MMORPG.com: Could you please explain to our readers how the dual currency system of ArcheAge works? What is the interplay of real money, arcs, crystals, and in-game gold, and what can each get you?
Yinzi Cheng: There are Crystals which is equal to real money, Arcs and in-game gold (gold) in ArcheAge. Crystals could be purchased by real money, and Arcs could be purchased by Crystals. Crystals can be used to buy premium costumes (Avatar) and Arcs. Arcs will be used to purchase premium in-game premium contents, and gold is the currency of buying general in-game contents. For example, Crystals could be used to purchase premium costumes (Avatar). Arcs could be used for inventory extension, skill points reset, and etc. Gold is used to repair characters’ gears, purchase seeds, animals for farms and craft materials, and etc.
Crystals and gold are untradeable, but Arcs are tradable currency. Gold can't be traded between users. This will be able prevent the black market, that use illegal programs to gather gold faster and trade the gold to real money with general users. Such illegal trade will be infeasible.
Arcs are tradable currency, and it can be earned from some game contents or trade with other users. User in need of Arcs can earn it by selling the items that they produced during their game play through auction or PvP trade system. Since users do not have to pay with real money to extend inventory or reset skill, ArcheAge currency brings more benefit and options for users compared to other F2P games’ currency system.
Arcs could be earned and used in such ways;
MMORPG.com: Some have called this system a sort of business model, which may not accurately fit, seeing as different localizations of ArcheAge may have different ways of acquiring revenue from players.
To clarify, is this dual currency system an optional system that can be implemented by partners localizing the game? If it is optional, what other options exist for companies to adopt? If it isn't an optional system, what things can localizers customize and what's set in stone?
Yinzi Cheng: Korean and Japanese ArcheAge service chose the subscription model. After launching ArcheAge in Korea with subscription model we found limit of this model and later included free-to-access service. In Korea and Japan, users who access the game without paying subscription fee, cannot get labor point recharged and cannot own their own farm or house. It means although it is free to access the game, it is impossible to participate in game economy or experience all the game contents without purchasing monthly subscription fee.
We are trying to improve Korean subscription model and we hope same issue does not occur in other countries. In conclusion, we chose F2P model for ArcheAge in other territories. From F2P model, entire accessed users will have labor points, own their farm, participate in economy activity, and use premium contents by dual currency. ArcheAge F2P model and dual currency system will be a good alternative to the users who think monthly subscription fee is bit of a burden.
The dual currency system is only adopted after thorough discussion with each country’s publisher. The items, contents that Crystals, Arcs, and gold can each cover may differ after this discussion. The current premium contents that user can buy with Arcs in ArcheAge now, are those that can be bought only with real money in other F2P games. For example, inventory extension items are usually purchased only by real money in general F2P games, but in ArcheAge if both companies (XLGAMES, and country publisher) agree to sell as Arcs, then user will have an additional option.
MMORPG.com: Please explain how this dual-currency system helps manage the economy or lessen instances of automated behavior such as botting.
Yinzi Cheng: Gold that is earned from game contents is untradeable. Arcs could be earned by purchasing Crystals, by enjoying some contents such as catching boss monsters, or by trading with other users. So ‘gold farmers’ cannot produce gold illegally. Therefore, the ‘gold farmers’ easiest way to earn gold, which is auto playing, will no longer bring them profit. In this way, if the lot of gold that had been produced from gold farmers is vanished we expect gold inflation will be controlled.
We do not think dual currency system is simply a business model. From the beginning, dual currency system was designed to control the gold inflation. We believe dual currency system will keep stability in ArcheAge’s economy and secure users’ in-game assets. Also, dual currency system allows users to experience the usual cash-only contents without paying real money.
MMORPG.com: When it comes to the Trion Worlds localization of ArcheAge, what is the status regarding the business model and the types of currency and currency conversion for their localization? What options were presented for Trion Worlds' localization of the game?
Yinzi Cheng: ArcheAge’s business model in NA/EU is still under discussion. We will keep up the discussion to bring out the most stable and fair business model based on Korean and Japanese ArcheAge service experience and future ArcheAge development and localization.
MMORPG.com: For a game with sandbox elements and some open PVP, do you feel that being able to bypass or gain an edge in some aspects of the time investment is a worthwhile move in terms of accessibility the type of player base that may be drawn to it?
Yinzi Cheng: As previously stated, items that could be bought with Crystals are premium items, which is already common in other F2P games. It doesn’t mean everything can be purchased by Crystals. The difference in ArcheAge is that gold is untradeable, but Arcs is. However, just like you cannot buy everything/item with gold in even gold-tradable games, you cannot buy everything/item in ArcheAge with Arcs.
Of course, like other F2P games, it would be faster and easier to play if you buy Crystals. Users spend their money to save time and solve their inconvenience, and this is a common feature in all F2P game, and it’s not a particular issue that can happen in the dual currency system. Users still need to put lots of effort to make their character stronger and achieve the desired items.