Welcome to Gaia! ::

Fractale's avatar

Distinct Explorer

For a long time, I've been noticing a very blurred line with what should be high-end, quality, PREMIUM items and what shouldn't be, with cash shop and gold shop releases.

I want to point out that Gaia has clearly defined what “premium items” should be, on this page:
http://www.gaiaonline.com/premiumitems/

Quote:
Premium Items can help you turn a good avatar into a great one. They're among the most desirable items on Gaia, so they're sure to turn some heads.


As well a more vague definition of what should qualify to be in the cash shop, in the announcement that came out when you first introduced the Cash Shop:
http://www.gaiaonline.com/forum/featured-announcements/introducing-the-gaia-cash-shop/t.34294367/

Quote:
This is Cindy Donovinh reporting from the grand opening of the Gaia Cash Shop! The elegant Flynn has opened the doors to her new boutique, La Victoire, where you can buy exclusive with your Gaia Cash.
Choose from a fine selection of luxury items, including gifts for special occasions, cute plushies, cool Halloween stuff and our amazing new evolving items, which grow and change over time.


Juno, one of our developers (sadly no longer on Team Gaia), had also pointed out the difference between cash shop items vs gold shop items
Quote:

For me, there is a relatively clear-set hierarchy when it comes to items. As another user said, the types of items you find in Gold Shop are generally very different than the types of items that you see in MC's, or Cash Shop. You guys probably recognize a lot of these initial differences (to just list a few):

Cash Shop
--------------------------
• Tends to have more item "bundles" (ex: you buy one item, which contains more items, like MC's)
• Higher detail, maybe more intricate or complex in function (to give you the best bang for your buck, basically)
• Lesser color variations, but more individual item variety
• Items we would consider to be not mandatory, but desirable and worth making an effort to collect

Gold Shop
-------------------------
• Simpler, more singular items (ex: majority of clothing types, accessories, things you can layer or combine easily)
• More focus on color variations (though they have appeared in Cash Shop before)
• Limited multiple poses, usually no pose variations (ex: when you buy an MC, you get 5-8 items in it - gold shop items tend to be independent, with the exception of things like hoodies, that have 2 different poses variations)
• Items that we consider 'essential'


Obviously, all this was a long time ago, because since then, we've had items that some would define as “premium/ exclusive /highly desirable/ higher detail”, ect. thrown into the gold shops; like the high-end items in Dernier*Cri, the (arguably) desirable/ non mandatory items like body mods, horns, wings, wigs, and items that could be RIG items, like “Fairy Wings”, various gold shop wigs, “Anvil to the Head”, “Raptor Horns”, “Wolf ears”, “Crow's Bill”, Bakeneko/ Monitor” sets, “Stress Relief Candles”, “Water Puddle”, to detailed items like the “Frilled Hats”, “Starter Heroine's Dresses”, “Possessed Diver” set, “Aria's Wedding Dress”, “Louie's Jacket”, to multipose items like the “Multipants” we got in the shops as a limited edition April Fools Day item, to the complex function of the concept of the “Refurbished Sheet” Random Item Generator.

We've even had an Evolving item, skins, background poses, musical instruments, weapons, detailed/desirable items that look RIG-made in the Treehouse and Prize & Joy (which some might argue doesn't count as a gold shop, but the point remains that these items- which would, by definition, fall under “cash shop” items were not in the Cash Shop at all, given their quality/ detail/ desirability, ect.)

And, on the other hand, I've found several items that would've been qualified to be Gold Shop items, instead, such as SDPlus #430 Joey Fuschia's surreal mole (really? A mole as a premium item? Our first mole item was in the gold shops- Prize & Joy, why is this mole in the cash shop?), Sixties set wigs/ dresses, Lucky Peikko (default poses), Pogo Ponies, Flame shirt/pants set Deluxe (upgraded gold shop set? Really?!), SDPlus #187 Jenny (blush), Business Man's Tie Rack, Neko Cosplay, ect.

What I also don't get is why stupid simple accessories show up so commonly in just about every cash shop item, but we barely get any accessories, whatsoever, in the gold shops
Quote:
Gold Shop
-------------------------
(ex: majority of clothing types, accessories, things you can layer or combine easily)


Chronocessories (cravat), Dame Lucille-Eva (pearl necklace), SDPlus #186 Zaina (earring), SDPlus #102 Rubella (tie), Demon Cat (ears), Y Paddle (blush) Chuchip's Blessing (dark eyes), Mona the Platypus (smiling eyes), Loch Ness Lassie (full plaid), Cursed Diamond (default/ sinister necklace), Destroyer of Lunches (gloves), Lightning Quick, Claude's Invisibility (piercings/ watch), ect. aren't ridiculously extravagant and detailed in comparison to other cash shop accessories (like Imperial Han (belt), Fenhuang Feather (scarf), Wicked Torn Cape, Highwire Amarallys (sleeves), Mathmatecal Spiral (default/ gloves), Yasaengui Style (scarf), Sirenia Atagatus, Ezo Okami (sleeves), Alpine Woiperdinger (belt), Fenhuang (ribbons/ belt), and more, to have them in the cash shop, I think.


To summarize, I'm curious on others' viewpoints on the various cash shop and gold shop item releases have blurred the line so much (which is good, I suppose, since we've been getting EI's/ skins/ backgrounds, better quality items, ect. outside the cash shop, on occasion), over the years, on what guidelines, I guess, gaia follows, regarding which items go where for these released, and if the blurred lines actually exist (and I'm not just imagining it) and if they do, can others see it as a good thing for the future of gold shop updates, with more cash shop quality/ unique gimmicks being added more into there? Hazardous to cash shop updates, with the gold shops slowly, but obviously taking on some of their uniqueness (although I want to argue that a lot of these thing that are 'exclusive' to the cash shop have been in the gold shops long before, which is where the line can be blurred....)?
VVhip's avatar

Dangerous Sex Symbol

13,350 Points
  • Elocutionist 200
  • Threadmaster 200
  • Megathread 100
Things like the fairy wings are older than the cash shop.

But having said that, some of our earliest RIG/CIs had a fair chunk of gold store items in them. I won my fairy wings and bao that way, way back in May 08 with the Bag of Win.

I feel like the premium items are becoming more blurred, especially when chance items can have one or two poses in them and be a rather usual kind of item (Single pose tights in one of the latest RIGs, for example)

I don't mind, of course, highly detailed, premium and expensive gold store items. I do not like items I would consider essential such as those cream stockings, found in a CI/RIG.

Yes, they're nice. But they deserve to be in the gold store.
Qyp's avatar

Manly Lunatic

Gaia is transforming into a pay to play... eventually the blur will clear out to cash only items... gold shops gone...
Yorugami's avatar

Handsome Rogue

I think the only clear dividing line left now between gold items and Cash items are the multiple poses. O__O Usually gold items have always had one pose with only a few exceptions like the Shiraku noses.
But that's probably to lessen the space the item takes in the skin tyte shop and pairs well with the superior form it was supposed to complement.

However the Shop Cash items vs Chance items....
I think is a line mostly blurred now. XD
And to me...there's actually no significant difference
in quality there anymore.

Although over all from Gold shops to RIGs to REIs...
quality of items have all gone up. So I say it's a win-win situation.
Fractale's avatar

Distinct Explorer

Qyp
Gaia is transforming into a pay to play... eventually the blur will clear out to cash only items... gold shops gone...
I don't know. At times, I feel like it might, but I want to trust Juno's (old, outdated) post saying that the gold shops will forever be around.
snipped
Quote:
I will do my part next year to try to bring a better balance between GS and CS, though I will be honest and say that a lot of that is simply not in my control. As I said, there are many expectations, fiscally and otherwise, that must be met, and CS is a big part of that. And keep in mind that Gaia still remains free - free to use, free to build upon. We are a HUGE site, in its own respect, and that doesn't come without sacrifices. I guess the way I see it is - between having to charge users membership, or having a lot of Cash shop items that are voluntary to purchase, or having sponsorships pay most of our bills .... I would definitely prefer the latter. gonk


Juno
However, you can always count on store updates never disappearing - they will always happen, albeit inconsistently at times.
Quote:


full post

Juno
Hi guys - I hope you don't mind me stepping in, and sharing some of my own perspectives on the matters that are currently in discussion.

Firstly - there's a lot of speculation in this thread. Some of them I can clear up, and some of them I can't - and whatever opinions I have are simply opinions. 3nodding

There are two separate "teams," officially, that work on cash shop/RIG items, and everything else. However, both teams are always intertwining, and working on the same projects - the people on both teams are one and the same. "Teams" is only a term that we use to define a temporary set of artists who work on a specific project at any given time.

Obviously, each artist has his/her own strengths, and things that they need to work on - you guys may decipher these as "poor quality" or "less detail" and whatnot, and these are things that all of my artists work on and are continuously trying to improve, especially the new ones. I would like to ask the community to be patient and understanding while my newer artists gain the experience they need to build up to the quality that you recognize from us. 3nodding I can assure you that, no matter what we work on - whether it be a gold shop item, or a cash shop item - we are always striving for excellence. Sure, sometimes it doesn't happen - there aren't really any excuses for that - no artist produces something awesome and perfect every time, and there are always other constraints and obstacles to consider. But we do take your feedback seriously - if an item is weak, we always strive to do better. The artists who work on the majority of the items on Gaia are specifically hand-picked and painstakingly trained by yours truly - and I am a very a**l-retentive, almost militant person when it comes to work and professionalism - ask any of them, they will confirm it. mrgreen


I think it's somewhat difficult for users to understand the true effort that goes into making an item. At the end of the day, you guys see only the tip of the iceberg - there are many other aspects that go into making an item, and actually rendering it is only probably 30-40% of the work. I recently hired a new artist, and while I was training her last week, she was floored to see the rest of the iceberg below the surface, so to speak - having been a Gaia user for a very long time herself, I think the overall effort that went into making even the simplest item dawned on her.

Point being... I do not judge or assume that the work of a developer here is easy, or difficult, or whatever, because at the end of the day, I am not a developer. In turn, I do not expect a developer to understand the mechanics or the difficulties that challenge me as an artist. What it comes to is, simply, trust - trust that the developer is doing his/her best, and trust that I am doing mine. In this regard, I personally trust that the users who spend the time giving thorough and honest feedback are doing their best, and in turn, I know there are users who trust that my team and I are doing the best we can, with all circumstances considered.


For me, there is a relatively clear-set hierarchy when it comes to items. As another user said, the types of items you find in Gold Shop are generally very different than the types of items that you see in MC's, or Cash Shop. You guys probably recognize a lot of these initial differences (to just list a few):

Gold Shop
-------------------------
• Simpler, more singular items (ex: majority of clothing types, accessories, things you can layer or combine easily)
• More focus on color variations (though they have appeared in Cash Shop before)
• Limited multiple poses, usually no pose variations (ex: when you buy an MC, you get 5-8 items in it - gold shop items tend to be independent, with the exception of things like hoodies, that have 2 different poses variations)
• Items that we consider 'essential'

Cash Shop
--------------------------
• Tends to have more item "bundles" (ex: you buy one item, which contains more items, like MC's)
• Higher detail, maybe more intricate or complex in function (to give you the best bang for your buck, basically)
• Lesser color variations, but more individual item variety
• Items we would consider to be not mandatory, but desirable and worth making an effort to collect

Event Items
----------------------------
• unique items that specifically pertain to the event theme
• can either be singular (independent items) or have variations (1 item has several different items bundled in it)
• mid-range in terms of detail between Gold Shop and Cash Shop - but are still considered rare items


Sponsorship Items
-----------------------------
• specifically dependent on the copyright permissions that we have from the client (basically, the criteria of a sponsorship item is defined by the client most of the time)


Rare Box/Quest Items
-----------------------------
• Usually singular items that pertain to themes that are specifically saved for rare boxes (angelic/demonic, headphones, slippers, etc.) - with the exception of MC's


... and so on, and so forth.

EI's are a bit of an exception and hard to really place in the hierarchy, because anything goes: some artists have had color variations, others have had items that you would generally expect in an MC or otherwise. Anything goes, basically.


So with all of this said - I definitely hear you guys about the feeling of imbalance between GS and CS updates - it is a difficult thing to see, and I understand that completely. Honestly, I can make arguments from both sides, many of which have already been made in this thread. However, I think the gist of it is that a) Cash Shop is necessary, and b) Gold Shop updates will forever and always be present, even though it may sometimes feel like the underdog. Keep in mind that everyone on all sides of Gaia HQ - customer service, marketing, artists, devs - we all have specific goals that must be met, and we all need to do out parts for the benefit of the entire company, as well as for the benefit of our community/users. Some sacrifices had to be made... worst case scenario being the layoffs we had earlier this year, which was truly unfortunate.

I will do my part next year to try to bring a better balance between GS and CS, though I will be honest and say that a lot of that is simply not in my control. As I said, there are many expectations, fiscally and otherwise, that must be met, and CS is a big part of that. And keep in mind that Gaia still remains free - free to use, free to build upon. We are a HUGE site, in its own respect, and that doesn't come without sacrifices. I guess the way I see it is - between having to charge users membership, or having a lot of Cash shop items that are voluntary to purchase, or having sponsorships pay most of our bills .... I would definitely prefer the latter. gonk

The great thing about GS updates though, is that we have a lot of flexibility - you have items like the peasant set, but you also have the Elegant set - two vastly different types of items, that still serve their unique purpose. I think the way to take all of this away is to simply appreciate and find the best attributes of each element, whether they be CS or EI or MC or whatever. Each item category has value, in its own form. I also think that one of the most important factors is that Gaia users are always able to obtain new items without the use of G-Cash, always- whether it be from GS or through rares or games. This, I do have control over, and will continue to do with the best of my abilities while I work here.

Sorry for the long post. ninja


*Edit* Oh, and there will also be a gold store update this month, in case some of you were expecting otherwise.




Juno

In terms of the new shops - the main role of this update was, indeed, spotlighting their launch. The updates to each were also smaller that I'd liked, but I'd like to remind users that this is just the beginning. The actual official establishment of a cultural/ethnic shop means that there will be more cultural/ethnic items made in the future. This is not a "hope," this is a "must," as far as I'm concerned. Same thing with Carl's shop, and any other shop, really - the fact that they are better organized and have clear set themes actually changes the way that I arrange store updates as well. 3nodding

And now, the biggest elephant in the room (or rather, this thread): I understand and feel all of your reactions in regards to the feeling of imbalance between GS and CS. If you fundamentally break it down even further, I think it's actually more so the imbalance between items you can obtain/earn for "free" VS. items that must be purchased. As we all know, the sheer volume of items that are made in a month has gone up (my team definitely feels it, at least) - and the truth is, huge hefty store updates are harder to pull off these days. But as some users have mentioned, there have been fluctuations in the amount- some are larger than others, and it really depends on everything else that's happening on any given month. However, you can always count on store updates never disappearing - they will always happen, albeit inconsistently at times.

I do not think that users should be grateful for having a store update at all. I agree that GS updates are a fundamental part of Gaia that should not be easily dismissed. However, at the same time, there are deadlines, and fiscal obligations, that must be met - the staff needs to juggle all of this at once. The balance must be there, basically, and that's going to be something we will have to continuously work on. I hope you will all continue to help us make this endeavor. For one thing, I am always happy to hear about item ideas, and things you guys would like to see - my door is always open. 3nodding
Seabook Arno's avatar

Aged Lunatic

13,150 Points
  • Sunny Side Up 100
  • Perfect Attendance 400
  • Cool Cat 500
Qyp
Gaia is transforming into a pay to play... eventually the blur will clear out to cash only items... gold shops gone...

People said that when the cash shop first showed up. I've yet to see it happen.
Sweet Angel Mary's avatar

Fluffy Cat

19,450 Points
  • Frozen Solid 200
  • Bunny Spotter 50
  • Snowball Hero 200
I think sometimes the artists just want to remake certain gold shop items to make them slightly better quality. The gold shops will never go away and any blurry lines is just b/c the gold shop items get better and the artists just want to include things in premium items.
Sayuri-senpai's avatar

Magical Rogue

12,200 Points
  • Magical Girl 50
  • Hero 100
  • Battle: Rogue 100
User Image
Whether the distinction between what goes in the gold shops and cash shops is clear doesn't matter a whole lot to me - I know they're going to put what they think they can make the most money off of in the cash shop and that's all there is to it. Gaia staying financially secure and stable is more important to me than drawing a line in the sand.

That being said, I really, truly wish that the gold shops would get some more love at times. I don't mind single-pose items, but I wish we could get those single pose items with better quality. Red, whites, yellows, and light blues often look plastic-y and have poor outlines. Pants, shoes, and overcoats generally fit so poorly that it's easier to imagine rectangles beneath the items than an avatar's body.

I feel as if the themed item updates, especially ones geared towards international clothing, make this trend worse and the items are so poorly made, that they're quickly forgotten about.

The poor salon suffers the same fate. Even if we didn't get a huge, poofy hair style like the Cherubic Queen or a waterfall ponytail like Renard's, I'm sure we ALL wish that just a little more effort could go into the shading, and especially the coloration, of gold shop hair. I'm not so naive to ask for gold shop items to rival cash shop items, I just wish they weren't so obviously cheap looking.
I honestly think the standard for items overall has increased. I just came back from a year long hiatus and I love a lot of the new gold shop items. They're more detailed (more costly) and they come in way more colors. I remember when something coming in three colors was a nice range.

I also really agree with gold shop items being "essentials" because I see it to be true. Sure, there might be tons of white shirts in different cash items, but if I just need a basic white shirt the cash shop is where it's at. Tons of cutes shoes and a wide range of basic colors to fit my needs.

Quick Reply

Submit
Manage Your Items
Other Stuff
Get Items
Get Gaia Cash
Where Everyone Hangs Out
Other Community Areas
Virtual Spaces
Fun Stuff
Gaia's Games