The Change Item Appearance Cost Reduction & Microtransactions

It was over one year ago when I saw a video from Extra Credit where they discuss the wrongdoings of most F2P business models. I keep stumbling upon and thinking about it, because you can’t help but still draw comparison to Neverwinter. It’s the epitome of what’s wrong with parts of the monetization strategy of the game. In times where Hearthstone or League of Legends set a precedent of how many cash is widely accepted to be spend on a game, 20$ for a single-item purchase is already a major investment.

In Neverwinter you virtually get nothing for 20$. Mounts are more than that, Companions are less, but need to be upgraded, you need Wards worth 100$ (current PC prices) for one character and the list goes on. The rarest prizes are reserved for those that spend hundreds and thousands on keys. To add insult to injury, some of the stuff can’t be dodged or adds so much convenience to the game that it’s hard to ignore. Can you play the game without spending a single penny? Yes. Can you advance in a reasonable time without spending anything? No. We’ve discussed this pay-to-accelerate model before. Twice.

We might however now have to say you didn’t use to get something, because the recent change item appearance cost reduction is another indication somebody might have gotten the memo in PWE HQ that microtransactions can fuel F2P games. I’ve already said that it looks like the devs have vastly overestimated the willingness of the players to invest major money into looks. Mounts, Fashion, Transmutation: You name it. I generally think most items on the ZEN market are still overpriced, especially bag and bank space. For those costs to work Neverwinter might have been released one or two years too late. In the early days players were throwing crazy money at the f2p model, but not any longer.

Trade Bar Store Banner
Trade Bar Store Banner

The devs already released adjustments with the Trade Bar Store rework and more importantly the VIP system. Both combine to give the players more progress than ever for as low as 10$ a month (or less if you buy into three or six months). I would go as far as saying that this is the only investment you need to make currently to be able to compete on the highest PVE level (not PVP though) eventually. It’s even self-sustainable and the ability to buy Enchantments, Dyes and Wards for as low as the Trade Bar equivalent of one lockbox is exactly what this game needed.

But there are still some areas of concern, which next to Mounts, Companions and Artifact Gear also included transmutation. They definitely have to do something about RP for Artifact gear. Our tool currently lists the price for one item at slightly under 5M AD (~125$) and you need four of them. That’s simply too much, especially compared to the amount needed to get BIS in other areas. The Mount system however is getting a rework, companion tokens are included in the Fortification Kits to help drop the enormous costs of upgrading them and transmutation has now been changed. It was necessary because transmutation has been a pain and I doubt players were really engaging in the system. Most of us don’t have one, but two or three armor sets that might or might not change with every module. Throwing around 100s of thousands of AD every three to four months to be able to retain the look has been incredibly annoying, especially on multiple chars.

So I’m glad we’re slowly but steadily moving away from the mess that Elemental Evil has created towards to a more favorable system that seems to include more and more microtransactions.

What are your thoughts on the transmuting changes and the game’s monetization strategy? Share it in the comments below or post to our forums.


j0Shi plays the Neverwinter MMORPG since the open BETA in 2013 and is a regular contributor to the blog and the whole UN:Project. Originally a Guardian Fighter, he has built up ALTs of all classes and plays on BIS/near-BIS level.

2 thoughts on “The Change Item Appearance Cost Reduction & Microtransactions

  • January 30, 2016 at 10:20 am

    Their monetization strategy had been penny wise and pound foolish. Same with their general customer service. These cost reduction changes are a good step in the right direction. A true improvement would be to do right by players who have already invested in the game. I’d like to see a scaled retroactive reward, more than just raising drop rates or offering a discount or incentive on additional purchases. Some companies will do that even without an econ reset from NWO’s Mod 6.

    Retroactive scaling rewards would make some other changes more palatable to players who have already hit a BiS ceiling. Class artifacts from Vault of the Nine are noob traps. I have several at purple. It seems nice to get them free, until I learn more about the game or a new lockbox is released. Freedom of char build is priority here. You can make class artifacts refinable into other artifacts, and still find other ways to restrict or moderate class artifact redemption. Maybe limit class arti redemption frequency (per month or whatever). We are hardly in danger of making mythic artifacts too easy to get. They are bound anyway.

    Speaking of, another issue is char bound items. Char bound is usually excessive. Mulhorrand weapons are an oft cited example, but the same concern applies to artifacts, arti items, and mounts. Players are locked into past purchases. Overly restrictive char binding makes players more hesitant with future purchases. Account-bound is usually enough to prevent most exploits, players will appreciate the freedom of moving items between their chars, and it would be nice not to need 3 inventory slots for 3 different -bound versions of a minor refining stone. Char-bound items are just baggage.

    This last idea is just brainstorming and you may see drawbacks: a unique rare professions task for fully unbinding artifacts, mulhorrand, and arti items could restore relevance to many professions. Botting and exploiting could be controlled by making such tasks unique and adjusting frequency.

    ~25% bonus zen based on past zen purchases (capped?)
    Titles granted for veteran chars by module
    Class artifacts are refinable into other artifacts, and limit how often they can be reclaimed (or non-reclaimable)
    Remove char-bound, convert existing char-bound items to account-bound
    Possibly add unique rare professions tasks to unbind equipment, limiting frequency of availability to control botters/exploiters

    • January 30, 2016 at 5:18 pm

      i would love to see class artifacts unbound, i keep 3 for no other reason than i spend huge amounts of time and resources into them, because they were free only to move over to more class specific artifacts. I would not even mind if they were unreclaimable, at least i would then get some value for the time, and money i spent on them

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