economy

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 Fanfest 2018: EVE Online FPS Project Nova is coming ‘in months, not years’

When CCP Games first made the leap into the first person shooter market with DUST 514, things didn’t exactly go to plan. The game was released as a PlayStation 3 exclusive toward the end of the console’s lifetime and fell severely short of expectations. While DUST 514 was eventually discontinued, the dream of a first person shooter in the EVE Online universe has been kept alive at CCP. Two years ago, the company announced that a total remake of DUST 514 was underway under the name Project Nova, and this time it would be released on PC.

Today at EVE Fanfest 2018, CCP Games’ CEO Hilmar Veigar Petursson revealed that Nova will be coming “in months, not years.” The game should hopefully be playable in some form this year, and the initial release will focus on core FPS gameplay in an EVE setting rather than being directly connected to the EVE server. CCP hopes for the game to stand on its own feet before slowly integrating it into EVE — first via social integration, and later through economy links and other gameplay links. No new content was shown off for Nova this year, but CCP has started a newsletter for those who want to get in on the ground floor.

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Ultima Online’s F2P conversion, Endless Journey, is officially live with new ‘deluxe starter pack’

At 20 years old, Ultima Online is finally doing what its EA-backed handlers at Broadsword once said it would never do: It’s going free-to-play.

Game update 99, Endless Journey, should be live right now if all goes well with this morning’s patch, meaning new and returning players can jump right in without paying that monthly $13 subscription. They’ll have the same number skills, the same access to dungeon content, the same access to Felucca (PvP), and the same access to chat. On the other hand, they may eventually want to give that sub a go, since without it, they won’t accrue vet rewards, can’t place or co-own houses, can’t place vendors, can’t place auction safes, can’t farm champ spawns, and can’t participate fully in live GM events. They’re also limited to just two characters.

If you’re planning on coming back on an ancient account rather than a brand-new one, do note that your account may not be ready yet. “The transition for closed accounts to Endless Journey accounts has begun and will continue over the next 24 hours,” Broadsword said in its server-up message a few minutes ago. “We appreciate your patience as we work through this process. You will not be able to login until the account has been processed.”

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World of Warcraft is retiring its remote auction house — but don’t panic just yet

If you’ve gotten used to perusing and trading on World of Warcraft’s auction house from the mobile app, brace yourself for some slightly shocking news. Blizzard announced that it will be taking the WoW Remote Auction House app offline on April 18th.

Don’t panic just yet, however. First of all, this only affects remote auctions; the WoW Armory app will handle other remote functions as usual. Second, this move will not disable API and any auction house-related community sites.

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Project Gorgon player analyzes the current issue with the game’s skinning economy

The residents of Project Gorgon currently have something of a panther problem. Before you get ready for a panther-themed event complete with all sorts of panther gear (to be fair, that would make a certain amount of sense right now), it’s important to note that the problem isn’t one with invading and marauding panthers. It’s with the game’s economy, and more importantly how groups of panthers are the best effort-to-reward ratio in the entire game.

As outlined in a lengthy analysis, due to the game’s crafting structure (which never really abandons a given material) and the sheer power on AoE (which makes grinding things like huge panther packs very easy), panther hides can easily be acquired en masse, providing a quick and simple way to grind for large amounts of money in short order. Of course, the bright side is that the game is still in testing, so things like this can be addressed before the world collectively runs out of panthers.

Source: Official Forums; thanks to Jackybah for the tip!

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GDC 2018: How to get exploiters to happily surrender in EVE Online

EVE Online is not known for being a happy place. It’s shown even in mass media as a cutthroat world of war and theft. Dealing with exploits is key to making sure that this world ripe for unfairness is, well, as fair as possible, mechanically speaking. If abuse happens, traditional developer wisdom seems to be “shoot first, ask questions later,” and as players, we’re often fine with this. We don’t want to play with cheaters, right?

But what happens if the cheating is unintentional? What happens when the bug is so ingrained into the system that even casual, lapsed players accidentally took advantage of it just by returning to the game? How would you react if, shortly after resubscribing to a game, you had items or experience points taken and had your account suspended or banned? These are the things CCP Games’ Senior Project Lead of Player Experience David Einarsson had to deal with when tackling the ghost training bug.

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GDC 2018: Ultima Online post-mortem with Richard Garriott, Starr Long, Raph Koster, and Rich Vogel

Plenty of panels at GDC are recorded and uploaded to the internet weeks after the event, including this one. It’s not quite the same as being there, as you miss a few things. For example, this year’s Ultima Online Post-Mortem panel was packed. It was international. It was fun, gross, nostalgiac, and sometimes groan-inducing.

And I’d hate to just summarize the talk, especially since some of you vets have heard these stories before, but since ya’ll couldn’t make it, I’ll do it. For you. But for this particular panel, not only will I try to summarize what was said before the panel will be viewable online in a few weeks, but I’ll dish out on the after-panel chat with Richard Garriott, Starr Long, Raph Koster, and Rich Vogel, including comments from the team on bad bans, kingslaying, VR, and the state of the MMORPG.

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Darkfall: Rise of Agon pushes out market system patch

If the economy is the lifeblood of an MMORPG, then Darkfall: Rise of Agon predicts a healthy prognosis with its new market system patch.

The patch opens up markets all over the game, thanks to the Merchants Guild Alliance. These city hubs are places for crafters to buy, sell, and take orders for specific wares. Rise of Agon takes travel into consideration with this system, charging a “distance fee” for buyers if they’re purchasing far away from the seller’s locale.

The market system is made possible through the new global wallet, which is linked to global banking throughout the game.

The dev team wants the MMO community to know that it is running a free trial period through March 31st for anyone interested in checking out the game.

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Star Citizen brings back old ships for sale, asks backers to vote on alpha 3.2’s priority projects

Do you have too much money? Awesome. Star Citizen has some ideas for where you can spend it – say, on some new ships? Some old ships? Some reskinned ships? Some ships you missed the first time ’round? Some ships you want to upgrade to? Some ships you could’ve gotten cheaper if you’d done it ages ago?

“To commemorate the incoming 3.1 patch, we are offering a War Bond option to give you all one final chance to pledge for this selection of flyable ships at their original concept prices,” says CIG. The roster includes versions of the Anvil Terrapin, Tumbril Cyclone, MISC Razor, Aegis Reclaimer, Aopoa Nox Kue, RSI Constellation Aquila, MISC Prospector, and Drake Dragonfly.

Meanwhile, Chris Roberts dropped by the live Reverse the Verse yesterday to discuss the state of the game, compare it to Sea of Thieves (he says SC has more content but is less polished, which sounds about right), and ponder a minimum viable product for the masses who evidently prefer playing video games to testing them (crazy, huh?). To that end, CIG has posted what it’s calling the Alpha 3.2 Feature Survey for backers to essentially allow them to vote on which features the team focuses on for the next-next update.

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The Daily Grind: Is player trading a make-or-break MMO feature for you?

MOP reader Xijit recently pointed us to a thread on Bless Online’s Steam page where players are noting that person-to-person trading is not currently possible in some overseas versions of the game, including the Japanese servers. While a Neowiz representative wrote, “There has been a TON of feedback from players that they would like trading for the Steam release, so it is not set in stone yet that trading will not be available for Steam,” that didn’t stop the discussion and frustration over the possibility.

What surprised me was how many people are in favor of demolishing player trade in some form or other on the grounds that it reduces RMT and/or pay-to-win. Personally, I consider player trading crucial to MMOs and don’t even like it when they make it difficult, the way some of my favorite MMOs already do – Guild Wars 2 makes you mail items to each other, for example, while in Trove, you have to hunt down a trading post or leave items in a secured bin in your guildhall.

Is player trading a make-or-break MMO feature for you?

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Shroud of the Avatar: Partying with Portalarium, countering pay-to-win, and the state of the game

The day is finally arriving: Shroud of the Avatar is formally launching next week. It’s been a long journey. The path to this new old-school MMO started back on Kickstarter on March 8th, 2013. Now, five years almost to the day, SOTA is emerging. On March 27th, release #52 will be the official launch of episode 1. And fans didn’t have to wait until the end of the month to celebrate; Portalarium hosted a launch party this past week in Austin, Texas.

Besides hanging out with devs and fans at the shindig, I visited the studio’s offices for a tour and interview with Richard Garriott and Starr Long. There, I got to see memorabilia from the very beginnings of Garriott’s game-making career as well as a sneak peek of the events that will occur at SOTA’s launch. After that, it was celebration time at the awesome From Pong to Pokemon exhibit at the The Bullock Texas State History Museum (which happened to have a display of some of Garriott’s early gaming goodies!)

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Leaderboard: Do you speculate on WoW Tokens or other legal MMO RMT currency?

Is Call of Duty the next Activision franchise to migrate to Battlenet? Very likely. As Eurogamer broke earlier this month, players are now able to link their Call of Duty accounts to Battle.net – no doubt in anticipation for Black Ops 4.

I bring this up to MMO players because of the potential impact on World of Warcraft – specifically, token prices – as WoW players buy and sell their tokens to spend down their Blizzard balance to buy up the new CoD title (or cash in on the flurry). Redditors are current speculating about the incoming speculation, arguing that tokens prices have been relatively stable over the past few months, spiking for the Battle for Azeroth hoopla but ultimately settling back down. In fact, just covering the potential for a spike can cause a spike, one poster points out. Gamers will recall a similar situation last year when Destiny 2 landed on Battlenet, sending the token to record heights.

And that leads us to some Leaderboard fun. Do you speculate on WoW Tokens or other legal MMO RMT currency (like PLEX, C.R.E.D.D, etc.), or do you stay the heck away from that noise? Multiple responses are allowed!

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The Daily Grind: Have you ever engaged in an MMO price war?

One of my friends in Final Fantasy XIV is engaged in a perpetual trade war with another player who tries to drive her out of the markets by buying all of her stuff and reselling it. We do not know how in the world he continues to acquire the gil for same. For that matter, I can’t understand what he’s getting out of it; I barely understand what she’s getting out of it, since she already has plenty of gil. (Stockpiling to help others when needed, I suppose.)

I’ve never been sufficiently into the economy of any game to dive that deep into a trade war with someone, but in some games like EVE Online it’s almost half of the gameplay. And even in games that reward the mere mention of crafting with a swift punch to the ribcage, people find a way to engage in epic battles of gouging and price fixing. So what about you, readers? Have you ever engaged in an MMO price war? Have you bought and resold in an attempt to corner a market? Or have you never even considered such a thing until now?

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