Albion Online Economy - Winter Alpha 2015

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  • Albion Online Economy - Winter Alpha 2015

    Hi all,

    a lot of the feedback given during the 2015 Winter Alpha is directly or indirectly related to the Albion Online economy.

    There is various threads in the feedback forum where these topics are being discussed. Please use the search function before opening up a new thread there.

    In this thread, I will try and cover the most frequent aspects discussed.

    Main goal of economy balancing
    • We want to enable a stable and growing player run economy.
    • There should be a balance between ressources and silver
    • We want to prevent inflation that is so typical for many MMORPGs
    • We do not want to fall into the trap of forced "item resets", where we are constantly forced to release better and better gear as everyone is already capped out, making existing gear useless (see World of Warcraft)

    Silver generation and consumption

    In the current stage of the game, we have decided to include silver sinks at multiple different places.
    • We can collect valuable data on how effective and how "annoying to the players" those sinks are.
    • We have more variables to play with in order to balance the economy.
    The only source that currently generates new silver for the economy is mob drops. We will investigate if the silver dropped by mobs is sufficient and if it reaches the right players at the right times (i.e. ideally, a new player should not have a silver shortage at T3 already)

    In addition to that, we have to balance silver availability against ressoruce availability.

    Ressources vs Silver

    In this 2015 Winter Alpha, it seems like there are too many ressources and not enough silver. In the Summer Alpha 2014, this was different. A core reason for the change probably - we will have to verify - has to do with the fact that repairing items no longer costs ressources but silver only, and that buildings in general do not have to be repaired if they are well feed. Food, in turn, does not cost conventional ressources to create, but is rather a function of silver, too.
    We believe that it was correct do not make repairs as burdensome as they where in the Winter Alpha 2014, however, we will have to balance that by having a mechanism in the game economy that removes excess ressources from the game, while not at the same time removing silver. (i.e. having more items trash on death is not the solution, as it removes silver *and* ressources at the same time).
    One way we are going to address is to create NPC demand for certain ressources in different cities. This will be done via NPC buy orders in player markets. For example, a city such as Breakwater might want to buy 3000 silver worth of T4 metal bars per day. It will enter a super low price buy order into the market on day 1 and gradually increase its price until the order is met, at which point the price will drop down again to a lower level. This is to simulate real market behaviour and avoids to interfere too much vs player vs player trade. So now imagine that for some reason, there is far too many T4 metal bars in the world such that their price drops down to a super low amount, say 1s per bar. In that case, the above mechanism would remove up to 3000 T4 bars per day from the game, in exchange for 3000 silver, making the T4 bars rarer again and stabilizing the price, while given traders some extra silver in the meantime.
    If carefully set up, the above system might even help to create interesting trade routes and provide extra opportunity to market driven players to make some extra money without having to farm mobs.
    It goes without saying that the above described mechanism will be designed in such a way that there is always caps in place for how much silver can be at most injected at each place and for what type of good - in the same way that we have a cap for PvE.


    The farming system has three key functions in the economy:
    • It can be used to create consumables.
    • It creates ingredients for certain items, such as mounts
    • Food is needed to pay upkeep for guild territories and crafting buildings
    I want to focus on the last point for now. In the Summer Alpha 2014, upkeep was paid with silver only.

    As we had decided to introduce farming and food production to the game anyways, we thought that it is a great idea to replace the silver upkeep with food.

    The main reason was that - provided you where rich - it was far too easy to control a large number of territories, place all over the map, without having to spend any effort in using or maintaining them. Another reason is that we really like the fact that upkeep with food creates real supply lines to territories, meaning that it allows for guilds to disturb each others supply lines or siege a territory for a prolonged period of time in order to starve it.

    On the other hand, we do need to make sure that food production is not to easy, in terms of cost and/or effort. If it was, holding territories again would be far too easy, casuing guilds to hold territories that they do not really need, meaning other guilds have a harder time to find a space.

    Now, as food is grown on land, and there is a limited number of land in the open world, we allow for food production on player islands. However, given that our game will eventually be free to play, there is no limit to the number of player islands that can be in the game. As a result, land alone cannot be a limiting factor on food production.

    So we need a mechanism that ensures that it is not easy to produce an unlimited number of food at no cost. There is two obvious ways for that mechanism:
    • make seeds available in a strictly capped quantity as drops, thus putting a cap on how much food at most can be produced per day. This also involves returning less seeds when you harvest compared to the number of seeds you planted
    • create a cost to farming by having it "bind" capital
    The drawback of the first option is that in reality, most players will not be able to find enough seeds for farming, which would be hugely frustrating. The seconds option therefore seems much better. In the Winter Alpha 2015, they way we implemented this is by having a huge amount of seeds drop in the world, returning more seeds than planted on harvest (i.e. essentially we have an unlimited number of seeds) but then charge a silver amount for planting to counterbalance this. For immersion purposes, this frustrates a lot of people, therefore, we are looking at ways to remove this constraint.

    Current idea: Make planting seeds entirely free. Have "normal" seeds that still drop from mobs in a limited amount, but can also be bought at an NPC in unlimited quantity. Have uncommon/rare seeds that produce much better returns, but drop in limited amounts and cannot be bought from an NPC.