Kind greetings, Elyrians,
There has been some confusion about the new pledge packages so I've compiled a list of the issues I can find and will address them in this post.
Probably the easiest way to assuage your concerns is to shed light on the process we used to come up with the new packages.
Before we begin it should be noted there were 19 tiers before that were numbered 1 through 19 in our database. There are 12 packages now. To allow people to upgrade from their previous Kickstarter tiers to the appropriate pledge packages we had to create a mapping between the numbers. The mapping is listed below for convenience. Please keep in mind this list doesn't take into account the removal of any of the Kickstarter exclusive items, nor does it show the removal of Merchandise Credit. It just shows how the tiers were mapped.
Old Price -> New Price
- 1 -> 1 ($35 -> $40)
- 2 -> 2 ($40 -> $70)
- 3 -> 2 ($60 -> $70)
- 4 -> 3 ($75 -> $100)
- 5 -> 3 ($100 -> $100)
- 6 -> 4 ($120 -> $125)
- 7 -> 5 ($150 -> $175)
- 8 -> 6 ($200 -> $225)
- 9 -> 7 ($250 -> $250)
- 10 -> 8 ($350 -> $500)
- 11 -> 9 ($500 -> $750)
- 12 -> 10 ($750 -> $1000)
- 13 -> 10 ($1000 -> $1000)
- 14 -> 11 ($1.5k -> $5k)
- 15 -> 11 ($2.0k -> $5k)
- 16 -> 11 ($2.5k -> $5k)
- 17 -> 11 ($3.5k -> $5k)
- 18 -> 12 ($5k -> $10k)
- 19 -> 12 ($10k -> $10k)
As you can see from the list above, the majority of tiers increased in price, while those that didn't still had their value reduced through the loss of either merchandise credit, kickstarter exclusive items, or even noble titles.
In spite of that, I see a lot of folks cherry picking the individual items of the packages they valued highly and using that to state that "such-and-such package has more relative EP" or that "new packages have new things that outclass the old ones."
The problem is, you really have to look at the packages holistically, and consider that in most cases, it requires a higher up-front investment from new backers to get the same results. We have stated that all the original packages were better than the new ones, so let me take a moment to show you why.
We took all the items in every original package and assigned a dollar value to them. This included digital goods, access to various phases, sparks of life, EP, and everything.
We then stripped out all Kickstarter-exclusive items (ex. emotes, option for a phoenix pet, etc). While these may have varying meaning to different people, it's important to note that as backers there's an inherent value in being able to visibly show you were there at the beginning.
The remaining packages were then condensed from the 19 packages to the 12 listed above. This resulted in some of the new packages staying relatively similar, while others become the combination of 2, 3, or even 4 of the previous tiers. (ex. Royal is mostly the combination of the tiers from $1500-$3500 previously).
We were relatively happy with the ramp on the prices so we left many of the prices the same but, in many cases, assigned that price to what had once been a lower-tier package (ex. Royal is largely what Duke/Duchess was at $3.5k, only $1.5k more expensive).
Merchandise Credit was removed and converted into EP for any package that had it. This was $25, $50, or $100 worth of EP depending on the tier.
We added up all the value for everything now in the new packages and looked at the difference between the old package at the equivalent price, and the new package. In many cases, the new package was in line with what we intended: less value for more money. We left those pretty much alone (ex. Elyrian, Bloodline, Mayor, Monarch).
In the cases where there was a large discrepancy, we brought up the value of the rewards in the package to be in line with the rest of them. This was actually the hardest part and we put in several hours of discussion and math to make sure we did this fairly.
The biggest discrepancy, and hardest area to address fairly, were the $500, $750, and $1000 packages. A County used to be in the $500 package, but now it was at $1000. For anyone who had a County at $500, but wanted to upgrade to a duchy, that person would have to put up $5000--10 times as much--for the privilege. We're not saying that titles should be cheap, but we wanted a way for those folks to still have some value when upgrading to the $750 or $1000 package.
This is where the furnished house came in. Based on our valuation of the packages, the $500 package was now about $300 less valuable than it should be since it no longer included a county, and was really just the $350 tier increased by $150. The $750 package was also undervalued by around $500 since it no longer had a county or a design experience. We wanted to shore that up, which meant adding something to the packages.
However, we couldn't add something that original package holders couldn't get, thereby making the new package better than the old one. We decided it needed to be something from the EP store, so early backers could choose to get it if they wanted to. Looking at what we had and what made sense to landowners at those tiers, we chose the villa for the Magistrate package, and a manor for the Governor. It was still a little low, so we included furniture too.
One other weird package was the Royal. There wasn't really anything we could add from the EP store, so we mostly made up the difference ($1500 + Merchandise Credit) through EP. Math time! 12090 EP (from Duke/Duchess) + 15000 EP ($1500 price increase) + 1000EP ($100 in Merchandise Credit converted to EP) = 28,090 EP. This amount is kind of interesting because of the next step.
The last step was reducing the value across all the packages even more. We did this through the EP by taking the new EP values assigned to the packages and cutting them all by around 20%. (ex. Monarch had over 27,000 EP based on our valuation--which was already valued below the King/Queen package--and we cut it to 25,000 so the new package was firmly worse). Amusingly, Royal had more EP than Monarch, so we just straight dropped the Royal to 20,000 to be below Monarch, making Royal probably the least valuable package in the new store.
That's how the new packages came to be and this is why Soulbound feels confident in saying the new packages are more expensive than the original ones and mostly less valuable.
I say mostly less valuable because a special emote, a county of your own, a phoenix pet, or additional EP may not seem as valuable as a villa or manor house to some people, and I can't assign your own personal value to what's in the packages. Some people are super excited about things like naming a star, while others couldn't care less. It's impossible to take everyone's personal preferences into account, which is why we assigned monetary values to everything, slashed the values, made some adjustments for majorly undervalued packages, and then slashed everything again. It's as fair and balanced as possible, while still providing upgrade value from Kickstarter packages and not giving a big middle finger to folks just learning about the game.
Remember, while many of us think of this as being the beginning, there's still at least a year until launch. Those people who join now are also taking a big risk, and the intention of no store in history was to make the items so unattractive that people didn't want to buy them.
Those of you who backed us during Kickstarter are our angels. Your support and interest has kept us going, both financially and emotionally, and we value that higher than you can know. You've shown that you believe in us and we strive every day to deliver our best because it is what you deserve! I hope you can see that we have taken every caution to preserve your investment into Chronicles of Elyria.
There has also been confusion about viewing the new packages when you already have a paid-off, original package.
In the old store, all the packages were listed in a single, easy-to-view column. This meant anyone coming to the site for the first time could easily scroll down to view the contents of each package. This made it easy for us to say things like "plus all previous rewards." Since viewers were reading from top-down, they already knew what "all previous rewards" meant.
For the sake of cleanliness, the new store uses modal dialogs to show the information in each package. The problem is, if someone wanted to know the contents of a package, they'd have to click on every...single... card. It was decided that from a user experience standpoint the best thing to do was to provide a cumulative list of all awards received by a tier. That way, you see exactly what's in the package and don't have to go clicky-clicky up the list to see what was contained in "all previous packages".
But this created a different problem. As users new to the site attempt to upgrade from one package to the next, it's not obvious whether or not they receive an additional copy of a previous award, or if the description in the higher package is just listing the items of the lower packages they already own.
We decided to solve this problem by graying out the items in a pledge package which you already own from a previous package. And this is where the confusion comes in.
The greying out of previous package rewards is based on this 12 number system. So if you have package 6, anything from package 1-6 will be greyed out when you look and packages 7-12. However, because in some cases we mapped more than one of the previous 19 to one of the 12, it'll occasionally appear as though you're no longer getting something which you'd previously gotten when you upgrade.
This is the case in the old Count/Countess package at $500 (previously package 10). If you look at the next price up at $750 (number 9 in the database now), there's no county at that level. So even though you have a county, an upgrade doesn't grey that out properly because the store considers you to have package 8 in the database and the new package 8 does not have a county.
This fails in the opposite way too sometimes, making it appear you have something you don't. We'll use the same tiers as the example. The new $500 package (number 8, Magistrate) has a villa added to it for reasons explained earlier in this post. The old $500 package (Count/Countess) does not have a villa. However, because the store considers you to be package number 8 now, it will grey out the villa if you look at the packages.
Since it's causing a lot of confusion, we will be working on an itemized or differently-mapped version of this greying-out functionality, rather than a simple, tier-number-based version for the future. Until we get that functionality in, the general idea you can use is that if you think you had it, you did. If it's something new (such as a villa or additional EP), you don't.
I've seen several people ask about side-grading. It's almost entirely people who see the villa or manor as a greater reward than a county or other rewards in the $500-$1000 range of packages. This is a bad idea for the valuation reasons I outlined earlier. Also, as already discussed in this blog post, titles will be able to be exchanged for EP. We don't have that title exchange in place yet, any more than anyone actually has a villa, but it will work out fairly when it comes time so please don't worry.
The thing to remember is we offered people the opportunity to trade their titles for EP because some people wanted some of the stuff at the higher tiers, such as the DE's, but not everything - such as the titles. The EP trade-in allowed people to exchange their unwanted title for extra EP but in general, if someone just wanted more EP and didn't want any of the items in the higher tiers, it was and remains more cost-effective to skip the tier upgrade and just buy extra EP.
This is especially apparent in what was the $500 Count tier. While there's an amount of EP we can award people in exchange for the Count title that would make the tier roughly equal monetarily speaking, there really isn't any EP amount we could award people that would be equitable to the Count title itself.
Partially that's because the Count title is what you make of it and partially that's because of the in-game experience of being a Count. Counts have control (and are responsible for) of all of the land of their County. But even more importantly, being a Count makes you a pivotal character in the story. No EP can really compare to that.
So to the question "is the new $500 Magistrate package more valuable than the previous $500 Count tier?" Definitely not! It only contains what was in the $350 tier before. But is the new Magistrate tier equitable to the old $500 tier if a player was planning to take the Count title and trade it in for EP anyways? That's a closer call. The real value of tiers that come with titles are the titles themselves. Without them, the tiers are less valuable, and there's not a great way to balance that.
I hope that helps to shed light on the concerns and speculations that have arisen. As always, we want to be fair to our backers and transparent with the community. I'm sure there are some other questions floating around so we will try to answer those as well.
Pledged to Your Continued Adventures in Life, Both Actual and Fantasy,