Freedom to Expand

It’s been a long time since I did a blog post on the Empire Avenue blog it seems. We’ve been working hard, working on features, yes, but working on the direction of marketing and the company and more besides. Today, we’ve rolled out some changes that will cause significant change to how Empire Avenue is played.

We have always been honest about how much we value the feedback of our Beta users and certainly our customers. From the very beginning of the site, once we allowed you to expand beyond 10,000 shares, you had to buy those upgrades which expanded the number of shares available, whether you used Eaves or a mixture of real and virtual currency. As of today, these upgrades will happen automatically, without cost and infinitely.

Empire Avenue is a great game which is also a social network tool for creating value-based relationships. You have made connections around the globe. You have established communities, you have made friends, you have expanded into other networks. In Empire Avenue, a network is established by buying and selling shares in each other, by becoming invested in the creations that you put out on the social web. Putting artificial roadblocks towards the creation of those networks no longer seemed to be valid, useful, or fun.

For anyone who spent real money on these upgrades since August, we have given you a credit towards other items in the Empire Avenue Shop, you can use it now or in the future, please look in your email. For those that spent money or eaves in the last week (since Nov. 15), the credit is 100% and the eaves have been refunded into your account. Any money you saved has also been refunded.

In addition, we have rolled out upgrades to expand the number of people you can buy from 1000 to 2000. These upgrades are now available in the store.

You might also notice that you can now message your shareholders, something so many of you have asked for since we opened the site. Use it wisely, people may sell you just because you decided to spam them. Used correctly it is a tool to open up your network so you can contact them all, tell them about the great things that you are creating. You can disable this Shareholder Mail entirely if that kind of networking is not what you like. It is also up to you to show each other how you wish to see these features being used. The best teachers are your peers. After all that is why we all value our peer networks!

ADDENDUM / UPDATE

As noted in my comments we cannot give eaves that were spent already back into the system without breaking the site. The decision has been made instead that we will take a portion of those eaves that you have spent and add it to the new upgrades we have rolled out (buying up to 2000 people). This will happen later on Monday night.

ADDENDUM2 / UPDATE2

I should have posted this in the blog in the first place. You can turn off the automatic share upgrades at any level. Simply go to Profile/Settings and choose the correct option on the side. For those who play at a specific level, you can just find that level and stick to it.

15 Comments

  1. Adriel, we’d love to give back the eaves. Unlike the taxes, which seriously amounted to about 5 million eaves in total, giving back the 120 million in eaves would actually completely destroy the economy and the system. We’re not trying be asses, but we’d have to shut down empire avenue as it stands. We had to make an incredibly hard decision, this also takes out a revenue stream for us as well. We came to the decision that the future of Empire Avenue would not be enjoyable if the only way was to keep saving (which cuts the game down completely as everyone has complained). I can only wish that we came to this decision long time ago but hind sight is 20/20

  2. I think this is a good decision. I’m glad that the Empire Avenue team values networking and relationships being established via this site. Removing limitation means that pure potential can be activated. Empire Avenue now allows users to break free from boundaries. Ceci permettra au réseautage de compter davantage aux yeux des utilisateurs. Ceci ouvre la porte à une plus vaste utilisation de Empire Avenue. Une décision très noble, qui va même à l’encontre du profit, et qui reflète que l’équipe du site est à l’écoute de ses utilisateurs, ce qui est une bonne chose. Le dialogue entre les utilisateurs et l’équipe de concepteur est important. J’ai confiance que Empire Avenue deviendra un agent de changement positif et constructif pour notre société.

  3. First of all, great work so far Duleepa and crew, before I criticise, let me first of all say a wonderful job so far in listening to your audience, that counts for a lot and a key to success for you guys I believe.

    A few questions on the sudden changes. So no need to purchase upgrades? that’s great, but what about the eaves that we invested going from 10,000 to 20,000 (in my case and many more for other investors who went with bigger upgrades), will those eaves be given back? If so, when cause I have yet to receive it.

    Also, as far as getting people to pay to play EA, I think its seriously still too soon. Yes you guys need to make a revenue, but the whole system will collapse if you don’t have enough people on EA. As it currently stands, I feel the numbers are still not enough to make it a game-changer. Maybe you guys should focus on the money maybe 6-18 months from now once you reach the million mark at least. Else this game will not survive 1 year with more people losing interest.

    All in all, its a different game and its good to get on EA from time to time and see how things develop. Keep it up.

    W.G.T.Fernando

  4. I’m a little bit disapointed with the change. 3-4 weeks ago I had to make a choice, shut down my account or not to up grade beyond 30k share availability! I decide to try to play the game being sold out and realize it was more fun to play that way. After the shareholder trader was out, my share price stabilize and I was able to growth with content alone. In the process I realize I was spending less time on Empire knowing that my stock have attein a certain stability and I didn’t have to respond to 50 notification if I did’t log in for a certain period of time. (Responding to notification is part of networking!) I will try to play with the new rules and if it become to much of a pain I will simply shut down. A+

  5. I’m very disappointed in the changes to the game and the reapplication of eaves for which I spent real money to upgrades I will probably never need.

    1) The one metric that I am interested in playing Empire Avenue for, dividends per share, has been destroyed by the free share upgrades. I was intentionally not upgrading the number of my shares available to keep my dividends per share high and maintain my value to my shareholders. Infinite shares available without limit makes individual shares worthless. It doesn’t make sense that I as the company have no control over how many shares in me are available. The math of this game no longer makes sense and I have no control over my representation. This is insulting.

    2) I have paid money for upgrades and those upgrades have been redirected without my knowledge or consent. I could understand instituting a savings account that could only be used towards upgrades and rewards, and not share purchases, to maintain balance in the game. However taking my real money and reinvesting it in upgrades that I will never use is ridiculous and a breach of my trust.

    I’m seriously considering deleting my account.

  6. Maybe, if/when the site comes out of BETA.. as a suggestion… you hit the big reset button to get everyone on a level playing field again.

    Although, I still don’t know if that’s the answer… given the gaming components. Hard to please everyone.. the needs of the many.. outweigh the needs of the few.. you know.. Mr. Spock.

    Anyways, for now I am done lending a hand in testing the BETA.

    Best of luck when the site goes prime time, I’ll catchya on the flipside then.

    (e)RANGER

  7. I can’t make up my mind. Initially I was really irritated, as I had upgraded less then two hours earlier. I also agree with Adriel, for the most part. However I certainly did think the share upgrades, as it stood, was keeping the game from being fun. So, maybe this will make the game more fun.

    The leaderboards will be interesting tomorrow. As Janine alluded to here and Larre on twitter, this change will have a leveling affect on dividends. Since it was opt out instead of opt in everyone keeping themselves limited to keep dividends high just got diluted.

    One thing is sure, the entire lay of the land just changed. My strategy needs serious revision. I need a day or two to ponder.

  8. I really dig this change. It eliminates stagnation from the game component while leaving control over how one engages and grows their audience to their methods. Between this game-changing move and the shareholder mail feels like you guys are really paying attention to growing engagement between investors and influencers and that’s what keeps me interested from a professional perspective.

    Keep up the great work.

    My only complaint was that i wanted the money i paid for upgrades to be spent more wisely. I thought i made clear that you were to buy cheap domestic beer?

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