The Neverwinter ingame economy suffers from a fairly obvious imbalance for a while now. There are simply too many Astral Diamonds coming in that players don’t know what to spend on. One effect can be witnessed on the ZAX exchange. The blacklogs are rising, especially before anticipated major sales, and players need to wait weeks if not months to get their ADs exchanged. It’s a problem since being able to get ZEN with currency you earn ingame in a reasonable time is a major part of the game’s free-2-play argument.
So the devs have tried to go against the current development and will introduce further adjustments with the Module 15 changes to Salvage. Many players however rightfully lament that the devs try to fight the inflation of Astral Diamonds by nerfing player income. That’s certainly true because another option would be to strengthen the ZEN store. And that’s something I’d like to look into in this article.
Why Is Spending ZEN Important?
Now you might ask how that is supposed to help when already everyone and their mother is trying to exchange ADs for ZEN? If the ZEN store features great items, the run could get even bigger. That’s true, but you have to look at the issue from different angles. Players are not exchanging ADs to buy stuff from the ZEN store. They do so in order to profit from sales and re-sell goods for even more AD. So if the ZEN Market would actually feature items of appeal, players would spend the currency and not just try to flip it. Stronger ZEN products should also make it more attractive to charge currency with real money. So let’s talk about some ideas that could help!
Tweaking the ZAX Cap
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The most obvious tweak that should have an immediate impact would be to simply raise the ZAX cap or completely remove it. Currently it can’t go higher than 500:1 AD:ZEN, which is the cause for backlogs. A higher cap is not ideal though as it would directly nerf the value of Astral Diamonds. That’s why the devs have ruled out a higher cap on the international server in the past. It’s still an easy way to add value to ZEN and belongs on this list. The Russian Drider server by the way operates with a cap of 1000:1 AD:ZEN. So it’s not like the devs can’t raise it, they just don’t like it for the international server.
Strong Sales and Time-Limited Promotions
More obvious bullets are strong sales and time-limited promotions. Neverwinter runs ZEN charge bonuses frequently, but has the tendency to stick to promotions for too long. If you run the Paranoid Delusion for the 10th time in four modules, chances are that the players that want it already grabbed it. Same goes for the key bundles and other stuff. There should be much more variety. I also wondered whether flash sales would be something the game should do more often. It doesn’t even have to be the full store, just a category or maybe a single item. Let’s say 50% off Storm King’s Thunder Campaign Completion? Who says no? It would definitely up the incentive to quickly charge ZEN or at least would make it necessary to always have some of the premium currency in your wallet.
You could probably also do something similar with the vouchers that drop from the Celestial Bag of Refining. Introducing very rare 50% ones there would however be a little too predictable and lead to players waiting for the vouchers to eventually show up. Flash sales are much more random and shouldn’t cover all categories or items each year.
Honestly, why hasn’t this been done yet? It seems too obvious and easy. I think players would pay an actual fortune to unbind stuff and either sell it or move it to another character. I get there might be technical limitations, but if it’s somehow possible, do it! As game, you basically profit twice. First let players go through a cruel grind for a highly valuable item and then letting them buy the unbind token from the ZEN market to freely move it around.
Properly Maintain Current Items
Maintaining the ZEN Market is a must! How long did the completely overpriced and outdated Profession Packs stay in the store? Adventurer Packs, Blood Rubys? There’s probably more! It doesn’t help to have tons of items that are not worth their price tag. People are either not buying them or angry at the game for ripping them off. The store ideally not only gets scheduled updates and additions, but should be evaluated each and every module to make (pricing) changes where necessary. A good current example is the Strongbox Key.
Move Fashion and Dyes to the Zen Store Again, and Make Lots and Lots of More
I personally think fashion is still under-utilized in Neverwinter, and that it was a mistake to move it to the Trade Bar Merchant. People are willing to spend money for looks, and they can’t in Neverwinter. Either stuff is bundled (like the new hair styles from the Consult Expedition Pack) or you have to take the long way through lockboxes and trade bars. Why you have to open lockboxes to get the premium fashion is beyond me. I mean, you can of course also always grab them from the Auction House, but it would be a much better system to bind dyes and fashion sets to account and move them back into the ZEN Market.
And then also update looks constantly. And by constantly I mean every module. If you’re able to do a series of colored community mounts every few months, give us some fashion too. And it doesn’t even have to be fancy crap, just very basic customization options that players can work with. I would argue that transparent underwear might have been one of the better additions for example. Most of the new stuff is too eccentric and can’t be combined with other pieces too well.
Extend VIP System
The VIP system has to be one of the top sellers in the store, right? So why not extend the system? Adding more VIP ranks on top of it won’t likely do it though as players will still only need to spend 1,000 per month. So what I would do is a VIP+ (or whatever) that’s 2,000 and comes with its own rank-based benefits. People have been making good suggestions for new VIP perks in the past and it seems easy to build on top of what you already have. Just some random examples:
- One Unbind Token per month
- Raise daily RAD limit to 100,000 + X
- +X% chance of getting a better Artisan application in the Workshop
- +X% more campaign currency
- X free deaths in “hardcore” mode
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