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Economy

Guild Wars 2's trading post is reworked from the ground up

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

gw2
It seems as though you are not really a Guild Wars 2 player until you have had a good rant about the trading post at some point. Those rants might become scarce with this month's patch, as ArenaNet has reworked the game's auction house to be more user friendly.

"The first iteration of the trading post didn't do a great job of exposing its offerings to users, and that's something we've worked hard to improve," the team posted in a new features pack dev diary. To facilitate this desire, the team rebuilt the trading post using a new browser engine.

The improvments to the trading post include a revamped user interface, faster loading, better browsing and search functions, clearer categories, and a cleaner buy/sell screen. The end result is "an objectively better product" for all users, according to the studio.

How RMT is changing RuneScape's economy for the better

Fantasy, Business Models, Economy, Game Mechanics, News Items, RuneScape, Free-to-Play, Browser

RMT has a bad reputation for promoting the seedy underbelly of online gaming, but some MMOs are trying to turn that effect around, like RuneScape. According to developer Jagex, a pair of RuneScape players recently took advantage of their game's Bond system (akin to PLEX or CREDD) to fund their trip to the RuneFest fan convention in October. The studio detailed other positive effects of the Bond system in a press release this morning, explaining that the system has improved the game's economy:
Since their September 2013 debut, around 2.3 million Bonds have been purchased; more than 80 percent of those Bonds have been redeemed for membership, with 27.6 million membership days obtained to date. The introduction of Bonds also had a swift and dramatic effect on the levels of gold-farming in the game, which plummeted by 81 percent within weeks, and also helped bring a more stable in-game economy for players. Over the past year, more than 316.5 billion in-game gold pieces have been sunk into Bond trades by the community.
RuneScape VP Phil Mansell said that over the last year, "nearly 20% of RuneScape players [paid] for their membership subscription through their in-game efforts and half of the premium RuneCoin currency comes from bond redemptions."

[Source: Jagex press release]

DCUO sells base item packs

Super-hero, Economy, Free-to-Play, DC Universe Online, Promotions, Housing

dcuo
If you're the type of person who would rather hop on the express lane to interior decorating in a superhero setting, then DC Universe Online is rolling out the welcome mat for you. The MMO is now selling theme base item packs in its marketplace.

These packs all contain housing items that can be obtained in the game, so it's a trade-off between spending time and effort to get them or to pay for the privilege of snatching them up all at once. Two of the item packs revealed are the Dynasty Starter and Greek Statues collections.

[Thanks to Demonxaphan for the tip!]

Neverwinter auctioning off five Sergeant Knox companions

Fantasy, Economy, Events (In-Game), Free-to-Play, Promotions, Neverwinter

neverwinter
The famous Sergeant Knox, Neverwinter NPC questgiver extraordinaire, will be available as a special companion. For a short time, players can bid on one of these purple-quality companions through the auction house.

The catch is that there will only be five such Sergeant Knox companions put up for auction during this event, which means that only five (or fewer) players in the game will own one, at least for the time being. As a gold sink, this will undoubtedly be quite effective to suck some of the excess money out of the economy. This special auction will take place from September 11th through the 14th.

EVE Evolved: Wormholes should be more dangerous

Sci-Fi, Video, EVE Online, Economy, Expansions, Game Mechanics, Patches, PvP, Endgame, PvE, Opinion, EVE Evolved, Dev Diaries, Sandbox, Player-Generated Content, Subscription, MMORPG

EVE Evolved title image
When unstable wormholes began forming all over the EVE Online universe in 2009's Apocrypha expansion, players approached them with extreme caution. The promise of riches in the form of new loot and Tech 3 cruiser components was balanced by the incalculable risk of facing a powerful new enemy in untested circumstances. Between the Sleeper AI that had been reported to melt players' ships in seconds and the player pirates taking advantage of the hidden local chat channel to sneak up on unsuspecting victims, we had no idea whether any ship we sent into a wormhole would ever make it back out again.

The risk of venturing into something truly unknown made wormhole exploration the single most exciting thing I've ever been a part of in an MMO, but the past five years have completely eroded that danger. Farmers now know exactly what to expect in every wormhole site and can efficiently farm Sleepers with the minimum of effort or risk, and PvP alliances can rapidly cycle through systems to find weak targets to attack. We've mapped and tamed all of the wormhole frontier, systematically reducing the risk to the lowest possible levels under the current game mechanics. Tuesday's Hyperion update aimed to shake things up with a few disruptive changes designed to keep wormholes dangerous, and I think it's a definite step in the right direction.

In this week's EVE Evolved, I look at some of the changes in Hyperion designed to keep wormholes dangerous and ask what more could be done to keep things interesting.

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Latest Pathfinder Online devblog emphasizes player-driven economy

Fantasy, Economy, New Titles, News Items, Dev Diaries, Sandbox, Crafting, Pathfinder Online

Although players in Pathfinder Online's Alpha 7 run will earn 5,000 XP per hour (in order to help them test more things), the latest devblog warns that things will get decidedly harder once gameplay starts after Early Enrollment. At that point players will face a "cold start," beginning the game with only simple peasant clothes, a club, and 1,000 XP to spend on initial feats. Everything else, from feats to gear to cash, will grow from that.

The devblog also details the player-driven economy; by design, nearly everything characters use will be player-crafted. Mobs will drop only starter equipment, coin, salvage, or -- the rarest and most valuable -- recipes. Players can only upgrade gear past the starter level through crafting, and gear can be crafted with certain key words that add bonuses when combined with specific slotted feats. For full details, and a look at what Pathfinder devs are doing at PAX Prime, check out the official site.

Destiny: No trading with others allowed

Betas, Sci-Fi, Economy, MMOFPS, Destiny, Buy-to-Play

destiny
One major staple of online gaming won't be present in Destiny when it launches: trading. The developers have made it clear that all of your gear must be attained with blood, sweat, and tears instead of swapped for another player's loot or bought for virtual bucks.

"We want you to earn 'em. You should be able to tell a badass story for every sweet jewel in your arsenal," Bungie wrote on its blog last week. "Once you earn them, the various Guardians under your account will be able to trade them, but weapons belong to the players who acquire them through action and bravery."

The team reported that it did one final internal playtest of the game this past weekend: "Though Destiny may be basking in the gold light of release, we're already looking ahead to the next milestone, and the next one after that."

The Daily Grind: What do you buy in MMOs?

Culture, Economy, Opinion, The Daily Grind, Miscellaneous

neverwinter
Every so often I like to be nosy and pry into your personal finances. Wow, you blow through a lot of Candy Crush microtransactions, don't you? And your Pez eBay purchases have gotten out of control.

But let's just pretend that I don't have unparalleled access to your checking account and ask you to share what you buy in MMOs with real money. Looking back, probably my biggest purchases from the past six months were a subscription to WildStar, various cosmetic outfits and minipets in Guild Wars 2, the new mission packs in The Secret World, and a ghost companion in Neverwinter.

What do you buy?

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!

SMITE raises money for world championship pot by selling items

Fantasy, Video, Classes, Economy, Free-to-Play, MOBA

smite
SMITE has a new plan to raise money for its World Championship prize pool called The Odyssey. Basically, the Odyssey program allows players a limited-time window to purchase exclusive items and sets for the game that will never be sold again. Part of the proceeds from those sales will go into the prize pool for the championship.

In other SMITE news, the game has added a new Mayan god. Cabrakan is a "destroyer of mountains," which is a good thing if you have a mountain coming at you down a lane. He's good at crowd control, protecting allies, and blocking enemy progress.

We've got videos on both Cabrakan and the Odyssey program for you to watch after the break.

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Perfect World Entertainment continues to rake in money

Fantasy, Economy, MMO Industry, Free-to-Play, Neverwinter, Swordsman

pwe
Perfect World Entertainment continues its hot streak of revenue generation, posting gains both quarter-over-quarter and year-over-year. The company released its Q2 2014 financials this past week, and reported revenues of $149.6 million, of which $138.8 million come from PWE's online games. Gross profit was $109.4 million during the same quarter.

PWE CEO Robert Xiao attributed the company's financial success to Swordsman's release, Dota2's launch in China, and several new mobile titles. Xiao said that the company was looking forward to releasing Legend of the Condor Heroes, as well as pushing Neverwinter into the Chinese market.

World of Warcraft's Chinese partner sees increase in profit and revenue

World of Warcraft, Fantasy, Economy, MMO Industry, Free-to-Play, Trading Card Games, Diablo III, Hearthstone

wow
Earlier this month, Blizzard claimed that a "disproportionate" amount of its 800,000 lost World of Warcraft subscribers were from the east. While that may be, China is doing quite well with the studio's games.

Gamasutra reports that Blizzard's partner in the region, NetEase, posted a "modest rise" in both profit and revenue during the second quarter. The company reported revenue of $376.6M, a rise of 13% from last year. This financial summary includes NetEase's own titles along with World of Warcraft, StarCraft II, and Hearthstone. Hearthstone was singled out as a "strong earner" due to its recent launch in the region.

Both Blizzard and NetEase are working to bring Diablo III and Heroes of the Storm to the country in the future.

WildStar and Guild Wars 2 boost NCsoft profits

Fantasy, Sci-Fi, Aion, Lineage, Lineage 2, Economy, MMO Industry, Guild Wars 2, Free-to-Play, Blade & Soul, WildStar

ncsoft
The second quarter of 2014 was a very good time indeed for NCsoft, as the publisher announced today that revenues and profits are up thanks to WildStar's launch and Guild Wars 2's move into China.

In today's earnings report, NCsoft shows that sales went up 20% and operating profit increased 46% from the previous quarter. The company said that it saw a marketing expense increase due to WildStar and that Lineage "recovered meaningfully" during this period.

As for sales per game, Lineage is still at the top with 32.2%. Following that is WildStar (15.9%), Guild Wars 2 (12.6%), Blade and Soul (10.8%), Aion (10.4%), and Lineage II (7.7%).

RIFT addresses player auction house concerns

Fantasy, Economy, Patches, News Items, Free-to-Play, RIFT

Look, I appreciate your irritation at the rates, but I am relatively certain we have bigger concerns right at the moment.
RIFT brought some major changes to its live servers yesterday, but one change wasn't mentioned in the patch notes and produced more than a little player irritation. Along with all of the other auction house changes, helpfully compiled by RIFTJunkies, the transaction cost was changed from a flat fee to a 5% scaling tax. That's kind of a big change if you're used to only having a minor hit whether the auction sells or not.

According to the development team, this change will not be reversed, but modifications will be made to help make the shift feel less punishing to players. The goal is to both recover some money from the economy and cut down on unnecessary auctions for trivial sums. Players can expect to see a hotfix next week to make the taxes both lower and dependent upon the length of the auction; read the full auction house breakdown for more details as well as an in-depth look at the other changes.

Flameseeker Chronicles: The curse of Guild Wars 2's precursor weapons

Fantasy, Economy, Game Mechanics, Opinion, Guild Wars 2, Flameseeker Chronicles, Crafting, Buy-to-Play

Ten thousand thank yous to eirstegalkin of Tumblr for this awesome manip of my characters together!
My wife doesn't play Guild Wars 2 any more. She hasn't exactly made a deliberate choice to leave the game and never come back, but she used to play every day. Some time around the end of season one of the living world story, she started logging in only every week or so, and then finally not at all. She dips in for a few seconds to unlock the new story chapters, but only because I remind her that they're out.

This is the first time the two of us have been seriously invested in different MMOs. When she stopped playing GW2 as often, she dived headfirst into Final Fantasy XIV, which is totally understandable because it's a great game and I play it casually myself. Normally I wouldn't consider this development to be article material because people drift away from games they used to love and find new ones all the time, and it's not necessarily a bad thing. But this wasn't a natural split: When I told her about all of the cool story stuff happening in season two, my wife's response was, "That sounds neat. Has ArenaNet implemented precursor crafting yet?"

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Neverwinter exploit results in emergency maintenance, no rollback

Fantasy, Bugs, Business Models, Economy, Events (Real-World), News Items, Free-to-Play, Neverwinter

Neverwinter's emergency maintenance this afternoon fueled speculation among players that another currency exploit was to blame and a rollback was imminent, but Perfect World Community Manager Akromatik says no rollback is planned. On the official forums, he wrote,
Due to an exploit we had to bring down the servers for an emergency maintenance. The exploit was brought to our attention by our fantastic community. Your efforts, enabled us to find and implement a fix as soon as possible. Unfortunately the fix required downtime and will likely require additional maintenance following our investigation. While there is no rollback planned, we will be taking action against people who abused this exploit. Thank you for your patience, diligence and understanding. We will keep you updated as the situation develops.
A serious currency exploit in May of 2013 after the game had soft-launched into "open beta" did in fact result in a rollback.

[Thanks to Jeremiah for the tip!]

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