Sandpit gets it. I'm glad of that.
The MMO genre is the only one I've witnessed where something which is truly the antithesis to fun can be added and be supported by fans. Let's pick Wind Waker as an example, as it's a lovely little game that I believe most people like. What if you had to pay a large amount of your rupees every time you got in your boat? There'd be no need for it, it would simply be a tax on movement. You'd pay because the game wanted you to pay, not because it was actually necessary, and it would lessen your desire to get out there and explore.
Let me make another point. In past Final Fantasy titles, an airship or a chocobo was something you could hop on and have fun travelling around with. In the MMO Final Fantasy XI, you couldn't do that. Everything had a tax. What happened because of this tax was that people travelled far, far less. They explored less. This was recognised as a problem in that game because this was the early days of MMO gaming, before WoW even. And no one thought that paying just to use a chocobo or airship was a good idea.
The point is is that taxes aren't fun. They're to do with the economic systems of reality, which aren't relevant to games. There are certain things in games that you don't have to worry about: welfare systems, scarcity, governments, and so on. There's no need for a tax in a game other than that the developers believe they need to pad out the game to make it artificially longer. But the more you pad out a game, the less fun it becomes. The dwarf tunnels of Dragon Age: Origins were soundly thrashed by every good game critic because they were distinctly unfun, they were included to artificially add play time hours to that game. They weren't cool.
Portal was only three hours long and yet it's widely considered as one of the best games ever made, by many even more so than Portal 2. Why? It doesn't pad, it doesn't ever repeat a challenge, and you're going from playing with one fun idea to the next until the game is over. The play time for dollar metric is a really bad one, because if you're not having fun for the vast majority of the time you're playing, then it wasn't a good game. And then you have to rely on cognitive dissonance to convince yourself that you were enjoying it, because of hte price. This is a very standard failing in our thinking.
The waypoint cost in GW2 prohibits people from travelling because they don't like paying the cost. So let's say that a bunch of people are getting slaughtered by a boss, and they need others to get there quickly. Those other people might choose to walk instead of teleporting there, in all likelihood, they will. Just as Sandpit pointed out. By the time they get there, the event may have failed, because the slow movement speed took them far too long to arrive. And this is antithetical to fun. The waypoint system would be a brilliant way of bringing people together without the tax.
It absolutely doesn't need the tax, but due to cognitive dissonance, we can't say that anything is bad about the g ame. In fact, the people who're defending against this will tell you that Guild Wars 2 is the most perfect game in existence, and that it has no flaws. This is silly, of course, but that's what they'll tell you. They'll say that the slow movement speed, the new gear treadmill, the taxes, and so on are all actually somehow beneficial and good additions to the game. They'll brush aside and try to not answer why something that is antithetical to fun is somehow excellent for the game, they'll just tell you that it is good. Over and over.
But why does it need it? It doesn't. It doesn't need gold sinks. Let's pick a marginally successful MMO: Star Trek Online. STO has a thriving auction house, and yet it lacks the constant, necessary gold sinks of GW2! I played that game up to being rear admiral rank without having to worry about my resources dwindling away. And yet I never had any trouble affording anything on the auction house. Add to this that Guild Wars 1, the original Guild Wars, doesn't have gold sinks?
And if you're worried about prices 'inflating' (which is nonsensical anyway, due to in-game economies not working the same as real ones, as proven by STO) then the solution is simple: Pour less gold into the game. Just make the rewards give less gold. You'll find that people would care less about getting less gold if they weren't paying for repairs and waypoint costs. But what's that you say? Guild Wars 2 has already hugely reduced the digital money going into the world? Yes it has!
Guild Wars 2 is already the most stingy game I've ever seen when it comes to rewards, the rewards are tiny. So even if you took away the waypoint costs and the repair costs, there still wouldn't be enough gold going around to cause this faux, digital inflation that some people seem to be entirely fallaciously terrified of. So inflation couldn't really happen anyway, due to how stingy GW2 is anyway, but the waypoint costs and the repair costs are still there... why? Taxes aren't fun, most people don't like them (unless they're bean counters). What place do they have in a game?
As yet, we've still not seen any logical arguments for keeping them.
So let's look at the positives andt he negatives. First the negatives:
1.) Gold sinks are antithetical to the design of a videogame, which is meant to be fun.
2.) GW2 is already so super stingy with rewards that the gold pool between players on a server is tiny anyway.
3.) Taxes keep people from exploring and experimenting, how could this possibly be good?
4.) If we believe that inflation is real, then the gold sinks and GW2's stingy nature is actively causing deflation. It's a self-deflating economy. Like bitcoins. If I have to be pulled into the ridiculous argument of economies in a vidyagame, I'll say that GW2 is currently in a deflationary spiral.
Now let's look at the positives:
1.) It controls 'inflation,' if we choose to believe in that. But that's already controlled by GW2's stingy rewards.
So, uhh... what were the arguments for gold sinks again?
AiyumuMember Since 27 Sep 2012
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19 Nov 2012 - 05:00