This is my first article after my long hiatus from the game and I'm still getting to know the new mechanics. It's very likely that I'll get something wrong or that to some of you the stuff below will not be new information, so please go easy on me in the comments. With that said, please make sure you do say something, I need comments for the mission.
Today I want to discuss the inherent design issues with the Tycoon Pack (TP). As a returning player with insignificant military potential, I immediately gravitated towards the economic module and as such I soon realized the importance of the Tycoon Pack. TP can be bought for 99 Game Tokens, which translates to ~495k CC at current rates. As a refresher, it provides the buyer with 3 benefits (apart from the marginal 20 gold):
1. Provides 150 work tickets.
2. Provides buyer with +20% production in their companies.
3. Allows buyer to receive/exchange for 50g a day instead of 10.
The work tickets can be indirectly converted to CC and as such this benefit is simply an immediate CC discount on the price of the pack. The value of a work ticket should be somewhere between 1300-1600 CC depending on how efficient the company is in which they're used. Therefore the tickets practically give a stealth discount of around 195k - 240k CC.
At this point, the buyer in the most optimal case has purchased 7 days of +20% production for 255k CC. Note that this is a percentage point increase, the 20% is added onto the bonus you get on production instead of it being a 1.2 multiplier on production. For companies operating in 100% bonus regions, the TP production boost will increase the value of work in the buyer's companies by about 10% (increasing the bonus from 200 to 220% ). This necessitates that the buyer already receives about 2.5M CC worth of production from work in their companies on a weekly basis just to break even with the pack! As work without TP bonus is worth around ~1.25k, this means that for TP to yield a net profit the buyer must already be using >2000 workers a week.
The clear immediate consequence of the TP production boost is that employing workers becomes impossible without having it. As managers with TP produce more, they're able to offer higher wages and eventually completely price out non-TP managers. As a result the entire manager module becomes hidden behind a 10 Euro/week or 495k CC/week soft paywall. Hopefully it's clear why this is terribly damaging for the future of the game.
If that was not enough though, there is another less apparent negative consequence. As TP only yields a net profit if the buyer has a large number of workers, it incentivizes the concentration of workers and the development of large business conglomerates (i.e. lots of workers working for the same manager). As managers with small workforces are unable to profitably use TP, they stay away from it which makes them even less competitive (remember, not using TP is signing your death sentence on the job market). What you get is a handful of players with massive workforces, who are also shielded from competition as new entry is pretty much impossible. (A corollary of this is that managers are incentivized to poach workers from others even at a loss if that makes others not be able to profitably buy TP and make them have to quit manager module).
It is also apparent that the current mechanics of TP work counter to eRepublik Labs' financial goals. It seems like a dubious business decision to have an underlying built-in mechanism that ensures only a small number of players can profitably buy your 9.9 Euro booster pack. I recommend that the company reconsiders the way TP works. An easy solution would be lowering the price of the pack and getting rid of the production bonus. The other two benefits should still be appealing for business minded players to purchase without both putting a large part of the game behind a paywall and excluding a large number of players that otherwise would be happy to pay.
Thanks for reading, let me know your thoughts in the comments.
1. TP makes hiring workers without buying it impossible, thereby puts manager module behind a paywall.
2. TP is not profitable for people employing a small workforce and as such it creates an oligopoly of large employers shielded from competition from new enters.