Updated: The idea caught some attention. *finger crossed*
Amidst the hubbub over the pearls and how you earn free ships during special events, an interesting discussion started to emerge around lockbox ships. Currently lockbox ships are ‘bind to character’ upon opening, unlike Zen store ships which become account wide assuming you meet the level and faction criteria.
For the purposes of this discussion, I’m talking about lockbox ships that fall into the 0.04% chance of getting during the launch of new lockboxes, or most recently the R&D packs. The Sheshars, Dominion Strike ships and the like.
For the vast majority of players, these ships are practically unattainable. While it’s not out of the realm of possibility that a single key could produce the magic golden ticket, the reality is that some players spend hundreds of dollars to attain them. They are status symbols, and with the addition of Ship Mastery traits a valued resource for more than just their pretty skins.
The discussion is this: Would you as a player, who already owns a valuable lockbox ship be willing to pay something extra to have that ship on another alt? For most of us, that answer is hell yes, but the real issue is how would they do it? Cryptic is a business, and like any business they need to extract value from this process. And if the current model is working why would they potentially dilute it?
How do we monetize this idea to catch the attention of the bean counters at Cryptic?
- Whatever method it is, it has to increase interest in buying lockboxes. If I know that for a small fee I can ‘share’ the lockbox within my account, I will VERY likely spend more to try and get the lockbox ships. What I buy from the Zen store is irrelevant; keys to try my luck with the RNG Gods or items to sell to buy the ship off the exchange. The act of making the purchase is what counts.
- It can’t reduce the value of the ships within the internal market. Part of the value of the original boxed ships are in their resell value. I’ve used my luck with ships to finance the upgrades for alts.
- It has to preserve the limited nature of the ships. Cryptic does have some restrictions on it from CBS in terms of what it can and cannot sell. These ships were meant to be rare for a reason.
The boys over at The SHOW (the weekly conversation from Oden Knight with SarcasmDetecor, Timber Wolf, Snipey47 and SOB) poised this question in last weeks podcast and followed up with some great ideas which could make this work for Cryptic as a way to monetize it moving forward.
We already know that the coding required to rebox a ship isn’t in the realm of possibility at the moment, nor is making the lockbox ships an account-wide unlock for free. Neither would provide Cryptic with a way to make money, and while it would be an awesome quality of life move on behalf of the producers, it simply would do nothing to advance the games business model.
The SHOW offers this interesting idea: Allow players to ‘recover’ a boxed copy of the ship, bound to the account for a nominal fee in Zen. The mechanic might be a ‘Ship Recovery Token’ offered for sale in the Z-Store, or something similar. But how much?
- The first number suggested was 1000 Zen. For 1/3 the price of a new ship, I can have a Wells or a Dominion Strike Ship on another alt. For the long-term dedicated player, that would be very cost prohibitive. In my case would I drop $110 to have that same ship available to all my alts? Uh, no. I do love the game, but I have to draw the line when I can’t store all the ships I want.
- The second number suggested was the very reasonable amount of 250 Zen. This would definitely entice me to buy the ship for all of my alts, AND I might even let go of some that are using up space in my collection knowing I could recover them later on should I so desire.
- I’d like to offer a third possibility – 2000 Zen for an account wide unlock for any one lockbox. Same mechanic as above, a token from the Zen Store. No limits on how many alts can use the ship. No need to worry about keeping ANY lockbox ship in your inventory. Make the ship recoverable if they pay the unlock fee.
All three of these ideas have merit. It accomplishes the goal of providing Cryptic with an additional revenue stream, it increases the chances that I will spend more to get them in the first place, and it maintains the rarity of the ships in game (The argument for long-term players is that we would not be introducing more alien ships, as we can only play one ship at a time.) Plus, it would be an incentive for me to play more.
Increased Revenue. Happy Players. Butts in seats, longer 😉
This is the kind of feedback Cryptic does like. Let them know what you think in the forums. (TY ddesjardins)
Thanks to Oden Knight for the shout-out in tonight’s episode for The SHOW. Now for your listening pleasure: