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Less than daily ramblings from a Gaia developer

Community Member
Alchemy and Investing
If you comment, you are expected to abide by the site ToS. -- edit: I have changed my journal comments to "Friends Only" and "deleted" comments with swearing (staff can still read them but non-staff users can't).
I did not work on the Alchemy project.
I did talk with an artist and this post is my interpretation of what the effect of Alchemy is. This is not Gaia's interpretation of what should have or did happen as a result of Alchemy.
MiniwingsBackwings are currently incredibly difficult to get (you must be max Alchemy level and you must craft several formulas). IIRC, there are multiple variations (Angel, Devil, and a few color and/or size variations). At the very least, you will need to craft enough to work your way up to the max Alchemy XP.
At the time of this writing, fewer than 100 non-staff users are above level 3.0.

New Feature: Alchemy
Alchemy is a newish feature that was released last week. It's an evolution on the "exchange" system (which formerly converted crumpled paper into equippable paper products, bugs into inks, and inks into tattoos and dyes).

Alchemy is controversial because many of the ingredients are in short supply and users are unable to use many of the available formulas (which are similar to zOMG "recipes" wink until they gain a lot of Alchemy XP.

Alchemy is not a starter-user feature. It's designed to be a good feature to benefit Gaians that spend a lot of time on the site. Formulas are cheap but ingredients and XP are valuable. Those users that manage to gain lots of XP early can "craft" formulas for lower-level users. This manes Alchemy XP worth gold (it's expected that high-level crafters can charge lower-level users to craft their formulas for cheaper than a lower-level Alchemist could).

Investing on Gaia
Gaia does not have anything like US treasuries or bonds, which in RL are generally a "safer" investment than say mutual funds, stocks, commodity futures, etc. (disclaimer: I am not giving real life investment advice).
All strategic "investments" in virtual items have roughly equal risk.

There is no such thing as a "safe investment" in virtual items... on Gaia or in the real world. Investments are based on the notion that what you buy now will be valued more in the future -- but there is nothing that guarantees this trend. (Perceived) Value of virtual items is a factor of demand _and_ supply. If either the demand _or_ the supply changes, the value could change.

Demand is completely dependent upon user desires (and the number of active users on Gaia at any time). When accounts are banned, their items are never re-circulated (unless they account is later unbanned). When users go inactive, their items stay stagnant and all other items in active accounts are worth a little more.

It is guaranteed that supply will not increase for Cash Shop / Derner Cri items after they are taken out of the shops (assuming they are not re-released and no other similar items are created -- which I can not guarantee... that's up to artists).
For items in the gold shops, there is an unlimited supply at a nearly unlimited rate so there is a price ceiling on the value of the item (the gold shop value) and usually a price floor (the sellback price).
For other items (rare events, daily chance grants, "one per user" grants, towns bugs, starter items, etc.) there is a (steady) influx of new items into the economy, slowly depreciating the value of each one of those items.

Effects of Alchemy on Gaia's Item Values
Alchemy, interestingly, affects different item values in different ways.

"the Novelty Effect"
Right now, the feature is new and most users don't have access or means to craft high-level formulas. Items that require high-level crafting will be rare (and therefore expensive if there is demand for the item). There is artificially high demand for resultant Alchemy items because there is a shortage of them on the marketplace and speculators know that new items on Gaia have a much more volatile value than the average older item on Gaia.

Common items that became Alchemy Ingredients
Many items that pre-Alchemy were just common items have appreciated in value since Alchemy was released. This does not apply to all of Gaia's items and is not, therefor, inflation. There is still a novelty effect on these ingredients, but they will depreciate from their current price but they will settle above their pre-Alchemy value.

Rare items that became Alchemy Ingredients
There are many hard-to-find items that were available before Alchemy, but will become more rare as they are destroyed by the Alchemy conversion. This is maybe the most controversial part of Alchemy. These items (some of which were low-frequency CI / RIG resultant items) will become more rare than they were before. Both the ingredient items (which were resultant items from CIs / RIGs) and their crafted items (the results of crafting formulas where these are the ingredients) will appreciate in value as they become scarce. It seems clear that the maximum number of output items would be the number of existing input items (assuming input items don't get replenished -- I don't know if anyone is talking about doing something like this).

New Items that are Alchemy Ingredients
As part of the Alchemy release system, the artists created hundreds of new items. Many of these are available, but in low quantities and are continually, but slowly, added to the Gaia economy. You might find these in Daily Chance, in Rare Boxes, in "Thanks for disabling Adblock" events, etc. These are and were not meant to be flooded on the marketplace the first 2 hours Alchemy was released. They are meant to be an ongoing trickle into the marketplace. A natural effect of this distribution method is to cause a spike in value for these items and then a gradual decrease over time.

I don't expect many users to sell miniwingsbackwings on the marketplace. The users that are able to craft them will be extremely hardcore users that invest a ton of time and gold into the ingredients. I, personally, like this aspect as it doesn't favor users that spend GCash and it does heavily favor users that have previously done well in investing in the Gaia economy.
Right now they are probably more rare than Halos but as more users level up and find the ingredients, that will change.

There is a new feature on the site. Some users will engage it and some will avoid it. It will be used by some to make a lot of gold and is only mildly beneficial to paying users, but much more beneficial to very engaged users who are willing to put in the time and gold investment to level up quickly.

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User Comments: [68]Viewing page 0 of 2 · Goto Page: 1 2 » 
Karu Black
Community Member

Fri Aug 26, 2011 @ 03:59am

I'm sorry but the fact that you just said that making rare items even rarer was intentional makes me think that this will not be a good idea and will be rarely used. I mean the fact that one formula calls for kitten star and jet kitten star and such, when they are already hard to find and very expensive, was not a smart move. Yes this thing is new and everything goes up in price because things are new, but many of these items will stay high because they will be destroyed and things that were already over 5 mil in the Marketplace will go up and up until there are no more and then we will have more situations like the Angelic Halo.

I really wish you guys would have thought this through much better than you did. You catered to those who have a lot of gold, who can play Gaia almost 24/7, and who can pay money all the time to play Rigs and buy EIs. I'm very disappointed with the direction this new feature has taken Gaia.

No reply is necessary since the odds are you will not see this in the same like since you actually said that "this was a good idea".

Lucca the Inventor
Community Member

Fri Aug 26, 2011 @ 04:20am

Kayura pretty much covered most of what needed to be said so I'll just add this.

You're treating us like we're stupid.

The only thing this system benefits is your RIG sales since they are the only potential source for the cash related ingredients. So then we get staff telling us, "Well, we can't re-release them in any other way (like non cash related formulas to craft them) because they're already on the MP and we can't tamper with that. It might make them cheap!~"

And then in the next breath, "Oh, we -want- to make pre-existing items uber rare through this process. Artifically making things MORE expensive by making a system to destroy limited items isn't tampering..it's "helping"! And you can possibly get them buy buying a RIG, you silly geese! Or craft a RIG to get them! Just get a RIG first so you can get some fail items to craft a RIG and there ya go!"

RIGs are the bottom line of this system. Not achievement and rewarding long timeplayers. Not hard work towards a worthy quest. Just you guys trying to cash in on what could have been a great idea. Not that you shouldn't cash in, but you did in the worst way possible. And then worse, tried to present your broken cash-leeching system to us like it was supposed to be a gift.

Not to mention, if you honestly don't care how people feel about this feature, why was a feedback thread made for it? As a cruel joke? You guys thought the social daily chance was a good idea, too.

Is it that hard to face yourselves and think, "Maybe it was a bad idea?" And LISTEN to the feedback and ASK how you can make this a feature that encourages cash spending instead of plugging up your ears and deciding that everyone else is just wrong and by God you'll force them to endure it regardless of how they feel because you know what's best?

Jeseia Moretia
Community Member

Fri Aug 26, 2011 @ 04:24am

I cannot believe that after the massive (and I do mean MASSIVE...I don't think I've ever seen such a display of Gaian solidarity across ALL forums) outcry against how this feature was implemented that you could possibly still think it's a good idea to leave it as is.

Check out this thread for a really well-written explanation for why people are angry. In SF there are 9 threads on the first page of SF complaining about it...that's not counting the dozens of others I've seen created since it was released.

Please make it usable....both so that people CAN use Alchemy...and so that people who don't use it still have an ice cube's chance in hell of every obtaining the items used as components to wear on their avatars.

Jeseia Moretia
Community Member

Fri Aug 26, 2011 @ 04:29am

Also: This whole idea of using crafting as a form of making a Gaian living sounds like a FANTASTIC new SCAM.

Person 1: "Send me your items and gold and I'll craft your item!"
Person 2: "Okay!"
Person 1: *never returns items and vanishes*

How else would that sort of 'living' work WITHOUT being a scammer heaven?

Color me confused.

Community Member

Fri Aug 26, 2011 @ 04:29am

I think it's sad about the wings. They are so hard to make that we should be punished for wanting them? That's just...sad. I have no other word for it. I don't think I'm enough of a "hardcore" user to have a chance to really progress in this system. I didn't really expect to get all the cool stuff right away, but the more I read the more I think... This won't even happen for me in a year.

I'm so depressed, I feel bad for the users as well as the staff. This is a no-win situation for all of us.

puella in somnio
Community Member

Fri Aug 26, 2011 @ 04:36am

"It's designed to be a good feature to benefit Gaians that spend a lot of time on the site."


I've had to take breaks and hiatuses for the sake of school and family. But Gaia has been my main internet hangout since 2005. I have tried to support you, despite my lack of income. I have bought cash shop items and turned off Adblock because I love this site and I want it to continue to exist. But this system is completely inaccessible to me, a loyal user, who logs on every day. This system is almost completely inaccessible to anyone that doesn't have a lot of disposable RL income and time.

Guys, this hurts. I will not be spending any more money on Gaia until you change your tune. Because you aren't listening to your users. The hundreds of people that have been posting in Site Feedback telling you this is a terrible execution of a good idea? THEY are Gaians that spend a lot of time on the site. THEY are your loyal users. They're the ones that not only use the site, they bother to try to help you improve it. That's what you do when you love something!

I hope you feel really great about yourselves.

Community Member

Fri Aug 26, 2011 @ 04:38am

The artists complained about the complexity of creating MiniWings. They decided to share the pain with users by making them very complicated to craft. Don't expect to be able to buy them. The users that are able to craft them will be extremely hardcore users. I, personally, like this aspect as it doesn't favor users that spend GCash and it does heavily favor users that have previously done well in investing in the Gaia economy.
I might be out of the loop but you don't mean 'backwings' do you? Or are you talking about the MC mini wings/red devil mini wings? If these are "the backwings" you're talking about, I think this would make a lot of people sad. I can see this only favoring vendors and exchangers, who are the users most likely able to keep up with the economy demands for any number of items.

Personally I think what most people are frustrated with at the moment with the alchemy feature, is that users see all these new things they can make, but the items that are used to make them aren't even out yet (e.g. the "special new ingredient" required for any given formula that has not even made an appearance on the MP yet). The release of the alchemy feature this week is more like a 'preview' than anything, but that message hasn't gotten across to a lot of users. And many people are left thinking that these items are just really rare.

It's sort of like showing Peyo his Xmas present early but saying "uh uh, can't have it yet!" then watching Peyo burst into tears like the little....7...8...9? year old he naturally is, and walking out of the room without an explanation. So sad. crying

"New Items that are Alchemy Ingredients":
I think the downside of not having things flood in though is that it means that if the item has to "trickle in" or get introduced slowly, it will be perceived as a rare item even if a couple of weeks/months/days down the line it costs significantly less. This way of introducing items makes people ragey because it gives users the initial impression that an item is rare/hard to obtain.

It would be cool if you could flood the MP with ingredients at level 1 (like what was done with the special Pie Hard item) so that at least users could use the alchemy feature and have fun with it, even if the only items they could craft are Lvl1 formulas. It gives them a chance to use the feature and collect items to use the feature/engage with the feature beyond worrying about prices.

add: oh yeah forgot to say, thanks for the journal post and at least trying to explain the staffs' thinking with this feature. Even if you're gonna get the brunt of all the anger biggrin

Community Member

Fri Aug 26, 2011 @ 04:41am

Correction: some users will engage it but most will avoid it like the plague.

I'm completely baffled that this was the full intention of the feature. I'm glad you clarified that this wasn't meant to be a starter feature. However, how the heck is this a long-term user feature? How many users do you really think have the money or even the items to throw away into creating these items? Do you really think most long-time users have a complete Kitten Star set and a million to throw away into one exclusive cat? I honestly hope that you're right about the Novelty effect but that doesn't change that many of these low tier cash items are gone from the system now. Hopefully in the future, most users will forget this broken feature even exists and the economy can have some similar stability like the pre-Alchemy days.

I was excited about this feature. I thought this would be a way to get some more rare items into circulation. I thought this would be a new type of quest system that you'd be able to use ALL aspects of the site in order to create something great. This would be a way to level out the playing field. This would be a way for the average user to stop relying on playing tanks for hours on end and instead visit old areas of the site: Fishing, zOMG!, and other games. This was going to be a great gold sink to finally tackle inflation on the site, just like you guys have been preaching and changing features for. This for once wasn't going to be about Cash. How wrong was I in the end.

Sweet n Leo
Community Member

Fri Aug 26, 2011 @ 04:48am

Well... there's my hopes for the feature gone. Here was me thinking it'd be something good.

I wonder if the staff of Gaia even visit the site any more... because whoever makes these sorts of decisions clearly doesn't.

Cadbury Creme Egg
Community Member

Fri Aug 26, 2011 @ 04:55am

The users that are able to craft them will be extremely hardcore users. I, personally, like this aspect as it doesn't favor users that spend GCash and it does heavily favor users that have previously done well in investing in the Gaia economy

The entire system does favour users that spend GCash, because lets have a reality check for a moment... Unless you have been a longtime exchanger (And I am talking since the start of Gaia longtime.), you can't compete financially with those profiting from selling cash shop items.

This system is making RIG items more expensive, and therefore pressuring people into buying RIGs to obtain them or turn a profit to buy them. It is pushing away players that do not (Or rarely) buy GCash and giving them no fair way to compete.

This system is very flawed, and limited supply items should -NEVER- have been put into the system. I really hope that soon someone pays attention and realizes that this system is doing more harm than good, and it is seriously upsetting the playerbase.

Jayce Reinhardt
Community Member

Fri Aug 26, 2011 @ 04:58am

I have been here since October of 2003
I quested for four years to earn enough money to buy a Red Rose corsage before the cash shop existed.

The fact that I am still around means something.

But you really should have let someone else explain this because you clearly are not good at customer service. You have made things purposely worse and you don't care one bit about it.

Why are the artists in charge of rarity anyway?

If what you say is true, Gaia won't last very long if it continues this. It must be nice to get money to sit around and bone the users.

User #17836
Former Beta Tester

Community Member

Fri Aug 26, 2011 @ 04:59am

Just a question, but by "hardcore user", do you mean those who spend 100% of their efforts here in earning gold and buying Gaia Cash, or do you mean those who spend 100% of their time in posting on the forums and playing Gaia's un-updated Games?

I think I'd consider people who support the forums/games for most of their time on Gaia would be considered hardcore users, but it doesn't seem like they would be able to craft many items in alchemy sweatdrop .

Community Member

Fri Aug 26, 2011 @ 04:59am

So hold on.

You're saying you want items that are already extremely limited to be even more so? Even with complaint after complaint that some items are so insanely rare that most people will never see one?

I...I'm sorry, that makes almost no sense to me. Gaia likes to advertise itself as an equal-opportunity kinda deal, and this whole Alchemy thing pretty much kills that image.

Want to make some Alchemy ingredients harder to come by? Okay, that's fine.
Want to make some recipes with lower success rates? Also fine, since failing only costs some Gold.
But to have people destroy some insanely rare items for even rarer shinies? Just no. That is not gonna work. The supply will run out eventually, making it impossible to produce some items.

Since you seem fond of comparing things here to irl: Imagine the only way to make crude oil was by magically combining gold and dinosaur bones. It's all going to disappear eventually.

Either make Alchemy accessible and sustainable, or scrap the whole thing.

EDIT IN RESPONSE TO YOUR EDIT: Oh, you talked to an artist and this is your interpretation? Can we please have some official word so that it all feels less like a catty game of Whisper Down the Alley?

Lus Returned Account
Community Member

Fri Aug 26, 2011 @ 05:07am

This makes me want to cancel my Autocash, given that it's more or less expressly stated that since I haven't been exchanging since 03, that I will have no chance to get the Alchemy items despite that consistent commitment, nor my having been here for years.

I hope you guys are planning to take action. I am yet to see one piece of positive feedback on this point.

Community Member

Fri Aug 26, 2011 @ 05:10am


... Just.. Wow.

I don't even know where to start. I am normally extremely positive of Gaia, the changes you make to this website, the features you add, etc. When many users would complain about something, I usually found my thoughts to be at worse neutral. When the Alchemy feature came out, I remained hopeful that you would realize the problem and fix it proactively. I'm explaining all this now, in hopes to put what I'm about to say into some perspective, give some gravity or weight to my words, though to be honest at this point it really doesn't feel like it matters.

I have never been as disgusted and angry with Gaia as I am right now.

Alchemy is not a starter-user feature. It's designed to be a good feature to benefit Gaians that spend a lot of time on the site.

Excuse me? I am an active user. I've been here for a long time, and while I may not be as well off as some others, I'd consider myself fairly well off in terms of gold, items, and the ease and quickness of which I can acquire more. I have spent what some might consider unhealthy amounts of time, effort, and yes money on this website and quite frankly, I can't ever see myself using this feature. Not because I don't want to, but because the requirements are just too much. The only people I can imagine using this are those who are already obscenely rich, or who get lucky.

The artists complained about the complexity of creating MiniWings. They decided to share the pain with users by making them very complicated to craft. Don't expect to be able to buy them.

Yeah, sorry, but this just sounds vindictive. It's the artists job to make items, and they never seemed to have trouble making wings before now. And so what if it is hard? It's their -job- to make items. They get -paid- to do that. They don't like it, think it's too difficult, so they take it out on their users? Wow. I don't know how you intended it to sound, but it really just sounds vindictive.

Then there's the fact that you are using cash shop items in alchemy, you are aware of this fact, you -know- it'll make the rare items even rarer, and in fact want that to happen? Seriously? You're okay and encourage this? All it feels like is a ploy for more money, and one that's misguided and only going to do more harm to the economy as a whole than good.

Seriously, I have never wanted to pack up and quit, or stop buying Gaia cash over a feature. Normally I consider it melodramatic, and hey, maybe to you that's all I am being. But I am seriously this close to just giving up. I don't even know what else to say.

Also, re your edit: Well, then, consider this not towards you personally, but towards Gaia as a whole and be sure to pass on my displeasure to everyone involved =D

Cheeva Beruvain
Community Member

Fri Aug 26, 2011 @ 05:11am

To speak to customers in the ill-advised, condescending manner you just did, is completely unprofessional.

After reading this journal, and seeing your appalling attitude toward your customers, I will not be using this feature. And, if the large discussion between users on our Skype chat is anything to go by, you've upset a very large chunk of people. And these things spread word of mouth, I hope you realise. Very quickly.

This was a very foolish move on your behalf. Very foolish.

Community Member

Fri Aug 26, 2011 @ 05:24am

I vend and exchange a great deal, and have friends that do also, and alchemy isn't something we'll be gambling on.

The only people who can afford to do this are people who already have a ton (hundreds of millions) of gold and really don't need -another- means to make more. The rich get richer, the rest of us get screwed.

Daffodil the Destroyer
Community Member

Fri Aug 26, 2011 @ 05:29am

In response to your edit:

If you were not involved with the creation of Alchemy, and have not spoken with those who WERE to determine their motives and intentions, then IMO, you should not be commenting on it with your official staff account.

Your username is brown; when you use this account your words are taken as official staff commentary! Whether you intended it to be that way or not, that's how it comes across, and it makes both you and the rest of the staff seem very insensitive and deaf to the feedback of your unhappy users. How this could be anything but obvious is lost on me.

If you want to offer your opinion on it, it would be better to use a mule account so that your opinion isn't associated with the staff as a whole. Because even after adding that disclaimer to your entry, it still comes off as unnecessarily condescending and snide. Nothing has been improved by presenting your opinion in such an insensitive manner, though it does seem the fires have been stoked among those of us who are dedicated to getting this feature fixed.

Community Member

Fri Aug 26, 2011 @ 05:31am

@ Cheeva Catkin
not to be a party pooper but you could get reported for harassment for doing things like that. sweatdrop

@ dev
i think it would be nice to reconsider making the backwings a level 10 formula. if gaia downgraded the wings to a level 7-8 formula i think it would make people significantly happier. if there is a really good reason why the wings should be level 10, i can't think of any beyond a "well it should be the hardest thing to obtain from the alchemy feature" reasoning, which isn't really a good sort of reasoning given the history and expectations built up over the years for this item being available to more than just a handful of people. in concept it sounds good to have backwings at the top, but in practice it would be a rather terrible thing to do to users IMO. I'd say, shove the wings as low as level 5-6 even mrgreen

Then people who want to craft higher quality/grade items can go beyond if they want, but keep the backwings where they should (I say, should, not 'could') be, which is within possible reach of a 1-2 year quest. Make them as able to quest as, say, the nightmare scarf or angelic pendant (7-14 mil). Or something like that. Set up a range but don't make this range as impossible to quest for as an Angelic Halo, DJs, Mini Wings, etc.

if the staff in charge of the alchemy feature are reading this comment, *nudge nudge wink wink*

Community Member

Fri Aug 26, 2011 @ 05:43am

So far, this is the only 'constructive' feedback that I've seen from any of you people in regards to the alchemy feature. To make matters worse, you just revealed that you are not even on the alchemy developing team. Why did you think that it was a good idea to even put your input on this, especially when you didn't even work on the feature to start with? Good sir, you're not helping this community at all and should have set this one out. Staff journals regarding anything Gaia-related is no joke and shouldn't be taken as one. There are more of us that put weight in the Gaia staff's words than you think. Take a look at both the Site Feedback and the Gaia Community Discussion forums if you do not believe me.

Your actions were not justified and were anything but professional. There's no reason for me to trust someone that has no business speaking for other projects they didn't partake in.

Community Member

Fri Aug 26, 2011 @ 05:45am

Let's just hope Bidblast can kill two birds with one stone- with helping to reduce the amount of gold in the economy, and make Alchemy more practical. 3nodding

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Community Member

Fri Aug 26, 2011 @ 05:54am

Gaia has had way too many shake your head in disgust moments in the last 3 or 4 years. *sigh*

I don't like the comment about the feature not favoring GC buyers and that being a good thing. You realize that feels like your spitting in our faces. You shove the cash shop down our throats so we spend money on the site then you make comments like that. Seriously? All I got from this entire thing is the rich exchangers get richer. Kudos. Let the snotty rich often rude exchangers get richer. Makes a lot of sense.

I've been on Gaia for many many years and I have a lot of items and I buy GC every month and I think this feature is a waste of time and money.

I think this whole thing is a joke.

Daffodil the Destroyer
Community Member

Fri Aug 26, 2011 @ 06:23am

I don't like the comment about the feature not favoring GC buyers and that being a good thing. You realize that feels like your spitting in our faces. You shove the cash shop down our throats so we spend money on the site then you make comments like that.

Except that it's plain to see that it DOES favour GC buyers, because buying GC, then purchasing CS items and selling them on the market/exchange is the fastest way to get gold. And the people who have enough money lying around to just blow a few hundred bucks on GC can buy a bunch of RIGs and sell half of them for profit and open the other half to gain recipe components. How this is not obvious is a mystery to me. I've been very active on Gaia since 2006 and I'm not "hardcore" enough to be worthy of using Alchemy? Whoops, guess that means I didn't spend enough money. We can't all be wealthy, lucky exchangers who are good at playing the market and this feature benefits only those few as well as those who are wealthy offline and give Gaia a ton of money.

Community Member

Fri Aug 26, 2011 @ 07:05am


Community Member

Fri Aug 26, 2011 @ 07:52am

Carbon, if you have to run down a list of reasons to explain why things are the way they are, then you need to take another look at your feature and realize that perhaps its structure isn't the best idea to go by.

Not only that....but you're not even on the project, so that's even worse.

I know that maybe you thought you were doing that team and artist a favor by sparing them the hellfire that's been conjured by this, but did it occur to any of you that the plan looks like it was formed from someone who didn't understand how the Gaian community works or even spent some time in the forums and MP to understand us?

This project screams of that. It's very out-of-touch with the reality of this site's community and how it actually works. There's a mentality you guys didn't reach or acknowledge. And in turn, there's a lack of sensitivity on Gaia's part towards their users.

Many people here spent ample amounts of time and gold questing for items like the Star Kittens or Angelic Mini Wings or other "hard to reach" items. People tend to spend years on those things. Years just to get 1 item.

I also think it was a crap move to say that "investing" doesn't really exist on this site, yet you sit there and laud those who've "invested" their time here by equating it to "have more gold."

That would be wrong. Some of us don't see Gaia as a game to make gold. That right there is your problem.

Gaia has been advertised on other sites as an Avatar Community. We can socialize here and play games on the side.

The fact that these formulas have CS-based items in them invalidates the claim that this shouldn't benefit GC buyers. The users here know that the fastest way to make millions of gold is to sell bundles, especially CI bundles.

That, right there, doesn't require you to be on this site for a very long time. All it requires is the cash in your pocket and the ability to be here long enough to sell via MP.

I recall people asking for a cheaper version of D*C.
I recall people asking for backwings.
I recall Gaia claiming that it would be part of a quest system where everyone would have to work hard.

I get that. I understand working hard.

But this?

By swinging rares in our faces like this....I'm inclined to say that this version of "working hard" is nothing more than a misguided taunt. This is also not a cheaper version of D*C. Considering the gold amounts involved, it's more expensive.

Also, I don't care if you were joking with that "mini wing design" quip. It wasn't funny and it's highly insulting to the users here by trying to pass it's complexity off to us. The artist was given a job to do those wings. Don't pass the buck.

Executive decisions usually are out of touch.

You guys would do better if it was Old Pete running the Alchemy gig.

Community Member

Fri Aug 26, 2011 @ 11:13am

Does Gaia not like its users anymore...?

I stopped spending my real money on Gaia Cash a while ago because I found that $25 or so a month wasn't enough for me to keep up with RIG items I wanted. When this feature came out I was excited to think that all those previously 'unattainable items' (The ones starting at several million gold) could be obtained via a slower yet less financially burdensome means. I expected to have to find ingredients by:
~ Clicking around the world map.
~ Playing Gaia's flash games.
~ Scouring the forums and posting.
~ Hunting through the gold stores.
~ Returning to zOMG.
~ Using Daily Chance.
~ Converting Aquarium items.
~ Completing tasks like the ones for our achievement feature.
~ Searching through Towns and our other flash environments.
You better believe I was more than willing to spend some Gaia Cash to artificially speed up my progress.

I honest to goodness believed that most of the recipes were going to be intended to draw me back into the far reaches of the site, and give me reason to participate in things I stopped using. I believed that this feature was going to be a wink to the loyal and frequent users who were feeling alienated by the rareness of many new items. I thought you were going to extend all the RIG items to loyal members willing to put the effort into them.

Instead, not only do you continue releasing items that are unattainable to me (Although I know I'm not alone here) from day one, but now you're taking away existing items that we COULD have gotten!

I joined in 2007. I have never been any good at vending. I spent years building up an RP guild and 'training up' many users for the RP experience Gaia could offer. I've encouraged users to show me how fancy they could be with their Gaia items and translated that into crappy art freebies. I've spent years in the site feedback following EI, providing suggestions, and prancing happily whenever we got any real red items. I've offered advice in the lifestyle forum, I've told terrible jokes in the General Discussion, I've spent hundreds in phone credit buying up Gold Store items, I've discussed politics, games, life, and many others things via PMs, I've offered my real life problems to my guilds, I've persuaded friends to join Gaia, I've built my image as the fiery and foxy man of red, I've done lots and lots and lots and lots and lots in my few years on Gaia.

I've incorporated Gaia and many Gaians into a legitimate part of my life, not just some throwaway hobby. I've translated my real life identity onto Gaia, personifying who I am using the wonderful items the artists have created for me. I reinvent my looks and feel like I'm evolving along with the site when I can keep up with items. (Which, has been the case for 90% of my time here) I'm not a starter user. I'm not a vendor either. But I am hardcore in my devotion to this site, and yes it's somewhat selfish of me to say, but I want you and the rest of the staff to enable me to delve further and further into the site. I don't want to be bracketed off from the flow of the site (and it's items), I want to be persuaded by new features (Like this BRILLIANT idea would've if it was done properly) to participate more and more. Of course, the deeper you pull me in, the more I can justify to myself spending money here.

Danzavare is a translation of the real life me, and for the most part, Gaia is just another layer of my life, one I'm (I don't want to say "was" wink dedicated to. I can't distance myself from the rest of the site enough to become that vendor/supreme spender you're apparently hoping to please. Surely there is a way (Perhaps through a more accessible alchemy feature?) you could take my involvement, and the involvement of many others users in the site with -Gaia as a whole- and translate that into a profit? Surely we can have better item circulation and better profit? I am willing to spend money, as I'm sure many others are, if we're given the right reasons to.

If none of my post is relevant then I have to ask:

Am I not welcome here? Are we not welcome here?

The Odious
Community Member

Fri Aug 26, 2011 @ 12:00pm


I support the concept...
NOT whatever the hell was just recently spit out at us...

It's like some horrible Dr. Frankenstein experiment gone made and broke loose.

Community Member

Fri Aug 26, 2011 @ 03:07pm

Although I don't like how some items are going to be rarer (NUUUUU, NKS, FIRST COME TO ME! AND WHAT ABOUT YOU, JET? ;_; ), I appreciate the courage it took to post this (not to mention the time it took), knowing that a huge number of people would bash you.

Community Member

Fri Aug 26, 2011 @ 03:14pm

I do not want to be... "rude", as most other comments have been. I feel that commenting on the work of another in such a manner is considered heavily offensive and straight hard criticism. On the website it could even be considered flaming. Regardless, I think it's better to just comment politely and offer constructive feedback. Now, being amongst a flood of more abrasive comments, I hope that my post does not get lost in translation. I'm putting a lot of thought into this post, so I hope you guys at least look at it.

- - -

There are many things that I like about Alchemy, and there are many things that I dislike about Alchemy. The main purpose of Alchemy, as I understand it, was to make a way for Gaians to turn their unwanted items and randomly acquired items (aka ingredients, similar to bugs, trash, and paper prior to Alchemy) with a bit of gold into something that was new and desirable. As you mentioned, it is just like pre-Alchemy crafting and zOMG! recipes in that it is 100% optional. Equally, I enjoy the fact that the recipes requires a level and that there are both more "common" recolors and rare items that can be crafted.

Where I think the creators of the Alchemy system went wrong was when they started to incorporate rare items into the Alchemy recipes. These items -- even the cheaper ones that are less desirable -- are non-replaceable. That is to say that there is no way to get another copy once they are all gone. This will cause their value to increase as demand goes up and supply goes down -- aka a shortage will be created, which causes inflation. That is not to say that I do not believe that rare items should be involved in Alchemy; the difference here is rare ingredients versus rare equipables. New ingredients that are "rare" (they appear less often in areas like daily chance and rare events) should certainly be implemented into the system. Equipables should be implemented into the system only when the resulting product is something that is very similar to the original item -- such as a recolor. Similarly, a very simple solution to this problem would be to offer these items as rare ingredients (make sure that you do not get "rare ingredients" and "rare equipables" confused as the same thing when I am discuss them) and/or creating recipes that essentially reverse the effects, allowing a recolor of a rare equipable to revert back to the regular item. This would allow people that come into owning the recolored equipable to revert it to the regular "rare equipable" that they can then sell to others to use as they will.

Also, a definite area to find the ingredients would be very helpful in gaining positive reputation for the Alchemy system. This is not to say that a definite location for finding each item should be given, but perhaps a pop-up over the item in a recipe would be able to say "Rare equipable", "Found in random events and daily chance", "Found in zOMG!" as a few examples.

I would like to take a moment to also appreciate the difficulty in gaining Alchemy levels. While this may initially come off as frustrating to users, it will allow those people who commit themselves to Alchemy to offer a service to other Gaians. This is very helpful for those members who do not have easily transferable skills (aka drawing) that they can trade for Gaia Gold. However, it is currently near impossible for even seasoned Gaians to get a high enough Alchemy level to offer their services. It takes an abundance of gold, very valuable resources, and time to get a result that is less than equal to what was put in to get there.

Let me offer, in a list format, the main points of my post to conclude, re-iterate, and offer a TL;DR for the admins and other Gaians that do not want to read my thoughtful wall of text:

  • The Alchemy feature has many pros as well as many cons. It is not shifted greatly to either side; it is split near down the middle. This is neither good nor bad.

  • There should be a definite difference between "Rare Equipables" and "Rare Ingredients". To define these terms, "Rare Equipables" are items that cannot be purchased initially for Gaia Gold (aka through the Gold Shops) with the exception of Dernier Cri items. "Rare Ingredients" are new items that have no equipable function that are given out in random events, daily chance, zOMG!, etc.

  • "Rare Equipables", as they are similar to "fossil fuels", will not quickly replenish. The Alchemy feature creates a larger demand for these items, while also deplenishing their supply. This will create a shortage, which is another way of essentially saying that these items will inflate in value, as well as eventually being near nonexistent.

  • "Rare Equpables" should only be used in an Alchemy recipe when the end result will be something that is near identical to the "rare equipable". This includes a retexture or the same item with new poses. Equally, a "reversal" recipe should be created that will, for cheap, allow Alchemy users to revert a crafted "rare equipable" to its' original form, allowing the possibility of these "rare equipables" to still be in the market if someone decides that they do not want the crafted version anymore.

  • "Rare Ingredients" should be much, much, much more prevalent in recipes than "rare equipables", as they are still randomly generated (and thus ideally unlimited) but are very rare and difficult to come across. This will allow you to keep the original idea that Alchemy is a feature for seasoned Gaians, while at the same time keeping the "rare equipables" from inflating in value too much and not having to really worry as much about making them extinct.

  • A pop-up over an ingredient in a recipe -- or something similar -- should tell the general areas that an ingredient can be found. This is not to suggest that a definite location (aka Deadman's Pass in zOMG! by defeating OMGs.) but rather to offer a more general area (Chance of drop in zOMG!) that will allow users to offer their time to these features (which would increase the use of these features, wink wink) while still feeling less loss. This means that time and effort is still put in to finding these ingredients, but users do not feel the strain of feeling like they are doing nothing and essentially lost.

- - -

As a closing comment, I want to thank the Alchemy development team for putting together this system for Gaians, as well as the artists for creating new items and a new storyline development for both Cresento and Nicolae. I also want to thank you, carbonphyber, for attempting to give some insight into the system of Alchemy. Hopefully what I have offered will not come across as rude or abrasive, and will instead help the development team create a more positive experience for all Gaians that wish to use the Alchemy system.

Thank you very much for your time in reading this piece.

This Isnt Sparta
Community Member

Fri Aug 26, 2011 @ 03:32pm

Good job Gaia. You dont cease in amazing me with your failures. You havent got a cent from me in well over a year, and once again you have given me good reason to continue keeping my money. Im also pretty sure that there are plenty of other users whom are seriously considering taking their money elsewhere.

Community Member

Fri Aug 26, 2011 @ 03:38pm

So, um...if the users who don't like miniwings are the only ones that can craft them...wouldn't that mean that the ones who want the things will never get them?

Community Member

Fri Aug 26, 2011 @ 04:20pm

So a few months from now when you guys announce that Alchemy won't be expanded upon because it "wasn't popular" (like so many of your other projects) you're going to sit and blame the userbase for the failures, right?

You're definitely not going to consider the poor planning on your parts with the strain on the economy and putting these items FAR beyond the reach fo the average Gaian (even those of us that have been here since 2003, and HAVE supported the site continuously through monetary means?)

Right? wink

I was excited for alchemy, and a fun little toy to sit and play with and maybe get some cool things from while getting rid of some junk I've accumulated over eight years. I wasn't expected to see this was a system that only rewarded people that played the game "your way."

Oh well, Gaia. Oh well.

Community Member

Fri Aug 26, 2011 @ 04:52pm

One big pet peeve, you have no idea what inflation is- so don't use that term.

Take a damn econ course

((Sum (p2 x q1) - sum (p1 x q1)) / sum (p1 x q1)) x 100 = inflation rate between the two points

Because the prices for items at the second data point are higher overall, p2's value is higher than p1.

Ceteris Parabis for the most part and bam you have inflation

Sakura Latte
Community Member

Fri Aug 26, 2011 @ 04:52pm

The Alchemy feature is an excellent idea in theory. However, I am very disappointed at how poorly it's executed. Rare items will become more rare? I'm questing the North Kitten Star, which is already a rare item in itself, and 4 million gold away from obtaining it. Are you trying to make the NKS even more harder for me and other users who are questing it to obtain or something?

Carbon, I've always respected you, but I cannot respect how condescending and rude you come across to us in this journal entry. The way you wrote this makes it seem like you really are money-hungry, and that's a term that I don't like to use, especially since I've always defended the site in SF whenever someone calls this site "money-hungry." But lately, you come across as such. I don't like it. And if you're not the one who worked on this project, why did you make this entry instead of someone else who actually did work on it?

Also, I've been an active user on this site since 2005. What, am I not a "good enough" Gaian to you or something? If not for the RPs and guilds I'm in, I would have left by now, because I am just disgusted by how you're treating the users.

Knights Jester
Community Member

Fri Aug 26, 2011 @ 07:03pm

This is the biggest load of crap I've seen on here since I've joined. I honestly wonder if it was Gaia's intent to put the market in their own hands so only the rich are allowed to get richer (though should I say richest and richer respectively, because there's no way in hell this system would be usable for me).

By the way, I believe there may be a bit of a typo. Mini Wings are these. Not items like these. Or are they really craftable now? :l

We don't want huge explanations behind every aspect of a system a lot of people don't like. We want to know our feedback is actually being considered rather than completely ignored.

Halfling Heroine
Community Member

Fri Aug 26, 2011 @ 08:04pm

I'm not normally one to complain about site changes, but I can't see how alchemy is going to benefit anyone on Gaia, oldbies and newbies alike. Until the issues outlined by my fellow Gaians are resolved, I'm ignoring this feature. Frankly I'm disappointed in the apathetic attitude you have in regards to the problems with alchemy. I certainly won't be buying GC for the foreseeable future. I'm not supporting a business that doesn't care about it's customers.

Community Member

Fri Aug 26, 2011 @ 08:52pm

I spent the time reading this journal entry, and what I can say is that I was shaking my head to this load of crap the whole time (and then facepalm'd towards the end). I thought this entry would be the answer, the SOLUTION to the obvious problem that we -- THE [SHOULD-BE] IMPORTANT USERS OF GAIA -- have with this Alchemy feature. But no. You're admitting that it was Gaia's goal the entire time to make rare items even rarer?! And I can't help but assume that Gaia only wants to take more MONEY out of our pockets while using this new Alchemy thing just as an excuse to do so. I was so sure that at least you, carbon, would be on our side. What you've said really projects how you feel about us: Big Fat Money Signs ($$$).

When you say "engaged users," it felt like you meant to say "sucker greedy cash users." I've been working hard to earn my gold and items through bootygrabbing, vending, completing offers for free GC, zOMG, and so on. I'm a 2008 user (obviously newer than many of the others). What I've done till now does not involve me buying cash whatsoever. So obviously, I know you're not talking about users like me earnestly gaining what we can when you've been referring to RIGs and such.

I had a feeling that the new "Alchemy" would be a huge disappointment, but to this extent? What a shame.

Gaia, there's a reason why the mass majority of us are upset.

Edit: Hell, simply saying "upset" wouldn't even be right. More like..."enraged and ready to pick up pitchforks and boycott the damn site." stressed

Community Member

Fri Aug 26, 2011 @ 09:11pm

User Image - Blocked by "Display Image" Settings. Click to show.
not this time, not this time... Do you think it's funny? do you think it's challenging? no it's just blantally stupid, if only ONE user was rushing then he could do it but... masses are so stupid and rush in all the time, so you kill Rares, then they dissappear forever so none else will be able to get it.
It's a bad and stupid idea specially since items are from all old rigs not avaible anymore, and don't come with the stupid rig reconstruction since you need 10 fail items to craft one rig...

Community Member

Fri Aug 26, 2011 @ 09:16pm

For the most part I must say I agree with Kayura.

The base of this feature is good, very good, but I personally don't agree with using high quantities of RIG items. And, sometimes, to make an item that is not in itself a very valuable item(for example old RIGs). I'm just afraid that high quantities of RIG items will make their price unreasonably high(especially when you need 10 of them).
For example, cold kiss, a fail item from a previous RIG, it's been steady at it's fail-sellback price since it came out. Now it's price is more than tripled!

I also think it would be better if more 'easy' formulas were implemented. Using bugs, flowers and inks as components any user would have access to these items without having to spend a dime on the MP.

Also, this is something that frustrates me to no end. Look at the formula for the Ornate Snowflake. Now look up it's price in the MP. Go on.. Look it up!
Now look up the price of the Winterland Snowball and the Winterland Snowflake. Yep.. They're in the same price range. And no, you don't need 1 of each to make the ornate snowflake. Nooo you need FIVE. Which means you'll have to spend about.. 250 to 300k to make a 25k item. And I'm not even adding the price of that new alchemy component! How is that logical?! It's about 10 times easier to just buy it of the MP!

Please, think about cost and reward a bit more. It's great if you want to make a quest system of some sort, and I'm all for working hard for an item you want, but there has to be some sort of reward for it(for more than the lucky few) for the system to work to satisfaction.

P.S. When I say you, I mean, of course, the people in general that have worked on this feature, I by no means want to make this personal.

Community Member

Fri Aug 26, 2011 @ 11:31pm

I like this idea!! Thanks for posting. I think people just aren't really realizing what it will do to their old junk. It will make it actually worth something. I have hoarded gold and brown ink waiting for something like this to come along!!!

Community Member

Sat Aug 27, 2011 @ 03:14am

Hope your headache clears up for the weekend! heart

kimchi six
Community Member

Sat Aug 27, 2011 @ 04:24am

I'm sorry you were the one to be the scapegoat, Carbon emo
But yeah, I think the initial introduction and how Gaia decided they were gonna play this one is ******** us all over here.
I log in every day, I spend $10 here and there, maybe once a year. That's like, $40 in the past 4 years I've been here, on multiple accounts. And what do I get in return? Some new shinnies, and a giant Japanese boot to the face.

This sucks balls.

Neven Airlie
Community Member

Sat Aug 27, 2011 @ 04:46am

We've been promised for years that backwings would *not* be a super-expensive item that only the elite and super-rich would be able to obtain.

Fail for broken promises. That's all.

Shinda Akuma
Community Member

Sat Aug 27, 2011 @ 05:22am

Does Gaia enjoy losing multiple users? So many of the loyal users are crying out against everything about this feature. Gaia simply doesn't care about there users anymore. How do you expect ANY of us, no matter how long we spend on Gaia to be able to craft any of those items? WITHOUT Gaia Cash?

Community Member

Sat Aug 27, 2011 @ 09:52am

Gaia, why won't you realize why the amount of active users have dwindled? Why back in 07 we had 70000 users at one time, while now we only have about 30 thousand? That's less than half.

Figure it out.

Community Member

Sat Aug 27, 2011 @ 10:11am

Well, first off, thanks for responding, though I wish someone actually involved with Alchemy's creation would step up.

Here's the bottom line for me:

I've been here since 2003.
I've made almost 20,000 posts.
I check Gaia almost every single day and have, on-and-off, since I was eleven.
My account is worth 400 mill.
Without bragging, I'd say I know the site like the back of my hand.

But I still gave up on Alchemy after a few recipes because I can't afford to sink billions of gold into the feature. The first Level 1 recipe gives us 2 exp, all the Level 1 formulas after that only give us 1 exp? What a ******** you. I did the math: just completing Level 1 would cost me a minimum of 2.5 million gold, and every level after that grows exponentially in cost. I cannot afford it in the state the system's in.

I'd say I'm a pretty dedicated user and I still can't even touch Alchemy. This system isn't measuring dedication and community participation - it's favoring those who dedicate a significant portion of their lives to playing the market. That is strong dedication indeed but there are many other ways of showing it.

The fact that a huge portion of the required ingredients are RIG items is just ludicrous.

Like someone said above me, you're going to abandon what could have been an excellent feature in a few months and somehow blame it on us, just like you did with Dernier*Cri, Booty Grab, and zOMG.

Jackie Walker
Community Member

Sat Aug 27, 2011 @ 06:55pm

Pretty much everything I wanted to say has already been said by others. This has got to be the most disappointing feature that I've ever seen on Gaia. Your journal entry really makes me feel hurt and not appreciated enough for this feature.

Little Mothling
Community Member

Sat Aug 27, 2011 @ 07:03pm

Basically, I can't say anymore than what was already said.
This was unprofessional, not well thought out in the slightest, and a slap in the face of the users - ESPECIALLY the ones looking forward to this feature (like me).

Here's a recap, Carbon and whoever may be - I hope to the Gods - reading the feedback:
I've seen people cutting their AutoCash subscription and refusing to pay the site money in support, because of the way this was handled.
I've seen people saying they are quitting if this doesn't get resolved (which may be a usual threat, yes, but being how genuinely pissed off they are about this whole thing, I actually don't doubt it this time).
These right here are two things losing you money - so why not fix it into a REASONABLE system? It doesn't have to be a starter system - just make it USABLE.

When your userbase is happy, you make more money and they are willing to support you through that. When you pull tricks like this, you risk LOSING money, as well as users.
Why would you do that as a business, Gaia?
Fix Alchemy.

Microsoft Fi
Community Member

Sat Aug 27, 2011 @ 07:05pm

I'd tell you how stupid Alchemy is, but it seems I've been beaten to it. Darn.

Arcarius Tesfa
Community Member

Sat Aug 27, 2011 @ 07:40pm

For God's sakes, this entire system is so flawed. I'm sorry to say, but you are blind to how upset the users are. I've been around on Gaia since March of 2004. I'm in my 8th year. I literally, go on Gaia every day. I am that hardcore user you talk about. But even the most hardcore of the hardcore think this system is bullshit. Add the fact you are using RIG items to make a rig? The perfect example would be the Valefor RIG formula. Marketplace, its cheap, so that's fine. But its asking for TEN Evergreen Bound Brooms. Do you see the problem? No? Ok, I'll go deeper into it. Lets say, there's 1000 brooms. You need 10. Some of those users are more then happy to get rid of, while others will keep it. So that leaves lets say, 800 available. That 800 gets used to make 80 Valefor rigs. We only end up getting 20 new brooms. Now there's only enough to make just 2 rigs. See the problem now?

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