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Monday, January 26, 2009

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Vendetta Online: Changes To Economic Model, Game Update
6:00 AM | Cord Kruse | Comment on this story

Guild Software has released a new patch and posted an update on the development blog for its massively-multiplayer online space strategy game, Vendetta Online. The latest update brings the game to version 1.8.55 and includes a variety of new updates, bug fixes, and content additions. The blog entry details changes to the games economic model.

The VO economy was implemented very simply, some five years ago, to allow people to discover dynamically changing trade routes between our 135-odd stations and profit from them. The process of discovering these routes and using them was "part of the fun", but also made trading more inaccessible to new people. Additionally, for reasons of stability, we implemented such a simplistic economy that there was only a limited amount of tweaking that could be done on the development side.

This has been changing, over the last several years. We've moved a lot of data out of static Lua tables and put it directly into the database, to allow for more dynamic modification. As of this week, we've been making some fairly significant changes to the granularity with which items may be defined, per-location. For instance, as of the recent past, the best that we could specify for any given item was a min/max price value, price drop per unit sold, and demand increase over time. That is per item, across the entire galaxy. We did not have any way of specifically making an item more valuable at a particular station, or regional location. The original thinking was to simply align where given items would be sold, and then let the demand value increase allow for profitability that would generally increase as one went further and further away from the place of the item's manufacture. Again, in the early days we "kept it simple" for implementation reasons and to be sure the economy would generally work, which it did for a number of years (somewhat inflated price values and the mass-trade issue notwithstanding).

However, the political/economic map of the galaxy has changed over the last few months, with the introduction of Nation Border Defenses, and even more powerful Capitol defenses, that make it more difficult for pirates to attack traders and miners in a large area of space. I have maintained all along that it was my plan to drive more traffic to grayspace (unaligned space), by creating more lucrative routes to and from those locales. After all, a lot of our content revolves around "danger", the danger of a transport traveling through grayspace territory, and therefore hiring combat escorts. The danger of pirates lying in wait to take on major convoys at significant risk, because the rewards are so high. So on and so forth. A lot of our current gameplay stems from this, and a lot of our future gameplay will as well. We don't require it of everyone, it will always be possible to mine or trade in "safer" locations, but the rewards will be much smaller.
Head over to the links below for more information.

Vendetta Online News
Guild Software
Strategy First
Vendetta Online

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