Career Officer
Join Date: Jun 2012
Posts: 993
# 1 Dilithium exchange misconceptions
03-15-2013, 08:31 AM
Something that's been annoying me for a while as I read through the forums is people's misconceptions about how the Dilithium exchange works and what it means. A lot of people are basing their behavior and opinions on notions that are just outright false. I'd like to try to correct that.

What is the dilithium exchange?

The dilithium exchange is a market in which players trade dilithium for Zen and vice versa. All transactions on the exchange are directly between players. Cryptic/PWE is uninvolved except that while the dilithium or Zen is on the exchange, it is held in a sort of escrow. You cannot access your dilithium or Zen until you cancel your offer. Prices are determined by the offers players have made. Most people just take the current best offer, get what they wanted, and leave. Others set offers based on what they think the dilithium or Zen may be worth, and hope the offers below them get bought out until theirs is the best. These people are playing the market just like in a real currency exchange.

There are two common misconceptions people have about the dilithium exchange:

1. When you use dilithium to purchase Zen and buy something from the C-Store, you are "sticking it to the man" because you got something "free".

FALSE

The basic economic principle of "there's no such thing as a free lunch" is in full effect here. You did not pay any real money for the item, but somebody did. They bought Zen, with real money. They then sold that Zen to you in exchange for your dilithium. Then finally you used the Zen to buy your item. What happened was, in effect, you were paid to farm in game currency for somebody else. PWE is not stupid, and they are not giving away cash shop items for in game currency. They got paid for it.

2. Cryptic does not want to raise the dilithium refinement cap, or increase dilithium ore rewards, because they would lose money from people buying dilithium with Zen.

FALSE

This is the flip side of what happens above. When you are rich on Zen and short on dilithium, you can get some fast dilithium by buying it with Zen. However, you are not buying the dilithium from PWE. You are buying it from other players, who themselves had to grind in game content to get it. The overall amount of dilithium in the game is still the same. Again, no such thing as a free lunch. Even though you saved yourself days of grinding time, somebody else just had to do it in your place.

-----

The gist of all this is that PWE doesn't get richer or poorer regardless of what the dilithium exchange does. People want things from the cash shop. Zen must be purchased to get them. Whether you buy the Zen directly, or buy it from another player in exchange for your hard earned dilithium, doesn't matter. Somebody still bought the Zen, and it still ultimately gets used to buy something from the cash shop.

Hopefully this cuts down on the wildly misguided claims about Robin Hood-esque heroics and the evil corporation manipulating the Zen to dilithium price. Thanks for reading.
Captain
Join Date: Jul 2012
Posts: 1,292
# 2
03-15-2013, 08:40 AM
I remember when the price was higher and the daily swings larger there were TONS of dilithium day traders making a few points of the swings in the market. There are still some now, but I suspect it is much less as the price movement daily is so small.
Captain
Join Date: Jun 2012
Posts: 7,851
# 3
03-15-2013, 09:28 AM
Quote:
Originally Posted by shockwave85 View Post
1. When you use dilithium to purchase Zen and buy something from the C-Store, you are "sticking it to the man" because you got something "free".

FALSE

The basic economic principle of "there's no such thing as a free lunch" is in full effect here. You did not pay any real money for the item, but somebody did. They bought Zen, with real money. They then sold that Zen to you in exchange for your dilithium. Then finally you used the Zen to buy your item. What happened was, in effect, you were paid to farm in game currency for somebody else. PWE is not stupid, and they are not giving away cash shop items for in game currency. They got paid for it.
Not completely false. As an LTS member, yourself, you should understand that you get 500 "free" Zen each month. You can also get "free" Zen by doing various surveys on the website. I have sold my "free" Zen for Dilithium on occasion - and I'm sure I am not alone there. So while it is true the vast majority of Zen is paid for by someone there is also a percentage being sold in the Dilithium Exchange that was never purchased by anyone.
Captain
Join Date: Jun 2012
Posts: 6,299
# 4
03-15-2013, 09:36 AM
Quote:
Originally Posted by thecosmic1 View Post
Not completely false. As an LTS member, yourself, you should understand that you get 500 "free" Zen each month. You can also get "free" Zen by doing various surveys on the website. I have sold my "free" Zen for Dilithium on occasion - and I'm sure I am not alone there. So while it is true the vast majority of Zen is paid for by someone there is also a percentage being sold in the Dilithium Exchange that was never purchased by anyone.
So you didn pay for your LTS?

Thats evil... I want my LTS sub money back too... If one gets a free LTS account, everyone should.
My name may say "PWE member", but I will never be.
-NEVER Forget the Screwups and ignorance made towards the people who supported the game through 2011
Don't look silly, don't call it "Zen-Store" - Don't waste devs time, Post proper bug-reports - I don't like Gekos
Captain
Join Date: Sep 2012
Posts: 2,844
# 5
03-15-2013, 09:40 AM
Quote:
Originally Posted by thecosmic1 View Post
Not completely false. As an LTS member, yourself, you should understand that you get 500 "free" Zen each month. You can also get "free" Zen by doing various surveys on the website.
I dunno ...

The Zen stiped still cost the LTS member money, its just that each month the money spent for the Zen gets proportionally smaller and smaller as time goes by. But even the stipend cost the LTS money.

I've checked out the "free Zen for the surveys. The cost - at minimum - is time to the participant. In this case, "Free" is a lure.

So, I think the OP is ultimately correct - there is nothing "free" at all.
Kathryn S. Beringer - The Dawn Patrol

Solaris build - Veritatum Liquido Cernene
Captain
Join Date: Jul 2012
Posts: 518
# 6
03-15-2013, 09:54 AM
Quote:
Originally Posted by shockwave85 View Post
This is the flip side of what happens above. When you are rich on Zen and short on dilithium, you can get some fast dilithium by buying it with Zen. However, you are not buying the dilithium from PWE.
I don't think you're right about that. Keeping the amount of refined Dithium low, does in fact have an impact on PWE's bottom line, or at least can have one.

Keeping the amount of refined Diltium low means that it is more scarce then zen is, which is effectively unlimited, in that it took no in game time or actions to earn it. Which in turn means that as the desire for Dilithium goes up, the price naturally goes up, because there isn't an corresponding increase in supply.

The amount of Dil affects PWE's bottom line if you see people buying more zen to buy Dil then they did before. By keeping the amount of Dil low, this forces people to either buy more zen to buy the same amount of Dil, or else start farming it themselves. It looks like the amount of zen being converted into Dil is higher now then it used to be, that means more money for PWE.

For comparisons sake, if someone wants 100,000 Dil, at 100/zen it costs $10 worth of zen, at 250/zen it costs $4 worth of zen. So clearly as long as people are willing to pay for that 100k dil rather then grind it, it helps PWE to keep Dil scarce because that drives the price in their favor.
Captain
Join Date: Jan 2013
Posts: 1,037
# 7
03-15-2013, 09:58 AM
Quote:
Originally Posted by thecosmic1 View Post
You can also get "free" Zen by doing various surveys on the website.
The surveys aren't free Zen either - the only difference is that instead of another player paying PWE, it's the company running the survey.
Captain
Join Date: Jan 2013
Posts: 4,859
# 8
03-15-2013, 10:00 AM
Quote:
Originally Posted by shockwave85 View Post
2. Cryptic does not want to raise the dilithium refinement cap, or increase dilithium ore rewards, because they would lose money from people buying dilithium with Zen.

FALSE

This is the flip side of what happens above. When you are rich on Zen and short on dilithium, you can get some fast dilithium by buying it with Zen. However, you are not buying the dilithium from PWE. You are buying it from other players, who themselves had to grind in game content to get it. The overall amount of dilithium in the game is still the same. Again, no such thing as a free lunch. Even though you saved yourself days of grinding time, somebody else just had to do it in your place.
You're completely overlooking the time gate there. The carrier escort costs 2500 zen, and assuming 92 conversion rate that is 230,000 dilithium. At 8k per day that is 29 days of grinding, which takes a minimum of 2 hours per day. Even if you have the dilthium stockpiled and dont have to grind it, it is still 29 days.

Or you can give them the cash now.

Time gate is very significant factor to revenue conversion

Last edited by ursusmorologus; 03-15-2013 at 10:05 AM.
Captain
Join Date: Jul 2012
Posts: 518
# 9
03-15-2013, 10:02 AM
Quote:
Originally Posted by cmdrscarlet View Post
But even the stipend cost the LTS money.
That's a matter of perspective.

You bought the LTS for the sake of unlimited access to STO for the life of the game, not for a 500 zen/month stipend.

So on one hand you can say you paid for that zen, with your LTS.

But on the other hand, you paid X for Y (Access to the server and other services), Zen was not part of that from the start so it can be said to be free, as in you didn't pay anything extra for something added on to what you already paid for.

If there was a LTS or monthly sub option that didn't include the zen then that would be different.

It's like the monthly sub. Am I paying $10/month + $5 for 500 zen. Or am I paying $15/month and getting 500 zen free. Both is true depending on how you wish to look at it.

Myself I look at it as free, because I'd be paying $15/month regardless if they gave me zen or not.
Captain
Join Date: Jun 2012
Posts: 7,851
# 10
03-15-2013, 10:34 AM
Quote:
Originally Posted by cmdrscarlet View Post
I dunno ...

The Zen stiped still cost the LTS member money, its just that each month the money spent for the Zen gets proportionally smaller and smaller as time goes by. But even the stipend cost the LTS money.

I've checked out the "free Zen for the surveys. The cost - at minimum - is time to the participant. In this case, "Free" is a lure.

So, I think the OP is ultimately correct - there is nothing "free" at all.
As an LTS member who reached the break-even point 21 months ago, I certainly consider it free. On top of that I have been given 16 Stipends: $80.00 worth of Zen. I have, effectively, been refunded 1/3 the price of what I paid for my LTS - and if the game lasts another 2.5ish years I will have been given a 100% refund in Zen.

On top of that, as was said above, when I purchased my LTS it was not done for Zen. There was no concept of Zen or Cryptic Points at that time. I have been given a bonus item that was not part of my original agreement. As such I certainly consider it free.

I guess I'm just not one of the "entitlement" crowd.
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