Rift - Why Starfall Prophecy Should Be Available for Credits
ByDate: Nov 04 2016 Views:
Rift's first pay-only expansion since it went free-to-play, Starfall Prophecy, has brought with it a change to how things are handled in the game's cash shop. The big one is that this is only available for cash, rather than Credits, and leads to a situation where it just isn't as beneficial to players (and Trion) as it could be.
A Credit-Based Cash Shop
Rift relies on players purchasing things from its cash shop to continue running. This can come in the form of new souls, items that don't have any effect on the game itself, Patron status, or a multitude of other things. The store is the only way the game can continue running, and it is, therefore, an important part of the Rift system.
Normally, Rift has been running a Credit-based shop. This allows for the game to have its own currency (which can only be purchased by cash), but it also creates a win-win-win situation due to the addition of REX (Rift Exchange). For those who aren't already familiar with what REX is, it's a token that players can purchase using cash and can then sell or trade to others within the game in return for gold, essentially legalizing real-money trading (RMT). This increases Trion's revenue (as people are buying these tokens for cash) at a faster rate than if they weren't there, and allows free players to obtain paid cash shop items without having to pay a single cent. It's a solid system that has been getting more and more popular over time, with more games jumping on board.
Starfall Prophecy Breaks the Trend
The issue comes with the addition of Starfall Prophecy, which has broken the trend that has become the norm. Rather than being able to purchase the expansion using Credits, it can only be obtained in one of two ways: either by buying it yourself (using cash) or via the gifting system. The gifting system itself brings up a lot of concerns about scammers, as you are forced to trust the other party to actually send their end of the deal, making it a huge problem. And with the cost of the expansion starting out at (???), it is not a small sum of cash (nor a small amount of gold equivalent) to be tossing to a random party in the hopes that they're being honest. As such, while the gifting system is available as a means for obtaining it, it is highly recommended against taking this path – the risk is great for both parties.
Why Credits Make Sense Here
The only reason I can think of for why Starfall isn't available for Credits is because of the desire to bring in income. But allowing purchases in this manner would actually make even more sense, as it would increase the game's revenue. Take, for example, this calculation of the two costs, broken down into its USD equivalent.
To purchase the expansion directly, it comes at a cost of $39.99 for the normal version (Standard) or 59.99 for the upgraded one (Deluxe). It is worth noting that you can also get the Standard one and then upgrade for $19.99 through the game, should you wish to go with the cheaper one and upgrade later.
For the purpose of breaking this down, we have to go with the cheapest method of obtain Credits: the $99.99 package. This package grants 18,500 Credits, so we can break it down to $99.99/18,500=$0.0054 per Credit. We can then derive the price of the expansions as follows:
- Standard: $39.99/$0.0054=7,406 Credits
- Deluxe: $59.99/$0.0054=11,110 Credits
The reason why we have to use the most expensive package when analyzing this is that otherwise, a work around for getting the expansion cheaper would be to simply buy and use the Credits.
Bring On the REX!
Okay, so we know that Credits can be traded directly (through the use of gifted purchases), but it’s safer to use REX. The number of REX needed for each package is as follows:
- Standard: 7,406/1,250=5.9248 REX
- Deluxe: 11,100/1,250=8.88 REX
For both of these, we will round up to 6 REX and 9 REX, respectively. In dollar terms, this would result in a cost of $60 and $90 for the expansion, which results in an increase of revenue for Trion of $20 and 30, while allowing players to have a safe, secure, and easier method to purchase the game using platinum. In other words, players could then slowly work their way up to being able to afford the expansion by using platinum (one REX at a time), and upon obtaining enough could use them directly for it.
The Unsafe Workaround
There is a way to still do these trades within the game, but it is considered as unsafe. The method is to find a trader that is willing to gift you a copy of Starfall Prophecy in return for platinum, REX, or other items. As for why this is problematic, one player has to trust the other and send first – and usually it is going to be the person buying that does so. While I, along with some others, have had great luck doing this, you absolutely have to be sure you trust the other party. If they don’t follow through, you have no real recourse.