Wednesday, November 27, 2013

DFUW: A wolf in sheep's clothing.

Syncaine has an interesting piece today about sheeps and wolves. It's an enjoyable post and I mostly agree with him. That said, he continues to draw a lot of his Darkfall conclusions based on his EVE experience.
Syncaine wrote:
What the vast majority of these players are looking for is actually a very PvE-focused, social (no not that kind of ‘social) experience, just with the flavoring of an open world and PvP. They don’t play in spite of the PvP, but they also don’t only play for it.
And that's where I strongly disagree with Syncaine. Darkfall is not simply EVE with swords. The games share some similarities, but the core audience for these game is very different. To illustrate this, let's go to the actual websites for both games and look at how they are marketed to gamers.

Darkfall is specifically marketed as the best PvP MMORPG you will ever experience. Whereas, EVE is marketed as a sandbox universe of unbounded opportunity that you can explore, roam or conquer.

Darkfall: Unholy Wars
Prepare for epic battles.  
Made for PVP!  
Hardcore gaming reinvented  
Do you have what it takes?
Darkfall Unholy Wars completely revolutionizes the concept of epic combat.

A game massive by design as well as concept, Darkfall Unholy Wars comes with a host of features, options, and game-styles for you to choose and discover as you travel through the rich, beautiful and deadly lands of Agon.

Find out how Unholy Wars can easily burn through the adrenaline that feeds even the most hardcore of gamers, and discover what makes it the best PvP MMORPG you will ever experience!

EVE Online
One universe to explore and conquer.  
Discover your future in the sandbox.  
Let your mind roam over EVE's creations.  
Be a capsuleer and experience something more.
In EVE, a universe of unbounded opportunity awaits new capsuleers, whether they lust after wealth, crave the fight or simply yearn for adventure among the stars.

Starting as a new pilot in a training frigate, players can choose from hundreds of skills to train and develop. The choice of skills to train is entirely up to the player. There are no mutually-exclusive branches in a skill tree that is both wide and deep. Over time, a character can be honed into a specialist or adapted for many situations.

The central difference is that one game, Darkfall, is a PVP game first and foremost.  While it has sandbox elements, you'll find that it doesn't actually market itself as a sandbox game.  EVE, on the other hand, is clearly a true sandbox and it openly advertises the fact that you have the opportunity to do anything you want within it's game world.

One game will have you "burn through the adrenaline" and the other would have you "let your mind roam over EVE's creations".

Darkfall: A world full of Wolves
The sheep versus wolf analogy, while a good one, is not a perfect fit for Darkfall. The reason is simple: Most players think they are a Wolves.

The game attracts wolves because it's marketed to wolves, so it's simply not a wolf-eat-sheep world. It's a wolf-eat-wolf world. Sometimes, the other wolf is bigger or meaner or simply luckier than you. And sometimes that means that you fulfill the sheep role in Syncaine's analogy while other times, you'll win and fulfill the wolf role.  If the other pack includes a bunch of big alpha males, you simply need to get more wolves in your pack to compete.

Darkfall, unfortunately, is currently not a place for the real sheep or would-be-sheeps. That's not because of all of us wolves. That's because it's a sandbox without any sand. Would it make for a better game if Darkfall had sand like EVE? Absolutely. But it's not currently in a state where you could simply selectively pick a couple of things that would magically make it attractive to sheep.  Quite literally, AV would need to build that part of the game from the ground up again to attract an entirely different player.

But I don't know that we need true sheep.  After all, the problem with Darkfall: Unholy Wars was never that it had too many wolves and not enough sheep.  Wolves, after all, can simply eat the other wolves.

Friday, November 22, 2013

DFUW: Theorycraft vs Pragmatism

Discussions about game design often come from idealists who have grand opinions about how MMOs should work.  We need the idealists to be creative.  Big dreams lead to big ideas and innovations.

But we also need pragmatists.  Suggestion forums are always littered with the dreams of idealists because some ideas, while creative, are not practical to implement or don't solve for the underlying root problem.  Pragmatism is important because it uses prediction and problem-solving to understand the practical implication of a change.

The recent Darkfall controversy surrounding the "breaking of gear on gank" is a great example of where idealism fails in the face of pragmatism.  Simply put, while the idea may warrant some consideration, it's not a practical solution to the real problem facing Darkfall.

Producers, Consumers and Decomposers
A thriving MMO economy is much like an ecosystem, with Producers, Consumers and Decomposers.  All living things can be placed into one of these three categories.  Producers make products, Consumers use the products produced, and Decomposers break everything down.

Syncaine would argue that Darkfall needs more Decomposers.  As mentioned above, the concept is not necessarily flawed at it's core, since clearly that's how nature works.  But the problem with the economy goes much much deeper than a lack of Decomposers.  

Producers in Darkfall lack a variety in what they can produce.  As an armorer, you can make 7 different ranks of armor. There are no style variations.  The first four aren't viable for PVP and the last is too costly.  This leaves two ranks: Full Plate and Dreadplate that are worth crafting.  It's even worse for cloth wearers, who have two less ranks of armor available.

A common complaint here is that Darkfall is a sandbox without any sand.  Syncaine likes to draw inspiration from EVE but even the most simple ship in EVE has more complexity to it than an entire skill tree within Darkfall for crafters.  If you craft armor, your end-game is making 500 pieces of Dreadplate for the prowess feat.

Which leads me to the second major problem.  Producers also have an incentive to produce for reasons other than supply and demand.  A functioning economy is based on the principles of supply and demand.  The prowess system within Darkfall as it's currently implemented breaks this dynamic by providing an incentive to artificially increase supply.  

As you Produce, you earn prowess that can be used towards things that have nothing to do with Production.  Min/Maxers use crafting and harvesting as an easy way to farm prowess points that can be used towards PVP skills.  The net effect is that "raw, unrefined materials" are worth more than crafted items making it nearly impossible to turn a profit as a crafter.  

Exacerbating this problem, Consumers have little incentive "to do things" in-game that would result in the actual consumption of what is produced.  I'll speak to this again in a moment, but without things "to do" -- there is no need to use or consume.

There are other deeper issues as well.  Massive excesses from normal play of useless materials.  AFK activities that yield some of the largest wealth gains.  Consumables that are more expensive to make than armor.  Missing crafts like Enchanting.  And that's just those that come top of mind.

"Break on gank" is not the solution
The above is a really simple illustration that the problems plaguing the economy are much deeper than simply not having enough sinks or having too many faucets.

The central argument for advocating gear destruction is that it:
  • Eliminates excess gear that was produced
  • Forces people out into the world to harvest
  • If people are out in the world, PVP can find you and you can find PVP
  • It makes resources more valuable
The practical reality is a bit different, however.  First, not everyone has excess gear that needs to be eliminated.  The vast majority farm only what they need to consume.  As noted above, there is no need to consume, so (big surprise) things aren't getting consumed.

Secondly, the idea that forcing people to actively harvest will create PvP hotspots is inherently flawed because no harvesting activity in Darkfall is worth risking gear. People work to farm with minimal risk. This means using classes that can run away and/or gear that is sub-par for PVP.

I want to stress this second point because it's critical to understanding why turning "harvesting" whether it be mobs or resources, is not a great PVP solution.  The nature of a PVP game like Darkfall is to manage risk vs. reward.  Players will farm things in the most efficient and safest possible manner.

Some practical examples of how players manage risk:
  • The pretty standard and most accepted way of farming many high level mobs is to go naked, with a powerful bow.  Coupled with archery role (skirmisher) that has the greatest mobility, you can easily run away if someone jumps you.  It's very low risk, high reward.
  • When you farm resources, you either do it from a safe zone, you do it from the safety of your holding, or you do it naked with nothing more than your pick axe.  You can do all three of these things AFK.
  • AV introduced a sub-holding system called Villages which are on a daily timer and offered resources to the owner.  They made it possible to "steal" from these Villages in an effort to create PVP hotspots.  What actually happens is that people go "steal" naked and then go hide in a player-owned house behind a closed door.
The point here is that player behavior is such that simply forcing people to farm and harvest isn't going to get people to harvest or farm in a meaningful way that will make me want to encounter them for PVP.  Syncaine would have you believe that breaking gear would lead to people to farm more frequently.  In that, he's absolutely correct.  However, they wouldn't farm in such a way that would lead to meaningful PVP.

Players will work to minimize the risk as much as possible.  Few will farm for great gear in great gear.  The vast majority will do it as cheaply and easily as possible and fill the world with naked farmers and harvesters who hug safe zones and run away from fights.  Oh sure, it's rewarding in it's own way to "farm the farmers" but  forcing more people to endure the cycle of grief that comes from forced harvesting is hardly the solution to a declining population.

It's not the economy, stupid.
Clearly, the economy is broken in Darkfall.  It lacks depth and it's not welcoming to the "pure" crafter. Is it "A" problem? Yes.  Is it "THE" problem?  No.

If you read my entry after the beta NDA was lifted, I wrote:
By the third month, [AV] better have something new or anyone without a strong vision for the game is going to lose interest. [...] Right now, the potential problem is that there simply isn't enough interesting things "to do" when not sieging to keep people logged in.
The 'lack of things to do' is a statement that every long-term player has recognized as the core problem since beta.  The population decline was easily predictable.

The idea that 'breaking gear' is going to solve for population decline is laughable.  You don't have to look any farther than the Forumfall reactions to The Loot Nazi that I posted Tuesday to understand that this idea is toxic and will drive players away from the game.

And how many will come back because it's introduced as a new feature? I don't know a single person who would come back for this reason.  We even have a thread on our private clan forums asking what will bring people back -- this isn't mentioned once.

In fact, other than the 'not enough sand in the sandbox' comments because of the lack of things to craft or build, the economy is not mentioned at all.  Is the economy broken?  Yes.  But "faucets and sinks" are not actually the area that needs the most attention.  These just need a band-aid to stop the bleeding and then AV needs to turn it's attention to things that WILL bring players back.

Part of the irony is that Darkfall already has a "gear break" sink in the game in the form of durability.  As you use armor and weapons, it degrades by consuming durability which is lost forever.  There are no 'repairs' -- if you use your sword until it breaks, it's gone.  I don't think it takes a rocket scientist to figure out that simply providing people more things to do (which everyone does want) would naturally increase the rate at which items break.

AV has already said they plan to address the biggest concern players have about the economy (which is scraping that has led to players being able to AFK quite a bit of wealth).  They are moving that resource (treasure maps) to mobs.  This is a great start and the only really pressing need with the economy itself.

Reduces incentive to PVP
In Syncaine's blog post on Sunday, he wrote:
Forumfall had (and is still having) an epic hissy fit. [The] most common and perhaps most idiotic: “Removing items from a grave would reduce the incentive to PvP"
It's interesting that he calls this reaction both common and idiotic. It demonstrates both his disdain for the rest of the community and how truly disconnected he is from them.

The incentive to PVP is actually a very valid concern.

As I pointed out above, much of this game is about managing risk.  Knowing the other guy is wearing a 70k gear bag is all the reason I need to risk my 70k bag to go kill him.  That dynamic starts to change if you devalue the worth of that bag and it grows exponentially as people trade bags back and forth.

In some of the truly great and most epic fights, it's not uncommon for gear bags to be traded frequently.  If I just lost my 70k gear bag, if I can, I'll re-gear and try to catch the guy before he can bank it. In group fights, this is actually VERY common.

We had a series of fights the other night between one of our holdings and a chaos stone where an enemy group was camped.  The same gear bags were traded back/forth at least three times.  We pushed when we shouldn't have pushed to get those bags back.  They pushed when they shouldn't have pushed to get their gear bags back.

If, as Syncaine had proposed, a portion of the contents of those bags was destroyed each time a person would have been ganked, not only would we not have continued the fight, but we all would have ended up fighting naked.

Carson commented on my last blog post that:
I find it interesting that the main objection is not "I don't want my shit to break when I die!" but rather "I don't want some other guy's shit to break when I kill him, and stop me from looting it!"
Now consider that the guy I'm trying to kill just looted my clan-mates bag and I am attempting to retrieve it for him.  And that my goal is to stop, stall or gank that guy to keep him from banking that bag.  I'll risk more and try harder because I am A LOT more motivated to stop him.

If 50% of the stuff in my clan mates's original bag was lost on the death, and then 50% again when I gank the enemy to get it back -- there may be only 25% of the clan members contents left in the bag.  To say that's not a serious de-motivator for PVP is to simply not understand how PVP works in Darkfall.

A game centered on PVP demands solutions to PVP
No one needs a reason to PVP other than the "full loot" nature of the game.  As I wrote above, that's all the incentive that is often needed to keep people pushing hard at each other.

What we DO need is to know where players are so that we can engage them. We need more timed events that attract players and act as neon sign that say PVP IS HERE.

Right now, there are three types of timed events:
  • Sieges.  These are player initiated.  There are some issues here, mainly with siege performance, but for the most part they still function well for the intended purpose of creating a PVP hotspot.
  • Villages.  Completely broken as implemented.  As noted above, the stealing mechanic is broken.  AV has re-vamped this system several times.  There is a good suggestion coming out of MVP forums that I think is perhaps too infrequent and unnecessarily complicated, but it's a start.
  • Sea Towers.  These work excellent.  Every sea tower fight gets a lot of PVP and more resources are destroyed from ships sinking and wasted consumables than gained by the winner of the tower.
In my mind, the optimal solution here is to make villages a sort of mini- land based version of the Sea Towers.  That's more or less what the MVP solution is, so this is promising.

I'm also a big advocate for more directional things that would encourage players to go do a specific PVE activity.  Again, the idea here is BIG NEON SIGNS telling people to GO HERE.  

For example, a weekly feat for the dungeons.  Or some turn-in that only drops off one of the mobs located on a specific sub-continent.  These things might be a bit cheesy, but they do get people moving to the same general area and that's the type of thing that will spark a ton of PVP at portal chambers and nearby Chaos banks.  As I said, AV needs to add "things to do" and more "things to do".

As for scarcity, you don't need a massive sink.  All you need to do is make that turn-in valuable for things consumed in PVP.  If I can go kill mobs, get this thing off them, and turn them in for Greater Rejuv potions or good food?  I'll happily go hunt the bastards down and kill them and anyone farming them.

Full Disclosure
I've kept my in-game identity separate from my blogging identity.  In-game, I actively lead what continues to be arguably the largest and most active clan on NA1.  At one point, we had over 200 actives and an in-game clan roster of 400 including alts.  We were involved in a siege two days ago and we fielded 40.  If you play DFUW, you likely recognize that I am describing Imperium.

Imperium is a great clan and our structure is such that I'm not the only leader (nor am I the founder).  I am, however, one of the most influential and longest standing leaders.  If you are reading this and you are in Imperium, I'm sure you've can put 1+1 together but I'd ask that you keep my in-game identity to yourselves.

I mention this because I know why my clan members joined the game, and, over time, why they left the game and even why some have returned. I understand why people are motivated to play this game.  I'm not relating theories.  I'm speaking from the practical experience of managing and keeping one of the most active clans in Darkfall to continue to be active.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

No Loot for You!

The Loot Nazi
Image credits to Ele Goulding
It may be every gaming bloggers dream to have the ear of a game developer who actually listens to your ideas and considers implementing them.

It's the MMO blogging equivalent of striking the mother lode or winning the lottery.

So you can imagine how our dear friend, Syncaine, must have felt to be invited to the exclusive MVP forum by Averturine to discuss the current and future game state of Darkfall: Unholy Wars.

I respect Syncaine and enjoy his blog.  He makes some good points and he is a good advocate for a more common sense type of MMO that I enjoy.  If not for him, I would never have even tried Darkfall 1 and later Darkfall: Unholy Wars.

So it's with this perspective that I begin my narrative. I'll post another blog entry in a day or so on my opinions, but this post will mostly be about a blogger and his dream.

Our story begins with the creation of an exclusive club:
[...] we have created the MVP forum, a private invitation-only forum section for discussions featuring direct developer participation. The first wave of invites has been sent to a diverse group of players, and more will follow.
-Tasos Flambouras, founder of Aventurine

Invitations were private and who was an MVP member with "direct developer" interaction was unknown. The first rule of the club: Don't talk about who is in the club. Now if the secretive nature of the MVP club seems like a bad idea to you -- you aren't alone.
MVP forums are essentially telling me, the average player, that my opinion is worthless.
-Valnak, subscriber and non-MVP member

We have since learned that within MVP forum, the following idea was circulated to the MVP community for feedback by one of the game's developers:
On the gear sink front, the idea of items getting damaged when a player is ganked had been circulated in the office for a while now and we feel it’s a step in the right direction. This does not hurt the willingness of players of any wealth to gear up and go out since when they are ganked, their items, especially the valuable ones, are more than likely looted or lost in the fray. There are some options here and we would like your feedback on them.

One is whether only equipped items or all items, including ones in the inventory, should receive the durability hit. Another option would be choosing between a flat x% chance of an item breaking or items receiving a flat durability hit and if that takes them to zero durability, then they break.

We also thought of replacing items that reach zero durability with their broken versions. This would however lessen the effect we are trying to achieve by creating an influx of materials so we have decided against it.
-Vangelis, an AV game developer

By all reports, Syncaine seized upon this idea and EleGoulding, an MVP member, described his reaction within the MVP forum:
The idea was one of many that got tossed around, it wasn't the main priority of discussion until Syn Caine started bringing it up every other post.
-EleGoulding, an MVP member
Now the idea of a gear sink in Darkfall is not a new one and it already exists in the form of durability. As items are used, whether through PvP or PvE, item durability is consumed.  There is no repair, so when an item breaks, it disappears from your inventory. Weapons, in particular, degrade quite quickly and armor degrades at a moderate rate.

The central issue at the moment is that very few players are actively doing anything other than PvP and even this is limited to duels and maybe one skirmish a night.

Uzik, another MVP forum member, leaked a snippet of his argument with Syncaine in the MVP forums:

Here is how retarded this gear grind logic is.
They are saying:
-People have lots of gear in their banks
-People don't log into Darkfall because they have too much gear
-Therefore if people had less gear, they would log in and play more

This is the reality:
-People have nothing to do in game
-People don't log into the game
-People have lots of gear in their banks because no one is playing, and those who are playing don't do anything
-Therefore if people had more things to do they would lose more gear

MAKING GEAR HARDER TO GET WILL NOT ENCOURAGE PEOPLE TO PVP. If you don't encourage people do play the population will continue to dwindle. AV NEEDS TO ENCOURAGE PEOPLE TO PVP AND ACTIVELY PLAY THE GAME.
-Uzik, an MVP member

Now, as previously noted, this discussion happened behind closed doors in the MVP forums. AV released a lackluster patch this last week and the community was pretty upset about it. In reaction, AV allowed the MVP forums to shed their anonymity and share with the rest of the community the things that had been discussed.

I do not believe the reaction they received is the one they hoped to achieve. The first comment against the gear destruction on gank was relatively benign from a Forumfall newbie.

Sounds good, but the only thing i have a problem with is when some items are destroyed when you Gank someone, that sucks :( im sure there are plenty of other ways to have gold sinks and item sinks.
-Blackmeat, 20 posts, joined May 2013
Syncaine was quick to respond:
Such as? Keep in mind the extent of the sink needed here, it has to be fairly massive.

Sinks are difficult to viewed as a short-term positive because the initial reaction is "you are taking stuff away from me!" , but without them most aspects of an MMO simply don't work. It can sometimes be difficult to see the long-term benefits of a properly balanced economy, but current DF:UW is a good example of what happens when you don't have one. The lack of motivation to farm mobs, fight over holdings/villages/sea towers, the underutilized market, the stagnation in crafting; all of these things exist today primarily because DF:UW lacks a sink big enough to counteract the many faucets we have.
-Syncaine, author of Hardcore Casual
Massive? Huh? IMO, this is one of the first signs that Syncaine is disconnected from the rest of the Darkfall community. At no point has anyone brought up the need of a 'massive' sink.

It's also clear he doesn't understand the cause-and-effect relationship about why people don't fight mobs, fight over holdings (??), use the market or stagnation in crafting. I'll write about why he's wrong in another post but it's obvious to everyone who still plays that "gear destruction on gank" is not a central issue that needs to be addressed to retain, attract or bring back players.

The next few posts are from people who have now been revealed as MVP members and it's obvious that they've discussed this already on the MVP forums.

Jonah Viel, one of the most well known and respected PVPers in the game and whose "balance" posts on PVP are widely regarded as the most well-thought out cuts right to the crux of the issue.
The problem with Unholy Wars was never gear not leaving fast enough.

It is the fact that we all were allowed to harvest in safezones for rare essences and as such, the market is ruined.

If you want to actually FIX the economy, it's either with a wipe and new rules (not every 3 months btw, that is an awful idea, no offense to whoever came up with it, but that is really horrible), or with introducing new loot that people all need.
-Jonah[fataLity], non-MVP member
For Forumfall, it's mostly been a positive discussion to this point. There are some concerns, but overall, people like what they have read about the other changes. Then it starts to take a turn for the worse.
It's totally deflating that anyone would suggest implementing a feature like this. It's quite possibly one of the worst ideas I've seen circulated around these forums. It completely violates the principle of risk vs reward, which is the heart of Darkfall.
-bsrge, 90 posts
My opinion on this is that the gear break idea is a bad idea. Here's why, it doesn't solve the problem. Will gear breaking on gank make people come back? Resounding no. Is it going to solve the economy problem? No.
-Cyber-Hick, 800+ posts
As many mentioned the idea of losing durability when ganked totally sucks in my opinion. This is our reward for going out and killing our enemies. Broken armors and weapons as reward? This is the dumbest thing I've ever heard.
- AseldingVentus, 1000+ posts
How is a durability hit on gank even up for discussion? How the fuck is that a priority at all at the moment? All that will do is devalue the full loot system. So frustrating.
- Sumdyar_VZ, 1000+ posts
When the hottest topic coming out of the MvP forums is "gear break on gank" instead of fixing easily fixable issues that have been plaguing the game since early beta there is a huge problem.
The suggestion forums were doing just fine before the MvP forums. After this latest "gear break on gank" fiasco, the MvP forums is a joke to me. I don't want people like SynCaine having "higher value input" in what gets implemented into the game, when the guy played maybe a year of df1.
-Dim Mok, founder of Sick Bastards
Can't believe people are actually even considering this... It's fucking stupid. Add real shit to the game please. Better yet just Buff villages, stealing, mob drops.
-Erock, 1000+ posts
I don't like the idea of being forced to 'destroy' things simply to get rid of them. Positive incentive through creation is a better sink for a sandbox. Add new tiers of armor that required the lower tiers as part of the mats.
- rhodric, 80 posts
All I can say is if they actually do implement it then truly AV is intentionally trolling us...
-Mycke, an MVP member
I think you've demonstrated well enough that exactly what we thought was going to happen with the MVP forums indeed did happen; where they admit people who have terrible opinions (and run blogs filled with terrible opinions, in your case) and then hold their terrible opinions to an undeserved level of status.
- Abaratican, 5000+ posts
I fear the MVP forum will do more harm than good if this is a serious topic. Embarrassing, they clearly choose people that don't create constructive input, but better yet volume posters who have put on a big show.
-Degmara (Tony Yayo), member since 2003
The fact that AV is even considering something like gear destruction on ganks before addressing the real problem is quite upsetting.
-Dhalsim, 300 posts
Syncaine said its a good idea.. And I don't know if you are aware of this but he has a blog and holds the record for bringing people into Darkfall(Im sure that the top notch PVP videos being released by the like of Jonah Veil did nothing for the game)
Fix the game before making such drastic changes that could take away from PVP value. If they get people into the world with smart development and there is still an abundance of gear lets revisit the idea then.
-Synik, 3000+ posts
No one wants SynCaine and Xipher to represent them. I mean honestly, who here can say they have EVER had any substantial interaction in-game with either of them?
I don't even know if SynCaine even played DF1 or DFUW for a good amount of time. MVP's were supposed to be pillars of the community who could represent the best interest of the players, not just advance their own playstyles.
-Uzik, an MVP forum member

For the sake of fairness to Syncaine, I left out most of the comments that were far more harsh in their criticism of him personally and his credentials. The essence here is that this 'gear break' topic has had a significant backlash and Syncaine has largely taken the brunt of the attacks since he has been acting as the idea's biggest advocate. I have to think that given the high hopes for "developer interaction" that he must have had upon getting into the MVP forums, this reaction from the community must be a very bitter pill to swallow.

Right now, he is perhaps the most villified and hated person on the Darkfall forums.

And the simple truth of the matter is -- he's wrong.

It's not that the concept of gear breakage is necessarily flawed at it's core. It's that it's too late to make these kinds of changes and it's simply not a change that will bring people back to the game.

Quite the opposite, it's a polarizing change that will drive players away from the game. That's the worst possible thing for Darkfall right now. Particularly since the "economy" is not the most broken part of the game. This is blindingly obvious to those of us who still regularly play but not so obvious to those who mainly theorycraft on their blog about how MMOs should work under ideal conditions.

The lack of a "gear-break" feature is also not the cause of the current problems that plague Darkfall. There are a host of other reasons why the economy is broken in Darkfall that have nothing to do with scarcity of resources.

I'll address that claim in a future post, but for now, let me just say that the economy is not simply broken because of sinks and faucets. The economy is broken because it lacks depth and crafters can't make a profit.