GW2: Microtransactions, fantasy PLEX

Full post here. Key line:

it’s never OK for players who spend money to have an unfair advantage over players who spend time.

This is good, and hopefully ArenaNet sticks to this. Unlike most devs, I currently have no reason to believe they won’t, or that they might try to pull a Turbine and twist the statement around once things get rough.

Finally, I’m happy to see ArenaNet ‘borrowing’ from the right source in the genre, and using CCP’s PLEX system. The fact that the dev blog outright admits it’s the PLEX system is also something I appreciate; there is no shame in borrowing a good idea, and there is no need to pretend you invented the wheel when you do (Hi EAWare). It will be interesting to see what kind of economic balance GW2 has, since PLEX in part works because the economy in EVE works.

15 Responses to GW2: Microtransactions, fantasy PLEX

  1. bhagpuss says:

    Heh. Your post and Keen’s both popped on my Reader in the time it took me to go downstairs and turn the heating on.

    Six years of running Guild Wars and not really pissing many people off in the process seems to have earned ArenaNet a lot of goodwill. Not many MMO studios still in that happy position.

  2. Yeah, while I appreciate the acknowledgement of PLEX, it will be interesting to see how this turns out. I Remember in my short time in Rune of Magic the fiasco that their own Gold/Diamonds economy became. And once out of control you have to hurt your loyal players in order to stomp out the bad guys.

    PLEX works in EVE, but in EVE everybody who plays is in a single economy, which is part of why it works. There is no backwater, low population server where the economy has gone to hell. If a region in EVE goes that way, players move in the reap profits, which puts things back in balance.

    This is among the reasons why PLEX (or Guardian Cubs) would never really work in WoW.

    • carson630000 says:

      What exactly happened with Diamonds in RoM? I know they turned the ability to trade them off and on.. was it around people using stolen credit cards to buy Diamonds and then sell them in-game for gold?

      • Well, there was the whole security, and locking down diamonds and making them untradable, which I understood to be the result of fraud in obtaining diamonds. At one point there were unlocked diamonds and diamonds with a waiting period before they unlocked, which all depended on which vendor you bought them from. (And no vendor with locked diamonds ever announced that in anything but the finest of fine print, leaving people feeling screwed.)

        But on top of all that, the whole thing didn’t seem to make a dent at all in gold sellers even when things were not locked down. Granted, the game is free to play, so the barrier to entry was low, while GW2 will require you to buy a box. But the proliferation of spam bots and the like was amazing.

        So the whole “putting RMT in the hands of the players” gets a raised eyebrow from me. I’m not saying it won’t work out well, I’m just saying I’ll have to see it to believe it.

        • SynCaine says:

          The RMT sellers part was the only “yea that’s not going to happen” part for me, although I read it more in terms of the spirit of the system than in their believe that this will be the magic bullet to prevent RMT.

          It’s not like EVE is ISKseller-free after all.

    • Randomessa says:

      Guild Wars 2 will also have a global economy.

      • Good to know. That just leaves the need for enough things to take gold and gems out of the economy to keep inflation from running rampant. EVE works because your ship gets blown up and you have to buy a new one. In your average MMORPG, dumb people like me wear the same damn armor forever.

        • Devore says:

          Right, PLEX works because there is a single economy, and because inflation is not out of control. If it were, then it would be mandatory to buy/sell PLEX to raise funds (or to RMT), because it would not be possible to earn enough money in-game legitimately to fund your activities. (Although, I think even there, because the economy is so wide and deep, base activities, like mining and salvaging, would scale with inflation, even if bounties and mission rewards do not.) Also, you cannot (well, not really anyways) buy your way to success in EVE; there is no p2w.

          If, for the same of argument, you could buy up all the isk in the game, your character would not be any more powerful than it was before. It wouldn’t even help you in the “economic PvP” aspect, because, like lottery winners, if you do not know how to use/leverage/grow your wealth, it is irrelevant as a force in the game, and will eventually whittle your wealth away.

        • spinks says:

          They are going to have repair costs in GW2, but yeah I agree. The big question is what the gold sinks in the game are going to be.

        • SynCaine says:

          Since all the fluff can be bought with in-game gold, isn’t the fluff a huge sink, easily controlled by ArenaNet?

          I mean, say the economy has ‘too much’ gold; release a super-pricey shiny skin, and boom, problem solved.

          In a way its easier than what CCP can do, since CCP does not (currently) sell fluff for ISK.

        • Of course, when you say “repair costs,” my mind flashes back to the early days of LOTRO when you could go bankrupt clicking the “repair all” button. Making your players feel like they are always short of cash is a sure fire way to drive illicit gold sales, so you can’t go too far down the gold sink path.

          Such a fine line to be walked here.

        • spinks says:

          I guess if I sound cynical, it’s just because I’ve seen other MMOs start with fluff in the cash shop and then find they wanted to raise more money so drifting to add more annoying stuff. Will enough people want to regularly buy fluff? That’s the question, I guess.

        • carson630000 says:

          Fluff won’t be a gold sink. You’ll be able to buy fluff with gold, effectively, by buying gems from another player for gold and then using them to buy the fluff from the cash shop. But no gold will sink out of circulation as result.

  3. [...] to GW2′s gems, though I haven’t any experience with that system, so I will let more informed observers comment on that. Hunter notes the similarities to Runes of Magic’s Diamond currency, and [...]

  4. coppertopper says:

    The player exchange mentioned (but not yet detailed) in that blog has a lot of potential for server economies across the board. Maybe many of the store bought items don’t immediately become account bound and are sellable on this all server encompassing player exchange. Why else would they mention a “player exchange” if its just store bought gems – those can be bought and sold on the normal in-game AH. Would the front-end for this be web-based and accessible either in game thru a button on the UI (just like LOTRO’s store), available to anyone online in game or not, or accessed thru an actual NPC like the in-game AH? Unlike Diablo 3, GW2 gets deeper and more feature rich the closer it gets to release.

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