Here’s another thing that I didn’t like about Pirates of the Burning Sea; the gold factor. At about level 7 my fresh faced nooby trader had about 14,000 gold, or florins, or whatever the hell they’re called. Now this is some serious cash. Add to that the fact that I never had to spend money repairing my ship, (it just magically “got better” after every fight), and I had nothing to spend my money on, and I quickly got to the point where i didn’t even look at how much moeny I had. I didn’t need to eat, I didn’t need to drink, I didn’t need to go out and bonk comely wenches, although I would have liked that option. I didn’t need to buy ammo because I could loot it so often from my vanquished opponents. I suppose that I could have spent my mass of gold on buying a new ship, or getting upgrades, or painting my ship purple, but the simple fact of the matter is that I didn’t need to.
I was a Freetrader, so pretty early on I got myself a logging operation that churned out cut timber at a nice rate. I could have put this up on the auction house, or carried it from one port to the other and made a nice profit. But the fact is that once again I didn’t need to. I already had far more gold than I knew what to do with, and because I didn’t need to use that logging mill it soon fell into disrepair, leaving many workers out of a job, unable to feed their families, and ultimately turning to a life of crime stealing things from other people who had more things.
I don’t care how good the economy is in PoTBS, if you don’t need to use it to survive then it’s all just pretty padding. You’ll get the fanatic players who will use it to an absurd degree, but to the rest of us it’s just not really interesting, because as a player I have no vested interest in it. WoW was a different story than this some years ago when I began playing. I still remember the day when I finally cracked a grand total of one gold piece on my toon. It was a momentous occasion. I often didn’t have enough gold to pay for essential class training. True, I wasn’t using the Auction House, but even when I did begin using it I wasn’t making huge sums of money. A beginning player in WoW today only has to go out and get some herbs or copper ore, throw it on the AH, and they have enough gold to pay for god knows how much training. The economy may have suffered high inflation, but the training prices have not.
If we are playing in virtual worlds then the best way for such a world to reflect reality is to have an economy that forces you to get involved with it just to survive. This may not sound like fun, but surprisingly it is, and it keeps you engaged with the game as well. I’m not talking about going to extremes here; we don’t all want to have to live in a shoe box on the side of the road eating cold gravel for breakfast. But game designers would do well to understand the fact that throwing heaps of gold at players induces boredom more quickly than waiting for this blogger to respond to comments.