, yay, a new skill line, great. These are all well and good, but they aren't game changing. I don't look at Morrowind and say 'Woah, the Warden is going to change the way that everyone plays this game'. You know what does? Outfits. Spell customization, different types of mounts that actually impact how you traverse the world and tackle content (a-la Guild Wars 2, now that is how you innovate!).

    Thus far, ESO has actually played it rather safe and conservative in what they add to the game. There's nothing that drastically expands it or opens new doors in the way that flight did for Warlords of Draenor. Even with Summerset, yes, the Psijic skill line interests me, but there's nothing jaw dropping, no big 'Woah' moment that gets me firmly onto the hype train in the same vein as garrisons did for Warlords. When the game seems to be reliant on more of the same to feed to it's playerbase, it needs to add in far, far more rewards to work towards than it currently does.
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  • ArtCommissions
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    I play for the contents of the game, not cosmetics in the store. I buy what I like in the store so more content can come.

    Am I the only one?
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  • DanteYoda
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    I buy crown store but only for a while.. after a certain time i get jacked off with scumbag companies..

    And this crown store pays for servers BS is a joke no the crown store fund Zos shareholders..
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