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Casual Connect, July 24, 2012.

Please excuse spelling mistakes and the rough nature of this post as our updates during the IGDA Summit and Casual Connect this week are pretty much live blogged.

  • Speaker was John Young, VP of Business Development, Perfect World Entertainment

MMORPG Economies

Customer segregation, economic ecology (how do items get in to the game world)


    • pays for everything
    • loves game
    • will pay


    • plays for everything

Power gamer

    • max/min player
    • plays for levels and gear

stylish player/collector

    • visual prestige
    • love events, one-time rewards


    • play to provide
    • focus on secondary systems: crafting, enchantment, pets


    • plays to corner the market
    • plays the auction house

Sources of goods

  • grinding (solo)
  • questing (solo)
  • dungeons (social)
  • craftiung
  • events
  • cash shop
  • auctions
  • trade
  • what does an item do? how does it enter the world? involve players in this, make them feel useful (e.g crafting)
  • different player types are interpendant on each other due to their play styles and what is important to each in their individual game experiences
  • Refining is a strong revenue driver for Perfect World’s games
  • What is refining? take two things from the world, combine them to make something better

Prospect Theory


  • people want to avoid a loss about twice as much as they want to get a win
  • selling power cheapens the game and invalidates the achievements
  • what to do? the trick is the balance (buying item rather than earning it, item is not as good)

what can casual game designers learn from this?

  • enable a broad economy, strong backend control
  • understand player types and motivations
  • know what is scare and how it is consumed
  • design economies for your gamer ecology
  • find a way to sell (the perception of) loss avoidance
  • Visuals are important, tangible, physical items are more desirable, generally sell better than intangible items like re-specs
  • Consumables in one game: 1 day, 1 week, 30 day, and permanent duration versions – 30 day and permanent sold best