Ammo Prices in this game are Utter Nonsense

Can we just be objective for a moment about ammo in this game?

Let's rewind a bit to establish some history, bear with me this may SEEM tangential but its the whole point. Everyone thinks the Vektor is OP, or something. It can be kitted out for around 170k for 24 Vertical Recoil and 66 ergo, and with 50 Round Mags relatively easily accessible and 7n31. Overall, a great option. Does that make it OP (Overpowered means that it is too powerful relative to the field of options), or by relation 7n31.

So lets bring up another option for relatively the same cost: MP7a1. Its around 50k, you chuck the silencer which is usually 70k onto it and for 120k its good to go. Granted, 30 round mags are about what you can expect but 40 rounders if your level 40 are fairly cheap at 12k. Overall, 46 Vertical Recoil, 53 Ergo, and again 950 RPM. So 50k cheaper and slightly worse stats, but the differences of those stats aren't terrible meaningful. Below 50 recoil every is close enough to a laser beam and you won't ever notice the 13 extra Ergo. Is the MP7a1 OP? Does anyone actually think that? And if the Vektor was OP why didn't anyone care about the MPX that can get even better stats with 850rpm which is not a meaningful difference. Nobody complains about either of these weapons, nobody cares about them, and they've both been in these states for months if not YEARS prior to the Vektor. (Also some may bring up the Accuracy difference but not to hash that out but between the Vektor and the MP7a1 even with ammo increasing accuracy there is not a noticeable difference)

Okay so then its the ammo, 7n31, right? Okay so 39 Pen and 52 Damage with 560 m/s velocity. Its a close range weapon and won't be as effective at 100m+ distances as a rifle round, not surprising since its a 9mm round out of SMGs. So calculating bullets to kill through armor in the Thorax that means its 3-4 Rounds vs class 4, 6-7 rounds vs Class 5, and 8-9 rounds vs class 6. At 950 rpm it fires a round every .06 seconds so ostensibly if you hit all 8 rounds in the Thorax to kill them. At close range its quite possible but at medium to long ranges you're better off spraying at their head since it should go through a class 4 helmet with a single round most of the time. Okay, now, how does our MP7a1 compare? Well lets look at the budget round, FMJ SX, instead since that's fairer. FMJ is 43 Damage, 40 Pen. Fairly similar stats but Flesh damage can sometimes be deceiving if it gets over break points. So how is its Time to Kill? 3-4 Rounds on Class 4, 5-6 Rounds on Class 5, and a whopping 11 Rounds on Class 6. Now, remember, this is the budget round. What about the meta round? Well its 3 rounds for Class 4, and then 3-4 Rounds for class 5 and 6.

Now I know some of you are going to be like "Yeah, everyone knows the MP7A1/2 is strong," but that's not the point. Everyone complained about the Vektor being OP when it is objectively worse than another similar weapon, we can objectively measure it and realize "wait this was never broken ever" from both a historical and numerical viewpoint. So why did everyone complain? Because it was popular. I mean, its not anymore, but it was. Its the exact same reason everyone, and I use the term "everyone" really loosely here because its just a very loud uninformed vocal minority, but it was popular.

So, why is 7N31 1932 Roubles a ROUND right now?

Since the price is horribly unjustifiable from a performance standpoint when we compare it to, oh I don't know, M61, 995, AP SX, etc., I'm going to to pose three schools of potential thought that I'm going to bring up for demonstration purposes.

One, it was nerfed because of public outcry. I don't think this was the reason, at least I hope it wasn't, because it would essentially mean caving to a small group of uninformed ninnies that don't know how math works (not that BSG does them any favors in that department).

Two, Tarkov is trying to simulate a real economy and thus since it was popular the price went up. Well, probably not, because dynamic economy hasn't been instituted yet so we can toss this out the window for the moment. Also, Tarkov's economic events seem more planned around really huge and dramatic temporary events so permanent price fixing isn't really on the docket. Additionally, its popularity has dropped dramatically so the price should have plummeted through the floor. And, that's not how firearm economics work. Generally speaking, the more in demand a bullet becomes the cheaper it becomes, so essentially when the demand went up and the supply rose and competition entered the cost of 7n31 would have plummeted (but lets not get into that today that's a really complicated subject).

Three, it was popular and thus it was nerfed to breed diversity. This works to a limited extent because its less run, but if that was the case why are you taking dozens of hours of development to put something in the game just to hate the fact that its getting used so much. Additionally, this is just a baffiling poor design decision since BSG has already demonstrated that a way to get a gun to suddenly become popular is to just *gasp* buff it (AKs) and then that automatically breathes diversity into the meta. The real trick is to know you can placebo buff, meaning you give a buff thats not really meaningful, but make a big deal about it and then it'll suddenly get used more. Riot does this with League all the time and its a sin that it works so well.

Okay, so I spent a lot of time talking about 7n31 because its the really obvious outlier but it goes for a lot of ammo. Why is m855a1, literally the most ubiquitous ammunition on the face of the planet (not currently though thanks to COVID the entire world's economy is borked) is $7 a round? Why is AP SX 1131 roubles a round? Why is M61 ONLY 1400 a round when 995 is $11 a round (and lets be real M61 is better by a lot). But most importantly, why is good ammo so expensive period.

While guns and armor simulate their real world counterparts in relative costs ammo is absurdly inflated.

Lets talk about this from a lore perspective real quick. So we're in Tarkov, which items of particular interest are difficult to smuggle in. So you're telling me it's easier for Mechanic to get me an M4A1 and meta attachments at relative MSRP but the ammo, the thing that comes in massive BOXES because its not worth it to ship otherwise, is so expensive and rare that he's going to sell it by the bullet at an absurd mark up? Not the armor or weapons and attachments that would actually be really expensive to ship into a zone like that, but the ammo that would literally be the cheapest thing to get in.

Now lets talk about it from a design perspective. Firstly, we're in beta and we need to test things. This is just a fact of life, the Tarkov we have now and the Tarkov on release are essentially two completely different games. So why is difficulty of acquisition such a focus? I get challenge, and all that, but there are other things that could be swapped in price like, oh I don't know Armor and the Guns, that would make more sense from both a core gameplay loop, internal world consistency, and testing purposes. Here's a situation for you: low level PMC kills a meta chad and strips his gear. But woops, he can't run that gear next raid because he can't get any ammo that's worth anything to put in the gun. Essentially, you're not rewarding the player that won just further kicking them in the dick for no reason AND giving you less testing data points effectively shooting yourself in the foot. Additionally, you're not incetivizing the player to then USE what the found which, by Nikita's own word (paraphrased), is a core design tenet. If the meta guns were expensive then they'd be less popular (see above), and if the armor was more expensive it could even be buffed. Class 5 and 6 don't exist in the real world so why not make that crap stop 5 rounds of 995, for example, but the Slick now costs 1.6 mil. Now it feels like a worthwhile investment and if you DIE with it it'll feel like a major loss. Moreover, if your guns are really expensive you'll feel more attached to them. You shouldn't be spending more money on the ammo going into the gun then the gun itself. The ammo doesn't tell a story its just a measuring stick that you need to check off with all the interactive interest of dribbling a basketball. Yeah, its essential, but no one ever said "Hey guys, you know what'd be fun? Lets go outside and dribble a ball for an hour!" Its just the thing you HAVE to do to have fun doing the thing you ACTUALLY want to do. The thing that people remember is losing their favorite M4A1 they tricked out, the ammo is just salt in the wound. No one ever tells a story about how they killed a guy with AP SX, no they say "This MP7A1 slaps!" Its just a better story, and better stories make for better core gameplay loops because they create memorable experience that 1. promote your game and 2. create endorphin rushes that encourage further play.

And to wrap this all the way back to the beginning, you're telling me 7n31 performs identically in an MPX as it does to a Vektor? The MPX and 7n31 existed at a much easier acquisition rate for months without anyone complaining about it being OP. And suddenly the Vektor comes along and now 7n31 is OP? I'm not going to rehash the above, but you get the point now. Everyone was talking about the Vektor even though it was never actually a problem (it was just popular). Because it was popular it made a story. People talked about the Vektor, not 7n31. Let me ask you a question, if I told you they were adding another ammo for one of the existing guns how excited/angry would you be? Now, if I told you they were adding the Beretta .50 cal how excited/angry would you be? The point is not well ammo is expensive now and that's okay because its for balance reasons but why are we placing acquisition difficulty on ammo and not on guns and armor instead when that would incentivize better emotional responses, create better stories, and add room for additional levers to tune balance?

It is utterly baffling that ammo is so expensive in this game forcing the core gameplay loop to be based around AMMO acquisition and not Armor and Weapon acquisition. It makes no sense from a design or lore standpoint and it does not further the intended design tenets laid out by BSG nor Nikita (praise be wipe Thursday amen).


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