Welcome to Jester's Trek.
I'm your host, Jester. I've been an EVE Online player for about six years. One of my four mains is Ripard Teg, pictured at left. Sadly, I've succumbed to "bittervet" disease, but I'm wandering the New Eden landscape (and from time to time, the MMO landscape) in search of a cure.
You can follow along, if you want...

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Possession is 9/10ths of your soul

I'm pretty sure I first encountered the expression "soulbound" in RIFT.  I had no idea what it meant.  The game sure wasn't interested in telling me what it meant, either.  Instead it just warned me that if I picked that item up, it would be soulbound.  It sounded slightly scary to me at the time, if I recall correctly.  ;-)  Later, I started encountering "bound" items in Global Agenda and in due course I discovered what the expression means.

And it's dumb.  Dumb dumb dumb.  Dumb as a box of rocks.

I don't praise EVE enough -- mostly I assume you guys are smart enough to figure out that if I'm not blasting something, I must like it at least a little -- but this is some of the true genius in EVE's game design.  There's not really any such thing as possession in EVE.  If any of us saw the dialog box to the left, we'd laugh.  It makes me smile just looking at it because this concept is so foreign to the EVE universe.

There's three things going on here.  First, it takes a really smart game to let you do really stupid things.  Want to fit meta 1 guns to a Vindicator?  Go for it.  Officer rocket launchers on your Kestrel?  By all means.  Get into a cap fight in a Chimera with Carrier II skill?  You bet.  Hull tank a Tengu?  Fine by me.  Select all the mods in your hangar and click "Fit to Active Ship"?  You can do that.  Fit the Powergrid Subroutine Maximizer rig to a ship for any reason whatsoever?  Absolutely.

Something I'm running into in GW2 that I find amusing is that it's trying to have a vibrant economy with a player-driven marketplace, but as long as the game insists on having soulbound items and leveled items, it's never going to get there.  Oh sure, there's stuff for sale there, even useful stuff.  It's mostly good for filling in your gear pieces with sorta-OK items because the game insists on randomly giving you fourteen items of one type and zero of the one you need.  But the good stuff is invariably level-limited, soulbound or both, which means at the end of the day you're probably not going to find something on the market that's better than the random drops.

Only if a character picks up a good item and resolves not to use it and puts it on the market immediately will you get a crack at it... and even then you'll only be able to use it if your level stacks up.

This is another genius of EVE, copied straight from the real world: we're all using the same gear.  It's just that some characters are better at it than others.  GW2 really really really should have gone with this sort of model.  Let us all use the same great swords and axes and rifles, with some models having advantages in one direction and some having advantages in the other.  And then set the damage and the scale of those advantages to character level.  A master swordsman can take the very same wooden practice sword a novice uses... but is much more effective with it.

And conversely, if the novice picks up a pair of nunchakus or a scimitar while untrained (insufficient level), dumb (and fun) things happen.  Level 1 novice picks up a level 1 sword, fine.  1-10 points of damage plus other bonuses.  Level 1 novice picks up a level 40 scimitar, not so good.  1-3 points of damage.  Make it clear (with bright red text or something) that the novice is being badly penalized for reaching beyond their training.  But if they insist on flying a hull-tanked Tengu or a Vindicator with meta 1 guns, let them.  And if they want to spend every piece of silver they have to buy it, let them do that too.

It's one of those few places where GW2 made a dumb design choice.  EVE made the smart one.

The second and related place is this whole "soulbound" business, though.  There really should be no room in a game with an open marketplace for soulbound items.  Let players buy and sell what they want.  If you want to make a few (and I do mean a few) items lock to characters because they were won in particularly nasty PvE challenges, PvP tournaments, or whatever, fine.  But as this percentage of items gets over a few percent of your total items, you're just limiting your in-game marketplace and limiting by two or three the number of careers that players can have in your game.  Let there be a guy out there buying and selling vast quantities of high-end items and making a profit.  Let him stand in front of the Trading Post agent all day and all night if he wants to.  If he's creating content for your players, why not?

I can't tell you how pleased I was when I realized that most NPC merchants in GW2 sell run-of-the-mill crap and you have to go to the Trading Post to get the good stuff from other players.  And I can't tell you how disappointed I was when I realized that only a small fraction of items in the game are actually available there, and only a small fraction of those are actually useful things a player might buy.  This is a place where the game can definitely stand to grow and develop in the future if the developers choose it.

Third item?  Upgrades.  Another very smart bit of game design in EVE is that ships are infinitely customizable, all of the customization can be removed, and only a small fraction of that customization is destroyed when doing so.  When you realize hull-tanking your Tengu or fitting meta 1 guns to your Vindicator is a daft idea, you can strip the ship to bare metal and try again.

GW2 has upgrades too, but once you fit them, as far as I can tell all but the richest characters are locked into them.  This is also as dumb as a box of rocks.  I can't even express how dumb this is.  Granted, we're dealing with "magic" here, but removing a gemstone from the hilt of a sword is a trivial exercise.  Military officers in the late Renaissance and early modern age would be asked to surrender their swords as a token of the surrender of their command.  But more often than not, the victor had a somewhat baser purpose in mind: it was a simple matter to pry the gold filigree, gems, and seed pearls off a vanquished gentleman's sword if you had it in hand...

In a similar way, if you find an upgrade superior to the one fitted to a particular piece of equipment, you should be able to pop off the old upgrade and put in the new.  This has the bonus of giving novice crafters in the game a ready-made stock of low-level upgrade items to work their craft with as they reach the mid-level ones.  Again, there might be a simple way to remove these upgrades that I'm just missing and it's a relatively minor issue compared to the other two.

Sometimes you play a game and you don't appreciate the good, correct choices the game developer made early in the process until you're presented with the alternative choices they could have made.  Let's all sit down and offer a brief note of thanks that our EVE strategic cruisers aren't soulbound, shall we?

45 comments:

  1. Well, you cannot look at the "soul bound" feature and call it dumb without looking at the ecosystem in which it came about.

    You start with a system where equipment never breaks, gets destroyed, or otherwise goes missing. There is nothing to take gear out of the system the way EVE does with exploding ships.

    Then you have the fact that much of a game with soul bound equipment... pick your example... makes you go and kill things to acquire gear. Drops are your supply chain. The best items are generally only from such actions. In EVE, most gear is player made, though the best items are drops still. But most people fit out their ship in EVE from the marketplace, not from drops.

    And then there are trade skills. Your Rift, WoW, whatever, they have player made items that are decent but not epic. But they want players to have a chance to sell some of their crafted items. But if all their stuff could be resold again by the original buyer, the market would soon be flooded. (Or more flooded.)

    EVE is brilliant in many way. One of the great aspects of the game, the very heart of it, is the marketplace in which ALL players really must participate. And then there is destruction, which is the true engine that drives the market.

    Without destruction of equipment, you have to have things like soul bound equipment to keep your market from being more than a bad joke.

    Now, about making an EVE-like fantasy MMORPG...

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    1. there's another reason that things are soulbound. Hackers. If your accout is hacked, soulbound items can't be sold or traded. Short of destroying the account, those items will still be there should your account need to be recovered.

      All games make choices about their mechanics. All games have good and bad mechanics. Some are driven by choice and some are driven by external factors like hardware limits, privacy issues, laws, and crime (hacking).

      GW2 has chosen to use the quite standard soullbinding. I also find it annoying but understand the decision, mostly due to having been hacked in a cople of games including GW1 and EVE. EVE has had a terrible time in dealing with hacking and I would have to say their response has been not so good. I don't think soulbinding is a good answer, nor is account binding, but it at least limits potential damage.

      As for level requirements to use items, EVE actually does have those too. They're just set up differently. 1 week old players do not fly titans (which are, by the way, a bad design choice). Skill level is the same as character level. EVE is actually very similar to other gaes in this aspect, as well as others. EVE has healers (logis), rogues (cloaks), tanks, rangers (snipers and drone pets) and so on. EVE has quest givers (agents) and quests (missions) along with NPC farming and material farming for crafting. Other than feedom of movement and some more player choices, it's very much like other games. Basically, EVE just lets players build their own forts.

      on crafting, I have to agree that without being able to make items that are worth the effort there is little reason to take part in it. I liked the industry/market in EVE. I found it ironic that EVE players tend to look at enjoying those aspects of the game as bad for the game. I could find no reason to craft in WoW since I could find better stuff than I could make. GW2 met this crafting issue part way with the Mystic Forge. there's plenty of metagame involved in recipies, and this is no exception. Check it out.

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  2. Gw2 could somewhat alleviate the problem by making it full loot pvp so that people are happy using cheaper crafted items that are easy to replace.

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  3. I'd say the difference in all points is destruction. I don't play GW2 but how would those high end items ever leave the economy? In EVE items are permanently removed from the economy in large numbers in death. With GW2 high end loot drops spawning from thin air (only lower end does that in eve), without a sink for those items wouldn't that create massive deflation and create power creep as what should be rare and a goal for most increases in availability.

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  4. Welcome the theme park. They all have soulbound items. Because carebears don't like losing stuff.

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    1. Well, you're full of shit on that. Soul bound has zero to do with losing anything, and in fact, there were a number of mmo's out there that not only made you drop items in your corpse on death, but also cash and XP. If you didn't retrieve your corpse, couldn't find it or get to it, you were SOL. Soul bound items are to lock an item to a single character. You can't pass it around, and that means that it is destroyed or sold (selling them destroys the item) to an npc. Not very good at thinking when your eyes roll back in your head during your rants, eh?

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    2. Did Ultima (it dropped player loot upon kill, didn't it) also have soulbound items? I honestly don't know - never played it.

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    3. I didn't play UO much, so I can't comment on that.

      Asherons Call had soulbound, non lootable items. It was a bad idea back then as well, and whether players agreed on it or not, it took some of the "sting" out of the PVP. These items weren't "best in slot" stuff, but most people used them since when you got them, you didn't need to stockpile armor. Asherons Call was a great game with exciting PVP due to the lootdrop system. It wasn't perfect by any stretch, but one could compare it to Eve, and it's certainly a long way from the carebear MMO's of today.

      Asherons Call had 7-8 servers (can't quite remember) and peaked around 200.000 users. 6-7 of these servers were carebear servers, where you could "go red", meaning do a quest and flag yourself for PVP, or you could just PVE safely anywhere if you wanted to.

      On the PVP server "Darktide", you were permanently flagged for PVP all the time, everywhere. Even in the newbie starting areas. There was no "Hi-sec", and just making it out of the Newbie areas could take hours and hours because they were camped all the time by players killing anyone and everyone. It was awesome. Once you made it out of the Newbie areas you could start gearing up and look for people to team up with.

      The loot system was pretty simple. When someone killed you they could loot your most valuable items (by ingame currency). The number of items you dropped was based on your level. A level 20 character would drop maybe 2-3 items, while a level 100+ character could drop 10-14 items (again, I don't remember exact numbers). We called these items "Death-Items", and you can compare them to the Eve Online clone-system. If you don't update your clone, you start losing the stuff thats worth the most, your skillpoints. Same thing with Asherons Call, if you were out of "Death-Items" you started dropping the really valuable stuff. And if you were ganked enough times, all you'd have left was your loincloth. Literally.

      The game-world became segmented with different Guilds controlling different areas, and dungeons. Similar to Eve Onlines Nullsec areas, and often times Guilds would raid other Guilds areas for Death-Items etc. If they gained control over your Lifestone (the place you respawned), you could be in some real trouble.

      The game had it's technical problems (many players on screen etc) but the PVP was absolutely nerve-wracking. Stuff like that doesn't exist in any other game than Eve Online today. And that's the saddest thing about the whole gamingindustry.

      Imagine a World of Warcraft with full corpseloot. Imagine all the tears, the drama, bloody fantastic.

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  5. It's odd to see someone with no previous knowledge of world of warcraft. I realized that EVE had some great systems when I transfered from wow. I appreciate all those small hardship that are no longer present in the other mmos. Traveling is oddly one of my favorites.

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    1. Ah! But traveling without portals or teleports in WoW is so much different than in Eve. In WoW you get on your bird, horse or trusty leather boots and get from A to B. Almost no danger whatsoever, except for a random wandering mob. After a certain level these wandering "dangers" start to be trivial and even ignore the high level characters.

      But in Eve traveling is always so uncertain, danger lurking in every gate. Are there neutrals/pirates/gankers/campers on the other side? Only one way to find out.

      Yes it can be mind-numbingly dull, sometimes traveling from gate to gate and nothing happens. In nullsec you can travel vast swaths of space and see no one, or just blues. But the uncertainty if every jump, the very real and latent possibility of an ambush or chance encounter makes it exciting.

      And even if nothing happens, there's always the pretty visuals.

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  6. Pretty much reason is that everything in EVE can be destroyed. Nothing in GW2 is removed if it is not salvaged. Soulbinding is mechanic to remove eq from game.
    Most players would rage if you'd lose all armor and weapons when dying. Though that would give lil more to WvW.

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    1. Have you actually played WvWvW? If you had, You'd know zergling rushes are the name of the game currently and it's nearly impossible to even get people to play if you're not trouncing. Giving them disincentives is the worst idea yet. :/

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  7. Why ever soulbind consumables like harvesting tools?
    Soulbound, not account bound, so I can't give them to a lower level alt still harvesting with that level tool.

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  8. Hate to break it to you, but you are going to play GW2 until you re-realize why you love Eve... Then you will never play it again.

    See you in a few weeks.

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    1. I haven't stopped playing EVE, mate. Anything in "Current MMOs" at the upper right, I'm playing. Higher on the list it is, the more I'm playing it.

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    2. But as predicted, playing GW2 will make you appreciate EVE more. Themeparks in general are so flawed in terms of MMO design it's scary, but the average themeparker never notices or cares because they only stick around for a month or two.

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  9. The point to "soulbound" items ( at least in WoW ) is to take money and gear out of the game.

    Once you buy an item and equip it, it is out of the economy. When it becomes obsolete, you can sell it at a steep discount to an NPC vendor, or, if you have the skill, shard it and use a small part of it for materials, but it is out of the economy.

    Diablo III did not have soulbound items, and suffered for it, as epic gear became a glut on the auction house, and players could just buy new gear every five levels for pennies.

    EvE Online takes even more stuff out of the in game economy by allowing hostile players to asplode stuff. I could just imagine the howling if all WoW realms became PvP, 60 of all gear was destroyed when a player died, and the remaining 40% could be looted by any passerby ...

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  10. Poetic: "soulbound" means the person who bought and equiped an item for use in game can't sell it to another player. It is completely out of the player economy.

    It doesn't have anything to do with looting dead players, a practice that is not allowed in carebear games like WoW.

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  11. I don't like the soulbound stuff but in a game where your stuff is not lost even if you die there would be now demand (or a very small demand) and supply would be too high.

    If the noob in eve makes a mistake in fitting his ship for mission and gets killed, most of his stuff is destroyed (depending on loot fairy) and he has to buy new stuff. New ship, new guns, etc.

    If the average GW player (haven't played GW2 by now) dies, he shrugs with his shoulders, walk back to his corps and try it again. In WoW there was a repair fee as the items got damaged. I be damned remembering back and cursing about high rep costs if raids failed over and over again. Well as hunter i haven't had too much deaths...

    Interesting how mentality changes over time and with the games you play.

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  12. As others have pointed out, Jester, you got this one ass-backwards.

    Soulbound items are the only thing giving the economy any chance of surviving at all in a game where items are never lost on player death.

    If you want to see what happens without soulbound items, just take a look at the D3 auction house. Most of the time you are just better off vendoring items to NPCs instead of going through the hassle of dealing with the AH for maybe a few coin more profit.

    Your gem example is also a downfall of D3. Being able to remove gems from socketed items at will has made it so a player never need buy more than a single set of gems for their entire career, causing gem prices to plummet below the point of profitability. In most cases they sell for less than it costs to produce them, which is not helped any by the fact that lower tier gems drop seemingly from every other npc kill.

    Yes, maybe it would be "better" if items weren't soul bound, all items were player made, and there was a chance of losing items as a death penalty or to looters when you died. But then you would have to change the Fantasy MMORPG endgame carrot from the industry standard "grind dungeon X for y hours to gear up for dungeon z, repeat". No player would want to waste hundreds of hours farming dungeons only to turn around and lose it all in a 30s PvP skirmish. "End game" would need to be changed to something more closely resembling EVE SOV/facrtion warfare, so that the power creep inherent in fantasy MMOs was no longer necessary for advancement. But then, really all you've done is reskin EVE.

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    1. Yeah, it's an interesting point, but on gems keep in mind that you get escalating better ones over the course of the game (making early ones useless). In the case of items, I think it's equally easily solved: have the items break over time the same way items IRL do.

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    2. This idea. I was trying to figure out how the item permanence dilemna could be solved in fantasy mmo. The best I could come up with would be something like your idea here. In eve it makes sense that items are destroyed when a ship explodes, but in a fantasy mmo it wouldn't make sense that items were destroyed when a character is killed.

      I too yearn for a good eve/style fantasy mmo. I'd love to know your thoughts on what a good system for drop on death/item permanence would be.

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  13. Oh god, don't give CCP ideas

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  14. Implants and rigs are pretty much soulbound.

    Imagine how cheap implants or rigs would be if you could take them out and sell them again.

    See why things are souldbouned.

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    1. People sell rigged ships all the time.

      Implants are less clear, but I suspect pod kills take more implants out of the economy than deliberate removals do.

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    2. You can sell items that become soul bound in wow as well. That doesn't matter. But once they are in, they can't be taken out and sold again. that is soul bound, which rigs are.

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    3. I dunno ... if you could use the implants off of a frozen corps for rigs, it could provide an interesting new harvest ...

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  15. The reason for the soulbinding of items is because nothing gets destroyed when you die. as stated above by many comments, not having some kind of item sink would break the economy.

    IMO this model is responsible for the differences in attitude that you mentioned in your post 'all for one'.

    In eve if you saw someone 'down' and decided to help them, they could turn around and shoot you. Then you loose your ship and many hours of hard work.
    In guild wars 2, you help them up, (and assuming they can) they might decide to kill you. But they get nothing out of it, (no loot) and you don't loose any items or gear, you just re-spawn and go about your way. there's no risk in helping someone as there is in eve. and i believe THAT is why people are more willing to work together in fantasy mmo's like GW2.

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  16. There are thousands of player crafted items and special items in the market in GW2 to upgrade your items with and you don't need to be rich to do it either.

    Frequent replacement is the destruction model. So are soul bound items when they are replaced.

    Upgrades are easily replaced, removed and installed in GW2. Again, they're dirt cheap too. If you can't be bothered to figure that out, that's your failing, not the game's.

    It isn't Eve. Was never meant to be. It's also a far cry from the current WOW, but then back in the beginning, WOW was considerably harder, like most of those mmo's.

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  17. The other side of soulbound is it impedes progression of instances. The high end instances have a gear rating of a sort. You can run it in stuff you've gotten off world mobs, but to really have a chance you have to run lower end instances ad nauseum until everyone is geared up enough to go to the next one, then you run it until your gear rating is high enough for the next one. It makes people run the same content over and over again instead of running it once, winning, and then having nothing to do.

    Themepark rides cost so much they can't make an endless amount of them to keep people interested, so they need mechanics that feed them back into the same ride over and over again. Soulbound does that.

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  18. Reminds me of DAoC. There,every item had two stats : wearing and durability (not sure of the exact words, I was playing with a french client, so please forgive me for any bad translation)

    The more the item was worn out, the less efficient it became.
    When slashing with an item, let's say your trustworthy 2-handed sword for example, it got slowly worn out. The interesting point is, the higher the item's level compared to your own level, its state degraded way faster - and you got a penalty on the weapon's stat. And if your character was way above the item's level, it degraded really slowly.
    So, there was absolutely no point in using a high level item with a lowbie character, except for the occasional showing off.

    Moreover, every item's second stat was durability. Durability was a measure of how many times you could have your item repaired. That was great work for the PC crafters, who could give your item a second (or third, or fourth...) youth, until all the durability points were expended. At that time, the item was beyond fixing ("Hey Sol, what do you mean "beyond fixing?") and you just had to recycle or destroy your lovely sword (or whatever else you were using daily)

    This system allowed two interesting factors in : a full fledged trading/bargaining - and occasionally scamming 'lite'; and choices had to be done about what equipment you would use when going out on a PVE/RvR rampage.

    All this great system sort of collapsed when the infamous ToA expansion with indestructible artifacts was released (which, in my opinion, was the point where an overall great game began suffering a long and painful agony...)

    I may be wrong on a few details or translated terms in my post, but fellow DAoC vets are welcome to correct whatever mistake I may have made.

    Anyway, that's what I like in Eve's economy, and I'd really like to see all those "modern" games with "bind on pickup" or whatever crappy similar system, thrown out the window, to keep it civil...

    A.K

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  19. I'm beginning to think that the soulbound items are there to force people to use the mystic forge. You can't sell the item or salvage it so there is only one other thing to use it for other than just dumping it. I don't think the item created is soulbound, but it might be account bound.

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  20. The other thing destroying the GW2 economy is undercutting on the AH. I have been making jewelry on my crafter that is better than most drops, but similar items will already be posted on the AH at or below vendor cost. Or people are looking to buy a crafted item, but only want to pay vendor cost (or less) - so after the AH cut, I would make less.

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  21. Eve has soulbound items. They are called implants (and rigs).

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    1. Not quite. Rigs can be sold with a ship on contract.

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    2. And also, soulbound items are not destroyed, are they ? Rigs go boom just like everything else does and should.

      Clothing items from the NEX store are indestructible, I think, but can be traded, can they not ?

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  22. Two of the ideas you mentioned have been done in the past, it would just be a matter of the developers of a new game wanting to implement them. Back in the days of Everquest, they added an additional modifier to most equipment called a "Recommended level". Most of these items had no minimum level requirement, but they would do less damage/provide fewer stats if you used them at a level lower than recommended. It was simple, effective, and could theoretically be implemented. Will they decide to? Who knows.

    I haven't played GW2 yet, but when you say upgrades I'm guessing there is a system to add bonuses to your weapons, much like Diablo 2's gem/run system. In some games, like Torchlight, you are presented with the option of removing the enhancements from the slots on your item, but you must choose to either sacrifice the item to retain the augments, or sacrifice the augments to save the item. It's a simple system that other games would do well to condider using in my opinion.

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  23. The issue is a fundamental difference in the aesthetic of the two games. EVE is a game that is about the journey, you carefully decide where you want to go, what you want to use, and who you want to do it with. In the end the RESULT of your journey doesn't matter so much, as all victory in EVE is inevitably temporary. It isn't so much the tech moon you captured, it was the fights, and friends, you had to get that moon. It isn't so much the 47 billion isk you stole, it's the story, and the sense of achieving your desired plans that gets people into EVE.

    In Theme-park MMORPGs it is the destination that becomes the carrot. Where in eve equipment and such are a means to an end. In Theme-parks the treasure is the end itself. You go into the dungeon for the 15th time, not because you REALLY enjoy that dungeon, but because you want a change at that sweet sweet lewts. If you allow people to sell the loot the gain from the epic quests, you are de-incentive's those "rides" in the theme-park.

    Furthermore, people DO have professions in Theme-park MMOs that involve only working the auction house, and one could argue that it is closer to the real world stock market then EVE is. In eve people deal in any time of goods, often buying from manufacturers and reselling a few here and there. You don't see people just randomly buying up 1000 Nikes to resell, and if you do, generally it is frowned upon. What you do see is people buying and selling commodity, which is what you see in these MMORPGs. Crafting goods, enchantments, gems, rare crafting plans; all of these becomes the goods that many hardcore market trades use to make boat tons of wealth.

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  24. The moral of the story: Destruction and his cousin Chaos are necessary elements of a vibrant economy and game. Everything else is a choreographed dance.

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  25. If you can buy everything, you won't run the dungeons and others content for groups.
    That's how MMOs explain why items are soulbounds.
    However, even WoW offer crafting options (but they're very expensive, so mostly for alts, but that's not a bad idea), so I'm surprised you say that GW2 don't offer much option here, after everyone said they were levelling using crafting... that's silly.

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  26. You should look up the term mudflation, there is a reason why bound items are in other MMO's, and not in EVE which most people understand. This post is a strange post b/c it's almost like your raging about something that would never happen in EVE b/c mudflation doesn't happen in EVE, yet you still managed to write a hell of alot about it.

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  27. To answer first responder (or whoever it was) that wanted a fantasy mmo like eve there is Darkfall and Mortal Online. Both drops all your item upon death and item decay :)

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  28. By the way, to add to my comment way up there at the top (and I didn't even say "firsties!"), EverQuest II, a game very much in the fantasy themepark MMORPG mold, launched without soul bound as a flag on most gear.

    All player crafted gear, which most people used at the time, could be freely traded or passed on to friends or alts. And so it was.

    The market for such gear quickly crashed and SOE had to go back in and flag nearly everything you might actually want to equip as soul bound.

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  29. Obviously if you're intending to make a more open sandbox type game soulbinding is not a good solution but...

    Look at Everquest. Minimal currency sinks and really the only item sink is a player quitting the game with items in his possession. Thus you have players with hundreds of thousands of platinum (yes another denomination higher than gold) and a continuous influx of items from drops/quests with none really leaving.

    Even with the outrageous currency inflation, the supply of items was so high that I can remember being able to buy my class armor set (intended for players in their level 40's if i remember) at level 17 for a reasonable price. No level requirements didn't help either.

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  30. What if...

    - Nothing is soulbound
    - Items lose durability, like in Wow (possibly faster)
    - You can't spend gold to repair items. The only way to repair them is to use shards, that you get by disenchanting epics (and everyone can do it).

    Players don't lose their gear, but a constant influx (and destruction) of epics is necessary to keep their gear repaired.

    Would this work?

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