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Russia Chooses Arcs Over Cash Shops

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mmozg_Rigeborod: Because Project Entropia honestly tells that it is a game where you need to pay real money.

Sergey Teymurazov: Free to play means the possibility to play without paying. Is there such a possibility in AA? Yes, there is.

mmozg_Rigeborod: Yes, but the classic free to play is totally different. People there interact within game possibilities. And let’s be honest: arcs are like (Russia's currency) roubles. We have a fixed exchange rate.

Sergey Teymurazov: Well, you can transfer anything into roubles like that. Look at the Korean version. There is rice, that can be bought in the in-game shop. We can say that rice is roubles. Because rice can be later put on auction and you can obtain some gold. So, the roubles can be transferred into gold.

mmozg_Andre: But only a very limited quantity, determined by the internal demand for rice.

Sergey Teymurazov: Yes, but the gold flows in through the monster killing. It follows that it doesn’t matter how the currency enters the system.

mmozg_Rigeborod: No, it does. It is very important.

mmozg_Andre: It is also important how fast it will enter, how it is balanced.

Sergey Teymurazov: Yes, but the real money income is balanced more easily. We can see the inflation of the Korean servers. It is huge.

mmozg_Rigeborod: I don’t get it. You tell us it’s easier to balance with real money. Ok, let’s look at a simple situation. I put a very cool sword on the auction. Donator Bobby pays in a required amount of money.

Sergey Teymurazov: The donator’s arcs will dissolve in the amounts brought by other players. In the premium accounts arcs, the inventory expansion arcs. So, if somebody puts in a certain amount of money will never substantially influence the total of currency in the system.

mmozg_Rigeborod: I do not see why you are so sure. People are pouring in thousands and dozens of thousands of roubles in the free to play games, when they can just go and buy a cool item. There are a lot of people like that, not just one or two. And the current system is such that you are interested in “Donator Bobbys”. It follows that the company is better off when there are more people donating because they’ve brought you more money. From the other hand the system encourages the approach: “I want to kill ’em all so I pay a lot and I’ll kill 'em all”. But this is pay to win. It is a classic pay to win game. 

Sergey Teymurazov: A classic pay to win is the system with a shop where you can buy items that do not appear in the game. In AA someone has to go through the whole production cycle to give someone an opportunity to buy this sword or any in game value.

mmozg_Rigeborod: But you won’t deny that all these items will appear on the auction sooner or later? And they might be bought for roubles.

Sergey Teymurazov: What’s stopping that in the Korean version? What’s stopping it in subscription games? The system does not protect from it. And no economy system can.

mmozg_Rigeborod: But the maximum bid on the auction will be made by someone who paid real money.

Sergey Teymurazov: Not at all. The arcs that got in game will pass on to other players after the very first purchase. These other players very well may be the ones who did not put any money in the game. Therefore they will be able to fairly compete on the auction.

mmozg_Rigeborod: Ok, you’ve convinced me that your system is not pay to win. You really did. There’s one more issue though. There are known ways to withdraw the in-game currency: real estate taxes, auction taxes… Do we know our trading taxes rates, by the way? Ten percent?

Sergey Teymurazov: We are still not quite sure, but it is planned to be less than ten percent.

mmozg_Rigeborod: So, even less. Ok. There are also labor points, house furnishings and the in-game shop. All these, except the in game shop, are obviously insufficient to balance the possible funneling of arcs through crystal buying. Therefore the in-game shop must be full of different goods. Can you tell us about this shop, even in general?

Sergey Teymurazov: We plan to use the glider schemes. Gliders can use different designs. Part of these schemes will be available in the game, the other part in the shop. Some mounts. Decorative costumes. Also, maybe the costumes that are sold for the Nui Tears in the Korean version will be transferred to the shop.

mmozg_Rigeborod: But all these are items that a player, so to say, buys only once, and they remain with him forever.

mmozg_Andre: We mean that there must be items for multiple use in order to secure a strong withdrawal of arcs and evade inflation. For example, items to restore labor points. Is there something except the above that is planned to be in the shop?

Sergey Teymurazov: We have this option in the developer’s current plan, it is not approved yet. I mean the teleporting stones. They will certainly remain in the craft. But since the developers introduced them to the Korean version long after the start, they fear that there will not be enough craft at the beginning. So they are thinking to add these stones to the shop to sell for arcs, to duplicate the craft. When the server starts, they will have some arc price in the shop. Later, when they will be crafted in large quantities, they will be sold on the auction, and the price, naturally, will be lower than in the shop. This price of the item will become unregulated then.

mmozg_Rigeborod: What about something like fertilizers to increase crop yield?

Sergey Teymurazov: Nope, they do not plan anything like that.

mmozg_Rigeborod: We still do not see any compensation to the arcs put in the game with real money.

Sergey Teymurazov: Then again, if you will aim to build a lot of houses, the tax will increase. There is a progressive scale, depending on the number of structures. It is also changed. It was very large for gold, and was made somewhat less for arcs.

mmozg_Rigeborod: Still, let’s name a main instrument for arc withdrawal from the game. It’s…

Sergey Teymurazov: In fact, it is not necessary that the shop will withdraw the whole large amount of money from the single person who put it in. Then it is distributed, not like a single large amount.

mmozg_Rigeborod: Of course not. But anyway, those arcs have to be taken from somebody to withdraw from the game. Even if they were put in by one person and withdrawn by ten.

In other words, I mean that we assume the existence of some permanent “donation”, securing the constant inflow if the arcs into game. Accordingly, there must be a constant withdrawal instrument for it. You have named different means of such withdrawal. But in this context, how do you see the current system, which instrument will be the basic one to withdraw arcs from the game?

Sergey Teymurazov: The real estate taxes are, of course, the most stable one.

mmozg_Rigeborod: And you expect it to be the main withdrawal instrument, percentage wise?

Sergey Teymurazov: Yes.

mmozg_Rigeborod: That’s interesting. Now to the next question. I’ll put this straight: it is known that Mail.ru does not have a good reputation amongst many players. It’s a pity, but at the moment it is so. Nevertheless when you’ve introduced a system where the Russian rouble is, in fact, the main in-game currency, and you tell us that you haven’t expected such a strong reaction from players. I think that given the current reputation of the Mail.ru such a reaction was quite predictable.

Sergey Teymurazov: I’d say, that in other Mail.ru projects, the main complaints of the players were about the unique items, sold in the in game shop, which were inaccessible to nonpaying players. And then XL games told us that they’ve got an idea: to make a special currency, that would be used for trading, and could be received on an auction. When we heard it, we thought that this would eliminate the drawbacks for nonpaying players. That they would like that there is no shop they can’t get into.

mmozg_Rigeborod: I see. I know that you like free to play games and you think that pay to play games are unpopular in Russia. But the most known MMO that are being spoken of for many years are World of Warcraft and EVE Online. I can say that it is well known that Blizzard has a lot of Russian servers in WoW. Once more I’ll point out the fact that the number of the Russian players in EVE is second largest in the world. The both are pay-to-play.

Sergey Teymurazov: There are examples of the contrary. For example, League of Legends. I mean that it is a weak argument.

mmozg_Rigeborod: But my examples are long term and successful MMO projects. I mean they are around for a long time, and they will live for a long time.

Sergey Teymurazov: Then again, Lineage 2 on the Russian market is free to play. For a rather long time also.

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