DDO Economics 101
By Lyle Vertigo
Economy is a very big issue in massively-multiplayer online games
(MMOGs), mainly because it is part of society. MMOGs like EverQuest,
Final Fantasy XI, and Dungeons & Dragons Online: Stormreach (DDO)
have their own societies that consist of both players and
merchants--usually non-player characters (NPCs).
between players and merchants create the economy, and keeping it stable
preserves a level playing field for all players.
Now there are a few key aspects about the world's economy and where it
- Monetary Standard
- Currency Circulation
- Method of Distribution
- How Goods are Sold
- Real Money Trade (RMT)
Let's talk about these one at a time.
There are 4 types of coins in DDO: Copper (cp), Silver (sp), Gold
and Platinum (pp).
10 cp makes 1 sp. 10 sp makes 1 gp and 10 gp
makes 1 pp.
On the description box (Z key by default) for an item and in shops, the
item's value is listed in gp. So if you
have on hand 376 pp 2473 gp 466 sp 89 cp, you
would have effective 9 cp 4 sp 6280 sp. This would
be how you would look at your money when buying/selling.
Currency Circulation is how much game money is floating around all
players on that server whether online or offline. If the game
were to have an auction house or personal shops to price their own
goods, currency circulation would have the greatest influence. As
in real life economy, the more money in circulation the lower in value
it becomes. This is called inflation. When too much
currency floats around and the value drops, then the prices go up to
compensate. No matter what a company does, the amount of currency
circulation will always increase. However, the amount of gain is
by the players who sell off items to NPCs for currency and buy from
another player. In cases where RMT were present in other MMOGs,
the circulation in currency would increase so dramatically that prices
would double or triple in a matter of weeks or even days around the
holidays. In DDO, direct trade of currency is possible between
player to player but the vast majority of currency is recycled back
into the game's NPCs. Since there is only one way to do business
with another player (trade) and the value of the item is displayed,
inflation will be extremely hard to accomplish.
Method of Distribution
Distribution of currency between players and NPCs is very simplified
in DDO. DDO has no delivery boxes, no auction houses, and
no player shops. NPCs will always buy low and sell a
lot higher. This helps to reduce currency circulation.
Sometimes NPCs will give you currency directly as a quest reward
instead of giving you
How Goods are Sold
Items sold by NPCs work by taking the base value of the item and
subtracting your total Haggle skill from it and you will see the
selling price you will be asked to pay. Likewise, if you
are selling an item to an NPC, it will adjust the base
value, reducing or increasing the buying price by factoring in your
skill. The actual formula for buying and selling is unavailable
RMT (Real Money Trade)
Real money trade is the “farming,” or gathering through repeated
completion of quests and monster kills, of items and currency in
game by a group of unofficial workers who sell the game currency cheap
for real currency to a small online business that then sells it for
more real currency to buying players. RMT has
become a major problem for just about every single MMOG--more often
then not ruining the potential fun factor the game origionally had
(especially those with player-controlled economies). The value of
the game items are
determined by the overall amount of game currency is in
circulation. As explained above, the more currency in circulation
the less value it has and the more items cost.
Now for an example:
You wanted to buy that super-duper sword, but it is too
expensive for you. This will either encourage you to farm like mad to
rake up enough to buy it before someone else buys, or give up on it
entirely. It will take awhile for you to accumulate enough wealth
through farming, especially if you have a busy schedule outside
gaming. So, when you
finally grab enough game currency, your mood does a 180 because that
coveted item just jumped up in price. You think that's not bad
and go back to farming.
When you come back with enough this time you see that it rose once
again. Your frustration will either curse you to resent everyone who
has the item or quickly
buy the difference you need for a small bit of coinage from your real
High rate inflation is caused by players buying up vast amounts of
currency from RMT suppliers and buying a desired item without any
concern about its current value--people often willing to pay more than
the last one who bought it just so they can have it. In my
experience with Final Fantasy XI, it got to the point that I was sick
every time I looked into the Auction House, not able to buy my
farvorite food to use! Thanks to Turbine's ingenuity, the
of DDO servers will have little to worry from bad experiences with RMT
concerning competition and currency circulation. This is why:
- Party only instances:
Party only instances means that only 1 party or raid is allowed in an
instance. Which means no location or chest hoarding by RMTs.
- Random Item Generation:
Due to the random nature of item drops from chests and NPCs, there is
way to find a guaranteed item drop of desire. The only known factor is
the harder the quest, the better the item drop. Even this isn't
always the case.
- Drop Reduction: You may
not notice this the first few times you do the same quest back to back:
the drops from the chests in that instance will become increasingly
less beneficial. Doing a few
quests and waiting a few hours before doing a previous quest allows the
drops to get better.
- Base Value: Each item
has a base value. Why? This will prevent inflation
between player to player trades. You can see for yourself if the item
you want is a steal or a scam--very helpful for fair trades.
- Pawn Shops: There is no
Auction House. This again, is to prevent inflation in the economy. If
a player has a rare and expensive item he wants to sell for a better
price than at the local tavern or weapon shop, he can go to a
pawnshop and sell for a better price than general NPCs. Also, any
player looking for that special item later can
see it at that pawnshop.
- Bound Items: There are a
few quests that, in the end, would give a list of extraodinary named
items every time. Good news is they are bound to the player who choses
it, preventing selling or trading of that particular item.
- Currency Sellers: It
will be inevitable that RMT will try to invade DDO; they are
everywhere. DDO relies more on your
playing skill and team tactics than what equipment you are wearing and
what classes you are--two things that will cripple RMT considerably.
- Currency Buyers: Any
damage done at all to DDO will be from heavy RMT currency buyers. They
will use whatever pp or gp they buy toclean out the pawnshops
(which never are stocked with the good stuff
for long anyway). Of course, from the randomness of chest drops
there is no way to tell if someone is a buyer, since you can become
fairly decked out in just 2 runs of Redwillow for example. Also, there
is no point in buying currency for
this reason. You can easily become
rich in a matter of days with a little luck.
In conclusion, the economy in DDO may be different than the general
MMOG, but for the
long run it will keep the fun factor optimal and the economy stable.
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