Chat With GM Xandamere

First of all, there was a GM Q&A session that occured today. Here's the link to my chat logs of this event, if you want to know what happened (in full detail). The only notable thing is that Megaten was compared to an Ipod, and we're all playing with Ipods. Also, Act 17-32 is in development, by Cave. The chat with GM Xandamere happened afterwards, starting off regarding a PM I received.

Since it seems broken up at the start: it was 'cause I was PMed this:

...wherein I asked how I was trolling/flaming in the Shoutbox, and then was responded to via PM.

[Tell][GM]Xandamere>> : When somebody was asking about item rarity (14:02:07)
[Tell][GM]Xandamere>> : And you said something along the lines of (14:02:11)
[Tell][GM]Xandamere>> : "items stay rare until Aeria needs money" (14:02:20)
[Tell]Pearz>>: how is that trolling? I provided example of it occuring too (14:03:24)
[Tell][GM]Xandamere>> : It's hardly a productive contribution to a conversation. (14:03:48)
[Tell][GM]Xandamere>> : I've read your blog, and I know you're smart enough to understand that. (14:03:55)
[Tell][GM]Xandamere>> : We tried in good faith to answer some of those difficult questions as best as (14:04:18)
[Tell][GM]Xandamere>> : we can (14:04:18)
[Tell][GM]Xandamere>> : Things about the economy and such. (14:04:22)
[Tell][GM]Xandamere>> : Most game companies would just ignore questions like that. :P (14:04:33)
[Tell][GM]Xandamere>> : It's funny how certain people say we don't respond to serious issues. (14:05:53)
[Tell]Pearz>>: tho all I answered was the truth, that GMs can't say themselves cuz it looks bad (14:05:57)
[Tell][GM]Xandamere>> : I'm quite happy to answer serious questions to the best of my ability. (14:06:01)
[Tell][GM]Xandamere>> : But it needs to be in good faith. (14:06:05)
[Tell][GM]Xandamere>> : If we just get trolled, we're going to stop answering. (14:06:11)
[Tell][GM]Xandamere>> : If people want to have a real conversation, I'm happy to do so. (14:06:16)
[Tell][GM]Xandamere>> : That wasn't a truthful answer, though. (14:06:25)
[Tell][GM]Xandamere>> : You don't work at Aeria, and don't know the decision-making process (14:06:33)
[Tell][GM]Xandamere>> : That goes into deciding what items go in to the game. (14:06:39)
[Tell]Pearz>>: I dont need to. Aeria is a business. As a business its job is to make money (14:07:28)
[Tell][GM]Xandamere>> : If that's what you want to think, you're free to do so. (14:07:48)
[Tell]Pearz>>: Those Items will bring in fast cash, it what happens eventually (14:07:51)
[Tell][GM]Xandamere>> : But saying things like that in a conversation isn't productive. (14:08:00)
[Tell][GM]Xandamere>> : It's not helpful to the conversation, it's just insulting. (14:08:06)
[Tell][GM]Xandamere>> : And thus, trolling. (14:08:08)
[Tell]Pearz>>: Not realli trolling when i got examples too of it occuring (14:10:16)
[Tell]Pearz>>: not unbased thoery (14:10:24)
[Tell][GM]Xandamere>> : Well (14:13:12)
[Tell][GM]Xandamere>> : Just because we may have made a mistake in the past doesn't mean that's our (14:13:22)
[Tell][GM]Xandamere>> : official policy. :) (14:13:25)
[Tell][GM]Xandamere>> : Like everybody, we try to learn from our mistakes and improve. (14:13:32)
[Tell][GM]Xandamere>> : i.e. the Alice promo (14:13:37)
[Tell]Pearz>>: so By that, does it mean you won't try and drop rare items again in item mall (14:14:19)
[Tell][GM]Xandamere>> : Not necessarily. (14:15:09)
[Tell][GM]Xandamere>> : It means that balancing an in-game economy is a very tricky task. (14:15:15)
[Tell][GM]Xandamere>> : Because there are multiple demographics that play the game (14:15:21)
[Tell][GM]Xandamere>> : And we have to try and treat them all fairly. (14:15:26)
[Tell][GM]Xandamere>> : Most rare items, throughout the history of the game, have remained rare. (14:16:15)
[Tell][GM]Xandamere>> : But as new rare items come out, some of the older rare items become more common (14:16:23)
[Tell][GM]Xandamere>> : If we keep *everything* rare, the more casual players don't have much incentive (14:16:49)
[Tell][GM]Xandamere>> : to play the game. (14:16:50)
[Tell][GM]Xandamere>> : So, we need to balance things. (14:17:03)
[Tell]Pearz>>: older rares dont become more common until its re released in FC (14:17:38)
[Tell]Pearz>>: or it is re added into Item mall (14:17:44)
[Tell]Pearz>>: and the FCs you say you have no control over, already re adds old rares (14:18:16)
[Tell][GM]Xandamere>> : Right. (14:18:27)
[Tell]Pearz>>: but the rates still stayt decently low for them (14:18:30)
[Tell]Pearz>>: where as if you add it in IM directly, it destroys the (14:18:51)
[Tell]Pearz>>: price of an item (14:18:55)
[Tell]Pearz>>: that you have full control over (14:19:04)
[Tell][GM]Xandamere>> : Are you talking about just the IM directly, or other promotions? (14:19:08)
[Tell][GM]Xandamere>> : i.e. the tiered spending package for the Seven Sisters (14:19:14)
[Tell]Pearz>>: IM or the Promos (14:19:23)
[Tell]Pearz>>: but tiered promo i didnt care about cuz 7 sisters (14:19:35)
[Tell]Pearz>>: was never rare (14:19:39)
[Tell][GM]Xandamere>> : Right (14:19:45)
[Tell][GM]Xandamere>> : And I agree, putting an item in the item mall definitely makes it more accessibl (14:20:03)
[Tell][GM]Xandamere>> : And thus more common. (14:20:08)
[Tell][GM]Xandamere>> : And that's basically what I was saying...that's all part of trying to find that (14:20:32)
[Tell][GM]Xandamere>> : balance (14:20:33)
[Tell][GM]Xandamere>> : I'm sure you can agree that we need to have some items that are very rare (14:21:11)
[Tell][GM]Xandamere>> : For top players/spenders (14:21:14)
[Tell][GM]Xandamere>> : And also items that are more common, for the more casual player. (14:21:21)
[Tell][GM]Xandamere>> : Right? (14:21:22)
[Tell]Pearz>>: I agree, for top spenders im nvr had a problem (14:21:25)
[Tell]Pearz>>: problem was when that line is crossed (14:21:35)
[Tell]Pearz>>: Like White fang was a prime example (14:21:52)
[Tell]Pearz>>: another was those servant and master rings (14:22:01)
[Tell][GM]Xandamere>> : I wasn't here for that, so I'm not familiar with the situation. (14:22:01)
[Tell]Pearz>>: they were momentarily added to Web item mall (14:22:14)
[Tell]Pearz>>: for a low price to flood a chunk into server (14:22:26)
[Tell][GM]Xandamere>> : Right (14:22:40)
[Tell]Pearz>>: all items worth a couple times more then the web IM price (14:22:49)
[Tell][GM]Xandamere>> : Well, I'm not saying we've always been perfect in finding that balance. (14:22:55)
[Tell][GM]Xandamere>> : As I said, it's a tricky thing to manage a game economy. (14:23:51)
[Tell][GM]Xandamere>> : But, we try to learn from our mistakes and get better at it. (14:24:04)
[Tell]Pearz>>: not realli, as a business like you said keep rare stuff up there (14:24:12)
[Tell]Pearz>>: so top spenders are angre with their items losing value overnight (14:24:25)
[Tell][GM]Xandamere>> : Well, like I said, we do have to have items available to the casual players as w (14:24:48)
[Tell][GM]Xandamere>> : well (14:24:49)
[Tell][GM]Xandamere>> : We need to cater to all of our demographics that play the game. (14:24:57)
[Tell][GM]Xandamere>> : So, look at it this way. (14:25:02)
[Tell][GM]Xandamere>> : Some items need to be very rare, and some need to be more common. (14:25:09)
[Tell][GM]Xandamere>> : Would you prefer that, as new items are added to the game... (14:25:15)
[Tell][GM]Xandamere>> : That we make old items more common, and then the new stuff starts out rare? (14:25:25)
[Tell][GM]Xandamere>> : Or that, in order to keep all of the old stuff as rare as it was (14:25:31)
[Tell]Pearz>>: like i said im fine with stuff being rare and common (14:25:34)
[Tell][GM]Xandamere>> : That we just make all of the new items more common? (14:25:37)
[Tell]Pearz>>: as long as the lined isnt randomly ju (14:25:45)
[Tell]Pearz>>: *jumped (14:25:48)
[Tell][GM]Xandamere>> : Well, we try not to do so randomly. (14:26:02)
[Tell]Pearz>>: cuz when a rare item suddenly becomes common, every player runs off to buy it (14:26:14)
[Tell][GM]Xandamere>> : And the idea is...well, let's say that you have a set of gear that's very rare (14:26:14)
[Tell][GM]Xandamere>> : And very good (14:26:15)
[Tell][GM]Xandamere>> : Like, let's say a weapon. Just for the sake of example. (14:26:36)
[Tell][GM]Xandamere>> : Now, let's say a new weapon is introduced that's better than the one you have. (14:26:43)
[Tell][GM]Xandamere>> : You would probably want that new weapon to be rare. (14:26:50)
[Tell][GM]Xandamere>> : Because it would be frustrating if a better weapon was very common. (14:26:58)
[Tell][GM]Xandamere>> : Right? (14:26:59)
[Tell]Pearz>>: thats the thing (14:27:08)
[Tell]Pearz>>: it wouldnt matter (14:27:14)
[Tell]Pearz>>: because of the player base values looks over functionality (14:27:31)
[Tell][GM]Xandamere>> : I'm not sure all of the players feel that way (14:27:42)
[Tell]Pearz>>: having the old item stay rare matters more then new item being common (14:27:44)
[Tell][GM]Xandamere>> : Based on the feedback we get. (14:27:46)
[Tell]Pearz>>: best example is Zero blade (14:27:51)
[Tell][GM]Xandamere>> : Obviously, everybody's opinion is different. (14:27:59)
[Tell]Pearz>>: its extremely rare, maybe 5-6 on server (14:28:01)
[Tell][GM]Xandamere>> : But from the feedback we've heard (14:28:02)
[Tell][GM]Xandamere>> : If we introduced a new weapon that was very good and made it common (14:28:08)
[Tell]Pearz>>: there is like 3 differnt counterparts that are better then it (14:28:17)
[Tell][GM]Xandamere>> : People who had previously had the next-best rare weapon (14:28:20)
[Tell][GM]Xandamere>> : Would be angry (14:28:22)
[Tell]Pearz>>: angry, doesnt mean in game value drop (14:28:40)
[Tell]Pearz>>: they can still resell it at a high price (14:28:53)
[Tell][GM]Xandamere>> : Okay, so it sounds like what you're saying (14:29:05)
[Tell]Pearz>>: as long as Aeria doesnt drop it in IM cuzits inferior now (14:29:08)
[Tell][GM]Xandamere>> : Is that an in-game value drop is a very bad thing. (14:29:12)
[Tell][GM]Xandamere>> : Is that right? (14:29:14)
[Tell]Pearz>>: yes (14:29:16)
[Tell]Pearz>>: espeicaly 1 that was extremely rare (14:29:24)
[Tell]Pearz>>: that was only ment for top spenders (14:29:40)
[Tell][GM]Xandamere>> : Well, I can understand that opinion. (14:30:55)
[Tell][GM]Xandamere>> : But, recognize that there are players with other opinions, too. (14:31:12)
[Tell]Pearz>>: players value items that are super rare and look unique over the stats (14:31:17)
[Tell][GM]Xandamere>> : Newer players, or more casual players, who would like to have *some* (14:31:20)
[Tell][GM]Xandamere>> : rare items accessible to them. (14:31:27)
[Tell][GM]Xandamere>> : And that's what I mean about the balancing act. (14:31:32)
[Tell][GM]Xandamere>> : It's not so easy to just say "this is rare, this is common, we're done" (14:31:40)
[Tell]Pearz>>: I think it is that easy (14:32:37)
[Tell][GM]Xandamere>> : Unfortunately, it's not, and I say this with years of experience in MMORPGs. (14:33:10)
[Tell][GM]Xandamere>> : From your perspective, it may seem easy. (14:33:22)
[Tell][GM]Xandamere>> : But we need to take ALL players perspectives into account. (14:33:28)
[Tell]Pearz>>: if the lines are set, its the Aerias teams choice if they cross it (14:33:30)
[Tell][GM]Xandamere>> : Which becomes a much more difficult thing. (14:33:32)
[Tell][GM]Xandamere>> : Much like a real-world economy, an in-game economy is healthier (14:34:10)
[Tell][GM]Xandamere>> : If it moves and evolves. (14:34:21)
[Tell][GM]Xandamere>> : Now, we don't just randomly make ALL rare items super-common at the drop of a ha (14:34:34)
[Tell][GM]Xandamere>> : *hat (14:34:35)
[Tell][GM]Xandamere>> : Most items that are very rare will remain so. (14:35:05)
[Tell][GM]Xandamere>> : But if you figure the game has, say, 100 rare items. (14:35:13)
[Tell][GM]Xandamere>> : Just for example. (14:35:15)
[Tell][GM]Xandamere>> : And every month we make 1 of those rare items more common. (14:35:21)
[Tell][GM]Xandamere>> : That still leaves an awful lot of rare items for the top players. (14:35:30)
[Tell][GM]Xandamere>> : Because we will also continue introducing new rare items. (14:35:40)
[Tell][GM]Xandamere>> : But it also means that the more casual players gradually gain access to (14:35:47)
[Tell][GM]Xandamere>> : those rare, desirable items as well. (14:35:51)
[Tell][GM]Xandamere>> : Thus, balance. :) (14:35:54)
[Tell]Pearz>>: because of the fact you get continuos new items (14:35:55)
[Tell]Pearz>>: you can keep things balanced (14:36:01)
[Tell]Pearz>>: evety time you get a new item you around with those t determine if it is (14:36:17)
[Tell]Pearz>>: bleh every time you get a new item, you have choice on if its rare or not (14:37:00)
[Tell][GM]Xandamere>> : Right, I see what you're saying. (14:37:09)
[Tell][GM]Xandamere>> : I've seen many games try to be run that way. (14:37:28)
[Tell]Pearz>>: and you can keep getting new items to cater to the differnt type of players (14:37:32)
[Tell][GM]Xandamere>> : And their economies end up very broken. (14:37:34)
[Tell]Pearz>>: its not set that you only have so many items to play around price with (14:37:49)
[Tell][GM]Xandamere>> : We believe that rather than saying "this is rare, this is common" and having it (14:37:50)
[Tell][GM]Xandamere>> : always be that way (14:37:52)
[Tell][GM]Xandamere>> : It's better to have some change. (14:37:58)
[Tell]Pearz>>: problem with that is when you introduce rares to common players (14:39:26)
[Tell]Pearz>>: it doesnt stay rare anymore, it IS rare cause casual players dont have it (14:39:41)
[Tell][GM]Xandamere>> : Right, I agree. (14:39:54)
[Tell][GM]Xandamere>> : But we don't necessarily see that as a problem. (14:40:36)
[Tell]Pearz>>: So in essence your not realli helping casual players your hurting pros (14:40:37)
[Tell]Pearz>>: or top spenders (14:40:40)
[Tell][GM]Xandamere>> : But we are helping the casual players as well. (14:40:49)
[Tell][GM]Xandamere>> : They don't always just want that item because it's rare. (14:40:56)
[Tell][GM]Xandamere>> : They want it because they like it. Because it's good (14:41:01)
[Tell][GM]Xandamere>> : Or because it looks cool. (14:41:03)
[Tell][GM]Xandamere>> : I'm sorry, but I have to go. >< (14:41:30) [Tell][GM]Xandamere>> : This has been an interesting conversation, and I wouldn't mind continuing it. (14:41:36)
[Tell]Pearz>>: okay (14:41:36)
[Tell][GM]Xandamere>> : But I have some other work I need to do right now. (14:41:45)
[Tell]Pearz>>: okay thanks for chat (14:41:52)
[Tell][GM]Xandamere>> : I'm happy to talk about this sort of thing, though. :) (14:41:56)
[Tell][GM]Xandamere>> : And you may not necessarily agree with us. (14:42:06)
[Tell][GM]Xandamere>> : But I think it's important to at least explain where we're coming from. (14:42:12)
[Tell]Pearz>>: sure (14:42:17)
[Tell][GM]Xandamere>> : Take care. :) (14:42:21)
[Tell]Pearz>>: you too (14:42:26)

If you want the short version: He is new, so he doesn't know about the old promos that were done. It's too hard to balance the in-game economy, and cater to both casual and hardcore gamers. (Even though they, the GMs, are the only huge changing force to in-game economy, they can't control it...)

Take the chat however you want; I wasn't able to finish conveying my ideas. Comments/thoughts appreciated.
Oh, yeah - I'll post FC review in two days, since I don't want this post as 2nd from top right away. XD