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Iron Realms

Iron Realms pioneered the Item Mall in 1997 by auctioning virtual items to players in Achaea. Iron Realms now owns 5 MMOs that have been rated the best in their genre.

Author: IronRealms

How Item Malls in Iron Realms MMORPGs are Balanced for PvP

Posted by IronRealms Saturday November 5 2011 at 9:02AM
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When Iron Realms became the first company to sell virtual goods to players, one primary concern was whether or not pay-for-perks in an MMORPG would unbalance the game. To prevent the game from being dominated by a person's credit card rather than skill level, Iron Realms took two major steps;
 
  • Allow players to acquire credit shop items with  gold equivelancy.
  • Tweak and balance all cash shop items to ensure no one has God-like powers.
 
Iron Realms games feature two main currencies - gold, which you gain through bashing, questing or selling trade-skill commodities. The second currency are 'credits', which can be bought from the website. However, players may also buy credits from other players with gold, so anyone who plays long enough can have all the cash shop items without spending any real money. Here are some examples of the top tier (most expensive) credit shop items in Achaea, Iron Realms flagship MMORPG.
 
Logosian Gauntlets / Sash of Caymus
(+3 Strength / Intelligence)
 
Both of these add roughly 10% to your damage, scaling down if you're already a high-damage race. While this does seem high, consider that this is only 100-150 extra damage. It won't let anyone oneshot you, which gives you time to react to the heightened damage.
 
 
Shield of Absorption
10% less physical damage taken, +15% chance to block all physical damage
 
This artifact is huge for most classes who can wield shields, but it doesn't make anyone unkillable. It does not block "killing blow" hits, it simply lowers the sustained damage you take by roughly 20%, all things considered.
 
 
Weapons: Altered Stats
 
These aren't overpowered, as the stats are not 'optimized', as in they aren't exactly what a metagamer would want. A metagamer would want 40 damage/150 to-hit/300 speed, for example, instead of 90 damage/198 to-hit/228 speed. There are weapons out there with 250-260+ speed, which are exactly the kinds of weapons metagamers want, but they aren't available in pay-for-perks options. 
 
 
Iron Realms puts a lot of time and effort into balancing the games, and continuously pays extreme attention to preserve the balance. The staff behind the curtains pays very close attention to major problems and tends to fix them very shortly after they surface, especially if they involve balance. They even open balancing "seasons" in which players can write reports on what they feel is unbalanced, and make a lot of changes based on player opinion (with sufficient evidence). Artifacts do not make people overpowered, but why do I say this?
 
 
  1.  PvP in Achaea is a very complex thing, and the skill cap is incredibly high. As opposed to the PvP systems in World of Warcraft, there are multiple different things to consider when participating in combat in the text MMORPG Achaea. Instead of there just being crowd-controls and damage like in World of Warcraft, there are afflictions and damage and hindering, all with very different strategies, and even different strategies within them. Once you learn to hinder and afflict, massive damage isn't as scary.
  2. The diminishing returns system works very well. What this means is if you already have 17 strength, +3 strength will only add about 20 damage. If you have 12 strength, +3 strength will add about 60 damage. This way you will never get killed in one hit and you always have time to react and let your skill play a factor in whether or not you survive.
  3. Defensive artifacts do not make anyone unkillable. As mentioned in point #1, afflictions have an extremely strong presence in Achaea's PvP system. There are no artifacts that defend against afflictions or even make you cure faster. 
 
 
In closing, realize that there will never be such a thing as "perfect balance", except in rock-paper-scissors, which is rather boring. When you have something as complex as Achaean PvP, balance becomes a very difficult thing to maintain. Iron Realms does a great job of preserving the balance while installing a pay-for-perks system that allows Achaea to remain free-to-play for everyone. You absolutely do not require artifacts to become a top-tier fighter in Achaea, as the artifacts I highlighted above are well known as the most powerful artifacts in the game, and not even those artifacts cause an imbalance.

MMORPG.com writes:
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