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Thoughts on the New School HC Economy

Discussion in 'Diablo 3 Hardcore Forum' started by Delano, Jun 27, 2013. | Replies: 8 | Views: 5946

  1. Delano

    Delano IncGamers Member

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    In the recent weeks since patch 1.08, the hardcore community has been experiencing a renisance. Xanth has written about it in several articles to this point, most recently in “Death Takes a Holiday”. When the group play incentives were introduced on top of the monster density changes, HC players found themselves living longer, having more builds open up as viable and experiencing a new freedom of gear selection. These changes are unanimously (or as close to unanimous as is possible in the Diablo 3 community) regarded as positive and have revitalized the game for many and brought others into the HC fold.


    However, as the community has had time to adapt their collective playstyle to the new environment, the HC game has begun to change. The largest area I've seen, and the area I'd like to focus on, has been the economy. This change is neither good nor bad, just different from pre 1.08. In the diii.net HC forum across all threads posters are commenting about how the price of the good to godly gear has been rising. Balancing this, the lower end but viable items haven't been selling as well or at all including set legendaries. Flux commented in a recent podcast that he was having a much harder time building up a stash of gold with his 2[SUP]nd[/SUP] monk. The prices of Tomes of Secrets has been dropping steadily since the patch, as of this writing hovering around 9,100. It was closer to 7,000 over the weekend. If you've been following along, you may notice that the HC economy is starting to resemble the SC one.


    Why? Xanth touched on the obvious reason in the title of his article, people aren't dying as much. The one rule change that separates HC from SC is the tiny issue of death. If people aren't dying as much, items aren't being removed from the economy. The biggest cash sink in HC is death, including the cost of buying and crafting a new set of gear, as well as time lost farming in inferno. If they're not dying as much, they're achieving higher Paragon Levels, which innately increases their Magic Find, causing more items to come into the economy. If they're playing in a group, then the amount of experience to attain higher PLs has been decreased, so higher PLs are being attained with equivalent pre patch survival durations as well as more MF bonuses. The longer character lifespans and increased accumulation of gear has many players crossing the threshold of being able to craft a hellfire ring in HC, which further accelerates leveling and therefore item accumulation.


    As players are living longer, the need for lower end items, other than reduced level requirement, are going down. However, since they're living longer, when they die, the lost items are going to be better. We can kid ourselves all we want, but in HC, all characters have the same end. That's a sink the SC community doesn't have, although infinitly escalating gold in SC looks similar to only good items being removed from the economy in HC. Psychologically, this can work against the community, as with a higher percentages of deaths being well geared and leveled characters, the frustration to take a break or quit may be higher than before.



    What does this mean for the new player or player new to HC? First of all, there has never been a better time to dip your toes in. As gear inflation drives the price of entry level mp1 inferno gear down, it get easier and easier to assemble something that can farm in a group. Finding a public game is rarely an issue. From there, it's up to the RNG how quickly you progress, but it has also never been easier to stay safe so higher PLs and better drops has never felt more inevitable. As for the higher level items being out of reach, there is a change to the itemization system in the works. The change will inevitably shake up the economy. Leveling up safely now will help build liquid currency from when the change is implemented, and there's hopefully a shift in the better gear through either drops or crafting. Having cash in hand and a character ready to go and take advantage of the change is a much stronger position to profit than starting out. The last point is speculation on something that's still very much in the works of Blizzard's saturnine iterative development process, but a safe bet.



    Now isn't the best time to add a disclaimer, but I'm making these points in general based on observations of the forums here and elsewhere and things I've noticed in the HC AH. I tried my best to avoid relating personal experience, because there's few things less convincing than a sample of one. I would like to hear what you guys think about these points and anything I missed.
     
    Last edited: Jul 3, 2013
  2. Grishok

    Grishok IncGamers Member

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    Very good article, right on :) With my 2nd monk I'm having a far easier time getting decent mid-lvl items, but the top items my first monk had have not got any cheaper at all!

    The item overhaul will probably not happen this year, so I'd not base your actions on that.
     
  3. Delano

    Delano IncGamers Member

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    It's REALLLLYYY idle speculation, just another way to justify doing what I'm already doing. Knew that was shakey when I wrote it, but it was fun to think about.
     
  4. Kornkills

    Kornkills IncGamers Member

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    It will just get worse.

    Such is life, my monk is a badass and will annihilate any new content they release since mp0-6 is one shot city and 7-10 is two - four shot city for white mobs.


    I think when we move forward to expansion or itemization over haul, there will be a increase in people playing again, which will probably lead to an increase in prices for commodities. And of course, the new items will have some value, and will be wildly different in prices as people decide what is the "best" ones based on their properties, and those will celebrate a above average price for a while, and then they will plummet except for the "BIS" rolls.

    As for the current economy, its been said over and over the reason for the decline. There is no fixing it, inferno is too easy because the items needed to clear/farm inferno mp0/1 cost basically nothing because it is too easy to farm, the average paragon level of people who play has increased, and everyone who plays in a party had a big MF buff, on top of the previous mp buff. Hell, I got 5 legs in a a1 mp10 run, my buddy got 6. That was like 3 hours, but mp7 can get 3 and hour easily.

    The root: gear is too common now.

    The solution: Ladder system like Diablo2.

    I will speak from experience, Inferno was HARD as all hell in the start of Diablo 3. Was it too hard? Sure, it was VERY frustrating, especially for us hardcore players. It took me 9 days of grinding to go from level 60 to killing the butcher in Inferno. By days I mean 7+ hours of playing per day on work nights, 18+ on days off. That amount of grinding just to move through Hell (I hit 60 in nightmare for my first max level toon) and a1 inferno is intense, and the casual player would likely never make it through hardcore inferno.

    Why did I just talk about all that? Because if there was a ladder, and "fresh start" the difficulty of the old days would -almost- return. One of the biggest changes, other than straight up nerfs, is the item level of items that drop in inferno. It used to be you would mostly find ilvl 58-61 in act 1, 58-62 act 2, 58-63 act 3/4. Almost all of my gear on my first monk is ilvl58 or 59 with 4 properties. So, the fresh reset would be easier to gear up initially than the past, but there is another problem. A1 is all you need now to hit pl100. Sure clearing to act 4 to kill diablo is noble, but to grind to pl100 quickly, you just do the little mp1 act1 runs in a group, and you'll gear up, and you'll bump up the mp, and bam, 150 hours later, pl100. Ladder race over after 14 - 18 days, because there is always someone who can invest 20+ hours a day to a video game.

    But on the bright side, everyone and their budies would all be starting fresh, the joy of gearing and leveling would return, and it would be fun for about 3-5 months.


    Sorry for the rambling... TLDR remake diablo 2 exactly as it is today with diablo 3 graphics/engine. I would play it for another 10 years.
     
    Last edited: Jun 28, 2013
  5. Grishok

    Grishok IncGamers Member

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    True.

    But remember you probably play a lot more than some other people. For me, playing maybe 2 sessions a week, the rate of progress is fine as it is. I will take at least another month to get my monk in an ok place and then I can continue on my wizard. Haven't even touched WD and DH yet, so for me lots and lots of exciting stuff to explore :)
     
  6. Lord_Vega

    Lord_Vega IncGamers Site Pal

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    Lovely article, and definitely a trend I have been noticing as well!

    Having played HC since around 1.05, and HC only since 1.07, I have definitely noticed the change you are talking about, and the trend that has been affecting the game lately.

    It's mostly the fact that even as a lowly level 60 char with decent or worse items, you can join parties and easily leech off and feel protected for a few plvls, while in the meanwhile accumulating demonic essences and slowly upgrading your gear. The change, therefore, is a result of the group play boni, which in their turn have made playing together not only fun and popular but mandatory now.

    I have just hit plvl 21 with my DH, and I would have never gotten so far without solid teamplay through my early plvls.
    I, for one, love the direction this game has taken, since unlike Korn, I can't play like a madman, and even with only around 10 hours a week or so, I am making proccess and having fun.
     
  7. Delano

    Delano IncGamers Member

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    Very good couple of points Vega. If I was re writing the topic post, I'd include something about group dynamics. Recently I've been in lower MP games (1-2) where some of the other players have been running around with a Sun Keeper and other MF gear. Which is fine, but due to the flexibility inherent in the new group dynamics, they can safely drop their survivability and DPS in favor of their magic find. I wouldn't have noticed how much of a difference in drops this made, but one of them kept linking his finds. I was sitting around 273% MF and he was capped at 450%. At the end of the game I asked if I could get a cut for carrying, and he gave a sheepish “heh” and left. This is partially my fault for being in the older HC mentality of survival and efficiency above all else. These players are meta gaming that mentality and going to the other extreme of hang back and be rewarded with legendaries. It's excellent that there are these gear choices, and of course players are going to be looking for a way to turn the new breadth options to their personal advantage.


    There's nothing wrong with supporting newer or poorly geared players, in fact that's what I believe to be a very deliberate function of the multiplayer incentives. A product of that is players deliberately gimping their gear in favor of magic find.


    The other point is about playtime and the effect of ladder. First playtime: there are very few players who can invest the sort of time Korn describes into the game or any area of their life. I've played on and off since release and have yet to come within an order of magnitude or 3 of the gear necessary to be able to clear MP 6 on HC. Gear, in my experience, is not too common, but the gear that's desirable costs too much. Ladder resets most benefit that very small group of hyper committed players that are going to level way ahead of the curve and sell gear to each other and those that come after while getting rich. Not that they don't deserve any attention, but we do know that for altering the gaming experience, Blizzard tends to paint with a wider brush that effects the game for all or nearly all players. However, there's great fun in starting fresh and I don't see why a ladder isn't available as a parallel yet distinct economy with no difference other than being on a timer. For those that want it anyway. The rest of us can keep farming and dreaming big on the characters that we have that are still alive.


    I do think there needs to be an incentive to beat act bosses and progress in Inferno, but that's been a point made by plenty of others. If there were tangible quest rewards, other than the less than trivial amount of gold and exp you get in Inferno, then people would do it. They're a long way towards balancing all activities in the game in terms of reward/hour, and they've admitted it and said they're working on it. As for the gear improving as the acts progress, be careful what you wish for Korn, or we could all end up farming act 3 again, unless they massively incentivize act 4. So we may either end up doing Alkaizer runs again, or have to brave act 4 in HC for a shot at the best stuff.

    Writing all this down I appreciate the challenge in front of the D3 team in tweaking these enormously elaborate systems in a way that creates separate yet equal ways to play the game in terms of reward. Describing D3 players as water, which always follows the path of least resistance towards its goal, is apt because it doesn't matter how much fun the most efficient way to farm items is, as long as it's the most efficient.
     
    Last edited: Jul 2, 2013
  8. Flux

    Flux Administrator

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    I was out of town and super busy for the last 2 weeks of June and hardly got to play any D3. I was able to log on every other day or so just to refresh my auctions, though things weren't exactly leaping off the shelves. Even with reduced prices.

    I've had a bit more time to play the last couple of days, and have done some AH scanning and selling, and I can really see econ changes since mid-June. ToS and Brimies still have value, and have actually gone up a bit. Last I checked ToS were around 7k and Brimies were plunging in price, from 200k to 45k during May and into June. Checking those tonight, ToS were at 9k and Brimies were around 55k. I'm sure those fluctuate, but they seem to have stabilized, at least compared to the way the prices were plunging all during early June.

    Items, on the other hand, continue to fall in price. I remember when the cheapest Nat's boots were like 15m. I found a crappy roll (life regen) pair tonight and was shocked to see comps listed at 1-2m. Rares are worth even less, and yellows of a quality that sold for 2-4m a couple of months ago might bring 200k now. At best.

    I'm not sure this is a bad thing; as the OP said, it's a great time to be starting out in HC since you can gear up for a fraction of what it used to cost. But for those of us with some established chars it's sure a lot harder to increase the nest egg than it used to be. I'm fairly sure I actually lost gold over the past month, while not playing that much. My bank crept up 40-75m mostly from AH sales while I wasn't able to play, but I bet the gear on my Nun lost a lot more in value than that, if I compare the current replacement cost to what I paid for it 1-4 months ago.
     
  9. Delano

    Delano IncGamers Member

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    Well, it's good to be starting out, not good to be striving for a complete class set or your first hellfire ring. The good items couldn't be more common and cheap. The great to amazing items are just getting more expensive. As a relatively undeveloped character it's my ongoing challenge to build up enough money for an upgrade. My rare and mediocre legendary auctions haven't been selling at all. All of my successful auctions over the past week have been from 1.07 crafting and gem recipes. The best way for me to make money is to start selling my ToS and brimstones, but I'm reluctant because after I get one more upgrade (I'm sure we've all thought this before) I'm going to want to do a lot of crafting and gem building. I feel fortunate that as a WD I have the largest pickup radius out of all the classes, as dropped gold is easily the largest part of my income right now.



    It does make sense that only the super rare items are valuable now, it was only a matter of time until prices began to effect the drop rates with fewer items leaving the economy. It's just up to the RNG gods and a gradually increasing paragon level until I get a big drop that will solve all my problems. I'm getting close to repeating myself so I'm going to stop.
     

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