The cost of cover space

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  • the only thing i'm going to comment on your post is about his poor forum support when in fact, he's the only 'support' from the devs we seem to have. and there's alot of us, so he can't get to all of us all the time, or he'd spent all day on the forums.

    really poor to attack our community manager, in essence.
  • forgrim wrote:
    the only thing i'm going to comment on your post is about his poor forum support when in fact, he's the only 'support' from the devs we seem to have. and there's alot of us, so he can't get to all of us all the time, or he'd spent all day on the forums.

    really poor to attack our community manager, in essence.

    I think IceIX is doing a great job, given that he didn't want this job in the first place. Presuming he's not the Project Manager either (don't know) he doesn't make the decisions either, he's just the messenger. Shooting him does no good.

    That said, after this change and the boost bug last weekend they clearly need to have more representation on here. Because this change is pretty well out of left field.
  • IceIX
    IceIX ADMINISTRATORS Posts: 4,315 Site Admin
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    IceIX, getting back to my note at the begginging of the post, my goal here is not to target you, but you are essentially the "face of customer service" for your company, and I am very dissatisfied with your customer service. I don't frequent the board as much as others, but I have noticed that you run it pretty much single-handedly. Even with that in mind, I am disappointed that you did not respond to the correct post. If you had explained the "price increases" on cover slots in a way I could have understood 2 days ago, I would have bought the cover slots two days ago. Now, even if I do understand and agree to whatever explanation you may give me, I now still have to suffer a price increase because of your poor forum support.
    I'm not even sure how to respond to that. Post for post, I'm outposting any of the mods on most major game forums, and doing it in several different arenas. If I'm providing poor service, I apologize.

    For the cover slot increase, I completely understand where you're coming from in that regard. However, announcing price changes is very much a double edged sword for precisely the reason you state. In changing the price, we want to see what the user reaction is. Do players still buy the item when the price is increased or do they stop at a certain point? Is that point before or after the old one? When we figure out the break points, we can figure out the point at which the most customers are still satisfied while still providing the item or service in question.

    If we announce the change in pricing ahead of time: Users will see the upcoming change and purchase any "required" items to stock up before the change goes Live. We'll get a momentary spike in activity, but those users who are precisely the ones that we're targeting in respects to the change will no longer be in the pool of users that we will receive data from. Thus, the data we'd receive is either slower, less complete, or both. If enough users jump ahead of time it can even be outright wrong as users *could* have been OK with the change but the new data shows otherwise since no one needs to buy the item at the new price anymore, so they don't. The advantage of course, is that we make those particular players happier, which is unquantifiable but always a good thing.

    If we push the change in pricing out as a sudden thing: Users will be justifiably annoyed/angry over the price increase. Some will be in the position you are in, which isn't a great place to be. However, those users will make their decision on the perceived value in front of them. If the perceived value is fine, the majority of users will continue to utilize the service. If it's too low, less items will be sold and thus we'll know that we've perhaps raised the bar too high. But there's really no way to know where that bar is without either copious amounts of data over time (which means that price changes are even rougher since they've been standardized) or simply by pressing changes forward and seeing where the line lies. A/B testing is a possible middle ground, but this has the downside that the group being tested will react more strongly than when a change is made across the entire user base, since they've been handed the unfair end of the stick.
  • Spoit
    Spoit Posts: 3,441 Chairperson of the Boards
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    Wouldn't people in his situation, with the time pressure to buy slots, also skew the data higher than would be otherwise expected though?
  • IceIX
    IceIX ADMINISTRATORS Posts: 4,315 Site Admin
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    Spoit wrote:
    Wouldn't people in his situation, with the time pressure to buy slots, also skew the data higher than would be otherwise expected though?
    It's possible, but there's no real way around that, only minimize it to an extent by choosing your time to deploy the change. In this case, it's mid-week since that's the general low time for players and thus less people will be affected by that position as less are playing than on weekend days.
  • I appreciate the honest response, but and this is not meant to be a criticism. I just wanted to throw my experience out there before I depart since you wanted to know responses.

    As a reference for my activity, my characters are decent, but I did not start until after the 20->5 ability change, but have played quite heavily after. My best characters are Thor 3/3/3 (could be 3/3/5, but wanted to aim for 5/5/3), max jug, and classic storm (don't recall, but similar to Thor), most of my 1 star characters have max abilities - but are not leveled (the 3 I mentioned have max level for what their abilities are. Anyway, just meant I've played a decent amount and leveled high (been able to get high in the ranks in some tournaments).

    Anyway, adding another issue to the one that was already there is why I have decided to stop playing this game. The first issue was to get the best covers, playing and focusing on tournaments is important and that is quite a time commitment - at least for those like me who were not in here from the start. There is nothing to be done about this one as this is really just personal preference and time restraints.

    The other is when I determine the money I'll spend on the game. I try to think of what I'll be willing to spend over the life of the game and if that's acceptable, then I'll continue. I like giving or even donating money for games/programs (free or not) that I enjoy; it encourages more development. But, adding up the costs here, it is just too much. I don't see myself playing without trying to collect one of each character and the expense is too high for me to justify it.

    It's actually a bit more the 2nd than the 1st issue because I do not want to spend start spending a lot (only spent $6 or $7 so far) when I have no idea if it'll get worse at any time. Then I'll feel trapped, not wanting to leave because of how much I already have invested. I play the game to relax and have a good time and I don't want to add speculation of how systems will change and how to effectively spend my money to my stress.

    I know the game is still developing and thus why the title says such and I would just wait until it is finalized to play if I didn't think I'd miss too much in doing so.

    Anyway, sorry for the long post. I just wanted to put that all out there before leaving so that my opinion can be accounted for.

    I do love the game overall, I love puzzle quest, and love collecting the Marvel covers. The 2 issues just add up to too much for this to be enjoyable enough of an experience for me now to account for the costs (time/money).
  • IceIX wrote:
    I'm not even sure how to respond to that. Post for post, I'm outposting any of the mods on most major game forums, and doing it in several different arenas. If I'm providing poor service, I apologize.

    I understand that it isn't very pleasurable to read my wall of text and then have me tell you that I'm dissatisfied with your support. I'm not trying to discredit what you have said or done in the past, but I have no experience with these "other forums" you mention and as I said, I don't frequent the boards all that often, so I'm not sure what you mean by "different arenas". I have no frame of reference for what you have said above. All I can attest to is that I took the time out on November 11th to make a detailed list of feedback items, questions, and concerns. Up to and including this very post, that list of items has yet to be acknowledged. I appreciate the sentiment of your apology, but all I'm looking for is some answers to the questions in that post from November 11th. Even a "company policy does not allow me to discuss financial matters" would have shut me right up. I wouldn't have liked it, but I would have either said "this is false advertising" and uninstalled, or rationalized it on my own, and bit the bullet to get that Magneto.

    I'm still waiting for any information from you, so I can determine what to do next. Either purchasing hero points, or uninstalling. There is nothing I can do in the game to beat that 4 day time limit other than putting down money, as far as I can tell. Again, not inherently a "bad" thing, to me personally.

    This next bit is for forgrim and Zathrus, as well. You are among the "positive" members here (had pleasant experiences with hogunner and TheLadder, too, among others). I understand your quickness to "defend" IceIX, but I most definitely did not "attack" him. I chose my words very carefully, and I think I was quite respectful of him, while still making my complaint known. I very clearly stated, "I am disappointed that you did not respond to the correct post." That is indeed what happened, is it not? IceIX did in fact make a mistake that will cost me money. I'm doing everything I can to understand the costs the company has set up, so I can enjoy this game, but I need help with that. This help is looking less likely, because the post in question has still not even been acknowledged.

    Sidenote to all: If you want to see what an "attack" looks like, take a look at MissMarvelBoobs' post here: viewtopic.php?f=8&t=656#p5800. Honestly, I was kind of surprised (and disappointed) to even see that username allowed on a forum for an official Marvel game. That kind of thing is what made me decide fairly quickly after the first week here this wouldn't be a place I would be frequenting very often. I will probably fade away after this thread, mostly lurking, looking for strategies and whatnot, as per my normal board habits.

    Like I said, IceIX, if you are simply unable to answer the questions due to company policy, that is all the answer I need. It's not a very satisfying conclusion because I still won't quite understand your reasoning behind the pricing (I still find it a little shady/unfair), but it will shut me up.

    Just to address something else you said as well...
    IceIX wrote:
    For the cover slot increase, I completely understand where you're coming from in that regard. However, announcing price changes is very much a double edged sword for precisely the reason you state. In changing the price, we want to see what the user reaction is. Do players still buy the item when the price is increased or do they stop at a certain point? Is that point before or after the old one? When we figure out the break points, we can figure out the point at which the most customers are still satisfied while still providing the item or service in question.

    This kind of logic hurts my brain a little. That seems like a really unfriendly way to do business in regards to your customers. That's all I have to say about that.
    IceIX wrote:
    If we announce the change in pricing ahead of time: Users will see the upcoming change and purchase any "required" items to stock up before the change goes Live. We'll get a momentary spike in activity, but those users who are precisely the ones that we're targeting in respects to the change will no longer be in the pool of users that we will receive data from. Thus, the data we'd receive is either slower, less complete, or both. If enough users jump ahead of time it can even be outright wrong as users *could* have been OK with the change but the new data shows otherwise since no one needs to buy the item at the new price anymore, so they don't. The advantage of course, is that we make those particular players happier, which is unquantifiable but always a good thing.

    I understand what you are saying here. But, unless I missed something (I started playing in October), early adopters of your game have essentially been given nothing for playing the live beta ("preview edition") of your game, even if they have given you their money. Normally, this wouldn't be too much of an issue, except the value of your features/mechanics vs our dollars keep changing, and the product does not even accurately explain the value of these items. Would it be so bad to, at the very least, update your hardcore fanbase (the board members) with a heads up of price increases?

    Also, you mentioned in the patch notes somewhere (in an edit) that there are changes coming down the line on "how the cover slot system works in general", but you are not able to tell us any details on this. I do not understand why you would not let your most active members and fans know of upcoming changes to core gameplay mechanics. That seems like the opposite of what a "preview edition" should be, I think.

    I really don't think letting the (currently) 426 board members know about the price increase ahead of time would have "broken the bank". And if it would have, and the members here are the ones giving you the most money, maybe there should be more than one person from your company helping you with the boards, so all of our concerns are being addressed in a more timely and direct manner. Not that I personally have given you any money (yet?), but I still think I am more of a "potential paying customer" than "randomcustomer32" that just downloaded your game yesterday. I am still doing everything I can to convince myself to give you money. That is still what this is all about to me. Being convinced to spend money so I can play your game for a very long time to come...
  • But, unless I missed something (I started playing in October), early adopters of your game have essentially been given nothing for playing the live beta ("preview edition") of your game, even if they have given you their money.

    I don't want to start anything, but you are looking at your advantage. The devs may decide the current prices aren't working out, or they might not. If they do keep it the way it is, people who have been playing since October get the advantage of the cheeper prices before they were changed. They also got to take advantage of the R40 patch change. Plus, people starting early have been able to build up their characters. If anything, it makes it more difficult to newer players.

    Personally, I am a collecter. I would buy new spots even if I didn't want the character just to have them all (except modern Haweye icon_e_smile.gif ). I won't be doing that anymore. I think if they keep adding characters, this wall may become too high to climb, but it's the dev's job to monitor this and make changes. I doubt they are going to squeeze their player base until there is nothing left. These are long term decisions for a game that's going to last a long time. Short term reactions are expected. That's fine. It was obvious the IceIX knew this backlash was coming. If you don't like their decisions, vote with your wallet. While the devs are people and care about the players (I'm pretty sure they do), the cash flow is going to decide what's working and what's not. You absolutely have a right to your opinion and to express it, but that is not what is going to instigate changes in the game.

    That said, how much is it going to cost to get Venom's level 5 Snare to produce 2 web tiles. icon_e_biggrin.gif
  • Blue Shoes wrote:
    I don't want to start anything, but you are looking at your advantage. The devs may decide the current prices aren't working out, or they might not. If they do keep it the way it is, people who have been playing since October get the advantage of the cheeper prices before they were changed. They also got to take advantage of the R40 patch change. Plus, people starting early have been able to build up their characters. If anything, it makes it more difficult to newer players.
    I don't think you're "starting anything" just by replying to me, this is a public forum. icon_e_smile.gif I'm totally willing to concede the point that starting early in and of itself can be considered a benefit, that is definitely true, and I'm sorry if it seems like I am ignoring that fact.

    Unfortunately, playing early AND paying any real money to play may not be beneficial at this point. The way everything in the game is fluctuating, from cover slot prices (and mechanics updates coming soon?), rapidly changing tournament requirements with no "preview" of what to build up to next, all the way down to fluctuating character powers, it can be difficult to get past those issues to spend real money right now without being able to know what I am actually paying for six months (or six weeks?) down the line. Maybe at least paying players could get some sort of "preview" of updates before they hit for the "preview edition" of the game? *shrugs* I don't know...

    I started (I think) 2-4 days before the "R40" update. I was only playing here and there at that point. I don't care if I "missed" the "reward", and honestly, a "reward" isn't what I'm looking for, as I stated. I'm sorry if the mention of a reward skewed the overall message of my post. It was only there as an example of a way something positive can be done by the company for players that have to put up with the bumps and hiccups that come with a new game, that's all I'm saying... It's a customer service thing. Marvel WoH would constantly give player-wide compensations for "issues" and "mess ups" (They don't even need to be Hero Points, of course.) Even up until the week I stopped playing, they gave out a card pack just because the PvP server went down for a couple hours. Other games do this as well... it's not unheard of, is all I'm saying... it would be a nice gesture. Either way, I'm not looking for a "personal hand out."
    Blue Shoes wrote:
    Personally, I am a collecter. I would buy new spots even if I didn't want the character just to have them all (except modern Haweye icon_e_smile.gif ). I won't be doing that anymore. I think if they keep adding characters, this wall may become too high to climb, but it's the dev's job to monitor this and make changes. I doubt they are going to squeeze their player base until there is nothing left. These are long term decisions for a game that's going to last a long time. Short term reactions are expected. That's fine. It was obvious the IceIX knew this backlash was coming. If you don't like their decisions, vote with your wallet. While the devs are people and care about the players (I'm pretty sure they do), the cash flow is going to decide what's working and what's not. You absolutely have a right to your opinion and to express it, but that is not what is going to instigate changes in the game.
    I agree with most of what you're saying here. I am a collector, too. I also hope they will not squeeze their player base, but after the last update, I have a little less faith than you that that is what is happening with MPQ. You seem to have decided to roll with it, and that is great, but I am stubborn. My need to "collect" is strong.

    Well, in my opinion I am "voting with my wallet" by default as soon as I start any free-to-play experience like MPQ. I am unsure as to why you are telling me this. I played Marvel WoH for quite a long time, but never decided that game was worth anything. I "voted with my wallet" the entire time, and once more when I uninstalled that game after six months, all without giving them a dime.

    OFF TOPIC
    The "vote with your wallet" argument is a terrible sentiment built upon the darkest of economist idealism. Linking "corporations" and "voting" in any way is a slippery slope into a worldwide clusterBADWORD. Anyone watch Continuum?
    END PARANOID RANT
    Blue Shoes wrote:
    That said, how much is it going to cost to get Venom's level 5 Snare to produce 2 web tiles. icon_e_biggrin.gif
    I'm with you, there. I was using Venom a lot recently. One of the things I love most about this game is how much I like the diversity of abilities among characters. My issues with the pricing aside, I love the game.