Let me first start off by saying that I have absolutely no problem with the price and availability of crown items. Nor do i have a problem with any of the recent updates. I do however see that things have become a bit slanted away from hte benefits of membership to the benefits of crown buying. I don't have access to KI's data but in most games the bulk of the player generated income comes from the people that pay endlessly monthly for membership. With that payment, members get benefits that are not available to free to pay players. These may be access to areas or equipment and other special features. A lot of games also have what KI calls crowns. Crowns typically give free to players access to simular (sp) access to the game as the members get but with restrictions.
What KI has done is given the crown buyer perm access to all lands while the member only gets access to those lands as long as the keep paying. Members get access to the test realm, so do crown buyers. Members get exclusive access to PVP. I would have to double check but i dont think crown buyers get this access. Members get access to the boards.
It seems to me that for the person that is paying monthly, there should be more of a division between them and the crown buyers/free to play. Exclusive, PLAYABLE (not housing) in game content or gear would ahve been a great feature. GH would have be a real great member feature. Mounts would have been a great member feature instead of a crown feature. THese things could have been great member perks but that cant be changed now. What KI needs to do is look at the members section and see what they can develop for them. I understand that you must continue to create FTP content to keep people interested in the game and eventually becoming members but you must also look to reward those that have made the choice and commitment to pay for this product.
Some ideas; members only holiday gear, members only story line in either a new world or laced into the existing worlds (there are a ton of unused building and rooms on every world), members only gear that is distinct (you can tell by looking at it that this person is a member), crwon shop discounts.