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Are you looking for items that no-one else has? Do you have loads of Astral Diamonds you don’t know how to spend? Well, then the new Alphonse Knox promotion might be exactly what you’ve been looking for! During the next couple weeks, unique Alphonse Knox Companion Packs will be available on the Auction House:
The pack contains everything you need to completely deck out Knox. It features Rank 14 Bonding Runestones and “Fierce” Companion Gear with Power/Critical Strike and two offensive slots. You’re essentially getting is a “bis” DPS pet with three offensive slots, an Active Companion bonus that’s substantially higher than any other (in terms of pure stats), and a debuffing power. So yeah, there is a certain incentive for the high-rollers to go after this one, both because of bragging rights and gameplay advantages. Currently the event only runs on the PC version (Dragon server) and it’s not known how many total packs will be handed out.
Not the First Time
This is actually not the first time Perfect World and Cryptic have run such a promotion. Players could bid on a Sergeant Knox back in 2014 and it’s important to point out that the two are different companions. The old one featured different slots, was purple, and came without gear. So in case you’re seeing Knox companions on the Auction House, check whether it’s the updated version.
So what are the devs trying to achieve here? Giving players the ability to obtain exclusive items through other means then ZEN promotions certainly is one, but we assume this is also as much about draining ADs from the economy. As part of the AD refining cap changes in Mod 14 the devs talked about plans of additional “AD sinks”, and this certainly feels like one. We know PC still has too much of it (witnessed by the backlog during the Jubilee), and this is a creative way of erasing a couple hundred millions. It’s probably also why Knox for now is a PC exclusive. You have to work through Sony and Microsoft for promotions on consoles, but probably the devs additionally don’t feel the need to tweak the economy in the same way on these platforms.
The “pay-to-win” discussion is unfortunately inevitable. The issue is, this only works as AD drain if they attach a gameplay incentives to the whole deal. Otherwise all those high-rollers that are already “bis” on multiple chars have no interest in bidding for the item. As such it’s even a bit surprising that they didn’t include +5 companion gear in the whole package. Don’t forget there are limited available and the gameplay advantage is indeed slim. So there’s nothing to really get mad about. But for all you advocates of true “free-to-play”: Yes, this doesn’t perfectly align.
It’s certainly interesting to see whether this type of promotion will stick or even get extended with other items and packs in the future. We think it’s not a bad idea unless the gameplay advantages are really over the top. Collectibles is something certain high-rollers strive for and draining ADs from the system is a nice side effect that the PC version certainly needs. For those that have the currency to compete: Have fun in the next couple weeks! We fully expect the packs to sell close to the 100M maximum bid. So if you see players running around with the Alphonse Knox companion, you know they’ve probably spend a premium to get it.
What’s your take on this type of promotion? Share your thoughts and experience on our social channels, in the comments below, or visit the corresponding thread on our message board!
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