Inflation - a genuine explanation, please

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Comments

  • justjukiejustjukie Posts: 154 ✭✭✭
    People will learn, P2W isn't that rewarding. Someday the micro transactions field for games will be so unpopular developers will move away. But it is up to the market to shift before they will react
    Isnt this already starting? I heard something that Apple might start a new game platform, subscribtion based without any micro-transactions in any games. Not sure about details as i dont use ios.But coming from this company is a sign that the microtransaction market might be fed up soon. As much revenue as it creates, most publishers have to admit there is a lot of shady psychology involved.
    They have started it, and it's great. Beautiful games, as they should be. Full and complete and robust. 4.99$ a month and you play all the games listed under the Arcade section. 
  • justjukiejustjukie Posts: 154 ✭✭✭
    The sooner 'micro' transactions eff off and die the better place the world will be. 

    I've always despised them and am of course a massive hypocrite for spending money on this game. 

    I should go back to spending my hours playing finely crafted games that sit in my Steam library that don't require an additional penny. 

    But such is the human psyche and until something radical happens, developers will continue to milk this gambling genre. 

    I'm not suggesting this of Hutch, but like the aforementioned Football publisher's disdain,  it does make you wonder about humanity. 


    This. I miss the days of old. Company makes great product. Company sales product in it's final version for a single price. Company profits and customers are happy. Company uses product to provide an update. Otherwise known as expansion. OMG, company sales expansion and customers by it as it includes TONS new product. Company profits and customers are happy. The cycle continues. Each new car release could be an expansion with vast improvements. Customers buy it from app store. Company and customers happy. 
  • Blue2moroBlue2moro Posts: 2,191 ✭✭✭✭✭
    I spent £90 on the AAA console game super deluxe version of Borderlands 3 that comes with all content for a year.

    I've spent over £120 at least in the last 12 months on this mobile game.
  • AvengedAvenged Posts: 520 ✭✭✭✭
    Got this idea after reading about the thought off "autofill hands" function.
    How about  a subscription bot that logs in every 2,5h to play your tickets, collect rewards?! You get text messages if you pull epic or higher, bot buys ceramics once you reach 32,5k, all for just for 15k gold (incl 3xCF).
    You could even offer different bots, the latejoin special for 5k gold gets a new bracket and +100pts premium advantage.
    Late-join bot sounds **** good considering that Hutch still refuses to address event end times...

    Oh wait why the heck am I paying Hutch to address a problem they created?
  • MoogMoog Posts: 447 ✭✭✭✭
    I suggested a while ago an idea about hiring a 'car dealer' who auto-sells your cars from the holding pool before they expire.
  • Parimal_2000Parimal_2000 Posts: 886 ✭✭✭✭
    Moog said:
    I suggested a while ago an idea about hiring a 'car dealer' who auto-sells your cars from the holding pool before they expire.
    You know that our cars are not even safe in our garages right? Basically we get to use/play for 5 years and then they are going to be auto sold or something.
  • TD47959TD47959 Posts: 284 ✭✭✭
    Moog said:
    I suggested a while ago an idea about hiring a 'car dealer' who auto-sells your cars from the holding pool before they expire.
    You know that our cars are not even safe in our garages right? Basically we get to use/play for 5 years and then they are going to be auto sold or something.
    With the way the game is going it‘ll never last for another 3 years lol
  • MrpiratepeteMrpiratepete Posts: 867 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Most of our feedback gets ignored.
    Communication is basically non existend.
    Some people from support are mocking players.

    But yes, too much free stuff, That's why people are quitting to spend money.
  • TimButTimBut Posts: 961 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited October 2019
    I sold all my C, D, E, F cars except prize cars and I'm not gonna usual events anymore, hope soon I won't play at all. 

    I hope you will get more money without me buying gold like always. 
  • AndreasSimmerAndreasSimmer Posts: 1,586 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Hutch_Tim said:
    Short version: the more that people get in the game for free, the less they have to buy. Keep doing that long enough and we stop being able to support the game.

    I wouldn't say we were silent on it as I wrote probably more words on this subject than I have on any other, back when it was first discussed! And nothing has substantially changed since then.

    Still, it's good to have in one thread some of the key questions that remain, so I will answer here. First though I'll need a bit of time to calculate some things (what would be the impact if we just increased prize boards again right now without changing anything else; what is the trend in ticket buying; what is the trend in CF offers since I last looked; what is the trend on these "new kind of whales").

    Usually I'd say nothing until I had all that ready to go, but I figured while I was here I should at least say I'm looking into it.
    So... ´sup? Any updates on statistics or explanation?  I think most players here can agree that the "if hutch gives more free stuff they will go broke" theory is hard to understand. Happy customer buy, the ability to earn motivates to play. If players see barely any progress,bugs and unbeatable competition they stay F2P. And its not that Hutch is giving away someting for free with prizeboards, players pay with their time spend on your game instead of any other, which benefits the company on several levels.
  • Hutch_TimHutch_Tim Posts: 658 admin
    [wow, after a lot of editing I can't make these boxes go away... fine!]
    Okay, I was getting all ready with my forum Hazmat suit, but there's actually some very reasonable discussion here. I'll get to the main economy points later, but first to tackle a few individual bits:

    Offering ‘special’ Ceramic packs for a discounted price of 899?
    Your other points will be addressed below, but this one particular I think is a misunderstanding? This refers to the one-and-only 'Time Travel' pack, which has the same minimum guarantee as a Ceramic (one Super-rare or better), but can give up to 5 Ultra-rares, or even 1 Ultra-rare and 4 Legendaries (very low odds, but technically possible). The pack description attempts to convey this, and we could certainly do a better job of making sure players know the odds of packs, but this is why it's priced differently. It does represent much more of a risk, and from what I've seen it's more risk than most players are happy to take with that much gold even when they know what it can give them. (I could probably have spared the gold in-game last time this came up but I didn't go for it myself either).

    James_Pearce said:
    I’ve spent over 18 months building a reasonable garage, and yet I’m getting hammered in yesterday’s Final that wasn’t based on any of the recent updates, and included cars that have been available for months and years. By definition, I should have been able to compete strongly given the time I’ve spent building my hand. Not so any more, as the proliferation of CFs on sale negates any long term effort.
    That was the UK 90's Final, right? I think that's one of the toughest Finals you're ever likely to see in Top Drives:
    - Cars have been available a long time, so the older players are likely to have strong garages, so competition is going to be strong (as you expected)
    - Very few cars are UK 90's, which means just by luck a few long-standing players will be very strong - you could have 30 Legendaries and no UK 90's Legendaries, or you could have got lucky and your only 2 S are UK 90's and you got a JPE from somewhere. Fewer cars in a final = wider distribution of lucky vs. unlucky players.
    - More importantly, relatively few qualifying cars means many more than usual weaker players couldn't enter to help dilute the competition.
    - You could indeed buy all 15 packs and on average get 1.5 JPEs out of them. Given the above though, for most players that won't have been enough for them to be competitive. This one was tough for everyone.

    (Gsearch and I actually flagged that this would be an extremely tough Final once we saw it coming, but the number of Finals requirements that are less intense and don't use new cars is finite and not huge, and we'll be getting to them later in any case. Speaking personally I thought I might actually be alright for this one as I just happened to have a McLaren F1 LM and very recently pulled an XJR-15, but that still left me way down in T2, less competitive than I am in most other Finals events, such was the level of competition.)

    sinner said:
    The reduction in prize boards was of the main reasons I became FTP, after 2 years of spending. I really felt it was a middle finger to the player base.
    You miss one thing:
    If I'm happy with the game, if it makes fun to play and if It's not stagnating -> I'm going to invest money
    If I'm not happy with the game, if it's no fun to play and if I see no progress as a F2P player -> I will abandon the game

    TGPD said:
    Look Hutch people

    Give people good stuff and they WILL feel like supporting you.

    Give people middle finger and they will go f2p and stop giving you money.
    it's really just that simple
    UncleGary said:
    the more that people get in the game for free, the less they have to buy. Keep doing that long enough and we stop being able to support the game.

    By that logic, why give away anything at all? What is the reason for prizeboards, or daily gifts?

    Yep, these are all fair responses to my extremely brief summary!

    Free-to-play is of course not simple, and there isn't always an obvious relationship between in-game generosity and how much people then play the game (and how much they might be tempted to spend). Just earlier this year, in one of our un-launched games, we ran a 'generosity' test and found that players who were given more currency and could get further through the game more quickly actually turned out to be less likely to reach a certain early-game milestone. There was no challenge, so it wasn't interesting, so they quit. Of course, if you give too little, it's too hard, and people won't stick around either. Players also have radically different amounts of time, skill, and strategy, so balancing this out for everyone is always hard and rarely intuitive.

    To elaborate more on my original point, wherever Top Drives was on the generosity scale at launch, if we add in more free stuff with every new feature/addition (challenge mode, daily reward, going from 3 (!) non-daily events/week at launch to 7, club events, and all future modes) at some point we're going to reach the point where adding features means we make less money, at which point management are likely to ask why we keep adding features. So when we added Club Events, we thought there was an opportunity to replace the Daily (and the money you made from it) with something more fun, and reduce the benefits of smarfing at the same time (as that's always easiest to do in the Daily). Player feedback told us (extremely emphatically!) that the Daily was too important to lose, and Club Events not fun enough to replace it, and that's why we ended up with this rebalance instead.

    (This is all entirely relating to cash - average gold earned since the introduction of Club Events has increased by about 20% for players of all activity levels, as long as they at least log in to clubs to collect the seasonal rewards).

    Hutch_Tim said:
    Short version: the more that people get in the game for free, the less they have to buy. Keep doing that long enough and we stop being able to support the game.
    Is this also the reason we never get more events?! Because people would win something, which might keep them away from buying !?
    I feel like I might be missing something on this one. Do you think there's, er, not enough to do in Top Drives now? It's really quite a lot if you try to do it all, although I guess if you don't play clubs ... (but I know that's not the case, I saw you out there yesterday!)

    That said, I do personally like the idea of 24-hour-long lower-RQ events getting added in on those days when it's only the Daily event that's ending, even if it's for Premiums instead of Ceramics, and I'm lobbying for that one internally, for what it's worth.

    sinner said:
    @Hutch_Tim

    My son has started his own account, I play with him as he's only 9, but he loves cars. We've finished the campaign and now progress has really ground to a halt.

    Now what's caused this? Well it's not lack of  knowledge on how to play the game as he has me helping him. His garage isn't half bad for rq117 ( hes pulled a W12 syncro and the yellow dodge charger lucky guy) and has lots of ultra rares. I put some money into his account for him and we've opened some of the offers.

    So what is the problem? Well its simple. It's so hard to save enough cash to put some upgrades into a car it becomes such an uphill battle it's just not fun. He could have a great little garage if he could max some of his cars. He can't even smarf in the daily as you have to be RQ150. 

    I not sure I would have kept playing if the prize boards we structured as they are now when I first started. Looking at it now it seems an impossible task.

    The reduction in prize boards hurts players right across the board.


    Now this is a very interesting story. In some ways, there's a lot more to help you along than when many of us started (more events, challenge mode, daily login rewards), but I can see how the Daily Event would be missed. I assume Club Events are too difficult to enter, or don't look like good value for time? I think there could be a case for widening the Daily Event down from RQ149.


    Rising Competition
    On to the biggest general point I see here. It looks like a lot of players attach the idea of inflation to their experience of increased competition. Whether that's blamed on 'baby whales', or lots of carbon fiber offers, or an inability to compete in events that aren't of lower RQ, I think it all comes back to the experience of finding it harder to compete.

    Even with an unchanging economy, competition could change over time. If players with the strongest garages are much more likely to continue playing, then the game will become harder to compete in. I've double-checked a few things:
    - The impact of the carbon fiber offers (it's actually quite small)
    - The prevalance of 'baby whales' (this hasn't actually changed ever since we first introduced Tri-series)
    - Ticket buying at the end of events (it fluctuates by event, but has been stable for years doesn't look to be increasing)

    This makes me think this rising competition idea might actually be the dominant factor at work. I think that's something we need to understand better, as currently I'm not certain how to measure it - there's a few ways you could.


    What about the prize boards?
    I went back to the data to see if things had changed since last time I looked and shared results... and they haven't. But I did realise that last time I didn't actually talk about the relative amount that different player groups made from prize boards vs. end-of-event prizes, or the earnings of smarfers vs other players, which informed the idea of the rebalance.

    When calculating their earnings, smarfers were reporting clearing 5-6 prize boards a day on the Daily Event. I smarf myself (still do), and I think that's very hard to achieve, so as a less intense definition I'm defining a Smarfer (capital S) as someone who clears at 4 prize boards a day (or more) on the Daily.


    Comparing ratios
    How much should prize cards be worth in comparison to the cash prize you win at the end of an event, in a general sense? Averaging over all events (not just the daily), for the average RQ150 player before Clubs, prize cards made them 3.5x as much as the end-of-event cash. For the Smarfers, that figure was 9x. Intuitively, that doesn't seem like the right balance, if grinding is 9x as rewarding as placing.

    The other question is: how much more should the most beneficial strategy be worth over an average player's earnings? Smarfers were making 4x as much as the average RQ150 player every day (and note that the 'average RQ150 player' is no slouch, playing every day, entering every event and actively competing in all of them). So every week that elapsed, in a way the Smarfers would be 4 weeks further ahead of the average player. That's quite a lot, and of course it builds more and more over time. The average Smarfer would also make 33% more than the 1% most active RQ150's that didn't smarf (in less time).

    These sorts of figures are why we felt smarfing was too strong a strategy. It's hard to evaluate objectively what something "should" be when you're used to it being a certain way, but perhaps it would help to think: how good it would be for game balance if we went further the other way? What if event prizes were worth 20x as much as end-of-event prizes? What if Smarfers made 8x as much as the average player? That seems like it would be a move in the wrong direction.

    If you were (or still are) a heavy smarfer, I can obviously see why you wouldn't like the change, but hopefully you can see where we were coming from.


    Since the dust has settled after the rebalance and clubs, what has happened to the above metrics?

    The average RQ150 player now makes 50% more from end-of-event prizes than they do from prize cards (reversing the ratio). The average 4-board smarfer now makes 2x as much from prize cards as they do from end-of-event prizes (down from 9x) - so that feels more balanced.

    The average 4+board smarfer now makes 3x as much as the average RQ150 player (down from 4x as much). An advantage, but not as overwhelming. Interestingly the change is because the average 4+board-smarfer's earnings have stayed about the same, where the average RQ150 player is now making 50% more. (The Smarfers are also now making 20% more than the 1% most active RQ150's that don't smarf as much, down from 33%).

    That looks like a generally successful rebalance. Smarfing is still advantageous, just not by as much. 


    Why isn't everyone happy then?!
    In terms of what was discussed above, about how generous a game is influencing how much you play a game, we've seen a positive effect across most players - they are making more money (mostly due to end-of-event prizes), so they stick with the game longer.

    For the most active smarfers, especially those that don't like clubs, obviously things feel worse. Some of them play less, or play a bit more to make the same amount of cash. Lest anyone got the wrong idea, we certainly didn't expect those players to start spending more money instead - we know that you get used to how things are, getting less than that feels terrible, and you're not going to be more inclined to spend. This was the biggest cost of doing the rebalance, and we wouldn't stick with it if we didn't honestly think it was important to the long-term health of the game.

    Disenchanted players will also get a compounding effect of the 'rising competition' hypothesis - if you gave up on smurfing and/or don't play Club events and/or are generally less active, you will find it harder to compete; if competition is also rising that effect will be even more noticeable.


    Now what?
    The next question for me is how to assess the 'rising competition' factor. As I said, there's a few ways to measure it. One could look at how many CF's people who make T1 in a Final tend to buy, but that's going to vary a lot - in the RWD UK Final earlier this year, for example, I suspect T1 winners were overwhelmingly players that already had excellent hands already. How we measure it, and what we should do about, are what I'm going to be looking into next.
  • _HighVoltage__HighVoltage_ Posts: 232 ✭✭✭✭
    Hutch_Tim said:

    To elaborate more on my original point, wherever Top Drives was on the generosity scale at launch, if we add in more free stuff with every new feature/addition (challenge mode, daily reward, going from 3 (!) non-daily events/week at launch to 7, club events, and all future modes) at some point we're going to reach the point where adding features means we make less money, at which point management are likely to ask why we keep adding features.

    .....

    Do you think there's, er, not enough to do in Top Drives now? It's really quite a lot if you try to do it all, although I guess if you don't play clubs ... (but I know that's not the case, I saw you out there yesterday!)

    ........
    Rising Competition
    On to the biggest general point I see here. It looks like a lot of players attach the idea of inflation to their experience of increased competition. Whether that's blamed on 'baby whales', or lots of carbon fiber offers, or an inability to compete in events that aren't of lower RQ, I think it all comes back to the experience of finding it harder to compete.

    Even with an unchanging economy, competition could change over time. If players with the strongest garages are much more likely to continue playing, then the game will become harder to compete in. I've double-checked a few things:
    - The impact of the carbon fiber offers (it's actually quite small)
    - The prevalance of 'baby whales' (this hasn't actually changed ever since we first introduced Tri-series)
    - Ticket buying at the end of events (it fluctuates by event, but has been stable for years doesn't look to be increasing)

    Thanks for the elaborate explanation, Tim. I think we all appreciate it. A few comments though:
    1) Not that we should expect anything different, but that is the issue with capitalism - management always expects to make more money compared to the last quarter/fiscal year. Isn't there a point where enough is enough? When the game is profitable but does not necessarily increase its profitability every year?
    2) I've been playing for over 2 years. I spend (I suspect) more than average time on the game - around 4-5 hours a day! And from my perspective, there is not a lot to do in the game. At my rank, it's stressful and competitive, but not fun. When I win, I win by 1 star and get rewarded $250 in game cash. It's very underwhelming. Five tickets net me (on average) less than $2000 in-game cash. Not enough for a single upgrade on a UR car.
    3) Rising Competition - what do you mean by saying that the impact of the carbon fiber offers has been "quite small." What is the metric measured here? From a player perspective it sure doesn't seem that way. I play against people with way lower trophies than me (they are still at the 6000 range) and they have maxed Legendaries. I've played for two years consistently and I still am not there, despite my 23000 trophies (symbol that I do play a lot). Do I suck at playing? Is there some skill that I'm not aware of? Or did these newcomers simply buy their way really quickly (15cf offers every week...that's a lot of cars for food, and good chances for more legendaries). So, please elaborate on how the impact of carbon fiber
  • mauro07mauro07 Posts: 2,814 ✭✭✭✭✭
    about clubs... they are not fun... will we see something change? Maybe re-work clubs, no fun in grinding all day, no fun to win few $$ for all time spent, no fun. i enter one time a day only for take rewards... played few tickets, most of times only one tickets for week!!
  • AndreasSimmerAndreasSimmer Posts: 1,586 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited October 2019

    AndreasSimmer said:
    Hutch_Tim said:
    Short version: the more that people get in the game for free, the less they have to buy. Keep doing that long enough and we stop being able to support the game.
    Is this also the reason we never get more events?! Because people would win something, which might keep them away from buying !?
    I feel like I might be missing something on this one. Do you think there's, er, not enough to do in Top Drives now? It's really quite a lot if you try to do it all, although I guess if you don't play clubs ... (but I know that's not the case, I saw you out there yesterday!)

    That said, I do personally like the idea of 24-hour-long lower-RQ events getting added in on those days when it's only the Daily event that's ending, even if it's for Premiums instead of Ceramics, and I'm lobbying for that one internally, for what it's worth.
    Hey Tim, thanks for taking your time to answer this topic.I just answer this point, as there sure will be some more comments about the rest. But shhh, now everyone knows i play clubs :). Indeed i do especially when i need fast money to get upgrades going, but its just an emotionless grind, i dont even care if i enter winning or loosing events. Removing the negative scores might spice things up there. Any news on this one?
    To answer your question... Yes, especially on tuesdays and saturdays it feels a bit empty with just the daily ending and you already answered how to solve this.I think a good portion of the players would welcome something like 24h events, and those who dont like low Rq events dont miss out on a 2 or 3 day long event.
    Edit: some kind of steady weekend challenge would also be great, its fun to clear those. Even if you do just a small mainprize, like 3 slots maybe?!
  • Ivo_KamburovIvo_Kamburov Posts: 821 ✭✭✭✭
    Who even has time to read all this^
  • MrpiratepeteMrpiratepete Posts: 867 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited October 2019
    And here we go again. It doesn't matter how much we criticize specific features of the game, it Doesnt matter which argument we bring up, how often we tell you that the fun is fading away, how badly the prize boards are after the nerf and many things more, seriously the list is really long.
    At the end of the day, the only thing we get is a long wall of text, stating that we are wrong and that you are doing everything right.
    My best explanation is, that you have your gameplan in mind, you know exactly how you want this game to be and as it seems that's not how we want it, but you just don't care. And that's fine, I get it now. And that's why I'm done spending any money.

    PS. Of corse the latest support disaster is another huge factor, but I'm afraid it's not even allowed to say this publicly. 
    PPS. Thanks for the huge wall of text but honestly, I have never seen so much words without telling anything for real. 
    PPPS. My daily shitpost: SmUrFeRs are to strong, they make to much money, they are 4 weeks ahead of normal players. Yeah Tim, of course, I remember you saying what a big minority smurfers were and how insignificant they are. Now we are the biggest enemy. Of course...
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