When it comes to recent changes to the broader gameplay loop, BSG and Nikita seem to prove again and again how disconnected they are from the reality of the game. I think what happens is that Nikita is crunching data from his backend and doing on the fly balancing of one element at the time. But the big problem is you cannot design the gameplay loop on data analysis alone, without practical understanding of the gameplay loop itself and the synergy between it's systems! And since Nikita does not play his game, we have what we have.
What's going on with the bitcoin farm is a prime example of that. Let's take it step by step:
- Add the bitcoin farm, that allows for passive wealth generation. However, long term it inflates and eventually saturates the economy.
- Then bind the bitcoin price to highly volatile, soaring ILR prices, which inflates the economy even more.
- To battle this, BSG decreases the performance output of the bitcoin farm to level it out.
- When that proves short lived, they create a fuel shortage, but bitcoin price keeps rising evening it out.
- Now they've upped the requirements for the solar panel and who knows what's next.
This approach is ass backwards and just solidifies BSG's long tradition of addressing symptoms but not the cause and decisionmaking tunnel vision with disregard to the knockdown effects on the rest of the economy.
These actions give off the impression that somehow binding the bitcoin prices to IRL prices is a hill to die on. Why? Real life prices have no bearing on what's going on in a video game economy so why do it??? Decoupling them is the first step to get the situation under control. They can be dynamic, but tied to something within the game, not something disconnected from it!
By creating a fuel shortage, you might just slow down or inconvenience the min-maxers that already have their hideouts on full swing, but absolutely fuck over everyone else because you're baselining your decisionmaking to the top 1%!
Why? Because for some reason, fuel usage is the same no matter if you're just a Timmy trying to craft salewas or a nolifing gigachad with a fully pimped out hideout running at full swing, mining bitcoins, making moonshine, crafting graphics cards, mag cases and whatever else…
The solution is simple and I still don't understand why it hasn't been entertained – Have fuel consumption be proportional to your hideout usage. adjust things progressively, taper off the top, without hurting the bottom. If sweats want to have a 50 GPU money printer, they better resort to logging in every 3h cause that fuel will need replacing real often.
Ramp up fuel availability, take it off the traders, spawn more in raids – that way the market will adequatly price them and give everyone a chance to get it without camping traders.
Speaking of traders – why do we even have a set interval for restocks? That just promotes reset camping. Hide the reset clock and randomize the interval more.
The idea of passive income is an issue itself though. In game the bitcoin farm is just a money printing press, which is nothing like real life where it gives you diminishing returns the more people jump on it. But that's a whole other discussion.
But this is just one aspect of the game and there's more examples of questionable choices. For example the Find In Raid mechanic.
Let's try to find it's origin:
- Add fetch quests, where players have to personally collect various items scattered across map.
- Add a flea market which makes the personal aspect obsolete as long as you have the money.
- To combat that they introduce a find in raid mechanic which allows you to retain the flea market to sell anything, but still have to collect the items yourself for fetch quests.
- At the same time they shift a lot of the economy towards bartering / crafting which makes a lot of fetch items highly sought after, and harder to get and simultaneously hampering progress and inflating the economy
- To combat the progression aspect they change add a multitude of crafts for items which basically roll back to the second point but with extra steps (hideout and time).
Quests go from being bound by (in order):
RNG and time –> Wealth –> RNG and time x10 –> Wealth and time.
The issue seems to be an attempt to artificially and arbitrarily slowing down player progress, to fit with other systems in the game with disregard how everything fits together.
Like graphics cards – BSG wants them to be rare and valuable, but at the same time recognizing their rarity they don't want to hamper progress so they give the players a craft for it.
- To combat the inflation BSG makes the flea market available for FIR only items, but at the same time if you buy items from the flea, transmog them into another item, you can suddenly sell that?
- They also introduce a progressive tax system where items seemingly have their "intended" price.
Which is again ass backwards. "Oh, Item ABC shouldn't be as expensive!" Nikita says. Well, yeah… yes it does. What drives a price of a barter item is what said barter item can be exchanged for and what would that item cost if you were to buy it for cash.
I could go on and dive into other systems that don't make sense, but this post is long enough.
It's not about if it's hard or easy. All of it is unintuitive, arbitrary, confusing and frustrating for new and old players alike. That's the biggest challenge right now for the game – you can eventually iron out the technical problems, but without a cohesive idea for the gameplay loop and the economy, it's all for nothing.