Why New World’s economy is broken and how to fix it
1. Quest reward economy
New World’s player driven economy tries to follow the model of other crafting based sandbox mmos but it breaks it with its own reward economy.
Games like Albion Online and EVE Online have economies based on gathering and crafting but they don’t have a PvE quest system that hands you both the cash and the equipment you’re meant to spend the cash on.
This kills every player’s need to buy crafted gear and therefore guts the viability for sale of crafted items.
As an example I’ll mention the amulet that is rewarded to all players in a very early quest. This item provides Constitution on top of a percentage health boost which makes it both good and versatile.
This single quest reward alone kills the market viability of ANY amulet that can be crafted before reaching Jewelcrafting lv.100.
2. Resource rarity/value pyramid
Normally in crafting based economies the rarity of a resource or crafting material directly affects its value but in New World high tier resources quickly dropped in value below their lower tier versions.
This is caused by the very high amount of rare resources you get from just a few nodes and by the fact that refining recipes include those lower tier materials and in larger quantity. It takes 24 units of iron ore to turn 6 units of starmetal ore into one ingot. This recipes make it so that the starmetal ingots production is effectively bottlenecked by iron gathering making the lower availability of the higher tier ore irrelevant in determining its market value.
This heavily affect wars and politics since the most sought out territories are not the ones with rare materials but the ones with iron and hemp.
Some low tier materials being sought after and acquiring value it’s not a problem itself but higher tier resources being less valuable and in some cases almost worthless is a big one because the “return on (time) investment” ratio is also broken and players are better off crafting iron/steel ingots indefinitely, selling them to buy anything else they could possibly need compared to someone investing time and money into leveling up professions further.
3. Professions and production vs consumption
The amount of items that players need to gather or craft to level professions is really high. That wouldn’t be a problem by itself but it generates an offer of products that ovewhelms the already scarce demand and trading fees make it more rewarding to salvage the crafted gear than it is to try and sell it in an overblown market. This turns particularly bad when we talk about goods that cannot be salvaged and are still worthless in the market, like most potions, the best way of leveling arcana is, in fact, burning resources by crafting thousands of potions before dropping them on the ground.
4. Territorial dominion and company hoarding
The dominant strategy taking over the game’s servers of big clans putting money together very early to instantly acquire regional dominance also inflates the economy by injecting an obscene amount of cash into the hands of a handful of people when the server is still young.
This is not only bad for the political balance of the server (on which its longevity is reliant) but also allow those few to further manipulate and exploit the economy by hoarding, scapling and overtaxing. This strategy needs a tailored response and the tax thresholds need a rebalance.
5. Character build expression
In games of this sub-genre players are usually free to create more characters or simply to level up every skilltree without respecs. New World shoots itself in the foot by heavily limiting players from trying out different builds and weapon combinations and this also hurts the economy.
I believe the game has a very good core when it comes to the actual rpg elements, choosing and building your class and role is one of the better conceived parts of the game, which is why it’s a shame that experimenting with builds is so expensive and cumbersome.
I would love to respec more often and try all kinds of weapons and armor combinations but I can’t because the money I would spend into the economy buying gear is ransomed by the game when I respec. Given how different are the available activities in New World I would also love to have two separate loadouts available so I can instantly and freely switch from my tank PvE build to my mage PvP one.
I think a double loadout function should be added to allow players to swap between 2 sets of allocated attributes freely when in a sanctuary. This could be implemented as a personal house function via the addition of a dedicated piece of furniture that potentially adds a loadout slot per house.
I also think respecs for both attributes and weapon masteries should be free or, at the very least, have double prices with players free to choose between gold and azoth. I really don’t see a point in funneling players in one specific build in this kind of game, this will only hurt their enjoyment of the game since most builds are good at something and very bad at something else. Also the simple ability to level and gear up a separate loadout extends the endgame longevity a lot.
6. Auction House UI and search filters
This is somewhat of a separate more obvious issue but the the market’s UI is also putting off players from relying on it. There are no search filters for selling and some item category tabs are either hidden or completely missing.
Search filters for attribute bonuses and keywords are missing and searching for multiple perks only allows AND but not OR filters, finally you can’t type-search the perks but you have to scroll trough them and hovering every one you don’t remember at heart. An overhaul of said UI is not as prioritary as other actions, in order to restore a healthy economy, but it is required nonetheless.
7. Currency economy and fees
Games with player driven economy usually do not have many ways of spending money that doesn’t end into another player’s pocket, New World on the other hand has housing , respecs, faction rewards, repair and baseline fees for trading and crafting.
While housing is somewhat of a luxury that deserves to be expensive, most of these costs are redundant. The trading fee is the main offender in direct relation to the market, destroying any possibility for the economy to thrive over large quantities of small priced goods.
The game is structured in a way that allows gather 3000 units of Iron in half an hour, it requires to craft dozens, hundreds and thousands of items to level up a single professions then applies flat fees that effectively make most of the work worthless, actually below zero sum. It doesn’t help that repair costs are periodic and mandatory on top of being infinite, those should also be removed.
The issue is really made worse by the lack of a way to generate money apart from a finite number of quests. The world injects a (somewhat) finite amount of money into the economy while allowing an infinte amount to be erased from it creating a currency vacuum (deflation). Deflation causes money hoarding and price dropping all across the market.
8. Why it is bad
The reason why the deflated economy is bad for the game is very simple, it becomes altogether obsolete. It won’t take a long time before players realise that most professions are entirely redundant because you can and should just aim to get equipment from quests and drops.
As it stands the only crafting professions that have a place in the economy the ones that produce either consumables or items not freely gained otherwise and they’re still leveled up by losing money and burning resources. The town project board somewhat incentivates players into leveling as many professions as they can but that ultimately does nothing for the economy.
9. Potential solutions and actions required
Most of the issues that have been looked at in this document require some degree of work and I am particularly fond of the loadout system suggested in paragraph 5 but action against a few of the bigger ones is absolutely crucial in the short term:
A) Reduce the amount of good gear players get just by progressing
B) Restore resources/materials value pyramid based on rarity and time investment
C) Remove the currency vacuum, prevent deflation.
In my opinion the best way to achieve goal A is to remove most gear for quest rewards, especially fixed highly versatile rewards such as the health amulet and the double luck ring. Quests are already one of the main ways of leveling up and unlocking game features and locations, they do not need any more incentives for players to engage with them.
Resolving issue B requires a fundamental change of refining recipes with the removal (or reduction) of lower tier materials from them. To avoid inflation the amount of resouces obtained from each node can be rebalanced accordingly reducing yield for most resources, especially the mid-tier ones. I think a rebalancing of the profession leveling is also in order, by reducing the number of crafted items that are injected into the economy while also making it possible for players to craft items of their own levels for one or two professions whitout investing massive amounts of time (time that is currently better spent elsewhere regardless if you aim for coins, exp or endgame gear)
The part of the economy that is not player driven but environmental needs to be balanced out. Money sinks need a reduction, I would remove/reduce respec fees, coin costs from most faction gear, repair fees and the flat component of trading fees. The income part of it also needs a redistribution from the finite to the infinte sources, my suggestion is to reduce money gained from quests and increase a lot money gained from the environment such as monster and chest drops.