Hello everyone, you might have already heard of the Extra Credits Youtube show. It’s actually a really great show I like a lot, even though I sometimes disagree with some of their ideas. I think it was Vallter, who actually introduced me to this show and I am grateful for that. Anyway, here’s one part that you should find interesting. Go ahead, watch it. I’ll continue after you do. * * So, now, you know the reason why there are no player-to-player ingame transactions in World of Tanks of any sort. By not introducing them, the developers essentially bypassed a whole lot of trouble, one of the biggest being raging inflation. Bethesda with Elder Scrolls Online went the same direction by the way, allowing auction houses to work only within guilds, removing the worst predatory practices, that appeared in World of Warcraft over the years by the “peer pressure” (players are much less likely to attempt to cheat their percieved guildmates). In World of Tanks, the economy is completely closed, which means that the developers have complete control over its flow. Various elements of the economy, requiring both credits and gold, are introduced to keep the inflation in check. And yes, there is an inflation. The system World of Tanks uses is actually pretty smart, because some things are simply not disclosed and it’s practically impossible to even protest about them, because you are not sure. Imagine for example that the credit inflation was too high – in World of Warcraft, there was no special primary premium currency, so it all boils down to “gold”. Normally, if the game uses the mechanisms mentioned in the video as sinks, it’s pretty obvious that something changed. For example, if you buy the same potion for 100 gold for last year and suddenly it costs 105 gold, the obvious question on each player’s lips will be: “why”. On the other hand – if Wargaming made your tank’s repair costs – say – 5 percent more expensive, would you notice that? The answer is “no”. The very same mechanism goes for credit-making ability of course. There is no serious way of proving that tank XY makes less credits than it did a year ago, unless the change is insanely drastic – but even small changes to both undisclosed parameters (costs and ability to make credits) can change the economy a lot even by small tweaks. And so, in effect, Wargaming as a whole is in total control. The absence of player-to-player transactions has another MAJOR advantage: the absence of insane amounts of bots, “Chinese grinders” and other negative effects tied to pay to win. About the bots: the fact World of Tanks has a botting problem is obvious, but for all the sheer annoyance of such “players” (it’s MUCH more visible in a 30 man battle than on a multi-thousand-player cluster), their number has not reached limits where the game became unplayable, unlike in World of Warcraft at some point (mid-to-late Burning Crusade, first expansion). Let me tell you how it was: just like in World of Tanks, the process of acquiring resources needed to play further (in WoT XP or creds for repairs on high tiers, in WoW it was always gold for the endgame). Pretty much all the “usual” ways to gather resources (mining ore, herbalism) were however infested by bots and Chinese players, who sold them using the auction house (which in turn drove the inflation to insane heights, because the economy system was not set to deal with players, who did nothing but grind grind grind 24 hours a day, literally). In the end, the situation was completely unbearable – you were for example chasing reagents for some potion, and every spot where it grew was occupied by several “Chinese” players (they mostly had nonsense names such as “dskdhkdfgh”) and the plant was harvested literally seconds after it spawned. Blizzard then took extreme measures and banned most of these fuckers, but at one point, it was really, really nasty. The grinders collected the gold and sold it via their websited. Much to my shame, I must admit that at one point I bought a package of gold as well, so I can confirm it worked. Mercifully, World of Tanks was spared this plague, but the system Wargaming implemented has some serious weaknesses as well. For one, there is no “free market” autoregulation. Imagine introducing a certain amount of currency into the system, let’s say by accident (some employee fucked up and made an event too good). In a relatively open economy such as the one of WoW, this will somewhat “regulate” itself by increased auction house prices (inflation). This in turn will harm certain players (newbies looking to buy newbie resources), but it will have no direct or extreme impact on the gameplay (the large player market “absorbs” the surplus easily). In World of Tanks however, the only option to spend vast amount of credits (or, in worst case, gold) is by buying new premium/regular tanks, free XP or gold ammo. Other spending options likely have low sink value (you can buy gold camo only once per tank for example, respectively three times). What that effectively means is that even relatively small increases in credit/gold gains will not only lower Wargaming profits, but also change the gameplay. Lowering Wargaming profits part is obvious – any free gold you get (and stuff you get for it, such as free XP, premium tanks etc.) is gold you don’t buy. Certainly, this is not so in each case, but overall, the effect is noticeable. Changing the gamplay is of course the case where players with too many credits and/or gold to throw away will start buying massive amounts of gold ammunition. Why that is a bad thing I don’t have to explain. So, what it means together is that such a closed system, for all its apparent advantages, has to be closely monitored and indeed, Wargaming has an entire department (at least one person anyway), who keeps an eye on the ingame economy in order to balance various events and the profit Wargaming makes. Must be quite a complicated matter. Second inherent flaw of such a system is connected to the first one – when you have a working regulator, well, that’s fine, but what if one hand doesn’t know what the other is doing? You know what I mean: various local branches fucking up and introducing too much rewards into the system. You might remember that about a year ago, the amount of rewards for missions was outrageous. Extra credits, extra gold, extra everything. Since then, it had to be toned down a Continue reading →

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