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A second look at the WildStar Economy

bartlioliobartliolio san antonio, TXPosts: 15Member

Hello everyone! 

I recently completed a response to a post Charles Durham (Sr. Systems Designer for Wildstar) made on the game's economy -- and wanted to get your take on the situation.

 

Here's his post: http://www.wildstar-online.com/en/news/wildstars_economic_game.php/

Here's my response

On May 21st, 2014, Charles Durham presented the Wildstar community with a basic analysis of the common problems that game developers face when designing an MMORPG’s economy. He does an exceptional job of explaining why inflation often becomes uncontrollable in a virtual world, and additionally identifies some of the relics of past games that lead to this inflation (traditional concepts of loot). However, the solutions he develops are very different than those that I have, when given the same information.

The first assumption Durham makes is that resources directly acquired from monsters are a key component to an RPG game. For the past ten years, most games have employed the piñata style of loot, where swords and cloaks come flying out of dead wolves, but that does not mean that this type of looting system is essential to a fun RPG experience. The problems that I have with piñata loot are threefold:

  1. Trash loot (loot that cannot be used, only sold to NPCS) is not fun to receive, and often becomes a nuisance when it fills up your inventory space.
  2. When all monsters drop gold, you have thousands of printing presses that contribute to the inflation game designers are trying to combat.
  3. When equipment is gained primarily through the slaying of monsters, it diminishes the value of crafting professions and further contributes to inflation.

Vendoring

Trash Loot

I don’t think anyone has ever been excited to receive a [Broken Shell], [Torn Cloak], or [Fish Eyeball]. In MMORPGS, these types of items are essentially another form of dropping pure gold – except with the added nuisance of storing them until you can find a place to sell them. Ignoring the question of why NPCs would purchase trash in the first place, this seems to be one of the first parts of the old loot system that could be eliminated. If an item doesn’t have a market value, it shouldn’t have a value in the world at all—by eliminating this form of gold creation you reduce the complexity of the economic system, thereby making it easier to address issues of inflation.

Gold Farming

Gold-filled Monsters

Another questionable relic of the past is the gold purse tied to every creature wandering the world. It’s difficult for me to identify how much a wolf dropping a few copper pieces contributes to the satisfaction a player receives after defeating it. Sure, those copper pieces add up over time, and allow players to purchase things from NPC vendors, but that seems like post-hoc reasoning for its existence. If money is used as the primary way of rationing content in a game, then it is necessary to have an economic system that generates a significant amount of capital so that players can reasonably enjoy the game without spending hours trying to earn enough money to progress. This means that if players can earn enough in a reasonable amount of time, then those players with an excess of time will be capable of earning enough to continually create a surplus of gold in the world—thus leading to inflation.

I question Durham’s choice to identify “buying stuff” as the fun part of an MMO, when it is probably the least fun part of all. Nobody enjoys parting with their money, what they enjoy is the thing they are purchasing—whether that be a stronger piece of gear or a new décor item for their house. By creating a system that generates large amounts of gold, you are simultaneously creating a system that needs large and numerous money sinks to stabilize the economy. A more reasonable solution would be to create a system that does not generate so much gold in the first place.

looted equipment  

Dropped Equipment

This last point may seem repetitive, but it is nevertheless true (especially for Wildstar). When gear has randomized stats and is class-specific, it is typically the equivalent to vendorable trash.  Occasionally you will receive a piece of gear that is an upgrade, but the quest-progression system of Wildstar offers gear that is tailored to the needs of each player. This leads to more gold being poured into the economy and bags full of pants that nobody will ever wear. In Wildstar this is especially true, because the stats have different meanings for all the classes and it is difficult for one player to remember what stats are favorable to all the other classes, thus making it difficult to identify which items are worth auctioning.

While I do not totally disagree with the conclusions that Durham makes, I believe that Wildstar could have taken a very different approach to battling inflation in its economy. Right now it’s operating as a heavy-input, heavy-output system—where players are given a lot of gold, but simultaneously asked to part with it at every turn. I am not sure this is preferable to a world where gold is less prevalent, but players can access more content without a monetary cost.

Thanks for sticking with me if you made it this far. If you get the chance to read this Charles, I hope you know how much I admire the work you’ve done, even if I disagree with some of your choices. In my next post I will explore how you can better define the relationship between loot and crafting in an MMORPG and discuss why dropped equipment devalues crafted equipment and hurts virtual economies as a whole.

How is the economy in your experience? Is the game too money-reliant? Do you find yourself severely hindered by gold costs?

Comments

  • bartlioliobartliolio san antonio, TXPosts: 15Member

    Here's the second part of my response to Charles Durham. Feel free to leave any feedback on the first part!

     

    I apologize that the posts are so lengthy, but it's difficult to speak tersely with any meaningful depth on such complex systems.

     

  • Devs have never been trying to combat inflation.

     

    Oh yes they say they are but its all bullshit.  

     

    Only scarcity has an effect on such things.  These guys who make EQ style games can never combat inflation since they have infinite resources in basically everything.  They have no models of supply and attrition of items etc.  You would need to have some system where items decay.  Resources are finite and items that become useless had their materials placed back into some sort of production system.

     

    They have a system that is inherently inflationary.  That essentially MUST inflate to meet the crazy casino design of their games.  Only very few games have even a halfway attempt to make something no this way (Eve-Online etc).

     

    Just like current monetary system of the real world, the devs merely don't want things to inflate TOO MUCH, but want it to always inflate.  In the case of the real world Central Banks target a 2% inflation rate and absolutely HATE deflation and go so far as to try to propagandize that deflation is bad for everyone (a patent lie, lower prices is good for normal people who have cash.  Banks are hurt by deflation though so it must be bad amirite? ).  But too much inflation is bad because when its too high normal people start realize they are, in basic effect, being stolen from.

     

    Thus just like our current system the devs in point of fact DO want this system to work exactly as it does.  They simply do not want the devaluation of you assets to be too obvious so that you can feel good about what you have.

  • BoneserinoBoneserino London, ONPosts: 1,622Member Uncommon

    Crafting is a tough issue for devs, I think, almost comparable to the issue of implementing PvP in a game.    The reason I say this is because many players do not have a desire to do crafting in games just as many do not wish to PvP.  If you create a crafting heavy game, what you end up with is EvE essentially.    A bit of a niche game.

     

    Fallen Earth was the game that changed my insight.   I just remember how funny it was when people learned that gear did not drop and also when you told them, sorry there is no shop that sells guns.   Many were completely shocked.    I remember we had one kid in our guild who simply would not craft and was constantly begging for stuff.   Luckily we liked him, so he got what he needed.   But only when we felt like giving it to him.  image

     

    Still most people crafted so the economy consisted mainly of rare mats.   And the brilliance of that game was that the rare ones were in the PvP zones.   So right there you create meaning for PvP.    Very similar to EvE as well I might say.   And I prefer the idea of PvP for resources rather than territory.    I think it balances things because you don't have some trying to control everything, just what they need.  

     

    I honestly think this is what is really missing in most MMO's today.   You can't just have PvP and fight over a castle just to say woohoo!! we own the castle!   Owning that castle has to have some meaning,  such that it provides something you need and you must fight to get it.    Crafters are the suppliers,  Fighteres are the gatherers,  and since you need both to create things in the game you now have balance.   I think it may even reduce the ganking effect, since PK'ing for sport would would be a waste of time, when there are other more important goals in the game.

     

    In any case, it seems most of todays games have gotten away from both of these, and gone the the straight , level, and kill for loot, route.  nothing in those games seems to have any meaning, other than waiting for the ding and the next piece of gear to drop.  No wonder we get bored of them so fast.

     

    Crafting, economy and PvP all in balance and I think you have the game most people would love to play.

    FFA Nonconsentual Full Loot PvP ...You know you want it!!

  • Superman0XSuperman0X San Jose, CAPosts: 1,577Member Uncommon


    The first assumption Durham makes is that resources directly acquired from monsters are a key component to an RPG game. For the past ten years, most games have employed the pi
  • BladestromBladestrom edinburghPosts: 4,942Member Uncommon
    Not quite sure when and how developers 'bullshit' but that's a different question. If you want to attempt to marry a real life economic model with a game then you have to consider more than just supply and demand. Other points to consider:

    in PVE games the majority of PLAYERS do not want pvp that leads to theft of items. Furthermore PLAYERS complain if the cost of item wear and tear through battle is too heavy.
    E.g I hate the former but I agree with the latter)

    In games new items = power, new items = profression. deflation of items does not work in this context. PLAYERS object to new tiers having the same power level as the previous, even though it prevents inflation in 1 move.

    Now years ago players did not demand constant progression, they were happy with mmorpg where it would take months to gain an item and 6 months plus to gear up well, but now many players who we're enticed from the single player domain need/demand a constant drip feed of rewards - and there lies a root cause of item inflation.

    rpg/mmorg history: Dun Darach>Bloodwych>Bards Tale 1-3>Eye of the beholder > Might and Magic 2,3,5 > FFVII> Baldur's Gate 1, 2 > Planescape Torment >Morrowind > WOW > oblivion > LOTR > Guild Wars (1900hrs elementalist) Vanguard. > GW2(1000 elementalist), Wildstar

    Now playing GW2, AOW 3, ESO, LOTR, Elite D

  • bartlioliobartliolio san antonio, TXPosts: 15Member
    Originally posted by gestalt11

    Only scarcity has an effect on such things.  These guys who make EQ style games can never combat inflation since they have infinite resources in basically everything.  They have no models of supply and attrition of items etc.  You would need to have some system where items decay.  Resources are finite and items that become useless had their materials placed back into some sort of production system.

    They have a system that is inherently inflationary.  That essentially MUST inflate to meet the crazy casino design of their games.  Only very few games have even a halfway attempt to make something no this way (Eve-Online etc).

     I agree that the main issue is the lack of scarcity, which is something that Durham talked about in the beginning of his post-- but he also seemed to speak of a "lack of scarcity in virtual worlds" as an inevitability, which disagree with.  The main issue that I found with his attempt to limit inflation was that the steps he took did not make for a fun game or effectively combat inflation in any meaningful way. 

    Just like current monetary system of the real world, the devs merely don't want things to inflate TOO MUCH, but want it to always inflate.  In the case of the real world Central Banks target a 2% inflation rate and absolutely HATE deflation and go so far as to try to propagandize that deflation is bad for everyone (a patent lie, lower prices is good for normal people who have cash.  Banks are hurt by deflation though so it must be bad amirite? ).  But too much inflation is bad because when its too high normal people start realize they are, in basic effect, being stolen from.

     I don't necessarily follow this reasoning. Could  you explain why developers always want the amount of money to inflate? I can see the developers wanting there to be a constant increase in wealth in the world, but that wealth need not take place in the form of gold. 

     

  • bartlioliobartliolio san antonio, TXPosts: 15Member
    Originally posted by Boneserino

    Crafting, economy and PvP all in balance and I think you have the game most people would love to play.

    This is essentially what I am advocating for, a game in which all of the different types of players need to work together to maximize their power potential. When you have a system that allows one group of players to benefit significantly more than the others, then you alienate the rest of the playerbase-- which in WildStar's case kind of defeats the whole purpose of the Path system. 

     

  • BladestromBladestrom edinburghPosts: 4,942Member Uncommon
    solutions :

    Gear tiers look different but with no stat inflation - therefore maintaining value of crafted items.

    Some gear slots can only every be completed through crafting - new tiers allways = new recipes for these slots.

    housing, the ultimate gold sink that does not inflate the economy (see wildstar model - very smart approach with modules that need renewing)

    Dying significantly damages gear.

    Make portals etc expensive to use.

    rpg/mmorg history: Dun Darach>Bloodwych>Bards Tale 1-3>Eye of the beholder > Might and Magic 2,3,5 > FFVII> Baldur's Gate 1, 2 > Planescape Torment >Morrowind > WOW > oblivion > LOTR > Guild Wars (1900hrs elementalist) Vanguard. > GW2(1000 elementalist), Wildstar

    Now playing GW2, AOW 3, ESO, LOTR, Elite D

  • bartlioliobartliolio san antonio, TXPosts: 15Member
    Originally posted by Superman0X

     


    The first assumption Durham makes is that resources directly acquired from monsters are a key component to an RPG game. For the past ten years, most games have employed the piñata style of loot, where swords and cloaks come flying out of dead wolves, but that does not mean that this type of looting system is essential to a fun RPG experience.

    Sadly, Durham was correct on this. The loot piñata is an essential part of the gaming experience. There have been attempts to remove this in the past, but they all run across one basic problem... the players.

    Can you give me some examples of where this has been attempted in the past? I am under the impression that it's too costly of an experiment to run in a AAA game, and I do not know of any that have tried to remove it.

    People like the thrill of the hunt, and finding that one great drop makes hours of trash loot irrelevant. This is also why they have trash loot. If it was all or nothing, people would give up hope. They need to see that they are getting something (even if just trash/gold) to keep moving forward, to eventually be rewarded with that 'cool' drop that they are thrilled about.

     I don't know if it's right to treat an MMO like a casino. Sure, it may fit some games better than others (in the case of WildStar, especially so)-- but even WildStar does not drop loot every time. Hell I've mined iron nodes that haven't dropped a single ore of iron!

    The bottom line is that the goal is to have players ocassionally find that one great (to them) item, which players want to experience. You might think that there is a better way (example: crafting resources, which can be turned into that great item) but they just do not provide the same experience, which is what players have shown they want.

    Again, I am not sure I agree with the conclusion you reach. Is it that they want it, or that they have grown accustomed to it? I would be interested in experiments testing patience while grinding with and without trash loot.

    Now, having said this, I do agree that with Wildstar, they could remove the trash loot, and just give more random drops, as they are basically the same. I also agree that some of this could be crafting related items, as it would fil the same role.

    Gold is just another way of metering the gain, but does it a bit differently. It allows an much higher limit of accumulation, without having to break. If you are out of inventory, you have to go back to town to sell. With gold you do not. There are other ways this could be achieved, but it one of the more simple (standardized) methods of dealing with longer sessions.

    Sometimes in WildStar I just got the feeling that they were abusing gold as a meter: gold to buy Skills, a house, house upkeep, mounts, mount training, amps, amp resets, dyes, rune unlocks, and vendor-only crafting items. Hell I felt that i might as well be paying to equip my items! While it's an easy way of metering content, it's definitely not fun-- and that's why I am advocating for a reduction in the amount of gold circulation and a removal of certain gold sinks. 

     

  • BetaguyBetaguy Halifax, NSPosts: 2,590Member

    I read everything in it's entirety and I am unsure what you exactly want me to say except, you both have very great ideas.  The only thing I truly agree with is Durham saying Raph Koster was a respected man in today's developer community in a sense.  

    To date he is the only one to build the best player driven economy in an mmo. Star Wars Galaxies had an economy that felt just like that.  I remember having a company and people hired in game to collect me resources and deliver them to me in a timely manner thus I could spend more time crafting :).  Stuff deteriorated back in those day and would lose max durability once repaired each time and in turn thus taking it back in a sense as Durham discusses.  If any developer want's to do it right and before they can achieve this great feat of making a 'true' player driven economy must study SWG's and then build on that.

    Also there needs to be non-combat professions, these attract people who like being a full time endorser of creating the economy and that is their focus. Give the combat people a reason to bring goods to these people who chose the path of not fighting and more to the economics of a game economy.

    Just my 5 Canadian cents.

     

    ps. My Acklay Batons were just killer, every pvp kid wanted one. Thanks to random resource spawn with numerous stats.  I remember using my calculator so much to test everything.

    image

  • FoomerangFoomerang Portland, ORPosts: 5,565Member Uncommon

    I think Final Fantasy XIV has one of the best economies I have experienced. There are many layers and outlets for crafting, gathering, buying and selling various components, using crafted and dropped items for multiple game systems.

    Mobs in the open world do not drop gear, or vendor trash. All open world mob loot is crafting materials. Everything you get from a mob can be used in at least one recipe somewhere.

    Dungeons drop crafting mats and also gear. If this gear is not an upgrade, it can be used in multiple other ways which benefit yourself, other players, the economy in general.

    You can take dropped gear to your faction's provisioner in exchange for currencies which can be used for a variety of things ranging from guild buffs, to mount outfits, pets, consumables, other gear sets, etc.

    You can also equip dropped gear and spirit bond it. Which means you grind it to 100% bonded and can convert it into materia, which is used to enhance gear via crafting classes.

    You can also use dropped gear to equip one of your retainers for running missions, and in 2.3 you can desynthesize it for raw crafting materials and a chance for rare components.

    There are so many avenues a gatherer or crafter can take. And adventurers are constantly acquiring items that crafters can use.

  • bartlioliobartliolio san antonio, TXPosts: 15Member
    Originally posted by Betaguy

    I read everything in it's entirety and I am unsure what you exactly want me to say except, you both have very great ideas.  The only thing I truly agree with is Durham saying Raph Koster was a respected man in today's developer community in a sense.  

    To date he is the only one to build the best player driven economy in an mmo. Star Wars Galaxies had an economy that felt just like that.  I remember having a company and people hired in game to collect me resources and deliver them to me in a timely manner thus I could spend more time crafting :).  Stuff deteriorated back in those day and would lose max durability once repaired each time and in turn thus taking it back in a sense as Durham discusses.  If any developer want's to do it right and before they can achieve this great feat of making a 'true' player driven economy must study SWG's and then build on that.

    Also there needs to be non-combat professions, these attract people who like being a full time endorser of creating the economy and that is their focus. Give the combat people a reason to bring goods to these people who chose the path of not fighting and more to the economics of a game economy.

    Just my 5 Canadian cents.

     

    ps. My Acklay Batons were just killer, every pvp kid wanted one. Thanks to random resource spawn with numerous stats.  I remember using my calculator so much to test everything.

    I am not sure where I was going either-- I believe I started out trying to show how his implementation of scarcity was wrong, but ended up realizing halfway through that it was just a different, but equally valid way of doing so. I never had the chance to play SWG in its prime, so sadly I don't have any experience with what has typically been hailed as the best crafting system in an MMO. 

    My current stance is that WildStar is too biased towards hardcore raiders to support a healthy economy and that gold-locks are one of the most unfun ways of gating content. Eventually I will get around to developing a more coherent design argument, but most of what I have written thusfar is just purging my brain of all the ideas that have been stored up. 

  • bartlioliobartliolio san antonio, TXPosts: 15Member
    Originally posted by Foomerang

    I think Final Fantasy XIV has one of the best economies I have experienced. There are many layers and outlets for crafting, gathering, buying and selling various components, using crafted and dropped items for multiple game systems.

    Mobs in the open world do not drop gear, or vendor trash. All open world mob loot is crafting materials. Everything you get from a mob can be used in at least one recipe somewhere.

    Dungeons drop crafting mats and also gear. If this gear is not an upgrade, it can be used in multiple other ways which benefit yourself, other players, the economy in general.

    You can take dropped gear to your faction's provisioner in exchange for currencies which can be used for a variety of things ranging from guild buffs, to mount outfits, pets, consumables, other gear sets, etc.

    You can also equip dropped gear and spirit bond it. Which means you grind it to 100% bonded and can convert it into materia, which is used to enhance gear via crafting classes.

    You can also use dropped gear to equip one of your retainers for running missions, and in 2.3 you can desynthesize it for raw crafting materials and a chance for rare components.

    There are so many avenues a gatherer or crafter can take. And adventurers are constantly acquiring items that crafters can use.

    I played FFXIV up to level 20 before I quit, the people who i used to group with started leaving MMOs and there wasn't much driving me to play anymore. I do remember the gathering and crafting systems were intricate compared to your typical MMO, with the quality and progress crafting mini-game. I will have to go back and try to experience what you're talking about, it seems to hit a lot of the key things I am advocating for.

  • FoomerangFoomerang Portland, ORPosts: 5,565Member Uncommon


    Originally posted by bartliolio
    Originally posted by Foomerang I think Final Fantasy XIV has one of the best economies I have experienced. There are many layers and outlets for crafting, gathering, buying and selling various components, using crafted and dropped items for multiple game systems. Mobs in the open world do not drop gear, or vendor trash. All open world mob loot is crafting materials. Everything you get from a mob can be used in at least one recipe somewhere. Dungeons drop crafting mats and also gear. If this gear is not an upgrade, it can be used in multiple other ways which benefit yourself, other players, the economy in general. You can take dropped gear to your faction's provisioner in exchange for currencies which can be used for a variety of things ranging from guild buffs, to mount outfits, pets, consumables, other gear sets, etc. You can also equip dropped gear and spirit bond it. Which means you grind it to 100% bonded and can convert it into materia, which is used to enhance gear via crafting classes. You can also use dropped gear to equip one of your retainers for running missions, and in 2.3 you can desynthesize it for raw crafting materials and a chance for rare components. There are so many avenues a gatherer or crafter can take. And adventurers are constantly acquiring items that crafters can use.
    I played FFXIV up to level 20 before I quit, the people who i used to group with started leaving MMOs and there wasn't much driving me to play anymore. I do remember the gathering and crafting systems were intricate compared to your typical MMO, with the quality and progress crafting mini-game. I will have to go back and try to experience what you're talking about, it seems to hit a lot of the key things I am advocating for.

    Yeah its a great system. Some detractors will state it is useless since you cannot craft the most powerful gear in the game, but that is probably only about 2% of what this game offers and crafting/gathering is at the top of the other 98%.
    I also think that spirit bonding is a superior method of creating demand than just item decay. Basically spirit bonding is voluntary item decay which yields an item of value at the end. In SWG, item decay was punishment for using your gear. In FF, it is a reward.
  • bartlioliobartliolio san antonio, TXPosts: 15Member
    Originally posted by Foomerang
    In SWG, item decay was punishment for using your gear. In FF, it is a reward.

     

    To me this is really the crux of WildStar's methods of economy management. It has to do with the perception of the systems and whether or not the player feels what they are paying is worth what they're getting back. In WildStar, I get the feeling that i have to pay for everything-- that I am being taxed for things that are not optional, and overtaxed for things that are. Maybe it's because most of the resource sinks are in the form of gold, but it always ends up feeling like a form of punishment. 

  • Spankster77Spankster77 Marlton, NJPosts: 404Member

    I have never been one that is super into crafting but I think that most games could make crafting more fun and have a higher impact on the economy/game.  I personally like the idea of tying crafting to both raiding and PvP, as it would encourage people to experience all the game has to offer. 

     

    One of the major issues is that most MMO gamers fall into one of three camps, raiders, PvPers, explorers/crafters.  The issue is that most people play games based on their preference and basically feel that it's not "fair" to have to do other aspects of the game to advance the aspect they enjoy, which in my opinion is absurd.  If you enjoy PvP and do it a ton you should be able to also raid with your PvP gear or if you have decent PvE gear it should be viable in PvP (which if you remember back in vanilla WoW was the case, a grand marshal set was good for both PvE and PvP).  What MMOs have done now is make it so that people that spend 15 hours a week raiding don't have the time to really enjoy PvP due to needing PvP specific gear and vice versa.

     

    Now in response to SWG and EVE, I think the major difference is sandbox vs. theme park.  In theme park MMOs the content is expected to drive the game where as in a sandbox players are the driving factor in the game.  For example, I remember playing GW1 where you would have people that basically did no PvE stuff just scavenged and crafted for 8 hours a day.   

  • DistopiaDistopia Baltimore, MDPosts: 16,905Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by Foomerang

     


     
    SWG, item decay was punishment for using your gear. In FF, it is a reward.

     

    I never really looked it it like that, I looked at that as more a balancing mechanic. It ensured one had to work at remaining at the top of their game. It also ensured high potency dot weapons were a temporary thing rather than permanent.

    For every minute you are angry , you lose 60 seconds of happiness."-Emerson

    It is a sign of a defeated man, to attack at ones character in the face of logic and reason- Me

  • DistopiaDistopia Baltimore, MDPosts: 16,905Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by Spankster77

    I

     

    Now in response to SWG and EVE, I think the major difference is sandbox vs. theme park.  In theme park MMOs the content is expected to drive the game where as in a sandbox players are the driving factor in the game.  For example, I remember playing GW1 where you would have people that basically did no PvE stuff just scavenged and crafted for 8 hours a day.   

    WHat it really boils down to is loot enticed mechanics. EVE and SWG are games where the players create what others use. IN a game like WS or any other Raid focused game gear is the reward, hence why you rarely see decay systems tied to it, as it would render the reward useless after so long and typically it's a key to gated content. IN the former gear isn't the reward, it's a means to an end, there's little special about it typically (outside of very rare drops like in SWG's case) those drops are only meant to be temporary and can drop at any time from just about anything, they're not tied to specific content, or a reward for doing it. 

    A themepark could have systems like this, the key would be using another reward mechanic over gear.

    For every minute you are angry , you lose 60 seconds of happiness."-Emerson

    It is a sign of a defeated man, to attack at ones character in the face of logic and reason- Me

  • bartlioliobartliolio san antonio, TXPosts: 15Member
    Originally posted by Spankster77

    One of the major issues is that most MMO gamers fall into one of three camps, raiders, PvPers, explorers/crafters. The issue is that most people play games based on their preference and basically feel that it's not "fair" to have to do other aspects of the game to advance the aspect they enjoy, which in my opinion is absurd.

      If you enjoy PvP and do it a ton you should be able to also raid with your PvP gear or if you have decent PvE gear it should be viable in PvP (which if you remember back in vanilla WoW was the case, a grand marshal set was good for both PvE and PvP).  What MMOs have done now is make it so that people that spend 15 hours a week raiding don't have the time to really enjoy PvP due to needing PvP specific gear and vice versa.

     

    I don't know how well this would blow over with the majority of players, but I am of the opinion that while you should be able to participate in other parts of a game, it should not be mandatory. These different camps of players need to be looked at in the same light as the trinity, with players on a (faction-wide or guild-wide) scale fulfilling each role for the game world to function well. However, it may be the case that in some games a group is purposefully marginalized-- as PvPers are in games that do not have significant PvP support.

    Now in response to SWG and EVE, I think the major difference is sandbox vs. theme park.  In theme park MMOs the content is expected to drive the game where as in a sandbox players are the driving factor in the game.  For example, I remember playing GW1 where you would have people that basically did no PvE stuff just scavenged and crafted for 8 hours a day.   

    The problem with catering to one group in MMOs is that if you try to cater to each group individually, you would be making three totally different types of games. If you were trying to cater solely to PvE players, you'd make something like a multiplayer version of Dark Souls or Monster Hunter. To cater to PvP players, you'd make something like a MOBA, Planetside 2, or Fury Online. To cater to socializers and explorers, you'd make something like The Witness or Glitch.

    The art of creating a good MMO is in merging the disparate features from these different types of games into one unified whole. This is much easier said than done, so it is painfully obvious to the players when there's an imbalance one way or the other. 

     

  • FoomerangFoomerang Portland, ORPosts: 5,565Member Uncommon


    Originally posted by Distopia
    Originally posted by Foomerang    SWG, item decay was punishment for using your gear. In FF, it is a reward.
     
    I never really looked it it like that, I looked at that as more a balancing mechanic. It ensured one had to work at remaining at the top of their game. It also ensured high potency dot weapons were a temporary thing rather than permanent.

    As a full time crafter in swg, I loved it because I knew people would eventually be forced to buy new gear. But in hindsight, that was kind of messed up lol. It was also telling how popular anti decay kits were, that people weren't in love with the idea. I don't think you can remove all necessary evils from an mmorpg. But I do think you can add incentive to just about anything. Decay for the sake of forced commerce is a zero sum type of game mechanic. I win when you lose. I think there are better ways of doing it. FFxiv's way isn't perfect, but I think its a step in the right direction.
  • Originally posted by Foomerang

     


    Originally posted by Distopia

    Originally posted by Foomerang  

     SWG, item decay was punishment for using your gear. In FF, it is a reward.
     
    I never really looked it it like that, I looked at that as more a balancing mechanic. It ensured one had to work at remaining at the top of their game. It also ensured high potency dot weapons were a temporary thing rather than permanent.
    As a full time crafter in swg, I loved it because I knew people would eventually be forced to buy new gear. But in hindsight, that was kind of messed up lol. It was also telling how popular anti decay kits were, that people weren't in love with the idea. I don't think you can remove all necessary evils from an mmorpg. But I do think you can add incentive to just about anything. Decay for the sake of forced commerce is a zero sum type of game mechanic. I win when you lose. I think there are better ways of doing it. FFxiv's way isn't perfect, but I think its a step in the right direction.

     

    Can you think of one real world product (that is an actual tangible thing; cars, shoes, a knife, etc) that does not decay with use?  My guess is probably not.

     

    Now I think we need to differentiate some though.  It is incredibly important in real world use to clean,oil and sharpen your sword with each use and to also do so somewhat regularly when not in much use.  But a well made sword can last for  a very very long time when well maintained.

    Similarly a good pair of boots, when well maintained, can last for decades.

     

    However when not well maintained a good pair of boots get destroyed pretty fast.  And a poorly made poor of boots or shoes falls apart no matter how well you maintain it.

     

    Life is predicated upon attrition.  But sometimes it seems like the attrition that exists in some MMORPGs is just a prod to have certain effects, rather than a mechanic that makes sense in the context of actual life.

     

    So we can say that if you want a truly rich and meaningful item system you pretty much have to have attrition.  But that does not mean all items must eventually become useless to you.  Rather attrition should be something that increases your valuation for the quality of which something is made and as a reason for why maintenance and care of things you value is important.

     

    In most games they use these things as prods or carrots and people know so they resent it.  They don't use it as a fact of life.  Do people complain that the devs implemented gravity in some form?  No, they expect and would think it was weird if they didn't.

  • sketocafesketocafe StoupaPosts: 801Member Uncommon
    You really can't add something like CREDD and not have gold sinks wherever a player turns. They need that steady drain in your wallet so people who don't feel like farming will have reasons to get CREDDs and throw em on the market. If you're not going to go with the eve/plex route and have item removal then it's gotta be gold sinks everywhere which hit everybody. Kinda sucks.
  • TwofeetTwofeet brightonPosts: 11Member
    It is a false economy.  It is like the cotton farms of the 30's in the US where you would pay someone a dollar and force them to spend 70c on lodgings and 30c on food.  It is meaningless.  
  • FoomerangFoomerang Portland, ORPosts: 5,565Member Uncommon


    Originally posted by gestalt11
    Can you think of one real world product (that is an actual tangible thing; cars, shoes, a knife, etc) that does not decay with use?  My guess is probably not. Now I think we need to differentiate some though.  It is incredibly important in real world use to clean,oil and sharpen your sword with each use and to also do so somewhat regularly when not in much use.  But a well made sword can last for  a very very long time when well maintained.Similarly a good pair of boots, when well maintained, can last for decades. However when not well maintained a good pair of boots get destroyed pretty fast.  And a poorly made poor of boots or shoes falls apart no matter how well you maintain it. Life is predicated upon attrition.  But sometimes it seems like the attrition that exists in some MMORPGs is just a prod to have certain effects, rather than a mechanic that makes sense in the context of actual life. So we can say that if you want a truly rich and meaningful item system you pretty much have to have attrition.  But that does not mean all items must eventually become useless to you.  Rather attrition should be something that increases your valuation for the quality of which something is made and as a reason for why maintenance and care of things you value is important. In most games they use these things as prods or carrots and people know so they resent it.  They don't use it as a fact of life.  Do people complain that the devs implemented gravity in some form?  No, they expect and would think it was weird if they didn't.

    In answer to your first question, no I cant. But I also cant think of a lot of things which translate into a world where people are not required to sleep, bathe, eat regularly, etc.

    But I get where you are coming from. Developers have the unique opportunity to turn attrition into a game. Having attrition for the sake of realism or adding value to an activity or item is one way of doing things, but the enjoyment is much more subjective. And the reward is heavily reliant on perception over fun game design.

    I would not put decay into the same category as gravity when it comes to game design. I would put it into the category of hunger, or going to the bathroom. I think there are other ways to deal with wear and tear in an mmo economy. It is most commonly used as a gold sink. Make players constantly flush money out of the game in order to maintain their equipment. Straight up decay to the point of destruction is a slippery slope. Im more a fan of game mechanics that encourage or reward you for playing the game.

    IMO, item decay for the sake of forced commerce is an easy out. I like to see more creative ways to stimulate an economy. There are games that I feel do a better job at this than a decay system.


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