The PLEX Idea Continues to Catch On as Darkfall Introduces DUEL

We have another entry in the PLEX-like game item arena, this time for DarkfallAventurine has been busy revamping Darkfall: Unholy Wars… or Darkfall 2.0 or just Darkfall, since the original isn’t around anymore… with class overhaul, a cash shop, a presence on Steam, and a rework of the UI.


And with the latest update, Aventurine has joined the ranks of studios offering an in-game item worth subscription time that players can buy and then trade for the in-game currency.  Called DUEL (Or as they style it, D.U.E.L, with three periods because… why?) it can be purchased with Selentine (is that the in-game currency or the cash shop currency?) and then used to wheel and deal with other players.

This scheme has been seen before with SOE’s Krono, Carbine’s CREDD, Funcom’s GRACE, and, of course, CCP’s PLEX, which was introduced into EVE Online back in 2009.

It will be interesting to hear how this works out.

As I have said often in the past, this sort of thing works in EVE Online because the in-game economy is not optional.  If you play EVE, you have to buy in sooner or later or just stop playing.  With the other games on the list… the economy is optional, which has always left me wondering if their economies could support such a scheme.

Unfortunately, I do not play any of the other games offering this sort of item, so I have to go by what other people are saying.  CREDD seems to have been a good investment in WildStar if you got in early.  Some Krono shows up on the market in EverQuest and EverQuest II, but seems to be more active on the Trade channel where it can be used for barter for specific things in addition to being traded for the in-game currency.  And GRACE hasn’t been in Anarchy Online long enough for it to have settled down.

So I am left wondering if Darkfall has the critical mass of players and an active enough economy to make something like DUEL viable.  I was interested to see that, despite its hardcore nature, Aventurine opted to make DUEL unlootable when you kill another player.  No headline comedy.  Of course, CCP started off with PLEX being stuck in stations, so maybe DUEL will change later.

And my final question is, what does DUEL stand for?  That isn’t listed in the FAQ or the forum patch notes.  They are clearly using it as a cute acronym.

PLEX stands for Pilot License EXtension

CREDD is the awkward Certificate of Research, Exploration, Destruction, and Development

GRACE is GRid Access Credit Extension

So what does DUEL stand for?  Darkfall Unholy wars Extended Living?

I think SOE might have been smart to just go with a name rather than an acronym.

And one question past my final question; who will jump on the PLEX-like bandwagon next?

4 thoughts on “The PLEX Idea Continues to Catch On as Darkfall Introduces DUEL

  1. seanxxp

    Much like you, I find myself wondering whether the kind of gameplay on offer in some of these games is ever going to my a PLEX like system anything other than a way to increase inflation to insane levels.

    I also wonder whether all these games can support a PLEX type feature without it having a severe pay to win type of effect. As you well know, Eve is a hard game to win by paying because of the nature of its PvP. With a game like Wildstar however, perhaps money buys you much larger advantages, but I’m not really acquainted with it well enough to do anymore than speculate.

    Another thing I can’t help but wonder is, do we need to be more cynical of money sinks in games which allow the use of these types of systems?


  2. guest

    It still seems odd to me when people call this a “PLEX-like feature”. The first time I saw this kind of system was in a browser game (that in fact I still play to this day) and predates PLEX by a few years if memory serves me right. Might as well be even older ones around.

    I think you aren’t framing it in the best possible way when you ask whether the games you listed above “have a strong enough economy to support something similar to PLEX”. It is not a matter of the whole economy, it’s only about how much use you can get from the soft currency.

    It would never work in traditional P2W games, where stuff bought with hard currency trumps everything that can be acquired by either soft currency or simply by playing. Nobody would bother spending real money just to sell a subs-worth item for in-game money.

    If otherwise a game offers any reason to spend humongous amounts of soft currency then the scheme will work despite (in fact, oftentimes in spite) of the rest of the economy. Take the browser game I mentioned, it has no form of crafting, meaning that the overall economy is far less mandatory than Eve’s, but since there are plenty of ways to put soft into good use there are plenty of people willing to put those items for sale (and naturally, there will always be plenty of people willing to buy them).


  3. SynCaine

    It stands for Do You Even Lift, because jokes.

    Dead on about the economy thing too; Darkfall’s is an absolute joke, where having a ‘full bank’ is trivial, making the loss of items via PvP a non-issue. As there is basically no other use for gold in DF, only the most lazy and horrible PvP-only players are going to be interested in converting real money into in-game gold to fund further PvP’ing.

    The fact that DF has 100% safe zones and these can’t be lost is tragically hilarious. Companies do understand that when a PLEX-like item is destroyed, it literally means that the company got paid money for something that has now gone poof and needs to be replaced via another real-money purchase, right?


  4. Wilhelm Arcturus Post author

    Do You Even Lift? That is actually kind of funny, and makes perfect sense to me in the context of everything I know about Darkfall, which isn’t very much at all.


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