Friday, September 26, 2014

Using the Base Currency for Features

As all the comments on the last post pointed out, capping the base currency will destroy the player economy. Or at the very least, force the economy to shift to something more liquid, like cloth or barter.

So then, is it better for MMOs to avoid using the base currency for features?

I think the TOR experience this past year is instructive. When TOR introduced Galactic Starfighter, it also introduced two new currencies: Fleet Requisition and Ship Requisition. You earn Requisition by doing Starfighter activities. To upgrade your ship or get new ships you spend that Requisition (or Cartel Coins, because F2P).

In contrast, when TOR introduced Strongholds, the price of a Guild Capital Ship was set at 50 million credits.

There were no complaints about pricing for Galactic Starfighter. There were tons of complaints about the price of guild ships. Would TOR have been better off introducing a new Housing Currency, and having all the costs of housing use that currency instead of the base currency?

Perhaps it would be best to avoid setting expensive prices, and just leaving the base currency for the player economy and "small" stuff. That makes all items sold by NPCs to have "affordable" prices. All features would use their own unique currency, with separate rules and caps on acquisition.


  1. This is exactly what WoW did. The point is to make everyone equal, regardless of skill.

  2. The use of secondary currencies is to force players to engage in specific content in order to obtain something (ostensibly) related to it.

    Ship Requisitions, Faction Marks (STO), Valor, or what have you all "work" because they make advancing in that activity tied TO that activity.

    Base currencies, by their nature, are not tied to any activity. Thus, any feature or thing which is either generic or not tied to another mechanic would and should be covered under the base currency. After all, what game feature should a player be expected to engage with in order to be obtaining "Housing Currency"?

    In addition, "unaffordable" base currency items exist for one primary reason: To drain money from the people who hoard too much of it. They're unaffordable to common players specifically because they're meant to bring the ones who are able to gather the most money down to everyone else's level.

    Affordability is always based on personal situations. A player who logs on and does just pet battling for an hour has a different sense of "affordability" compared to a player who logs on and does dailies for an hour, or raids for an hour, or plays the auction house for an hour. What do you base affordability on, then? Any price higher then the absolute lowest tier of player income means you have at least some group of players who will complain that your new items or features are unaffordable.