25/09/2021

In the Money

I don't recall ever feeling poor in SWTOR. I do have this vague memory that when I hit level 25 on my very first character, it was a bit of a stretch to afford both my skill training and the first rank of speeder piloting (remember when you didn't get that until level 25?) and I may have delayed purchasing one of them for a bit, but it definitely didn't take me very long to get the funds together.

I also have this vague memory of everything seeming a bit expensive when I hit max level for the first time, but then my very first round of Belsavis dailies earned me 100k credits and I was like "whoa, alright then, if that's how it's going to be".

Since then, I've never really had to think about credits very much. I don't go out of my way to earn any, but just playing the game in whatever way earns me more than enough to cover my expenses. When I repair my gear after wiping during progression ops, I don't even look at the numbers anymore because they are completely inconsequential anyway. The closest I've come to having any sort of emotional reaction to something money-related is when looking for some cosmetic gear on the GTN and thinking that a lot of it feels kind of overpriced for what it is... but that's not the same as being poor.

That said, I still hate wasting money. I think this is due to the fact that my mother used to work in a bank when she was younger and taught me from an early age to take good care of any cash I was given. To this day I kind of struggle with the concept of "splurging" on anything, even when I can afford it easily, and that's also reflected in the way I play video games. I didn't do that silly belt vendoring dance before Onslaught because I needed the credits, but because not doing it would have resulted in wasting a huge amount of potential credits and that just bothered me.

During this expansion we've seen a huge proliferation of jawa junk, and when it started clogging up my bank I set to turning it into credits last summer. Many of my guildies have simply gotten into the habit of vendoring excess gear drops because it's quick and easy, but to me that feels like a waste of value when I know that those same gear items could be deconstructed and the resulting junk converted and sold for so much more.

Back when I wrote that post in August last year I said that I might eventually compose a follow-up, but that never happened. The truth is: The project never came to an end! I did eventually whittle down the stacks of green and blue junk, but as I keep earning more all the time I also have to keep converting it into goods that I put up for sale on the GTN over and over. And let's not even mention the purples... it's ironic, considering that they are supposed to be the most valuable, that I really struggle to convert and sell those. I think I still have five or six full stacks of them in my legacy cargo bay even now.

Looking at the date of that post and realising that I've been re-listing my wares on the GTN on an almost daily basis for over a year now, it hit me that I've kind of become what we used to call an "auction house baron" back in WoW. The amount of money in my legacy bank is approaching two billion credits, which is halfway to the technically imposed credit cap. And I'm sure someone will comment now that they make that sort of money every day before breakfast, but to me it still feels like a lot.

Like I said, I haven't been even remotely poor in a long time, but I used to hover around a couple hundred million credits and that already made me feel pretty rich. It's been very strange to realise just how much I've ratcheted up my credit-making this expansion without even meaning to.

And the funny thing is, I don't even know what to do with all that money. Acquiring gold-level augments is the one thing that would really drain my funds quickly, but I don't actually care about those at this point since I'm not doing master mode Nature of Progress anyway and due to the scaling they do very little in older content.

Besides that, there's only fashion? And I'm not the type who changes her characters' outfits all the time. My main adopts a new look about once a year but that's more opportunistic, depending on what new sets come along. And on the rare occasion when something does appear on the Cartel Market that I would like, I usually have enough complimentary coins to buy it directly from there anyway.

I sometimes hear people complain that SWTOR's economy is broken, but I'm never quite sure what that's supposed to mean. I guess there are a lot more faucets pumping credits into the economy than money sinks that remove them. In other words: If you play a lot it's easy to make a lot of credits and have nothing to spend them on, so everyone ends up charging ridiculous prices for cosmetics on the GTN because what else is anyone going to use that money for anyway?

But then, where is the harm? New players who are only just finding their footing won't have trouble paying for "necessities" like skill and speeder training because the cost of those is still mandated by the game and not other players. In fact, if they engage with the player economy at all they'll probably have an easier time making money than we did back in the day, since anything they could potentially sell, from a nice-looking green piece of armour to some mid-level crafting materials, will fetch much, much higher prices than it did back in the day, while outgoings like training costs have remained the same or even gone down in price.

I guess the situation could appear broken to the eyes of a new player when they've only just earned their first thousand credits from quests, they check the price of some armour set that they like the look of on the GTN, and they see that it's selling for two hundred million. However, from my experience that's pretty much the same in all the MMOs I've played: You can't expect to go in as a brand new player and immediately be able to afford some rare and coveted item. Level up and look into what ways there are to make money and you'll find that all this stuff isn't nearly as unobtainable as it might seem at level ten.

2 comments :

  1. On the Star Forge server the economy has inflated outrageously again. For awhile it was doing really well and then suddenly the prices on the GTN skyrocketed. Honestly, I don't think much about the economy except when I want to buy a new cosmetic and everything is out of my price range.
    It is a little inconvenient for others in my guild who like to run weekly trivia night, giveaways etc. because it's becoming harder to buy prizes with everything being so expensive on the GTN.

    The jawa junk is really convenient. I do some crafting off and on so it comes in handy when I don't feel like sitting in my stronghold for an hour or so sending my companions off to get more mats. I've also begun selling mats as well and have already made a lot of credits off it. Anytime someone in my guild asks how to make more credits I always tell them to deconstruct their gear for the jawa junk. It's not a get rich quick scheme, but it is profitable.

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    1. There do seem to be differences between servers as well. I only really play on Darth Malgus, but I've heard from people that are active on several servers that prices on DM are apparently much lower than on other servers, comparatively speaking... then again, that might have changed again.

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