A large focus on our design efforts have been focused around Player Economy. Our objective is to reward players for playing the game how they want to play it, to offer as many routes to achieving a goal as is possible and realise a true free-form system of player progression. This requires a flourishing player economy based upon scarce goods, an increased demand for goods and services and prioritising player trade as the main source of exchange.
It all comes down to coins.
We have begun to implement systems which will vastly increase the demand for and utility of in-game currency. The first step has been a re-balancing of the availability of raw materials (wood, iron, cloth & leather) and introducing these resources for sale at NPCs in Celador whilst simultaneously reducing the price NPCs will buy goods from players. Through offering players a market price for these resources and pushing limited quantities of these items into the economy at fixed prices, we feel this will give players the information they need to engage in profitable trade of these resources and a good source of income. This will also allow players to not only assign a more accurate coin price for resources & craftable items, but for the material cost of training skills and abilities.
This is a transition we are designing to be applied to as many core skills as possible. We will be reviewing the ways in which players engage in character development and ensure that skill training is not a free exercise, particularly for those who seek to do so autonomously. We are currently looking at skills which require materials to train (raw resources for crafters, weapons and armor for warriors) and addressing areas which are currently free, such as manifestation and regeneration. We believe that skill training should require investment and that players should supplement the material requirements to train a skill whilst they train, or earn through others means to supplement training. We have begun to address this with the implementation of reagents to optimize manifestation spells and with bandage use through our new First Aid skill.
How much money would it cost to train my skills in the least amount of time as possible? How long would it take to train my character whilst spending as few coins as possible? How much coin can I earn at this skill level? These are questions we want players to know the answer to. In Shards Online, achieving a goal should have as many avenues to doing so as possible and it’s our mission to give players that opportunity.
The final piece in the puzzle is monsters. We’re conducting an ongoing review of monster interaction to ensure balanced spawns and to affect skills gain such that players develop quicker when attacking monsters closer to their own abilities. We have also revamped coin drops to ensure that this enterprise becomes a more rewarding experience through adding greater risk and reward across different difficulties of monster spawn.
At the end of the day we want players to create more, earn more and spend more. We want greater options for players of Shards Online to meet their individual goals and for the community to feed off of each other's productivity in creating the truest player driven economy.
Stay tuned on our developments!
- Jeffrey 'Miphon' Edwards