Open Letter to Amazon games regarding the impression of P2W

I have spent the last week reading people’s feedback about the game and some of the damage misinformation is doing to the release of your title.

On the surface level, Lost Ark looks very pay to win. Pay to win is completely subjective and the definition varies from player to player. I believe there are a few small changes that would move Lost Ark further away from this term.

How to fix the first impression of P2W.

Marie’s Secret shop

This has to go. Not because it’s op (its not), the amount of mats you can buy on here is limited and you could get the same by just having 1-2 alts. It’s insanely expensive and on KR / RU servers it’s considered a noob bait. As mats on AH are normally cheaper than Marie’s Secret shop.

Seeing player power items directly on the gem store page damages the game’s reputation within the first hour of playing. Once the game has been out for a while and players realize the store is a ripoff, You will have a store that successfully turns away new players and is not used by your veterans.
I know from personal experience some players will see that shop and instantly close the game. Even though it has little to no importance on the game.

Cosmetic skins having stats

I have seen this one raised a few times. This one has a lot of misinformation mainly due to how people assume how skins work.

The assumption is that skins can only be obtained by gems. This is untrue. There are free ingame event skins and skins you can buy with gold. These skins have the same stats as those on the shop.

Irrespective of that, the stats should still be removed not because it’s not fair but more to do with the impression it leaves on the ill-informed.

To account for the 4% (1% per a piece) stats that we would be missing. My suggestion would be to move it to 100% completion of Island Hearts, Giant Hearts, Mokoko seed, Mark of Igneas. 1% going to each. Account wide.

This gives something to strive for but not enough that you won’t be included for not having it. It also promotes players who would otherwise be uninterested in exploring a reason to look around this beautiful MMO.

Pets giving stats

The current plan is for this to move to the pass. The reason for not putting on the pass is most of the benefits on the pass are convenience items. However, the pet one would be seen as mandatory for most raiding guilds thus it shouldn’t be tied together.

It would be better if it stayed on pet and the currency was changed to gold. Players seeing gems and stats leaves a bad taste for most players(especially new ones). Even though you can swap gems for gold, so technically nothing changes it would be more aesthetically pleasing. Again this comes down to first impressions. Player sees an activated pet for gold, they see that’s a currency they earn ingame. This is before they need to learn about currency exchanges.

Upgrade materials

This would be the largest change from RU / KR. However I believe it’s the most important for the longevity of the game.

All upgrade materials (of that season) should be swapped to account bound until a new season starts. This eliminates one of the community’s biggest concerns. Your ilvl will has nothing to do with your credit card. This would also allow players that have fallen behind, to buy those upgrade materials to catch up to the current season via gold / gems.

Players who want to spend real money can still buy gold as gold is used for many things and not everyone has time to farm.

12 Likes

A lot of interesting thoughts.

One thing that came to my mind is to gate some of the stuff (e.g. the shop) into various level brackets - the thought being, if someone has reached level nnn, they have an understanding of whatever the relevant game mechanics are.

A person at 25 (or 50, take your pick) seeing the shop (or whatever the relevant P2W feature is) will probably have a much different impression / understanding than a person at lvl 1.

When taken in conjunction w/ the PowerPass (and the relative ease with which you can breeze through the main story), this makes these things accessible, but “guarantees” (har har) some level of understanding.

If you want to be scammed, pay for the upgrade mats.

Lost ark made it so that non payers can keep up without spending, unlike other games there is no paywall, only a timewall

if people don’t realise that the shop is fine, let them go back to a sub game with ridiculous additional purchases

KEKW stats on these are worthless

How is this even an issue AG made this much better

This just limits gold making for free to play players…

2 Likes

I wanted to make a post like this actually, as I was having similar thoughts.

There are a lot of aspects about this game that come off as p2w to new-players when in reality they aren’t. This means you are turning away potential customers and players over a false initial impression that won’t be revised until many hours later.

I do think it makes sense to go over many of these changes, the skins especially is an obvious change as there is no reason to have 4% stats on costumes.
The pet functions being paid with gold is fine, but I think them being changed to the subscription is also fine.
I disagree with bound materials entirely. While yes - it is a source of p2w via Crystal → Gold exchange, it is also the core of the economy for both f2p and p2w players and would cause many undesirable repercussions for f2p players.

As for Mari’s shop - removing it entirely would make sense, but this is an idea that is hard to pitch as it is the core of the cash shop. Instead, I would recommend removing the upgrade materials from Mari’s shop as it is seen as a noob trap even for veteran players, and the upgrade materials are the most obvious ‘p2w’ thing new players will see on there. It would also be good if they lowered the frequency as a 6h rotation is too reminiscent of mobile shops.

I think just these changes would alleviate most of the concerns new players could have at a first glance.

This is not a discussion about whether the game is p2w or not, or if these elements are p2w or not, this is a discussion about a new player’s first impressions of systems they do not understand that can give them the wrong idea and turn them away when they might have actually accepted the model if they knew how the game worked.

1 Like

Did you read the post? The post isn’t about p2w, it’s about how it LOOKS like to a new player.

OP knows that those things aren’t p2w, he’s saying a new player doesn’t know they aren’t p2w (as can be evidenced by going having seen any twitch chat when streamers were checking the game out for the first time).

This means a new player might think the game is a lot more p2w than it is and stop playing, and I can’t blame them since at a first glance the game does seem to have a lot of typical p2w systems you find in other games, even if they are inconsequential once you know how the game works.

If the LA store looks bad to a new player, they haven’t played enough mmos
TBH I’d rather weed out the weak

Thank you for making this thread.
While I do think you make some VERY good points, some blue/purple crystal functions needs to stay in the game. These are my opinions on what you are saying.

Maris Secret shop.
Having a 6 hour rotation with 72 hours of time to pick it up makes it more P2W than previous.
It doesn’t remove the “predatory” aspect, its still there you just have 72 hours to be reminded of it over and over.

Either put it on a MUCH slower rotation or remove it.

Cosmetics:
100% agree, make people do something for the 1% in each stat instead. This will open up Amazon being able to sell even more skins of various quality. And leads to us having tons of more options on how to look. Making the skins market even more popular i think.

Pets giving stats:
We cannot forget that the currency exchange is a big part of the model of this game.
Removing for example the pet system replacing it with gold removes a function of that currency exchange. While I do understand the first impression of this is kind of iffy, I do think it more has to do with it not being included in the aura that makes it look bad.

Upgrade materials
I don’t necessarily agree with this, but mostly because its such a big change that I am unsure how it would affect the economy. For Lost Ark to succeed in the west, it has to be a lucrative business model for Smilegate and Amazon if they want it to last.

I think the most important part is to have a balanced monetization and I think that amazon is doing its best to make it so that we do get this. And I also feel that SmilegateRPG wants to give us this too. While at the same time squeezing as much as they can out of us without us feeling to uncomfortable.

So all in all, we need balance. Since the game is not sold and no subscription model it already earns less than say for example FF14. FF14 has a bunch of tiny monitizations that it adds on top of its buy2play and pay2play model. Not to mention its gigantic cosmetic store.

If we want the game to succeed we still need a form of monetization outside of skins.

+1

Firstly, I agree Mari’s shop was waaaaay over tuned for the beta and probably needs some adjusting or to be removed. Now lets get into this.

I can understand in some regards the want to eliminate ‘p2w aspects’ from the game, but I also don’t understand it. I feel like players get caught up in this p2w trap because they feel that if Player B is doing it, its going to cheapen my play experience… Well that only happens if you let it. Let me explain.

As an individual, I can choose to buy or not to buy something from the shop. That is my decision and effects only me. The argument can be made that a player can then ‘get ahead’ by use of these shop options if available. Why does this matter to me the player? It’s not cheapening my play experience if Player B decides they want to swipe their way to an upgrade. I’m still playing my game.

The other side of it is that there will ALWAYS be someone that’s ahead of you in content/GS and most likely you’ll never know if they’re leveraging some sort of shop or perhaps they’ve had very good RNG on rolls, or even they’re just a more experienced player.

Now one can argue that the player having to even think about this is the problem with any p2w in a game, but who are we to dictate how someone else plays the game? If someone wants to get scammed by Mari’s overpriced mats in here shop… well thats up to them how they decide to play.

I know not everyone will agree, but just my thoughts.

Oh boy, here we go again …

People need to realize that the game needs to make money. So they need to have some monitization. Now with that said, here are my thoughts on your “issues” with the shop:

Mari’s secret shop - lol wut? This is quite literally a noob trap. No one who knows anything about the game will buy this. It’s expensive and you can get the same things much faster and cheaper in game. Do some people see it and think p2w? Sure. But those are the same people that think wow is the end all be all of models.

Skins having stats - this is so minor it’s really not even worth mentioning. It’s not near as bad as BDO skins and BDO is still making money hand over fist with a very solid playerbase.

Pets - see skins, it’s literally no different. Except for the fact that you only need 1 pet in this game and only 1 tier, which you get free in game. Not sure what the point even is here

Upgrade materials - so let’s take gold away from f2p players?

All in all, you don’t seem to get the idea behind p2w. P2W means you can spend money to beat other people in the game. You can’t do that in LA. You can pay to get to content faster, sure, but it’s irrelevant. You don’t ‘need’ to get to that content faster and in all honesty if you can’t get to 500+ ilvl in 2 days then you are doing something very wrong. Islands right now give so many upgrade materials and having even 1 alt running daily stuff keeps you with enough mats to push to almost 600 ilvl in under a week easily. If anything, they need to remove materials from the game to slow progress down. Otherwise, T1 will be done in under a month for most people.

People really need to stop with all the ‘this game is so p2w’ when they really don’t have any clue about the actual game. Just because you looked at a shop doesn’t mean you automatically know it’s p2w.

To quote my previous comment:

"Did you read the post? The post isn’t about p2w, it’s about how it LOOKS like to a new player.

OP knows that those things aren’t p2w, he’s saying a new player doesn’t know they aren’t p2w (as can be evidenced by going having seen any twitch chat when streamers were checking the game out for the first time).

This means a new player might think the game is a lot more p2w than it is and stop playing, and I can’t blame them since at a first glance the game does seem to have a lot of typical p2w systems you find in other games, even if they are inconsequential once you know how the game works."

I really wonder how it’s so common to go and write up a large response to a post that you don’t read.

+1

Watching twitch streamers where chat spams pepegacredit all day, calling this game p2w thrash is so sad. Most of the people won’t understand the nature of the cash shop, it’s the instant feeling you get when you first time open up the shop.

This is amplified by other in-game mechanics like at the personal island you can build buildings with your credit card (or wait 7 hours). This turns people off IMMEDIATELY.
Also the pet renting function, you get more storage, instant mail, instant AH, instant repairs for real money.

At the moment the game is pay to win, we were promised the opposite that it would not be … instead the shop has the materials to improve your character’s equipment. we start really badly also because we were promised that it would not be.

Yes I read the post and yes I’ve seen the riff raff in twitch chats spouting p2w. That happens in every single game with a cash shop. You can’t justify anything by that. BDO is acclaimed as the biggest p2w cash grab ever yet still played by hundreds of thousands daily and releasing content. You do not need a 10+ million playerbase for a successful game.

If they want to cry p2w, let them go. The game will succeed because its a good game that’s well fleshed out. That, and because there’s not much out right now worth a dam.

Once people learn how things actually work, it won’t be near as much of an issue. You can buy blue diamonds with gold so it helps to lessen the p2w claims as well.

You have a link to that promise? All i’ve ever heard or seen was that it would be ‘toned down’.

If you read the post then you missed the point and didn’t read my comment…

The comment you posted was talking as if you thought the OP was claiming that these systems are P2W. The point is the exact opposite - these systems are NOT p2w but they LOOK p2w.

All OP is saying is that they could change a few things (some of which I disagree with - see my comment further up) and the game would look less p2w to a new player, without actually changing anything about the monetization.

Just the fact that you are confused about this and that this whole topic is controversial proves this point - many people think this game is a lot more p2w than it actually is, which will lead them to quit the game, and they could change that.

I really like these changes ; especially the pet one.

This thread is a giant copium spam.

Yes, a person throwing $$ at LA has distinct advantage of considerably faster gear progression and convenience of not wasting hours of time on menial tasks. Ability to exchange store items for gold only further exacerbates the issue.

It is most certainly on the more P2W-ey side of things as far as such games go.

I certainly hope Amazon will tone down some of it, but I’m not going to delude myself and think they will do anything more than maybe touching up a bit the most obvious stuff and calling it a day.

Bro ffxiv and wow have the exact same monetisation but you HAVE to pay a sub to those games plus box price. LA is far better in terms of not paying literally anything to play end game

I think the changes you listed are a really good idea minus the bound upgrade materials. Having unbound upgrading materials is important since it allows F2P players to sell their extra mats for gold. It’s also pretty important for people who want to switch mains because they will need to buy extra mats from the AH.
If this game is perceived as super P2W from day one, it’ll hurt the playerbase and longevity of the game. The game won’t receive as many new players if everyone thinks that Lost Ark is super P2W.