Russia Chooses Arcs Over Cash Shops
You can read the original Russian interview at MMOzg.net.
mmozg_Andre: These days the only theme we can talk about is the new ArcheAge economic model introduced for Russian localization. What do you think about players’ response to it?
Sergey Teymurazov: We didn’t expect such a reaction. We thought this model is attractive, understandable and easy to explain. Probably we couldn’t explain it well enough and it is mostly our fault. On the other hand, one of our goals was in fact to evaluate players’ reaction. Though we played the Korean version of the game, we don’t see the whole picture in the same way as active players and guilds do. That’s why we’re keeping in touch with them, talking, getting feedback. They have ideas and we’re listening carefully.
mmozg_Andre: Do you have an economist for the game on your team?
Sergey Teymurazov: Yes, we have such people.
mmozg_Andre: You’ve mentioned earlier there was an economic system developed by your team for russian AA and rejected by XLGames. Is that correct?
Sergey Teymurazov: We made several suggestions, but XLGames offered us only two possibilities: subscription model and the one that was introduced. The current Korean model was not even offered. We didn’t choose the subscription model for the obvious reasons: for a long time there are no successful subscription based games in Russia. If we would have chosen a subscription model AA would be doomed to a niche existence with only a small amount of players. We think AA deserves more and the free to play model will get much more players into the project.
mmozg_Andre: What about EVE Online: do you think it is not successful in Russia?
Sergey Teymurazov: And how many players do they have in Russia?
mmozg_Andre: Second place by the subscriptions count.
Sergey Teymurazov: What about the exact number?
mmozg_andre: Approximately 65k as of April.
Sergey Teymurazov: We think Russia can give much more players to a really successful project. We think that making AA a project with such a number of players would not be a good decision.
mmozg_Andre: So XLGames convinced you this model is fine? It follows that now it is your interest to explain their arguments to the players as you are the Russian publisher and localizer.
Sergey Teymurazov: Yes, that’s right. It looks like we are still not very good at this explaining. Players want all the details, but we still need a beta test for final systems tuning. We have some concerns about the system, they were partly voiced by the players during discussions after the announcement. Some aspects may change during the beta, and it is hard to discuss them now. Our plan was to finalize everything before the closed beta, show all that stuff to players and then decide what should we do.
mmozg_Andre: What is your evaluation of the players' influence over localization development?
Sergey Teymurazov: Players’ opinion is going to become the strongest factor determining our decisions during the upcoming closed beta. We’ve got our own ideas, but they may wind up being wrong.
mmozg_Andre: You’ve mentioned cooperation with the large guilds. How would you comment on the results of their polls with the P2P model preference?
Sergey Teymurazov: Every well-reasoned comment is taken into account. It is better to vocalize all the remarks as soon as possible. I think, that it is really very important, for it is much more complicated to make changes after the release.
mmozg_Andre: Let’s discuss the new currency called, the “Arcs”. There is a lot of discussion about it. Gold is a universal in-game currency, which can be earned by players by in game interactions. Why was it necessary to introduce Arcs in this case? Why not just exchanging crystals and gold in your system?
Sergey Teymurazov: It is hard to control the gold flow from monsters, quests, farms and other actions. Any miscalculation can lead to gold inflation, as it had already happened with milk and cows. A special auction currency is a mean to prevent such cases. We understand, that players are worried about the Arcs inflation, but is almost impossible in reality.
We are going to develop the balance of Arcs outflow from the game according to classical balance of paying and non-paying F2P players.
mmozg_Andre: Let’s get back to Arcs and discuss the main hero of the game. In case of subscription games, the main client is the player, paying for the subscription. In a free to play case with a cosmetic in-game market, the main client is the gamer who buys in this market. How do you see the main "player" of AA?
Sergey Teymurazov: The most important thing for us is to provide equal possibilities for paying and non-paying players. That’s why there will be no goods available only for the payers in our in game shop for the arcs can be acquired by the auction by non-payers also. That’s why building of houses will be also available for non-paying players.We would like to make the game interesting for the non-paying players, because that increases the game popularity.
mmozg_Andre: Many gamers are looking forward to AA release in Europe. Do you think that players moving to European servers will amount to serious losses for the Russian version?
Sergey Teymurazov: We think that this is a player’s personal matter. Many people choose foreign servers not because of the paying model, but, say, for enhancing their language skills. On the other hand, of course we want to see Russian players on the Russian servers.
mmozg_Rigeborod: Are you familiar to the Project Entropia?
Sergey Teymurazov: I’ve heard of it but have neither seen nor played it.
mmozg_Rigeborod: The key feature of the project is that in game and real currencies are the same thing. I have thought about the current model, offered for the Russian AA, and it strongly reminds me of this Entropia project, except for two issues. In Entropia they honestly say, that in-game and real money is the same. Secondly: In Entropia, unlike the AA, you can earn money as well as spend it, even receiving some profit. It is undisputed that there is a lot of people now, who do not spend real money, so you can say that in a way this is a free to play game. But nobody calls it so. Maybe you should be more honest with AA? Any amount of in game currency can be bought both in Entropia and in your version of AA. Many in-game actions require this currency for ArcheAge.
Sergey Teymurazov: Some of them. The lesser part. Far lesser.
mmozg_Rigeborod: Is that so? Most of them require "arcs".
Sergey Teymurazov: Which ones?
mmozg_Rigeborod: For example, the obvious participation in sieges.
Sergey Teymurazov: It doesn’t require arcs.
mmozg_Rigeborod: The siege auction requires Delphi Dust (obtained by shattering Delphi Star coins), which can be bought at the main auction. So, in order to win the siege auction based on Delphi Dust, you have to buy it at the main auction or your rivals will do it.
Sergey Teymurazov: Not necessarily. You can control the sea and sink all tthe ships that try to get the dust.
mmozg_Rigeborod: In any case it is the main in-game gold is largely moved aside now.
Sergey Teymurazov: Gold is still an important currency.
mmozg_Rigeborod: Gold is not a currency. You cannot call items “currency” if they are bound to the character. Currency of an MMO is a means of interaction between players. Arcs. So, turning to the main question, in Entropia and in the scheme now introduced in AA, the in-game currency which is used for the players’ interaction, is bought in the shop in unlimited quantities. The only substantial difference between these schemes is that in Entropia you can take the in-game currency and cash it. Like the casino chips. And in fact nobody calls Entropia a free to play project.
Sergey Teymurazov: Why?