Daily Archives: May 18, 2007

New World Economics

There was a post a while back on The Common Sense Gamer bemoaning the tight fiscal policy imposed on Middle Earth by Turbine.  In game you had best save your silver pieces because class skills, trade skills, and equipment repairs and upgrades will drain your cash muy pronto.

Being there and trying to drive three characters, all of them doing some tradeskilling, I felt his pain.  Where oh where is the money?

But then I sat down and thought about how things are going in game.  I compared it to my past experience.  I decided that I really did not have much to complain about. 

When I think back to past MMOs I have started in on day one, EverQuest, EverQuest II, and World of Warcraft (okay, day one on a new server, not day one for the game), I start to feel that Lord of the Rings Online is not really that bad.

Day one on any MMO is always the same.  No economy has begun to form yet.  There is no money for anything past the very basics for your character so neither you, nor anybody else, is going to be buying much at the auction house.  Putting items up for sale is a waste of the auction fee early on. 

So you do what everybody else is doing.  You run quests, you kill mobs, you buy only what you need, and you hoard every single item that drops to sell back to the vendor.

And when it comes to that last part, collecting items to sell to vendors, LOTRO positions you better than any other game.  Unlike WoW or EQ2, LOTRO starts you off with bags.  You have 75 slots of storage on your person from the moment your character enters the world.  That means that you have space to hold onto the many varieties of sellable parts that drop off of mobs.  You can spend more time in the field collecting stuff to sell. 

And humanoid mobs drop coin.

If you don’t think that is something, then you didn’t play EQ2 on day one.  Mobs did not drop coin of any kind back then.  That came later.

So today in LOTRO I do not think I am facing anything more severe than I have faced before.

I remember being on a new server in WoW and not being able to afford to train all my skills.

I remember running around with apprentice I skills in EQ2 because I could not afford upgrades.

I remember… no… I think my brain is protecting me by blacking out the struggle for cash on day one in EQ.  It was not pretty.

And on all three I remember frequent trips to a vendor to clear out my full bag.

So cash isn’t falling like golden leaves from the mallorn trees in Middle Earth.  You have to be careful with your money.  You have to keep every drop to sell to a vendor and you have to break that WoW and EQ2 habit of hitting “repair all” when maintaining your equipment.  I always feel like I am short on cash, but I have not really suffered because of it.  So far I have only deferred training a single skill, and that was for heavy shields, a 22sp skill for a piece of equipment I did not yet posses.

Yes, scrimping and scrounging for cash is annoying, but it is also part of the charm of a new character in a new world.  Levelling up in that environment, where you pick up every crappy drop to sell to a vendor… builds character, so to speak.  You do feel like you have earned every level.

And we all know how things will look in 6-9 months.  You will have a friend show up to play, or decide to make a new alt, and you’ll just put 10 gold in the mail to them.  And then your friend won’t believe you about how tough it was on day one (or just tire of hearing you mention it) or you will think to yourself how much easier it seems with a few gold coins rattling around in your pocket.

This is all part of the price of playing an MMO on opening day.  Considering how well everything else seems to be going in LOTRO this early on, I do not think there is much to complain about at all.