An aspect of MMORPGs that has always been interesting is how they sometimes can mimic events from real life. A famous example is how players reacted to a virtual plague. A far more common and seemingly unavoidable phenomenon is the inflation that seems to be present in most MMORPGs. If players can trade across channels, how might the economy and gold supply on a megaserver be affected?
On a megaserver, all gold collected by players, including gold gained from selling vendor trash and other junk resources, will be pooled together. New players, from expansions or just late adopters, will not be able to be distributed to new servers. The new players’ wealth will again be added to the collective player wealth. At the same time, there will be plenty of people needing to buy resources with their gold.
From one perspective, gold would seem to be worth more on a megaserver because there are more players that need it. Theoretically, this would encourage gold farmers as well. With a large number of servers, gold is only worth real money if there are buyers on the same server as the stash of money. With a megaserver, all buyers and all gold gained will be within the same world, essentially easing the conversion from gold to real life money.
PvP tends to generate more intense demand for the best materials, weapons and armor than otherwise. With players vying to become Emperor and conquer cities, it seems likely that guilds may pool their gold to buy resources they need.
On the other hand, all items of value produced by players will be pooled together. More players will be around wanting to buy metal ore, but there will also be more players gathering it. More players available to go out and gather any resource that seems worth their time.
There are some items that players cannot gather at will though. Items such as rare crafting materials or other super rare items. Items that only drop X number of times per day/week/time period will be in even shorter supply than would be expected. Very rare items that drop randomly will be generated more often due to more players in the same world having a chance loot said items.
Players on low population channels may have less competition when gathering resources. Like many games, these players will probably gather more than they set out to. These player will then have to sell their extra resources which will help level out prices.
Inflation of Septims
Even with players generating more supplies to sell, the player economy will likely have inflation for all items. It may be a little more difficult for new players to join the game, but overall the inflation will probably be controllable by the developers.
There are two types of items that may display unbelievable price spikes. With guilds pooling resources, the collective guild can pay almost any price another player might ask for an item of great power. Crafting materials that have drop rates based on time rather than task completion or random drop rates will probably exhibit hyperinflation. If the top end gear is all craftable, guilds will no doubt go all out to obtain them. These types of items are still somewhat controllable by the developers since they can control the drop rate.
The other type of item likely to have price spikes is not as easily uncontrolled by the developers, at least not directly. Every PvPer and PvP guild will no doubt keep a close eye on rankings and the Emperor. Not so much who the Emperor is, but what the Emperor is will be the most important.
Players will keep close tabs on what class the current Emperor is, the Emperor’s build and what gear is used. Gear used by the Emperor and gear for similar class/builds may increase in value. With a great many guilds wanting any edge they can get, it seems likely that any gear used by the Emperor and other top ranking players will spike in value to levels few individual players could afford, especially if it requires rare crafting materials.
The developers technically could have some control, but it would require them to micromanage drop rates based on what the top PvPers are currently using. The spikes in price also increase the value of gold to real world money which increases the desire for people to engage in farming and selling gold. Even if the items are not really that much better than other gear, if the Emperor is using it then it must be good. The same way professional athletes endorse products and increase sales of those products. There will at least be some portion of PvPers that follow this behavior.
Do you think many players will try to replicate the Emperor’s gear? What factors do you think Zenimax should focus on to create a stable economy?
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