Greedy Goblin

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

BDO: No pearls in the market?

Something instantly hit me in BDO: you can't buy pearls in the marketplace. Pearls are the cash shop currency, you can use them to buy cosmetic items, some convenience and the the ultimate PvP tool: stealth suit.

It's obvious that you can't farm the items or the pearls in-game. But I'm really surprised that you can't trade these on the marketplace for coins. PLEX/WoW token helped a lot battling goldselling and decreasing pay-to-win concerns. Also, they boosted item shop sales, as whales who couldn't spend on the game or spend on illicit sellers are now buying PLEX/token to exchange it for in-game credits.

BDO seems to have lot of trouble with goldsellers and restricted the in-game economy hugely to avoid RMT transactions by avoiding practically all transactions. You can't directly exchange items between players, nor can you loot anything from them and the marketplace prices are forced in a small range. Sure, the range itself is moving every day according to supply and demand, so on the long term, there is free market, but still it's a huge obstacle. Also, the market taxes are around 35% and you can only list 30 items. On the market interface, there is a capcha. Yes, a modern age capcha in a fantasy game, because they have so much trouble with RMT.

Unfortunately, all this effort didn't stop the goldsellers and the whales. Since they can't just trade between characters, they resort to the nastiest type of goldselling: farming on the character of the client. The buyer gives the goldseller his account information and the goldseller "plays" for him in a way that the character gets the agreed amount. Or, until his character is banned for spamming goldselling ads instead while the seller is busy trying the gained account info on various sites, hoping that anyone dumb enough to use such service is dumb enough to have the same username and password in his bank or paypal account.

Seems to me that letting players trade pearls - of course on the marketplace, using the same "floating range" prices and sales tax - would let the devs get more pearl sales, the whales to have legitimate credits and the non-payers to have item shop stuff. I can't imagine the purpose behind the lack of pearl trading. Can anyone tell me?


Smokeman said...

And really. How well does selling these items in game work? Let's look at the two examples given:

Eve: PLEX bubbled and stayed there. PLEX is Keynesian economics on steroids, and will utterly obliterate Eve's "economy" at some point. Well, If CCP doesn't kill the game first.

WoW: Wow Token is clearly not "market driven" or based on "supply and demand" at this point. It might have been at SOME point, but that went away when the artificial cycling of the price was stopped.

PLEX is an RMT factory. WoW Token is a cash grab. NEITHER are successful in terms of game play.

To be fair, I WAS wondering how people "bought gold" in BDO considering the utterly draconian measures taken.

Anonymous said...

Loyalties are another currency which can be spent on specific items in the Pearl store - have a look at the "loyalties" tab on the store.

maxim said...

There are some additional legalities and potential trouble as well as book-keeping costs involved when you allow the in-game transfer of purchasable items. Some devs simply choose to avoid these altogether.
Though i can't imagine this cost being a significant deterrent to any but the most newbie of studios, much less an MMO hosting studio.

Also there are some game design purists who think that nothing real-money buyable should be an active part of the game economy, ever. This argument is easy to destroy rationally, but it does have some fervent ideologically driven adherents.

Orson Brawl said...

There are items in the pearl store you can buy with loyalty points. Like extra character slots or increased carry weight.

Destabilizator said...

Loyalties are spent in Loyalty part of the Cash Shop. You can get various stuff, but most importantly, 4x per charact 50 WT increase (for hefty 3500 a piece).

You can trade potions between players (crafted and vendor ones), they become bound after 1 transaction. You can also trade Beer (and probably other cooked stuff, didn't try).

No Cash Shop items on Marketplace (Pearls included) was demand from the community (and very big and loud one) to prevent people from buying power, because gear and enchant lvls matter so much in this game.

Tithian said...

In the Korean version of the game, you are free to sell marketplace items for in game gold in the marketplace. Someone could use real $ to buy costumes, sell them for millions of silver and then buy all his gear and enchant them to max. That's the definition of P2W. The fact that EVE does it with PLEX and skill point injectors doesn't make it any less bad.

That 'feature' was removed specifically for the EU/NA release since the playerbase wanted it gone.

Gevlon said...

@Destabilizator: thanks for the directions with loyalties.

People demanded no cash shop trade but were fine with cash shop Gillie suits? Strange community.

Destabilizator said...

@Gevlon actually they were not fine and the outrage is still on-going, but the only thing we got are Flares (from quest rewards, they reveal in area) and other marking thingy (which stops ghillie effect for long time). Nonetheless these suits are most stupid idea ever. If you duck (Q in non-combat mode, you can also go into crawl from duck, which hides your nameplate) in bush in Ghillie, you vanish from map as well.

Any bigger PvP looks like war of forests, makes target calling impossible, everyone looks like retard and even friendlies - you need to hope they read /say chat if you eg. want to ask them to join the party.

Anonymous said...

Ghillies kinda flew under the radar of "no power for real world money" crowd. As far as I know Koreans don't really use it that much for PvP. It was met with outrage once it became commonly used. Daum just doesn't give a fuck, apparently.

Gevlon said...

@Tithian: I'm surprised that PLEX-like in-game sales are considered P2W by anyone. I mean Adam sells sword of uberness to Bob. Why does Cindy care where the sword is? It's already in game.

dobablo said...

Plex-like transactions should not be power neutral. They are the embodiment of the capitalist method of optimal allocation of minimal resources to ensure their most efficiently to increase the net power/wealth levels. In real life, excluding traps and specific situations, that works very well and everyone should gain when net wealth increases. The cannot be said to apply to competitive gaming. Only the people involved in the transaction gain from it and can increase their power. Those excluded find their relative power drops.
Tokens work in WoW because there is minimal direct collaboration.
Plex works in EvE because of the negative-sum nature of PvP. Instead of boosting power, Plex is used sub-optimally to fund ship replacements and permit excessive power-sapping losses.

Biggles said...

Your last example is still P2W. The crowd doesn't care about the item being available, they dislike the fact that OTHERS can get the sword of awesomeness without putting the hard work in that THEY are doing. In other words: you grinded for your sword? You're leet! You bought the sword? You're a cheat and a noob!

Tithian said...

@Gevlon It still doesn't change the fact that someone paid real money to get an in-game advantage. The redeeming quality of EVE is that even with that advantage, you are most likely going to waste it and not make a difference. In that regard the P2W aspect is tolerated, because the whale is most likely to get ganked horribly and lose it.

The scale in BDO is much smaller (no 1000 vs 1000 fights) and it's also not a zero-sum game, so a small guild of wallet warriors could potentially destroy the opposition, as gear and enchants make a significant difference in endgame PvP (as is, being able to 1-shot people).

The Ghillie suit controversy happened after launch, before most people found out the perks surrounding it. In the asian markets it was used by very few people, mostly outlaws, so no one really expected it to become this popular. In the western market it seems that the playerbase is much more 'trihard' and will use any and all advantage they can find, even if it's miniscule.

Also, as a result of removing the marketplace tab for chash shop items the prices for the costumes etc. went up for the western audience by A LOT. It's not uncommon for a costume to go for 8-10 euros in Korea, and the same costume to cost 25+ euros. This is how they intend to make up for lost revenue.

Anonymous said...

Half the time I read about BDO, I think what an amazing game and the other half I think "what were they thinking?" This is the latter.

Hanura H'arasch said...

"I'm surprised that PLEX-like in-game sales are considered P2W by anyone. I mean Adam sells sword of uberness to Bob. Why does Cindy care where the sword is? It's already in game."

Well, you did, not too long ago in your post about Albion Online. Unless (de facto) subscriptions suddenly make it P2W?

And it can make a difference too, after all the sword of überness might not be so über if you don't own the armor of überness as well.
And, more importantly, you will care very much if all these swords are suddenly owned by a rival guild. The reason why EVE doesn't suffer from this as badly is simply the fact that you don't keep your stuff if your ship dies.

Anonymous said...

"Someone could use real $ to buy costumes, sell them for millions of silver and then buy all his gear and enchant them to max. That's the definition of P2W."

Pay to Win depends on the definition of winning.

If we talk about classic PVP where a huge amount of time needs to be spent
to max out the capabilities of your avatar then anyone not paying
with either time or money is excluded. True PVP games usually don't offer people
advantages over new players except the experience gained - I liked Gevlon's examples
of chess and football.

You don't win in Eve if you buy a character and a PVP-ready fit and get out and win a figh. You win if you mind your sourroundings find the right opponent and execute your winning
strategy many times over - Winning would be finding the right fit or winning strategy
not how you got there.

Personally I liked Guild Wars 2 approach of a lvl cap that can be reached within a few
weeks by a casual and endgame gear that could be gotten soon afterwards so that everyone
had the sames chances in Castle Sieges (ServerA VS ServerB VS ServerC) and the Dungeons,
which meant more useful oppenents/partners for everyone. The grind consequently shifted
to cosmetics and the only power creep that was introduced before I left offert only minor

Anonymous said...

From my understanding, Ghillie suit will NOT make you invisble on the map.
Crouching (with Q) in terrain does the same as the ghillie suit.

So what it does is camouflage you when standing up and not in terrain.
Note that it does not turn you invisble, it just hides tzhe nameplate.

I feel that the outrage is to some degree a tempest in a teapot.

Then again, many guilds require you to be ghillie suited for PVP oO

Tithian said...


"Pay to Win depends on the definition of winning."

Yeah, bullshit, this is the typical line wallet warriors use to justify their purchases. The reality is that in the Korean version of BDO two people in a 1v1 with the same amount of time dedicated, the one that opened his wallet and upgraded his gear more will win 100% of the time, as he will take little damage and 2-shot the opponent. I don't know about you, but I call that 'winning'.

Anonymous said...

Luckily, we are not playing the Korean version :)