Monday, 15 December 2014

MMO Design: Gold Denial

[Part of my MMO Design Folder.]

You might recall me mentioning I'd do a post about "Gold Denial" (stop players from gaining gold) a short while back, which is an alternative to a "Gold Sink" (make players spend gold on x) but I was having trouble thinking up of a valid way to do this while still letting players feel they are "improving". Fortunately for me, Cryptic has already answered that question in Neverwinter Online with the introduction of Artifact Equipment. Let's go over the basics first for those who don't play.

In that game, killing enemies gives you items and a pretty small amount of coinage. Selling said items were what really brought in your gold, especially the higher tiered, rarer gear - the rarest of which actually is more profitable to be sold for other currencies on the player market. Like Diablo, some equipment has gem slots where you can enhance various traits or damage, depending on the gem. You can also enhance the gem quality by feeding it other gems to make it stronger and to make the progress meter break through to the next "level" you need special items that cost quite a bit and face an ever increasing chance of destroying them the higher the level is.

Since gems are just commonly dropped by bad guys though you could just be patient getting them and selling the excess gear for money. With Tiamat's arrival, players now have access to potentially powerful Artifact Equipment which doesn't eat gems to advance - it eats other equipment! Specifically it eats other "identified" equipment, since most things that drop are unidentified (and you sell them that way) this also diminishes the stacks and stacks of ID scrolls (another common drop) people are carrying.

This way players still get that feeling of improvement, yet at the same time have their gold income potentially cut down to almost zero. For awhile at least. A long while. Max rank for each artifact item is 60 which counts needs a total of 4,645,200 refinement points to reach. The most common gear gives around 100 points when consumed. Given that people can and will have multiple artifact items (cloak, belt, main hand, off-hand, etc) this acts as an awesome gold prevention method - which coupled by the gold sink that is Tiamat herself (on potions and injury kits) is good design, in my book anyway.

What do you think? Should this sort of system be introduced into more games?

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