I’m relatively new to Last Epoch and have immensely enjoyed my play thus far in the beta. Although, having been an avid gamer since the days of Ultima Online (c. 1996), there are certain aspects from other successful MMO titles LE has carried over that I was hoping would (could) be addressed by a game of this caliber, namely the ECONOMY.
Assuming the following are primary tenants of the development team, and LE as a whole, I am writing this post to help promote conversation / instill some out-of-the-box ideas…
- Address line between adequate currency availability throughout leveling and end-game play while avoiding inflationary practices
- Bazaar: auctions (timed vs. instant transactions), QTY of allowed auctions (per char / acct), etc.
- Enacting systems that Limit exposure for RMT / Aftermarket susceptible practices
- Crafting as Primary or Supplemental means of end-game gearing?
- Uniques/Legendaries as build-centric or build-supportive, hybrid?
- BOE / Bound nature of certain levels / types of gear?
- Tiered Crafting materials?
- Many other details
A fair amount of the reference and initial ideas was pulled from this 2018 thread by KQKyle
Trading! or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bazaar!
Non-Inflationary Economic structure
Addressing what I affectionately call “The First Tenant” of any game, many MMOs that use a standardized currency (such as Gold) are plagued with ever-inflating / devaluing of gold as the game progresses. The value of anything, not only in an online game like Last Epoch, but in the real World as well, are based on two factors:
A. Usability / Usefulness of the item and B. Availability
Without making this TOO MUCH a 101 class on Macro and Micro Economics, basic pillars of Supply and Demand are the driving force behind the relative values of both the currency (Gold) and all items (crafting materials, gear, etc).
The primary problem with LE’s currency system is that there is a non-static amount of gold; meaning gold is generated as part of a loot table from mobs / chests / etc. This, by nature, is the basis of the inflationary issues that I had mentioned before. Similar to Fiat currency (ie. the insert country here Dollar), where an entity decides how much of said currency is available for circulation, my suggestions are as follows:
Static-Gold Standard (SGS)
I propose that LE disables gold generation from loot tables, and instead adds a static amount of gold to the Vendor Shared Currency Pool (VSCP) based on the number of accounts in that game type. (ie 1 player for solo / offline, X accounts per shard / server). This enables a litany of both sustainable game-mechanic interactions, like purchases of gear / gambling vendor / respeccing, etc, as well EHG backend management.
Some of the PROs:
- Drastically limits RMT by supporting the disallowing of P2P trading of currency
- Doesn’t natively cause inflation
- Dev team no longer required to create, constantly monitor, and adjust gold sinks
- Promotes player interaction with NPC vendors and the Bazaar
- Allows back-end transaction tracking for monitoring for EHG management purposes and EULA / TOS violations
- Standardizes Auction and potential P2P trade functionality
- Currency Drought: When players stop spending currency (returning it to the VSCP), and vendors effectively run out of gold to buy your items you are trying to sell. (can be avoided via a multitude of built-in mechanics, as well as stimulus packages)
- Players are required to obtain gold by picking up and selling items to vendors and/or procuring it from quest turn-ins, or other alternate means.
An easy concept to help visualize this system is thinking of it as a big Zero-sum DKP between players and vendors, with a static amount of positive points added when a new player registers / plays an account.
With SGS, inside of regular play, picking up item drops and selling them to a vendor plays a more integral role in gaining in-game currency, especially in the lower levels. Additionally, with the looming implementation of loot filters, hopefully they will support filtering by value as well, and would make for a conducive scenario during both leveling and end-game play, where picking up worth-while items to sell would be an advantageous venture!
Alternatively, if the objective were to have players avoid picking up loot to sell, gold could be awarded (taken from the VSCP) as part of quest completion.
2. Bazaar-specific interaction
a. Active auctions limit
One suggestion made in the original post is the possibility of limiting the allowed number of active auctions per account to five (5). This seems like a sub-optimal option and is resounded by many replies to the post as being unwanted by the player base. Not to mention, this attempt at an artificial limit to the supply-side functionality of items seems like it could be a large hindrance to healthy player trade via the Bazaar. Another good thing about application of the SGS, limits on number of auctions are no longer necessary.
b. Bazaar Posting Fees
As stated in replies by several community members, posting costs are generally (and should be) bore by the seller. A simple solution with the SGS is charging a flat % fee to postings, of say 10% of posting price (rounded to nearest 1g. applied to the fee portion), with the minimum posting price of an auction being 10g (9g to the seller, 1g fee), collected at auction close and deducted from the currency sent to the poster.
Also, EHG could incorporate instant buyout on auctions, where the seller could opt-in for a set buyout price, but the fee was drastically higher if someone were to purchase it via that option, say 25% of set BO price.
Here’s the catch: that Seller Fee isn’t just deleted: all seller fees are then redistributed to the VSCP, so players then have access to it again, ensuring there is a much less likely chance of a currency drought happening.
3. Crafting & Build-defining Uniques / Epics / Legendaries / etc
Being new and not having experienced much end-game play yet, I’m going to reserve from engaging in any in-depth conversion on this topic. After I get 100h played / lvl 100 I feel I’ll have a much better basis to perform qualified analysis.
Although, one thing that I’d recommend EHG take a stance on early on is: whether or not crating will be the primary means of end-game gearing, or a supplemental means of gearing a character. Considering the flexibility and nature of LE being an ARPG, it feels like the system currently promotes crafting being more supplemental.
Using a couple of other games as examples, I’d say that D3 is more of the build-defining item style of end-game gearing, while POE would be based around crafting. Yes, there are some ‘build-based’ uniques in POE, but for the most part, a majority of play time for any given builds revolve around crafting/modifying items to get the most out of them. My assumption is that LE wants to fall somewhere between.
4. Direct Trading
Similarly to point 3, I’m not sure where I stand yet on (dis)allowing direct P2P player trading of items. My gut feeling would be that, if there was no limit on Bazaar auctions, all item trading (off account) should flow through that intermediary. Also, I have not discerned yet if they are planning on having shared item pools for loot drops in multiplayer play, so that is also a factor. Lastly, not sure where EHG stands on shared multiplayer stashes (ie guild stash in POE). More on this to come.
Well, there it is… some of my opinions and suggestions on the state of the economy in LE.
Hope you all are enjoying this game as much as I am!
(edit: corrected typo in Bazzar fees explanation)