Vetarnic

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About Vetarnic

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  1. Hello. I saw this thread almost by accident. I haven't played Wurm Online since the first round of Challenge, a year ago or so, and I had moved on to other games, but a few days ago someone left a comment on one of my Wurm essays on my blog where I addressed the economy, so I decided to see if there was anything new on that front. And sure enough, there is this thread. Wurm Online has always been plagued by structural rot, which emanated from the top of the player hierarchy. I'm not even saying it came from Rolf. He enabled it with his game design, yes, but that structural rot was quick to turn against his own financial well-being. Structural problem #1: Pegging the in-game currency to real money. Because Wurm sells coins through the cash shop, any in-game coin faucet (i.e. other than the cash shop itself), whether it's through traders, foraging or any other means, is a lost revenue opportunity for Rolf. I will get back to that later, but the existence of in-game faucets even though it is a lost revenue opportunity indicates such a measure was necessary. Why? I've seen other dying games -- without this real-money connection -- where the economy was dysfunctional, but it was because of the lack of players, who would take part in the economy as a matter of course: they would earn in-game currency while playing the game. (Kill ten rats, get reward and all that.) If nobody plays, nobody produces and nobody buys. Simple as that. Wurm is different, even with these in-game money faucets. Let's imagine if they were turned off. Wurm could have a maximum number of players on every server, and it still wouldn't change the reality that the only money circulating in the game would have been bought at some point with real money. There might be several people willing to buy player-made goods, yes, but it doesn't change anything if the sellers won't accept any payment other than coins, which those potential buyers could only have obtained in two ways: (1) by buying them through the cash shop, or (2) by obtaining them from other players. What happens to be the case in Wurm is that the people who have the most money also happen to be the ones trying to sell goods, and the people who might want to buy either have no money or higher priorities for that money, such as deed upkeep. And then those players start getting ideas: "Well, if other people sell goods, why don't I? Instead of buying stuff from a player merchant, why don't I buy my own merchant and sell stuff too?" Anecdote: Back in the day, I was playing on Celebration when it had just been launched. At one point, a new trading hub was announced. It was planned to have more merchant stalls than there were people playing on the server. Everybody sells. Who buys? Structural problem #2: Rolf subsidizing a skill-based elite using money from newcomers. I am referring, especially, to that sorry episode with private traders, which he more or less ended in time for the release of Xanadu, but which ensured, for years before then, that his top players might never have to pay another dime on the game if they played it enough to make and sell enough garbage to traders to make all the money they needed for their own deed upkeep and their own premium time. And since price was based on quality, and quality on skill, then the higher the skill, the more money, until you'd siphoned off all that you could. Then you presumably bought another trader with the proceeds, until you reached an equilibrium between how much time you had and how much money you needed. Then bye bye cash shop, I'll never buy from you again. Back in the day (2012), the proof of that was how established players all paid silver coins to buy the 20 days of premium time offered to new premium members (as part of the new subscriber package), which was more expensive than just buy a month's premium in Euros through the store. Wurm's upper crust has rarely been known for its generosity, so if they did that, there was because there was a financial advantage to it. And if they never bought their silver coins in the first place and obtained them through their own trader, then yes, the advantage was clear. I remember Rolf saying at the time that traders, even those bought by players, should be accessible to all. Naturally, the Wurm elites continued to keep their traders locked inside 3x3 locked houses to make sure nobody else traded with them. And when Rolf told his player core that traders weren't supposed to be the "fountains of income" that they were and that he was considering turning off the tap considerably, his own precious elite players graciously told him off and threatened to quit playing. Structural problem #3: Those subsidized elites then went out of their way to exploit and/or antagonize new players. Never forget that indentured servitude used to be a thing in this game. Rolf designed Wurm knowing full well that his economy would rest on the divide between people who had money and people who had time. And that's how you get to the state of affairs where for most newbies, taking part in the economy -- i.e. having coins -- translates more or less into: "grind me 500 bricks, peon", because they don't have the skills to produce anything else of value. All they have is time, to make objects where quality is not even a requirement. That's why skilled elites outsource menial tasks like 500 bricks: they need them, but they have a more profitable use for their time. At the same time, you saw those same elites complaining every time Rolf made any attempt at changing the game in a way that would run contrary to their interests, as with the traders above. Likewise, they wanted to keep Wurm as hopelessly grindy as possible, because that's how they enjoyed the game, they said. Then the first thing they did was to turn around and outsource the production of those 500 bricks to some poor newbie soul too naive or desperate to say no. I've met some good people in Wurm, but also a number of elitists of the worst order. The worst I've encountered was someone who had contacted me to provide her with 500 bricks or something like that, but who then got offended because I had failed to sufficiently thank her for providing me with a glorious opportunity to waste my time. I was premium at the time. I had my own deed. I did not really need the money. I did that to make myself useful. And that was how I was rewarded. Well, then. My deed was fairly close to spawn on Celebration, so I got a fair number of newbies, and even invited a few to join the village. A few of them were also offered by other established players to provide bricks or clay in bulk, and I always tried to dissuade them from accepting. Not because I was afraid they'd join another village -- I did not really care -- but because what good is it to have disposable income in this game if obtaining it is enough of a grind to disgust you off playing it altogether? (Whatever their reasons, they still stopped playing after a while, but I suspect it had more to do with Wurm's lack of an endgame.) You ask about the economy, but the real question you should ask yourselves is why the game by and large failed to retain new players, leaving Rolf with a core of players motivated entirely by self-interest. Players who should have been told "no" a long time ago. Structural problem #4: And since Rolf legalized people cashing out of the game, the incentive was there to make money at it. You bring in the possibility of real-life financial gain, and you make everything worse. It not only encouraged the elite players to exploit the hell out of anyone coming their way, but it also deprived Rolf of revenue. Come on, Wurm sells coins through the cash shop; for a private exchange to happen, it has to be done at a lower rate than what the cash shop offers. Any such private exchange takes revenue away from the cash shop, therefore away from the game, until the game collapses because nobody uses the cash shop anymore. If your complaints about the Wurm economy all hinge around making real money off it, I don't care. You've always been leeches on this game's potential. I've seen your ilk at work before, talking about Wurm in terms of investors and workers, and never using words like game, players, fun. Wurm is supposed to be a game. I like it as a game. If it's a second job, I want nothing to do with it; and for that matter, if it's all about the money you can make, any other second job is better. Don't get me wrong: I usually love to play the economy in online games. But I hated that very notion in Wurm itself, not only because the currency was pegged to real money, but because Rolf himself legalized and even encouraged the idea that players could make real-life money out of this game. Which led to the kind of core player base we have come to expect from Wurm. And then, there's Unlimited. I haven't bought Unlimited yet, because I'm waiting for my friends to express an interest in playing Wurm. Then I'll get my $30 copy and never have to worry about the usual Wurm Online elitists anymore, or newbies cutting every tree they can find, or the endless grind just so I can get to the levels where my skills match my building imagination. Playing Wurm Online is fun, but not alone. The last time I logged into Celebration, there were maybe 25 people on the server, none in the local chat (and as I said, I was fairly close to spawn). I'd rather play with 6 people I know and like hanging out with, than with two dozen strangers who never bother to act as if this game were still alive because they're too busy grinding to make money or complaining about how their grinding in fact makes no money. Of course Unlimited imperils the survival of Wurm Online. I like to think that it's intentional. I like to think that Unlimited is Rolf's (belated, sadly) realization that the player core of Wurm Online ruined his game, effort after effort, that it was too late to redeem it, but that there were several people out there who liked Wurm in some other way than what the elite of the game had made it like, and who would pay for the chance to play Wurm their way, without the grind, and the snobbery of players who spent too much time taking pride in a bunch of pixels. Still, if you want to ask me how to fix the Wurm economy: 1) Introduce some form of in-game currency distinct from cash-shop currency (which could continue being used for deeds and such), with perhaps a method to convert in-game currency to cash-shop currency. I'm thinking of an exchange bank à la Puzzle Pirates. 2) If #1 is impossible, barter should be encouraged. I suspect it would be a lot more satisfying than the current system where everyone wants coins nobody wants to spend. But most important of all... 3) End private coin-for-cash transactions between players, likewise the selling of accounts and any other item in Wurm for real money. These exchanges were, I thought, unethical to begin with, and since they translate into a loss of income for Code Club while offering nothing of benefit to the game, they don't even have a financial reason to exist. I'm sure this proposal will be extremely popular among the remaining players of this game.
  2. What's interesting with the PvP people is that they always follow the logic (and I've seen it in other games too) that "we can't avoid doing PvE stuff we don't like to do, so why should you be allowed to avoid PvP if you don't like it?" Here's a magnificent example of that in another game (can't comment on that game specifically, since I haven't played it, but there's nothing new in what he says): Which is just that, a predator who doesn't like it when his potential prey is provided with an option to avoid him. He doesn't want people to be happy doing their own things elsewhere where he can't reach them. He doesn't want those people to be the ones setting rules about who gets to play on their server for it is he, the leetgod bringer of pain, who should have every right over every individual on that server. That ###### who griefed Silent Hill and other places on PvE servers here belongs to that same species. It's Hannibal Lecter complaining that nobody wants to serve (or rather, be served) as his entrée. Also see how the the non-PvPers are "depending" on the PvPers, whereas the PvPers just want to have someone to carry out menial tasks that don't interest them. It just feeds an enormous power trip which guarantees the non-PvPers will never be respected because they don't PvP (and are automatically assumed to be sucking at said PvP, because otherwise how could they refuse to do it?). I've reached the point in my life where I want to steer clear of psychopaths if I can.
  3. If I may expand on my original post, the problem with Wurm is that it created not so much a community as a market, where everyone is encouraged to try to make money off the game (even at Rolf's expense). It's only gotten somewhat better now that coins can be obtained by foraging, etc., but the idea that everyone should attempt to make a buck is still there. At the time, it was the whole trader racket, which placed a few established players in a position where they could milk off their traders to reduce what they would normally have had to pay to keep on playing the way they did (and in some cases play for free despite being deeded and on premium). Since coins couldn't readily be obtained from the game environment, it gave rise to all sorts of abuse on the part of players who did have coins. I remember that when GV existed, there was indented servitude (where established players would pay premium time to some unfortunate free player on their server in exchange for work). I'm not sure how widespread it was, but I've seen it being offered on this forum at the time. Then there was the entire "1000 clay for 1 silver" back-breaking work (I'm not sure about the current rate, but it's what it used to be), which was about the only way in which a non-premium member could make any money to buy what he needed from those same players who paid him. I'm pretty sure that drove out more players from the game than it brought in. I remember when I was playing on Celeb when it opened. There were practically more personal merchants than there were players on the server. Everybody was looking to make a buck, and I was left wondering who was supposed to be their prospective buyer. (It was one of the reasons why this game was called a pyramid scheme by some people.) How much of that has changed? I wouldn't think of selling my character in any game, and Wurm is the only one I play in which that this is approved by the company behind the game. Likewise, I'd never think of selling whatever coins I had. Yet Rolf approves of that even though it undermines his own sale of coins through the cash shop. He's even gone as far as to endorsing that shady trading site whose name I won't repeat here. What Rolf and Code Club's design and business decisions have led to is a climate surrounding this game where attempting to cash out is seen as perfectly normal, and where everything created in game is consequently seen to have an (arbitrary, yet undeniable) real-life value. 1 Silver sells for X on private exchanges outside the game, and a QL 90 sword sells for Y silver inside the game. Rolf and Code Club's design and business decisions have attracted the kind of people dedicated to taking full advantage of this. People who do not play this game as a game, but rather as a money-making venture for themselves. If I play, say, World of Warcraft (shudder), I do not expect this rare sword of mine to carry a value outside of the game. Perhaps it sells for a great deal of money in the game universe, but those gold coins it is worth do not translate legally into money outside of the game. Indeed, most games make it clear that private transactions in RL money for game items are a bannable offense. Wurm went in the opposite direction and allowed all of this. The net result is that a large part of the player base of this game seems to play with dollar signs in their eyes. Maybe you, as an individual player, or your community, play Wurm because you like the game and couldn't care less about playing the market in real dollars. But it's a sure bet that someone else is here for the money, and he doesn't care what you play Wurm for, he knows that your QL 90 rare sword is worth something in real bucks. Is it then really surprising that there will inevitably be someone who doesn't care about how he acquires it, as long as he can make money off it? And the OK for private transactions in Wurm allows his crime to be hidden by a forest of perfectly normal (by Wurm's standards) character and item transactions. It also means that there will also be a buyer who doesn't care where the goods come from, as long as they serve him. If Wurm applied the rules that exist in other online games, every buyer and seller would automatically break the user agreement. And every transaction taking place that way would be easier to spot and ban. And perhaps, just perhaps, the Wurm community would become something more appealing than a motley collection of people looking to make a buck.
  4. And this is what happens when your entire game becomes corrupted by a mentality that thinks everything is only good for cashing out, at the expense of the game world itself. And this has been going on for years. See: traders, indentured servitude, etc. This is what happens when you allow people to sell not only goods but accounts, making impossible for one player to build a reputation if he can then sell his account to the highest bidder. Even one's name means nothing here, thanks to Rolf giving the OK to character sales. It's kinda pointless to talk about making things clearer on deed settings, etc., when there is a core of players whose sole objective is to make money at any cost, whether it affects other players or Code Club itself, and when these players are not only allowed to do as they please but are also to be found pushing for (or against) any design decision that would benefit/hamper their ability to do as they please. (See how they told off Rolf himself when he suggested changes to traders last spring, and how they talk of everything as an investment.) And it's something taking place at a much deeper level in this game's design than simple oversights which enable a few ill-intentioned griefers to work their magic. The real problem lies in Wurm's game-as-ideology (libertarian, here) construct, of which this is but a symptom.
  5. Would it be possible for the designers to update the Wurmpedia with all the recipes for the new stuff? I can't find anything there.
  6. The implication there is that the dev team would do it themselves to drain more money to the dev team.
  7. Because have you seen the devs even bothering to say: "sorry about bridges, we are still fixing the bug"? No. Instead they say nothing about that as they post more and more about Challenge. Setting up a deadline yourself only to move it back without the slightest justification is downright amateurish.
  8. Indeed, Wurm is gearing up to become Bridge on the River Kwai in reverse: The train wreck before the bridge.
  9. Ah yes, I'd forgotten about that. However, if it's applied to a server where it's not you who chooses to disband, but rather the game itself that imposes it, then there is something profoundly unethical about this. And it is there that this whole Challenge server which nobody seems to want makes sense for the dev team: it's a cash grab.
  10. Since I haven't played on the PvP servers before, I have to rely on the Wurmpedia for information, which has in the past turned out to be occasionally woefully outdated. So, is this still accurate, and am I correct in assuming that this will also apply to Challenge (perhaps with some adjustments as to figures)?: "On the Wild and Epic servers, citizens of the enemy kingdom can drain your token once all your deed guards are dead. An enemy draining your token will remove 15% of the monthly upkeep cost from the upkeep fund, of which the drainer receives half. Upkeep cost is treated as always being at least 5 silver, which gives a minimum drain of 75 copper (37.5 to the drainer). A drain can occur once every 24 real-time hours. Every time a deed is drained, the drained amount will increase by 50%. This is reset if the deed is not drained for 2 days. Enemies can drain from an adjacent tile and do not need to be on the same tile as the token, even if there is a wall or palisade in the way." (Source: http://www.wurmpedia.com/index.php/Settlement ) The thing is I already can't possibly imagine anyone buying a deed that can be drained this way, so imagine if you were to tell me that the map is going to be wiped after a month anyway... I suspect you don't and can't build defenses for a stronghold designed to last a month in the same way that you build one that's expected to last six months or more. (Even with the skill boosts, it still takes time.) Aren't you in fact going to end up with a server full of badly protected deeds hastily put together that other people will be able to raid and drain almost immediately? If these mechanics are unchanged in Challenge, I'd be extremely wary about putting down a deed, and I don't think it's a coincidence that this server is being announced while the mechanics allow for Rolf & Co. to collect half of what's getting drained...
  11. And I'm not on Xanadu yet, not sure if I won't try to stick to Celeb. Not to mention that even the public traders are bad if they are also money gushers.
  12. Hello, I was considering playing Wurm again since I stopped in 2012; there is something quite pleasant about this game in spite of all of the grind. However, what was unpleasant then is still unpleasant now: how this game is rife with elitists who are so obsessed with their little privileges that they complain every time they see them as being put in peril. I am referring, for example, to the trader situation. I see that Rolf is beginning to see the problem with traders, even if he is reluctant to address it. At least he spelt it out in his description of the game here: "You buy a trader contract in order to place them, but you never “own†a trader since the idea is that they should be made available for public access." Yet we all know what happened in reality, with traders in the middle of a 3x3 locked room regularly milked by their owners and their owners alone. I have read that on Xanadu - where I'm not but where I may go as soon as I build a new ship because Celeb looks like a dump where nobody seems to play anymore - the private traders have been prohibited. But what do I also read? That the old Wurm elites are whining about how they can no longer leech off their traders, while the few public, game-owned traders are camped by alts. I do not own a trader. I not only could not afford it, I never wanted one, because I could not see myself grinding junk to sell to it in the first place. When I first read about traders, I immediately detested the fact that I, a once-premium and deeded character who never owned a trader, was in effect subsidizing the Wurm elite players so that they could renew their premium/deeds/alts at a fraction of what it would normally cost them -- and that's if they paid anything at all in real money to Rolf. I suspected that many paid exactly nothing, since established players were bending over backwards to buy the 20-day referrals from new premium members in coins when a 30-day premium bought directly from the store would have cost them about half the price they were paying in coins -- and if there is one thing I know, it is that generosity towards new players does not exist in this game. It's a no-brainer that this preference only makes sense if the coins used to buy the referrals were money obtained for free in the first place. I see that cash shop prices have increased drastically last year, by 60 percent or so. Yet the trader money fountain remained in place for more than a year, and I'm guessing it still exists on servers other than Xanadu. In other words, while traders continued to drain the game's money to the established elite, the rest of the players were paying for Rolf's reluctance to turn off the faucet. To re-inject coins once taken out of the game by one of the existing sinks (upkeep, premium, etc.) is bad enough. To re-inject coins in a way that only a select few get to benefit, when the sinks affect everyone who paid any money, is worse. I cannot say if Rolf's company is struggling, but there are at least two serious problems with his game currency flow which at first glance undermine his business model. The first is traders. The other is players' ability to cash out of the game by selling their coins on the market. Yes, the buyers of those coins will re-invest them in the game or sell them back at a markup to someone who will. But any private buying of coins only makes sense to the prospective buyer if the asking price is lower than what Rolf sells the same coins for in the safety of the cash shop. By allowing the private buying and selling of coins (many of which, one may suspect, were obtained through traders at a cost of exactly zero), Rolf in effect enables people to undercut his prices, reducing demand for his own supply of coins, crippling his income and forcing price increases on everyone to compensate for this. Simply put, the traders have to go. Not just the private traders, but also the public ones. Or at the very least their ability to buy stuff from players. Every coin that went out of the game through a sink should never go back in the game, except under exceptional circumstances. Traders are not among them. And as I always highly disapproved of the notion that a player can cash out of the game, since I would never have wanted to do that myself, I think that Rolf should ban private transactions between players. I have seen old posts by people here who refer to the player base of this game as "investors" and "workers", as though everyone's main preoccupation was with making a buck and exploiting some other sap into cutting 500 bricks that you're too lazy to make (while harping on the virtues of "self-reliance"). And frankly, it shows. You know what I have seen this game called? A pyramid scheme. But it's especially ironic that here it's not even the guy who created the game who seems to benefit. Instead, it's all about a little, very vocal, very vituperative, elite at the top which wants to parasitically go on draining whatever life exists in this game for the sake of a few bucks while they frantically insist that the game must absolutely not be made easier for new players. And frankly that has to end.
  13. Nice job! I can't recognize the place at all. Looks like you've expanded the island a lot. (For those who want to see what it used to look like, here it is.)