Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Gold sellers in PotBS banned before game is even released

I already mentioned it below, but I keep getting e-mails asking me to write about this piece of news: Flying Labs already banned the first gold sellers in the pre-order period, before the game was even fully released (release is today). The only thing I am surprised about is that you are surprised about this. Let's relist a couple of things I already said about Pirates of the Burning Sea, and put them into the context of RMT.

1) PvP in Pirates of the Burning Sea is negative sum, it consumes virtual currency. And you don't even get phat epics in return. If you were to play PvP all the time, because that is what is fun to you, you'd run out of doubloons pretty quickly. And thus might be tempted to buy them from a gold seller.

2) All the doubloons in the game come from loot and mission rewards, but that doesn't say that doing missions and sinking NPC ships is the fastest way to wealth. Considerable wealth can be created by setting up some production chain and selling the goods produced with it. You can also make large amounts of doubloons by buying something cheap in port A, transporting it to port B, and selling it there for twice the price you paid.

3) Unlike WoW there is no direct link between level and income. This has two reasons. In WoW a level 1 quest gives you 12 copper as reward, and a level 70 quest gives you 12 gold as reward. As 1 gold is 100 silver, that is 10,000 copper, a level 70 player earns gold 10,000 times faster than a level 1 character in WoW. All gold farmers first level up to 70, and then start farming. In Pirates of the Burning Sea the difference between mission rewards from level 1 to level 50 is less than 10. Second reason is point 2, mission rewards and sinking ships aren't necessarily the fastest way to make money. If you play just until level 21, the pre-order level cap, and you have a freetrader, you have already access to some of the best cargo ships in the game. You can do fast smuggling operations and blockade runs with a MC Bermuda, or transport huge amounts of cargo on an Atlas bark. You can also already produce 95+% of all the production structures in the game.

Forget the WoW gold farmer! The PotBS doubloon producer isn't leveling up to the level cap and then repeatedly grinding the same mobs over and over. More likely he bought himself multiple accounts, leveled them all up to only 21 in a week, built 10 production structures on each of them, and plays every account only 2 hours per day, running his productions, shipping the goods to where they sell highest, and doing some buying, transporting, and selling of other player's goods as well. If he wasn't banned yet, he already has the first million doubloons in stock (I have 100k with just one account, and I barely played). And today with the release of the game the port contention PvP part of the game will be enabled, and regular players will start to lose money on that. The doubloon producer should be able to find customers quickly. The only problem is that he will have to meet his customers personally, because there you can't mail money and the auction house has a blind system which isn't well suited for money transfers (It is possible, but not safe). But in all other respects Pirates of the Burning Sea is an ideal game for gold sellers. There is no bind-on-pickup loot, and nearly everything is player made and tradeable. And the end game is a big money sink. RMT is a direct consequence of game design, and the PotBS game design encourages RMT very much.

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