08/01/2020

Currency Confusion

When was the last time you participated in one of the recurring world events (Bounty Contract Week, Rakghoul Resurgence etc.)? Personally, since I tend to binge on every new event when it first comes out to max out my reputation and earn all the rewards that interest me right away, I tend to not go back to them that often.

The other week however I did, and learned to my surprise that the world events have been touched by Onslaught in an undocumented way as well - undocumented and very weird.

You see, all of these events tend to have one or two event currencies that are usually legacy-bound (there are some exceptions). And when I say currency here, I mean actual items that go into your inventory. Yes, it would have been more convenient to have them be part of the currency tab, but at the same time I personally didn't think that this system was too bad. It was just one more thing to store in your legacy cargo bay.

With Onslaught though, something odd happened. The old currency tokens still exist as they were, but any new ones you earn go into your currency tab - hurray! However, that currency is bound to that specific character, not legacy-wide. Oh no! Except... you can go to the vendor and spend this character-bound currency to buy a new token which goes into your inventory and can be traded across your legacy again. These new tokens can't be used to actually buy anything though; you always have to go to a vendor and convert it to the character-bound currency first before you can purchase anything.

Confused yet? I can't even begin to imagine what purpose this was supposed to serve. My best theory is that some new programmer was told to convert all the event tokens into a currency, but they didn't realise it was supposed to be legacy-wide currency and made it character currency instead. Then someone more senior noticed the mistake at the last moment, but in the mysterious ways of code, changing the entire thing to a legacy currency on such short notice actually would have been more difficult than adding a new legacy-wide token to the vendor that you can buy and sell with the character currency.
Sounds convoluted and far-fetched? For sure, but I just can't picture anyone intentionally coming up with the weirdness we have now.

Worse, as I said at the start, there used to be some exceptions to the legacy-bound rule... for example Bounty Brokers Association contracts were actually tradeable between players (mercenary as bounty hunters are), so some people basically only gathered them to sell, and others bought them to save themselves from having to do dozens of repeatable quests to buy a reputation reward. Under the new system the contracts are bound though and that whole mini-ecosystem has been destroyed.

It's all very strange and I'd love to hear some kind of official statement from Bioware what this change was all about. I know that these events are probably only a minority pursuit on a grand scale, but it's still strange to see this sudden convoluted mess.

5 comments :

  1. Yeah, it's a weird situation. I only knew about the BBA contracts because I ran across a comment about them while researching what was needed for that broken down speeder from the Chevin event. I assumed it was meant to keep the currency within an account. I guess there was some programming/database issue with just making everything legacy wide.

    This is the type of stuff I wish I could learn about from GDC sessions. :)

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  2. Do legacy currencies actually exist?

    Maybe everything shown in the Currency tab is per-character, and they can't actually set a currency to be legacy-wide.

    From the developer point of view, in the previous system, you had to transfer tokens to other characters manually. In the new system you have to do the same thing. So they didn't see it as that big a deal. The single-character case got significantly simpler, and the multi-character case was only slightly more work.

    It's also possibly that there's data savings by not creating the item first.

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    Replies
    1. The new endgame currency, tech fragments, is legacy-wide. I do seem to recall someone saying that this was tricky to get right, so I can absolutely believe that this is something that's not trivial to implement though.

      I would say that literally doubling the amount of currencies and making the player visit a specific fleet vendor every time they want to add tokens to their legacy bank is more than "slightly" more work!

      Basically what your comment is telling me is that this change may well have made sense to some programmer with no care for the user experience. Somehow I don't find that very comforting, lol.

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    2. You seem to be saying that putting tokens in the legacy bank is the common case. What if it wasn't? What if 90% of the tokens were kept on a single character?

      Their solution improves the common case and frees up inventory at the expense of the uncommon case.

      As well, every single item created in your inventory needs to be tracked. Automatically converting to currency probably eliminates the creation of that item data. Reducing the data associated with a currency by a large amount may well have been judged acceptable, especially when it improves the common case as well.

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    3. Sorry, but that's a big "what if" that just doesn't strike me as very likely, considering that it would go in the complete opposite direction of all the other changes they've made this expansion. Not only has there been a big focus on making things easier to move around your legacy, they've also been flooding our inventories with more items than ever before.

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