Greedy Goblin

Monday, June 24, 2013

Why the bind-on-pickup and mudflation?

Tobold wrote how trading kills MMO games. He is indeed right in that both the "item collection" and the crafting part of the game is only there for the bleeding edge players, everyone else is better off for buying their junk. Diablo III became infamous in being an item collection game with no one collecting items. Same for crafting: what you craft is only useful if you are on the first day of the expansion.

He also mentions mudflation as a necessity. This is the current inflation of item level. First as your character levels you gain better and better items for doing the same things (killing 10 boars), then on top level every patch gives new level of gear. This is a necessity as otherwise the "complete" character can't do anything.

He concluded that the best is having no trading between players, therefore making everyone grind out his gear, to prevent them just pick them all up from the AH.

In EVE everything is traded. And real money trading is sanctioned. On your first day in the game you can legally buy a titan pilot with a titan. How come that anyone still playing this game? Because there is item destruction. Even if the case you are a very focused player and want to play only one kind of spaceships like logistics, your item collection doesn't end with having all 4 logistics cruisers in your hangar, because you need replacements. A lot. In a nullsec war you can easily lose them by dozens. On the other hand in Diablo III only newbies on lvl 15 need lvl 15 weapons. Even if there is a constant influx of new characters forever (there is not), the amount of lvl 15 characters is constant and the amount of lvl 15 weapons increase day by day.

World of Warcraft deals with it two ways: one is bind on pickup which is indeed removal of trading, if you equipped it, you can't sell it. The other is mudflation where every item are made obsolete and everyone are motivated to grind new out and destroy the old. Tobold is right that banning trading works.

But banning trading essentially makes the game single-player. If I can't give my teammate items, we aren't a team at all. We just do the same single player game and chat while in it.

The real solution would be item destruction. Then the game could have trading and need no mudflation or even inflation of levels. New encounters could be on the same item level, just new dance and lore. Item destruction doesn't have to mean item loss. Many players don't play games where they can have losses (I resist the urge to comment on them). Item destruction can happen as an inevitable wear. Durability decrease over time and the item becomes junk, needing replacement. This way there will always be someone buying new daggers.


Anonymous said...

Funny how I stopped playing EVE almost entirely in favor of Diablo 3 - because losses in EVE simply don't matter.

I don't fly any ship in EVE that I couldn't replace in a day or two (my income potential is about 500m/day if I play actively). In Diablo I lose *weeks* of work if I mess up just once or simply get unlucky (which is also an item sink that tends to remove the best items from the game/economy).

I loved that feeling of having to start over from rookie ships when I was a very new player - it is what got me hooked on this game. But even if I were to lose all my EVE assets today I would be back in a mission running battleship which could supply me with enough money to continue pvp at my current level within at most 2-3 days - because my SP stay.

Unknown said...

An interesting reference on the same topic is Realm of the Mad God.

It is essentially a single-player bullet hell fantasy game with RPG elements, which, however, achieves a very interesting thing of emergent multiplayer. Specifically, you meet people out on the field and simply tag along with them to kill bigger monsters. There is even an option to teleport straight to the location of any person you see on your minimap.

Items in this game are entirely farmed, but can also be destroyed, because the game features both permadeath (with full equipment loss) and destruction of items which are simply dropped on the floor.

That being said, actual trading is infrequent and only applies to higher lvl players trading hard-to-find gear.

Realm of the Mad God is reasonably successful and quite profitable, though mostly because it was quite cheap to make.

Anonymous said...

Europe Gameforge Aion has no trading on f2p starter accounts. (didn't check this since 3 months after gameforge takeover, so the references can be outdated)
As starter you can't trade items to others neither you can sell/buy on auctionhouse. Vendoring has a daily limit (or weekly by now), disenchanting too and gathering professions also. As f2p-Starter-Account Aion is just a singleplayer with heavy daily and weekly restrictions.
Sure you can buy a goldpack that grands you access and lifts all the caps to any other goldpack user. After 30 days though you end up as starter again with all its restrictions.
Aion gear progression is heavily dependent on trading. It's full of korean randomness although the newer patches wowify it to some extend. Gearig isn't a problem its the randomness in socketing and enchanting that is the goldsink.

So, yeah, trading is nearly always essential to a multiplayer game.

Stabs said...

One thing I am finding very interesting is that a lot of nullsec experts are saying that wars are not won by isk (in response to the "Test is broke" stories from Goonswarm). Not that Test is not broke (we aren't) but that it doesn't matter, there's always plenty of isk for anyone vaguely motivated and particularly a nullsec alliance with hundreds of rich veterans.

That suggests that Eve may be a bit broke because wealth (or lack of it) ought to drive conflict.

Anonymous said...

From Tobold's blog, it seems he simply hates MMO part of any MMORPG. The less social interactions, the better.
Player should login, kill mobs, get gear and never ever should see or god forbid "talk" with each other. That's his ideal MMORPG.

Anonymous said...

no one wants item destruction
WOT makes 10x times more profit than eve because its pvp with no item loss

combine it with the fact that eve is a place for filth and scam from all other games and other games are better places as a result

oh trust me eve will suffer once Star citizen snd elite comes out
and item destr and their so called deep econ will become history.

Croda said...

I would agree with the post - item destruction creates activity from activity and forces money (ISK in this case) to flow around the economy to create new items. In a way, the economy is kept active my non-economic activities (pvp) and hence even in a game with a stable population the economy can grow if activity in the game grows.

Anonymous said...

"But banning trading essentially makes the game single-player. If I can't give my teammate items, we aren't a team at all. We just do the same single player game and chat while in it."

We're going to see more and more of this. Increasingly we're going to see piracy avoidance driving the development of multi-player games rather than the desire for multi-player game play as something more than a garnish.

Expect to see fewer and fewer ways for players to interact with each other in future MMORPGs.

Anonymous said...

@anon bitching about profits

I am pretty sure each mcdonalds makes 10 times more profit than any real Restaurant with real food. So, by your "logic", real Restaurants are doomed?
And WOT makes profit, because it's rewarding any drooling moron who bothers to login.
So if you are drooling moron, enjoy your junkfood, and your junkMMO.
Just spare real humans from your junkthoughts.