This is something that I've been thinking about for a while. Often, when we hear complaints about Achaea/IRE model, it's centered around pricing of items and pricing of credits directly. For instance, if you want a level 1 sip ring, con belt, bracelet and regen ring - that's going to set you back 1550 credits (~$475) for the basic of the basic defensive items. I understand that these things are priced "fairly" by IRE standards, but let's just be honest: they're not. $475 is double my car payment, or a PS4 with 3 entire games, or a multitude of other things that you can spend equivalent money on. I could book a round trip cruise from Galveston, TX to the Carribean for 1 person for $460.75 (I just checked through Carnival). I'm all for IRE making as much money as possible, but at the same time, I think some common sense needs to be applied if we intend to continue maintaining success further than 2019-2020.
The last time prices were adjusted, unless I'm mistaken, was ~3 years ago, judging by Announce 4290. While some artefacts were reduced in price, credit prices weren't changed. On top of that, the artefacts that were reduced arguably were items that don't have high use to begin with. None of the defensive items were reduced, with the only thing on the list that I even own being the Greaves and Lifevision - and I'm by no means a poor person in Achaean credits investment terms. SoA and Diadem (high use) were raised in price.
As we move into the future, with artefact creep, it's simply going to become untenable for new players to reasonably catch up - if it isn't already. Talismans have been introduced that are widening this gap, though a lot of effort is going into balancing these things so that they don't have massive implications. I don't believe a $7,00-$10,000 investment should be required to play the game at a high level. At the same time, I don't think a $1,000 investment should be required to play the game at a base level.
Assuming Tri-Trans, Trans Miniskills, Trans Survival, Trans Avoidance, Trans Vision, L1 Bracelet, L1 Sip, L1 Regen, L1 Con Belt (This is what I would consider the basic of the basic setup for anyone, and anyone that knows anything about the game would suggest this as a "goal to work towards") - you're looking at roughly 3000 credits, or $1,000 (factoring in the no brainer purchases, and the lesson conversion bonus new players get, lessons and credits received for leveling to 80). That's before adding an SoA, Riding, any niche things like Seafaring/Tradeskills etc. So, I think this is a fair estimate for a 'base' investment for a character that intends to have any sort of success across the spectrum of the game - hunting, combat, etc. It was brought up that all Miniskills aren't necessarily a base requirement, which is true. The reason I am including this is that, as I said earlier, artie creep means you have a magnitude more people walking around with full offensive output - so conversely, it stands to reason that, you will want to maximize your defense for the cheapest possible cost. Miniskills offer a nice reduction for a cheaper cost as compared to something like the Ring of Magus, etc. You're welcome to add/remove things as you see fit - but I think the $$ number won't fluctuate much. $750-$1000 depending on what you believe the setup should be. If anyone wants to do more intensive math, be my guest!
I suggest that Achaea introduce artefact packages, similar to the no brainer packages. Instead of slashing prices of artefacts or credits (though I would totally be down for a mass reduction in prices across the board), I think leaving them the same while also providing a cheaper means of achieving a basic form of investment is a good idea. Something like 5000 lessons (2.5 skills, or all miniskills), l1 con, l1 sip, l1 regen, l1 bracelet for $250. While this would reduce the up front cost for these items, it lowers the barrier of entry pretty heftily - while also leaving the upgrade option down the line the same. So a new character, for $325 (no brainer lesson+no brainer credits+no brainer artefact - which is not a small investment for an online game in the slightest), could reasonably get a solid amount of bang for their buck. Quick math indicates, for those items, roughly a 55% discount.
It may not be pretty to look at, or to think about, but I think ignoring the problem is not a good thing to do as we move into 2018 and beyond. One look at the Reddit thread about Achaea should be more than enough indication that it is a problem, and should be discussed openly and honestly. I'm sure I speak for quite a lot of Achaeans by saying, we want the company to remain healthy and continue to provide us content. My concern is that, even if we are able to increase new player creations (unique creations) - they're going to simply be turned away by the fact that it costs so damn much to become 'decent' by any factor that you can come up with.
Every conversation I have with a new player, honestly leaves a bad taste in my mouth, when discussing lesson investment/requirement and things that they reasonably need. Any interest in combat, you're going to want all of these items, and that's not even considering things like weapons, or utility artefacts like buckawns (please just delete or re-purpose this already) or veil or lyre or reflect wand or portal wand or warp stick. If you're a hunter, you want all of these plus critical hit pendants. Short of logging in purely to chat room or strictly for RP purposes, you're going to want these basic items.
I just think it's time we be serious about this conversation, as our player base has largely progressed from teenagers to adults with jobs/families and financial responsibilities where actual price points should be considered appropriately by any responsible person before investments are made.
Happy to hear others thoughts on the matter!
You hug Aurora compassionately.