I'd like to talk about pricing. (Link to poll version near the bottom.)
Since you (correct me if I'm wrong) are in charge of pricing in LoL, I was wondering if I could ask you a few questions. I'm not sure how much data you're able to give me, or how much I'm legally entitled to, but I'm curious about a couple things:
|1) Is there any way for the community to see Riot's earnings statements? We all know you've gotten big grants from several sources, and micro-transaction systems tend to also reap big rewards. I'm curious about what kind of cash flow you guys have. Obviously, this is the part where I expect to get a big resounding, "We can't give you that.", but even then, I'd love to hear that, instead of just assuming it.|
|2) Am I correct in assuming you (Moneypenny) are in charge of determining prices for new champions (both IP and RP), and when and what skins go on sale? This is essentially a precursor to my next question. I want to make sure I'm addressing the right person. Obviously, this doesn't come down to JUST one person, as I'm sure other people are involved, but from what I've read about the Marketing team, it seems like you'd be the primary attributor.|
|3) Lastly, the big one. I'm looking for insight into how you determine prices, both IP and RP. Wild Wall-o-Text appears!|
However, as of late, I personally don't feel you guys are adhering to this policy. I'll focus on IP prices first. With a long string of 6300 champions being released, I'm curious if you guys are sitting down every two weeks, and saying, "This champion is ridiculously hard to play. We need to keep him/her further out of reach for newer players." Learning center data also doesn't support this. Each champion in the learning center has a "Difficulty" bar, and when I first started playing the game, it was clear to me: Each champion in the 6300 bracket had a bigger difficulty bar than those priced lower.
However, since the launch of Season 1 (the best sense of time passed in this game I can use), champions have been released only at 3 price-points: 6300, 4800, and 3150. As I look in the learning center, the data seems to contradict your original pricing scheme.
Let's look at some examples: Irelia, Jarvan, and Karma. Priced at 6300, 4800, and 3150 IP each, respectively. Upon looking at their difficulties, I see that Irelia and Jarvan are on par with the same difficulty level, ~medium....yet they are priced differently. This confuses me more when I look at Karma, priced lower than the other two, and her "Difficulty" bar is pretty much maxed out. I see this as a huge step away from your original pricing scheme. Could you provide some insight into why these champions are priced this way, or how you go about determining the IP price for new champion releases?
Next, we'll look at RP prices. The big guns. For starters, RP prices for all champions released post-Season 1 are the same: 975 RP. This is the same, regardless of IP price-point. Looking through the store, I see this used to be different. In fact, no offense meant, but RP prices are all over the place pre-Season 1. Poppy's 260, for 1350 IP, while other 1350's such as Tryndamere and Fiddlesticks are 585 RP. Meanwhile, Master yi is 450 IP, but shares the RP price of Poppy. There are also several 3150 champions at the 585 price-point, see: Garen, Warwick, Taric. Can you provide us with any insight into how you determine the RP price for champions? And why have you stopped releasing champions at lower RP price-points?
I also have to question RP prices in general. First, let's look at how you can purchase RP: At the lowest bundle, you can purchase 650 RP points for $5.00 usd. That equates to 130 RP/$1.00. This is consistent for the other bundles as well, however purchasing mroe Riot Points at one time, offers you bonus Riot Points. The first step up offers you an extra 8 Riot Points per dollar spent. From then on, each jump in price offers an extra ~2 Riot points per dollar spent, maxing at about 144/$1.
Not bad. Others may complain this scales poorly, some may say it's fine. Personally, I'm indifferent.
However, we have to consider how the actual goods are priced, in comparison to these bundles. This is where I, and many others, have been baffled for quite some time. Champions are (mostly ) 975 RP. 975/130 = $7.50 for a new champion. Except...it's not $7.50. Due to the way you're forced to purchase RP, You must spend at least $10 to purchase a champ that's $7.50, or, after considering the bonus provided by the bundle (975/138 = ~$7.00) about 7 dollars. After doing this, you're left with 405 RP...enough for Poppy, Master Yi, some of the basic recolour skins, and the occasional skin that goes on sale. Smart buyers of course wait for those sales, which usually bring the price of skins from 520 down to 260. After this purchase, users are left with 145 RP. Enough for...nothing. This is (even when considering the highest possible bundle) a waste of ~$1.00. In the best case scenario, customers will be left with 15 RP left over. This is an approximate waste of ~$.12.
Lemme express that again: Every customer who buys a $10.00 bundle of RP, is getting ~$9.88 worth. At best.
The minimum leftover RP you will have upon purchasing each bundle is as follows:
The obvious solution is to buy more RP. I'm not sure if this is (pardon my rude language) incredibly stupid, or insanely GENIUS.
Now, I could go through the math, and find out how many different combinations of RP bundles I'd have to buy/spend in order to finally have wasted $0.00, but that's really not something I have the time for. I also have a feeling that that cycle could go on for quite some time.
A thread which covers some of the ways to burn through your entire RP stash. Unfortunately, this sort of decides what you can buy with your RP for you. This is not buyer friendly, and dissuades many people from purchasing and using Riot Points.
Laura, (or Moneypenny, whichever you prefer) I'm looking for some insight into why these prices are the way they are. Every time your customers purchase a bundle of RP, they are wasting some of their money, regardless of how small that number is for certain bundles.
Noteworthy Community Responses:
|How do you decide what skins (and champions) to put on sale?|
This is starting to bleed out of Moneypenny's jurisdiction, however.
I want to stress a point that's been on my mind, that I haven't yet mentioned.
The IP price-point on champions is there for two reasons I think. 1) To dissuade newer players from getting their hands on more difficult champions, and 2) to incentivize us to skip the IP grind, and purchase RP to buy new champions.
I think RP prices should be lower, if that's the case. As it stands right now, I think a lot of players look at IP prices, AND RP prices, and think, "That's a little high." If the incentive behind IP prices is to get us to spend our money, then I think Riot could benefit from lowering RP prices. Personally, I don't want to grind for 6300 IP every time I see a cool champion I want. However, I'm even more disinclined to purchase RP to buy them. Releasing champions at only 975 RP contributes to this.
As it is right now, neither IP, nor RP feels rewarding. Getting more IP takes a long time, while getting more RP costs money, and (due to reasons outlined in the first post) is somewhat of a waste of money. I don't want to spend any of my points, even if I think something looks cool, for fear of not having points to buy something else. If you're going to leave IP prices so high, I think lowering RP prices would encourage players to buy, and spend more RP.
Trame has put together a couple graphs to visually represent the rising IP costs. His thread is http://www.leagueoflegends.com/board...d.php?t=748459.
I have created a poll to gather some statistical analysis on Riot's pricing. Please go here: http://na.leagueoflegends.com/board/....php?t=1037129 to vote and give Riot your feedback on RP prices. And bump both. I really want people's voices heard, and this is the best way to do it.
For the lazies: Riot's pricing has always been a little off. Just looking for some insight from the person in charge of it.
For the trundles: Please keep this respectful. =/
Edit1: Couple typos. I'm also looking at the store now, and seeing that Monarch Kog'Maw is on sale for 487. Another number throwing wrenches into my math.