economy

Kritika Online releases first open beta patch

Have any of you given Kritika Online a try? This action MMORPG may be slipping under a lot of people’s radars during this shockingly busy summer, but the Kritika team isn’t coasting on the game’s soft launch to carry it through the season. Yesterday the game’s first open beta patch was pushed out with many much-needed fixes and features.

“This update focuses heavily on the economy,” the team wrote, “including changes to the auction house, how items are bound, and how end-game gear is acquired. Additionally, we have a completely revamped arena mode with 12 times the number of levels that offer some sweet rewards for those of you who are up to the challenge.”

You can read the full patch notes if you’re into this game. The dev team teased “new tricks” that it has up its sleeves and said that a “bigger and better” August update is currently in testing.

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Massively Overthinking: Building a better MMORPG economy

We are on a roll with the epic questions for Overthinking lately! “The recent article about monetization got me thinking about just how much most modern MMOs are still trying to replicate real-world capitalist economies,” MOP Patron Avaera begins.

“Virtual currency is usually earned proportional to various measures of virtual effort that are intended to be wealth-generating activities – selling loot earned from skillful PvE hunting, selling crafted goods made from resources gathered over time, owning items or land that generates tradeable material over time. However, virtual effort doesn’t have the quite the same limitations, scarcity, and creativity as real-world effort, and these systems seem prone to exploitation by users/bots that can easily outmatch casual players in terms of how much virtual effort and time they can expend, leading to various RMT problems and artificially distorted economies. How would you go about avoiding this problem, if you had the god-like powers of a game designer? Is there a way to set up a virtual economy so that it isn’t prone to exploitation by bots or gold-farmers, and will we ever see a virtual game currency that can truly be exchanged with a real one?”

I posed Avaera’s question to our staff to mull over.

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Albion Online raised almost $10M, officially launches today

If it seems as if you’ve been hearing about Albion Online for a long time, you’re not wrong. In fact, the game has delayed its testing periods multiple times for major revamps, to the chagrin of testers, but hopefully that’ll make today’s launch all the better. Yep, today the day this buy-to-play, economy-driven, indie PvP sandbox is finally here, at least if you’re in the top-tier of founders and starter pack purchasers.

“Developed by Sandbox Interactive, fantasy MMORPG Albion Online has officially arrived on PC, Mac and Linux, bringing with it a community of dedicated MMO fans. Kicking off their adventures with a clean slate after the beta server wipe, Legendary Founder and Legendary Starter Pack owners have already begun taking their first steps in the sprawling land of Albion, staking their claim on the untamed wilds and free markets therein. Epic Founders and Starters will be the next group to enter the fray, joining Albion’s servers on July 18th at 13:00 UTC, followed by Veteran Founders and Starters on July 19th at 13:00 UTC. Can’t wait to start forging out on your own adventure? Download the client and grab a Legendary Starter Pack to dive in right away!”

In an AMA over the weekend, Sandbox Interactive said it now counts 250,000 founders and almost $10,000,000 in funding.

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Armored Warfare announces Eye of the Storm expansion

This morning we had a lively discussion in the Massively OP office over whether or not Armored Warfare had ever actually launched. We thought it had, considering all of its releases to date, but in doing some research, we determined the game has simply existed in a soft-launch open beta state since October 2015.

Beta or no, the vehicle PvP game is getting ready to roll out a huge summer expansion called Eye of the Storm. Update 0.21 will add a new Panama Canal map for players to fight over and toss in Czechoslovak and Polish progression vehicles to add more spice to the combat front.

In addition to these headlining features, Eye of the Storm has plenty of smaller, but welcome, changes. These include economy changes that “justly reward” players, garage UI improvements, graphical upgrades, ammunition fixes, and revamps to the Narrows and Roughneck maps.

Take a closer look at the Panama Canal waterway map below!

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Monetization expert: MMOs are dying because of clueless design, not insufficient demand

MMORPG players just love it when somebody declares the MMORPG dead, right? All those games you’re playing, all the games we’re writing about and sustaining us? Zombie games! You’re imagining it all! Thanks, mainstreamers!

Today’s somebody, admittedly, is Ramin Shokrizade, an economist and author well-known for his career and expertise in gaming monetization specifically, and he doesn’t mean literally dead in today’s piece on Gamasutra, in spite of its title. “What Killed the MMOG?” is an excerpt of an unpublished paper he penned in 2009 on RMT: real-money trading/transfer and gold farming, a problem developers told him “had no solution.”

Shokrizade describes the “industrialization” of RMT in factories run by massive organizations in China dedicated to making black market botter cash off the burgeoning MMO market in the 2000s. “Since the accounts are optimized for profitability, they tend to bring in perhaps ten times as much coin per hour as a maximum level account played for entertainment purposes, and hundreds of times as much as an account at half the level cap or less,” he wrote. Consequently, paying for in-game cash from RMT companies was just a logical move for buyers.

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Black Desert ups the in-game prices on cash shop items in the auction market

Players are making more in-game money in Black Desert than they were a year ago. Part of that is just, you know, a year to refine processes; the other part is that new mechanics have been added making it easier to make money. As a result, the supply and demand for cash shop items has gotten a little bit skewed compared to where it started. The developers are addressing this imbalance by increasing the silver prices on cash shop items by 50% across the board.

The change won’t be rolled out until July 19th, so you’ve got a little time to plan any upcoming purchase that might otherwise be affected. Of course, this announcement is in the form of a forum post, so you can see player responses unfolding in real time, and to the surprise of probably no one they’re overwhelmingly negative and filled with accusations about pay-to-win. We leave that determination up to time and our readers.

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Life is Feudal tests economy, battle system during fourth closed beta

Life is Feudal’s MMO version is kicking off a fourth round of closed beta today for those of you lucky enough to snag an invite. Expect to be testing both the economy and the battle system during the two-week event:

“We’re glad to announce that we have just started our 4th testing run of our Closed Beta tests! Along with some bug fixes and improvements, we’re glad to also present to you one of the major features of our MMO – the Trading Post Economy! Everyone can now build a Trade Post that acts as a private, secure storage for all characters on your account and as a point of trade with other players and The Crown.

You must keep in mind that, even though you can browse offers of all Trade Posts in the world, you will have to physically fetch coins and goods between Trade Posts. In order to remove the secure way to fetch goods/coins between Trade Posts, we’ve enabled the setting on the MMO servers, which will force you to drop all your inventory items on the ground before you get moved by a Homecoming Prayer.”

The survival-centric MMO also just put out a new video on its construction system and specifically housing – check it out below!

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League of Legends increases prices in the UK over Brexit currency woes

Your pounds won’t carry you quite as far in League of Legends at this point. The game’s prices for Riot Points (i.e., the currency you use to purchase everything else in the game) will be increasing on July 25th by roughly 20%. Developer Riot Games has stated that this is in direct response to the falling value of the pound and its consistently lower value following the unexpected Brexit vote a year ago; while altering prices was hardly an original goal, after a year went by and the pound remained low, it was time to make the change.

The silver lining (of sorts) is that players should still receive the same points from a single purchase as they would if they converted from dollars to pounds and then purchased a point bundle, so it’s more about parity than just hurting gamers in the UK. Any points bought before July 25th will be unaffected, so if you want to stock up, now may be the time to do so.

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With R43 behind it, Shroud of the Avatar looks ahead to Q3

Shroud of the Avatar’s 43rd release dropped over the weekend, boasting tweaks to the Path of the Oracle, performance updates, a balancing pass for the offline economy, the new mail system, and a whole bunch of new and rebuilt locations, including the previously previewed Celestis, Libris Ruins, Boreas Colossus, Sequanna Colossus, and Bloodriver Outskirts.

Also in the latest newsletter is a quarterly update from Portalarium. “Our priority continues to be to deliver new content to our backers each and every month so that you can give us feedback that will help us iteratively improve Shroud of the Avatar,” writes Executive Producer Starr Long, who notes that the studio’s focus right now is on game performance, the new user experience, and whipping the game’s story into shape. As outlined, the next three releases – scheduled for July 27th, August 31st, and September 28th – should further those goals, along with updates to player towns, rent, combat, LFG, the economy, crafting, the UI, and the offline ruleset.

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Shroud of the Avatar vastly increases game performance with Release 43

One of the big complaints about Shroud of the Avatar during its lengthy testing process has concerned poor optimization and clunky, laggy gameplay. These issues might start becoming a thing of the past, thanks to today’s Release 43.

“Release 43 contains both a huge amount of new content and a major improvement in performance that will generally improve everything about playing the game (and I do not exaggerate),” wrote the team. “Framerates have been improved in every scene, doubled in some! This really will make playing the game feel so much better in every way.”

The update also adds the huge Blood River Outskirts scene, fleshes out the Path of the Oracle, expands the mail system, and balances the offline economy. The team said that it will be putting out its Q3 2017 roadmap tomorrow for fans.

Source: Patch notes

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Massively Overthinking: Forced socializing in MMORPGs

Massively OP Patron Jackybah has a question for this week’s Massively Overthinking that’s probably going to kick up some dust. He wonders whether MMO developers recognize and “serve” a particular subgroup of their players enough — specifically, the group of players that do not want to actively participate in social grouping (for dungeons) or social banter (in guild chat) but still want to contribute to and participate in an online world.

“In quite a number of games I feel that the game forces a player to group up to be able to see content and/or get higher-level gear,” he writes to us.

There’s a lot of layers to unpack here — non-social gamers in social spaces, the current state of MMO group content, and even the fundamentals of MMORPGs. Is our Patron right, and if so, is it a problem studios should be addressing? Let’s get to it.

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Amazon’s Breakaway revamps warriors, confirms more upgrades on the way

Last September, the internet was buzzing about Amazon Game Studios’ big reveals, including Breakaway, which the company teased for weeks ahead of time. It turned out not to be an MMO — we’ve got New World for that fix — but a “mythological sport brawler,” a 4v4, third-person MOBA-lite built from the ground up for streaming. Since then, the game’s run a few alpha tests and put the feedback to work, overhauling the characters one by one. Jarra was first up among the warriors, and now AGS has a huge dev blog out detailing changes to the rest.

For starters, several of the warrior-archetype characters got renames (Spartacus to Argus, Anne Bonny to Kyra, and Morgan Le Fey to Korryn) and style buffs; the studio tweaked power ranges, control, strafing, buildables, text chat, replays, the relic running system, and the gold economy.

“Don’t worry – Breakaway’s still about fast action, strategic teamwork, and dunking on fools,” AGS says. “We listened to your feedback and made changes we believe only refine what makes Breakaway great.”

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What’s it like when you stop being a gold farmer in World of Warcraft?

For a very long time, selling gold in World of Warcraft was a path to making money. It was unethical and against the terms of service, but it was still eminently doable. The addition of an “official” option in the form of the WoW Token changed that, and an article on Cracked talks with a former gold farmer about the path toward moving on with your life after you’ve spent time exploiting that virtual economy. It might not make you feel sympathetic for gold farming, but it’s still an interesting perspective.

Of course, if you’re farming gold, you’re probably not all that worried about playing the actual game (as the article even says), but people who are playing the game will be happy with the latest round of hotfixes, which clean up issues with the Chromie quest line, fix various balance issues, and fixes a few bugs here and there. None of them actually relates to gold, though, unless you consider a glyph recipe not dropping to be about gold. Which it sort of is, arguably.

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