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    Idea to fix the Geffenia problem


    erastudil
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    As the GM's are no doubt aware, people excessively grinding Geffenia (and similar maps that produce large amounts of drops with high NPC sell values) presents a problem for the long term health of the server's economy. The problem is that it allows players to rapidly increase the zeny supply of the server, since the NPC produces the zeny out of thin air, with no corresponding zeny sink. How do you create a zeny sink that is desirable enough to offset 4m+ zeny per hour per player without breaking the game? That's a tough problem, and that's why things are the way they are now. The GM's tried reducing the zeny output of the offending maps, only to cause outrage among the player base, so the changes were reverted, and the long term problem remains.

     

    If it's allowed to continue unabated, the result will be inflation that prices out new players from the gear market. People quit the server all the time for a huge variety of reasons, so for the server to stay healthy long term, new players need to keep coming in. If they get here to discover that they are so far behind established players that they can never hope to catch up, they will get discouraged and quit. However, the people who put in countless hours and millions of zeny to build their farming characters have valid concerns as well. The whole point of the game is to invest time and effort into becoming stronger, and those who have done so are justifiably upset when the fruits of their labor are diminished without compensation.

     

    The solution I propose is this: You know the problem maps, you know the problem items. Reduce the NPC sell price of these items to zero. Instead, create an NPC that allows you to trade these items for useful items that can be sold to other players for a similar amount of zeny. For this to work there needs to be organic demand for the items, and the items need to be consumable. Some examples might be condensed whites, elunium, gemstones, SQI ingredients, or stat foods. This way, the players who put in the time to build efficient farming characters can still earn high amounts of zeny per hour, but since the zeny will be coming from other players instead of NPC's, there will not be an inflationary effect. Increasing the supply of consumables will cause their market values to drop, but there should be a natural floor that greatly exceeds their NPC sell value, since there is organic demand for the consumables. After a few tries, the GM's should be able to tune the zeny/hour of these maps to a level that is satisfying to the players that farm them, while making consumables more affordable for newer players.

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    +1 And maybe include AD sets and FCP? And no to the sqi ingredients as I believe they should still be farmed. 

    The NPC can be like Putty (is that her name? I haven't really seen her yet /heh ). She trades cards for points, right? The items can be traded for certain points and the points can be used to buy the stuff. 

    However, there would be a need to come up with some sort of table regarding how much each item will be worth in points. As you said, they have to be worth around the same price as the items were before. Putty didn't have the same problem as the cards that are usually traded with her are useless. 

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    4m+ zenny per hour? Only thief classes can do that. Why?? Because of "steal". Their decision making the incu and succ boss protocol on the last patch is really a good idea. Geffenia will still be farmable but you get less. They did that to mavka map at a point you can farm there 4m+ but nerfed. But still people farm there

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    This will not work. People want to decide themselves what to spend their zeny on, a NPC like you suggest would have its limits of course. In the long run you simply have to add zeny sinks.

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    Ok then, let's talk about zeny sinks. For a zeny sink to counterbalance the effect of NPC zeny inflation, it needs to be extremely attractive. The current major zeny sink in place is SQI's. While they may appear to remove hundreds of millions of zeny from the economy, they actually have the opposite effect in the long run, because you only buy them once, but they increase your ability to farm zeny permanently.

    So for this hypothetical zeny sink you speak of to work, it has to be so attractive that people will sink more zeny into it than they currently sink into SQI's. Something more attractive than SQI's? What exactly would that be?

    You're right, people want to be able to choose what they spend their zeny on. The fact of the matter is that the vast majority of players will only invest millions of zeny into something if it increases their effectiveness in combat in some way. Just look at the things that players currently spend zeny on: gear and consumables.

    Yes, you could theoretically use cosmetics as a zeny sink, but there is a huge portion of the population that does not care about cosmetics enough to spend zeny that could go to increasing their combat efficiency. If Ragnarok Online has proven anything, its that people will literally wear a pile of poop on their head if the stats are good enough.

    So in my mind, the situation is this: gear won't work as a zeny sink, because it will just increase the rate of zeny generation in the long run. Cosmetics won't eat up enough zeny because there are too many other options that increase your combat effectiveness. That leaves consumables.

    Using consumables as a zeny sink is problematic as well. For the consumables to offset the amounts of zeny entering the economy through NPC's, they have to be useful in high-end PvM or WoE. Generally these types of consumables are purchased from other players currently. For them to work as a zeny sink, you would have to make them purchasable at an NPC. This would hurt the player economy and further incentivize NPC zeny farming as the most efficient playstyle. I think we can agree that it is in everyone's best interests if the most productive zeny making strategies hinged on selling items to players rather than NPC's.

    The problem is that there is too much zeny entering the economy through NPC's. There's no way around it. If you don't do something about it, you will end up with a situation like what happened in Diablo 2, where the in game currency became completely trivial because everyone was gold capped and players were forced to barter with items(SoJ's, runes) to maintain a functioning economy. Personally I thought the farming nerfs were a step in the right direction and shouldn't have been reverted, but that's just me. 

    At the same time, it is important to avoid invalidating farming characters that players have invested heavily in, because pissing off enough players is bad for the health of the server. I think my idea is a reasonable compromise. It incentivizes people to interact with the player economy more while not invalidating their farming spots/builds.

    If you actually take some time to think about it, it could potentially be used to add depth to the gameplay of the server. Instead of mindlessly selling to NPC's for a fixed price, zeny making ability would be dictated by market forces. If there were multiple options as far as what you could exchange your drops for, it would reward players with a keen sense of the market. You could implement floating exchange rates so that if people were turning in mass quantities of the same items, they would decrease in value, and increase in value if few are being turned in.

    You would also have a system in place to incentivize people to explore underused maps by adding new drops to the exchange system and tinkering with the exchange rates. It seems to me that the intent of the original farming nerfs was to push players out of the playstyle of mindlessly farming Geffenia and selling the drops to NPC's. This system could be used to broaden the pool of farming maps, and would encourage players to make their zeny by interacting with the player economy. As far as choosing what they spend their zeny on, they would still be buying the same things they are now: items that increase combat effectiveness.

    Real life proves that human economies work better when prices are allowed to float based on market forces. The ability to sell unlimited items to NPC's for high fixed prices is what's broken here. Zeny sinks have limitations to what they can reasonably accomplish without hurting the player economy and making NPC zeny grinding even more mandatory. The only zeny sink that will permanently address the inflation problem is an income tax, which is no fun for anyone.

    My idea rewards farming items to sell to players, which is the way it should be. It also puts a system in place to make underused maps more attractive to players No, it will not be easy to implement. It will take multiple attempts to figure out the best way to handle the exchange rates. But it will be worth it in the long run.

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    No offense, but our economy has been stable for the past nine years. What makes you think that it will collapse in the near future?

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    9 hours ago, GM Boreas said:

    This will not work. People want to decide themselves what to spend their zeny on, a NPC like you suggest would have its limits of course. In the long run you simply have to add zeny sinks.

    But we both know this isn't possible by itself, either. If you implement zeny sinks that can offset 5+ million per hour per player, you're looking at them being either completely cosmetic. If cosmetic, it will eventually dilute the costume pool / run the GMs out of ideas (the last game I worked on had this issue -- they kept adding more hats, which were originally awesome with about 20, and got lame with over 2,000). If relevant, new players are locked out of progression until they give in to the Geffenia grind themselves, which many won't before they quit.

    Zeny sinks can work -- but they are only a half-solution. The other half would be to give new players more chances to make money that don't inflate which can arguably out-pace Geffenia. Farming Dragon Vests in Dracos is a great example of this; a new player playing a lv90+ Hunter solo can make over 3m/hour in Dracos just by using a Rental Ballista and Fire Arrows with pantie/undershirt combo.

    Hodremlin is another good example. A new player can farm Hodremlin Cards for roughly 2m/hour using the same.

    More NPCs that drop desirable cards and gear help the economy -- especially gear, which is in constant demand due to the way it can be broken -- without inflating it. It gives new players opportunities to catch up, old players alternatives to Geffenia, and can keep the game in balance long-term with very minimal power growth.

    For example, if you introduced a new piece of armor that were even 1% better than, say, the VERY (imo) overrated Proxy Skin, players would pay top-dollar for it. Make it a 0.03% drop off of a farmable monster and it will permanently have a place being farmed, since new ones will enter the economy and get broken daily. Give it a bonus that scales based on its refine rate to ensure this further. The rich will disproportionately spend to get a +9 or higher. The poor will still pay the requisite fee just to get the +4 variant. The middle class will aim for +7. That's the beauty of it.

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    5 minutes ago, GM Boreas said:

    No offense, but our economy has been stable for the past nine years. What makes you think that it will collapse in the near future?

     

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    So something I have been playing with for a while is the idea of removing rare loots from these farming places. Take the Incubus monster for instance. It drops Ring[1], which is an SQI ingredient and is supposed to be quite rare. With the amount of Geffenia farming, this item has become so overfarmed that it's lost a lot of its value.

    What if we were to simply remove all of the rare loots and turn these maps into pure zeny grinding maps which they basically already are. The people who grind these maps will keep their zeny influx but we'll take out the rare loots. Instead, we add these rare items to other monsters, creating new locations to farm for other players.

    The same thing can be said for usable items. What if we were to replace items such as Mastela Fruit, Blue Herbs and White Herbs by items that have no use but have the same zeny value. Geffenia (and other maps) grinders will keep the exact same zeny influx, but they do not saturate the market with the items they farm. And again, we can add these Mastela Fruits, Blue Herbs and White Herbs to other monsters on other maps.

    This way the grinders will keep what they have right now and we create new areas to farm at the same time.

     

    Thoughts?

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    Seiren - I appreciate the thoughtful response as opposed to a two-line dismissal. I was trying to start a conversation but was having some difficulty. Perhaps by engaging in a discussion, we can come up with better ideas.

    I like the idea of removing rare drops from pure zeny maps and moving them to other maps. To get people out of Geffenia you're going to have to make it possible to earn similar rates of income somewhere else, and that's a start. I also agree with replacing consumable drops on these maps to protect the value of items that shouldn't be completely flooding the market. 

    I personally think you should have given the farming nerfs more time, to see how players adapted. The loud voices on the forums do not represent everyone. Had I not been on a break while the whole nerf fiasco went down, I would have argued passionately in your defense. 

    I still think there is too much zeny entering the economy through npc's, and that steering players towards selling to other players benefits everyone in the long run. I feel like to earn top rates of income you should have to compete in the marketplace.

    My fundamental problem is this: anything remotely worthwhile for high level content costs tens of millions of zeny. Full end game builds can cost over a billion. And you wonder why people grind Geffenia so much?

    There is a break point in gear progression where the cost of an upgrade jumps dramatically, around the point at which you start looking at things like Kahos, MVP cards and Celebs. This jump is exacerbated by large amounts of zeny entering the economy through NPC's, supporting the high prices. At this point, grinding raw zeny completely trumps all other options for gear progression, since you do not yet have the gear to efficiently farm the items that sell for millions. I fundamentally have no problem with grinding zeny, as long as the most efficient methods require selling to players instead of NPC's.

    In my opinion, ~2m/hour is reasonable for pure zeny maps, but to make more, you should have to sell to players. I think that pure NPC zeny maps should exist as a fallback but they should absolutely never be the most efficient way to make zeny. As it stands now, that's exactly what they are for a huge number of players.

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    1 hour ago, erastudil said:

    I appreciate the thoughtful response as opposed to a two-line dismissal.

    Let me quickly address this. I can type out a whole essay of 500 words as to why this idea is simply not good, but the border line would be pretty much the same as I said above: nobody on this planet will accept a system in which you grind items, which you trade in at a NPC. If my boss asked me to work for coins which I can use at a vending machine to get my goods then I would gladly tell him to fuck off. Why you may ask? Simply because I want to decide myself what I spend the coins on. Of course if such a system was forced on me I would have no choice but to accept the coins, but it would leave a bitter taste in my mouth. Now this game is not a job and nothing you are forced to do, it's meant for your entertainment.

    1 hour ago, erastudil said:

    I personally think you should have given the farming nerfs more time, to see how players adapted. The loud voices on the forums do not represent everyone.

    This is certainly true for maps like Geffenia, but not for Sleepers. The problem is that if you make it harder for new players to farm gears then they will simply move on to a different server or game. Our goal is to maintain a stable server for as long as possible and for that we need a constant influx of new gamers. On top of that, farming map changes should always include alternative ways of acquiring zeny and the Meiadrir lacked that, hence the reversion of said farming map change. There is nothing wrong with that.

    1 hour ago, erastudil said:

    My fundamental problem is this: anything remotely worthwhile for high level content costs tens of millions of zeny. Full end game builds can cost over a billion. And you wonder why people grind Geffenia so much?

    If this was not the case then people would instantly hit level 99 and go MVP fighting after one day of grinding. We aare a low rate server, not a high rate one. Of course it takes time to grind for your gears, that's the whole point of a low rate server in the first place. If you don't want to "waste" your time on grinding then you should join a mid or high rate server instead. I agree that there should be different ways of farming for your gears. but if zeny grinding is what some people prefer then I don't see a reason to stop them. Adjustments to Geffenia should be made and Seiren had a good idea for that.

    1 hour ago, erastudil said:

    There is a break point in gear progression where the cost of an upgrade jumps dramatically, around the point at which you start looking at things like Kahos, MVP cards and Celebs. This jump is exacerbated by large amounts of zeny entering the economy through NPC's, supporting the high prices.

    The price of a TC has been pretty constant for the past nine years. MVP cards and Kahos can be bought from the Reward Guru, as such their prices are pretty steady. I also think that the price for a SQI has been more or less the same for the past years, give or take 10m zeny maybe. I personally do not see our economy collapsing next week, nor in a year. Geffenia has been farmed for years and basically nothing has changed. I think it's a bit too dramatic to proclaim the crash of our economy

    2 hours ago, erastudil said:

    In my opinion, ~2m/hour is reasonable for pure zeny maps, but to make more, you should have to sell to players. I think that pure NPC zeny maps should exist as a fallback but they should absolutely never be the most efficient way to make zeny. As it stands now, that's exactly what they are for a huge number of players.

    In your opinion. There are MMOs in which you do grind for your gears, such as Ragnarok Online or Metin, and others in which you farm instances, like in World of Warcraft. Ragnarok Online is a Korean game, people expect a certain level of grinding. We have tried to change that but the overall feedback is that people simply expect to kill a bunch of monsters in order to farm zeny. 

     

    2 hours ago, erastudil said:

    I still think there is too much zeny entering the economy through npc's, and that steering players towards selling to other players benefits everyone in the long run. I feel like to earn top rates of income you should have to compete in the marketplace.

    Same as above. If grinding is not to your liking then you should not play a grinding game like Ragnarok Online.

     

    4 hours ago, Values said:

    Zeny sinks can work -- but they are only a half-solution. The other half would be to give new players more chances to make money that don't inflate which can arguably out-pace Geffenia.

    Such ways exist, people simply go by what the guides tell them on the forum.

    @erastudil You still owe me an answer to my question. The economy has been stable for the past nine years, where do you see drastic changes?

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    Clearly, you're not actually worried about people getting to max level in a day and being instantly decked out in high end gear. You can do that already, it just costs USD. Let's be honest here. Anyone with enough dough can walk in here on a fresh account, buy a grip of talon coins, flip them into zeny and purchase anything in the game, bar SQI upgrades. Heck, you can probably buy those indirectly if you know the right people. I just remember a time before talon coins when a $20 mvp card went for like 8 mil, when the same exact card, same exact functionality, goes for 20 mil now. That's the change I saw. Zeny is significantly weaker against the dollar that it was back then. The value of the dollar certainly hasn't increased 150% since then, so something has made zeny less valuable.

    There are two ways to make zeny: NPC strategies and player economy strategies. If NPC strategies can match the average rate of player economy strategies, they will become dominant because of their consistency and smoothness, since they do not rely on low percentage drops or being able to find liquidity when it is needed. When NPC strategies are dominant, there is always one best map for farming, since the NPC economy is fixed. There is exactly one combination of spawn rates, drop rates and sell prices that produces the highest amount of zeny per hour, and it doesn't change. It creates an economic metagame that is excessively centered around a very few tier 1 farming maps to the exclusion of the majority of the game. Thus, the Geffenia problem. Witness it for yourself.

    If player economy strategies are superior, there is a natural corrective mechanism that prevents any one map from becoming dominant. If a certain map is overfarmed, the value of it's drops will decrease until it becomes less profitable than the alternatives. This will cause players to rotate their farming practices dynamically in accordance with supply and demand. I think that replacing the most effective NPC strategies with equally effective player economy strategies will create a more diverse and interesting economic metagame that utilizes more of the game's content. Players will not give a damn where their zeny comes from as long as they can hit their rate consistently and their past investments aren't invalidated. 

    Upon further thought, I think Seiren is right that the simplest way to fix the problem is changing what monsters drop. I would probably take it in a different direction than you guys seem to want, but whatever. I don't actually play enough for it to be important to me. I come back every once in a while because Ragnarok is a game that is broken in fun ways, and the fact that I can effectively buy whatever gear I want with my Visa makes this a good place for a quick jaunt. No grinding necessary ;)

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    @erastudil I hope you don't mind that I will not type an essay now, but it's 4am and I just want to ask you two questions.

    1) When did $20 mvp cards sell for 8m on TalonRO and what do you mean with "a time before talon coins"?

    2) The economy has been stable for the past nine years, where do you see drastic changes?

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    No further essays required, I've had my fun.

    1. If you've been around as long as I have, you know what I meant.

    2. Arguing with an engineer is like mud wrestling with a pig. After a few hours, you realize the pig enjoys it.

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    Boreas'  questions were still not answered though. Both of us have been around since long before TalonRO was founded. The only time MVP cards were 8m was way back on aRO (they were 30$ even back then), which was caused by major fraud on sponsor offers. On TalonRO they were never ever that low though.

    As for the economy, what I rather see is that most items have become cheaper in fact. End-game items such as MVP gears and such are mostly connected to the TC price, which has stayed stable for many, many years. MVP cards, Kahos and even SQIs have all been lowered in price several times through the years, so they are rather cheaper now than they were say...5 years ago. Regular items in fact have dropped in price a -lot-. There's basically no better time for a newbie to join than today :/

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    6 hours ago, erastudil said:

    1. If you've been around as long as I have, you know what I meant.

    I have been around since day one and your statement makes no sense. The price of a Doppelganger card back in 2010 was 24m zeny for example, this week one was vended for 23m zeny. Never has this card been vended for 8m and the same goes for the other mvp cards. Now you may argue that "before 2010 they were sold for 8m", but that's not the case either, as Seiren just stated.

     

    6 hours ago, erastudil said:

    2. Arguing with an engineer is like mud wrestling with a pig. After a few hours, you realize the pig enjoys it.

    You have posted numerous essays and yet never addressed or answered my question. You sir are not an engineer.

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    How about decarding? Make it a zenny sink. A quick quest plus zennies to decard an armor or weapon?

    Yes to remove the ring[1] to drop and put it to other mob/map. 

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    Quote

    As the GM's are no doubt aware, people excessively grinding Geffenia (and similar maps that produce large amounts of drops with high NPC sell values) presents a problem for the long term health of the server's economy.

     

    Zeny farming has already been nerfed over the last 2-3 years.  The economy hasn't really changed much since then.  If anything, prices have actually gone up, since zeny accumulation went down.  

    Edited by Kyokuji

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    On 14. 7. 2016 at 4:05 AM, erastudil said:

    I just remember a time before talon coins when a $20 mvp card went for like 8 mil, when the same exact card, same exact functionality, goes for 20 mil now. That's the change I saw. Zeny is significantly weaker against the dollar that it was back then. The value of the dollar certainly hasn't increased 150% since then, so something has made zeny less valuable.

    I just remember getting my HoB for around 40M few years ago - because that has been the usual price.. now it goes for 19M.. how does this fit into your scenario? you cant just take 1 item and set everything according to it..

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    The arguments presented by erastudil are rhetoric heavily leaning to the point of stupidity and laziness. His statemets clearly indicate that grinding is not in his book, if he ever opens one. I've been here since 2013, laid off for a year, came back last year and i still got my sinx gears for the same price as they were sold 5 years ago. 

    • Swt 1

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    Um guys... why revive this 1.5 year old thread? There's no other comment since July 22, 2016 plus it's already been declined.

    • Fsh 1
    • Sob 1

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    On 1/28/2018 at 8:45 PM, -Sugar- said:

    Um guys... why revive this 1.5 year old thread? There's no other comment since July 22, 2016 plus it's already been declined.

    Maybe just lock this?

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