Cache Key Value = ~10au/key

TL;DR summary: key value ~$0.15 v key cost $1.25. Keys would need to be priced at about 10~15 Aurum to be able to slow sell the results for more than direct conversion.

– Longer “WOT” for those that like stories about gambling. :roll_eyes:

Here are some estimates on the value of a cache-key – the kind you get from the cash shop or via daily patron. I opened 102 Winter Caches.

Net Result: 2 epic weapons, no mounts, no pets. Rough resale value ~300k MoF net after about 2 weeks, with perhaps another 50~100k MoF still unsold.

  • 1 Key = 3.4k ~ 3.9k MoF
  • 1 Key = 17.9 ~ 20.6 Aurum (@ 189 MoF/Aurum)
  • 1 Key = $0.15 ~ 0.17 (@ 120 Aurum/)

How much do Keys cost? There are two sources: daily Patron and direct cash shop:

  • 1 Key = 150 Aurum or $1.25 via Cash Shop
  • 1 Key = $0.43 via Patron Daily

The lesson: if you want MoF, don’t buy Keys. Buy MoF directly with Aurum. Assuming I had directly converted Aurum -> MoF, that ~350k MoF after two weeks would have been ~2.9M MoF almost instantly.

NB: this does not mean keys are not worthwhile, especially as part of the Patron deal, which has so many other nice bonuses that I’d count the Patron key as essentially free. Also, if you value distillates, buying keys might be nice for you; 102 key results for distillates:

  • 37 blue weapon
  • 60 blue talisman
  • 55 purple glyph
  • 43 purple signet

Personally, I feel cash-shop distillates have zero or even negative value. Ultimately, we’re buying fun here in a game. Buying more fun is good. Buying things that don’t equate to more fun is bad. If I’m having fun already, reducing the time until I cap progress is bad (reduces potential fun). The only way I see the distillates as a good buy is if they nudge my char up into a quantum with more fun than where he is currently.

So, why did I buy keys considering how bad they are? Well, didn’t know they were that bad and other-game experiences were all universally good. So, I figured for a $100 pittance, I’d either get what I wanted (Frost-Bound Hammer) or MORE than $2.9M in MoF via slow sales. That’s how other games worked. Cash gamble always nets more than direct convert, just slower. VERY not so in this game. Even if the two epics I got were high-value instead of junk, that would have at best been maybe 50% of the value of direct Aurum->MoF conversion.

Looks like I won’t be buying keys ever again … well … unless they drop to 10au/key. :rofl:


Ive almost always found it better to wait for the item you want to show up in AH and if I really wanted it that bad buy Aurum convert to MoF for said item. I bought cache keys near the beginning of the game cause they were a nice initial boost when trying to keep pace with some of the players that had more time to grind distillates but even that quickly lost value once gear hit mythic and beyond.

Anyhow, good summary though! It was not as much the case early in the game as there was a little more value in what you could sell from caches but certainly now it is much worse then before.

The only reason I found that would validate a purchase of keys as a free to play is Third age fragment as there is currently no other way to get TAF as a F2p player. That said I do believe patron is a pretty nice deal, alone the keys you get, not even counting all the nice other things like extra dungeon, lair, scenario keys.

Never understood why people with a stable income that play regulary say they want to drop the patron. But that’s their thing.

One thing to the topic I wanna add: My thoughts on caches is that the cache cosmetics/weapons and all that are more the flavor of the month than the main purpose of them. I believe the main point of them are the destillates. Something where you can drop in 5-10 bucks when you feel like upgrading something fast right after payday. Something for people that are more open willed to spend a little extra just to ease up the grind. For the rest of the playerbase patron seems more the model.
But I could be wildly wrong…and I have seen that sometimes funcom prizes things strange. Like the FATE (buyable vendor to carry around, consumable) or the exhaustion of agents.
Or the thing with old steampacks still costing an arm after the removal of aurum from it. I find it definitly a good notion to question prizing policy from time to time just to give funcom a mirror to reflect on things and doublequestion if change is necessary or their sinister plan for world domination is going all according to plan.

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[quote=“Bjond, post:1, topic:9158”]
So, why did I buy keys considering how bad they are? Well, didn’t know they were that bad and other-game experiences were all universally good. So, I figured for a $100 pittance, I’d either get what I wanted (Frost-Bound Hammer) or MORE than $2.9M in MoF via slow sales. That’s how other games worked. Cash gamble always nets more than direct convert, just slower. VERY not so in this game. Even if the two epics I got were high-value instead of junk, that would have at best been maybe 50% of the value of direct Aurum->MoF conversion.

Agree with you on the keys. It’s how I feel about the WTF trade value for booster pack agents. FunCom takes the fun out of spending money in this game - at least for me.

SWTOR, ESO and EQ2 their cache type loot boxes and/or booster packs of stuff always give way more than not. And you can resell the stuff you don’t need/want for a tidy sum. I’ve never felt like I had a bad deal in those games. The booster purchase here leaves a bad feeling. The cache keys I just can’t see spending money on those with the horrid RNG (talk about a gambling box - yikes!), I don’t expect anything from those, so I’m surprised when I actually get something useful (1-2 purple weapons since launch). I generally just buy off the AH what I want. I have stacks of cache’s in the bank, but as a patron one key is it per day, that’s all that gets opened.

Funcom needs to put the fun back in the monetization of this game. I really feel it’s lacking now, so spending ZERO!

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I think it’s weird to discount the value of distillates cause as far as I’m concerned that’s the most valuable part of cache keys. It’s what other prices (purple fusion fodders for example) are balanced against, the rare chance of items is just a tiny bonus. If you don’t want distillates, then obviously cache keys are poor value for money, same as if you already have any agents, you obviously shouldn’t buy agent boosters.

Value is not only personal, it’s situational. That’s why I didn’t try to “sell” that notion in the OP. I’ll explain my reasoning here, though. Distillates are vertical progress in this game. If you buy vertical progress, you skip content. If playing were fun, there would be no desire to skip – rather the reverse. You’d resent something that leaped you past fun you could have enjoyed; ie. it steals fun from you.

OTH, I definitely understand where you’re coming from. From seeing your chat in game, I suspect you’re definitely well into the end-game. So, even if you raise up an alt, the fun for you may not start until E5 or later. That’s when buying progress means you’re buying more fun rather than less.

I’m damn new. So, I’m just banking the “worthless” distillates until I’m at a point where using them permits me to skip over something I don’t like and reach something I do like sooner. They don’t make sense for me now, but maybe later they will.

It would be very interesting if literally everything inside a box could be sold. We’d then be able to put much more precise values on things without resorting to personal taste.

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At current state of the game , patron have no value. extra Keys you get need to be used at same day, this means that you have to run 3 scenarios , 3 full dungeons , and a lair or you lose money for nothing. Distils you get are scaled to your IP . so if you open caches at lower IP you lose value . The more your IP grow , the less usefull bags from quests become , making questing lot less fun. 8 hours cooldown nice. but in reality it makes you run same quests all the time , making it boring . PVP is dead , so no real reason to up you gear. IF you get good drop it will be useless to you for long time till you level it.
I am lifetime patron . But if i were new player , after checking monetasation and patron rewords , i would not have sign up . In this game Patron does not provide services i need. It actually constricts players .


Ah I see what you mean. Yeah they’re not at all necessary before level 50, and only useful after that if you want to get up in the elite levels a little quicker.

I mostly value them as far as, anywhere you get xp from costs money in some form, so may as well compare. Personally I’ve run somewhere >350 dungeons and used 10 months or whatever of free keys (permanent sub since the game launch) and am IP960, without the cache keys it’d probably be about 75% of the xp (which might not be that much less ip).

As soon as you get to E1 you start needing a pretty solid grind to reach the next elite tier, I don’t think there’s any “if you pay you would skip over some content” about it until you’re in the $1000s.

I still maintain that the distillates are the valuable part of caches though, so if you don’t value that, don’t buy them is my advice.

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oh, well…

  1. “the cache value is”… basing it on 100 samples… remember, every time you use statistical function, like an average, which you did, consider also how large deviance is. Having results based on 2 of 100 samples… standard deviance would be $0.3, meaning something more close: $0.15 +- $0.6. But even that is inaccurate as you didn’t really hit enough samples and their value.

  2. choice of winter cache… this is really important question. Why do you value cache based on Winter cache when it’s known for its low value? (Question actually is why to open them but…) Only very very few thing are worth something, and that something is not really high (well still better then tribal I guess, you can’t get even one good thing out of them)

  3. but I want my item… this argument NEVER works in any game really. It’s simple economic rule if you play with at least one person capable of using elementary math (+ at least bunch of people knowing only basic algebra). You want one specific item, buy it. It will be cheaper.

  4. value of XP… you may say it takes “fun” of you. That might be remotely true if you actually could get serious amount of XP and if there actually is something like the “final line”. Neither is a case here. I get 8k+8k distillates from cache (that’s another question: why would someone buy caches with blue distillates?). For the reference spending daily keys gets me around 100k XP. Two hours of regionals gets around 540k XP. And they both are almost NOTHING in the pool needed. You can sink months like that, it stops being fun long before. So no worry few hundreds caches will get you over the edge here.

  5. value of XP, part 2… the truth is that even for people who want caches for XP it’s a bad choice. If you want to spend some money for a little faster progress you buy fusion things, namely glyph ones (as glyphs are by far the last thing you will get completed, with signet XP worth almost nothing). They are worth more XP/aurum (around 104k glyph XP, that’s 2hrs of scenarios, if that’s worth 1500/1125 aurum is up to player, but even this is better then caches). And you can sink quite amount of aurum there. Caches for XP are actually the last choice. Only reasonable if you want to spend even more money then around $300 for catalysts per set.


  • if you want to know cache value choose cache with some value
  • no need to be scared of cache XP, they won’t take any fun from you
  • if you want specific item it’s cheaper to buy it
  • use your free keys wisely, spending free things still costs the same value as its purchased alternative
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If you involve the cache type, It’s also worth considering the cache cost and subtracting it from the raw output, there is a substantial difference between the price of different caches.

That’s you, not everyone. In principle, the idea of distillates reducing “grind to deeper endgame” should make them quite appealing to a certain type of player (see @Onevia’s comment).

The problem isn’t the distillates as and of themselves, it’s the fact the SWL cache design focuses so strongly on that type of player it won’t appeal much to anyone else. For someone mostly interested in cosmetics - i.e. the kind of player that kept TSW afloat with those clothing packs - SWL caches suck and blow at the same time. It will be cheaper to buy the vanity items off the AH from distillate chasers.

Maybe it is the fact SWL Patron is fairly bad value for the kind of player with a stable income who’s a regular ‘weekend warrior’? The design paradigm to punish Patrons for not logging in daily may be great from a ‘pad daily player numbers’ perspective, but it is not actually going to endear SWL to people who’d prefer to play on their own, different terms.

You are not alone. I find myself thinking I’ll probably blow a big chunk of my summer MMO budget on STO’s new expansion despite the fact those Victory is Life packs are mostly expensive silliness. Still, at least I’ll be getting something more interesting than distillates/more valuable than Hexcoins…

That’s not even a silly argument, that’s basically the opposite of an argument. It’s, “If you want to assess value, stack the deck in keys’/Funcom’s favor.” If you actually cared for a reasonably objective assessment of key value, you’d have to ask either for a balanced sample of different caches or a large sample of the current cache that new players would actually see dropping like candy.

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Yes, for “weekend warriors”, the package is even less valuable. It was flagged very early after launch and never addressed properly.
The other reason is indeed that “patrons” is relatively poor in value compared to a number of other games (ESO comes to mind).

+1. Monetization of the game would need to get a big review to put it on par with general F2Ps. As the OP was pointing out, in most games using cash shop loot boxes, if used properly, you most of the time ends up with more equivalent currency than you invested - starting from investment thresholds around 20-30$ (cause rng), however neither loot boxes nor agent packages are delivering on this.

Well, that what has happened to my SWL budget for the last couple of months, spent it all on ESO and else.


A really wild guess is that the current playerbase is mostly made up of the old core TSW playerbase, I think that a good share of them have grandmaster.

Though I have absolutely no numbers on that, it’s just a feeling that there is a lot of grandmasters.
So they may want to focus the monetization on things that can target those players.

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Wait. One key = 1 495 978 707 000 meters?


Yes that’s a fair point. Thus, they should actually review the monetization of things outside the sub as a priority, i agree at this point i don’t thinka patron revamp would be the best solution.

That’s pretty much what I see. But Funcom last year made it clear “We” were not their target audience. Retaining loyal customers is a bad business move over attracting new ones, right? (different business education than I had apparently!)

But I do agree with the whole cache/distillate thing - I guess that’s what FunCom focused on, IDK. I’m glad they give patrons a free key or I’d never open them, but personally I’ve been in no rush to up the iP score - why? There isn’t a value to me in chasing the higher iP. So my slow progress over the past year, I’m only at iP600+. I don’t really care, as I play this for the story. Love the cosmetics, events, and pvp (when we had it), but endless dungeons/raids - I’ll go play WoW if that’s what I want to do. They have enough variety to keep it interesting.

As far as my gaming budget - EQ2 and WoW are always on the list - ESO and TOR will get some. I sub to those when I play, buy some cosmetics, etc., as I really like to support a game I’m playing (even with a lifetime sub), but make it fun and enjoyable!

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I believe the amount of people with grandmaster is a fraction of a fraction. It’s a warped view that comes from being in the so to speak endgame, where the number of grandmasters is higher.
It’s the fraction that is TSW Veterans and from that fraction another fraction is the people that have grandmaster because damn that thing is expensive, also some people just missed the opportunity to buy it.
Thing with most people in this game is that we don’t see them or really, really rarely. People that take it slow are still somewhere in the story and play every now and than. It’s like an iceberg, we here in the forum with a lot having at least normal patron, are only the small part poking out of the water while must people stay underwater out of sight.

P.S.:Reminds me of that one interview with Tilty where he said that only 15% of the playerbase EVER touched dungeons. Story/Elite or whatnot…

I believe that too, that’s why I said that was just a feeling.

But I think that it’s a share of the “paying” playerbase big enough that they decided to design to depreciate the grandmaster status (I’m thinking of the old bonus point stipend that was removed, I remember a lot of controversy on the forums).

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Taking your 0.3 and calling it a dollar value doesn’t even make sense, since you’d end up with $0.15 +/- $0.30 (and how did you turn that into 0.6?). Potential negative results imply Funcom might pay me to use keys. Remember, if you get absurd implications, your math is wrong; eg. Proof that 2 = 1.

Looks like you’ve confused standard deviation and standard error. For results of 2 in 102, the binomial standard error of the mean is 0.014; ie. 2+/-0.014. Standard error converges rapidly for a binary proposition; you don’t need many samples for pretty good accuracy. You can replicate my results by feeding a series of 99 “0” and 2 “1” into a statistical calculator, effectively duplicating my experiment of “how many epics are in a tootsie roll?”

BTW, for the real math peeps (and non-math) the statistical values tossed about above aren’t too meaningful. The most useful calc (expected value) is also the most painful and requires data only Funcom has (exact chances and values for each item). I’m so frustrated trying to sell the non-epics that I’m ready to just mass-vend them. So, considering boxes without epics as having zero value is pretty much true for me. And, the reason I’m explaining how I valued things is because others will want to value things differently. Heh, in 3 months, I might value things differently.

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