Charles "Bull" Durham answers the WildStar community's questions regarding "money sinks".
You might remember a few weeks ago when Charles "Bull" Durham, the Senior Systems Designer at Carbine Studios for their upcoming MMORPG WildStar, released a blog post outlining the core development ideas centered around Wildstar's in-game economy. Well today Carbine released its WildStar Uplink Analysis which featured Mr. Chris Durham's responses to questions that were asked by the WildStar community in about the game's economy. Let's take a look!
One of the frequently talked about topics in regards to the WildStar economy was the implementation of "repair costs". Now most MMO players are pretty familiar with repair costs at this point. They crop up every now and again after the inevitable beat down that comes from picking a fight with a creature that you have no business even looking at. We've all been there I'm sure.
To a lot of players this repair cost is a bit of a nuisance and an overall not so enjoyable mechanic in MMO's, for reasons that are understandable. No one likes to have to lose a pocket full of gold repairing their armor, simply because the "Leeroy Jenkins" of the group couldn't wait for the boss explanation. However, from an economic standpoint having "gold sinks" such as repair costs are crucial to having a healthy in-game economy and overall player experience.
In regards to repair costs Charles had this to say:
"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!...
...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!"
So unsurprisingly, it doesn't look like repair costs are going away any time soon. But compared to the "Jackpot!" feeling of finding awesome loot, or getting your master crafted item to sell on the auction house, then I'd say that it's an even trade-off.
Speaking of crafting, Charles also answered a few questions in regards to how crafting will play a role in the economy. While he couldn't go in to much detail, assuring that a full crafting reveal would be coming down the pipe-line later, he did have this to say about Carbine's philosophy on crafting materials and the crafting process in general.
"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."
He also went on to say that Eldergame Crafting will be difficult and requires dedication, but that more would be revealed at a later point in time.
So how do these, plus the many other economic systems, tie in to the in-game economy as a whole? And how much of that economy will players have control over? ZAM's own Gareth Harmer asked a question regarding this concept and here's what Charles had to say:
"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."
Aside from money sinks it sounds like player crafting will also play a big role on keeping the economy healthy and balanced--good news for the dedicated crafters waiting to land on Nexus. And while the cool "flavor additions" such as a possible in-game casino may be a ways off; the groundwork for a stable economy has definitely been laid out pretty thoughtfully it would seem. For the full WildStar Uplink Analysis Q&A you can follow this link and be sure to keep your browser locked to ZAM for more WildStar news updates.
See you on Nexus!