The Success of Krono? It Has Come to EverQuest January 21, 2013Posted by Wilhelm Arcturus in entertainment, EverQuest, EverQuest II, Sony Online Entertainment.
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Krono, SOE’s version of PLEX, which they introduced back in October, seems to have taken root. Back then they announced that they would keep an eye on it, and if things went well they would introduce it into other SOE games.
Well it has come to EverQuest, which I guess means things are, in fact, going well for Krono.
As with EverQuest II, there is a FAQ for Krono on the EverQuest site detailing its integration with the game, cost, and so on.
I took a peek at Krono prices yesterday on the three EverQuest II servers where I have characters, and the market price seems to have remained stable, though supply varied from server to server. When I first looked at Freeport it was around 650p. Yesterday I saw:
- 80 Krono for sale from 19 different sellers
- Likely price you will pay – 600p
- 31 Krono for sale from 15 different sellers
- Likely price you will pay – 750p
- 18 Krono for sale from 10 different sellers
- Likely price you will pay – 750p
Those servers represent different population levels, with Freeport being the most active of the three. So I suspect that if you visited the Antonia Bayle, pricing and availability would be closer to the Freeport range, while lower population servers would likely be in the range of the other two.
And, as I noted before, at that price Krono is cheaper than RMT currency prices for EverQuest II, when you can find them. EverQuest II is not popular with RMT vendors, and has probably grown less so with the introduction of Krono.
But will that be the case for EverQuest?
The EverQuest market has been on a down slide for the last couple of years, with people willing to camp characters in the Bazaar 24/7 dwindling to a shadow of former days the last time I logged into Luclin.
However, in addition to raising the level cap to 100 and continued opportunities to kill off halflings, the Rain of Fear expansion also introduced offline selling in the Bazaar. No longer do you have to log in a character to setup shop and sit there in order to peddle your wares. That alone will probably revive the marketplace in EverQuest somewhat and help make Krono more viable.
The other question is the price of Krono. EverQuest has seen nearly Weimar Republic levels of inflation over the years due to various issues.
Okay, maybe it hasn’t been that bad, but prices of things in later expansions seem to be adjusted for the decreased value of the platinum coin, making items you can vendor for a couple of copper feel like they are not worth the effort.
What will the price of Krono be on the EverQuest servers? And how will that related to the RMT price? I have not had a chance to check.
Of course, one of the things that might help Krono along is that for certain scenarios, buying Krono is cheaper than renewing your subscription. At least if you are using it to renew your SOE All Access Pass.
Anyway, the Krono experiment presses onward as SOE attempts to bring a PLEX-like offering to its customers while killing off what remains of the RMT market servicing their games. I expect we will see Krono in Vanguard by Summer.
Would you want to see something like PLEX/Krono put in place by other publishers?
Krono – Maybe It Will Work… Maybe It Won’t November 21, 2012Posted by Wilhelm Arcturus in entertainment, EVE Online, EverQuest II, Sony Online Entertainment.
Tags: Krono, PLEX
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I mentioned SOE’s new Krono item previously, though really only in reference to an oddity in its pricing. It is SOE’s version of EVE Online’s PLEX, an item that can be redeemed for 30 days of game time (or premium game time, in the case of SOE’s free to play model) and which exists in-game and can be sold to other players for the in-game currency.
(Krono screen stolen from The EQ2 Wire because we love them.)
I had wondered previously if WoW could support something like this, back when they were indulging in their half-hearted, and I would say ultimately failed, kitten economy experiment. But now that SOE is attempting to emulate the PLEX model directly, I am very interested to see how it works out.
Currently Krono is only in EverQuest II, though there are plans to bring it to EverQuest and Vanguard should things go well.
But will things go well?
I have been watching pricing of Krono on the broker on a couple of servers and it seems to be all over the map.
Now, there are a couple of problems that cause this.
To start with, unlike EVE, EQII has no buy order mechanism built into the broker. In EVE, the ability to set a buy order sets an effective floor on the price of anything. No matter what you have to sell in EVE, there is somebody somewhere who will think, “I’ll take n of those if it gets down to the right price.”
Sometime buy orders are really low. There is always somebody who will do a region-wide buy order for light missiles at half an ISK each. Reprocessing them or reselling them near a low level mission hub will allow the buyer to turn a profit.
But in trade hubs like Jita the buy orders and the sell orders begin to converge and you can determine the real market price of an item, minus the geographic convenience multipliers.
Since you cannot do that in EQ2, sellers are flying blind. Let’s say you buy a Krono and put it on the market for 700 plat and it sells. Is 700 plat the real market price? Did you simply price the Krono too low? Did you just find a fat cat in a hurry? Were you simply the lowest price at that moment on the broker?
None of that tells you what the real price should be. It is one of the flaws of the EQII broker. I certainly hope buy orders are on the list of features for the tentatively sandbox-like EverQuest Next.
The second issue is that there simply were not that many Krono for sale on the broker. People seem tentative, and rightly so, about diving into this latest SOE scheme.
So on one server I saw about a dozen Krono up for sale. They were priced between 700 and 2500 platinum, and except for the couple at the bottom of the price list, who were clearly in a price war, there were pretty wide gaps between the listings. Anything with a commonly accepted value should be clustered pretty closely for the most part, with a few outliers looking for suckers.
This says to me that most of the people selling Krono on the broker are trying to sell at what they feel should be the right price. This is how much plat they think $17.99 should bring in. This, again, goes back to the whole lack of a buy order mechanism thing, as there is nothing out there to help determine a real market value. Without that a seller cannot make an informed pricing decision, so we get stuff all over the map.
Meanwhile, I saw several people on the trade channel at various times trying to sell Krono for between 500 and 600 plat. This is an off-shoot of the fact that the broker in EQII, unlike the market in EVE, is a completely optional feature. You can go through years of playing and never buy anything off the broker and never feel the worse for it. After all, the best items in the game cannot be bought or sold. You have to go slay some beastie or another, or complete some epic quest to get that.
And unless you have a gold account, you cannot even use the broker to its fullest. That is how non-essential the broker is.
So the deck isn’t somewhat stacked against outright, unmitigated, obvious success.
And I am not even including the calculations from old hands like me who remember the days when selling something for a gold… 100 gold is 1 plat… seemed like a major economic victory. Something selling for hundreds of plat seems crazy insane, because I do not thing all my characters, if they pooled all their coins, could come up with 200 plat. But I am still playing in the mid-tiers of the game, in content from 2005, so have no real sense of how readily available plat is when you are in the 90-95 zone. The price of Krono might be quite reasonable to somebody at that level.
But there appears to be at least one wild card in favor of the whole Krono scheme, and that has to do with the RMT gold selling sites.
I went to check some of those sites just to see if I could get a sense of the street value, such that it is, of plat coins in EverQuest II.
The basic response from most of the sites I visited was, to mix a reference, “Screw you and the crappy SOE game you rode in on! We don’t serve their kind in here!”
Okay, maybe they were not quite so up front. It was more like “We do not currently serve this community” or “We are currently out of stock and cannot foresee a time when we will resume sales” when it came to EverQuest II.
I went through six sites I found via Google before I was directed by one to a seventh site that actually had EQII plat for sale. And they didn’t even have plat for all of the servers. But on those that they did, it looked like $16.99, the cheapest price for a Krono, could get you about 300 plat coins.
Which, in the world of RMT versus PLEX, is mondo bizarre. Go look at Nosy Gamer’s chart. In EVE, you are paying nearly a 50% premium to get clean ISK via PLEX when compared to RMT. In EQII at the moment, where I checked, you could be getting a 50% premium when buying clean plat via Krono. Being legit pays, for the moment.
Of course, the problems I mentioned about the EQII market apply. There is no saying if this will be the price range next week, or the week after, or the month after. There is no way to get a sense of the demand, absent the buy order mechanism, so we are still flying blind when it comes to pricing on any given day.
Which is kind of a shame, because I would really like this to work. And, I think in EverQuest, where inflation has led to people having huge stacks of plat coins around, it might be a viable way to spread out some of that wealth that is just sitting in banks doing nothing, to the betterment of the game.
Still, it will be interesting to see how this plays out.
What do you think? Is Krono, a good thing or not, and will it succeed?
The Interesting Thing About Krono and the All Access Pass… November 16, 2012Posted by Wilhelm Arcturus in entertainment, EverQuest II, Sony Online Entertainment.
Tags: Krono, PLEX, SOE All Access, Station Access
Krono is a new item from SOE, currently available in EverQuest II. The Krono page describes it as such:
When used, this magical krono adds 30 days membership time to the amount of the consuming character. This krono can be used only once.
- Adds 30 days of game time to the account of the consuming character
- Fully tradable and salable
- No expiration date
- Krono only redeemable in EverQuest II
So Krono is, essentially, the same thing as PLEX in EVE Online.
I need to get a new stock PLEX screen shot. That one is out of date. PLEX is now just an object in game like any other and can be destroyed.
Anyway, Krono is an attempt by SOE to thwart RMT currency sales in EverQuest II by giving players a legitimate way to buy something that can be traded in-game for platinum.
And, on the flip side, if you are a player with lots of plat who wants to save some money on their subscription, you can fund your premium access with your game play.
As in EVE, generally a win-win, so long as the market can support such an item at a reasonable price. In EVE the price of PLEX has been rising over time, hovering around 600 million ISK per these days, double what it was two years ago.
We will see how the EverQuest II broker handles it. My own fear, if I were SOE, would be that of low demand and/or low or erratic price patterns. PLEX works in EVE because everybody has to use the marketplace. The same is not true in EQII. In fact, free players are somewhat restricted in what they can access at the broker. As I pointed out when I asked if WoW could support something like PLEX, market participation is a key factor.
I suppose we shall see how it works out. I applaud SOE for diving right in with this. According to the FAQ, if the response is favorable, Krono will be rolled out to EverQuest and Vanguard as well.
Also like PLEX, Krono are priced to be more expensive than a normal monthly subscription. A standard game pass… what SOE calls a subscription these days… is $14.99 a month, while Krono is $17.99 per 30 day unit of time.
Clearly, nobody is going to simply buy and consume Krono just to keep their subscription going.
Unless you happen to subscribe via the SOE All Access Pass.
There is a long history to the All Access Pass, once known as Station Access, which was introduced just about the time EverQuest II launched. In short though, it is a subscription plan where, for a few dollars more, you can have access to all SOE online games.
Pricing has varied over the years, peaking at $29.99 at one point. But once SOE went all-in on free to play (and shed a few games), the price was dropped significantly. Here is where the pricing stands today.
Nice, but what does that have to do with Krono?
Well, deep inside the Krono FAQ, there is a question about SOE All Access.
13. Do Krono work for game memberships as well as All Access memberships?
Yes. When a Krono is consumed, it will add 30 days of game membership time to the account associated with the character that consumed it. If that account has an existing All Access membership, the All Access membership will be extended by 30 days. If the account has a regular game membership, that membership will be extended by 30 days. If the account has no current membership, then 30 days of regular game membership time will be added to the account.
So using Krono will actually extended your All Access subscription.
And, in certain increments, it is cheaper than. Basically, if you subscribe in increments of less than 6 months, Krono is the cheaper route. At 6 months, they are essentially the same price. Only if you buy your All Access subscription in year long increments is Krono more expensive.
Which makes me wonder if this was a deliberate action to help boost the sale of Krono, or if we are seeing yet another case of SOE not quite thinking things through, as happened with the $1.25 worth of Station Cash buying a 30 day subscription situation.
What do you think about that, or about Krono in general?