TL/DR: It's fine to change up the economy, and some spin is to be expected. But today we got misleading insight into how best to spend our vaulted mats, whether cores are really going to be cheaper for most players, a new purchase channel that's more expensive and restrictive than one we've already got, and a freemium currency change that throttles players' buying power. That's some bullshit.
Rest of post:
There are some significant changes coming to the economy in Season of the Hunt (Season 12) outlined in today's TWAB. Of course it's Bungie's purview to explain optimistically how well things will work, and changes to economic balance are a fact of life in games like Destiny. But the way in which these are described almost seems to be purposefully designed to obscure the very important consequences of these changes.
Everyone has been curious what will happen to mats from the four destinations going into the DCV in two weeks (Mars, Io, Mercury, Titan). Bungie says in the TWAB:
The simple answer is that there are no changes to these currencies in Season of the Hunt, and you will be able to continue to spend them at vendors normally.
Starting in Season 13, Phaseglass Needles, Alkane Dust, Simulation Seeds, and Seraphite will be no longer accepted by vendors. For those of you that still have unspent stockpiles at the end of Season of the Hunt, Spider will be kind enough to offer a small Glimmer exchange to take them off your hands. But you’ll realize the best value by spending them before that point, so make sure you turn in your stockpiles before the end of next Season.
This means we'll still have these mats in our inventory during next season, but they'll become useless at the start of the season after, in a few months' time.
However, the important part is where Bungie says "you will be able to continue to spend them at vendors normally." Unless I'm mistaken, the planetary vendors themselves won't be available to receive these mats next season as they're being vaulted, so "normally" isn't really fair. We won't be able to convert them to shards in an easy way through those vendors.
Instead, the only two vendors who'll accept those mats would be Banshee (for Upgrade Modules and Prisms / Shards) and Spider (for glimmer / legendary shards). However, you later say in next season Spider won't be selling legendary shards at all:
First, Spider will no longer be selling Legendary Shards. This exchange was removed mainly because it was not seeing enough use, particularly when compared with the other exchange offers.
This means starting next season, vaulted planetary mats can only be sold for glimmer at Spider, or used to help purchase items from Banshee that have strict inventory caps (25 Upgrade Modules, 50 Ascendant Prisms, 10 Ascendant Shards).
Players could wait it out for Banshee to rotate selling items for vaulted mats, but for those with thousands of mats they probably won't be able to cycle through them all in a single season anyway. Which is why I'd recommend the following to players:
SGA: I would dump your vaulted planetary mats at Spider for legendary shards BEFORE BEYOND LIGHT ARRIVES! You'll get 1 legendary shard for every 10 mats. I've got over 25k vaulted mats, which means I'll get over 2,500 legendary shards by dumping them before the new season. Not a great trade but I'll take that over some glimmer and stalking Banshee for days when vaulted mats are in rotation.
You mentioned Spider will start selling Enhancement Cores for a flat rate in Beyond Light:
Second, we’ve taken another look at how the Enhancement Core exchange works and made some changes. The ascending cost mechanism has been removed, and in its place, Spider will now sell you five Enhancement Cores a day for fixed price of 30 Legendary Shards each. While this does limit the number of Cores you can acquire from him each day, we feel a consistent price is a clearer experience with less chance to accidentally spend large quantities of Legendary Shards.
More importantly it’s also cheaper. In the old purchase model, you’d pay 310 Legendary Shards for five Enhancement Cores (10, 20, 40, 80, and then 160). In the new model you’ll only pay 30 Shards each, which equals out to 150 Legendary Shards for five Enhancement Cores. So, while it does limit your acquisition rate, it actually will save you 160 Legendary Shards every five Cores!
This sounds like a used car salesman trying to spin the price of a car. Nobody is currently regularly spending 310 legendary shards a day to get 5 enhancement cores, that's insanity. People acquire them mostly from the Banshee bounties, which was a good change. Also, people PACE themselves, buying 1-3 cores a day to only pay the cheapest rates.
In reality, the new system is only cheaper than the old system IF you buy more than 3 cores a day:
|Daily Core Purchased||Current Cost||Current Cumulative Cost||Beyond Light Cost||Beyond Light Cumulative Cost|
This means for all the players who run to Spider for a core or two (to be honest I have two stacks of them so this isn't me or maybe most long term players) to get what they need for an infusion or improved energy level, they'll need to buy in bulk instead, raising the barrier to entry for newer players or those with less time and fewer resources.
Also, Spider will sell Enhancement Prisms for… 400 legendary shards!?
In place of the Legendary Shard exchange, Spider is now selling Enhancement Prisms. These highly valued items come at a cost – 400 Legendary Shards per Prism – and he’s stingy with them so you can only purchase three a week.
This is less deceptive, and more just dumb. Banshee currently sells prisms for 10 enhancement cores, 25 planetary mats, and 10k glimmer. You just told us Spider will sell cores for 30 legendary shards, and he'll sell 5 mats for 1 shard, and 10k glimmer for 5 shards, so Banshee's prices = 310 legendary shards total. So:
SGA: Never buy Enhancement Prisms from Spider, Banshee's will always be cheaper AND he won't have a weekly cap!
Oh boy, this is the worst deal for players:
Here is the high-level look at the changes coming next Season.
– Season Pass free path will now offer 7,500 Bright Dust
– Season Pass owned path will now offer 3,000 Bright Dust
– Weekly Bounties will now award 100 Bright Dust
With these changes, the vast majority of players will be earning more Bright Dust than before. One of our goals here is to not have a system that pushes you to try to grind out every weekly bounty on all three characters every single week. Whether you are a three-character player or only play a Hunter, Bright Dust will be more available when earning ranks on the Season Pass.
OK, so yes it is likely true that the vast majority of players will earn more BD than before, and more easily too, because a nice chunk will almost be gained automatically from the season pass (depending on which levels it's dropped into). However, it lowers the maximum amount of BD earnable overall, lowering all players' buying power at the Eververse store, and encouraging more silver purchases as a result.
Assuming we have a 13-week season, a player maximizing their BD gains today would earn the following:
- (200 BD per weekly bounty) x (2 weekly bounties per vendor) x (3 vendors – Zavala, Shaxx, Drifter) x (3 characters) x (13 weeks) = 46,800 BD
- Plus 4 weeks of a seasonal event where Eva has 2 more weekly bounties for each character, so another 4,800 BD, equals…
- 51,600 BD max in an average season.
In Beyond Light, this math changes, AND it will draw differences between free-to-play and pay-to-play players:
- Core bounty farming value is halved from 200 BD to 100 BD per bounty, so we drop from 46,800 to 23,400
- Same for Eva's bounties, 4,800 to 2,400
- Paid players get 10,500 BD for a total of 36,300
- Free players get only 7,500 BD, for a total of 33,300
|Bright Dust||% of Current Max Earnable|
|Current Max BD / Season (Paid & Free)||51,600||100.0%|
|Beyond Light Max BD / Season – Paid||36,300||70.3%|
|Beyond Light Max BD / Season – Free||33,300||64.5%|
Free players putting in time to earn cosmetics will only be able to earn 2/3rds as much as they do now. That's a dramatic buying power drop, and probably not a reasonable price to pay for more consistent earnings. Even hardcore paid players will only get 70% of what they do now.
The thing is, moving some earnable bright dust to the season reward track is a great idea! But it's purposefully built to reduce players' buying power, which is why this comes across as deceptive.
There's an easy two-part solution:
- First, move ALL of the 10,500 BD on the reward track to the free tier, so there's no difference there between paid and free players. There has been no difference between those player groups in their ability to earn BD up to this point, your changes just introduce those differences for the first time now, so there shouldn't be a reasonable argument in favor of keeping some misunderstood "bonus" that paid players got because that didn't happen.
- Then, make weekly bounties give you 160 BD instead of 100 or 200. If you take our previous max earnings (51,600) and subtract the amount on the season track (10,500) you get 41,100. The max number of weekly bounties doable across all three characters in a season, plus those from Eva's event, is 258. 41,100 / 258 = 159.3, so round it to 160 and call it a day. That way player buying power isn't sabotaged.
. . . .
In conclusion, it's fine to change up the economy, and some spin is to be expected. But today we got misleading insight into how best to spend our vaulted mats, whether cores are really going to be cheaper for most players, a new purchase channel that's more expensive and restrictive than one we've already got, and a freemium currency change that throttles player's buying power. That's some bullshit.
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