World of Warships

An explanation of MMO economies, or, Why the commander rework and RB are super grindy, and freemium ships keep getting more expensive

WorldOfWarships6 - An explanation of MMO economies, or, Why the commander rework and RB are super grindy, and freemium ships keep getting more expensive

The other day I made this comment on this post talking about why every new thing WOWS seems to add to the game seems to introduce few interesting features to the game while dramatically ratcheting up the grind. It was well received there, so I figured I'd clean it up, add some more information now that I'm not on mobile, and farm some easy karma expose it to people who don't go 3 levels deep on the comments of a meme looking for long breakdowns.

First off, I'd like to draw attention to

videos by a channel called Extra Credits for the basic concepts. A lot doesn't apply to WOWS, for reasons I'll get into later, but they did a lot more legwork than I did, and the videos are definitely worth a watch if you find this interesting.

Content Starts Here

At the simplest level, WOWS has an inflation problem. This isn't really the same as real world inflation or even the MMO inflation that Extra Credits discusses in their videos, because there is very little economic interaction between players aside from clans, which i'll touch on in a couple of places. While this eliminates a few of the glaring issues that would likely have caused WOWS to collapse under the weight of its own useless currency years ago, it also removes several of the options that MMO developers can use to help keep their currency wort at least it's weight in server space.

For a little background, and to help explain any potential biases or gaps in my knowledge of the game, I am not a great player, typically hanging out south of 50% WR. I'm in a clan that has decent facilities built up, but I've never participated in a single clan battle. The only reason I've ever played ranked is because I happened to be grinding through FdG during the 3v3 sprint. I've spent less than $80 USD throughout my several years in the game, mostly on BF containers and the cool space camo for my Zao. I have a few TXs, and premiums/freemiums at almost every tier (I got lucky with the BF containers and a supercontainer). All in all, I've played on and off since early 2017

Table of Contents – This got longer than I expected

1. Currencies – sources of inflation

2. What this means for us and for WG

3. What WG did (and is doing) to control inflation

4. How this impacts the playerbase

1. Currencies: What's Inflating

I'm going to start by going through the main currencies that are relevant to this discussion. The way I see it, we have Credits, FXP, Elite Commander XP, Coal, Steel, Research Points, and what I'm broadly categorizing as 'Event' currencies (Bytes/Filth/National Tokens, etc) I want to go over what makes these currencies prone to inflation, and what mechanisms WG included to attempt to curtail this problem from the beginning


Credits are the oldest currency in the game, and are also in theory the main currency which you need to play the game. In actuality, besides purchasing and servicing ships, and buying basic modules and signals, there isn't much to spend credits on. (I'm saving the RB for section 3)

It seems like WG intended for credits to be drained by the service and resupply costs of high tier vehicles, like they are in WoT, but especially with the changes to premium consumables most TX players can make a profit every battle, even when buying replacement signals with credits.

They also have the problem where they keep introducing new ways to increase your credit earnings, while decreasing the number of things that require credits. A high tier coal ship or premium camo is easy to acquire for even the biggest of paste eaters. Also, clan discounts can significantly reduced the cost of researching and servicing ships. You can now also buy standard credit boosting and repair discount signals for credits, which is literally free money.

There are also two major issues with the way credits work. Firstly, most of the things that require credits be spent on them are bottlenecked somewhere else. In particular, in earning the XP required to research the next ship in a tech tree, most players will meet the credit requirements before they hit the XP requirement. Secondly, you can earn credits effectively infinitely. If you play a T9 premium with good economy flags, you can play dozens of battles in a day and pull down millions of credits. That's something that a F2P player can do, effectively removing one of the speedbumps to gameplay.


Free XP

Free XP suffers from some of the same problems as credits. It's infinitely collectable, and there's a lot of ways to increase earnings. Flags can bought for credits, which we have already established are a valuable resource. The influx of easily accessible high tier premiums has also meant that players have large reserves of FXP. However, there are more innate sinks for FXP. Skipping the grind on stock hulls and modules, avoiding stinker ships in tech trees all together, or even boosting new lines straight to high tiers.

Elite Commander XP

This is the current target of the commander rework. Every 19pt commander generates elite commander XP instead of regular XP, which can be used to level up or retrain/respec any commander. Again, this currency has no cap. The more you play, the more you earn. However, there are more uses for the currency. Switching captains between ships, respeccing for different playstyles, or boosting up commanders for new lines are all a sink on this currency.


This is the first of the resources that really feels like it was designed with limitations in mind to prevent rapid inflation. There's a roughly fixed amount of coal you can earn per day from containers and missions, supplemented by events that reward larger, but still measured amounts. However, even here there is inflation, as there are precious few thing to spend coal on. While there are high tier ships and unique commanders available, if they don't strike the fancy of a player, there is little to spend the coal on. Special modules are also available, but they're not super expensive, and are only useful on certain ships. The biggest sink here might be containers. Completing old collections can drain serious amounts of coal, for a relatively small reward, usually cosmetic in the form of an alternate camo.


As someone who plays almost no competitive WOWS, I accumulate very little steel, and most of mine is converted to coal, as I have no hope of ever actually earning a steel ship unless I dramatically shift my style of play. I suspect that this is true for a large segment of the playerbase, and I really just wish the Shikishima was a coal ship. There are no signs of inflation from what I can see due to the number and desirability of steel ships, and the camos should do a good job of keeping reserves thin. This is probably the resource that has been most successful in countering inflation, but here we see how excessive access restriction can start to have unintended effects.

Research Points

I plan to talk more about this in the 'what WG is doing' section, but in brief, the RB is intentionally grindy to both reduce the amount of FXP and credits floating around, while encouraging players to spend more real money. As a newer inclusion, this currency is specifically designed to avoid and actually counteract inflation.

Event Currencies

Be they Bytes, Filth, or whatever, these have been an attempt to create a separate mini economy that forces everyone to start the grind from zero. Players with thousands of hours can't swing their huge reserves of credits around to acquire the content faster. Their time limited nature means nobody has the chance to build up a stockpile, and the return for any leftover currency is a paltry amount of credits, which indicates even WG is aware of how worthless that currency is

2. What this means (For players and for WG)

For players

Unlike in a lot of the examples given by the Extra Credits videos, players actually benefit from this currency inflation. Because many players are flush with all these resources, they can easily obtain new content without much grinding or paying. This is good for players, as they can play the new interesting ships more quickly, and for free. Provided WG doesn't change anything about how the game works, players can continue to benefit from a relatively easy grind for all sorts of high value content.

For WG

Ignoring any evil cackling plans to squeeze players for every cent they own, WG are still a company that needs to pay developers, artists, researchers, janitors, and the electricity bill. They need some way to monetize their game, without abandoning the F2P core. As such, a lot of new content is implemented with a pay-to-skip model. You can either pay real money for the content and get it with no or reduced effort with maybe some added decorative paint slapped on, or grind your way there for free. Obviously WG would prefer people do the former, and this glut of resources means that people can avoid the paying and the grind. That doesn't sit well with them, and so we are seeing a lot of grinds that either require orders of magnitude more of these resources than previously, or in some way divorce themselves from the normal economy.

(I'm running out of space and time, I'll continue this in the comments)

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