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Following what appears to be a profitable venture, EA will conclude their current installment of gambling packs with one more pack being released just prior to the Rise of the Hutts content update.
Following RotH, Cartel packs will be permamently removed, and replaced by other packs with all new rewards.
EA has plans for even more sets with a limited life cycle each. 3 more shipments, each with about 3 packs .. so at least 9 more unique gambling packs coming soon to a Star Wars MMO near you. Cha-ching!
Q&A Response by Damion Schubert:
Do you have a pre-set number of packs and items set up ahead of time for a certain period of time?
We develop a set of these packs (we call them a 'Shipment') at one time. Shipment 1 will have 4 packs associated with them (not counting the cheap pack), with one additional pack coming out before Rise of the Hutts. After that, a new shipment will come out, likely with a new name (instead of 'Cartel Packs', they will be 'Contraband Packs', for example).
Developing a shipment has a long lead time. Most of the art for shipment 2 is already complete, and we are currently in planning stages for shipment 3. This is not to say that we can't slide things around, or pull something forward or get something in a hurry if we see a great idea or if something on the market really sells. But the capacity for this kind of movement is very limited.
We also want these packs to have a reasonable life post-removal. As a result, we philosophically resist actually adjusting the internal math of these packs (i.e. what's in them, at what drop rate) after they've been released, so that the value of the packs is a known quantity. This is not to say we never would do so if there was a serious problem -- but we really don't want to. Short form: there likely will be a time in the future where the GTN is the ONLY place to buy a Skip Tracer's Pack.
I'm kind of appalled that gambling packs are successful. Do people really find them enjoyable, or do people buy them just because they feel they are supposed to? Or because of the lack of entertaining longterm content..
Oh well, needless to say, collecting pets, vehicles, everything else is going to become a very expensive hobby. Even if they go on sale in the GTN, buyers are eventually going to run out of credits ..
He goes on to say:
Are you afraid that greed will corrupt the game?
The cartel market funds the ability for players to play for free, which has allowed a huge number of players who couldn't or wouldn't play the game to do so now. This has resulted in more dev resources, and larger, more vibrant communities. And we've done so while still making market transactions mostly optional. I'm pretty much in the camp that we're on the Light Side on this, so far at least.
I don't see this as a sustainable business though. There was an initial rush because it was new, but if alternate stuff just keeps pouring into the shop, eventually it's going to take in less and less revenue. Someone will find a cheaper game...
Damion did make a peculiar statement later on (same thread, different spot):
It sucks that the Cartel Market/Cartel Packs takes away resources that could be spent on (my pet feature)!
It's quite the opposite, actually. The success of the market (and it has been quite successful) has given us the time and resources to do some ambitious things on Makeb, and plan some very ambitious things beyond. The success of the Cartel Market means that there will be more good stuff for ALL players, paying, subscribers, and free.
I thought that was a bit over the top (even assinine), especially since Makeb was being funded by a $10 or $20 sale + subscription fees. Damion makes it sound like EA has so much overhead that it costs a fortune to do content updates. If that is why content is so slow to release and so full of bugs, they should consider reorganizing their company (EA Bioware subdivision) .. or something.
Well thats the Damion Schubert roundup with commentary (there is some other questions in those links - too much to list here). Enjoy, lets see what everyone thinks about more gambling packs ... whoop whoop ... yay?
Want a nice understanding of life? Try Spirit Science: "The Human History"
Recognize the voice? Yep sounds like Penny Arcade's Extra Credits.