A question that has come up over the years is the price of items. I've had players write to me about item prices many times over the last few years with completely different perspectives. I have my own views on these things (some are just thoughts with no concrete answer) but I'd like to hear what the players think of it in general, and maybe generate some clearer ideas about how we manage the game going forward both for us and for players. With regards to this I'm talking about true in-game pricing and NOT about things that get out of whack like in the recent hacking of the game. So this is only about when all things are operating normally.
There's a few considerations to this that I can see off the top of my head.
A player with money may attempt to artificially raise the price of an item... perhaps to make more later, or maybe just to be the only guy in the game with a certain hat or pet. Is this something we want? Is this fun?
Items that have high values are targets for people to hack/cheat/steal -- do we want to put players in the position of buying an item for 500$ of real money and then losing it to a scam? Is that the kind of environment we want in the game generally? There will always be rarer items but should there be some level of control. Maybe an item locking mechanism (something proposed) would help.. but ultimately people may want to trade these items again.
How much should a virtual hat be worth? We don't charge too much for in-game items with the exception of maybe a few special pets/cars, but prices rise over time. Considering that ultimately a game like this is transient should we consider this or not meddle at all? Should Items be allowed to completely dissapear. What if the only owner of active halloween masks decides to quit the game and play another game. Should no player ever see that mask again? Is that fun? Seems like a waste of models/texture space in a game that has limits on these things.
Sure some people may have a lot of money and maybe it's worth it for them to buy a hat for 500$, but I don't even know what to think of this, and it honestly wasn't even something I thought too much about before cubic. It does make me a little uneasy. It's not really the goal of this game to have such expensive items. The goal of the game is for it to be fun for the most players possible. In part that means you do have collectable and rare items. There is something to that. Nothing in the game would have any value if all players had "god mode" and could magic up whatever they wanted. But is there a reasonable limit to this sort of thing? I'm not sure.
My gut says that when items start to be valued over 500k cubits it's not unreasonable for us to inject some into the economy to stabilise the price a little and to prevent the items from dissapearing from the game entirely and new people come and older players leave.
What are your thoughts?