The economy of Amazon’s new massively multiplayer online role-playing game New World is experiencing some growing pains. To be more specific, the currency on which the economy is based is in the midst of a deflation crisis, causing players to barter for items rather than spend their hard-earned coin.
For those who haven’t been in an economy class in a minute, deflation is when there is a decline in the price of goods or services. This trend is sometimes tied to a scarcity of money within an economy. Currency in New World is currently so scarce and, as a result, so valuable, that players are opting to barter for goods rather than part with any of their rare and precious coin.
According to PlayerAuctions, monster drops, salvaging, and quests don’t offer players enough currency to compensate for the number of coins being used. As a result, prices on goods like crafting materials have dropped because “the value of the currency is so much higher than the value of goods.”
“Trades such as 1000 linen, for 600 ore and 20 eggs, or star metal tools for 40 steel bars, are commonplace, like what one would expect to see in a hunter and gatherer society,” PlayerAuctions said.
This phenomenon presents a potential disaster for players because the fixed cost of certain items and actions can turn crafting, repairing, and property taxes into expensive barriers for entry. Kotaku’s Mike Fahey can attest to the game’s housing tax being a particularly maddening experience, as most of the coin players earn can get absorbed by maintenance costs. Why anyone would want to implement taxes in a video game is beyond me.
If the deflation crisis continues, it could become even more difficult for players to earn money, PlayerAuctions explains. “This downward spiral makes generating income even more difficult, as in-game professions generate little-to-no profit because prices for finished products or crafting materials have become negligible,” PlayerAuctions said. The site goes on to suggest that this problem may disincentivize players from logging into the game if their progress leveling a profession doesn’t earn them the payment they deserve. Funny how art imitates life sometimes.