The Weekly Raid: Where Are You On The MMORPG Economy Hierarchy
One of the unique properties of MMORPGs as compared to other genres is the social and economy hierarchies present in their persistent worlds. We all start at the bottom, but how high and how fast we rise is only tangently related to the hours we put into a game.
We all know the perpetual peasant, the friend whose played since launch but is still broke, in a no-name guild, and mostly does solo content. On the other end are the top tier guild leaders who command vast groups of players in combat (either PvE raids or PvP battles), and who have vast resources at their disposal. Most of us fall somewhere in between these extremes. We are part time gathers, crafters, and monster farmers. Some of us dabble in auction house flipping or merchant work.
Where do you fall in this hierarchy? I often find myself in the upper half, as a wealthy independent merchant. While I have no where near the power of the top guild leaders or officers, I usually achieve the highest luxury goods available in a game. This includes large houses, rare equipment, and so on.
While some games are more conductive to economic/social hierarchies than others, we've seen a diminishing of this sort of scope in recent MMORPGs. With trade restrictions, and other restrictions becoming the norm, our ability to explore different social experiences in MMORPGs has, sadly, diminished. Luckily we have a slate of MMORPGs currently under development to counter this trend. These include Star Citizen, Chronicles of Elyria, Dual Universe, and many others.