Soulbound+guildbound

I’ve been long thinking about what to do with game economies. The core problem is that if a reward from any in-game activity can be put up for trade, due to comparative advantage only a specialized group of people should do it, everyone else should buy it. It is perfected in EVE where there are specialized miners, with specialized characters and ships doing nothing but strip mine whole systems, while others kill mobs with multiple accounts and others transport and others run wormhole sites for T3 production and others run missions for LP of one faction and so on.

This is great for the “game GDP”, a specialized miner and ratter surely kill more rats and mines more than two guys who both mine and rat. But games are not real and “game GDP” has no value. Devs can create anything from thin air. Games should be entertaining and/or challenging and grinding the same task optimally is anything but.

On top of this, there is RMT and official token trade, ergo there is a class of players who produce nothing but open their wallet to give money (or gametime) to other “players” who farm for a living. With that comes botting and hacking and all kind of nastiness.

The blunt solution is soulbounding. You can’t trade anything in World of Warships or League of Legends, even illicitly (besides full accounts). This is fine for a competitive FPS, not so much for an MMO. People want to form groups and play together and that includes economic cooperation.

I think the solution is to allow groups (may they be formal guilds or pickups) to utilize resources as a group, letting individual members contribute and get rewards, while personal items cannot be traded (nor the materials coming from them).

For example the guild needs a raid buff altar, so miners can farm stone for the construction, gaining “bonus loot” rolls for all-guild raids. Or an EVE ratter can contribute to some automatized SRP fund and in return gets credited on every kill report the ships he paid for were present.

The point is to disallow one player to give/trade anything to another player what he can individually use, but allow them to give/trade items that are used as a group, together.

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Author: Gevlon

My blog: https://greedygoblinblog.wordpress.com/

9 thoughts on “Soulbound+guildbound”

  1. The issue I see with your proposed solution, is how do you promote crafting under such a solution?

    As you say, the devs can create something out of thin air. Mining/Material nodes in WoW are a joke with instant respawns. If you are going to “do something” with game economies, you have to reduce the supplies in the supply chain first. Whether it be timer based respawns, or zone-wide depletions. Either that or have the materials only available in PvP zones where risk and skill would control the acquisition of said materials.

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  2. The core problem is gameplay being not enjoyable. People pay to skip content when the content is not to their liking.
    Grouping people up to share ressources will have the same issue as finding a tank/healer – disliked gameplay will have a lack of players and thus it will be impossible to have everyone fill all positions in their guild adequate. So mechanics that want you to find players to receive buffs will again incentitive playing the system by automating these unwanted jobs.

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  3. @Noguff: crafting is broken in all MMOs I know, because the gameplay is just “press button”. The “real” crafting gameplay is

    * gathering material (going to the world for ore or mob)
    * learning the recipes (usually some form of questing, or crafting lower level which is more gathering materials)

    @Anon: in good guilds there are always enough tanks and healers. In bad guilds it doesn’t matter anyway as they “progress” only with catchup mechanisms

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  4. Who decides that it doesn’t matter? The bad players won’t think like that. They currently buy carries /RMT / bots exactly because they have no patience for the catchup mechanics or want that social prestige. So why wouldn’t they likewise buy the benefits in the new system? And the good guilds are rare compared to the bad ones. So stable guilds will be the outlier.

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  5. The problem with this is it just adds a another broken layer to a broken system.

    First up: Crafting.

    The problem with crafting in MMOs is people always try to make it so you’re an “artisan” who’s job is to “craft stuff” for a “living.” Wrong! That has never, will never, and can never work. Simple reason is that actual “crafting”, as in the real world… is seriously time consuming and that cannot translate into a game. So what do you do? Only allow players to craft what they need to equip. As such, they’re at BEST a “part time” crafter crafting only a tiny percentage of their total play time. If some “non crafter” needs something crafted? They go to an NPC craft guild and talk to the vendor. There will be quests as in, “You go to the mountains, gather these things, and we craft it for you.” and you get the item. You can still “help your friends craft” as in go with them to gather the items, and trade the ones they need but you got, for the ones they got but you need.

    You could say “But what’s the difference?” There isn’t any, other than perhaps slightly less materials needed if you do it yourself. You become a crafter because it’s fun. If it’s no fun and no one becomes crafters? Fine. That works too.

    Second up: Economy.

    There isn’t one. Having a fungible currency is rampant inflation from second one with RMT right around the corner. It’s essentially impossible to “balance” sinks and faucets as players choose which and when.. and they will, guaranteed, hoard the fungible currency. Every. Freakin. Time. How to fix? Barter. Everything that is tradable has an internal “value” calculated by the server based on supply and utility. When you trade, all trades are “par value”, the value of your stuff for the value of the other stuff. There is no universally fungible currency to get in exchange. You COULD fill your inventory with the “best” tradable item, but that would be a bad idea, as anything worth doing that with would not be tradable.

    “Guild locked” trading.

    Your guild will suck and you’ll quit. if it’s available for a fungible currency, NO guild will ALWAYS be able to get you whatever you want when you want it… Your guild will always suck because of that. “Sure! You can buy that plush A.K. Yearling pet, complete with 3 key typewriter (The collector’s edition!) but just not in your guild. Or any guild you’ll likely ever be in. Why? Obviously, because your guild sucks. A rare item in an auction house unobtainable only because you don’t have the resources is one thing (And still stupid.) but a rare item you can’t get because you aren’t in the right guild is many times worse.

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  6. @Smokeman: the economy can be balanced if money cannot be farmed, but it’s provided by the dev central bank for free, but you can’t use it to anything with NPCs, only to trade with players. You can only farm materials.

    I didn’t consider that M&S is only welcomed in M&S guilds that cannot provide anything to the members, so guild-only trading means no trading. The solution is to make a minimal level of survival possible without trading. After all, there are many games where you can’t trade at all and they work.

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  7. what about losing “quality” on trade and use.

    you can un-soulbound items and that process will have impact on the item in someway, lose of percentage in stats, durability … lets say quality. like if you buy a used car you really don’t will expect a brand-new-car, you look in the papers and will have to live with some not really broken parts.

    item quality (not durability) will be lost over use and trade. impacting repairs and stats. maintenance could be soulbound or involve crafting. after quality is finally down to broken, you will have to get another item. the broken item could be used in imbuing or some craft cycle for the next piece, bought or looted, so it restores some stats to bought items or make looted items be used more.
    some one more creative like me could do something with this.

    but hey that would involve work. sure in highly enchant reliant games like BDO “a broken item” is not very practical. so let there be a depletion of some “fuel”, when empty only 80% of item “works”. after you refuel it item is 100%. rarity of item dictates fuel. or something like that.

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  8. @Smokeman You’re completely wrong about crafting. Did you ever play SWG or Eve? In both games there is/was a set of players whose sole or majority gameplay was to craft items for sale to others. This can be done two ways: item decay as in SWG, where items decay on use and *must* be replaced periodically, or relatedly some sort of destruction mechanic as in Eve where items can be destroyed in combat. SWG in particular had the best crafting system I have ever seen in a multiplayer game.

    Notably in both these games crafted equipment was essentially necessary because only basic or inferior items were available from NPCs or loot drops. All this combined to make a robust demand for crafted items such that it was a viable full time playstyle (and remains so in Eve).

    Yes, if items are indestructible like in WoW, demand is very low because once you have your Axe of Smiting you never need to replace it. Add to that the fact that better items are easily available as loot from NPCs, so many players don’t bother with crafting. If you couple very low demand with a high supply (everyone can craft things relatively easily) you’ll have anemic and unimportant crafting, like you see in most theme park MMOs.

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