1. Hey Guest! If you're more than just a WildStar fan and want to keep up on the latest MMO news, reviews and opinion pieces then I'd like to suggest you visit our sister site MMO Central

Wildstar Community Question- gold sinks w/Carbine response

Discussion in 'WildStar General' started by Anhrez, May 3, 2013.

  1. Anhrez

    Anhrez Cupcake-About-Town

    Joined:
    Mar 12, 2013
    Likes Received:
    75
    Trophy Points:
    28
    Location:
    Portland Oregon
    Sorry for the Wall of Text - I just ported this over from the site to make sure more people could see the thoughts of the community and Carbines thoughts.


    I know with Widstar Weds we usually get a huge influx of information and then sites posting thoughts and opinions about what was shared. To help the ‘day after’ WW hangover I asked a Wildstar Community Question on something that many people take for granted but from my discussion with devs something that is really thought about from many different angles by the dev teams.

    [WCQ] Its a common belief that gold sinks are a common way that games try and pull coin from the in game economy to battle inflation.
    Do you think having gold sinks are necessary?
    If so can you give an example of a game that does it well?
    What are some specific examples of good and bad gold sinks and what makes them so?

    <Wikipedia> – Gold sink is an economic process by which a video game‘s ingame currency (‘gold’), or any item that can be valued against it, is removed. This process is comparable to financial drepression in real economies. Most commonly the genres are role-playing game or massively multiplayer online game. The term is comparable to timesink, but usually used in reference to game design and balance, commonly to reduce inflation when commodities and wealth are continually fed to players through sources such as quests, looting monsters, or minigames.
    [​IMG]
    Its a sink of sorts …..

    Arawulf - Site Admin Wildstarfans.net and Podcaster Planet Nexus Podcast
    I suppose if I’m looking at it from a design perspective, the thing you want to do is continue to give players a reason to keep needing more gold while finding that sweet spot of perfect balance between work and reward. As a gamer, the balance is about finding enough stuff to purchase where I feel I’m getting a good value for my investment. If I’m forced to spend what I perceive as “too much” gold then it’s frustrating. If I’m sitting around with so much gold with nothing of value to spend it on, it can be equally as frustrating. Balance is the key.

    Any game that’s done it well? I’m terrible at in-game money management, so I’ve been broke in every game I’ve played. I couldn’t tell you which game has done it right or wrong.
    I would say that an example of a ‘good’ gold sink would be anything to improve my character – something that helps me progress. A ‘bad’ gold sink would be something that is required but doesn’t move my character forward. Auction house fees can be frustrating, for sure. Some games have a nasty tax that can be very frustrating. Gear repair costs can get rather gruesome as well. Both of these are necessary, but should be balanced.

    Lethality – Wildstar Community Activist Social Media Director ZAM
    I’m no economist, but I wager gold sinks are a necessary evil. However, there’s a right way and a wrong way to go about it.

    The wrong way in my opinion, is taxing crafters for ingredients needed for high-end recipes that are only available from NPC vendors. As an example, Blizzard has been guilty of this, most recently in MoP. To make one of the engineering mounts, it takes 3x special orbs, only available from a wandering vendor – for a fee of 20,000 gold EACH! That’s 60,000 gold to a vendor, on TOP OF all of the crafting materials that are player made/gathered. WRONG WAY!

    Yes, there are players that have too much money and it needs to get sucked out so they can’t do evil things to the economy… but at that point, they may as well have some NPCs rough you up every time you enter a tavern and steal some. At least there’d be some action!

    JarNodWildstar Community Activist
    I also agree that it’s needed. I don’t have any analysis on why it’s needed, but I agree withExtatica that without it you would see the price of “necessary” items on the global trading network become severely inflated.

    Good gold sinks should be everywhere. I think repair cost is always a good one, because we’re constantly using our weapons. However, I think that Wildstar already has a fantastic gold sink built-in. Their housing. I don’t know if the housing will cost a lot of money, but I can imagine it being a huge time and money sink at end game.

    The devs have to be careful though. If gold is the focus of the economy, then you can have what happened with Diablo 3. They instituted repair costs just to keep people from progressing too fast. There are obviously other ways to combat this, but it is a point I think should be brought up.

    YakzanModerator Wildstar-Central
    I think gold sinks are really necessary because money in MMOs are technically infinite so without it the inflation would get out of control.

    The only bad gold sink, I feel, is one that doesn’t do a good enough job or no gold sink at all. An example is current WoW where their reaction to the inflated economy is to have massively expensive cosmetic items (Some of which used to be unique and an icon of past events, now completely devalued.)

    I think a good gold sink is one that properly scales with the average income at the appropriate level and income doesn’t inflate out of control compared to lower level economy. Also, having an economy that requires a constant turnover of items or exchange of items, especially via crafters. Example: SWG (Items get destroyed when durability reaches 0, requiring replacements) or DAoC (Items lose effectiveness over time and eventually require a replacement to reach maximum effectiveness again.) I still think a properly balanced repair cost for items also helps a lot. Maintenance fees for houses and other such things really help as well. I’m very big on good money sinks because an in-game economy with huge inflation makes entering the economy as a new player difficult and overwhelming, along with devaluing items and services, which I don’t like at all.

    Extatica - Wildstar Community Activist
    It’s needed!!!! (that’s the short answer)
    Without various gold/money-sinks, the developers would have no viable means of introducing money into, or removing excess coin from, the game’s economy. This would eventually lead to a complete breakdown of the economic sub-systems. In a game like World of Warcraft, which is primarily driven by a player-created economy, this could have catastrophic effects.

    Also people think gold sinks are only for the gold, but it’s for those obnoxious ”gray” items as well.
    Without those sinks the game will be flooded with items/gold and things won’t be worth anything at all! It’s the same principal if a country can just ”make” more money without any rules. Inflation will be the downfall of the country and eventually you get those things like hyperinflation: 1 day you buy bread for 1g next day it’s 10g next day it’s 1000g and next day it’s 1000000g.

    It will completely ruin a game!
    Well known games with these gold sinks and the links providing info about those gold sinks in those games:
    World of Warcraft
    Guild Wars
    Runescape

    The only other option would be something like not making gold/money drop from monsters in the world, and reducing the gold gain from Quests as well, also making Quests that you can do multiple times reward NO money as well.
    But with these things you lack some serious ”rewards” and people will not want to do those quests and will lose interest in the game.
    If nothing is done vs the gold incomes (for example with gold sinks) you’ll get Mudflation (according to Wiki).
    Some examples of good gold sinks include:
    • Buying upgrades from the game.
    • Buying food, potions and supplies from the game that will be consumed during play, or any other consumable item.
    • Buying services from the game such as healing, item repair, transportation throughout the game world, or storage space (or storage time) for current or extra items.
    • Item degradation: items may have a small chance to degrade or break when used, repairing or replacement cost time and/or money, this is a bit harder then just the repairing of items.
    • Selling items to NPC “pawnbrokers” who resell them to other players at a substantial markup, this can be seen most as the following example: You buy something of a NPC and then you don’t need it and you will not get the full price back again even if you just bought it 2 seconds ago. Then you sell it for like half price, if you need the item once agin you just have to buy it for 100% again. So you will always end up losing money this way.
    • Another good example of a gold sink from a game is Dungeons and Dragons Online, players can mail items to other characters, have curses removed, or gamble with NPCs, all for an appropriate fee.
    But don’t forget the impact gold farmers can have on the economic stability of a game, if you don’t/won’t handle gold farmers/sellers/buyers you will end up with (hyper) inflation as well. This happened to FF XI, but they were able to reversed it luckily.


    Final Fantasy XI reversed its inflationary trend by cracking down on gold farmers that were involved in real economy interaction. After many months of stability, trading prices began rising quickly, with the cost of most items doubling or tripling around the end of 2005. With many players complaining about their decreased buying power due to the inflation, the game operators decided to eliminate hundreds of such players. Without a reliable source of in-game currency, internet sellers of currency had to raise their prices. Also, a great deal of currency was removed from circulation in this process. Within one or two months, most trading prices fell back to their previous equilibrium.

    I don’t really know what makes a ”good” gold sink for it is up to the gamers of THAT particular game to give feedback whether it feels correct or not!
    Gold sinks like: Weapons have a slight chance breaking completely in battle going from 100% durability to 0% durability.

    These are the worst! People will complain about it and it reduces any positive effect it should give.Gold Sinks that won’t make too many people complain about it are good ones.
    Gold Sinks = The silent economic guardians
    Silent! So don’t make them too obvious!

    Anhrez – Site admin Settler in Exile {known AH manipulator,swindler of noobs, all around economic bad seed, Econ Pvp'er)
    I hold onto my coins like Scrooge McDuck. The devs have to pry my profit from my cartoon fingers, but even I see the need for gold sinks. Lets take what used to be one of my seasonal money makers on WoW. Great-Father Winter has a problem, and it was only my pleasure to exploit it. By spending a little bit of time farming small eggs I could spike the prices of the small eggs or the cookies as most players are too lazy to really do they quest. BUT …. what used to be a 4 gold spin moved to 35 gold over time on Lightbringer. Why? Well the value of a gold piece just ain’t what it used to be. It’s a small example of a never-ending battle that the all devs must attack like Don Quixote attacking a windmill.

    I agree with the many solid posts above, it’s not that there are gold sinks (from an immersion point of view there are costs to doing everything in RL why not WS) it’s that they must make sense and be easily adjusted. I am a fan of the tiered price for travel based on level/zone. If a fast travel cost you 2.5% of your total take of quest coinage in zone 1-5, I am fine with it taking a close matching percentage. (But I am not a fan of fast travel in principal, it shrinks the world and takes away from crafting needs of mounts but that is another post) Luckily for us I think Wildstar has a built-in gold sink that will be easy justifiable for immersion. Housing. We already know that there are basic items to but, along side crafted and world drop items for our homes. We can guess that there is a top end of %+ Rest XP so that would limit the ‘buy my way to faster levels’ comments as long as there are enough drops and crafted items in the game to reach that max. To me that makes a solid sink that can easily be adjusted in cost and items to be added.

    A bad gold sink? Well I never played MoP long enough to need the 20k item for crafting that Lethality mentioned but I already hate it. If you are going to create a huge dependency on an item, I would rather see it come from Crafter A (costs them X gold to make in smaller parts, etc) and then have Crafter B buy it from Crafter A. The addition of a wandering vendor with a 20k gold item seems more like an after thought to manage gold than finding a way to add a sink and increase the need for players to leverage other professions to have theirs succeed.

    I went into the weeds on Weapon Decay on Nexus Pirate Radio[​IMG]
    Follow the link or click the picture for our Episode 0 !!
    Thanks again to all Wildstar Community ppl that spent some time to share their thoughts!
     
    Dysp likes this.
  2. Rumze

    Rumze "That" Cupcake

    Joined:
    Feb 13, 2013
    Likes Received:
    564
    Trophy Points:
    93
    Location:
    Nova scotia, Canada
    I tried reading it and got to the end with some focus but its really hard to read in that colour.

    Otherwise nice read.
     
  3. Anhrez

    Anhrez Cupcake-About-Town

    Joined:
    Mar 12, 2013
    Likes Received:
    75
    Trophy Points:
    28
    Location:
    Portland Oregon
    Response from "Bull" one of the great Devs over at Carbine

    I want a strong economy too!
    Gold sinks are an absolute necessity because of the differences between an online game and the real world, as you all have noticed. I agree that the best gold sinks are the ones that you don’t really notice, scale with the ability to pay, and if they are optional then that’s a bonus. Gold sinks are the primary means to combat in game inflation.





    My goal with the currency supply is to give meaningful choices on how to spend money on things that don’t really matter. I have to give out enough currency to ensure that auction trading is not stagnated, while at the same time trying like hell to make sure that a player that takes a break does not come back to Zimbabwe Online (Do an online search for “Zimbabwe currency” for an example of bad game design). It’s not going to be easy and requires constant attention.
    I’ve spent most of this morning going over the philosophy this blog post and taking notes. It’s good to see so many sharp people paying attention to our game and to our game’s economy. Thank you very much for posting it!

    Followed by Me asking a quick question:
    In talking with the group while putting this article together many would love to hear some thoughts on where you get your economic influences from? If we search your name will we find a photo with you and Alan Greenspan or would we know you buy the devious sinks that you have dropped in front of us in other games we have played? I know there are lots and lots of reveals left, but the economy and Auction House are big items for us Merchant focused players.

    Response from "Bull" :up:

    My main economic influences are all of the other MMO economies I've played through. I've spent a great deal of time with Eve Online, DAoC, and WoW. I think people believe that Eve Online has a libertarian style laissez-faire economic system, but in actually it is fairly tightly controlled and healthy. We don’t have that kind of economic game, though (which is fine). We have a more traditional MMO economy where we dump resources into the game and then try to steal them back from you.


    If you look for me online, you won’t see me on the board of directors anywhere, though. I’m a game designer first, but I also really like detecting and solving problems with systems. Since I am a game designer, I’m looking for “fun” foremost. Some things about real world economies aren't fun at all. No one likes to be penniless and left wanting for basic needs, so we certainly won’t be doing that in this game. However, you’ll need to watch out! I plan on giving you all some surprises along the way to riches.
     
    Yakzan likes this.
  4. Talksin

    Talksin Cupcake

    Joined:
    May 2, 2013
    Likes Received:
    54
    Trophy Points:
    18
    Is there a tl:dr version?
     
  5. Bryce

    Bryce New Cupcake

    Joined:
    Feb 10, 2013
    Likes Received:
    2
    Trophy Points:
    3
    Location:
    Australia
    Text size is too big bro.
     
  6. Extatica

    Extatica Super Cupcake

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2013
    Likes Received:
    2,884
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    Z-Lab
    As stated it's from another site (his site). But he's sharing it with the WSC in general now, to raise more awareness for the games-economics and because someone of Team Carbine has responded to it.

    And people always want to see/read posts of Carbine staff members.

    So if anyone got problems with reading go over to the other site to read it.
     
  7. Galosha

    Galosha Cupcake

    Joined:
    Apr 12, 2013
    Likes Received:
    27
    Trophy Points:
    18
    What i don't want to see its gold needed for craft in some ridiculous amounts (like Aion). Maybe it's good goldsink but it only serve to slowdown your progress in crafting relatively to your progress in combat lvl but do no difference on cap. Degrading or destroying gear not for nowaday mmorpg (for casual gamer replace item that he got from raid or epic quest line can be not possible and it's much more disappointing than dont get it in first place). I think it is very bad examples of sink.

    Drink HP and MP potions as water - its not for mmorpg with holy trinity IMHO, i dont like this tendency in asian mmo - i play mmorpg not some Diablo clone.
    As for food from vendor - if ti's beter than craft then cook profesion meaningless and if not then nobody would buy it.

    Rapair fee, pets, mounts, lottery or other games with NPC, identifying items, fast travel, rent for house even racipes for craft it's very good sinks as for me.
     
    Anhrez likes this.
  8. Dwel

    Dwel Cupcake

    Joined:
    Apr 11, 2013
    Likes Received:
    32
    Trophy Points:
    18
    Location:
    Europe
    Good read Anhrez, though the formatting really needs some work. It wasn't an easy read due to that.
     
  9. Haoli

    Haoli Cupcake-About-Town

    Joined:
    Apr 5, 2013
    Likes Received:
    96
    Trophy Points:
    28
    If there's anything I hate, it's being required to spend ludicrous amounts of money on vendor materials to make an item that I have absolutely everything else I need.

    I understand the concept of gold sinks, but getting the materials together to make, say, 100 flasks of relentless assault, but then suddenly discovering 'Oh wait! You need 300 of material X and 200 of material Y ONLY AVAILABLE AT Z MERCHANT' annoy me like nothing else.

    What I would consider fair: Make these 'required' elements a form of drop as well, so you could gather them naturally, or buy them from the merchant if you don't have enough.

    It's just that being dependent on NPC merchants to make things makes me feel like less of a crafter.
     
  10. MassFragg

    MassFragg Cupcake

    Joined:
    Apr 22, 2013
    Likes Received:
    16
    Trophy Points:
    8
    Location:
    Las Vegas, NV
    Gold sinks are definitely needed, I forgot who said it in your post but gold sinks should be "silent guardians"of the in game economy. I just ask they don't make gold sinks like they did in Diablo 3, with repair costs. I'm not one to play the market to make money, so in wow I was constantly broke because questing and exploring didn't make any money. I hope they use a program to regulate the market so we don't have people that buy out and repost items to screw the costs of a mat.
     
  11. Anhrez

    Anhrez Cupcake-About-Town

    Joined:
    Mar 12, 2013
    Likes Received:
    75
    Trophy Points:
    28
    Location:
    Portland Oregon
    MassFragg I believe it was Extatica who phrased it that way, and it was a very solid point. I believe the most effective and most immersive gold sinks are just cost we associate with in game play. Bull's comment about the process of introducing wealth into the game can only be balanced by finding reasonable places to pull back out coinage makes sense if subtle ways are leveraged for this (Money In Money Out) philosophy.
    I do like Zimbabwe currency seems like a solid name for a guild. Or better yet I wonder if we can name our Circles? because I think about connecting with 4-5 other really merchant focused players and seeing what damage we can do.
     
  12. Bull

    Bull Carbine Sr. Systems Designer

    Joined:
    Apr 18, 2013
    Likes Received:
    15
    Trophy Points:
    3
    Location:
    Aliso Viejo, California
    I really hate that too.
     
    Rumze likes this.
  13. Calsic

    Calsic Cupcake-About-Town

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2013
    Likes Received:
    185
    Trophy Points:
    43
    Location:
    Vancouver, Canada
    I dislike any gold-sink that discourages natural gameplay. If travel costs to get to an event cost so much that I stop and think "Is it worth it?", that's a bad gold-sink. People should be encouraged to move around the world. Or if dying in PVP has a repair cost, the people who are just starting out (and suck) think "Eh. I can't afford the repairs.", also bad. Players need to be able to try and fail, but keep trying without worrying about if it's costing them too much. Expensive vendor crafting mats make me skip crafting and just sell my mats in the AH. Super expensive respecs discourage experimentation with different play-styles.

    I doubt any of those are going to be necessary with housing, warplots, mounts, etc though. They're all fun gold-sinks.
     
  14. Tiberius

    Tiberius Cupcake-About-Town

    Joined:
    Apr 16, 2013
    Likes Received:
    113
    Trophy Points:
    43
    Location:
    Virginia
    Elder game crafting ingredients are the trickiest gold sinks to make. The ingredients are costly due strictly to their rarity. If you only pick it up in a raid, then not as many people will get to it, thus more people wanting to buy, blah blah. But if it's too rare, then the people who need it and are saving (other end game raiders) often get an equivalent item sooner and no longer need it.

    The people that really want it are the 'not-quite raiders,' the PvEers who are trying to gear for raids. The problem I often encounter is that they can't afford it because of elder game item inflation. In the WoW auction houses you'll find item prices leading up to max to end game content like so: 50g-60g-70g-200g-10,000g-50,000g-250,000g

    All to often crafters and the craftees both get screwed this way because along with that rare ingredient you farmed in dungeon/raid, suddenly you have to get vendor trash like they mentioned above.

    Example: I spent two weeks in <generic raid> and now won 3 of <generic crafting mat> of which all 3 are needing to make Super Death Weapon!
    Two weeks is a long time, but I'd be happy to sell it for 5,000g, as that's the most that the people that need it can afford at their stage of elder game.
    Add 2 <stupid generic vendor mat> to recipee, both cost 5,000g. Suddenly to make a profit I have to sell my SDW! for 12,500 just to make a small profit.
    Nobody ever buys it because it's more efficient to just hope for it as a rare raid drop.


    TL;DR
    Crafting ingredients as predictable but hard drops WITH NO VENDOR MATS means suddenly the players can self regulate supply/demand.
     
  15. Naunet

    Naunet Well-Known Cupcake

    Joined:
    Mar 21, 2013
    Likes Received:
    339
    Trophy Points:
    63
    Let's get one thing clear: Items being sold on the auction house are not gold sinks, and they cannot and will not have the same control effect on the economy that actual gold sinks do.

    [edit] An example of how a gold sink can be tuned to be simply too much: TERA. Refined alkahest, Masterwork alkahest, and Spellbind are the three vendor mats consumed by anyone enchanting and maximizing the stats on their gear. However, for a long time in NATERA, the balance between the cost of these mats (could cost 500g in alkahest alone for a single attempt at +11 or higher, when a few thousand gold was considered a lot of money) and the gold received in-game was so uneven that the economy actually suffered deflation. They had an opportunity to create an almost perfect balance when they finally boosted the gold rewards for dailies, but then they made another mistake: removing Masterwork Alkahest and Spellbind from vendors (putting them on the cash shop) and reducing the vendor price of Refined Alkahest. So now we have the opposite problem: Inflation.

    Gold sinks are a delicate balancing act. Too much one way and players can't earn enough gold through normal gameplay to keep up with the costs. Too much the other way and your economy spirals into out of control inflation.
     
  16. Tiberius

    Tiberius Cupcake-About-Town

    Joined:
    Apr 16, 2013
    Likes Received:
    113
    Trophy Points:
    43
    Location:
    Virginia
    Sorry, that post started one way in my head and came out my butt onto the screen.

    My thought was gold sinks are cool but crafting ingredients are a terrible idea since it screws with supply and demand, and when I craft I do so in hopes of making money because I'm already way too strapped for cash.
     
  17. Naunet

    Naunet Well-Known Cupcake

    Joined:
    Mar 21, 2013
    Likes Received:
    339
    Trophy Points:
    63
    Bahaha what an excellent image!
     

Share This Page