Discussion: Duelyst's Pricing Structure


#1

Alright, for the most part this thread will be directed at Counterplay, but with plenty of room for a discussion and a hope that we all will be a little better for it.

I want to discuss Duelyst’s pricing structure, initially I thought the price per card pack was a little high, but I didn’t mind too much. The game is young and I want to see it prosper as much as possible, if that means paying a bit more for card packs, I don’t mind, besides, with hard work you can get card packs for free. So I didn’t worry too much.

That being said, when the cosmetic items came out I was astonished at how expensive they were. nearly $8 for a single skin seems a bit ridiculous, but again they could be earned for free at the cost of the very valuable resource that is spirit.

Now with the inception of boss crates as well as the other crates I’m truly concerned and quite a bit dumbfounded. Not only is access to them completely cut off for not paying players but the prices are bordering on the absurd. $5 to open a crate and a condescending time limit to try and pressure you into a rash purchase. This one bothered me quite a bit.

I’m not here to whine about the price of cosmetics in a free game in hopes of getting stuff for cheaper. I’m writing because I feel Counterplay is hurting themselves with the pricing structure and by extension hurting its playerbase. Each time I’ve visited the armory and scrolled through all the available products (keys included) I’ve decided that there was nothing that was worth purchasing. I’m typically quite liberal when it comes to cosmetics but it leaves me repeatedly deciding not to buy into a game that I genuinely want to support. The cost of cosmetics and emotes is way too high to be worth it and spirit is much to valuable for me to want to waste it.

So this is a urgent suggestion to Counterplay, If you drop your prices (I honestly recommend at least 20%, you could leave the cost of orbs the same) I feel you would see a massive substantial increase purchases across the board, surely enough to justify the price cut. I call upon the community to rally and let Counterplay know. We want the cosmetics, but they simply cost too much! I now open the the floor to you all, Folks at Counterplay are of course welcome to state their case, and as always anyone is welcome to disagree.

TL;DR: Counterplay should lower the prices for cosmetics and keys to increase player interest in buying them, agree/disagree?

  • Counterplay should drop their prices, it will motivate players to buy!
  • Counterplay’s prices are fine, stop complaining!
  • Counterplay is doing what they need to, I hope prices will lower but they are fine for now
  • I WANT TO PAY MORE!!!

0 voters


#2

I’m not their ideal target audience, as I have no interest in buying cosmetics. Can’t speak much on that part. My biggest cosmetic interest would be in a general skin, as those look pretty sweet.

I have paid for specials.

The one time only or first type of deals for (subjectively) reasonable prices get me best, even if they are a bit illusionary.

As suggested, I would be tempted in paying about $5(?), maybe $10 for a general skin. 1st time general skin offer of $3 and i’d be grabbing my wallet hands down.

Edit: Just looked, 8. Not bad, but again, 1st time specials bait me best.* *Edit 2: Emotes are overpriced in , spirit costs could be lowered, but not as substantial, as keeping it higher will persuade the $ alternative. The prices for emotes do cause me to completely disregard them.


#3

The orbs are fine. I’d dare say they’re generous.

I do feel cosmetics and crate keys are pricey, but you have the option of using Spirit to craft the cosmetics. I’d be lying if I said I wouldn’t like to see these become cheaper, but they have no impact to on how the game is played so it isn’t a problem in my eyes.


#4

$5 for the boss crate is actually a pretty good deal, even if you don’t care about cosmetics: https://www.reddit.com/r/duelyst/comments/5otutw/analysis_of_boss_battle_rewards_from_patch_179/


#5

A cosmetic is a one time purchase.They are group of players who will never spend a cent in the game.Those two factors lead to the price of cosmetic things,Counterplay has to price things in a way that they make a profit when people buy a cosmetics.

These are made up numbers to express a point lets pretend 25% will never buy anything,and another 25% buys what they want.That leaves 50% to buy some sort of limited amount.Here is the thing people don’t understand you don’t have to buy everything and since in this game can eventually acquire what you want for free.

If I want only Magmar stuff I could work/buy for the stuff I want and I will never buy anything.The prices are to make a profit from a person who more than likely just one or two things in their time in duelyst.Duelyst has to maximize profit on that stuff to be successful.

Do I agree with all the prices? No but when you understand that largest group of customers are going to only buy one or two things regardless if they like the game or not then the prices make sense.

Also remember that Duelyst and most digital CCG have a point where a player can hit and they never spend a dime.I reached that point by spending money but I have seen players like Hsuku and Grincher do it without spending dime.I have all the cards in the game and I regularly play duelyst.The next expansion I will have enough gold and spirit enough to not spend real money to get what I want.

The general point is this Duelyst has tons of players who wont spend money or don’t have too.Finding the right numbers for a free to play game is tricky and cost of being “free” is passed on to people who pay for the game.


#6

My 2p worth: (just another data point for counterplay)

I don’t care what packs and cosmetics cost, because I will never buy packs or cosmetics with real money at any price.

To the extent that I have or use cosmetic items in game, I want them to reflect in game achievements, not real money purchases. If there was a cosmetic reward for reaching diamond (the best I’ve managed) then I would display that with pride. I would take no pride in a cosmetic reward for spending $5.

I don’t buy packs for real money, because packs one at a time can be ground out, and buying enough packs in bulk to make a dent would make this game substantially more expensive than a “proper” game. (The sort I no longer have time to play…)

BUT:

I will buy, for real money, solo content (that might well reward cards) and fixed collections of cards. I bought the Bloodbourne expansion for cash and considered it good value, whilst spending the same amount on packs would make me feel like a gullible fool. In Hearthstone I buy adventures - but not packs or hero portaits. If the next expansion is cards for me to grind (like Shim’zar) that I spend gold not cash on, and the one after a fixed-price adventure that rewards all the cards (and possibly comes with a set of boss battles to unlock them), then I’d buy the adventure and be glad that that way of supporting the game / developers existed for me.

Each to their own =)


#7

The prices are perfectly fine. Skins in other games- Hearthstone, League of Legends, DotA, etc- are often 10 dollars or more versus 8 here. Furthermore, in those games it is not possible to buy said skins and cosmetic items with in-game currency- only with real cash.

Inevitably, card games are among the single most expensive genre of games to play behind only MAYBE MMOs. And that’s a highly questionable maybe… I think players getting into this kind of game should know what they’re signing up for beforehand and deal with it. I view whining about prices in competitive card games as taking a trip to Switzerland, staying at a luxury hotel, fine dining out each night and then going “this place is too expensive”… -_-


#8

…or maybe, eating a pile of crap and saying “Wow! That tasted like crap.” :sunglasses:


#9

I like the game enough that I’d like it to prosper and grow. Really, I don’t care much about the specifics of the pricing, so long as it’s carefully, successfully designed to keep the game running profitably, gain new players, and retain old ones. So, the only thing I can say for sure is that I hope CP makes well-considered, good decisions about pricing. I realize that’s the point of the thread, so here’s my personal data:

I have spent money. I don’t intend to buy anything else given the things I can purchase, but may in the future.

What I have purchased: All the one-time deals, including the BBS expansion. More than a dollar an orb is more than I’m willing to pay because I’m a silly human and the round sacred numbers make my brain break. Also, my collection is large and complete enough now that I don’t really have to. If there are cards I want that I don’t have, I can generally craft them immediately, or with only a little patience to gain the gold / spirit needed.

My self-justification, if it’s useful, is that the initial purchase was going to be the most impactful, since it had the highest chance of getting the most useful cards immediately. The longer I played, the worse the deals got, so I bought them fairly soon after starting. Also, when buying them, I considered the total cost across all purchases I made as a spending limit, but the gain from the individual products. Cosmetics fall well outside this (soft) total spending cap, and I don’t generally buy cosmetics anyway, unless I’m doing it specifically to support / donate money to the game. Since I had a way of paying for the game and getting mechanical benefit from that, no cosmetics. I’ll craft them when my non-prismatic play set is complete.


#10

You gotta remember cp ain’t valve, they ain’t blizzard this is partly funded by us. You can play this game for free all you want but money talks. Money makes things happen. If you like the game spend money on it simple. I’d take it as a sign that they may need more money.


#11

Overall, I think the price for Orbs are good enough and the price of Boss crates are good value for money. Considering a good player with a free gauntlet ticket could possibly keep ticking over the 7 win mark for more free gauntlet runs (not me though, I’m still a bit crap). All the crates are also value for money, if you don’t care with cosmetic items you get. Only time I think things aren’t good for your wallet in terms of value is cosmetic items like profile pics, emotes, skins and battle maps if you buy them through the armory and not the crates because I think they are expensive for what their are. Having said that, once you got a full card collection (or all the cards you want) you can then spend spirit for those items. Which is very rare and dare I say generous, since I can’t think of any multiplayer game that I’ve played that allows in-game currency to buy cosmetic items.


#12

So I’d like to speak on the topic since I’ve disagreed with certain parts of the CPG pricing policy for the longest time. This post is purely related to the cosmetics since I think the orb prices are fine.

From what I know about the f2p business models, there are three general ways to earn money as a free-to-play game.

The first is cash in-bro out model. Basically you make a cheap, lazy piece of garbage, drop that turd on the AppStore and Google Play, aggressively market it to retarded schoolkids and then abandon it within weeks after making a bit of cash. This is clearly not what we are dealing with here, so it’s irrelevant to our discussion.

The second is relying on a small group of players who have a lot of disposable income and dump a lot of it into the game. This model generally works best for games with recognizable names, often based on successful franchises. Some of the lesser known games also use this model. I have a feeling that CPG might be trying to go for this approach. The constant stream of expansions seems to be aimed at part at keeping people paying by giving them more stuff to buy. Cosmetics also are probably aimed at the hardcore fans of the game. When using this business model, companies often set their pricetags higher than you would expect since their income comes from a few people with a lot of money.

The final approach is based on making most of the players spend at least some cash. That can be done through some scummy tactics, but again CPG is definitely not doing that. This approach is usually used in conjunction with the previous one, with some one-time deals to entice newcomers and higher general pricing to fully reap the rewards of getting the people hooked. That is exactly the approach the CPG is taking, and the one I want to argue against.

Duelyst has a pretty healthy playerbase which was extimated at about 15 thousand or so unique players per month the last time I checked. Applying the rule of thumb and general statistics I would say that about 200-300 hundred people (1-2%) are “whales” for the game - those high-paying customers who don’t care about the money and just buy everything that comes out. So everybody else is in the camp of people who either pay a little or don’t pay at all.

So here comes the math and estimates, and I’m terrible at both, so feel free to correct me. Currently most of the money comes from those 1-2% of the players, I assume. So they probably make about 20-30 thousand dollars reliably every month, provided those players drop about 100/month at the game. The rest of the playerbase provides some ammount of money which is almost impossible to estimate, I would say about 40-50 thousand dollars a month through the sheer number of players. However, that money is bound to be highly unreliable and mostly come in after expansions and new services like the boss crates are rolled out.

So. Why I feel CPG should kick down the prices on the cosmetic items. There is a group of players who are inbetween those who pay very little and the “whales”. I am one of them, and I would guess about 10% of people are the same. These people drop a fair ammount of money on the game, especially after expansions come out, but generally a reluctant to pay more than necessary since they don’t have enough disposable income to become “whales”. Such people would spend money on skins and icons and other cosmetics if they do not feel overpriced. And right now they do, absolutely. 8 bucks is quite a bit, especially here in Russia. And I think that applies to many different countries. I think a lot of people from countries with terrible dollar exchange rate can be persuaded into buying cosmetics by lower prices. And that’s only one example of people who want to throw money at the game but simply feel like that would be too much of a waste. A lot of those people could drip in small ammounts of money every month, if some things costed less. And right now that potential is wasted.

And people who want to pay more, but can’t afford to pay THAT much more also end up not giving you any money. I am one of them. I had an urge to buy that sick Faie MKII skin many times, and every time I thought to myself: hell I can buy an entire game with that money. And I usually ended up buying a game. I think a lot of people are on the fence, just like me in the community.

Giving us one-time discounts wouldn’t solve the problem, though it will generate an income spike for CPG, so they might do it if they need some cash. But just kicking the prices down will cut their income from the “whales” while generating quite a few new “whales” in the process. Say they drop the prices by 30%. They will sacrifice about 10000 dollars a month from their devoted customers. But that would also make another 10% of the playerbase pay more. How much more is hard to say, but if 1500 people start dropping at least 10 bucks per months they will generate 15000 dollars a month, overall putting CPG in the black.

Of course all of this is pure guesswork. But I still feel, that my estimations are correct. Just from me alone, CPG are missing about 30 dollars of potential income which I would have dropped at the game. Add up that money from all the other people like and you get a pretty decent stack of cash.

Concluding this wall of text, I must say that I just hope CPG prospers and continues to produce high quality content - if I personally can’t afford the skins, I’ll live with it if it means the company ends up making more money.


#13

I’m generally in agreement with you, but there’s one notable math/logic error I personally see:

Every month. <-This isn’t happening, as the content CPG is producing are one-time purchases. MUCH more likely is they are dropping 100 for the game. Entirely, not per month. This creates a very different result in numbers.

Honestly, I don’t know a solution myself at the moment, or if CPG would even be interested in my ideas. (I would love the chance to hear feedback of the feedback i and others provide to them) As things stand, their format is very welcoming, but understandably very difficult.


#14

These are very rough estimates, I mostly use them to illustrate my point. And the point is that some people spend a considerable ammount of money on the game every month, becoming a reliable source of income for the devs. And of course in order to keep that train rolling devs need to keep producing new content.


#15

As someone who’s complained before about the terrible pricing for most of their products, I beleive CP is heading into a better direction now.

I’m not a fan of uncertainty and gambling in general, so I prefer set value for a purchase. Which is why I dislike purchasing packs. Despite that I once made the mistake of buying 20 dollar worth of orbs because I wanted to support the game. I got such terrible value out of that that I actually considered deleting my account to get that money back (1 legendary, 2 epics everything else common aside from the guaranteed rares). As per their money-back policy. Needles to say, I swore never to spend money on orbs ever again.

Crates were in a similar situation. Very expensive, for uncertain value. Which was annoying at the time, because I really like this game and wanted to support it. But I’m not going to pay 5 dollars for something of uncertain value. Neither am I going to spend money on orbs ever again, because for the price of another game’s DLC (usually 20 dollars) I got basically nothing.

That being said, the recent tiered bundles were a step in the right direction: A low-cost, one-time purchase with guaranteed value. For someone as gambling averse as me, they felt like a step in a good direction. Had I not put a moratorium on me purchasing orbs again, I would probably have purchased some of them.

The next thing that convinced me was the RotB pricing. You pay 20 bucks for guaranteed value, the full expansion. This was something I could get behind and wouldn’t mind paying at all. I still haven’t done so, but that’s for reasons unrelated to the pricing structure. (Hospital bills are expensive yo).

So I’m pro the current direction, not so much a fan of the crates. Though the recent Boss-crate is pretty good value as well.


#16

This is something I agree with as well. I think the 40 orb price for the core and 1st expansion should be modified to “buy the entire core or expansion” for a set price.


#17

What would people think of a somewhat different model? Say, a monthly subscription for $2-5 that lets you select nonrandom rewards each month? Say, at $1.99, you can select any common emote / skin (same price as just buying outright), but next month, if you keep paying, you can buy one that costs 2.99 instead, and the month after, assuming subscription is continuous, you keep getting increasing possible rewards. Or, after you get to the ability to buy the most expensive reward, it cycles back to the beginning + 1 value level.

Or, instead of cosmetic rewards, you could select a single special spirit orb, guaranteed with a legendary, and will not give you a card you already have a play set (3x) of.

I’m thinking this will give CPG a more stable income stream, and let players feel less gouged. You can tack on all sorts of perks, too, for subscribing longer. Expansion discounts, other cosmetics, etc.


#18

I think many people absolutely loathe subscription models.


#19

Really? Not being sarcastic, I had no clue there was a significant segment of the population that has a hate-on for subscriptions. Personally, I’d be quite enticed by such a model.


#20

I don’t have any issue with it, personally, but I’ve definitely seen multiple communities, including one online card game community, whose developer tried the subscription approach and got a ton of community backlash.