Greedy Goblin

Sunday, May 29, 2016

I should be so lucky; Lucky, lucky, lucky

I hate luck based mechanics in games. BDO has some, though it's manageable. The worst is accessory enchantment. If you enchant gear with black stones, you either succeed or get a bonus. Or you can "force enchant". I ran the numbers and gambling has better results on the long run.

For accessories, it's all or nothing. You don't just lose a 200K black stone, but both identical items if it fails. If it succeeds, you get an upgraded accessory. If you want to make a "pri" Hesus ring (2x 50K), that's annoying. If you want to make a "pri" Scarla Necklace (6 AP, 6 DP), you have to risk two normals, both costing 5M. Losing them stings, even for me. Of course I first maxed the bonus by trying to enchant my normal gear (more about that in the post on Monday), and when failed enough times, I placed them in:



Saturday, May 28, 2016

Minipost: girl with a dog

BDO is pretty much a sandbox game in the sense that there are so many progression paths, so many different things to do that it's easy to get lost and think that you'll never finish anything ever (are the cooking quests procedurally generated? They are endless). So it can feel like a never-ending grind and you want to end it. It should be a fantasy world and not a pixel job.

Then you leave your computer and find a "screen saver" running in a game where your avatar is doing silly emotes and your pet is wandering around:


And you realize that it's a fantasy world and you don't have to do those quests, get that one last level or whatnot. Not like the girl with the dog will leave you. And then you realize what is really important.

Seting your market orders:

Friday, May 27, 2016

Consumables and wealth

I got a "legendary" crystal for a quest:
Seeing that it's destructible, I immediately classified it as "consumable". Maybe it's my EVE background, but "don't leave the safe zone with anything you don't want to lose" was obvious to me, so I didn't for a second think of using it. I tried my luck on the auction house, but the high fixed price range hinted that it'll not sell.

To my surprise, its listing was announced server-wide and it sold in no time:

I stared in disbelief. Are people that rich to afford a 9M crystal that will likely be destroyed in a few days? Or are they dumb like the purple missioner in EVE?

The wealth ranking hints the second:
I'm already above average in wealth, playing less than a month and spending recklessly on black stones and artisan workers. I'm afraid - and it's quite obvious - that I've encountered the same as I did in WoW and EVE: most players aren't good at making money and just grind dumbly, but they gladly spend on anything shiny, therefore they never have a dime in their purse. I'm just start another little experiment. I'm not sure if success or failure would make me happier. You'll hear about it on Monday.

I hope BDO will soon have a competitive end-game, allowing me not just to climb on meters but directly compete with others.

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Taxes, beer, tea and housewives

In video games, there are typically have low taxes on in-game transactions, since there is no government to support. But Black Desert Online uses market taxes as gold sink. Actually I don't even see any other significant gold sinks in the game. This can serve as a perfect example how damaging high taxes to the economy. First thing first, cooking awful lot of beer and doing the cooking quests pushed me quite high on the cooking toplist:

High cooking skill means good chance of getting more than one product. I just did a test, from 100 units of materials, I got 266 products and 29 bonus products. This obviously means that I should use this multiplication on something profitable. Beer can be produced from 900 silver worth of materials and sell for 1500 (bonus bear for 2300). Tea with fine scent can be produced from 5000 worth of materials and sell for 4000 (bonus tea for 5000). This means that if I make beer (from purchased materials), I make 2.66*1500+0.29*2300-900 = 3757 silvers. If I make tea, I make 2.66*4000+0.29*5000-5000 = 7090 silvers. No brainer. The fact that I need beer is irrelevant: I shall buy beer and use my energy to make tea. (Note: tea is the highest price food that sells in large numbers and need no milk or other limited material).

But here comes 35% sales tax with a twist: I need beer for myself. So if I make beer, I still save the 3757 silvers for not buying beers. But my tea income will change to 0.65*2.66*4000+0.65*0.29*5000-5000 = 2858. Ouch! Beer becomes the profitable choice. If I consider that my workers produce the materials for beer, which I can use or sell taxed, while I must buy materials for tea, the choice is even worse. The end result: despite producing tea generates 2.7x more GDP than producing beer, it's more profitable for me to produce beer.

With taxes suppressing high value production, it's a miracle that tea is made at all. Since beer prices are constantly rising, I guess much of it comes from people who are bad at math, buying beer and producing tea, not noticing that their profit is eaten by taxes. It's only profitable if you don't sell it, but either drink it or rather use it to produce Milk Tea or Sute Tea. You probably ask why producing them is any less tax-blocked than the first one. The solution is another market messup: fixed price ranges. These specialties contain milk, which is a valuable reagent in BDO, but its price is fixed in a hilariously low range. So if you have it, you must do something with it other than selling.

What we saw today isn't limited to video games. Most women in couples and most single people do their own housework (like making the beer for themselves) instead of spending this time doing something more productive and hiring someone to do this low-skill work for them (like making tea and buying beer). Simply if the "something more productive" isn't much more productive, the taxes eat the difference and you are better off doing housework for yourself, even if you'd never think of doing such work as a career. As a result, in bigger households many women become full-time housewifes, despite capable of doing something better, while a bunch of low-skilled people are unemployed. Taxes are bad things kids!

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

BDO production node maps

The net is full of BDO node maps, but I was quite dissatisfied with them, as they did not visualize the most important information: node prices. Not all nodes are made equal and a longer path can easily be cheaper in terms of contribution points. Also - to my surprise - the price of the farming nodes themselves weren't equal. An iron node is 1 contribution near Velia and 3 in Mediah. So for my own purposes I made screenshots and wrote the node prices on them, along with resources and a piece of information I've nowhere found: the lodging hiding in farms. These buildings can greatly decrease the cost of housing in some towns.

The information on some nodes are conflicting among different sites. I only included what I've found in-game. Not all resources are instantly visible, some need to be found by first connecting the main node, then leaving the node management screen, then talking to the node manager again, sometimes paying energy. So everything on the map is guaranteed to be real, but some resources can be missing if I didn't find them. If you have them, write a comment with info how to find it please.

Work nodes are a great way to make semi-AFK money, just place workers on them and they fill the storehouse with materials. Some of them sell well, others are just for vendoring, but each of them make money. Hint: if the main resource (for example chicken meat) is for vendoring, use high luck worker, so he gets lots of secondary resources (for example eggs).

Please remember that workers only work if you are online (even if AFK). Also, the worker works faster on closer nodes and he always goes to work from his home town. So if the nodes are connected, you can mine in Mediah with a Trent worker, it'll be just very slow and the resources will be in Trent. This is usually a bad idea, but sometimes necessary. Velia for example is full of great work nodes, but horribly understaffed, so I farm most of its nodes from Olvia, which has very few natural resources, but can house lots of workers.

The pictures show my setup at the point, but it's no way the optimal. I've changed it several places as I've written this post as I noticed that they can be better. I hope they contribute to your income. A lone number means node price where it's just a node to be connected. For usable nodes you see node and production prices.

Olvia and Velia:

Heidel:

Glish:

Keplan:

Calpheon:

Trent:

Altinova:

Tarif (please note that despite the nodes look close to Altinova, the are not):

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

War of sovless aggression

It is done. With Goonswarm Federation losing their last system, the slope is complete, they are now sovless dockers aggressors:

The North is now completely under the control of the various MBC groups. I especially like the middle one, because they took the last system:

So everything I've planned came true, Goons are evicted, their minions are destroyed or rebelled and MoA finished their sov. Let this be a monument of the victory of numbers over "metagaming", social skills and "best ship is friendship".

No way I'm going back to EVE. The road to this moment was anything but fun, especially with the horrible Falcon. Fighting this mess was a struggle, with no one believing in it. Most just jumped on the bandwagon, the rest were "I wish it was possible, but it's not". Yes it was. GRR was a great project and a great blogging material. An evidence that no amount of social nonsense can defeat a handful of men who are right in the objective sense. But it's not a good game, at all. I'm sure BDO will be much better.

But that said, this moment is an ear-to-ear smile.

Monday, May 23, 2016

Yuria 15: economy based gear progression

In most MMOs, gear is a reward for completing content and also a tool to complete more content. The most notable exception is EVE, where you build your gear via crafting from farmed materials (or buy it from someone who built it). Black Desert Online belongs to this exception: you grab a crafted item and put in black stones farmed by you or someone else. Black stones drop from random monsters (just got one from a wolf near Olvia on a 1 hour alt) and rewarded for killing daily bosses.

The higher you enchant your items, the more powerful they are, but also the more stones they need. Getting a +15 is considered so expensive (not "hard" in the sense of getting mythic raid gear in WoW), that the game makes a system wide announcement that someone just did it:

The rest of my gear is far from perfect, but nothing to be ashamed of for a 3 weeks old player. The leveling numbers were limited not by black stones, but by ingredient gear availability (if you enchant, you damage the gear and it must be repaired by sacrificing similar items):

Of course, getting so many black stones need lots of farming. But not for the player:

Making all the beer and chopping all the timber and mining all the ore took lot of time for my workers and my character, but for me, it's just a few clicks after they are set up once. Which is surely the kind of game I like and can recommend every market-savvy player. You can get top gear just by running industry.

Of course I'm somewhat worried by the longevity of the game because of that: I'll "complete" my gear in a week or two, leaving room only for miniscule upgrades not worth taking. Then what? This means I can't really recommend the game until I see the answer for this question. I hope the answer will be good, because I really like BDO now, but I can't deny that it feels like a single-player game which runs until the player runs out of content. Sure, there are much content in BDO for me, but it's still finite.

PS: the top earring and ring were farmed. Hexe Sanctuary was just the best MMO scenery I've seen and visited it every day until I got bored of it.

PS2: there is luck in the world: