With the latest news that we won’t be getting a stronghold research buff for honing up to 1415, I’ve been pretty sad about the state of the game. I’ve really enjoyed my 1100+ hours up to this point but I can start to feel my loyalty weaken. I want to bring up a few other concerns that all seem to be interconnected. I think between gold inflation, bots, RMT, and the lack of a stronghold buff, the player base should be fairly angered.
Gold inflation - In game prices have skyrocketted over the last few weeks. Whether it’s engravings or jewelry pieces, the prices have gone up and up. The amount of gold being generated by bots is absurd. I’m sure I can’t be the only player struggling to push to 1460 while starting to run out of gold. If I decide to push my ilvl it means sacrificing any type of savings or income meant to go towards accessories. (As a support main, our accessories are ridiculously expensive and so are our glass engravings). I understand that we get a good amount of gold generated at the reset of each week but at 1415+ we rely on Valtan (4.5k in HM before bonus), Argos (2700 before bonus), Una’s chests (~7k), and the occasional gold island (700-2100). That’s a total of just over 9k gold and that’s assuming you aren’t getting the bonus chests from valtan and argos (which all of us are). 9k gold is currently the price a single legendary engraving. (I’m not factoring in the price of jewelry drops or mats because these are gold transfers, not generation)
RMT - I think RMT has been completely out of control. Players at this point in the game are more incentivized to purchase gold from a 3rd party site than through in game methods (and have been for months). 3rd party sites offer a return of nearly 8-10x what you would receive with the same amount of cash in game. On top of that, the evidence that players are doing it sits inside the auction house, everyone can see it. I’m honestly convinced at this point that anyone with 5x3 engravings and more than a few lvl 8 gems (let alone full lvl 10) is straight up buying gold.(see screenshots as example https://i.imgur.com/oswM2CY.png https://i.imgur.com/Hi6Jwj8.png)
Bots - Arguably the largest and most difficult problem Lost Ark has. All of us who play f2p games are very used to the existence of bots and typically assume it just as just part of the experience. We’ve all seen the bots running around Luterra, Vern, Punika, etc. That being said, I think this might be the root cause enabling the above issues. Bots bring in an absolute boat load of gold to the farmers that run them and they’re the ones providing it to the RMT sites. The farmers either decide to sell off their gold for real money or just horde it up so that the Auction House price increases don’t affect them. The bots are capable of running pretty much everything except Valtan (for now) and the amount of gold they generate can’t be understated.
Stronghold buff - Lastly I’d like to end this with just talking about how the stronghold buff being delayed is not helping. I feel that with the inclusion of this research it would allow the many alts sitting at 1370 to push to 1415 and provide a larger and much needed supply of relic accessories to the market. We’d see an increase in relic accessories and legendary engravings (a measly 2 from anguished isle per character) to the market and I think this would help alleviate some of the price issues we see in the market. I understand that this also introduces more gold into the game but until I’m confident that bots can do Valtan (which I’m not) I think the gold is at least being generated in a non-manipulative manor, which is healthy.
TLDR: The bot issue is not getting better despite SG and AGS saying they’ve been working heavily on combatting the issue. Gold inflation is rampant and LA doesn’t have enough tools to combat it. RMT is common practice and punishment does not exist, it’s also the more cost effective method of paying to win by about 8-10+ magnitudes than in game methods. Stronghold buff would actually help alleviate jewelry prices and bring in a healthy amount of new gold.
My 2 cents as a f2p degen bard main with 1100+ hours and a slowly dying loyalty to my new favorite time suck.