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Guest Post: Cartel Market Pricing, by Jaspor — 16 Comments

  1. Interesting write up and great job of putting “numbers” to the items. Quantifying it this makes things more interesting and for me is going to make me think more about my purchases.

    • Thanks! I’d be curious to see what the real actual type of efforts are on items like the ones I’ve described, but I don’t think that’s the sort of thing game developers are usually willing to talk about.

  2. Yeah must say, for the most part, I am
    Starting to hate what I see on the cartel store. They are literally ripping people off on it and many don’t care and keep buying. ThTs why swtor devs are doing it. Cause people are still buying them even though it’s completely ripping us players off for their profit.
    I haven’t bought anything for a month now other than xp buffs which imo should be higher xp for the cost. 25% is crap. I agree though with all your post

    • Well, saying they’re ripping people off is still a matter of perspective. I’m seeing a LOT of those new pod racer mounts around the fleet. And while some people would consider the price on those a “rip off,” it looks like a fair amount of people think the price is fine.

  3. “Cartel Pack items that are top sellers on the GTN make likely candidates for future products.”

    Unfortunately, I think this will NEVER happen because of the effects it would have on sales of future Cartel packs. If you were reasonably sure that you could eventually purchase the Revan mask for $30, would you EVER purchase 10+ Cartel Packs (3600 Cartel Coins) trying to obtain it? They could do this once and make lots of money off of it once, but people will remember the next time a new pack comes out. And given all that Bioware is saying about how profitable the packs are and how they’re already working on the third wave of four Cartel Packs, I can’t imagine them killing the golden goose.

    The thing that I find unfortunate is the color crystals. Setting aside that Artificers don’t ever get to make new colors anymore, a unique colored lightsaber is such an iconic thing that I would seriously consider buying a crystal from the Cartel store. Unfortunately, the one crystal in the store is both expensive (900 CC) and a specific color that I don’t want. You’d think it would be easy to just add more, but the plan appears to be to add colors one at a time as prizes in Cartel packs, and never for direct purchase, so I probably won’t even know if they do decide to make a color I really want.

    • I’m actually a bit undecided on that exact tactic, and I kind of purposely worded that so it could be interpreted two ways. On one hand, they would make TONS of money by putting Revan’s Mask up for purchase directly. But yeah, the people who bought 10+ packs for it would be pissed off and could be less inclined to buy more Cartel Packs in the future. Unless they waited a reasonable amount of time (say, 6-9 months?) so it was no longer the latest and greatest new shiny thing everyone wanted. And they wouldn’t necessarily make every single Cartel Item available, just some of them. So people couldn’t absolutely bank on the fact that the random items would eventually become available – there’s a chance they will, but no guarantee.

      On the other hand, it also could guide what types of items show up for direct sale, not necessarily those exact items. The Nihilus, Phantom, and Revan masks all seem incredibly popular, right? Well, next badass mask/helm? Instead of making it random, price it directly at something where people would think it’s worth it and cash in. Would people pay 500 CC for, oh, I don’t know… a true Boba Fett-esque Mandalorian helmet? Maybe even 1000?

      And I do agree that color crystals seem like some low-hanging fruit they could probably crank out for fairly low cost and sell for a very nice profit.

      Thanks for the feedback, always fun having these types of discussions. 🙂

  4. Great write up. I agree with pretty much everything, although I think that they would probably have enough data by now to make an informed decision on whether they feel the price points are set correctly. The catch 22 is if they lower the price points on anything, for example future adaptive gear sets for less than 1440cc, people will scream blue murder over the stuff they’ve already bought at the original price. So maybe they feel they’ve already painted themselves in to a corner.

    My biggest gripe with the CM is the “per-character” aspect of the non-consumables, like the armour sets and speeders. If the armour sets were Bind to Legacy then I’d be happier spending money on it, because it means if I delete the character I originally bought it for (for whatever reason) I can then pass that along to the new character I replace them with, without having wasted my CC stipend or real money.
    As for the speeders, I believe all the Cartel Market ones should be similar to the one you could get in the Collectors or Digital Deluxe editions and be Account wide. Again, its a lot of money to invest if that character for some reason is deleted. I know people might argue “Why would you delete a character that you’ve paid for a speeder on?” but I’m an altoholic and it does happen, even with the new purchasable character slots, we still have a limited number of slots per server. I would just feel happier knowing that my 1800 CC was a permanent investment for the account, rather than a single purchase.
    To put it in perspective, it would actually be more cost-effective in the (not so) long run to set up a second account, refer that account from my first account and pay for a month’s sub to get the refer-a-friend speeder than it would to buy the Incendia just for one character, in real money terms. Another, possibly unpopular, example but one I feel is relevant is the cash shop mounts in WoW. They are of comparable price and once purchased are available to all characters, present and future, created on that account. Like you say, it’s not necessarily the price point, but the perceived value that’s the problem. 1800cc for a mount for one character? Sorry, not interested. I’ll wait until I can farm up the 1.5 mil credits for the GTN and if that means I miss out, so be it. But 2400cc for the same mount, on every character I’ll ever create? Sold!

    • Doesn’t the digital deluxe edition ($20 extra) include (among other things) a mount for every character on your account? If so, it’s a much better investment to simply upgrade to that if you want to spend real money for speeders.

      (My point being that the pricing is internally inconsistent – Bioware itself charged $20 for an account-wide speeder and is now charging essentially $18 for a per-toon speeder.)

      • Yeah, they totally did that. Even when I create a brand spanking new character now, I log in to about 5 or 6 emails with special account wide items attached, like the CE items (including mount), Founder title thingy, Taunlet pet, and pre-order items. So yeah, account-wide Cartel Market purchases would be great.

      • I’d actually forgotten about the DD upgrade, even though I have it, and yes it does, the Longspur STAP. I just checked and it’s actually a lot less than $20 now, I would only have to pay Kr. 19 which according to XE.com is about $3.50

        So yeah, we were both making the same point, although yours was a lot more elegantly put.

        Although if you are willing to jump through the hoops, the Refer-a-Friend speeder is an attractive option simply because it starts off at 110% speed and level 3 dismount protection. Plus it looks better than the STAP. I hate that stress position the standing speeders have you in.

    • I actually considered the “bloody murder” shouts while writing this and almost included some thoughts on that, but the article was long enough as is, hah.

      Here’s the thing though – This happens with tons of things in the real world every day, and people are okay with it. Want the newest car model? You’re paying top price for it to have the latest right now. You could wait a year and pay a lower price for a new car of this same model when the new year’s models come out, and people understand that and are okay with it. Want the latest video game that just came out today? $60 today please! Or you can wait 6 months and get it on Steam for like $10. And people are okay with that.

      So the people who paid the higher prices to get items as soon as they were brand spanking new still got that for their money – they were the first ones to have them.

      The one reason why this could cause some outcry with the Cartel Market is because players didn’t know (and still don’t) if it will really happen. They don’t know if the items they’re buying now will be cheaper in 6 months, so they couldn’t make that decision at the time of purchase. But if and when it does happen, then the pattern will have been established and people can decide “Buy now for 600 Cartel Coins and get it while it’s shiny and new and prestigious” or “Buy in 6 months for 250 Cartel Coins when everyone and their mother will have it.”

      Great point, and thanks for the feedback!

      • I was referring to them lowering the price point for brand new outfits being put on the CM, rather than depreciating older ones, which like you say, that happens all the time in the real world.

        The problem I can foresee is if the data they’ve got supports Njessi’s “2 pairs of jeans for $40 each” analogy, can they act on this and start offering brand new outfits at half the price of the original ones? In terms of value, there is essentially no difference between the old and new outifts and I could see it generating a lot of ill-will from people who have already bought the older outfits at 1440cc.

  5. I’m generally a player who is pretty obsessed with how my characters look- I played GW2 for a couple months despite the fact that I kind of hated the game just because I liked all the stuff you could to make your character look cool. But despite that, I haven’t bought any armor from the Cartel market. I’ve bought some packs, because they’re fun, but I can’t justify spending as much money on armor as they seem to want me to.

    If the price were lower, though, I’d be buying a ton. I mostly want the Cartel market outfits for my companions, and if they were in the 200 to 500 cc range, I’d probably have bought a dozen of them by now.

    • Yep, this is my point. I guess the final question is “How many other players feel the same way?” From what I’m reading and hearing, a lot. I haven’t heard too many people say, “I wouldn’t buy anything cosmetic from the Market even if they lowered the prices.”

  6. Re: Exclusivity. There are a few players who care about that. And I wouldn’t be the happiest if my entire raid were dressed the same. But the vast majority just want an outfit that looks cool, and it doesn’t matter who else happens to be wearing it. Also, if there are enough choices, variety will just happen. Maybe not exclusivity, but certainly people will have unique looks that they only share with a few other people. If mixing and matching were more encouraged (by selling pieces separately), there would be even more differentiation.

    Also, exclusivity doesn’t seem to affect the reasoning of the morons in bikinis. Tons of identical bikinis.

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