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WildStar Uplink Analysis: Money Sinks

Written by Mélanie "Elkina" Corolleur on June 24, 2013

This time, Charles “Bull” Durham took more of a one on one approach to answering questions. That’s his style and we dig it!

 

cecilandblues: my concerns are about resources and crafting. I hope to see Tier1-TierMAX materials all relevant and interconnected

I hope Warplots create a churn that involves materials from all tiers and vocations of crafting. More EVE less WoW

As long as people create new characters, the leveling-tier resources will be valuable. We do not have any plans to upgrade leveling-tier resources to endgame resources. It does make some sense to do it from a simulation standpoint. However, if we increase the demand for the leveling-tier resources by always making them relevant, then they will perhaps become too scarce for the people who need them to level. I personally prefer Eve Online style resource distribution, but that is a game whose play experience is driven largely by the acquisition of and trade in the various resources. In WildStar, the resources are always more thematically tied to a player’s practical progression through the game, growing with the player. Since a WildStar player can’t just “move over to the next asteroid belt” when high level players remove all of the resources from the area, we set up a system where high level players don’t really need the stuff.

 

Essaltap: Creating a weekly lottery system for optional expenses, with a chance to win equipment/mounts for example

From an economic standpoint, I love lotteries because they’d be an extra money sink. The extra money sink means I could reduce the costs of, say, item repair and the economy would remain balanced. However, gambling is not welcome in all regions and can create animosity. Consequently, while we have thought about lotteries and similar systems, we are unlikely to have features like this at launch.

 

Mark_Mahoon: In my opinion repair costs is somewhat demotivating. Most MMOs overcharge on repair costs.

We’ve talked before about how adding sinks is the counterbalance to the awesome of getting the treasure hoard. If I take away repair costs, I have to charge more for something else, or I have to take away the piñata of awesome. Repair has the benefit of being one of the few money sinks that directly relates to money-earning activities.  Since these activities are ones in which any player can participate, repair is therefore the fairest sinks. I don’t see it going away any time soon!

 

Yakzan: I would like to know how they'd balance the convenience of the AH mechanic while creating face-to-face interactions with sellers.

Outside of being able to circumvent the auction house fees through direct trade, there aren’t any incentives for face-to-face interaction. Forcing players to do a face-to-face transaction slows the flow of goods, slowing the economy and increasing the overall tedium to the game. Therefore, we won’t be doing storefront style interactions.

What tools will players get to have their say in the economy? Thinking crafter advertisements, player shops/vendors, etc.

There will not be specific player shops or advertising outside of announcements in chat. While it is exciting to have your own storefront, it forces players to visit your storefront in some way, which creates a huge barrier for your customers to overcome. In addition, there is a significant amount of server overhead. In the end, everyone loses, which is why you don’t see it in modern MMOs anymore. Since there is no storefront to visit, in-world advertising then becomes far less necessary than if storefronts were available

 

Atomics1911: Take extra hard measure to curb the RMT market to hold down inflation.

As long as people are willing to spend real money to get in-game money, there will be an RMT market. RMT is a nuisance, but it is one that design should expect to manage while in development. A key part of this is identifying the situations where currency/items can be easily created, and limiting the potential for these situations to be exploited by the gold farmers. The best defense against RMT is for us devs to be diligent about how we put content in the game, and for our community to be partners with us by identifying and reporting problems when they’re discovered.

 

TyranadeP: Crafting should give the same status as raiding. Hence top level should be hard to obtain. unique recipes etc

Elder Game crafting is hard and requires tenacity. We’re not ready to go into more detail about those systems yet, however. Look for more information regarding Elder Game crafting in the future.

 

Gazimoff: I'd like to know the balance between NPC items, lootables and craftables - how much econ can players control?

Players must acquire items from all available sources in order to end up with the best gear makeup possible. In a way, you have total control over this, and the quality of what you end up with will be pretty closely related to how you spend your time in game. Crafters are given great power as they will always be making things that will be needed by players as they grow. No one source will be the only place to go for the best stuff.

 

Anhrez: What if you 'earned' skill points spent during crafting to influence the outcome? Earned thru work orders, raiding, Warplots pvp?

We already have a couple of different ways of affecting the crafting outcome and quality. Adding more permutations at this point might lead to exploitable situations. However, there are many more tie-ins between crafting and other activities to come! Economic PvPers will be pleased.

If no play shops how about player work order boards? Looking for chainsword?

Work order boards were on the, um, drawing board. There are technical issues with it that could lead to players trolling each other so it is on the back-burner for right now.

 

unindel: Also sinks are needed but don't make travel costs scale harshly with level. I should want to move around the world

Travel costs are based on the level of the area, not the level of the player. Generally speaking, it is balanced so that the travel costs in that area are proportional to the amount of cash that can be generated by an area. We are thinking about alternative travel pricing schemes in the Economy office, so this might change.

 

MasonTMatchak: Concerned about training costs. Hope to not have to save money just to train - should have enough when I need it

You will have enough to train when you need it. Part of the fun of economic gameplay is to understand when you need to conserve your resources. In the real world, there are a great many people who do not conserve resources and rely upon banks in order to cover their shortfall, in exchange for a fee. In our game, all you’d have to do is delete your character to shirk your debts. So, at least in the game we have to learn how to save our money.

 

BeryllineBea: So, my main concern is whether those costs will be reasonable, so I won't go broke just from trying something new. In another game, travel costs plus repair costs made it very hard for me to run dungeons with friends.

We will be keeping an eye on repair costs, but proper planning and successful raiding should net you more money than you will need for travel and repair. Again, these sinks must be in place to balance the “Jackpot!!!” feeling you’ll get now and then when getting the phat lewtz. You can’t have one without the other or else the economy will break. If you find that you are running out of money constantly there may be some potential sources of cash that you could tap for more income, so ask around and see what you can find!

 

GrdPa: A virtual casino would be very appropriated in WildStar I guess. With little games, quirky games. Rewards could be useless rewards but everybody wants, thanks to the rarety ! It could also regulate the depopulation due to housing

This is on the list of things that we would like to have, but we need to bring you all a solid core game experience first. To that end, we’re talking with the social team about what we can do with it.

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