Massively Overthinking: Do you strive to be ‘rich’ in MMORPGs?


Last week, we did a Daily Grind about living our best lives in MMOs, doing things in video games we wish we could do in real life but for multiple reasons just can’t. In the comments and on social media, several people mentioned things like “being able to afford a house” or “being super rich,” and I wanted to explore that a little bit in this week’s Massively Overthinking. I have questions.

How rich is rich? How often do you actually become rich in MMOs? Do you get there from normal play or from a concerted effort to make money? What’s your motivation? Do you have more fun when you can buy anything or when you have to work for it? What do you do with it all when you’re loaded with dough? Does it ruin the game for you or open new avenues of play? And which MMORPG made you the richest you’ve ever been in a video game?

Let’s Overthink it!

Andrew Ross (@dengarsw): For me, rich is when you can purchase stuff meant for a whole guild (like guild housing/ship) and still have money left to out-purchase most other players. I always get there with some focus, since the only way to be rich and play “normally” would, in my opinion, mean just grinding content without considering buying gear, enhancements, consumables… things that optimize your character for high-end content.

I often get rich for my friends/guild. Letting them see what the bigger guilds can do as a small group is fun; so is being able to kit them out so they can see content they normally wouldn’t experience. In that sense, for me, it’s not just rich in money but resources. In Darkfall, I was in a huge alliance but a small guild. However, in one particularly bad region-wide Civil War, our little guild lasted because I’d saved tons of supplies to repair walls as well as armor and food to keep people on the field. The guilds that thought we were beneath them and barely worth keeping around were fighting naked, as they’d only had a few high-end suits that were dropped and looted on death. Some had to ask for our “junk gear” to survive. Suiting up a whole alliance, even with medium gear… that made me feel rich for sure! Money may not be everything, but spending it in the right places certainly opens up new social gameplay options if you’re creative.

I first really got rich in Horizons, when me and my friend really learned the economics games. Three of us ended up with the money for a guild manor and to pay for supplies for it to be built, but our server got closed and I lost the info on getting compensated, bleh. I got rich enough in World of Warcraft to hold some contests, like putting up one of those 2-person motorcycles. I mentioned one Darkfall story, but after the NA servers opened, I had the supplies to repair a whole medium-sized guild’s walls… damn shame they kicked me as a potential spy after I donated that during a guild siege when I had said I needed to study for a test. That’s the other side of the coin though: Just as in real life, having a big wallet doesn’t make you immune from being taken advantage of.

Ben Griggs (@braxwolf): Bring rich is not usually a consideration for me when playing a game. I prefer to accumulate currency as a natural consequence of progression. However, I do find myself looking for increased efficiencies in earning currency: doing one thing that counts for multiple currencies, for example. Also, I’m really bad about hoarding currency “just in case” I run into something that requires a large chunk of change.

Brianna Royce (@nbrianna, blog): To me, being rich in an MMO is basically when I get to the point when I don’t need to worry about spending money on the things I want for myself and my friends. It’s different in every MMO because some games have jack-all I care about beyond the gameplay – if there are no housing or cosmetic things, I probably don’t need to worry about affording luxuries.

City of Heroes is a game where I don’t worry at all about money. Money buys you like 2% more power and most of it is at endgame, while I prefer to alt in the midgame, so I always have more than enough even as I know I am not loaded at all. I don’t really farm there or try to make money at all.

But in Star Wars Galaxies is an MMO where I don’t worry at all about money because I have so much of it; it’s probably also the richest I’ve ever been in an MMO. I don’t work hard at all to make it; just being a smart crafter has ensured the money flows in even when I don’t play, which just allows me to come back now and then, restock a bit, and buy new rares and deco when it comes out. I love that freedom, and I’ve never found that having piles of cash ruins it for me. The game becomes finding ways to spend it. You literally cannot take it with you! Spend it!

In most MMOs, though, I don’t stress it. In LOTRO and Guild Wars 2, for example, I’m content being comfortably middle class, and if I make money crafting or flipping rares, great, but I was crafting more for fun most of the time anyway.

Carlo Lacsina (@UltraMudkipEX, YouTube, Twitch): I’m already a pretty modest guy. I don’t really go out of my way to get the nicest cars or largest house; I put value in skill more than anything. So in MMOs, it’s not about what my account can afford; it’s what I’ve achieved in the game. I’m not too motivated to earn a huge amount of cash as long as my character looks cool doing it – that’s really all that matters to me. Most of my money earned in any game is just from regular gameplay like dailies and weeklies. The last time I made a concerted effort to make a ton of cash was back in 2007-2008 when I grinded out the money and materials for Obsidian Armor (Fissure of Woe) armor in Guild Wars 1. That was the only thing I really put any effort into grinding.

Come to think of it, GW1 is probably the game I’m richest at. I’ve got plenty of cash, and a lot of my assets are cool and rare items in the game. I just mainly keep it in inventory and reminisce on them whenever I log on. But other than that, I enjoy a pretty modest in game life. Rich enough afford all the potions I need!

Chris Neal (@wolfyseyes, blog): I’m particularly bad at finances in-game, so when I get rich, I usually am pretty bad about keeping it in my digital pockets. What’s a faucet without a sink after all, am I right? Most of the things I usually spend my MMORPG currency on are cosmetics because dressing up in multiple fashions is the truest endgame in every title I’ve ever played. Though sometimes I do spend the money on some better gear, but not often.

In terms of making money, that sort of just… happens without my paying attention to it nine times out of ten. Usually this is due to crafting being worthless in very nearly every title I’ve played, so most of the time if I’m flush with a digital world’s cash, it’s primarily because it pooled up slowly over the course of regular play and not via some concerted effort.

As for the richest I’ve ever been, that’s pretty much only happened a couple of times in Final Fantasy XIV, and usually the gil disappears because of the aforementioned cosmetics chase, though there was the one time I was able to buy an in-game house with it.

Sam Kash (@thesamkash): I don’t think I’ve ever been rich in an MMO. I’ve certainly had more than enough to cover anything I needed to buy or possibly some cool gear, but I’ve never had enough to just spend on a whim. I think that’s the level you need to be at to be considered rich – as in, if a new set of gear or cosmetics comes out and you can just purchase it right away without a thought. I assume these are the same players who have all the special particle effects from those trinkets in Guild Wars 2.

GW2 is likely the wealthiest I’ve been. I think I have close to 2k gold, which is peanuts, I know, but it’s enough for me to buy a decent skin here and there but not enough for even a single legendary I don’t think. That’s probably another way to measure it. How many legendaries do you have? All of them? Then you’re rich.

Every week, join the Massively OP staff for Massively Overthinking column, a multi-writer roundtable in which we discuss the MMO industry topics du jour – and then invite you to join the fray in the comments. Overthinking it is literally the whole point. Your turn!
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