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iDuckman

Flags for Gold -- a cost-benefit analysis

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A Premium Account (PA) has the following benefits: +50% XP, +50% Commander XP (CXP), +50% Credits earned.  Since the cost of a PA is easily understood, I will try to show the cost of flags that produce the equivalent benefits to provide a feel for the relation between the two.  To keep things simple, I'll stay in the realm of Doubloons (D).

  • At a nominal cost of 2500 D for 30 days, a single day of PA cost is 83.3 D. 
  • The XP benefit can be had from the most expensive flag that can be refilled in-game, Equal Speed Charlie London, the +50% XP flag (XP flag or XPF herein). 
  • XPF cost is 16 D each.
  • The CXP benefit can be had from the Zulu Hotel flag (CXPF).
  • CXPF cost is 6 D each.
  • There is no equivalent to the Credits bonus that can be produced by refillable flags.  We will use both Credits flags (CRF), Zulu and India Bravo Terrathree, to get as close as possible.
  • CRF cost is 12 D (8 + 4 D).
  • Total flag cost per battle, XPF + CXPF + CRF is 34 D and uses 4 of the 8 flag slots.

A flag set is active for a single battle while a PA is active for a specific period. The cost of a day of PA is the same as that of 2.45 flag sets. 

Put another way, the benefit of a Premium Account is obtained at the same cost by acquiring and expending 2.45 flag sets per day.  Fewer flagged battles, lower cost; more flagged battles, greater cost.

If you average around 2.5 battles a day, refilling your 'economic' flags in-game is equivalent to buying a Premium Account.  Or flags might replace a PA only on those days when you play.

However, unlike a PA, flags can be applied selectively.  Thus a relative cost per effect can be calculated:

  • At a yield of 300 base XP per (PVE?) battle, the cost of the added 150 XP etc. is 0.227 D per point.  (rather expensive)
  • At a yield of 900 base XP per (PVP?) battle, the cost of the added 450 XP etc. is 0.076 D per point. 
  • Clearly, the use of a flag set in the latter situation is three times more cost-effective than in the former.

Since economic flags do stack with a PA, many will want both, perhaps applied selectively, to maximize value.

Tl;dr 1 - If you average 3 or more games per day, a Premium Account is the more effective means of gaining the XP, CXP, and Credit bonus.


 

Economic flags can also be purchased in the Premium Shop.  The bundles include the four flag types above plus the Papa Papa (+300% Free XP).  Doubloon equivalents are in a constant 200 D per $1. 

The non-sale cost of 100 sets is $20.14, or the equivalent of 4028 D (40.3 D per set).  The non-sale cost of 300 sets is $54.07, or the equivalent of 10814 D (36 D per set). 

The in-game refill cost is 42 D per 5-flag set, so there is some advantage to purchasing in bulk from the Shop.  At the current sale price of $37.85 (7570 D) for 300 sets, the cost per set is 25.2 D! (40% less)

Using the 25.2 D cost per set (and ignoring the Papa Papa flag), the cost of a day of PA is the same as that of 3.31 flag sets. 

Tl;dr2 - Buying Economic flags in the Shop is more cost effective than refilling in-game -- in large quantity and on sale a lot more cost effective.


 

Edited by iDuckman
Corrected for other benefits of a PA.
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What about the cost of the flags if you buy them in a bundle from the premium shop?

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For $$ equivalents, figure 0.5¢/D.

The bundle numbers you can work that out for yourself.  You will have to assign a value to each type of flag.  Are you buying the bundle only for the XPFs contained therein?  Or will you weight that cost the same as the in-game prices for all the flags?   I did a quick pass at that a day or two ago and it looks as though the $ cost is about the same as the in-game cost.

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36 minutes ago, Thraxian said:

What about the cost of the flags if you buy them in a bundle from the premium shop?

I have numbers in the PSA thread. It's $.126 for the $37.85 shop and $.168 for autorefill. It's 25% cheaper to buy the bundle and not use autorefill.

Edited by w4spl3g
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I say that comparing just the Equal Speed Charlie London to Premium time isn't really an accurate comparison. You also get +50% credit boost with the Premium time. On the other hand, with the signal flags, the best you can get is +20% credit and -10% service fees. So which is really better?

I think a better assessment is a comparison between the signal flag bundle in the Premium shop versus the new doubloon costs, which the math is already done graciously by @w4spl3g.

53 minutes ago, w4spl3g said:

I have numbers in the PSA thread. It's $.126 for the $37.85 shop and $.168 for autorefill. It's 25% cheaper to buy the bundle and not use autorefill.

So it's gonna cost more to use doubloon from here on out, since the bundle is still cheaper. I wouldn't be surprised if the bundle will magically disappear pretty soon, and everyone wanting the signal flags would have to open up their doubloon coffers. And the next question is: would it be better to stock up on some signal flag bundles right now? :P

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52 minutes ago, w4spl3g said:

I have numbers in the PSA thread. It's $.126 for the $37.85 shop and $.168 for autorefill. It's 25% cheaper to buy the bundle and not use autorefill.

The $37.85 bundle is for 300 each, right?  I was using the 100@ bundle. 

Thanks for the numbers!  I may go that way when I run low.  (Or will the bundles remain in the Shop at all?)

 

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1 minute ago, Blorgh2017 said:

I think a better assessment is a comparison between the signal flag bundle in the Premium shop versus the new doubloon costs. On the other hand, with the signal flags, the best you can get is +20% credit and -10% service fees. So which is really better?

I value FXP and CXP far more than silver.  Credits can be converted directly from D, while there is no direct conversion for the others (well, some for FXP if you have enough EXP). The bundle includes those flags, which have no parallel in a Premium Account.  So simply on $ value, the bundle is worth more that a PA.

However, the results of the ZH and PP flags are very much a function of XP, meaning as much as I value them, I must value the XP flag that highly and more.  IMO it overrides the small differences between XPF and PA.  Yet, it's a complex comparison and I doubt anyone would be willing to sit still long enough to read about it. 

Best to just know that you can get a discount through the Shop.

 

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Whether in game or from the shop, the cost of the flags are the same.  However since the shop offers a purchase discount for either flags or loons (depending on quality), it is cheaper from the shop.

 

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8 minutes ago, iDuckman said:

I value FXP and CXP far more than silver.  Credits can be converted directly from D, while there is no direct conversion for the others (well, some for FXP if you have enough EXP). The bundle includes those flags, which have no parallel in a Premium Account.  So simply on $ value, the bundle is worth more that a PA.

However, the results of the ZH and PP flags are very much a function of XP, meaning as much as I value them, I must value the XP flag that highly and more.  IMO it overrides the small differences between XPF and PA.  Yet, it's a complex comparison and I doubt anyone would be willing to sit still long enough to read about it. 

Best to just know that you can get a discount through the Shop.

 

Please don't get any wrong idea from what I said on my previous post. I didn't mean to demean your math or anything. I just felt that the actual accurate & comprehensive comparison of the Premium time versus the signal flags would be too complicated (as you also mention), for an average person to really care too much to bother with, lol. However, I'd be interested in reading about the details since I am kinda curious... though it'll probably not gonna sell me on the Premium time anyway.

I don't like the Premium time because I have no control over when it is consumed and depleted. If I miss any days of playing this game (for whatever reason), then that days' worth of the Premium time is essentially wasted. I rather like the flexibility of the signal flags as they're only consumed when I use them, plus I can pick and choose which ships get to mount which flags at every battle.

I pretty much buy doubloons, Premium ships, and signal flags from the Premium shop, but never any Premium time. Only way I get to use some is if some popped out of a Supercontainer or something, lol.

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2 hours ago, w4spl3g said:

I have numbers in the PSA thread. It's $.126 for the $37.85 shop and $.168 for autorefill. It's 25% cheaper to buy the bundle and not use autorefill.

The issue with the bundle is that if you only need just 1 or 2 flag types it's cheaper / much cheaper buying doubloons in chunks of 3000 ($14.88) or more than buying the bundle even if the flag you want is XP. Spending the same amount of the bundle in any doubloons nets you 8470 which is 529 XP flags. If you run XP and FXP you get 352 pairs. Heck if you're running without XP you'll get 325 games from $37.85 worth of any doubloons.

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36 minutes ago, Blorgh2017 said:

I just felt that the actual accurate & comprehensive comparison of the Premium time versus the signal flags would be too complicated (as you also mention), for an average person to really care too much to bother with, lol.

No, no.  It was a fair criticism and you make a good point - I had forgotten about the Credit boost. -- and the CXP boost.  I will have to revisit the analysis when I have a bit more time.  If we equate the Credit effects of the two flags with the PA boost, and add the ZH flag to the comparison, then it's pretty straightforward.  In the end it will translate to a flagged battles per day number, though probably not 5.2. <g>

 

39 minutes ago, Blorgh2017 said:

I don't like the Premium time because I have no control over when it is consumed and depleted. If I miss any days of playing this game (for whatever reason), then that days' worth of the Premium time is essentially wasted. I rather like the flexibility of the signal flags as they're only consumed when I use them, plus I can pick and choose which ships get to mount which flags at every battle.

I'm afraid I have grown to like the stacking effect.  Premium time plus flags, where the flags make sense.

 

41 minutes ago, Blorgh2017 said:

I pretty much buy doubloons, Premium ships, and signal flags from the Premium shop, but never any Premium time. Only way I get to use some is if some popped out of a Supercontainer or something, lol.

Yep.  Doubloons in quantity, then parcel out for chunks of PA as convenient, preserving the D quantity discount.  (I have yet to buy a ship.) 

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Rewritten to account for the benefits provided by a Premium Account that I ignored earlier. 

 

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At current prices (in Canadian dollars, from where I am), a 360 day premium account is advertised at $121.58, or about 33 Canadian cents a day. If you can afford the $121.58 (CDN) hit all at once, that's chickenfeed on an ongoing basis. Choose your brand of ramen very carefully, struggling students! :Smile_teethhappy:

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