Friday, October 2, 2009

Paying For DPS

When players compare MMORPGs, a lot of them look at the differences between games. I tend to look at the similarities, especially if the games appear to be much different on the surface. Take for example EverQuest 2 and Eve Online. That’s why I’ve spent a lot of my limited weekday playtime on setting up a small manufacturing business to supply all of my ammunition needs in Eve.

Okay, what does EverQuest 2 have to do with making ammunition for my Rifter? To answer that question requires examining some of the game mechanics of playing a ranger in EQ2. The single biggest source of damage for a ranger (in my case typically 35-45%) is his/her ranged auto attack, which requires a bow and arrows. Unlike Warhammer Online, where arrows magically appear, players need to supply and carry their arrows around with them. Another large source of damage is poison. Even after the recent poison nerf for predators, I still get between 6-10% of my damage from my caustic poison, and the other poisons I use contribute to even more damage. Other items rangers use include potions that increase ranged double attack or ranged crit chances, temporary weapon adornments that give bonuses to damage that last 30 minutes, and the ever popular food and drink.

Now, players can complain (and post on the forums) about having to pay large amounts of money on the broker so they can produce a large amount of DPS. I refuse to do so. Instead, I craft. A lot. My ranger is also a master alchemist who makes her own poisons and potions. I also have a woodworker to make arrows, a weaponsmith for the temporary adornments for my weapons, and a provisioner for food and drink. Having 9 characters in EQ2 who have earned the title “Master” in their tradeskill wasn’t just a way to kill time because I ran out of things to do. No, playing EQ2 for three years has drilled into my head the value of being as self-sufficient as possible. Not only do place get rich by killing mobs, completing quests and selling items on the broker, but by not spending a lot on equipment, spells, ammo, etc. The fact that I can make those skills available to my guildies is a very pleasant side effect.

I don’t just make items for myself and my guild in EQ2. My main crafting character is my woodworker Yonger (who I’ve featured in a series of posts I’ll finish one day). Besides making totems, the main items he sells are arrows, throwing axes and throwing daggers. That’s right, ammunition.

Hmm … so let’s review. A player (me) from EQ2 who plays a class heavily dependent on ammunition for DPS and makes a lot of platinum selling ammunition plops himself down in Eve playing a faction heavily dependent on auto-cannons for DPS. Naturally, I go back to my roots and want to make ammunition.

Before doing so, however, I checked out the market to see if making my own ammunition was a cost-effective thing to do. I found the cost savings on a percentage basis is much lower in Eve than it is in EQ2. But the real savings is in an area I don’t worry too much about in EQ2: time. The event that really sparked me into action involved a buy order I placed for some Bloodclaw missiles. I was flying around to several stations in a few systems picking up my missiles and thought to myself, “What am I doing?” I don’t have that much time to play and I really don’t want to spend a lot of it picking up penny-packets of ammunition. Flying around in my Mammoth picking up the Rifters I bought was cool. Picking up missiles? Not so much. So while the savings in isk won’t be huge, the savings in time since I can pick up all my ammunition from my hanger will make the effort worth it.

I started off this post by stating that I like to look at the similarities in games. I mean, anyone can find the differences between a single-shard, PvP-centric sandbox sci-fi game with a harsh death penalty like Eve Online and a multi-shard, PvE-centric theme park fantasy game like EverQuest 2. But both games are MMORPGs and I figure that games in that genre will have some similarities. One of them is that in both EQ2 and Eve I am paying in-game currency for the ability to do damage and that my reaction to that fact is the same in both games.

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