The current gold gain is not healthy for new players

This is a message that I had spent a few days drafting, because to be honest, I do not know the real solution to this. I have considered all the possible options to assist my friends who have started the game (slightly after the Argos patch), but all in all, I concluded that there are so many problems that are underlying within the game that makes the progression of a fresh character today difficult. As they are reaching 960 now, I noticed that there is a huge problem. They are running out of gold needed to hone and progress. This is after I suggested every single gold method I know that can be done in a reasonable time. I suggested alts, but even with 2 additional alts at T1, the amount of gold that is gained is pitiful to say the least. I have actively avoided RMT, but I won’t be surprised if my friends just gave up on trying to make gold in the game and resort to illegal methods to get such gold.

Which comes to a really big problem. Firstly, we have bots. While they have inflated the economy, what they have also done is increased the price of materials way above the gold honing price. This made the sale of unbound mats for a bit a viable option for making gold needed for extra honing attempts. This was quickly resolved and easy gold access is essentially eliminated from the game. But what the devs also forgot is that the regular players also get affected by this change. The amount of weekly gold you can get in this game is abyssmal in T1 and T2. Abyssal dungeons barely pay enough for the amount of effort done, and guardian raids is literally not worth the bombs at all right now, which makes it feel like you are spending gold to get very minor profits. Moreover, the amount of gold you get for grinding out life skills is horrible thanks to bots essentially pushing prices down as well as the general lack of gold by everyone. Heck, even crafts are only profitable if you manage to crit the craft, doubling your reward. All-in-all, literally nothing feels rewarding, and it feels discouraging to see my friends struggling like that.

My friends are only one case study, but I believe there are other players, who start even earlier but are still affected by this change. I was kinda lucky I got to 1360 recently, and I at least had slightly better gold resources than my peers, and will attempt to get out of the deadzone once mats drop to a point where I can comfortably spend my gold on them. As ironic as it is, I am also technically stuck in this loop, with the exception that at least my bottleneck is not on raw gold, and to be honest that is fine by me, since I do not always grind on a daily basis (I do take break days off because irl more important). On the other hand, my friends are at a much worse spot than I am. They aren’t even close to T3, where they could at least get more supplies of actual gold. They don’t even have that many Blue Crystals, because realistically speaking they don’t really get the luxury to buy them considering the income.

My conclusion is, at the expense of trying to prevent bots from wrecking our economy (they still are, and I know the devs are doing their best to actually do something about it), but it is kinda cursed if you realise that the average player is getting cucked at T2 right now because the market is completely crashed but raw gold is insufficient to actually get people through the honing process. What I think is that, there needs to be ways to improve the situation. I have some suggestions, you do not need to take them exactly:

  1. Reduce gold costs for honing in T2.

Gold from abyssal dungeons in the earlier stages have been nerfed. In fact even T3 ones are nerfed. This would be fine if the game is trying to actually access to gate T3, but it is super obvious with 1370 content around, T3 is meant to be a little easier to bridge everyone towards the end game. Reducing the gold costs per hone will help a lot in this regard. This will also help players with alts too, since we need multiple alts to get gold for post 1370 anyway.

  1. Reward More Gold in the 2 Tier 2 Abyssal Dungeons.

Especially the 8 man ones, which as of the current day use much more effort than any of the Tier 3 Abyssal Dungeons and yet rewards a fraction of the actual gold. I do not expect the game to handout enough gold to get the ilvl to 1100 immediately. What I do expect is that after mats are accounted for, players actually feel like they have earned some gold to use for their honing, and probably will give some thought to doing tier 2 content. Even if only the 8 man abyssal dungeons get buffed, it will be a boon to the players attempting to push to 1100.

  1. Untradable gold (or perhaps honing chance ticket to remove all the non stone costs?)

Sounds crazy, I know. But it makes sense if you think about it. Shards and Gold are both bottlenecks now. If there is a system or a ticket (even if limited and character bound) that offsets the cost of a hone, (whether it passes or fails is another problem in itself, it isn’t meant to be a guaranteed chance), you give players a way to save gold. However, I personally don’t really like this idea as players may be incentivised to just wait for these tickets to come out, but it is an idea so here goes.

All in all, my friends will most likely be able to power through this, but the thing is that we cannot ignore that gold is a legitimate problem in the lower tiers. We want to avoid botting of such gold, but at the same time we cannot do it at the expense of making the quality of life of newer players worse. This will be moot once we get T3 power passes, but we aren’t there yet, and will never be there until much later.

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Im new and ftp i have bought gold but only too have and ive more gold than when i started. I find i can sell any over 85 item quality item i have in any teir on market place if it has good engravings i can get 50 to 75 gold for teir 1 or 2 items.

Then you can do una task for gold weekly.
I think im on a low pop server i can buy the maps at chaos gates for 500 sometimes if i play at night. Then sell contents for more gold.

Dont have to hone constanly. I built up my stronghold and sell flares i make for a small profit alsp

I’m not going to defend gold income. But if your friends which are new are constantly buying mats to keep upgrading they’re doing something wrong. You can’t afford that lifestyle as a f2p specially if done heavily. You can afford a couple purchases here and there, but it sounds like they’re overdoing it.

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Solid answer above; if someone defines themself as free-to-play, but is consistently purchasing materials to speed up their progression, are they really free-to-play just because they haven’t injected money into Amazon’s/Smilegates wallet?

Lost Ark’s business model almost relies on players entering a state of fear of missing out on new content, although Amazon has recognized this and wants to focus on horizontal progression for a little while, or getting frustrated or impatient with the honing system (a discussion for another thread!).

If you have limited gold income, and the market has deflated, players will have to react accordingly, as unpopular as that may be. And that may mean an extended grind in the deadzone.

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And you think that they didn’t do any of those? Well to be fair they don’t bid chaos gate maps because it is almost always a net loss now on my server, and no one sells purples. The whole point is that, eventually every item in the tier is worthless (just like how almost everything in T1 is worth 1 gold now) and you are going to be using raw gold gain just to push ilvls. The amount of gold earned in this period is too low to cover these types of expenses. Imagine starting late and have to take an even longer penalty to T3 just because catchup mechanics don’t account for gold gain.

Your point is right. But the thing is that they aren’t. The only time they actually did bother with the AH was to get that last push into T2 (1-2 pieces) and then to 960. Those are very natural behaviours. I even made sure they aren’t wasting their gold because I know full well the market is tanking as a whole.

They got a small relief after the reset this week, but I have reason to believe that they will be stuck at late T2 for a couple extra weeks simply because of gold gain, which is why they are kinda forced to start working their alts to T2 as well. I calculated that rapport in general is not sufficient, they are banking on being able to sell good legendary/relic t2 stones/accs, as well as selling all mats and rebuying them when they finally drop to fodder (1g) level. This is not something that should be needed to progress past T2. Maybe towards 1370 since 1370 is the start of the hardest content, but definitely not at T2.

I am not going to say to buff all gold gain in general, there is really no need to. The pre-1370 gold gain is horrible considering the past when players can easily amass tens of thousands of gold, but in the grand scheme of things it is fine because everything equalizes. But T2 players do need quite a bit of gold to progress even without buying materials from the Auction House. You can’t just say “do rapport” and stuff because even those are nerfed right now (thanks bots) and while they still worked on those for adventure tomes, the extra gold is not going to be sufficient. That is why I suggested to adjust the earlier gold sources (not T3 abyssals) or reduce the costs of honing in that period if pre 1370 gold is too much for smilegate if that is buffed.

To be honest, it sounds 100% like a post an employer would write to give their employees instead of wages anything else.

Welcome to the world of slavery