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Economic Model for future ANBs

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    Economic Model for future ANBs

    The new time limited ANB league events have been enjoyable. It has certainly fostered an environment of competition and no doubt have been beneficial to the revenue model of the game. This is a good development since without appreciable revenue, there won't be anyone to develop and create more content for this game.

    Some information has come to light recently that makes me question the future viability of the current economic model for ANBs.

    I will try to be careful in addressing this topic. I strongly ask anyone participating in this discussion not to spell out the particulars and how-tos that would force the admins to remove this important topic.

    RNG (random number generator) is a huge part of this game. In the most important ways this drives revenue. Much of the gems we spent, event value packs we purchase, farming and most of what we do in this game is all about OVERCOMING RNG. Without RNG, our progress through the game will not be halting but rather a rocketship ride straight to the top/endgame. RNG becomes even more important in any kind of time limited events that involve game affecting rewards. Basically shorter the time limit, less time to overcome RNG through pure effort and blind luck. Hence the value of gem purchases comes in. This gives you more shots at the roulette table.

    All of the above are well understood. To get to the top, you have to throw time and effort at it, when that's insufficient, you have to throw more and more money. In a fair competition, even an element of P2W is acceptable given the premise: we need the developers to succeed financially in order for our game to prosper. The familiar names adorn the top of the LBs through bronze, silver and now gold league. We lookup at them and marvel at their skill/luck etc. Their presence acts like the rabbit that goose the rest of us to chase them, in the process spending more and creating that frenzied competition feel. So far so good, we get enjoyable events and developers get more revenue.

    Until maybe 15hrs ago, then the entire facade crumbled in front of me.

    The mirage of fair play is what keeps the masses engaged. When that is threatened, what's left to motivate us?

    Now I'm actually quite sympathetic to the quandary this puts the developers in. On one hand, RNG is what drives the revenue. On the other hand without the veneer of fair competition, the masses might revolt against RNG playing such an important role during events.

    Update 3/25/2019: Why the economic model is under attack:
    In any thriving Freemium game, one needs both the whales and the plebs. The plebs vastly outnumber the whales but both are necessary in a sustainable community. The economics of a freemium game comes primarily from the whales. This fact has borne out over and over from many different freemium games across the spectrum. However the whales would not participate unless there is a huge thriving plebs. In effect the plebs serve as the scenery for the whales to feel good about themselves via the ingame advantages/recognitions their spending brought them. The trick here is to make sure those advantages are small enough as not to turn off the plebs in mass numbers. What good is a new suite of armor if no plebs are around to admire. This balancing act is probably the most critical element to a thriving freemium game. Btw plebs are also advantaged by the whales in that they get to enjoy an improving game experience that's only possible by the monetary contributions of the whales.

    So the plebs and whales are in a symbiotic relationship in a healthy freemium game community. Part of the reason I don't begrudge some element of P2W. We want the developers to do well financially so they can continue create more content for the rest of us to enjoy.

    The plebs and whales are two classes of players that populate any successful freemium game. The equation however changes...

    When a third class is introduced: the exploiters.

    The exploiters (btw can be either plebs or whales) enters a game community and their impacts are insidious. If the class is small and the knowledge of them is well hidden from the general gaming population (cynically I think this is also part of the reason why discussing exploits is such a taboo in ANY gaming community), it can actually INCREASE the economics the developers enjoy from their game. This is done by creating a false standard that is seemingly the product of great skill and/or greater spending. When the placid whales see challenges coming from this new class, their natural reaction would be to increase their spend as a way to match/retake their former position. This competition, like any good war, doesn't goto waste. While the exploiters make negligible monetary contribution to the developers (afterall the whole point of exploiting is getting the advantage without spending), the increase spend by the whales are real. But such a situation is inherently unstable due to the fact that the money it takes to overtake an exploiter is beyond any realm of reasonableness. I'm reminded of this fact by a recent post of badazz34 who indicated that he/she has spent over $300 per event while trying to PtW while failing to place in the top 10/25. Eventually the whales give up as increased spend doesn't result in the expected return. Ultimately as the whales are driven out by the exploiters, the economics fall drastically for the developers. This money being choked off sounds the death knell to the developers. We the plebs lose out simply as the game fades away.

    This process can be greatly hasten by the wide dissemination/knowledge of the existence of the exploiters. It is this reason that I understand why the subject is so hush/hush. This isn't the developers trying to sweep things under the carpet. This is the developers trying to protect their livelihood.

    A firm anti-cheating and anti-exploiting policy is actually very much in the interest of the developers.

    So as we wait for the unveiling of the ANB Gold final LB, I hope the developers can keep the above in mind. Exploiters destroy games by driving away whales. I estimate for a true whale to compete with an exploiter will mean spending over 10's thousands per league. This is simply not realistic. Now that we know, there is no going back now. For the game's sake, for the whales' sake, and for us the pleb's sake, I hope the developers will do the right thing. In the long run, it is the only option for a sustainable game community.

    My interim solution, updated 3/25/2019

    1) Change Random Set box rewards to Ephemeral Set box. ESB works like Lbox such that the player has the agency in choosing the stats and the set item (no weapon, cape, tome or non set item though). They will be legendary quality (4 stats) but will automatically roll at 85% of max stat for every stat (including Armor). So for a 90 stat, you will get 76.5, 60% CD becomes 51%, etc

    Basically you will always get useful set item but with low stats that they can be improved upon by higher trial drops where RNG can't be gamed AFAIK. This preserves some RNG in the ANB and inject an element of luck which is always fun in a competition.

    Where LBox (2) and CBox (2) are rewarded, instead Ephemeral LBox, ELBox, and Ephemeral CBox, ECBox are given out instead. ELBox, like ESB, makes items that automatically roll at 95% of max stat, and ECBox automatically roll at 99% of max stat + 90 Vit. They are just better version of ESB.

    The reward schedule has 4 RSB, combined with 2 LBox and 2 CBox. Unless one is the red headed stepdaughter of RNGuses, that's enough to complete any set a player might desire. Using Ephemeral equivalent, you have certainty and still leave room for improvement through trial drops.

    This also means that the small/medium/large treasury boxes should be shop ticket rewards. Basically here is what I envision, small chest gives you 6 tickets to purchase gold purchasable items from the equipment shop. Medium chest gives you 4 tickets for gold purchase and 2 tickets for gem purchase. Large chest gives you 6 tickets for gem purchasable items.

    Yes, get rid of all chests in ANB events is the goal here.

    2) Crafting: Remove the ability to craft legendary quality Set/unique for event character. Remove salvaging perk for event character. This removes the ability to craft endgame quality equipment. But leaves intact the ability to craft final missing set piece items and MS/XP items for early leveling.

    3) When a player enters a trial, if there is no corresponding official exit (meaning either the player using the in game control to abandon the trial, or exit through the victory/home portal), a 3min time penalty is assessed to the event timer. This change will not penalize players for on-entry death (elite mob swarming the entry for example) nor conscientious map shopping (as long as one uses the abandon trial or home portal to exit the trial normally, thus accepting the actual event time cost to assess the map).

    4) Gempack results should just be mailed to the player when opened. If the shop ticket idea is too much trouble, then chest content should also be mailed to the player when opened.

    5) I said it on a previous post and I think Nhat brought this up as well, Medal effects should be disabled on event characters. We all should have the same starting point right for a competition.

    I think the above four will address much of the issues on hand until a true technical solution can be found to block the easy path. I encourage all fair play minded players to chime in with your own thoughts on this matter.

    I hope a true solution can be found soon. Until then playing fair is akin to being a chump.
    Last edited by Arionthe; 03-25-2019, 09:32 PM. Reason: updated modified suggestions and why economic model is under attack

    1) Could see that.
    2) Could see that, but you would, in the interests of uniformity have to not have access to unlocked recipes either - you cant cherry pick.
    3) I don;t think stepping into a bad trial, and dying should yield a 2 minute penalty. Not fair
    4) Don't even understand that, they do come through ingame email don't they?

    Basically it is simple, all rewards are generated by the rng at the point they are earned - not when they are opened, end of.


      Devs, I strongly urge that you guys take an aggressive and pro active approach to fixing the problems, some of which have been apparently ongoing since ANB#1. I also think it is only fair that Devs openly discuss these issues with your player base. Nuking posts and banning people from discord for discussing the specifics only shows that you don't care.

      Please do not sweep this under the rug.
      Last edited by Bounty; 03-20-2019, 10:19 PM.
      BH - Stalker - TL 138 (PC)


        I feel like those that finished in the top 100 in bronze and silver should be awarded extra medal.

        To get to the point

        1. Its logical. Needs to be either or with this. Either we receive custom ephereal boxes or we get nothing at all, no legendaries custom or otherwise.

        2. Its logical. Needs to be either or......

        3. I would almost say a 3 min penalty but that's pushing it so again I agree with 2 mins.

        4. I think thats what's in place already. Maybe i misunderstand.

        I also want to include a fifth resolution.

        5. Since many have participated..........
        they should be suspended from future events of one bronze event therefore missing silver and gold as well.


          Nothing is being swept under the rug and no one has failed to acknowledge anything. The posts removed and edited contained verbiage that indicated how an exploit worked. Two users were banned from Discord. One came right out and described how to exploit, the other continued talking about the exploit despite being told to stop.


            Originally posted by yaddab View Post
            1) Could see that.
            2) Could see that, but you would, in the interests of uniformity have to not have access to unlocked recipes either - you cant cherry pick.
            3) I don;t think stepping into a bad trial, and dying should yield a 2 minute penalty. Not fair
            4) Don't even understand that, they do come through ingame email don't they?

            Basically it is simple, all rewards are generated by the rng at the point they are earned - not when they are opened, end of.
            1), 3) and 4) are intended as countermeasures for specific exploits. Don't ask here, we can't and won't discuss them on the forums.

            3) is a no-go for me as you sometimes want to abandon a trial pretty much right away(spawn into an elite group, overall bad mob composition, a death during your 1st big pull, bad map,...).
            Don't like 1) that much, want to keep some RNG at least.
            2) definitely needs to happen. ML50 with all recipes has such a huge advantage over newer players. And disable medals for ANB as well.
            4) Duh... As long as something happens.
            Last edited by narf; 03-20-2019, 10:34 PM.
            MULU FIGU DUFE 7374


              The problem with all this is that many players go to this thread and read the OP's post will not understand why there needs to be changes made because they do not know what the "issues" are or what specific "things" are happening,

              The importance and gravity of the message is lost.

              Again, Devs need to step up and reveal, discuss and fix.
              Last edited by Bounty; 03-20-2019, 10:38 PM.
              BH - Stalker - TL 138 (PC)


                Leaving aside the issues with bugs/exploits - the recent ANB models no longer conforms with the original intention of ANB, from my point of view.

                "A New Beginning" was supposed to be an event where everybody starts from the Beginning (except for Gems) and work their way up as high as they can go, RNG and ALL. The handling of the Crafting system and the new Medals are MAJOR deviations from the original model, from my point of view, and I believe others have commented on such.

                1. Having your bought recipes and Crafting Mastery Levels carry over gives a MAJOR advantage to players who have done so versus those who haven't.
                If you have bought the recipes for your ANB Hero's set items, you can craft them and use them, no need to wait for drops. Yes, the quality will be lower because you don't have that much materials but the important point is that you CAN, while those who haven't CANNOT.

                2. Crafting Master Levels grants Perks, which have the potential to impact your material gain and crafting outcome.
                Again, another separation between those that HAVE and HAVE NOT...

                3. Medals, same deal, regardless out how much of a "diminishing return" they give...

                The above points need to be addressed to bring back the "spirit" of ANB again.

                I can't do anything about the Crafting perks carrying over, and yes, I did craft some stuff during Silver in my "crazy attempt" for TL 90 (although none of those enchantments required recipes); but I did NOT open any of my medals gained from Bronze and Silver, and most likely will NOT be opening them until they no longer apply to event Hero.

                Joining back into the main discussion point 2), given the constraint of the events, a potential solution is to grant the Event Hero with ML 50 and ALL recipes <= thus giving EVERYONE the choice to craft what ever they want, or not, given that they have collected the required materials to do so. This have the added bonus of exposing new players to the crafting system, and thus encouraging to level up ML on their main after the event...
                Eternium Files - links and details Eternium Guides:


                  Originally posted by ྿༻Travis༺྿ (Support Mgr.) View Post
                  Nothing is being swept under the rug and no one has failed to acknowledge anything. The posts removed and edited contained verbiage that indicated how an exploit worked. Two users were banned from Discord. One came right out and described how to exploit, the other continued talking about the exploit despite being told to stop.
                  actually I stated that I had a support issue concerning to be reimbursed due to cheaters clogging up the leader boards. i therefore request to have my ban lifted. promising to keep support channel clean from non-support issues.


                    1) No Comment... (I don't care either way)

                    2) This will tick off the players that have spent hours to max out their crafting/perk level. Any serious player noticed that perks carried over into ANB and maxed out their level (or should have).

                    3) Veteran players cherry pick their trials (enter & exit quickly). With experience under ones belt you learn what trial maps to use when up against the timer. Penalizing for this is unacceptable.

                    4) No Comment... (I don't care either way)

                    Sounds like you want to normalize the event to the point that a person that's only been playing for short time will have a equal chance of finishing in the top tier bracket of ANB events.
                    But when you start stepping on the perks and benefits of a veteran player... That'll push them away

                    IMO: Veteran players have those small perks so they don't need to spend cash (or as much) to be competitive. It should be the green players trying to keep up with the seasoned veterans


                      Overall, I can go either way on this. As I've said before, I feel a "true" competition would require an entry fee, and would block buying gems/sharing with your account. As I've also said before, this would be pretty unpopular.

                      This said, the main thing I realized in Gold League, as it was the first time I didn't have enough time to farm the mats myself, is that the 2500 gem Legendary Crafting Crate is OP as all heck, and provides a ridiculous advantage over anyone who doesn't have the gems to throw into it (and the gold you can get through in-game exchange for more gems).


                        Just my thoughts:

                        Those within the USA should be familiar with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). The regulations change on a yearly basis in some cases to plug the "holes" left behind for exploit by previous rule changes. Tax lawyers charge high fees to keep billions of dollars worth of income and profits from having taxes levied. Each year they seem to find new methods to "game" or exploit the regulation: tax loopholes.

                        Our favorite entertainment vehicle, Eternium has rules which could be considered a microcosm of the IRS regulations, with similar folks looking for loopholes. The main difference is that there is no huge exchange of money involved as with the IRS tax evaders. Extrapolation of these comments could lead one to the belief that NO changes to the rules to prevent cheating will actually prevent cheating... But rather, the rule changes simply force those finding loopholes (exploits) or defining other techniques for cheating, to work harder to find a new set of ways around these changes. Simply a challenge to their abilities... In my view, there are truly two populations within Eternium, those who play with what they are given via the rules and those who are looking for ways around the limitations of the rules.

                        Overall, the prize is the same, but unfortunately, there is overlap between the two groups. Some players, through experience and skill, get to the same level as those who have found easier routes. (This is not fair to those who play be the rules and maybe that should be the focus of changes to the system.) It will always take significant resources to find and remove the benefits of bugs, exploits and even hacking techniques. That time could realistically be spent more effectively and to the benefit of all by improving the game experience rather than police work.

                        (I have always considered ANB to be an opportunity to incorporate improvements that I have made to my style or use techniques learned from others or experience, by using a new hero. I know that some others look upon ANB as a short term challenge to be rewarded through the competition with others. I suppose that it can be both, but probably not to the same group of folks.)


                          Removing my post is tantamount to trying to escape from the truth. In Russia, a lot of people, instead of solving problems, flood them with alcohol.
                          Deleting my post will not solve the problems of Eternium. This is the first.
                          And second, instead of listening to the players and receiving help from them, you push them away. Great strategy!
                          Admin of the largest russian-speaking Eternium community (6000+ m.)
                          Live dinosaur of M&M/Eternium. Only Android play almost 4 years.
                          Community activity stopped !!!


                            Originally posted by Nhat View Post
                            Leaving aside the issues with bugs/exploits - the recent ANB models no longer conforms with the original intention of ANB, from my point of view.

                            "A New Beginning" was supposed to be an event where everybody starts from the Beginning (except for Gems) and work their way up as high as they can go, RNG and ALL. The handling of the Crafting system and the new Medals are MAJOR deviations from the original model, from my point of view, and I believe others have commented on such.
                            Agreed, this new version of ANB did not feel like a true "new beginning." For me the new format had its ups and downs.

                            The time limits helped to level the playing field for those of us who have a day job. I liked that I could be "marginally" competitive (my first finish in the top 100 in Silver) during an ANB event without quitting my full time job because all players could only devote the same number of hours to the game. In the past, all I could do during ANB week was push to TL80 to get a celestial and completely ignore the leaderboard (except for overall %). IMO the 9 hour version of the game worked best. I was staying up late and pushing through my lunch hour on the final day of the 12 hour Bronze, but I was almost out of active playing time by Tuesday of the 6 hour Gold. I feel like I spent too much of this week just waiting for abilities to upgrade, boring... Other than daily event gems, nothing earned in regular game play would have helped in the event, so it just felt like one long waiting game (like standing in line at Disney World). The balance of strategy to actual playing time felt out of whack all week.

                            I also felt that the ephemeral jewelry was a good move to level the field for those players either too new or too gemstone poor to understand the complexities of crafting endgame jewelry. I personally feel that my heroes advancement through the three levels of the most recent ANB was helped by not having to spend resources or time trying to craft decent jewelry. That said, it did not really push me that much higher in trials than where I had finished under the previous ANB system. I pushed about 3 or 4 trial levels higher in Silver, mostly by avoiding mistakes made during Bronze event. My biggest mistake in Bronze was not knowing in advance that crafting ability and recipes were shared with the event hero, so I spent the down week buying up recipes and upgrading my crafting perks. However, I won't finish as high in Gold because of the drop in the XP bonus from 100% down to only 50%. I built an XP gear set and bought a bunch of boosters but it wasn't enough to offset the baseline drop in XP.

                            I sense that the developers just wanted to see how far an experienced player could go under such a limited time and bonus in the Gold League. However, my feeling was that the limited time should have been matched by an increase somewhere else in the game [it wasn't], because the limited time meant a lot more pressure to spend gems (e.g., to buy more XP and Gemstone boosters, to open up that costly third ability upgrade slot, to add an additional archer to maximize the already squeezed time, or to reforge a piece of gear because it would take too long to grind for a better drop). I ended up crafting a legendary Integralas Mantle because my legendary gear box weapons had substantially lower average damage compared to what I got in Silver, and I needed the first celestial to craft a better weapon. But other than crafting Enchantments, I did not really benefit from the new crafting system all that much aside from a few movement speed pieces in the early going. MoTs were a big bottleneck to crafting endgame gear, and I did not feel like I had time to farm for essences under the limited time format. I am not sure that I want to do another 6 hour event...

                            I do not like the suggestion of making all drops be ephemeral level quality, though it does suck when you open your event legendary set gear box to find subpar damage or other stats. Maybe changing one of those Lbox rewards to an Ephemeral weapon (based on hero class) would take some of the random luck out of the game. But for me part of the challenge and skill of playing is making the most out of the random drops that the game doles out. I cannot imagine enjoying playing in an event where every hero has perfect endgame gear due to cheating exploits or even unlimited crafting. I think that the ANB format has already moved too far in the direction of crafting mastery. It feels like we have just replaced jewelry making skill with crafting mastery skill in the new ANB format. My vote would be to make crafting a true "new beginning" so that the event hero starts from the very beginning as the name implies with no crafting mastery or recipes. Nothing but underwear, an entry level weapon, and a spirit of adventure; and with a fixed time limit (e.g., 9 hours) and a fixed limit on number of gems that can be purchased or transferred from the user's base account during the event (e.g., no more than 5k from any source). You eat what you kill during the game and nothing more! I would even be willing to pay an entry fee to insure that everyone is playing by the same set of rules (nod to Trouble for that last idea).

                            And helmets off to Nhat for not opening his medals! You are a true role model...


                              Hmm, I missed the discord discussion, I'm guessing at the rest.

                              For 3) Entering any trial will carry a minimum 2min cost to the event timer no matter what, unless the completion time was actually shorter.

                              I'd prefer something a little simpler. No time penalty but if you abandon before the boss is killed or timer expires, you lose 90% of gained experience in the trial. Or 75% or whatever makes the trial not worth completing the trial. As for map picking, it's like folding in Poker and IMHO that's why there is an ante. It depends on which problem they want to address.

                              As for RNG, and as someone who has been porked by RNG badly in events, that's the game. The solution, IMHO, is the future balance patch. If my dropped reward has Adventurers gear, Apprentice gear or Arcanist gear, it shouldn't matter a full set is a full set.

                              The major problem with crafting is anything made in the event transfers back out. I could address my Crafting level but I'm not going to sit and craft junk just to level up. Frankly, there's an advantage, but it's fairly small. While I groaned when I first saw it, I consider it a feature of the common champion level set up.

                              To be honest reading this leaves me a bit confused what is being considered exploits particularly if #3 is in response to 'exploits' especially given forum discussions around maximizing your XP farming.
                              Last edited by NoSuchReality; 03-21-2019, 07:05 PM.