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In response to (imo pointless drama about) the removal of the UEC cap, Chris Roberts has chimed in on the matter :)

UEC

Recently a few people have voiced their concerns about the removal of the player UEC wallet cap that came with the release of Star Citizen Alpha 3.2. This was done to help smooth over the transition to an in-game economy and to give people that had purchased game items through the now-defunct Voyager Direct web store the ability to ‘melt’ them back for UEC, so they can repurchase new items in-game. As we are going to be rebalancing the pricing and economy as we expand the game, and as we currently reset everyone’s accounts when we release a new patch, we felt it would be unfair to force people to keep items they may have bought at a radically different price. This would have happened if we’d kept the overall hard cap on UEC as many players had amassed a lot more than 150,000 UEC worth of items. We still limit the maximum purchasing to 25,000 UEC a day, but we felt that removing the cap was the right call, especially as with every persistent database reset we need to refund players the UEC they have purchased with money and used to buy in-game items. It’s one thing to lose an item due to gameplay, but it’s a complete other thing to have your game account forcibly reset with each new patch, losing all the items you paid actual money for.

Putting aside the puzzle of why some people don’t have a problem with stockpiling ships or items but a player having more than 150,000 UEC is game breaking, I think it may be useful to revisit Star Citizen’s economic model.

Developing and operating a game of Star Citizen’s ambition is expensive. From day one of the campaign we’ve been quite clear on the economic model for Star Citizen, which is to not require a subscription like many MMOs, but instead rely on sales of initial game packages and in-game money to fund development and online running costs. To ensure money isn’t a deciding factor in progression, the core principle that the game follows is that everything you can obtain with real money, outside of your initial game package, can also be earned in game via normal and fun gameplay. There will also be plenty of things that can only be earned by playing.

There are two types of resource players have that they can contribute to Star Citizen to make it better: time and money.  A player that has lots of time but only backed for the basic game helps out by playing the game, giving feedback, and assisting new players. On the flip side, if a player has a family and a demanding job and only has four hours to game a week but wants to spend some money to shortcut the time investment they would need to purchase a new ship, what’s wrong with that? They are helping fund the ongoing development and running costs of the game, which benefits everyone. The exact same ship can be earned through pure gameplay without having to spend any money and the backer that has plenty of time is likely to be better at dogfighting and FPS gameplay after playing more hours to earn the ship. I don’t want to penalize either type of backer; I want them both to have fun.  People should not feel disadvantaged because they don’t have time, nor should they feel disadvantaged if they don’t have money. I want our tent to be large and encompass all types of players with varied skill sets, time, and money.

This was the economic approach I proposed out when I first pitched Star Citizen because it is the model as a player I prefer. I don’t like to have to pay a subscription just to play and I hate when things are deliberately locked behind a paywall, but as someone that doesn’t have twenty hours a week to dedicate to building up my character or possessions, I appreciate the option to get a head start if I’m willing to pay a little extra.

Some people are worried that they will be disadvantaged when the game starts for ‘real’ compared to players that have stockpiled ships or UEC. This has been a debate on the forums since the project started, but this is not a concern for me as I know what the game will be and I know how we’re designing it.

There will always be some players that have more than others, regardless of whether they’ve spent more or played more, because people start at different times and play at different paces. This is the nature of persistent MMOs. Star Citizen isn’t some race to the top; it’s not like Highlander where “There can only be one!” It is an open-ended Persistent Universe Sandbox that doesn’t have an end game or a specific win-state. We are building it to cater to players of all skill levels, that prefer PvE or PvP, that like to play solo or in a group or a large organization, that want to pursue various professions, some peaceful and some combat orientated. This is the core philosophy of Star Citizen; there isn’t one path, nor is there one way to have fun.

This may be a foreign concept to gamers as the majority of games are about winning and losing, but Star Citizen isn’t a normal game. It’s a First Person Universe that allows you to live a virtual life in a compelling futuristic setting. You win by having fun, and fun is different things to different people.

See you in the ‘Verse!


Chris Roberts

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12 minutes ago, LowZone said:

VD item melting without a UEC cap has been around since the beginning of July, why is it suddenly an issue now?

I honestly have no idea and personally believe it was just another case of some trolls/haters desperately trying to find something to fill their 'drama of the month' slot. :P

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On. spectrum, it's fun to tell people that their idea of P2W is invalid wrt Star Citizen. Particularly when you point out a few things: like no in-game designed end goal(s), no true "I win" ship, 90% NPCs, ummm, and the fact you, the player, set your goals for success. So what if someone has more than an entry level player, only by griefing can anything be considered P2W in the PU.

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According to Chris's definition of P2W not a single multiplayer game with a persistent universe can ever be P2W. The whole point of PU games usually is that there is no end game and that you cannot "win". I dunno, I think we can probably define it a bit more broadly. If you can advance through a game much quicker by paying for game items that give you an advantage in that game over other players while pursuing the same goal then this might be seen as a form of P2W (Maybe we should call it Pay to get a better game experience 😋). I can imagine that an explorer might get frustrated if on day 1 lotsa players head off into the great unknown with Carracks, Endeavors, etc. with the best scanners money can buy while he is stuck in his Aurora and has a much smaller chance of finding planets/worm holes/gas/metals/jump points before the big guys do. 

Yes this guy does not lose but he also has a smaller chance of finding game content that does not respawn every hour (like planets and jump points) than the player with the bigger purse. You could say he has less chance in winning the race for discoveries and the person who bought a fleet of exploration ships with much better scanners has Paid 2 have a bigger chance of Winning this race (at least initially). 😜

I agree with Chris that you should be able to offset time invested with money invested somewhat but there needs to be a balance I guess. I bought a few nice ships because I don't have time to grind 40 hours a week and still want to fly a few nice ships. On the other hand I can also understand the frustration of people that feel this is "unfair".

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I have a hard time understanding this concept of fair as it's used in connection with an open ended game that is being crowd sourced. Is it fair that some people are super supports and putting thousands into this dream game while others pay 45$ and bitch and complain and cause issues for no reason but at the end of the day will have all the same access to the game? Now that's not fair...

 

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We've known the rules for a long time, they're ending up exactly as we expected.  But that doesn't mean I completely agree that they're the ideal rules.

What about the people who have both time and money?  Won't they jump to an insurmountable lead?  If you can't buy the UEC cap (per account, presumably) every day, are you falling behind?

The key to preventing this from being a reality IMO is, they have to make sure that there is so much "content" that it can't possibly be all consumed even if you have the best stuff.  For example, even the best scanners in the game won't make a dent in how much stuff there is to be scanned, or that scanning data gets stale too quickly and requires a re-scan often enough, that a new player scanning will always find much more unscanned "content" than scanned content, even when everyone else is scanning with the best ship scanners around.

In every previous MMO, this hasn't been possible.  Players always consume content faster than expected, usually much faster.  When an MMO is so awesome that there's stuff to do for everyone, players tell their friends, and more people have fun and those new people tell their friends, and the population in the game explodes virally until all content is consumed and the game begins to "suck" to the point where new players join at the same rate as players leaving the game.  The player population stabilizes but the game now "sucks" compared to what it was before (server lag due to overcrowding, all content is already "camped", oldest established players have insurmountable advantage, etc).  Procedural generation of "content" (asteroids needing to be scanned for example) makes it theoretically possible CIG can stay ahead of the players.  Given the funding model, this has to be true for Star Citizen to be "fair". 

This is why I've always hoped they make things realistically huge.  The solar systems I'd prefer to be actual sized, with the speed of ships increased to compensate.  This would give CIG the ability to add as much content as they need in the empty spaces between worlds in solar systems to stay ahead of a crush of players consuming all the content.  I've noted before that given how many Idrises they've sold, there will be hundreds of Idrises in every single star system in the game, even after they've built out all 110 of them (or however many systems they said), and this assumes only 10% are online at any given time and they're equally spread out instead of clustered around the best content (which is what will actually happen).  Every star system will be thick with Idrises given how rare and powerful they're supposed to be.  Not even thinking about all the other ships.  Star systems need to be huge in order to have enough content such that ships aren't constantly bumping into each other.

The surface area of a sphere equals the radius squared times 4 π .  This means that if CIG makes planetary bodies 1/4th scale, as I believe was the last thing they indicated they would do (as always subject to change), the surface area of each planetary body is (1/4) ^ 2 = 1/16th the realistic size.  So Mars may be 1/4th scale but it'll feel 16 times as cramped as the actual Mars would feel.  Replace Mars with whatever other planetary body you wish to consider.  I'm not sure yet if this is still plenty huge, but it seems foolish to restrict yourself to a smaller size when a larger (realistic) size is so easy.  And maybe they've already simulated it, and its fine.  But consider that if they truly make a good game, the player count will rise virally until all content is consumed.  Why not make that 16 times harder to occur?

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On 8/6/2018 at 10:11 AM, Booster Terrik said:

(Maybe we should call it Pay to get a better game experience 😋)

That's why I call it "Pay to Play" Individual players can call it P2W all they want (they're wrong on so many rational levels), but when someone else has all the things and doesn't mess with the game being played by the player crying P2W, is it really P2W? (umm, same as NPCs in-game)

I submit not.

On 8/6/2018 at 2:29 PM, Boildown said:

Won't they jump to an insurmountable lead?

In this game, only you, the player, set the goals. I call BS on this point because I am likely to not have the same goals. P2W? No. Pay to Play? Yes.

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On 8/6/2018 at 9:18 AM, AstroJak said:

I have a hard time understanding this concept of fair as it's used in connection with an open ended game that is being crowd sourced. Is it fair that some people are super supports and putting thousands into this dream game while others pay 45$ and bitch and complain and cause issues for no reason but at the end of the day will have all the same access to the game? Now that's not fair...

I lub you for this! thank you

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The question if SC is P2W or not won't be answered until we get to a point where we can evaluate how long it takes to "progress" in the game.
Having to grind to progress is not fun. And there are plenty of cases where developers greatly limit progression in order to force people to waste real money.

We all want a fun to play game that doesn't feel like we're climbing a huge mountain.

Sure. Many MMOs have no end goals. No end to the game. They can't have. If they did people would stop playing once they reached the "end".
But good MMOs do give players a sense of progress and above all motivations to keep them coming back.
They offer an evolving story, new adventures, new goals.
Challenges, conflicts and a sense that the universe is changing based on the player actions.

And behind anything you do in a good game always is ... A reward. Be it money, items, ships or whatever.
 

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