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Economy

Path of Exile now accepting Karma Koins

Fantasy, Economy, Free-to-Play, Promotions, Path of Exile

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Do you need an alternate way to make purchases in Path of Exile? Yesterday, Grinding Gear Games declared to the world at large that it would also be accepting Karma Koins as payment. These are basically point cards that you can pick up from a variety of retailers for $10 to $50 each.

As an incentive for players to try out the Karma Koin system, Path of Exile will give out a Voidgate Portal effect for everyone who uses a card. Karma Koin claims to donate 1% of sales to charities, including one that brings drinking water to families in Cambodia.

[Thanks to Ville Uusitalo for the tip!]

Flameseeker Chronicles: Gem store scares and lore treats in Guild Wars 2

Fantasy, Economy, Events (In-Game), Lore, Opinion, Guild Wars 2, Flameseeker Chronicles, Buy-to-Play

I heard a lot of speculation about this guy last year, but I'm pretty sure he's just a spider and not a Margonite.
It's Halloween! Well, almost. Close enough. It's always fun to celebrate holidays as an MMO fan because you can party as long as the event runs without ever leaving your house! Oh, I just made myself sad. Let's start over.

Guild Wars 2 is celebrating its third Halloween, and it doesn't seem as though evil ghosts are any more likely to let the destruction of Lion's Arch get in the way of the festivities than the rest of us are. Even though the celebration is a repeat of last year's, there's still quite a bit of news to discuss, so hop past the cut and let's see what ArenaNet dropped in our trick-or-treat bags.

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The Stream Team: Fighting for riches on ArcheAge's Freedich Island

Fantasy, Video, Economy, PvP, Free-to-Play, Livestream, ArcheAge, The Stream Team

The Stream Team: Fighting for riches on ArcheAge's Freedich Island
Last week Massively's MJ showed you the safest and quickest way to nab five gilda stars in ArcheAge every day. Now she's going to (try to) show you how to pocket four in just a single trip. That means she'll be braving the high seas and heading out to the wilds of Freedich, the island that pays a whopping four gilda per every trade pack. With it all being open PvP, the trick is to not only survive the ocean voyage but to live on land long enough for the turn in. Can she do it? Join us live at 3:00 p.m. to cheer her on and get a glimpse of the beauty of the island in the process.

Game: ArcheAge
Host: MJ Guthrie
Date: Friday, October 24th, 2014
Time: 3:00 p.m. EDT

Enjoy our Stream Team video below.

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Lost Continent: Living a fisherman's life in ArcheAge

Fantasy, Economy, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, PvE, Opinion, Guides, ArcheAge, Sandbox, Crafting, Lost Continent

Fifteen years ago, I was floundering around southern Florida in a rudderless post-graduation haze. I rented this dinky apartment across US1 from the University of Miami, and my summers were equally divided between a series of forgettable jobs and a series of lengthy fishing excursions around the Keys and out into the Atlantic.

The fishing was basically something to do; I didn't dislike it, but neither did I wake up thinking wow, I can't wait to get that gooey chum all over my shorts and bake in the sun for 10 hours.

Now, in an odd but enjoyable art-imitating-life moment, I'm revisiting the experience in ArcheAge.

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Trion removing illicit gold from ArcheAge

Fantasy, Economy, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, PvP, News Items, ArcheAge, Sandbox

Trion is serving notice to gold buyers that some of their ill-gotten gains are being removed from ArcheAge. "If you bought or were gifted gold from [a gold seller], you may see it disappear," the company wrote on its official forums. "We do have the ability to trace coin, and that's the gold that's being cleaned up right now."

[Thanks Direpath!]

Guild Wars 2 restricts gem store purchase options [Updated]

Fantasy, Economy, Patches, Guild Wars 2, Buy-to-Play

gw2
An attempt to streamline Guild Wars 2's gem currency exchange may be causing more consternation than celebration among the game's playerbase.

ArenaNet simplified the exchange in a recent build, giving players preset options to buy gems with gold or sell gems for gold. However, as the lowest gem bundle price point is 400, it's irked players who wish to buy smaller increments for some of the cheaper options in the store and feel as though they're overbuying gems in these situations.

Forum Communications Team Lead Gaile Gray gave an explanation for the change and said that the team is evaluating feedback: "The goal was to make the gem store more like other shopping experiences, and if you think about it, there is more of that feel to it now. You may be surprised to know this (I know I was) but very few people bought gems at smaller denominations than the first one offered in the new system. That's not to say they never did, nor that there wouldn't be the desire to do so. But overall, the current options were selected based on player purchases in the past. The team is going to listen to your feedback and, if and when it's practical and desirable, they can look towards adjusting the new system to better meet your needs."

[Update: Gaile Gray has reassured players that ArenaNet will reverse course on GemGate. "In light of your feedback, we will update the Currency Exchange so that you can decide how you want to use it," she wrote on the official forums. "We will keep the new streamlined system and also offer a new 'Custom' button on the panel that you can use to exchange any increment of gems or gold. We anticipate rolling this out soon. Stay tuned!"]

EVE Vegas 2014: Region Commander turns EVE into a huge spreadsheet

Sci-Fi, Video, EVE Online, Culture, Economy, Events (Real-World), Game Mechanics, Guilds, MMO Industry, PvP, Events (Massively's Coverage), Livestream, Sandbox, Crafting, Player-Generated Content, Subscription, MMORPG

It's often said that sci-fi MMO EVE Online isn't so much a game as a giant online spreadsheet and that people pay a subscription fee in order to have a second job they don't get paid for. While that's little more than a joke to the majority of EVE players, there are those for whom EVE is genuinely played on a massive spreadsheet. In a guest talk at EVE Vegas 2014 earlier today, players Javajunky and Gossamer DT from the logistics division of one of the game's largest coalitions discussed the monumental amount of work that goes into the industrial and organisation side of running a nullsec alliance or coalition.

During the talk, Gossamer DT discussed an interesting piece of custom software he develops called Region Commander that was designed specifically for organising player empires. The tool keeps track of starbase tower fuel, maintains a blacklist of players who have been kicked out of the coalition, and allows organisers to create and assign tasks to players in their command. Players who want to contribute to their alliance's industrial backbone can log into the system to take on work tasks due for completion, and the tool updates in realtime. The only thing missing is a punch card and a paycheck.

Using this tool, players have managed to combat the logistical and organisational challenges that would naturally make coalitions of thousands of players infeasible. Many third party tools have been criticised in the past for providing gameplay advantages to those who use them and increasing the gulf between new and experienced players. Players already have tools to help with mining and trading, and even ones that parse data from your ship scanner into useful information for your Fleet Commander. It's clear that whether CCP or the playerbase approves of these tools, this djinn won't be going back into its bottle.

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Darkfall makes plans for a localized economy

Fantasy, Darkfall, Economy, Patches, Previews, Dev Diaries, Sandbox

darkfall
The Darkfall team is deep in preparations for the creation of a "localized economy package" to boost this critical part of this fantasy title. "For us, as well as the community from what we see, a functional economy is the stepping stone for a proper sandbox, so our attention is focused on it," the team stated.

In a forum post today, the goals of these plans were outlined. This package will include new raw materials, additional recipes, a better inventory system, tiered clan vaults, nerfed instant travel, quicker land travel, beasts of burden, and a focus on localized markets instead of a worldwide trading system.

This economy update is tentatively planned for either December 2014 or January 2015.

[Thanks to Dengar for the tip!]

Pathfinder Online's latest alpha patch is live

Betas, Fantasy, Economy, News Items, Free-to-Play, Sandbox, Crowdfunding, Pathfinder Online

The mysterious roaming Stress Test, a beast no one can confirm seeing.  There may be one hiding in this header.
After no small amount of hand-wringing, the latest alpha patch is live for Pathfinder Online, with the intent of eventually cracking open the servers for stress testing. It's a pretty important patch even without the aim of a stress test, though, as it expands the map size to its full early access scope and fixes a variety of issues with advancement and the game's overall systems. Even if you didn't get to play recently, the development is humming along.

Obviously those who didn't get to play also didn't get to experiment with the game's recent auction house functionality, which is explained in depth on the official site. Setting up an auction requires a starting price and a minimum price. Over the auction's duration, the price slowly decreases from the starting price down to the minimum; if no buyers are found at that discount rate, the auction ends unsuccessfully. Check out the full development blog for more details.

EVE Evolved: Features coming in Oceanus and beyond

Sci-Fi, Video, EVE Online, Culture, Economy, Expansions, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, Patches, Previews, PvP, Endgame, News Items, PvE, EVE Evolved, Dev Diaries, Sandbox, Crafting, Subscription, MMORPG

EVE Evolved title image
It's been almost four months since EVE Online switched from publishing two major expansions per year to releasing ten smaller updates, and so far it looks like the new schedule has been a huge success. Rather than forcing the industry overhaul out the door in Kronos before it was ready, CCP was able to push it forward to the Crius release window seven weeks later and the extra development time meant the feature launched in a very polished state. It may be too early to tell if the new schedule's success can be seen in the concurrent player graph for Tranquility, but the numbers have remained steady for the past few months in what is typically the annual low-point for player activity.

The Oceanus update is scheduled to go live in just two day's time, adding several graphical upgrades, more difficult burner missions, an experimental new notification feature, and other small improvements. The scale of the update seems to be on par with the recent Hyperion release, consisting of mostly small features and minor iterations on gameplay. While we're told that CCP is still working on large projects behind the scenes, the new release schedule means they won't be rushed out the door and so we may not see them for some time.

In this edition of EVE Evolved, I summarise everything we know about Tuesday's Oceanus update, and take a look at what's to come in further releases.

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Analysts estimate Blizzard's lost investment after Titan's cancellation

Business Models, Economy, MMO Industry, News Items, Miscellaneous

Titan's official cancellation notice yesterday didn't come as much of a surprise to MMO players; after all, the game had been backburnered more than a year ago, its staff transferring to Warlords of Draenor and other Blizzard projects. But the cancellation means Blizzard might never fully recoup its seven-year investment in the game, and that has some analysts worried.

"Development costs for Titan may have amounted to tens of millions, perhaps $50 million or more," says one such analyst, Billy Pidgeon, as quoted in a GamesIndustry.biz piece yesterday. Wedbush Securities' Michael Pachter upped that estimate: "My guess is 100 - 200 people at $100,000 per year, so $70 - 140 million sunk cost. It's pretty sad that it took so long to figure out how bad the game was. I expect them to go back to the drawing board." Still another industry observer, David Cole, argued that the current games market simply no longer tolerates seven-year development cycles and high overhead.

Pidgeon stresses that it's not all doom and gloom, however: "Blizzard has cancelled several games in various stages of development in the past. Costs for unreleased games can be significant, but launching substandard games can harm the reputation of a successful publisher such as Blizzard. Expenses for development can be considered R&D, and benefits can include invaluable training, IP and technology that can be applied to other games."

EVE Evolved: Has the industry revamp worked?

Sci-Fi, EVE Online, Economy, Expansions, Game Mechanics, Patches, PvE, Opinion, Hands-On, First Impressions, EVE Evolved, Sandbox, Crafting, Player-Generated Content, Subscription, MMORPG

EVE Evolved title image
When I was first introduced to EVE Online back in 2004, a big part of the attraction for me was the promise of a huge player-run economy in which the only real laws were those of supply and demand. With only a handful of tech 1 ships and modules available to build and everything made out of the same basic minerals, science and industry were pretty easy for new players to figure out. Over the years, more complexity has slowly been added to industry via features like Starbases, Salvaging, Capital Ships, Tech 2 Invention, Planetary Interaction and Tech 3 Reverse Engineering. Today's industrialists have to contend with hundreds of different items that are often arranged in sprawling component manufacturing chains, which can make it hard to figure out exactly how to make a profit.

The recent industry revamp attempted to solve this problem with a full user interface overhaul and a revamp of material costs and manufacturing prices. All of the relevant information for using a blueprint was packed into a slick new combined Industry UI, allowing new players to find the info they're looking for in-game rather than through websites or opening dozens of item info windows. It's now been almost two months since the industry revamp went live, and while the market for many items is still going to take several months to fully stabilise, the dust has finally begun to settle. So what's the verdict? Has the industry revamp worked?

In this edition of EVE Evolved, I consider whether the industry revamp has been successful, how easy it is to make a profit in the new system, and whether it's worth setting up your own industrial starbase.

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The Daily Grind: What's the ideal MMO gold sink?

Business Models, Economy, Game Mechanics, The Daily Grind, Humor, Miscellaneous, Neverwinter

GOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOLD
I realize that asking "what's your favorite gold sink" is a bit like asking "what's your favorite way to eat poop," but I'm confronting an MMO reality here: MMO economies generally spiral out of control when the currency poured into the game isn't drained out at the other end somehow, whether it's through decay costs or housing maintenance or people leaving the game forever and literally taking their gold piles with them. Obviously, this last one is not ideal.

I was impressed at Neverwinter's recent move to auction rare companions off to the playerbase, a system that won't solve the inflation/duping problem in one pass but could, given time and repetition, drain money from player moguls voluntarily and reward them with prestigious but non-game-breaking and effectively worthless trinkets.

That's my favorite kind of gold sink. What's yours?

Every morning, the Massively bloggers probe the minds of their readers with deep, thought-provoking questions about that most serious of topics: massively online gaming. We crave your opinions, so grab your caffeinated beverage of choice and chime in on today's Daily Grind!

HEX is not Hearthstone: A look at HEX's closed beta

Betas, Economy, Game Mechanics, Previews, PvP, Opinion, Hands-On, Trading Card Games, First Impressions, Miscellaneous, Crowdfunding, HEX

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It's been a while, HEX. Last time I saw you was E3 2013. I hadn't yet started to play Hearthstone, and truthfully, I doubted it could hold a candle to you. In a lot of ways, I was right. It's so much simpler, it's less complex, and at the time, it felt less imaginative. But my card game days are behind me. I don't have the kind of time I used to, so Hearthstone's faster games and accessible drafts (called "arenas" in HS) reminded me of the things I love about the genre while allowing me to keep my grown-up schedule intact and being easy on my wallet.

Just the same, HEX, when I got the closed beta invite to see you again, my heart skipped a beat. I was ready to drop some big money on you, but I've been burned a few times. While I've been in betas and alphas for other games, there's been a trend of letting people pay to play unfinished products. I've been burned, and while I don't regret the experience, I do regret the purchases at the moment. I mean, when a game suddenly disappears from the market, it does make you question your decisions, so I decided we should go out a few times first before I really invest in you.

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Trion clarifies ArcheAge's head-start housing situation

Betas, Fantasy, Economy, Game Mechanics, Launches, Previews, News Items, Free-to-Play, Community Q&A, Livestream, ArcheAge, Sandbox, Housing

During its livestreamed pre-launch discussion of ArcheAge earlier this week, Trion Worlds clarified a number of issues that will affect players early on when the game enters its head-start period tomorrow. Top priority in a sandbox? Where you hang your hat. Housing will open at the beginning of the head start period, so early players will naturally secure the best properties. There is no limit to the number of houses an account can own, although accounts are taxed "exponentially" after they acquire three and up.

Also of note:
  • The game plans to launch with the eight ten original beta servers.
  • The "patron" subscription is indeed $15; 1250 credits cost 1 APEX or $10. For scale, consider that a character slot costs 1000 credits.
  • Trion vowed to continue its efforts to deal with chat spammers and botters.
  • Everyone, even F2P players, can access the auction hall.
As to the controversial labor point system, Trion says all characters will begin with zero points.

[Thanks, JunkiesNation.]

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