Monday, September 22, 2014

Day One Pricing for the Base Currency

Pretty much all MMOs have a base currency: gold, credits, gil, etc. This is the currency that the most transactions use, as well as the currency used between players. It's also the currency which is the most constant from the beginning to end. Here's something I've been wondering about base currency lately:

If the game offers something purchasable for base currency in an update, must it be affordable on Day One?

Both FFXIV and TOR offered player housing for what seemed to be exorbitant amounts of base currency. There were a lot of complaints that the prices were not affordable. But I did not think they were completely out of reach. It might have taken a few weeks, but I think everyone could earn the necessary amounts.

However, there seems to be an expectation that if something is offered for gold or credits, you should be able to buy it as soon as it comes out. This is in stark contrast to the other currencies. If an item costs 5000 Valor, no one bats an eye that it will take you a few weeks to earn enough Valor to purchase the item. But have the item cost 500,000 gold, and players will howl.

Not to mention that these items with exorbitant prices sell. In FFXIV, many of the servers have sold out of the limited personal housing supply. That strongly implies that the prices were not high enough.

Why do players treat the base currency so differently than the other currencies?


  1. I suspect that it's because the base currency is typically more liquid than other currency types.

  2. What they hate isn't that they can't buy it, but that others can. If something is 5000 valor and you can earn 1000/day, then everyone else can earn 1000/day.

    But just because you never saw 10000 Gold in your WoW-life, others have reached the goldcap.

    It's another example of bad players being mad for not getting everything in the game for their sub-par performance.

  3. The problem is that the cost is exorbitant for a new player, not so much for an old-timer, since the "base currency" is usually completely irrelevant for progression and ends up accumulating. It's also aggravating when something irrelevant (= the base currency, which you ignored) one day becomes critical for the acquisition of "important stuff".

  4. Considering that all you'd need to do in TOR is go slicing for a couple of days to reach the minimum for housing, I find the complaints about player hosing in TOR to be just some people wanting to bitch about anything and everything.

  5. I think it might be an acquired expectation.

    Think about it yourself: when was the last time in an MMO that you were lacking for gold? That you couldn't just buy whatever the stores offered to you? It's been many years for me. Auctioned goods might be different, but they aren't NPC-supplied goods.

    Players in most MMOs these days are base-currency rich: they just "don't see money as an issue" any more, and many get angry when it suddenly becomes one.

  6. I can't speak for TOR, but the pricing of houses in FF14 was specifically based on the amount of money that actually existed in the economy, and the prices were actually INTENDED to drain the richest people of their funds. This is also why the prices went down over time, so they could move into the ranges that were more affordable to the 99%ers on the server.

  7. If it costs 5000 valor it's very easy to calculate how long it will take you to earn. X dungeon runs per week to hit the weekly cap... Y weeks of that... so I can buy it in 4 weeks.

    With base currency there is no easy estimation for how long it will take to earn and no restriction for how much you can earn within a time period. This makes it so you don't have obvious smaller goals (weekly/daily caps) and instead only focus on the target. It also makes you feel like you're competing with other players who play far more than you do. In your mind, with your measly 4 hours per day it will take a month to get where everyone playing 16 hours per day get it the first week. The fear of being "left behind" is strong in MMOs, even if there's no actual competitive advantage.