I am used to read a lot of threads in the official ArcheAge forum and some other sites, also I pay a good amount of attention for the faction chat ingame.
While there are opinions from F2P and patrons that are agreeing a lot of stuff breaks both into two seperate camps.
While most of this stuff, in my humble opinion, is based on a jump to a conclusion, some of the points they call for are real issues the community and Trion have to think about.
I will take my time to refine the issues and bringing myself into them, I want to take some of the “fear” F2Ps might have about ArcheAge away and I will try to explain some thoughtprocesses behind the decisions Trion made.
One of the most discussed issues of the past weeks are the differences between patrons and F2P splitting in topics like labor points, housing and the cash shop itself.
While putting all this issues in one paragraph could be confusing I am splitting them up.
Issue 1: The influence of RMT
Before adressing the issues in this categorie I want you to remember that nearly everything in our world costs money. As a matter of fact Trion needs money to pay for the hardware, software and their employees. On the other hand nearly every company wants to gain profit, that for I know that Trion other other MMO companies are making more money than they need to cover the expenses.
Every MMO need to yield a profit. The moment costs = profit the publisher may consider to close the servers, the moment they will experience losses they will shut down the servers for sure.
Based on this fact every MMO needs something the publisher can get profit from and that is what brought us the diffrent payment methods we have now.
As I could fill the complete blog entry with stuff about the diffrent methods lets do a cut a this moment and say:
“ArcheAge is a free to play game with a cash shop and a premium membership option!”
Before we discuss how to get it, let’s detail what Patron status means in ArcheAge. Patrons will enjoy the following benefits:
• Bonus online Labor Point regeneration (10 per 5 minutes)
• Offline Labor Point regeneration (5 per 5 minutes)
• Increased maximum Labor Points cap (5000 maximum)
• 10% bonus to all Experience gained through combat or labor usage
• 10% discount on Marketplace purchases (available after launch)
• 5 Loyalty Tokens per day for use in the Loyalty Store (awarded on first login of the day)
• Ability to claim land by placing farms and houses
• Ability to pay in-game taxes on owned property
• Ability to post auctions on the Auction House by default
The Marketplace and Loyalty Store are different in that the former accepts Credits, the premium currency of ArcheAge, while the latter accepts Loyalty Tokens earned from the Patron Program. The Loyalty Store will offer a variety of items including special pets, fun musical instruments, certificates that cover weekly taxes on a large farm, and Patron-only lock boxes that each contain valuable, surprise loot. Patron and free accounts will both start with two character slots and will be able to purchase additional slots up to a maximum of six across all servers, with a maximum of four slots on a single server.
Issue 1.1: Labor Points
F2P Labor Point Regeneration
Online 5/5 – Offline 0/5 – Maximum of 2,000 Labor Points
Patron Labor Points Regeneration
Online 10/5 – Offline 5/5 – Maximum of 5,000 Labor Points
Both can use Worker’s Compensation for 1,000 Labor Points every 12h per character.
Both account types starting with two character slots with the option to buy four more slots for the account.
The Labor Points are directly chained to every economic action in ArcheAge so you may consider Labor Points as a resource you can convert to gold in various ways.
While there are possibilities to gain gold without labor points these ways are not that easy and hardly hidden by them who know them.
One of the reasons to use this system are the gold sellers. As you are limited to a maximum of 14,880 Labor Points (2,880 + 12,000) in 24h using 12x Worker’s Compensation and a patrons account a bot is limited in the economic damage he can deal per day.
A F2P Account is limited to 13,440 Labor Points (1,440 + 12,000) in 24h.
As more characters cost more money and even Worker’s Compensation costs additional money/gold time will show what way these people will take.
Taking away the Worker’s Compensations for being 24h hours online a patron will regen 2,880 Labor Points and a F2P will regen 1,440 Labor Points.
Converting these Labor Points by a common exchange rate on the alpha servers you can get about 20 gold for ~150 Labor Points as a player. Due to the nature of bots they won’t be able to exchange their Labor Points at this rate.
A lot of bots will exchange their Labor Points for 2-4 silver per Labor Point resulting in ~45 gold per F2P bot account not using Worker’s Compensation.
Still 100 bots would get 4500 gold per day but without the shield that the Labor Points provide bots could easy make hundred of gold per day.
Lets go for the Labor Points Regeneration itself!
While you may understand one of the ideas behind the Labor Points now you may ask for higher Labor Point Regeneration or even a Offline Regeneration for F2P accounts.
First want to take a deeper look on the offline regeneration for F2P accounts.
As we all understand a free to play account costs nothing except for the time you need to create it.
What would happen the F2P accounts would get just one Labor Point every 5 minutes? Well the would regenerate 288 Labor Points in 24h while the account is not played and that would be full 2,000 Labor Points after roughly seven days.
This moment I myself would create massive amounts of F2P accounts for using the account once per week mining the 2,000 Labor Points and sending the yield to my main.
Again think not only about actual players but bots abusing the offline regeneration.
Now for the amount of Labor Points you get every five minutes.
The moment the Labor Point Regeneration for Patrons Offline Regeneration + F2P Online Regeneration would exceed the Online Regeneration of Patrons you would play your F2P account while your Patron account would be there just for economic reasons like paying taxes as you would regen more Labor due to one offline Patron and one online F2P to stop this abuse:
Patron Online >= Patron Offline + F2P Online
Patrons get this Offline Labor Point Regeneration for paying a monthly subscription. (For now I dont want to talk about APEX)
FYI: Paying for Patron Status and being offline costs less than being online with a F2P 24/7 if you have to pay for your electricity! Even using Worker’s Compensation once a day would costs less than 24/7 working GPUs.
For the Online Regeneration of Patron Account I guess Trion want the paying costumers not to get his much ahead of the F2Ps so they only doubled the being online regeneration.
The last point for about Labor Points is the factor about limiting players as you can only craft while you have Labor Points.
Let us look into this issue by timings from the alpha servers. You can spend ~100 Labor Points per minute for mining while a maximum of 5-6 are mining near you resulting in 5,000 Labor Points used in about 50 minutes. Adding up 6x Worker’s Compensations you can mining for maximum of 11,240 Labor Points in ~2 hours. (5,000 + 6,000 + 240)
These numbers are not perfect but may show an average of material mining yield in one hour. You will get nearly 1,000 Iron ore and about 600 raw stones for one hour of mining + some rare ores and gems.
Lets do some maths at this point!
1,000 Iron Ore > 333 Iron Ingots
600 Raw Stones > 200 Stone Bricks > 66 Hereafter Stones
333 Iron Ingots = ~1,500 Labor Points
200 Stone Bricks = 1,000 Labor Points
66 Hereafter Stones = 3,300 Labor Points
Keep in mind that every Labor Point used increasing your Crafting Skill for the same amount, resulting in higher Crafting Skills using less Labor Points and less time per craft.
Keeping the 333 Iron Ingots you can craft more then 60 tier 1 swords. Well crafting one sword costs 100 Labor Points resulting in 6,000 Labor Points needed to craft those 60 swords.
While low tier items only require few materials to be crafted the higher you climb the more and exotic materials do you need.
For the T7 sword you need the T6 sword + other costly materials. While you need a crafting skill of 30,000 for the T7 sword your Labor Points cost will sink and you will need less time to craft.
Assume you are going for 5,000 Labor Points a day you would need only 6 days to be able to craft this T7 sword.
Wait a moment that would mean you do not have any labor costs for getting the materials!
BAM! To get the materials all by yourself you need a lot more Labor Points and your six day plan you take a lot more then six days.
Some possible results:
- another player is already flooding the market with his goods
- as your weapon is not that good you may need more time to kill enemies resulting on lesser farming yield or for PvP in your death
Maybe some of you already have realised what I am going to say now:
This game is a multiplayer game with a lot of benefits for player that cooperate with each other instead trying to solo everything.
The Labor Point System itself, you may even call it forcing, the community to cooperate and work with another.
Miners will provide metalworkers with ores which they will smelting into ingots selling the ingots to other crafters creating e.g. plate armor or swords.
The Miner and the metalworker will buy the sword from the weapon smith.
With this crafting chain the best products will be availible for everybody in the shortest amount of time!
These are just some thoughts about the Labor Points System and I have to say this is one of the best concepts I have ever seen in MMOs.
Due to the fact that I recently clicked on preview my post I will finish this post for now and will be back with the next issue (Issue 1.2 : Housing & Land) soon.