I feel sorry for MZ - The Economics of Game of War - Part 2

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I feel sorry for MZ.
Not many lay claim to that. There is a lot of anger out there directed at MZ right
now, and it has been bubbling for some time. The Boycott may have been ended
following some productive discussion between StayAlive77 and MZ, but what that
means is that this is the BEGINNING, not the end. MZ has a MASSIVE amount of
work in front of them if they want to repair any of the damage that 2 years worth of
adversarial customer support has created, if they genuinely want to build any kind of
trust with the player community. 2 years of majorly negative relationship capital
cannot be reversed in any short period of time. Trust takes time to build, and can be
torn down in a second.
The reasons I feel sorry for them:
If MZ are genuinely committed to improving relations with the player
community and build a sustainable platform, they have to completely redesign
their model of interaction with the player community. Shifting from
unidirectional and primarily marketing focused communications on the blog,
to a genuine dialogue with an amorphous mass of disaffected players is a
HUGE cultural shift in their model of interaction. This would create massive
disruption inside MZ.
Their pack content inflation running at 20-25% (and accelerating to 60%
month on month as of September 2015) is verging on meeting the consensus
definition of HYPERINFLATION. And history tells us that no society is
known to have escaped unscathed, with hyperinflation usually resulting in
massive social disruption, and usually in economic collapse.
There is potentially a massive disconnect in perception of account value, with
MZ attributing a zero value to every single account in GoW, and the majority
of players likely expecting that their account has a non-zero value.
MZ potentially has a single point of failure: the risk that their Terms of Service
may be found in the future in court to not be enforceable on players. This risk
is based upon the idea that those players may not have been provided with
adequate notice of the proposed terms of the offer included in the Terms of
There is a formidable cohort of players (both past and present), who have 2
solid years of mistrust in MZ, and through playing GoW, have evolved their
skillsets in a way that allows for effective coordination of future action, if MZ
is not successful in engaging the community.
The Boycott has ended. And now the real hard work begins, for MZ and for
community representatives alike.
Buckle in, because this is going to be an epic post. Do not read this unless you have
had your morning coffee. This is by far the longest and most important post I have
written on GoW.
Part 1 of this series - TINSTAAFL and TARDIS looked at combat boost inflation over
a 2-year time horizon, as well as silver cost inflation for purchasing those combat
boosts. We briefly mentioned the concept of inflation of pack contents, but
dismissed it as a little too hard as no-one had collected a series of screenshots of full
packs. Over the last month or so, we have put in a bit of effort to collate a series of
screenshots from various contacts on LINE, and tried to put together a crude but
effective price series.
Some gold packs we have managed to get a full series of screenshots for (up to 8-10
screenshots per pack), whilst some only have the first screen offered. However
almost all of them have some of the key common elements in the packs that MZ offer
for sale, namely, gold amount, speedups, silver, and in a lot of instances, resources as
well. But gold, speedups and silver are the most common that appear in the first
screen shown.
Our price history goes back to July 2014, and is basically a monthly series. Here is a
screenshot of a July 2014 casino pack. Remember the casino?
That's right. 3M casino chips, 15M wood, 15M stone, 15M ore, 20M food, and 1 Rare
Material Chest. No VIP 12 required here to open all those chests at once. And a
green speedup (15/60 mins) hinted at the bottom just below the Rare Mat
Chest. Not blue speedups (3/8/24 hour), and definitely not orange speedups
(3/7/30 days).
And here is a pack from the past fortnight.