A healthy economy is a prerequisite for a healthy MMORPG world. Without a healthy economy you end up with either a world where nobody can make any money and gear progression is painfully slow and almost non-existent, or we end up with a situation where the inflation runs rampant and there are million of in-game currency stacked up and available and gear progression is painfully slow because nobody can actually afford anything. The trick to a successful MMORPG economy is to make sure there is a health player driven economy, and that is exactly what Ashes of Creation is striving for.
Player to Player Trading
Ashes of Creation will have direct player-to-player trading. While many people feel removing player trading helps reduce the number of bots in a game and the risk of gold buying/selling, and while this may be true, removing player to player trading also removes a large chunk of the player freedom. Ashes of Creation is based around player agency (freedom) and without the ability to freely trade between players a lot of the freedom is sacrificed. The stance Intrepid Studios is taking is they are responsible for actively policing the servers and the players should not be punished or have their freedoms reduced for the actions of a minority of players.
One concern players have in MMOs is finding trustworthy people who can do a specific craft, enchant, or provide some other specialized service. A flaw in most MMORPGs is in order to have a crafter produce an item, you have to first trade them the materials they need to do the work. Many times, players get scammed and they lose their materials, and then because of this; crafters end up having to provide collateral on par with the value of the items. The drawback to this is many new crafters simply do not have the resources to provide collateral. In short, scamming crafters create a situation where only the rich crafters will be able to do the work, because only the rich crafters have the collateral to guarantee the work.
Intrepid is introducing an Escrow System into Ashes of Creation which will prevent this sort of scamming. Players will be able to load the necessary crafting materials and a tip into a window, and the crafter at their stall or shop will accept or decline the work without ever having to have the materials in their possession.
Auction Houses are a common feature in MMORPGs. Players need a place where they can sell the goods they create or gather. Ashes of Creation will be providing an auction house system; however, it will not be like auction houses in other games.
First, while there are auction houses in the game, they are not global auction houses. The span of influence an Auction House has, depending on the Stage the Economic Node is at. Auction Houses are only created in Economic Nodes and they only include their vassal Nodes in their Auction Houses chain. A Stage 5 Economic Node will have more vassals than a Stage 4, so the 5 will have more Nodes linked together. A Stage 6 Economic Metropolis will have a Linked Economy where all the Nodes in the region are linked via a common Auction House, but even at this size only 20% of the world is under a single Auction House.
The second major difference between Ashes and other games is there is no automatic delivery of purchased items. If you purchase a sword down in Node 42, you still must travel to Node 42 to pick up that sword. If you use the auction house to buy all the iron ore on the market, you still need to travel to every Node and manually transport that iron ore to the Node you need it in.
Shops and Stalls
In addition to the Auction House system, there will be player owned Shops and Stalls.
Stalls will be available for rent by the citizens of the Node if the Mayor has built a Marketplace or a Market (Economic Node Unique Building). Stalls allow players to sell items or to provide services to other players such as crafting, repair, or enchanting. Players will not have to remain at the Stall to provide these services as there will be an NPC assigned to the Stall while the player is not present. Items for sale inside the stall are listed in the Auction House system.
Player Shops in contrast to stalls are only available to be placed in Economic Nodes near the Unique Market building or they can be placed on Freeholds. Items for sale at Shops are not listed in the Auction House and for the shop to function the player must be online, although we do not know if the player must be present at the shop.
How Gold is Generated
Unlike many MMORPGs where you can go out and grind on monsters for hours and end up with a pile of gold, in Ashes of Creation most of the monsters do not drop gold. Instead, they drop items that make sense for their monster type: fur, scales, horns, teeth, etc. There will be enemies that drop gold, but this will be restricted to the humanoid type enemies. Additionally, you should not expect to find armor and weapons dropping off common non-humanoid enemies. The Epic Monsters, Regional Bosses, and Legendary Bosses will drop both gear and gear components.
To make money farming mobs, a player will have to gather up all of the monster drops and take them to the local Hunter’s Lodges. Depending on the saturation of the goods in the local area, the lodge will adjust their price. Drops from further away geographically will be worth more than drops from the local area. This requirement to move around the world will create a lot of residual content for the player base as people will try to steal caravans in order to secure the contents back at the point of origin. More information on Caravans can be found on the Caravans Page.
The worst part of any MMORPG is inflation, and this is usually due to poor initial game design. Intrepid is focused on making sure there are appropriate and responsible gold sinks, material sinks, and other methods to ensure players do not wind up sitting on vast fortunes with nothing to spend it on. A couple of the ways that Intrepid combating inflation is through Item Destructibility and through Taxes.
Several items in Ashes of Creation can be destroyed, which leads to the player having a requirement to rebuild them. Caravans, Siege Weapons, Housing, and Weapons & Armor can all be destroyed and will require both gold and material contributions to restore.
Caravans: When a caravan is destroyed, some of the parts are salvageable; however, some will be destroyed permanently. When you lose your caravan, you might be able to recover 2 wheels and an axle, but you will be required to replace the other 2 wheels and the other axle. This material component requirement for replacement stops the economy from stagnating and stops inflation.
Siege Weapons: Siege weapons are crafted for each different siege, meaning during the weeks leading up to a siege there will be a ramp up in production of these specialized tools. Given the number of Nodes and Castles and the cycle on which they will be sieged, siege weapons will be a constant gold sink for both sides as they want to be properly prepared for their war.
Housing: When Freeholds are first constructed there is a gold and material sink attached to it. Given that In-Node houses spawn built, it may surprise some people when they find out that during a siege their In-Node house or Instanced Apartment can be damaged. Even if the siege is won by the defenders, the home owners may have to invest materials into both their own housing and the Node buildings to restore them to a functional state.
Weapons and Armor: The repair of weapons and armor in Ashes is not a simple matter of paying an NPC a few coins to repair the gear. Instead, players will have to gather both currency and materials to repair their gear. This decision helps keep the entire Artisan System involved in repair and maintenance of gear, not just crafters which will help keep the economy leveled.
Taxes are unavoidable, even in video games, and while players may not like taxes, they are a brilliant gold sink to help ensure the economy stays health. Players will have a tax burden on both their property and their transactions in each Node. Buying and selling items, providing services, and other transactions will be taxed. This tax money enters the Node system and is removed from the normal player economy. Inside the Node system none of the tax money can be removed, not even by the mayor. All that money must be dedicated to the development of the Node.
In addition to Node Taxes, a portion of the tax money goes to the Regional Monarch. The Regional Monarch does have the ability to remove some of the tax funds out of the system and use them as currency, either from themself, their guild, or for whatever they choose. We do not have a current percentage on how much they can remove.