City/commune shop concerns and brainstorming

KagatoKagato Carmichael, CAMember Posts: 1,123 Mythical
edited July 2016 in Ideas
Lately city and commune shops seem to have been seeing less and less usage - Celest has a good 25% of their shops sitting unused, with no interest in renting them out, people preferring to use aetherplex shops due to their centralised location and the vast variety of shops, seeing it as a 'one-stop' location.  I'd ideally like to see/suggest some changes to make city and commune shops more competitive, in comparison to aetherplex shops.  I'm at a bit of a loss for what to actually SUGGEST though, since I understand that buying an aetherplex shop is a fairly big investment.  I just want to make sure that city/commune shops aren't completely left in the dust.

Ideas so far:

1. Shop signs and Shop logs reduced in price - 200,000 gold for a sign and 50,000 for a log that disappears again when a new owner takes over is a VERY hefty pricetag, well out of the range of a lot of people.  Personally, I think shoplogs and signs should either persist across owners, or perhaps the price be heavily reduced (at least for the sign), to 25-20% of what it currently is (and even that might be considered a bit on the high side, given that city shops sometimes only make a couple of thousand gold per lusternian year after taxes)

EDIT: corrected the prices.
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Comments

  • TalanTalan Member Posts: 1,000 Transcendent
    Maybe just talk to your patrons about turning the rooms into parklands or something so that org markets don't look like Detroit. (Alternately, allow more semi-permanent/permanent vandalism to create a more realistic slum with burnout storefronts, etc.)
    #NoWireHangersEver

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  • SylandraSylandra Friend of Dog Member Posts: 4,297 Transcendent
    If anything, shop sign prices and shoplog prices aren't a cost problem. It's stockroom expansions. If you can't get in contact with a Chancellor, or can't get the 1,000,000 gold, you're stuck at the 250 item point which is a rough place to be if you want to sell anything in bulk. But even that isn't so bad as long as there's a Chancellor you can get in touch with, and you can save up. (Side-bar, stockroom expansions DO carry over which is awesome. It can be a good investment to make if you care about the shopping district of your org.)

    I like @Ssaliss's idea re: directory hopping. Hallifax cheated I think because our map basically does that already with our kiosk. Can confirm it's very useful.

    If you want more people to use shops in Celest, have you considered maybe giving more incentives to citizens? Maybe offer shops to Celestians without loan downpayments, just taxes, until the shops are all filled up. Encourage younger newer people to get involved by lessening the initial gold investment. Some kind of limited time only rewards program? Obviously shops never make too much of a profit, but just doing something small like that might go a long way to get new blood interested in trying their hand at the shop thing. Totally just spit-balling here.
    Fyler said:
    Sylandra has a very signature (and somewhat twisted) sense of humor
  • AeldraAeldra Member Posts: 974 Mythical
    I really like the idea with the directory. There's another thing someone mentioned a while past, which I really like as an idea: adding an exit to the directory to the orgbixes. That would really increase the value of org shops while not making it accessible to everybody. orgbixes, after all, are still quite a good deal of work.

    That being said, I think an org can do a lot to make their local shops interesting. Advertising campaigns, teaching their young to use the directory, even the occasional celebration. Get creative there!
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  • VersaleanVersalean Member Posts: 751 Mythical
    edited July 2016
    Aeldra said:

    That being said, I think an org can do a lot to make their local shops interesting. Advertising campaigns, teaching their young to use the directory, even the occasional celebration. Get creative there!
    While I agree with this, the bottom line in 99% of cases is that TELEPORT AETHERPLEX - or whatever your much shorter alias is - is going to beat going to the directory just on the off chance that what you want is in stock. Nothing that anybody does in game is going to change that, because people (including/especially myself) are lazy. I mean, if I want crotchless panties and a peephole bra, I'll head to Gaudi shops, sure. If I want no panties and a top that shows off my armpit hair I'll go to Seren shops. For anything more generic it's plex every time, no matter what jingles are coming over Market. But then I would also reiterate that this is the reason people are willing to pay hundreds of credits for an aethershop. It is the relative ease with which people can shop at the plex that gives that artefact its value.

    IDEA: For an upgraded cost, let city shops' wares at least show up on searches at the plex. They would have the disadvantage of not benefiting from marketing (right?), and you would still have to travel to the city, but at least people would know you existed.
  • XenthosXenthos Shadow Lord Member Posts: 5,785 Transcendent
    I think your IDEA there was something I suggested in the artifact ideas thread recently.  Let you link / display a shop, with upgrades to allow you to do more than one at a time (and being able to portal enter a room that is linked to it to buy the wares, can't see if it you are blocked from shopping there by shop privileges).  It's a lot of coding work to make this happen in such a way that would actually be beneficial, so I can't see them doing it without being an artifact... but they definitely could make changes to make org shops more useful / available.
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  • KaimanahiKaimanahi The One True Queen Member Posts: 704 Transcendent
    Fixing the Lusternia economy is a way bigger issue, imo.
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  • EnyalidaEnyalida Nasty Woman Member Posts: 4,384 Transcendent
    Serenwilde shops all have the first shop upgrade, increasing capacity to 500 items. This doesn't really fix any of the issues, most of our shops see little business and stay open as legacy or guild shops.

    I've asked in the past (as CL) to get an orgbix exit to the directory, but it got a no somewhere along the line - not directly from the patron, who was very amenable, but somewhere along the administrative chain! 

    So, those two things will help somewhat, but they either don't really fix the problem or are unlikely to happen. 
  • EveriineEveriine Wise Old Swordsbird / Brontaur Three Lakes, WIMember Posts: 2,762 Transcendent
    I've always seen a problem with the easy access to manse comm producers and the ability to have multiple/all trade skills. So many people can simply produce everything they want / need for cheap, shops are becoming redundant.
    Everiine is a man, and is very manly. This MAN before you is so manly you might as well just gender bend right now, cause he's the manliest man that you ever did see. His manly shape has spurned many women and girlyer men to boughs of fainting. He stands before you in a manly manerific typical man-like outfit which is covered in his manly motto: "I am a man!"

    Daraius said: You gotta risk it for the biscuit.

    Pony power all the way, yo. The more Brontaurs the better.
  • SaranSaran Member Posts: 1,687 Mythical
    For me, it's kinda both what @Versalean and @Everiine kinda highlighted.

    They don't seem to provide any great benefit and if you have or know someone with sufficient trade skills, you don't really need them.

    Personally, I think that maybe the answer isn't to try to patch things together until there isn't really a significant difference between aethershops and org shops but maybe to give orgs some options for alternatives that might be appealing enough to draw people in (unfortunately yes, more coding).

    Maybe each org could have a trades shop which can make below average quality designs from the orgs cartels? Money could go to the bank accounts of the commune as well as the designer on the sketch. Perhaps marked for no-resale if there are concerns about that. It would be super convenient for getting more fitting designs, unavailability being an issue I sometimes run into on new alts here and in the other games.

    Perhaps some sort of "auction house" for each org, it's something we could probably do ourselves but automation would make it significantly simpler and in turn might help newer/more casual types to make some money from trades?

    I guess I just don't see org shops really competing with aethershops unless they're indistinguishable.
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  • VivetVivet , of Cows and Crystals Member Posts: 2,179 Transcendent
    Kaimanahi said:
    Fixing the Lusternia economy is a way bigger issue, imo.
    And also ties into why the shops are failing. I mean, there's a bazillion aethershops too, but most of them are understocked or poorly stocked as well except a handful. Few people can really manage to shopkeep for a profit that they can't make more efficiently in other venues. Aethershops just tend to hold up better because 1) You spent a ton of credits on them and they're yours forever, while an org shop can always be repossessed, and 2) Org shop taxes, while small, always feel like they're eating into your profits, especially if shop traffic is minimal as is. With an aethershop, the cost is all out of the way upfront.

  • SaranSaran Member Posts: 1,687 Mythical
    Scarcity seems to be a factor of the other games, like I can't remember an aethershop equivalent anywhere else, the closest I can think of is Delos or similar non-city locations which have a bunch of shops in them in neutral-ish locations which is a benefit but also limited. Not sure how they're actually acquired though.

    Aethershops are just... well too good
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  • YmuliYmuli Member Posts: 110 Gifted
    edited July 2016
    About the only thing I can think of is getting your Trademasters/Patrons on side and designing some very specific patterns for each org that can only be sold in your org shops. Give people a reason to go to city shops. Also most orgs have a very strong theme/cultural identity that people could be designing along those guidelines and choosing to only stock them in shops in their respective orgs, but you'd need to appeal to people to foster a sense of civic pride in order to accomplish that. I'm just remembering other games that had cultural oddities in their clothing or jewelery that helped create a theme, so to speak. 
    Wildeflower Aramel Strongleaf says to Xiran, "My cousin's attitude to life is rather like her attitude towards cake - to have everything, and at once, and lots of it."
  • EveriineEveriine Wise Old Swordsbird / Brontaur Three Lakes, WIMember Posts: 2,762 Transcendent
    The problem with that of course is it requires strong RP dedication to it and building up lore and flavour. And as we are constantly reminded, Mechanics > RP . It doesn't matter how awesome or exclusive the designs are. If people can get an inferiorly designed equivalent easier for less somewhere else, they'll go somewhere else. The overbearing mechanics are what created the mess, and nothing else will fix it.
    Everiine is a man, and is very manly. This MAN before you is so manly you might as well just gender bend right now, cause he's the manliest man that you ever did see. His manly shape has spurned many women and girlyer men to boughs of fainting. He stands before you in a manly manerific typical man-like outfit which is covered in his manly motto: "I am a man!"

    Daraius said: You gotta risk it for the biscuit.

    Pony power all the way, yo. The more Brontaurs the better.
  • SylandraSylandra Friend of Dog Member Posts: 4,297 Transcendent
    Adding extra design patterns seems like an overly elaborate way to create novelty, when cartels exist and don't require more admin coding. The Jadice shop has a lot of exclusive icy designs via order cartels and people seem to like that thematic apparel, jewellery, and whatnot. I dunno, some people don't care about designs, some people do. YMMV.
    Fyler said:
    Sylandra has a very signature (and somewhat twisted) sense of humor
  • MardellaMardella Member Posts: 80 Apprentice
    Just thinking about this from an economical stand point. Its about benefits costs and easy of use mostly. 

    You could put a mechanically practical benefit to shopping in the commune/city shops which could then have a knock on effect on the actual economy.

    Just a random example for every 100 gold you spend in a city shop, that city gets 1 gold put into its coffers as an extra bonus tax. But make the tax sort of appear out of no where as a bonus so that the actual shop keeper and the customer are not paying any extra. 

    Maybe not this exactly but something akin to it would be handy. As it would firstly encourage the cities and communes to promote their own shops more as they now have a vested interest in everyone shopping there as opposed to elsewhere. It would be mechanically beneficial for your organisation for you to shop in house so to speak, thus playing on the patriotism of the customers. The city/commune can then use these funds to invest more in the shops.

    Now you still have the convenience of the aethershops due to the sheer size but due to the tax benefit but if the cities/communes are smart they would beable to use this tax benefit as a financial incentive to give to the shopkeepers to make their shops sell for cheaper. Think of it as a government subsidy, if the cities manage this well it could work fairly effectively in promoting the organisations shops on the other hand screwing up the management of it could cause issues but well, thats part of the fun of the game in having human leaders :D it would also add a fair bit of economics into the leaders jobs(well fun if you like economics :p)

    Potentially it would turn the aethershops into the higher priced more convenient places to shop and the communes/cities the cheaper home branded stores. I could see different types of people wishing to shop in either places, making it more like a real market. At the moment there is just no benefit I can see to the city shops over the aether shops.
  • EnyalidaEnyalida Nasty Woman Member Posts: 4,384 Transcendent
    That wouldn't help, communes and cities have no real vested interest in generating gold. We could effectively do this now, and I don't think it would really help out. Communes and Cities already have poured in at least a few million gold per shop to purchase, upgrade, and 'renovate' them, and it doesn't really help. You can get a commune or city shop for DRAMATICALLY lower cost in terms of gold than you can buy a aethershop, and it starts out with doubled storage when compared to an aethershop. 


  • PiccardaPiccarda Member Posts: 17 Apprentice
    What if a citizen, shopping in their own city/commune shops, got an extra percentage off, above and beyond any existing discounts? That way even if both aethershop and normal shop had their prices at the bare minimum for cost, the normal shops would be a bit cheaper.
  • AllyrianneAllyrianne Member Posts: 334 Expert
    Removing control of the discounts from the shopkeepers themselves is not great, since this is something that individual shopkeepers can choose to do of their own accord, and many do.

    Unless you're suggesting that the game would make up the difference in the discount so the shopkeeper didn't lose money, in which case that would be incredibly gameable.
  • SsalissSsaliss Member Posts: 3,575 Transcendent
    How would that work, exactly? Would the shopkeeper get that percentage less? Or would the extra gold just be created?

    If one, it'd probably just make org-shops sell stuff at that percentage extra to get the same gold out as the aethershops do. Either that, or it'd actually punish shopkeepers for owning an org shop.

    If two, then that's just grounds for abuse. Set an item for sale at a million gold, and then go buy it. You spend 990k gold, but get 1m gold, ending up with 10k extra. Repeat infinitely.
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  • EnyalidaEnyalida Nasty Woman Member Posts: 4,384 Transcendent
    edited July 2016
    Piccarda said:
    What if a citizen, shopping in their own city/commune shops, got an extra percentage off, above and beyond any existing discounts? That way even if both aethershop and normal shop had their prices at the bare minimum for cost, the normal shops would be a bit cheaper.


    Almost all shops DO give their own communemates a hefty hefty discount, sometimes up to 20%. Often times, this means the goods are fairly cheaper, they're just a big headache to get to. Part of the issue is that gold in the amounts most shops sell items to single customers just isn't worth anything, so you might save a few hundred gold by hunting bargains at city shops, but the convenience of the aetherplex is worth way more than the piddly amounts (in the long view) of gold you save. 
  • PhoebusPhoebus tu fui, ego eris. Member Posts: 1,889 Transcendent
    I think all this focus on gold is a wasted effort; if someone was choosing between buying a manse shop or buying a city shop, the city shop is already the budget option by far. If someone can't even afford to buy a city shop, they probably can't afford to run the thing, either (unless your city shops have an unnecessarily large pricetag, in which case you should probably give up on trying to treat shop sales as a big moneymaker for your org, because who really needs org gold at this point anyway. They're more like a check to make sure someone is actually serious about running a shop, so you don't waste the space on them. Taxes, likewise, should be used as more of an "are you still logging in?" check than a source of income). Getting people to pay attention to their org's shops and buy more things from them is great and I'm all in favor of things like hopping to a shop directly from the directory, but it won't solve the problem of empty city shops.

    Keeping a shop is already pretty unattractive to most people because it's a lot of work and you have to go into it accepting that you probably will never turn a profit. Even if you got your shop location completely for free and exempt from taxes somehow, you still sink a lot of gold into producing your wares. People price things so that they aren't selling at a loss, but odds are you're never going to sell everything you stock, so your profit stays strictly hypothetical. 

    To get into shopkeeping you have to be the sort of person who wants to run a shop for fun, because the amount of time and work you dedicate to running your shop gets you a fraction of what you'd see if you had used that time to hunt or influence instead. How do you advertise running a shop as a fun thing to more people? I dunno! Perhaps a step in the right direction would be to ask shopkeepers why they enjoy it or decided to get into it in the first place. If you find some common themes, you can use that as a foundation to build further ideas on.
  • EnyalidaEnyalida Nasty Woman Member Posts: 4,384 Transcendent
    Yep. I think the answer to the question "How do you advertise shops as fun" is you don't, and should move on.

    Personally, I think that the best solution for Serenwilde's empty shops is to make them into fancy apartments for purchase by Serenwilders and not shops at all. We need perhaps... a quarter of the number of shops we have to satisfy interest.
  • PhoebusPhoebus tu fui, ego eris. Member Posts: 1,889 Transcendent
    Enyalida said:


    We need perhaps... a quarter of the number of shops we have to satisfy interest.

    Yeah, sadly, a big part of the ghost town effect comes from the fact that the shopping districts expanded when there were enough people playing the game to have enough shopkeepers to fill them. The population has fallen, so there's less people who think shops are fun, but the empty spaces remain. Welcome to Detroit, Lusternia.
  • LuceLuce Fox Populi Member Posts: 2,333 Transcendent
    It ties back into the economy issue then. There is just no way for a tradesperson to make a significant profit on anything when so many people are A - Able to acquire commodities (including power) for free or have such large stockpiles of the same that they are essentially worthless, and B - Willing to produce and sell nearly anything at, near, or below costs, while C - needing to compete with other methods of gold generation to be worth the time invested. Notably influencing in certain areas (Charity for preference but there's gold to be made from influence alone) or just gold drops and corpse turn ins in others, nevermind maps, presents, curios, and wheel spins.

    Gold just isn't valuable enough, nor are any commodities or costs except credits, crystals, some curio bits, or dingbats.
  • SylandraSylandra Friend of Dog Member Posts: 4,297 Transcendent
    The one thing about Serenwilde that always throws me is that its shops are really out of the way. I always forget where the secret entrance is! It's the one place I found whitetea when I was shopping, though. The 'plex was quite empty at the time.
    Fyler said:
    Sylandra has a very signature (and somewhat twisted) sense of humor
  • LavinyaLavinya Former Queen of Snark AustraliaMember Posts: 3,354 Transcendent
    Sylandra said:

    The one thing about Serenwilde that always throws me is that its shops are really out of the way. I always forget where the secret entrance is! It's the one place I found whitetea when I was shopping, though. The 'plex was quite empty at the time.

    They're super close to the portals though! You should go that way!



  • FalaeronFalaeron Jolteon Member Posts: 1,648 Transcendent
    I find Celest and Magnagora particularly difficult to shop at. All of the other cities and communes have their shops being either clustered together or in a nice, easy-to-navigate pattern. Magnagora's shop district is particularly guilty of being disjointed.
  • EveriineEveriine Wise Old Swordsbird / Brontaur Three Lakes, WIMember Posts: 2,762 Transcendent
    Sylandra said:

    The one thing about Serenwilde that always throws me is that its shops are really out of the way. I always forget where the secret entrance is! It's the one place I found whitetea when I was shopping, though. The 'plex was quite empty at the time.

    There's five secret entrances >.>

    Nothing beats Hallifax pre-bridge though. That was awful, having to go around to a different spire every time you needed to go to a new set of shops.

    Honestly, the economy is in such shambles that no one or two little fixes will do it. With so many artifacts that short circuit the economic/trade system, I don't even think it's fixable.
    Everiine is a man, and is very manly. This MAN before you is so manly you might as well just gender bend right now, cause he's the manliest man that you ever did see. His manly shape has spurned many women and girlyer men to boughs of fainting. He stands before you in a manly manerific typical man-like outfit which is covered in his manly motto: "I am a man!"

    Daraius said: You gotta risk it for the biscuit.

    Pony power all the way, yo. The more Brontaurs the better.
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