Re: Chat with GM Xandamere

[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)

The fact of the matter is: Aeria IS a business. Although, I'm sure that on the Vision Statement somewhere, it says something like, "Our mission is to bring a wide selection of MMOs to the online gaming community to play, for free, forever."

As a business, every single decision made will have the silver dollar lining or the underlying questions of "How much will this cost us," and, "How much will this profit us?"

Unless someone comes out and says, "Our goal is not to make money. We invest every dollar we make back into our games in order to bring a more enriching experience to our players," with a straight face, we (as players) can't help but think otherwise.
[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)
An in-game economy is literally just a smaller and more primal version of the real world economy, with the exception being that, here, every single player holds a larger piece of the pie.

Agreed, there are multiple demographics to consider - however, one must understand that there are two primary considerations before one can "treat them all fairly". These two are the "wants" and the "needs".

We will focus on the former, because the Megaten team has been pretty good at providing us with the latter.

Everyone "wants" rares - this includes the rich, the poor, the old, the new, the casual, and the hardcore - but the difference is that some have the ability, be it money or otherwise, to obtain them.

In the real world economy, everyone can't afford everything; those who can't, accept that they can't or work harder to get it later. When a real world company takes a step to make a previously exclusive item "more accessible" to the general public, they will somehow indicate that it is a newer version in order to preserve the CR of older buyers by retaining their exclusitivity.

We can take the example of the Hummer. The original H1 was priced and aimed at an older, better-endowed population, while the H3 is roughly a quarter of the price, renamed the H3, looks different, and geared towards a younger population. They did not just take the old H1, truncate its value, and say, "Screw the old people."

Excuse my lack of a better example; I do realize that a car's production values are not exactly comparable to the hardware storage cost of lines of code.
[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)

This is backwards logic; just because new rare items come out should not mean that older rares become more common.

I will, once again, beat this dead horse because it's not tenderized enough: in the real world economy, things - rares or not - always come in abundance, be those stamps, collector coins, shoes, or whatever else.

What makes them "rare" is how many of them come off the production line; what makes them "rarer" is the natural numerical decay that comes with time. An example of this would be the items lost in a house fire or by a player quitting. Either way, the item is taken out of circulation, and therefore the same item everywhere else will appreciate slightly, in value. Time also increases this gain in value, because of the linear comparison of worth and how long since production it has existed.

So, to elaborate, you dont need to keep "everything" rare; just keep the rares rare, and the balance will exist on its own.

[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)
Completely untrue: those who have the ability to obtain what used to be the best will likely have the ability to obtain what is now the best. They would not be frustrated if the new item is common, because it would mean it costs them little to upgrade to the best again.

The only difference is that if the ex-best will never be released again, this said person now holds a collector's item.

Here's another one of my terrible examples: older makeup contained traces of lead and other previously accepted toxins, leading to cancer and other health complications. However, on eBay, these items get auctioned off for hundreds to hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Why? It certainly doesn't hold a candle to anything you find in stores nowadays; it's purely because it's rare. Does this mean we should make nowaday makeup more expensive and harder to obtain? I sure hope not.
[Tell][GM]Xandamere>> : Now, we don't just randomly make ALL rare items super-common at the drop of a hat (14:34:34)
[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)
This is an outside perspective. If you have a hundred dollars, and then I randomly decide that one of those dollar bills is now worth ten cents. Do you care? You still have ninety nine dollars and ten cents.

Okay. So how about you have a hundred thousand dollars, and then I randomly decide that a third of it is now worth ten cents. You still have more than enough money to feed yourself. Do you care?

My point is, it is not for anyone else except the holder to decide whether they're allowed to complain when their possessions devalue. And it's certainly not of any comfort to say, "You still have an awful lot of other things."
[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)
How is a casual player defined? Is it someone who is willing to fork out $50 for an item that gives +20% attack? Or maybe someone who spends about three to four hours a day playing this game, and doesn't really want to waste any real money. It could be someone who plays forty hours a week, but doesn't want to farm plasmas for the money to buy a rare - yet still wants one. How about someone who wants something that has already been discontinued, has the AP already bought, and is willing to jump at the chance to get it?
[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)

This is my personal solution. Since we want to believe an in-game economy reacts and evolves like a real world economy, let us do what the real economy does. We'll release all rares in abundance, according to the rareness value you wish to set it at...and then never touch it again.

When it is wished to be reintroduced to fork in some profit - or, however else those words are sugar-coated - properly identify that it is but a shadow of its predecessor. Unless, of course, even then people still complain - at which point, we can then all agree that even the casual players want old rares because of just that reason, they are "old rares".

~*+ Rho