I'm not an experienced MMO-gamer and maybe this is old news to most of you here, but I found something quite disconcerting, and frankly somewhat economy-breaking, yesterday.
Namely, auto-farming the starter-town goblins. I have no experience whatsoever in programming macros, but I got a gaming mouse for christmas that came with a simple way to program its buttons to send repetitive keyboard commands to the computer.
So I tried this out yesterday, made a brand-new character, equipped him with the free shortbow (and a little later a dropped pot-steel plate armor) marched him near a few starter town goblins and set the mouse to spam basic attacks. With the goblins aggroing on me (and thereby becoming auto-targeted by me), I could basically kill one after the other everytime they respawned. This was so effective that I decided to let this run while I was afk and went to work. About 12 hours later I've just returned and found my guy has managed to kill around 1800(!) goblins before being disconnected (by my internet provider, which does that once per day around 4am; I was working the night shift).
Amongst the loot is, besides a whole lot of starter gear, some stuff that could have actual economical value that imho should not be THAT easy to get (and that would harm the budding economy if they were to remain this easy to get):
- almost 2000 copper pieces
- around 40 recipes (Tier 1 only)
- a few spells/maneuvers
- around 10-25 of each of the goblinoid bag of xyz stuff.
- about 40 each of goblin armor scraps and broken weapons
If this stuff is available more or less effortlessly, I can see the economy having real trouble getting off the ground. Where is the incentive to try to EARN copper, if you can get this much automatically? Hunt for recipes or stock:green - no thanks, there's enough for everyone here...
The game certainly didn't seem to have a way to detect and/or prevent this automated goblin-farming and I don't know if this behaviour is frowned upon (I would assume so). But as long as this is not prevented, I'm sure that people will do this. And I can only imagine what someone with actual knowledge how to write macros could do, this took a complete newbie about 5 mins to set up and less than half an hour to optimize. The only way to stop my guy from doing this atm would actually be to kill him and take the rep-hit while I was afk.
What could be done to prevent this?
- Some form of detection/prevention of automated / "bot" characters
- require manual looting of goblin corpes instead of auto-loot
- slow the re-spawn rate or have more random respawn locations for the starter goblins.
All these would work, but are likely somewhat difficult to introduce on such a short notice.
The easiest and most efficient way imho would be to simply remove everything that could have actual value (i.e. copper, spells, salvageable resources) from the starter town goblin's loot tables. Leave them with only starter gear (and maybe recipes of below level 3, sort of "crafter's starting gear"); if people want better loot, they need to be active and go outside to kill stuff. And I'd strongly recommend to do this before the start of EE, once the loot (and the recipes in particular) are out there, it'll be difficult to repair, imho.