Monday, April 18, 2011 | 8There are a lot of things that people must accept in MMORPGs that are counter to any logical reality. Anyone familiar with modern economic principals on an even basic level knows that scarcity steers the financial ship.
The problem with the MMORPG equation is that every creature from the smallest mouse to the mythological red dragon all are birthed with a gold coin press. Seriously, every single goblin has stockpiled a similar amount of money, but then called it quits because it is heavy, or something. There is also a disparity in the amount of money monsters have geographically, but this is becoming too specific and doesn't affect my main point.
In order to have a balanced economy where foreign gold farmers can't thrive, the neurosurgeons that work in game development came up with a single solution to limit the value of online currency. In addition, since they had already made the bulk of the game before realizing the problem, they wanted to just insert something in there without actually exerting effort in it.
The Solution: Make a half-assed system that requires you to unload exponentially increasing amounts of money and time as you level up. Also, make it as monotonous and horrible as possible.
And so the MMORPG crafter was born.
Have you ever wondered why you gathered all that iron if it immediately becomes useless when you gain two more levels? It is because you've been bamboozled! The folks at Trion, Blizzard, EA, Mythic, and FunCom are all laughing their asses off at your gullibility. They're richer because you had to spend more time playing to get your ultra-mount since you blew your whole treasury on making Fur Boots of Shooping for 6 hours to get up enough skill to make Fur Hats of Shooping...
Now it may seem like I'm just complaining, which I am, but crafting has done nothing but deteriorate since Ultima Online did it in 1997. Of course they can't be held to the same standards as modern MMORPGs because they actually planned for crafting to exist in the game.
Now, it isn't exactly a fair comparison because Ultima Online had the advantage of being sandboxesque, but you could actually progress entirely through a trade-skill without fighting anything. Ever.
It seems like it would be advantageous to attract the type of gamer who isn't interested at all in fighting to supply people who are constantly having their equipment destroyed from fighting... That almost seems like a functional economy, huh? That being said, it wouldn't work in these modern linear abortions, so I guess ultimately this article is about my love of sandboxes.