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Thread: Me interviewing myself about the new VIP Program Rox or Sux?

  1. #1

    Me interviewing myself about the new VIP Program Rox or Sux?

    Hello Hexzors

    I guess it might be abit late to react to the revival of VIP. I still wanted to do it and made Q&A out of my thoughts so I could write them down somewhat clear. So it’s basically me asking me myself stuff!

    Is the new VIP system bad?
    No, I don’t think the new VIP deal is inherently bad.

    Of course it’s not as good a deal as the initial one (by a large margin), but that’s not the point of this post. As I read the new VIP description I thought “hold on a minute, there must be something wrong” and now I try to show you why I think there is something amiss.

    Wait, but you are not going to compare the old and the new one now, are you? It was getting abused!
    Ok. Let’s start by the initial thought behind the VIP program, or how Cory described it and what it should stand for: exploring the game at a slower pace by buying 1 pack a week for a discount. The VIP tournament was merely added as a last minute plus (Personally I’m so grateful for that decision).
    https://www.hextcg.com/vip-program-update/
    http://fiveshards.com/cory-jones-on-...rthday-stream/

    As I understand this statement the focus was mainly on casuals/new players (in which case the name “VIP” wouldn’t make much sense though…) but it was super great value for everyone anyway! It was basically a no-brainer. For everyone with the smallest budged.

    The fact that Hex Ent. abandoned it because of its abuse and not because it was “to good” tells me that the initial thought might not have vanished.

    So what happened now?

    In my opinion the new VIP shifted heavily away from the big masses (as I understood: the initial targeted demographic) and more towards the “whales” of HEX. (Ok now the name “VIP” makes sense! I get it, I get it!).

    What are you talking about? You still get packs for a discount in the end!
    Yes, but to get the packs with a discount you pay a price. I guess that most people reading this forum are familiar with the term “opportunity cost”. If not there is a quick read on it:
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Opportunity_cost

    I made some graphs so my thoughts are easier to follow.
    First graph shows you the value of an annual subscription for the VIP program compared with an initial buy of packs for the same amount of money.



    This shows us the “hidden” cost of the VIP program in relation to just buying packs (from Hex) for the same amount of money.

    The conclusion: the price for 12 VIP entry-tickets (+ the sleeves) is A-B (1152-8=1144/ Week*Packs) over the course of a year.

    But this is inaccurate! The “free packs” you get will be yours into infinity. And the VIP tickets…!
    I get to the VIP tickets later on.
    But, sure you are right. So let’s look on some more graphs:



    After you can’t play limited anymore with the first batch of packs “C” your cost is still (1152-8) = 1144

    After you can’t play Standard anymore with the first batch of packs “C” your cost is still (1152-8-208) = 936

    So you still not getting the better end of it even after the first batch of packs rotates out of standard play.

    So, now you are obviously saying it’s a bad deal!
    No. Like I said it’s not bad for all. Let’s look at some other graphs:



    A=B or (1152-8-1144) = 0
    After 6.5 years (5.5 years after the VIP-year ending) your total revenue breaks even with your total cost.
    From this day you will not only benefit from all those VIP tournament-entry-tickets but also from the packs themselves!

    So in the end it’s all good, I knew it!
    Yes and no. I hinted in the beginning: it’s good for “whales”, it’s not so good for newcomers/casuals/people with limited budgets.

    Oh common stop it now, you just said it will eventually become good! And the VIP tickets…!

    Ok let’s take a closer look on the problem of the newcomers/casuals.
    Let’s say your budget for a year of Hex-play is exactly 96$ + some $ for tournament entry only.

    Scenario 1: buying 48 packs (of Hex’ store):
    You are able to get right into the game from day 1. You can participate in Drafts, play Sealed or even open all your packs and play Constructed and/or have a better PVE experience (because you can build better/a lot more decks and can actually use some of the equipment that drops). Or a mix of all of the above of course!

    Scenario 2: buying into VIP (same budged, mind you, 96$ for VIP, rest for tournament entry)
    “Ok. You wait. Hum… waiiiit. PVE some. Hum… 2 weeks passed, yeai lets go for a draft! Omg this was fun! Let’s…! wait….VIP tournament! Oh it’sealed…hm.. I don’t have the packs, damn… hum…VIP tournament! O gosh, constructed cool! Oh I don’t have the cards to build a viable deck….”

    This is very blatantly put but I think you get the picture.

    The “whales” do not have that problem, because they buy into the VIP program (which eventually will work out and gives them very nice perks) and still will spend enough money to satisfy their need to play right away. Obviously they benefit the most of the VIP tournaments too. Also I think the commendable thought of supporting the company is more likely to fit them; since it’s not really a tradeoff for them (I just put it here because I saw it was brought up somewhere). I guess Colin would buy the VIP even if there were…hum.. only the sleeves? But I guess he is one of a kind

    This is all good, but like I said, this would be a shift of the initial purpose.


    But you only got 1 pack in the old system too!
    Ok, you brought up the old system, it wasn’t me! It did cost 50% of the new system! Here a graph to show you that the old system was totally different!



    So there were benefits everywhere: the cost for packs alone broke even before the middle of the VIP year. Yet you had 48$ (taken from the example above with a 96$ budged) to buy your initial batch of packs so you can play from day 1 and you got VIP tickets (in which case you could actually use) above all. Did you notice that “B” is so big I don’t even need an arrow to point at it!

    Ok. You are saying it’s not so nice for casuals/new players and the like, so what now?
    From my perspective it would be a lot cooler if there was a “VIP-Set-Pack”. This with the thought of 2 Sets a year. Subject to change of course.

    What this would look like:

    You pay 48$ (only 1 per account) and you get:
    • 24 packs of the youngest set
    • 6 VIP entry-tickets
    • 1 pairs of sleeves matching the youngest set

    Here a graph that compares the VIP-Pack to the VIP-Program (6-months subscription):



    Looks familiar, right? It’s very similar to the first graph. But now both systems have VIP-tickets, both systems have sleeves (in the 6 month subscription you wouldn’t even get sleeves). The VIP-Set-Pack nullifies “A” and also “B” for that matter. It is still good for “whales”, VIP tickets, support of the company, Sleeves! (even more sleeves!). “Whales” buy a minimum of 24 packs anyway.

    And it got all the good stuff for the casuals and newcomers too! No “hidden” costs. Packs you can play with and VIP tournaments you can participate!

    Also it’s less exploitable than the new VIP Program, since you don’t get free packs.

    And the guys that are not willing to pay that much upfront? I mean there are also subscriptions for 3 months and 1 month…

    Glad you brought it up!
    I suggest to make a junior VIP-Pack too (max. 2 times/account)!

    At the cost of 24$, containing:
    • 12 packs
    • 3 VIP tickets
    • Sorry, no sleeves

    You could buy them 2 times per set (so you get the full VIP Pack) and if you pay 2$ on top, you get the sleeves too! (This to cover Hex Ents loss in interest rate of 3 month/24$ + expenses).

    “Loss in interest rate” now you are getting ridiculous
    It’s better for Hex Ent. If they get the money up front. They got to pay wages, artists, pizza ect. They rather get their money sooner than later, it’s exactly the same concept why you rather get your packs sooner than later. If you are hungry, a loaf of bread today is worth more than a loaf of bread next month. Interestingly enough the most appealing subscription for the player - if you don’t want the sleeves - is the monthly one, this is also the worst for Hex Ent.

    The fact that there is no discount on the longer subscription shows that Hex Ent. doesn’t have the intention to rip you off but values you as a customer without full commitment and also takes its economy serious! (Both of it I find really cool!)

    Ok mate, but what you are suggesting is a totally different product of what the “feel” of the VIP program is (I totally love the mails in which they assure me that I’m the best VIP member ever!!!)…

    This crossed my mind too. It might or might not be significant. It doesn’t have that “subscription” kind-of-style. I’m not sure how to fix this (if it is even a problem), but I’m totally in for a weekly email containing a nice poem out of TY hands to praise the goodness of my heart for being the best VIP member ever!

    To sum it up: the VIP-Pack doesn’t have that feel of discovering the game slowly at a lower cost, but the new official VIP Program doesn’t have it neither. The VIP-Pack however would be friendly to the initial targeted demographic. The Focus today is not the discount of the packs anymore but the VIP-tournament-entry-tickets.

    Thank you for reading.

    Regards
    Hexgo
    Last edited by Hexgo; 07-15-2015 at 12:59 PM. Reason: bolding/grammar
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  2. #2
    Thank you all for your interest, the inputs and to some for them nice responses

    Special thanks to DocX: definitely wouldn’t be able to give my backhand with that much eloquence. Really appreciated.

    Clarification

    The expression „whale“
    The expression „whale“ might be confusing/unfortunate. It wasn’t my intent to judge particular groups of players or label some people with a name they don’t identify themselves with.

    I just couldn’t come up with some something better.
    Maybe Hex Enthusiast? Or Mr. Suitcase? I didn’t want to go into defining some segments and derail the thread into if they were right or wrong.

    The name VIP
    Yes as I stated in the post, I think the name VIP seems now more accurate than before (where the VIP-Program basically was super nice for everyone).

    On the other hand with Cory being such a passionate “Backer-Hugger” I would totally believe a story where the HEX team sat in the conference room discussing the whole “Premium-Subscription” case – developed for a VIP-Elite only – banging his fist on the table pointing fingers and shouting: “No, no, no! I love everyone and everyone playing HEX is a VIP in my eyes!”
    Last edited by Hexgo; 07-17-2015 at 04:44 AM.
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  3. #3
    Runt of the Litter
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    You need to interview yourself more often.

    Great read!

    Thank you!

  4. #4
    Great write-up!
    I'll get the VIP anyway but I'm probably more in the whale camp anyway - the VIP-Pack sounds like a neat idea.

  5. #5
    Interesting article. I greatly enjoy sound economic analysis. Its weird thinking of myself as a whale as I don't usually spend that much money on games.

  6. #6
    I like the idea of packs and tickets both up-front. I like the idea of 2 sleeves per year.
    You are right - VIP caters to Whales, not casuals in it's current iteration.

    Hell, anything that you need to pay into, for an 'opportunity to pay into' a tournament for whale bait AA's, is not going to attract a huge casual audience... But I think this is appropriately titled "VIP" for a reason. It's not every average Joe that pays for the bottle service in the club.

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by nicosharp View Post
    You are right - VIP caters to Whales, not casuals in it's current iteration.
    I think that's the thing that was irritating the back of my brain and that I badly fumbled articulating in the VIP rerelease thread - and certainly had no hope of articulating as thoroughly as it was above. The adoption rate outside the forums/Twitch types seemed light.

    But that's not necessarily a bad thing if that's the aim of the program, which, yes, "VIP" would imply.

  8. #8
    Hang on, $8 a month makes you a whale?

    I don't think so.

    You don't HAVE to sign up for the 1 year in advance.

    Also I don't really understand what you are talking about. The break even point has nothing to do with the number of boosters you have available to you at one time it is to do with the cost.

    $2 per pack (from the store) x 4 weeks = $8 (cost of VIP)

    The tournament tickets and sleeves are a bonus.

  9. #9
    That's what I was thinking too Gazz, but they're going off of 1 year = 52 weeks. Instead of the more likely recurring charge based on 1 month = 4 weeks, so 1 year worth of "VIP Service" would be 48 weeks (12 * 4 = 48).

    I haven't seen an FAQ yet that explains which is the correct calculation.

  10. #10
    A major point of the above is that if all you had money for was the VIP program vs. buying packs right off, buying the boosters one at a time rather than all at once comes with the inherent problem that there's not much you can do with a single booster. You'd have to save up for a few weeks to get enough to do a draft, and then if you don't go infinite, you'd have to wait a few weeks to do another; it'd be a very stuttery sort of start. New players not otherwise spending aren't likely to go infinite nor have the resources for constructed VIP nor sealed VIP tournaments. New players will get a lot more immediate gratification out of the scenario in which you buy 48 packs instead of VIP, then get a ton of drafts/sealed games in, and have your fun.

    If you're a serious customer, you've almost certainly got other packs to work with, and the one a week helps you more. $8 a month doesn't make you a whale - it's just that whales, and not newbies, will get maximum value out of that $8 a month.

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