Our economy reboot has been needed for a long time due to our game economy suffering from years of various currency bugs. The first signs of needing a complete overhaul was when players started commenting on how moving forward in the game was difficult if you had little currency or boring if you had too much. We had a problem and it was a big one.
At the end of April 2021, we had a total EQD (game currency) value of 144 billion across just under 8,000 accounts. Of these accounts, 32 had over 1 billion, 112 had over 100 million, and everyone else made up the rest. Our currency issue began back on version 2 of the game where some players managed to make upwards of 100 million a night in showing. At the time, showing was the only way to make currency so everyone followed the same path; show horses , make lots of EQD, buy more horses, show even more horses etc.. This began massive inflation of every aspect of the game economy.
We realized we had to do some major economy adjustments or the game would feel all too easy for some and all too hard for others. To put it in perspective:
The stud and brood market was largely dominated by horses being offered for our premium currency, ingots. This is because the premium currency had such a huge buying power in the economy. Players with horses you want to breed to didn’t value EQD, they valued ingots because it gave them even more buying power. Most players offering their breeding services for ingots had already achieved a EQD stockpiled so large that money was meaningless to them. Ingots had become the main currency of use.
Other instances include times where you could only buy quality horses, avatars and layouts for ingots or when you pay a huge EQD amount for little reward such as 250k for 1 mine mineral.
Pre-economic adjustment, the ingot to EQD ratio was 50,000 EQD to 1 ingot. As many players pointed out, they couldn’t even buy ingots because no one was selling. Well, no one was selling because EQD had become useless.
To put it simply, our problem was over 4 years in the making which in our thought process meant people had been putting in a lot of effort into the game to hoard currency. Over the years of creating and adjusting Eqcetera, we have kept a pretty close watch of how players feel about changes and game economies in general. Based on this thought process, a solution followed:
- Identified we had a problem.
- Decided to do one giant “band-aid rip” and solve the problem.
- Decided we wanted a solution that benefited those who had played the game enough to hoard EQD and those who may want a chance to get something nice while spending extra EQD.
So, we decided to offer our premium currency for sale for EQD at the current set game market rate of 50,000 EQD to 1 ingot. We did however cap this ingot conversion at 2,000 ingots ($20 real life currency). However, we still felt this was quite unfair to those who had even more money to spend and so rather than lose out on all that EQD hoarding effort, we decided to offer our ingot items for EQD as well. This meant items sold for ingots had their price set at 50,000 EQD per 1 ingot value.
On top of this, we also decided we needed to remove the vast majority of EQD from the game as simply as possible. After many hours of looking over EQD costs in-game, it was determined not only did we need to remove EQD, we needed to adjust prices across the game. So we settled on a simple calculation of: (Total EQD * .01) + 50,000 for those with more than 50,000 EQD. Once this calculation was settled, many hours of price adjusting occurred to ensure the new economy would not balloon like before.
How’d It Go?
We gave ample lead time about the economy adjustment which meant plenty of time to get feedback about why players like or dislike the idea although our minds had already been set. The week before, we announced the money cut calculation and the ingot purchases for players to prepare and spend what EQD they wanted. Of course, this received backlash from some who considered us to be extreme, but in reality fixing the economy was in everyone’s best interest. We believed we had come up with the solution that was fair for everyone and would solve one other problem the economy had been experiencing: lack of ingot inflow.
Many players wanted ingots but often couldn’t buy them from anyone. No one wanted to sell ingots for EQD because again, EQD was useless. We believed putting ingots into the economy would help curb the ingot prices of horse sales, studs/broods, and various other game aspects and those who could not afford to purchase ingots with real-life currency had the chance to do so with EQD.
Over all our economy changed from 144 billion in-game to just over 1 billion in game post cut. A few other interesting numbers:
- In the first few minutes of opening ingot and ingot item sales, the economy saw a drop of over 8 billion.
- Our final total before the cut was around 96 billion, a reduction of 48 billion EQD.
- Ingots on the market, at the time of posting this, are selling for roughly 250 EQD each.
- The majority of horses for sale now cost EQD not ingots.
- Of the 3,747 horses on the stud & brood market only 1,928 are up for ingots, a decrease from before the adjustment.
What are some lessons we took away from this? Even if the fix is extreme as in the case of offing ingots for in-game currency, the future of the game should come first and foremost. However, this drastic measure is not something we want to routinely do to constantly fix the economy. Our goal is to consistently monitor the gains and losses of both in-game currency and ingots as well as the exchange rates. This will help give us a general idea of the overall health of the economy and if further changes need to happen in the future, they would only be small tweaks rather than drastic overhauls such as this one. Balance is key.