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Economy

World of Warcraft proposes tradable subscription currency

World of Warcraft, Fantasy, Economy, Patches, Previews, Subscription

wow
Six-point-one. That's all you World of Warcraft players need to hear to get psyched for the new year. The dev team took a brief pause in rolling in all of the money from Warlords of Draenor sales to talk about what's coming up with Patch 6.1 as well as a proposed new subscription currency.

The patch, which will go into testing soon, will contain improvements to garrisons, a legendary follower, the ability to send tweets from the game, the new Blood Elf models, shorter flight master routes, incentives for visiting friends' garrisons, and the new heirloom collection tab.

Even bigger than this news is word that Blizzard is "exploring" adding a subscription currency that sounds like EVE Online's PLEX. The proposed idea would allow players to buy and sell game-time tokens for in-game gold: "Our current thought on this is that it would give players a way to use their surplus gold to cover some of their subscription cost, while giving players who might have less play time an option for acquiring gold from other players through a legit and secure system."

ArcheAge reinstates APEX purchases

Fantasy, Economy, News Items, Free-to-Play, ArcheAge, Sandbox

Just wait for the next issue, because it'll happen.
The time since ArcheAge's launch has been a cycle of allowing cash shop purchases, discovering exploits with those purchases, and disabling those purchases, usually APEX. There have been a variety of other goofs hither and yon, but the important one right now is APEX. After a long period of being unavailable, it can be purchased once more, hopefully without a need to disable it again in the future.

APEX, for those of you unaware, is essentially a way to purchase subscription time and sell it in-game, a la EVE Online's PLEX or WildStar's CREDD. The exploit issues caused by use of APEX items without actually consuming them have led to the items being removed from the store on multiple occasions. Hopefully this reinstatement signals the end of that particular cycle for the game.

Star Wars: The Old Republic axes skill training costs

Sci-Fi, Economy, Free-to-Play, Star Wars: The Old Republic

swtor
SWTOR penny-pinchers rejoice, for the oppressive tyranny of skill costs are about to become history. In a post on the forums this afternoon, BioWare announced that it will be abandoning skill training costs as of next week.

"One thing has become clear from the player feedback in not only this thread, but since launch: players do not like training costs. It is a situation where every level you will see your hard earned credits go to a holographic Hutt doctor in order to make yourself a bit stronger. We have been talking about this topic internally for quite some time and when you add player feedback to the mix one thing becomes clear... We should make training costs a thing of the past," the studio said.

[Thanks to the five million people who sent this tip in!]

The Daily Grind: Do special currencies in MMOs annoy you?

Business Models, Economy, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, Opinion, Massively Meta, The Daily Grind, Miscellaneous

A reader discussion in a past Guild Wars 2 update article made me realize, once again, how much I loathe special event currencies. You know the type: It's patch day, and here's an event, and if you want the rewards, you have to grind a shiny new currency to get them! Never mind that you already have a pile of gold (and in Guild Wars 2's case, karma and gems) earned through your adventures up until now; those credits are mysteriously useless at the new reward vendors, who accept only some new currency.

Commenters rightly pointed out that if modern devs did what old timey devs did, players would just rush in and buy everything on day one and not do the grind. But so what? Why should it bother us that people get to actually use the currency they've already earned and banked? That's the whole point of gathering money in MMOs in the first place. And if there's so much existing currency in the world that everyone could buy everything without additional grind, that's the studio's problem for providing insufficient sinks and a poor economy in the first place, not ours. In fact, special events themselves could be an awesome gold sink! Instead, event currencies signal to players that their existing achievements and savings matter not at all and that the event isn't really going to be much fun on its own merits.

What do you think? Are you also sick of special currencies in MMOs? What would you prefer to see in their stead?

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!

EVE gives more market data tools to the mod community

Sci-Fi, EVE Online, Economy, Patches, Dev Diaries, Sandbox

eve
EVE Online is such a mod-happy game that there's an official site for it, and it's on this site today that CCP said that it will be giving another valuable information-gathering tool to players with the advent of a new searchable resource.

"We also are making available the MarketType resource. MarketTypes is a collection of all possible MarketType resources," the devs posted. Being able to search market history and orders will help modders pull in data from multiple regions and should be in the game with the Rhea content patch.

WildStar slashes box prices by 33%

Sci-Fi, Economy, WildStar, Subscription

wildstar
In a day after releasing its third major update to the game, WildStar has gone on sale by reducing the cost of both editions by 33% if purchased through the official website. This brings the standard edition down to $40 and the digital deluxe edition to $55. Both editions come with a month of game time included.

Earlier today we reported on an interview in which the studio said that its publisher was standing behind the game and that it had strong though unspecific box sales. Yesterday, WildStar released Drop 3, Mystery of Genesis Prime, a content patch with over a hundred pages of bug fixes.

EVE Evolved: Clone upgrades and skill loss are gone!

Sci-Fi, Video, EVE Online, Economy, Expansions, Game Mechanics, Patches, Previews, PvP, Endgame, News Items, Opinion, EVE Evolved, Dev Diaries, Sandbox, Subscription

EVE Evolved title image
While the player activity stats might suggest otherwise, the past few years have been a real rennaisance for EVE Online. Developers have gone back and iterated on dozens of old game features that were starting to show their age, and some of them have been pretty huge. The war declaration and criminality overhauls in 2012 were fundamental changes to core gameplay that had been stagnant for almost a decade, and the recent industry and warp acceleration changes were equally fundamental shifts. These were all features we had previously been told were essentially off-limits for iteration because they relied on undocumented legacy code from 2003, and none of the programmers wanted to poke that sleeping beast.

Now it seems that no idea is off-limits, and developers aren't afraid to challenge fundamental parts of EVE's original design that may not make sense today. This week's Phoebe update revisited capital ship force projection for the first time since the ships were added in 2004, for example, and it removed the 24-hour skill queue limit that CCP insisted on adding in Apocrypha. In Thursday's episode of The EVE Online Show, developers announced the next big legacy feature to be put on the chopping block in the game of progress: As part of December's Rhea release, clone upgrades and skill point loss on death will be completely removed from the game.

In this edition of EVE Evolved, I look at the problems caused by the cloning system, why it needs to be removed, and what could possibly replace it.

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Lost Continent: This is how you go off the rails in ArcheAge

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

Are you an ArcheAge tire-kicker who's wondering how to go "off the rails" and trade the game's questpark level grind for some of that downhome sandbox flavor? I'm here to tell you that it's as easy as deciding that you really want to do it.

There's no magic button or pre-scripted path, though, because the game is sorta sandboxy.

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Path of Exile now accepting Karma Koins

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

poe
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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