STAR WARS: The Old Republic - Guild Summit Economy Panel

Uploaded by swtheoldrepublic on 03.04.2012

Stephen Reid: All right everybody, so Georg was going to talk to you about economy and
Crew Skills which he has a few very interesting things to say about. Are we ready? We are?
All right let's go. Georg Zoeller: So in good news our game economy
is actually doing really, really well in spite of the GTN and we're working on the GTN so
just to take that question away beforehand. Our analyzed GDP on the Star Wars™: The
Old Republic™ game economy has just surpassed Germany which is pretty good I hear. I want
to run you through a bit of what the state of the game is in terms of the economy, give
you an idea of just how does the big picture look like.
When you're playing, when you hear "Oh this dude's with level 49 legacy already" and everyone
obviously has millions and then you look at your own character and maybe you don't have
millions and you're wondering "How can I afford these legacy updates?" Well I'm just going
to show you a bit of the big picture and so you understand we actually know what people
have in their pocket, we know what they can afford, and we can balance the game around
that. So Crew Skill distribution - this the distribution
of Crew Skills, obviously everyone knows that Biochem is the most used skill - it's actually
not the case. If you look at the Gathering skills, Archaeology and Scavenging, are really,
really high on that list. The most popular Crafting skill is Artifice followed by Biochem
and Underworld Trading really, really rules the Mission skills. There are also for those
of you who are kind of looking at the big picture here, there's probably a bit of an
opportunity for people to look into Bioanalysis and it's relatively low compared to the number
of people that actually craft content based on it. So, if you want to make money actually
I ruined it now. This is an interesting one - the wealth distribution
or level 50 characters. Yes, that's something like 80-something per cent of people total
have less than 400,000 credits. So when you hear there's all this talk about people making
a lot of credits, no we actually hear you, we know that repair costs are fairly punishing
if you're into that type of content. Not everyone plays the GTN and if you look at like to the
right side of the charts where I think this chart ends it like 10 million we're like down
to very few people. It's not even the 1% anymore. The 1% is doing okay, but the majority there's
some income imbalance here but it's not that bad in terms of the numbers.
With access like this we can balance features like the Legacy system and so on to actually
target the audience we want and that is mostly the majority of players. There's content for
people that are on that top end, you'll see - probably some of you have seen patch notes
for PTS 1.1.5 which has a bunch of money things. You just can throw money at a white Lightsaber
crystal if you want and that's kind of to encourage people that are on the to end to
let go a bit of their money. Honestly, the majority of you are not that rich, we know
that we're looking at things like a repair cost and we're balanced around the big picture.
This is a kind of a breakout of credit sinks. You can see that the majority of credits that
players spend, at least at this point still in the game, is still around ability training
- that's the blue line on top. But it starts to drop off now around February as more and
more people get the characters to 50 obviously. You're exhausted, you're training at that
point, and then you see other sinks like container purchases and other top end things taking
over. This is the source and you can definitely
see the upper line: quest rewards. Quest rewards are very, very lucrative. That's the daily
quest, but it's also just quest towards inside the game. If you asked "How do I get money?"
“Quest” is probably the right answer to that. Selling content to vendors obviously
helps, as well. This one is interesting - the relative wealth,
which is the discrepancy between sources and sinks. We can see that while when the game
started people did not have enough money to afford things, we're starting to see that
people are able to put money behind and save it. The actual inflation rate that we have
right now is somewhat around 12%, it's actually not too bad. But there's also a really good
buildup of cash - people start putting money in the bank, obviously in anticipation of
Legacy, and in anticipation of other features. The average character has started to build
a bit more wealth and we expect that to definitely continue especially with the announcement
of the Legacy update now. Completely different - Faction - since we've
seen this discussion early. A lot of times there are all these scientific or non-scientific
discussion of this topic. Reddit has great threads about counting people on servers and
counting people on Ilum and these kind of things. This is the official number: It's
57 to 42 across all servers. Obviously, if you break it down by server type it's an open
secret: PvP. Empire really likes PvP, so hence the drawing board. But the nice thing is this
isn't actually too far off. I've seen games with worse. If you're looking a bit into the
future at features like crossover Warzones, we are able to equalize a lot of that pressure
and get more people to play with each other. Again completely different because I like
numbers - it looks remarkably like any other fantasy game out there, most other MMOs - it's
gender selection. It's not player gender, it's actually the gender selection for the
characters - about 70% male, 30% female. This one is probably interesting for some
of you, this is the "Which class is the most popular one?" Yes, we all know it, the Sith
Inquisitor is incredibly popular. It's actually an interesting development since we've been
tracking these metrics since the start of even Alpha testing and early on the Jedi Knight
was really the class that everyone kind of wanted to play. A bunch of things to know
about this is, this doesn't change much when people make the second character and get later
into the game. There's an awful lot of pre-conceived Star Wars™ fantasy playing in here. We've
actually tried in Beta to modify what people play, see what we can do, and a lot of people
just go into these games and pick a class and they stick with it. I know there are theories
about Huttball coming up a lot and Assassins and Inquisitors being very popular there - that's
actually more a result of overall demographics than it is of Huttball at this point.
We also see, obviously, the Smuggler and the Imperial Agent ever since Alpha testing had
these numbers, it's just a matter of their inherit popularity. Short of making the class
really OP, there's probably not much we can do on changing that. And honestly, we designed
the game with the idea that people could play the class they want. Obviously, it can get
a bit lightning heavy in some Warzones but lightning is cool, right? Really not much
we can do about this. This one really goes to Damion Schubert - this
is the time to level curve of the game. And Damion managed to create an absolutely smooth
curve. This is the smoothest curve I've ever seen in any MMO. This is the real numbers
of basically how long do people take for each level, how long does it take them. And you'll
see there's no big gap and there's no big holes around 40 or 50 or any kind of gateway
levels. Damion managed to do a really, really nicely smooth curve.
What this means for us, as well, is that we don't see levels where people just drop. We
don't have magical level 41 or whatever you want, where people just drop and leave the
game in droves. It's a really nice curve and I think it really supports the story-driven
nature of our game, and the main story lines that we have.
Damion Schubert: Just one thing to say about the leveling curve, just one observation - we
had a target time for how long we wanted you guys to get there and we actually nailed that
in terms of game hours played. I'm not supposed to tell you what that number is, but we nailed
that. But the most interesting thing is that in terms of real time to level 50 you guys
blew past that because apparently you guys really, really like the game.
Georg Zoeller: Yes, you've probably seen some interview with Dr. Zeschuk about the play
behavior and how much people play and how long their sessions are. It's pretty insane.
We've seen pretty insane in Beta, but with the game going live, early access, and so
on - some people are pushing what's humanly possible and there is something like sleep,
it's really not that bad, some of you should try it.
This is a daily medium price and medium credit balance. I'm just going to skip over these.
This one might be interesting - top 25 products ranked on sales volume on the GTN - not terribly
surprising. We've seen a lot of people are in Cybertech, Underworld Trading, Desh, really
popular. The more interesting one is based on sales price and we can really see that
the crafters that have made it to the very top end of our year progression are making
a killing. Almost all of it is like Rakata or advanced
enhancement of like rank 25 end-game stuff - which we're going to get to very quickly
when I talk about Crew Skills. 84% of level 50 characters have less than one million credits.
We know that, we're balancing the game properly around that. Repair costs are seen too high,
be aware of it. We currently cannot afford to change it but we're looking at the numbers
especially as we go a live with 1.2 which has a lot more sinks into it and we're going
to adjust it if necessary. We don't want people to feel constantly poor, but we obviously
don't want everyone to be terribly filthy rich because then we have to change all of
our UIs to support more numbers and that's not good.
Exploits - we're going to talk very briefly about this because there's a lot of publicity
about it, there are videos about it and so on. We know where every credit in our economy
goes - that's a fact. And we know that occasionally exploits arise and people exploit things and
get a lot of money. If you've seen that chart where everyone is with their cash, if you
start showing up on the inside of that you can probably assume we're aware that you just
moved there and we're going to be interested in what you're doing.
So, there's the thing – A - What we're not seeing in our game is a lot of people running
around stealing mobs, like maybe not even speaking the language that is spoken on the
server, stealing mobs from people that are questing - it's just not present in the game.
Now that stuff happens. There's a demand for it. There will always be some level of supply
for it, but at this point obviously this kind of behavior is centering around chests which
are a bit less aggravating if you're trying to do your quest - the chest isn't going to
stop you. That said, we have a fairly large team of
people. Thirty people that are tasked in our CS office just with getting rid of people
that's spam. And you will have noticed if you compare it to other MMOs there's almost
no chat spam. These people get banned almost immediately as they show up. There's the occasional
one credit email - yes we know that maybe you should send two credits because we can
track it - I don't know - or send me a thousand, I would take that, as well.
Damion Schubert: One message I would take away just in terms of the spammers - we have
the tools and the resources to take care of spammers very, very quickly if we know they're
there. The single number one takeaway we have for you guys is to if you see a spammer, report
it. It's the best thing that you guys can do. It's the fastest way for us to take care
of the issue. Georg Zoeller: Crew Skills - that's probably
the more interesting one for you. The overall system is actually really well received. We're
seeing a lot of uptake on it. We're seeing a lot of people sinking a lot of time into
it. In fact crew missions are the number two sink in terms of where money goes in the game.
Not every Crew Skill is useful for end-game - we're aware of that. In fact, only Biochem
is useful for end-game right now. Maybe a bit of Cybertech, but there's some discussion
about just how good those grenades are. Crew Skills and Game Update 1.2 - We obviously
have Legacy upgrades in there, we have what we already talked about in terms of ship upgrades,
end-game mods from Reverse Engineering. Reverse Engineering has gotten a major overhaul. You
can expect better Reverse Engineering. You can reverse engineer more things, shotguns,
Vibro knives, all these kind of things. You will no longer get that dreaded "You already
know the schematic. You just wasted a lot of money” message - that's gone - instead
you're going to learn the schematic that you don't know. And in general we made Reverse
Engineering a lot more useful. You can craft Operations gear with critical optimum slots,
you're not getting the augments. We're giving every Crew Skill an end-game
purpose and that block hasn't been published yet. So instead I'm going to give you a very
brief rundown which is there's going to be augments - Synthweaving, Armstech, and Armormech
will be able to make different types of augments of which since we've now unlocked the augment
slot for critical crafting will be in really good demand. Slicing, currently the source
of augments will become the source of the augment material, so you'll be in a lot of
demand for supplying all these three professions with augment materials.
We've went through, we've taken bind on pickup from let's say the Cybertech speeders, they're
going to be bind on equip. We've changed the prices on speeders in general. They're going
to become more expensive in tier 3. Overall the cost of getting your first speeder at
tier 3 will be actually cheaper because we've dropped the training costs which the community
has rightfully decided it wasn't really worth the speed increase quite significantly. It
costs you less to train for the speeders. The basic models are actually probably cheaper
than you would expect. Overall you're paying less for getting your tier 3 speeder but if
you're going to vanity, if you're going into really cool looking mounts you're going to
expect to pay more. The grenades on Cybertech have a better cool
down now, meaning shorter. We went through Artifice, we added a lot to the profession.
There are some colors that were previously not available, there are new schematics that
draw Artifice as the first profession to gain our fledgling PvP crafting meaning you can
gain materials and schematics purely from paying PvP and purchasing bags basically.
And we've added something like five pages of path notes to the total of the Crew Skill
system. There's going to be a blog that really spells out in detail what we did for each
class so I'm going to spare you the details. You can read that up in the near future. And
I think we're going to skip this because we are out of time if Stephen is around - or
not. So these are some of the questions we have for you. If you have other questions
use your time until Stephen comes back. Damion Schubert: Do you want to introduce
Jeremy? Georg Zoeller: Oh yes, I sat Jeremy there,
Jeremy is our analytics manager at the studio. he's the lord of numbers, so if you have interesting
questions like "What's the highest number of credits you've seen on a character?" he
is here to answer those as well. Damion Schubert: So the short form is he is
watching you Jeremy Ballenger: I count light sabers - that's
what I do. Emmanuel Lusinchi: Before we start the questions
I just wanted to clarify something you said about Crew Skill being the second biggest
destruction of credit in the game and we're very active because we're always happy when
we bounce the economy. But for the crafters like you're spending all that money so the
design for crafting has always been that overall the destroyed credit, the cream of credit
from the economy but it actually transfers credit from another player to you. So we have
seen and we have approved that crafting is actually a great way to make money which is
very important. Georg Zoeller: The average crafter is richer,
probably looks better, and is better geared than non-crafters. So if you want to look
into making credits crafting is actually really not a bad way to start and we expect this
to really take off with game update 1.2. Jeremy Ballenger: Approximately 30%. So pick
someone. Georg Zoeller: So pick someone.
Male Speaker: Hi, my question for crafting is that it's expensive to remove some of those
rank 25 Mods but if you are that crafting ability for that Mod or augment shouldn't
it be cheaper for you since that's what you make? So is there a way possibly to reduce
the price of removing the Mods or augments if you are that type of class who makes them.
Georg Zoeller: We're going to look at that but for 1.2 - no - you're going to be handed
a lot of benefits already, we're not going to do that.
Male Speaker: Hi, I'm just curious. I almost exclusively PvP and I have almost no cost
because my gear never breaks. Are you guys planning on adding repair costs to PvP?
Georg Zoeller: Maybe - but before I spark a riot here - leaving options open is always
a good thing but to be honest yes we are aware that there is a discrepancy between PvP and
PvE. If we did it we definitely wouldn't do something like "Oh if I die I get equipments
damage." Something like that wouldn't happen. Distributing the cost more evenly between
people that do operations and PvP is definitely something we're working towards.
Jeremy Ballenger: One thing that I'd like to add is it's also important to note that
people are primarily PvE-ers and PvP-ers. Their net income is actually really approximately
the same. It might seem different but again the fact that they're not doing Quest and
they're doing PvP outweighs the other side of that.
Male Speaker: Hi, I'd like to commend you first of all for having the design intent
to give all Crew Skills an endgame purpose. My question is is there a design intent to
give all Crew Skills or expand on Crew Skills' social impact and purpose and the example
I've come up with was you've introduced or you're saying you're going to introduce some
armor coloring customizations and instead of making that into something that's helping
everybody could you not attach that to a Crew Skill like Synthweaving or Armormech and make
it to where characters have to interact or go to interact to get those things done? What's
the intent to give more of a social impact to the Crew Skills?
Georg Zoeller: So we made a bunch of choices in terms of where we're going with appearance
that are linked to what we're doing with the Crew Skills. For one you've already probably
noticed this with 1.1.5, the light saber colors. There's no more stat difference on the top
end level. Every color is available at the top end with the same stats. We wanted to
make sure that people can pick their color and not have to pick it because they wanted
the better number on it. On the other side we're unlocking a large number of orange appearances
and adding them to the system so if you have an appearance that you really, really like
because you want to role play this particular character or you want your agent to run around
in it in imperial admiral's uniform - these kind of things - you will be able to get those
from crafters. The unlocked orange shelf for that item will be only available from crafters.
There's obviously still the social gear in the game but we know that that still has some
deficiencies in that regard so crafters are probably your best source of custom appearances
as of 1.2. Male Speaker: Hi, I've just two questions.
The first: heavy armoring allows me to gain Rakata equipment. And then, dismiss this skill
and learn Biochemical and I can even wear this Rakata belt, for example. But, the other
side - if I first learn Biochemical and get Rakata stims and then dismiss this job and
learn Synthweaving or anything, I am unable to use my Rakata stims. Why does this require
Biochemical 400 but Rakata belt, for example, doesn't require Armortech 400.
Georg Zoeller: Yes, we're actually looking at these, as I said removing more to a bind
on equip economy. We've unlocked all of the Biochem except the reusable ones. To be completely
frank I wouldn't expect the reusable ones to be upgraded in the near future. We're actually
going to phase them out over time. We're moving more to an economy where people are creating
content that they themselves and other players can use and less content that you just create
for your own benefit. We feel that the Crew Skills should stand on their own in the big
picture and not because of one or two benefits that we attach to the endgame.
Male Speaker: And second question I'm Biochemical and the exotech stims, the materials you need,
the epic materials are very hard to get, only from the best diplomacy missions you have
little chance so it's very expensive to produce one exotech stim. Anything planned to get
a bigger chance to get epic medicines from diplomacy or to lower cost?
Georg Zoeller: So the cost obviously is a factor of how many people are running for
example Bioanalysis on your server which if you've seen there was a discrepancy on the
chart especially for Biotech where you actually don't have as much supply as let's say the
other professions have which causes a price inflation. Now we can't play big government
there and start changing everything because not enough people have picked it up but we
can obviously incentivize. We made some changes for example on top level materials might be
easier to acquire, we're looking into things like putting a control on very rampant auction
house speculation but in the short term there's not much we can or will do about that. We
figure supply and some demand will actually solve that for us.
Male Speaker: Here at the back. My first question is as Cybertech healer, is it possible to
get a kolto grenade for Cybertech? Georg Zoeller: it's a good idea.
Male Speaker: And real quick for the second question - make it happen - second question
is I know another space based sandbox MMO has like a contract system where available
schematics for crafting are made, there's an interface where you can request to have
something made. Would it be possible to have something where all the known schematics on
the server available and then someone can go up to an interface and say "Hey I'll pay
this amount of money to have this made" and then people who are crafters can interact
with that and say "Oh, there's an open contract to have this made" and it looks like it's
a profitable price if we all make it for him. Georg Zoeller: Mr. Schubert.
Damion Schubert: Yes, the ability to create contracts is on the wall of crazy. It's not
some immediate concern but it's some place that is in particularly something that Emmanuel
here has always been passionate about. Probably someday something like that but I can't give
you an ETA right now. What do you want me to cut?
Female Speaker: So I asked this earlier on I guess a really different topic but the viability
of crafted gear being as good as PvP gear and PvE or crafted gear being similarly viable
in PvP and PvE. The other thing was - this is two-part - some clothing options look slightly
different on different classes. I noticed colors. Colors are strangely different on
some items. On one character it's black ad on another character it's kind of gray.
Georg Zoeller: So one thing you’re going to notice a bit more even with the Legacy
System is that some items look different between the republic and the empire like if you actually
mail something to your legacy he will look somewhat more republic if he's on the republic
side that's an intentional feature. We have to preserve some faction identity in there.
When it comes to color I think Emmanuel can probably explain what we're doing for color
in 1.2. Emmanuel Lusinchi: I would love to see a screenshot
of that to start with because that's not something we know about but as you know we are bringing
back a color matching system and you will see some weird things with colors, not all
colors apply to textures the same way so even though you have a red chest and you get the
red hat with something else it will paint with some things. But again that's a very
interesting thing there - bugs in the game we are not aware of, shocking, but every time
we get the pictures or video we are usually really quick to fix it.
Female Speaker: And about the PvP gear? Emmanuel Lusinchi: Okay now that we can extract
Mods from anything you will be able to take something that you earn in PvE or PvP and
make it better by putting it into something that has been crafted. So it's not easier
because it's actually more work, you need to first earn it and then mix it with some
crafting but it will be better so crafting is a source of the best items.
Georg Zoeller: We're also loosening the restrictions on some of those operations - material drops
which should help crafters a lot as well. Emmanuel Lusinchi: Do you have a follow up
apparently? Female Speaker: Because we spend so much on
crafting that the reward is going to be commiserate to that?
Emmanuel Lusinchi: Absolutely, that's a design of crafting that it rewards people not only
as a max level which we have done in better ways but throughout the experience. That's
basically the base design of crafting - is that it will reward the side to it.
Damion Schubert: We really are in love with our own crafting system. We really like it,
the fans seem to like it, the people who review the game really like it. We know that kind
of fell down after level 49, some of that was a function of time, but we really want
to bring crafting up to the full glory that we know it can get to. We're not going to
let crafting wither on the vine, we're going to be sure that's fully supported throughout
all the patches. Male Speaker: Georg, you kind of alluded to
this in eventually phasing out some of the reusable stems. How far is it on the radar
for you guys to make sure that every Crew Skill has a viable endgame consumable, whether
it be a weapon power up or something to that effect so that if you're not a Biochem you
have something that you can continually provide to the community? And then the other question
I had is the RE chance at endgame level - someone said I would really like to try an RE in my
battle mask or light saber but I don't know if there's a chance. Is it worth the risk?
George Zoeller: So 1.2 will have a nice tool tip that will tell you if you can reverse
engineer something and can research something out of it, which should be useful. We're also
dramatically increasing the likelihood and we're removing the duplicates out of the system
so you're not "Oh yes I learned that before, that was worth it." So that should help. What
was your first question again? Oh consumables, yes - so some of the professions of 1.2 have
it, some of them don't. Something we're looking forward to in a bit in the future at this
point especially since we're going to basically bootstrap the augment economy. It's not a
huge concern, we think there will be ample of demand for several months coming out of
1.2 but it's something on our radar. Stephen Reid: All right, we're going to go
to the live stream for a couple of questions. We've got to move along because we're a little
bit behind again so sorry about that. I know that you guys are going to have more questions
and Georg's going to be around tonight and all of the guys, you can chat with them in
person tonight. But I'm just going to hand it to Eric for a couple of live stream questions.
Eric Musco: All right, so our first question comes from Pink Floyd - I assume not the band
because I don't think they play the game. But any plans for making longer Crew Skill
missions, say 16 hours for the chance of epic items or greater returns? Because Pink Floyd
loves the idea of "my crew working when I am in real life."
Georg Zoeller: We like that idea too. Damion can probably elaborate a bit.
Damion Schubert: We like that idea too. Georg Zoeller: Okay, we're in agreement, we
like that idea. Damion Schubert: We like things that give
you an incentive to log in once a day and just reattach yourself to the game and check
on things. And one of the things about missions of that size and scale and scope is that would
be a natural incentive for you guys just to pop in once a day and see what's going on.
We've been throwing around that idea very recently, don't know when it would happen,
that's actually Georg's problem. Eric Musco: All right our next one comes from
Trojan. Are there any plans to add some sort of crafting daily to give people alternative
ways to get high level crafting mats besides doing hard modes?
Georg Zoeller: So that's an interesting one - you will see that there are new resource
notes on some of the new content that we're putting in the game and we also backfilled
them on some of the existing high level daily areas that should make that easier. The other
thing we did to make it easier to get these high level and operations level crafting materials
is to limit some of the bind on pick up restrictions on some of them.
Eric Musco: All right, I'm going to take this as the last question from the stream. It's
from Sitto. Will be possible to send two crew members on the same mission to reduce the
duration? Georg Zoeller: Interesting idea.
Damion Schubert: Not any time soon. Sadly one of the things that we want to do is to
keep the gooey simple for what reasons of approachability and for my dream iPad app
way in the future. But yes, it's way in the future, but anytime that you talk about stuff
like that one of the things that you have to look at as a designer is okay, conceptually
it's a good idea but how do we put a front end on it that's simple and approachable and
easy for people to do. Answer to that hasn't come to us yet, maybe it will. It might become
more important once we have the 16-hour missions. Right now it's not that important.
Georg Zoeller: On kind of the same note but not -if you were to run a 16-hour mission
and it failed that would be pretty terrible. With 1.2 you're no longer failing those really
expensive missions that you bought on the GTN.
Stephen Reid: Okay, we're going to have to wrap it up on that one. Thank you, Georg.
And we're going to go just straight through, try to make a tiny bit of time, and Daniel's
going to come up and talk to all of you role players out there.