Join Lead Seasons Designer Patrick Smedley, Senior Systems Designer Joel Clift, and Senior Systems Designer Tony Morton for a technical overview of the New World economy. From key resources to challenges, here’s how we analyze economic health. Let us know if you’d like to know more and we can cover additional specifics in a future dev blog.
New World is a unique player in the MMO space in that we’re a player driven economy. That means we do not have vendors for players to sell their gear and there’s no artificial floor or ceiling set on the cost of goods—you the players determine that! A player driven economy is really exciting, but it comes with its own challenges.
The economy in New World has a lot of similarities to the real world economy. Things like wealth distribution and inflation need to be carefully managed. We also need to understand where wealth comes from and leaves the economy. New World in particular faces a handful of real world economic issues: wealth disparity, stored wealth, inflation, and managed coin faucets vs coin sinks. These are all concerns we look at when we gauge the overall economic health of the game.
Wealth disparity we’ll cover in more depth below, but we want players to be as equal as possible in terms of wealth in correlation to how much they play. We don’t want a small conglomerate of the wealthy significantly outpacing all other players.
Stored wealth is a trickier issue where players hoard tens of thousands of items (such as Iron Hide) waiting for the day when they become more valuable. They then flood the market with those items, dropping their value.
Inflation is the increase in cost of goods over a period of time as a result of players having more gold on hand due to coin faucets.
Coin faucets are sources of coin (Quests, Salvage, Caches, Drops, etc.), while coin sinks are the ways we take coin out of the economy, like the Faction Vendor.
We monitor overall economic health through a few key resources.
With the Gini Index we can measure the distribution of wealth and understand where that wealth is concentrated based on a value of 0 to 100. Zero indicates wealth equality among all the players, while an index of 100 means inequality and poor wealth distribution. Neither of these coefficients are likely, however we monitor the index to make sure it remains consistent. In MMOs there’s an expectation that time-rich players may become more wealthy than players who can’t play as often, but we aim to keep that wealth disparity within reasonable ranges.
The Item Index pulls the value of items like Prismatic Ingots into a dashboard where we can observe macroeconomic trends and identify any over or underperforming items relative to the rest of the market. The general expectation is that trends are consistent between items. If prices drop across the board, generally they drop for nearly every item. But if we see drops for specific items such as Dark Hide when all other leathers are getting significantly more expensive, it alerts us that we need to dig deeper and understand if there’s too much volume of Dark Hide or not enough reason to use that item.
The most important resource we have to analyze economic health is player sentiment. Players are really good at letting us know about issues with the economy, whether it’s a concentration of resources and wealth, or items that don’t have enough value. If we don’t see enough crafts with Prismatic Ingots on the Item Index, and sentiment on Reddit and Discord is that Prismatic Ingot crafts are outputting undesirable gear, we know to evaluate those items based on expectations and intended output.
It’s particularly fun to analyze economic health following big updates such as our expansion, Rise of the Angry Earth. Following speculation on items like Golden Scarabs jumping up in price only to fall back down to normalized prices once the expansion went live was an exciting short-term economic shock. We have a talented team of people keeping a close eye on our economy to make sure it remains healthy.
We hope this quick look into the New World economy and how we monitor it was interesting. If you want more detailed analyses, let us know and we will consider quarterly deep dives. Thanks for your support! We’ll see you in Aeternum.