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Reader Comments (34)

Posted: Jul 13th 2010 8:18AM (Unverified) said

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I wouldn't play a MMO without an economy. for me, it's an integral ingredient in the whole MMO concept: another way to socialize and interact with your fellow players.

Posted: Jul 13th 2010 8:17AM Unshra said

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"If a FUN game came out that lacked this "essential" feature, would it be a deal-breaker?"

Decided to add more emphasis on what I believe is the important part of any game MMO or not. If the game is fun for me I will play it, if I do not think the game is fun I wont play it. It is really as simple as that...

I have played and enjoyed quite a few games that others claim to be lacking an "essential" feature and I did not decide to play them based on what they lacked but what they offered to me the customer/gamer. For me the only essential feature is that it be fun which covers a wide variety of things that dynamically change no matter the type of game it is. It all depends on what I feel like playing at the time be it EvE, Crackdown, Mass Effect or Wizard 101. :-P

Posted: Jul 13th 2010 3:09PM mysecretid said

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This.

Fun is everything to me, and an in-game economy is not my only determinant of whether or not a game is fun.

I've played MMORPGs with elaborate economies which I found dull (EVE Online for example, and that game economy is a true marvel), and I've played games with very little economic content (e.g. the aforementioned Guild Wars; early City of Heroes) and had a great time, regardless.

The game which actually first got me fully engaged in economic gameplay was Star Wars Galaxies. I actually enjoyed my time as a Rodian shopkeeper -- and if you'd have told me ahead of time that I would, I would've laughed at you.

It's all about the fun factor.
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Posted: Jul 13th 2010 8:26AM (Unverified) said

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I played City of Heroes for about 2 years before it had a real economy (or loot for that matter). I personally think the advent of those two things made the game less fun. End game used to be go make an alt, run some of the longer task forces, or help a friend level up. Now it has turned into a huge farm fest. Everyone repeating the same mission a million times for influence and loot to sell so they can get decked out in purple IOs.

Posted: Jul 13th 2010 8:44AM (Unverified) said

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STO seems to have the worst parts of both scenarios you just described.
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Posted: Jul 13th 2010 10:31AM Sente said

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Not everyone does that, but there is obviously a segment of the player base that enjoys the farming for resources.

But you can still take advantage of these features without being excessive about it and in that sense I think it has enriched the game experience.
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Posted: Jul 13th 2010 8:49AM (Unverified) said

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An economy in an MMO isn't a requirement, but it can be a huge driving factor for unscripted content. A well designed economy will create competition throughout the entire game. Of course designing an economy is a lot more than just an auction house and loot drops, which is where I feel most MMO's stop. The only successful in-game economy I know of is EVE Online.

Posted: Jul 13th 2010 9:40AM (Unverified) said

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I won't play a game that doesn't have an economy. Sometimes I just don't feel like going out and killing x amount of x mobs. Sometimes I don't feel like grouping up with other players.

I like to build wealth. I like economies that allow me to do that.

Posted: Jul 13th 2010 8:55AM (Unverified) said

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I have played games that were lacking many features of what would be considered "an economy" by Justin's definition.
They weren't very much fun. In fact, they were very much the opposite of fun, as playing them was like pulling teeth, they were poorly translated from Korean into English and a lot of it was lost in the translation.
I don't play them anymore.

There there is games like everquest 2, where the crafting system is terribly esoteric and not fun for the complete opposite reasons of the games that were lacking a crafting system. Having to spend an hour running around gettting mats to make a level 3 weapon.
I'd expect to have that sort of time associated with gathering components for an epic weapon (I put together a titansteel destroyer in like 40 minutes). In EQ 2, I spent longer getting mats to make a level 3 weapon than I do almost any peice of gear I ever made in WoW.

so... I'd rather they not have unfun features in a game, and if that means they have to remove the economy because it isn't any fun, then sure, lets trash it.

Posted: Jul 13th 2010 9:00AM (Unverified) said

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Like breck said, COH lacked anything resembling a traditional economy and until it was added also lacked another stand by of MMO's, the gold seller/spammer. Now that loot and a functional auction house system has been added, they are here and have only recently come under control (if not been erased) The community has also changed, there is a different air to it than before the loot system was added.

So to answer the question, hell yeah I would play a game without an economy.

Posted: Jul 13th 2010 9:08AM HitsuSan said

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Well i like to drive cars but if in a fun fantasy mmog there isn't car driving i will play it the same. I think there is no need to add functions wich don't suits the game. Economy, crafting or pvp are only functions.

Posted: Jul 13th 2010 9:09AM (Unverified) said

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Unshra really hit the bottom line as far as I'm concerned. I've played both kinds and have enjoyed the positives and negatives that came with each.

Guild wars has just enough economy to sell hot items person to person. There is no Bazaar nor any other mechanic to make trade anything less than a headache unless the item(s) in question are sought after. But because max gear is easy to come-by and the only real difference in most is the skin, it really makes the NEED for such things null.

On the other side of the coin, SWG is the poster child for the run-away economy Justin wrote about. At one time the games economy was the best in the genre, with complex harvesting, crafting, bartering tools, and item decay, it was nearly perfect. But between the game getting older, more wealth coming into the game than going out (causing massive inflation), and bad decisions on the part of the Devs (the 30k resource coupon vet reward killed Armor Smith for new players and decay being removed greatly decreased demand) the economy became so broken it was no longer fun and proved nearly pointless.

Eve is an example of an economy done right. There is a great amount of wealth coming into the game, but there is, as any hardcore PVPer can tell you, a great deal of wealth leaving the game at warp speed on a daily basis. They have the most advanced market system that I know of, a steady and rewarding resource system, complex and interesting crafting, and an abundance of eager fighter pilots constantly buying up their next bird-of-prey with all the fittings. They even have an innovative way of controlling gold farmers. In other words, they made an economy with such magnitude that Eve has been nicknamed "Space Accounting".

So it all depends on how well it's done and whether it's needed or not.

Posted: Jul 13th 2010 9:50AM (Unverified) said

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I could care less about an economy in a gaming environment. If anything, I find it detrimental to adventuring in every single way. It removes rewards from the environment and holds adventuerers hostage to player crafters. It removes fun incenctives to adventure and turns it into nothing more than a grind for gold and the headache of having to haggle with greedy players and I just do not see the entertainment value in that.

Posted: Jul 13th 2010 9:56AM Minofan said

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I'm in the "couldn't care less" camp when it comes to economy.
Sometimes I'll participate in the economy for shiny trinkets I cannot get myself, but I wouldn't care deeply if that facility were gone.

Posted: Jul 13th 2010 10:03AM (Unverified) said

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I'd play without the ability to trade gold or items directly between players, sure.

Use whatever other contrived means you want to allow indirect trade, work orders, etc.

RMT is a plague.

Posted: Jul 13th 2010 10:24AM Zaetal said

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If a game doesn't have a robust economy OR the tools to make one, I can only play it for a couple months before it just gets really irritating.

"No Economy" games still have some kind of currency, just no to very limited ways of how to get it thru selling items you've gotten from monsters/questing/harvesting. Usually selling it to a vendor, IE every item is vendor trash. Games with a good economy, you can sell the stuff you don't want on some kind of market and buy the things you do, unless there IS a market and no one really participates for various reasons.

City of heroes, besides the vendor bought enhancements (which sometimes dropped) you had no items in the game. They fixed that with crafted enhancements and specialty costume item drops, and while some hated it, it gave you something to do with your 50 instead of re-rolling 12 more that you'd never do anything else with anyway again at 50.

LoTRO has an auction house, but its very lackluster, finding things to buy is a pain, prices are ALL over the place and items are priced per stack, with having to do your own math on how much things are priced individually in that stack and if its worth it or not at that price. Also much of the 1-50 crafting mats are undesirable to 90% of the server you're on as everyone who cares is way past those materials and everyone else can't afford them anyway.

Fallen Earth seemed like a great place for an economy, heck your rebuilding the world from the bottom up and can craft gobs of things, but so can every one else you see, and the listing prices for items are horribly high. So there's no incentive to drop items on the AH unless they sell ridiculously high. Compared to EQ2/WoW/EVE where the AH/market is a resource dump for crafting materials of all sorts, its almost criminal that the same isn't true for this game.

Then you have games like UO with personal vendors at static locations (your house, you in town) and no centralized market. Korean grinders have this most of the time too, but it seems to have fallen out of favor in the west in place of centralized markets IE auction houses.

Posted: Jul 13th 2010 10:31AM Enikuo said

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I would play a game without a player economy. I don't really enjoy budgeting and feeling like I have to be "responsible" with in-game money.

Posted: Jul 13th 2010 10:35AM Sente said

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What is meant by "no economy" here? As long as players are able to give each other game items, you have some kind of economy - perhaps not directly supported/encouraged by the game mechanics, but it is still there.

I may play a game with "no economy", but it all depends on what other things it has to offer - there are not really any absolutes here.

Posted: Jul 13th 2010 12:46PM Heraclea said

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As others have noted, for about the first three years of its existence City of Heroes had no real economy. Transactions were either person to person or with NPCs. Influence/infamy ("inf"), the game currency, had nowhere to go after you had fully outfitted your character with enhancements purchased from the NPCs.

This caused anomalous results when an economy was introduced in issue 9, which went live around the three year anniversary of the game in May 2007. For the three prior years, fully built characters had been accumulating inf that had nowhere to go. The results of the inflated prices when the consignment house went live are still rippling through the game's economy.

Posted: Jul 13th 2010 12:58PM (Unverified) said

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I love the economy part of a game. It's one of the big selling points of EVE (and still SWG) for me. And a major reason I dislike WoW (yes, they have an economy, but many, many items aren't crafted by players). If there was a truly amazing game without an economy, I would play it, but I would consider it a big loss.

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