economics

The Daily Grind: How diligent are you about making money in an MMO?

No one believes me when I say that I’m bad about making money in my main games. It’s true, though; compared to the people who put a whole lot of effort into doing so, my moneymaking skills are sub-par. Yes, I own a mansion in Final Fantasy XIV, but that’s a result of frugality and building up resources over time. Yes, I’ve got an extensive heirloom collection in World of Warcraft, but I’m not playing the markets (or at least, not playing them well).

Of course, I also might be comparing myself to the wrong people, considering I know other people who would fall over themselves for the moneymaking engines I already have running. So what about you, dear readers? How diligent are you about making money in an MMO? Do you enjoy playing the economic games and live for the big windfalls, or do you mostly treat money as something to slowly accumulate rather than a thing to chase after?

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EVE Evolved: The controversy over EVE Online’s capital ship nerfs

EVE Online players have been up in arms this week over sweeping nerfs that are about to hit to high-end farming gameplay styles in the player-owned nullsec territories. It started when CCP Games announced that the Excavator drones used by Rorqual capital industrial ships would be getting a sizeable mining yield reduction and that a respawn delay would be added to ore sites in nullsec. As players were still reeling from that unexpected news, developers then announced a surprise general nerf to fighter damage with the goal of making carriers and supercarriers less effective in PvE and PvP. This significant balance change was just announced on Friday 9th June and goes live on Tuesday 13th, prompting outcry from the community over the lack of feedback-gathering on such a significant change to capital ship balance.

These nerfs both seem to be reactions to the latest few Monthly Economic Reports, which showed that the total money supply in the game economy is over a quadrillion ISK and rising rapidly. The detailed breakdowns of economic activity in the reports tell a more complex story, with ISK supply from bounty prizes roughly doubling over the past year and mining in the Delve region shooting off the scale in the past few months. It seems that a large number of nullsec players are spending more time farming and building up resources, and it’s the scale and efficiency of the top-tier farming setups that has CCP worried.

In this edition of EVE Evolved, I discuss the upcoming Rorqual and fighter nerfs, look at the economics of farming, and explain why this trend could be a more serious indicator than CCP realises.

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EVE Evolved: Five EVE video shows to watch in 2017

Over the past several years, the way in which we receive gaming news and the types of gaming media we follow has changed pretty fundamentally. Today’s MMO gamers belong to dozens of micro-communities inside and outside their game, following multiple gaming channels and personalities on platforms such as YouTube and Twitch that have practically exploded in popularity.

Even a game as historically impenetrable as EVE Online has been swept up in this sea of change, with a huge number of video channels and livestreamers joining the game’s rich media history of live radio, blogs, and podcasts. New shows start up and close down every year, but a few have gathered impressive audiences and really stood the test of time.

In this edition of EVE Evolved, I look at five notable EVE Online YouTube shows and Twitch streamers you might want to keep an eye on going into 2017.

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EVE Evolved: The single-shard sandbox economy

The debate about what makes a good sandbox game is as old as the term itself, and everyone seems to have a different view on where the gameplay priorities should lie. Some insist that a proper sandbox must have open-world PvP everywhere and even that a brutal scheme of item loss on death is essential. Others point to games that prioritise world-building and environment-shaping tools that put the focus on collaboration over conflict, or that focus on exploration of environmental content. I would argue that the specific gameplay is less important than how actively a game encourages emergent gameplay, and in that regard I believe the most important feature is a complex player-run economic system.

EVE Online‘s core design philosophy is to put lots of players in a box with limited resources and see what happens, the result being resource-driven conflict, complex economics, and sociopolitical shenanigans that often mirror the real world in shocking detail. Much has been made of EVE‘s economy over the years in both the online and print media, and it’s even been the target of research papers and studies in sociology and economics. EVE isn’t the only sandbox game out there, and it certainly isn’t the only one with an interesting economy, but its single-shard server structure makes it an intriguing case and has led to some interesting gameplay over the years.

In this edition of EVE Evolved, I look at how EVE Online‘s single-shard server structure has affected the game’s complex economics, politics, and professions.

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Superdata: WoW, Lineage, SWTOR, TERA, and Blade & Soul top April P2P online games revenues

Superdata has a new seasonal report out on the state of the digital games market. The research firm’s April figures show that World of Warcraft once again dominates the pay-to-play online games market, followed by classic Lineage, Star Wars: The Old Republic, TERA, and Blade & Soul — the last of which might surprise you. Dungeon Fighter Online also makes the list as third-highest-grossing free-to-play MMO, though as usual we point out that games like World of Tanks and League of Legends are also considered for this category.

Overwatch is missing from the data thanks to its recent release, but expect it next round. “Activision Blizzard also released Overwatch this week, a multi-player shooter title deliberately designed for competitive gaming,” wrote the firm in May. “During the first 48 hours of its release, Overwatch totaled 5.4 million viewed hours on Twitch, thanks in part to a pervasive marketing campaign on the platform. It outperformed recent hit game Fallout 4, which saw 4.2 million viewed hours during the first two days of its launch.”

The top-five lists are below.

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Crowfall devs: ‘We see crafters as a full-time playstyle’

Crowfall‘s Kickstarter campaign has crossed the 12,000 backer mark and hit yet another stretch goal. This means that the team will be giving an All-Father housing statue to everyone who backs the game. At 13,000 backers, ArtCraft will grant every backer a free month of VIP come launch.

The studio also updated its crafting FAQ to expain how crafting skills are acquired, how decay will benefit the economy, how “junk” crafted items will be disposed of in a vendorless world, and how alting will be discouraged. “We see crafters as a full-time playstyle,” write the devs. “They fill a valuable role as much as a tank or damage dealer does. In addition to being able to enjoy the “meta-game” of inter-World trading between Worlds, Crafters also have a specific niche role — every faction/guild will need to recruit them to turn resources into valuable equipment within the Campaigns.”

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