With Living World Season 5 coming right after season 4, and no expansion in the immediate future, the BLTC needs improvements to fund GW2 (and hopefully but probably not other projects). It is not sustainable to rely on sales for mount skins and gear skins (that occasionally look better than legendary skins).
Considering sales that are fair, practical, and non-aggressive but desirable, my proposed Black Lion Trading Company (BLTC) ideas are below. Please share your ideas, and critique the feasibility of my ideas.
- Gem-purchased makeover kits should be replaced with makeover feature set unlocks. Feature sets are a one-time purchase unlock for your account that gives you access to a specified handful of makeover features. For example, there can be a set of green and pink eye/hair colors or a set of wave 2 faces. Actual makeovers should cost gold rather than gems. This can appeal to collectors to spend money on gems to unlock all makeover features while making makeover usage cheaper overall. Current makeover kits in the game can continue to be used, and they will save you some gold rather than gems. The unlimited hairstyle kit will inherently lose a lot of value from this update. To balance this out, this kit should be updated to the unlimited total makeover kit.
- Personal home instances have been getting more NPCs and collectibles which appeal to many players. Moving into the same direction as BL Expedition and Hunters Boards, more BLTC features should get home instance representation. For example, in the Ascalonian home instance there can be a charr helicopter representing each teleportation item. If you buy a Home Portal stone you get one helicopter, if you buy a World Boss Portal Device you get another helicopter, and if you buy a permanent convenience zone pass you get a third helicopter. This can be represented as unique waypoint stones in Rata Sum or a a stable of dolyaks in Hoelbrak. There can also be small things like purchasing a shared inventory or bank slot adds another sack or chest to a pile of sacks and chests somewhere in your home instance. Sharing your cluttered home instance with daily gatherers is one of the few social elements of GW2, and it would be fun to expand upon this slightly.
- Sell forged birth certificates that update a character's age to your account's age. The main goal of this item is to appeal to players who remake their characters frequently without punishing them too much, and it can appeal to players with young alts. This also adds more value to purchasing character slots. Theoretically, someone could use this to "farm" birthday rewards on a single character slot by reaping the birthday rewards, deleting the character, recreating the character, and using another forged certificate on them to reap more rewards. But, the cost of the certificates should balance out the benefits from the birthday rewards. Luckily birthday gift rewards do not affect the in-game economy very much (with mostly account-specific unlocks), and I believe most birthday dyes are not incredible expensive.
- Sell an infinite transmutation stone for a substantial amount of gems. This can unlock a collector NPC in your home instance, who I imagine as a vain, fashionista Mesmer that cycles through various armor skins every day and occasionally summons a clone to check themselves out, that exchanges one-time use transmutation charges for small bags of loot (like materials or greens/blues). The NPC can have some flavor dialogue teasing FashionWars2 and explaining that they can never have enough transmutation charges. It can also be reminiscent of collector NPCs in GW1 that provided a rationale for why they collected an infinite amount of a specific item. This NPC functions as another "eater" tool, like for bloodstone dust and whatnot, but there's more flavor in having a physical NPC rather than a tool filling a bank/bag slot.
- BLTC salvage kits and teleportation items should have inherent shared inventory slots. To clarify, these items should have their own, independent shared inventory slots. Many players place them in shared inventory slots already, but most of these tools were created before shared inventory slots were developed. Now that we have the tech in the game, these items should have the same embedded functionality as the PoF level 80 booster that is bound within a shared inventory slot. There can be an option to toggle whether embedded slots appear before or after custom shared slots. There can also be a black lion agent (potentially in the home instance) who toggles the option of embedding these tools into your account inventory or giving them to you as an item (in case some players don't like the embedded functionality). This proposal arguably won't bring in more revenue for Anet (with reduced shared inventory slot sales), but it makes BLTC teleportation items and salvage kits more desirable.
- This might be controversial. Sell the Legendary Equipment Replicator NPC for your home instance. This NPC will learn and unlock legendary equipment you present to them, and they will be able to create lesser replicas for all characters on your account. Constructing replicas may also have a small gold cost attached to help with the in-game economy. Lesser replicas come in the precursor skin, they retain the functionality of freely swapping stats and upgrades, they are account-bound, they cannot be salvaged or sold, and they come in a distinct text color (like red). So how are these lesser? Purple legendary gear should be updated to transmute freely without consuming transmutation charges, while lesser replicas will consume transmutation charges. The purpose of this replicating function is to enhance the convenience we already have (since purple legendary gear is account-bound and shareable to alts via bank or shared inventory slots) of sharing gear with alts that can freely stat/upgrade swap. This convenience merely cuts out the time it would normally take for us to locate, unequip, bank, and reequip legendary gear on alts. For our 0.00...01% of players who already own multiple sets of legendary gear on multiple alts, you will at least have the added benefit of free transmutations on all of that purple, legendary gear. This convenience tool may also make legendaries more appealing to more players, which in turn should stimulate the in-game economy.
- For my final controversial proposal, implement the BLTC account level. This level gains experience every time you spend cash on your account (whether it is on gems or expansions). The benefits of this level are similar to achievement points, where you gain small, permanent, account-wide, non-combat stat boosts (like magic find and gold find). They could increase other stats (also seen in guild enhancements) like critical gathering, map bonus rate, and PvP/WvW reward track rate. At every level up there can also be a reward chest of black lion key(s) or BLTC junk. If this gets implemented I would like all existing accounts to automatically level up using the cash from their entire purchase history. I'm not sure how feasible that is, but there would be incredible (and justified) salt from veteran players who have already purchased everything they want from the gem store if they do not get experience from past purchases. The main purpose of this implementation, which in reality would be minor in its significance to the economy, is to make gem purchases more tempting. Account leveling is not as manipulative as loot boxes, but the sense of progression can be addicting.