To loot or not to loot, that is the question. Part 1.
When NQ first announced that DAC was a completely safe resource the community responded very passionately. Some people were relieved to hear that DAC would be safe from loss but a good number of people quickly raised their voices in disagreement. For this article I thought it might be interesting to see where the staff behind Oz stands on the subject. Originally this article would offer all of our opinions in one article but when compiling the opinions I decided to make it into a 2 part series. To keep the article within reasonable word count. And I should mention that these are nothing more than our opinions and in no way an indication as to what NQ ultimately decides to do with DAC. There are many good reasons on both sides of the discussion and either decision has the potential to create a dramatic ripple effect on the future behaviour of the players and the future of Dual Universe.
I think DACs should be lootable, but with a time limit like 24 hours or so after purchase from NQ or the market place. If not, then you’ll either get players camping out by markets ready to pounce on anyone that buys them, or players won’t buy them as the risk/reward ratio is just not worth it.
If DACs aren’t lootable then they will become a safe haven for everyone. All assets will be sold off for DACs and effectively leaves the player with zero risk in game.
The exception to the rule should be that Kickstarter DACs be non-lootable, unless sold/transferred over to another player, then it’s fair game.
Let me start by saying that I’m not a PvP player, in general I’m a player who avoids PvP as much as possible. I’m also the type of player that tries to limit risks as much as possible. Which might make you wonder why I am so excited for a game like Dual Universe. But that’s not the subject of this article.
To me the idea that there is a resource that is completely safe makes me a bit uncomfortable. I’m not sure I can agree with there being a way to accumulate wealth that is risk free while everything else is always potentially in danger of being lost. The best idea I have heard was that buying a DAC from NQ should be completely safe. As in, you buy it as a digital asset that has no presence in your inventory. But the moment the DAC changes hands it becomes an actual item in your inventory, subject to the rules of all other items in game. I am a 100% behind the idea that a player can buy a DAC to pay for his game time but I am against the idea that DAC becomes a premium type of currency that is free of risk. If a player buys a DAC from the marketplace to pay for his sub then he should consume it for what it is intended. But if a player buys a DAC to sell it on a distant market unit to make a profit I feel it should be subjected to all the risks other players face when moving assets.
I do not think that the people who buy DAC from NQ are the ones who will use it to fuel game time. A subscription is still cheaper so it wouldn’t make sense to do that. No, I think that people who buy DAC will use them to convert them to Quanta for an immediate money boost which in theory provides another player with the ability to play for another month. That is a scenario that I feel comfortable with and that is the intention behind DAC. However I do feel that the person who buys DAC from the market to resell them at a later time at a higher cost should have to consider some potential risk. Or else DAC becomes a way to collect wealth in a risk free environment. And I think that goes against everything else that is part of the Dual Universe philosophy.
But there are still a few unknowns that prevents us from seeing the bigger picture. As an example, if DAC becomes an item in your inventory that also potentially means that when you die the DAC has a 50% chance of being destroyed. Because when you die some items will drop as loot and some items will be destroyed. I don’t think it’s impossible to exclude DAC from being destroyed in that scenario but it is an angle to consider. How comfortable are we with the idea that DAC is destroyed and removed from the game? That is a situation we want to avoid I think because in that scenario there are no winners and it’s a waste of money.
What if you put up your DAC for sale at a player run market on some distant planet and said market is destroyed in a conflict. What happens to the commodities that were up for sale? Would the invading army now have access to the containers that hold the items? Are the items destroyed? We know items do not magically appear in your inventory so what would happen with your DAC in that scenario? I’m sure there are some hidden factors in this debate that I as a player just don’t see. So my passion is tempered by that knowledge. Though right now I still feel that DAC should be lootable.
Ultimately it is not my decision to make and I’m kind of happy it isn’t. NQ will decide what they think is the most sensible solution and chances are that whatever they decide will solicit some kind of passionate feedback from the other side of the debate. Whatever they decide, it will have a serious impact on the game. And we all want the same thing, an awesome game. That sometimes means accepting design choices that you don’t agree with for the good of the game and its community.
In my opinion, DACs should not be lootable. Dual Universe will be a punishing game; it will be time consuming to build things up, and difficult to manage and defend resources.
If a month is spent building a massive ship, taking that ship into unprotected space could mean losing it all. And for many, all of this is the draw of the game; the risk that at some point, you can lose everything. But DACs… DACs are what allow you to play the game in the first place.
If that huge ship is lost, the resources can be reacquired and the ship rebuilt, maybe better than last time. But if you lose your DAC… Now you simply can’t play the game. Yes DACs can be purchased, in-game with Quanta/trade or out of game with real money. But to lose the one unique item that has value beyond just in-game resources, the one you maybe spent real money on, would just be frustrating.
I believe making DACs lootable would do more harm than good in the long run.
Even the people behind Oz are divided on the subject. While Kael and I have the same basic idea, ATMLVE is completely against the idea of DAC being lootable. And I feel both sides have a valid case. Personally I want the solution that looks at all the angles and decides what is best for the future of Dual Universe regardless of my own opinion. Because in the end we all want Dual Universe to be a game that lasts for years to come with a healthy community. Let’s see next time what Infinity has to say on the topic.