Pay to win?

I was scrolling through the FaQ when I noticed something mention that in-game gold can be acquired with real-world currency, and then I noticed another FaQ mention that this game is not pay to win, but isn't that what the phrase pay to win means? The FaQ is as follows:

  • Q. Is this pay to win?
  • No. Anything that can be achieved through purchasing, can be achieved without.

Pay to win means that real world currency can be used to gain an advantage over others. Now I understand that you are a business and need to make money somehow, but isn't there anyway around this? An example of "pay to win" is as follows:

The player RobinHood uses 300$ and acquires 10,000 in-game currency. With this currency, he buys the finest leather and sword on the launch day of the game, and continues to power through the monsters creating a dynasty for himself as the strongest warrior of Elyria (is that the game worlds name?). Most respect him and follow under his footsteps, and with all this manpower he creates a powerful guild and rules huge parts of the land.

On the other hand theres Pleb2000, who just bought the game and decides to play it. He has to kill monsters and cower over other people with the rusty copper sword his father crafted for him over 20 years ago, and his battered leather torso. After some time, he realizes his only duty on Elyria? is to be a peasent, not knowing how others became so powerful. Eventually, he quits the game because it really isn't fair.

Now, don't misunderstand me, I'm not saying pay to win is bad or it should be removed, after all, some people just enjoy spending money on the game to get gold quickly. But there should be a limit on how much can be bought so it just doesn't get out of control. Hopefully you'll understand what point I am trying to make.



7/31/2015 6:42:51 AM #1

I think the first thing to realise is different people have different definitions on pay to win. For me it is the ability to buy an advantage over what can be reasonably earnt in game. So things that save time (which those with it often forget is just as valuable a commodity) is not something I would count. However, if the chance of getting the advantage through in game methods was made artificially difficult (insultingly low drop rates of the same item as an example) then yes that would still be pay to win. It is a fine balance, and that doesn't even address all the other possible definitions!

One thing to note about the system they have spoken about here is it doesn't sound like you are buying in-game currency from the developer which would cause large amount of additional gold to be added to the economy but instead trading in someway with other players.

  • Q. What about gold farming?
  • We recognize that not all players can (or want to) spend the same amount of time per week farming gold for that special armor. We also recognize some people have a ton of free time, but not a lot of money. We're attempting to equalize this by having an in-game exchange market.

what exactly the other player gets in return we can only speculate about but it has to be good enough to make them want to trade so Pleb might find it a great way to get a boost. It is also a natural limiter for the amount of gold people can buy because someone has to have early it first. I think that is especially important in the early days of the game as it means people with spare income can not skew the economy.

all in all I am caustiously optimistic.

Author of the Elyria Echo the first, and least up-to-date, CoE fan site.

7/31/2015 6:52:53 AM #2

The overview of CoE on says “The game also supports an in-game exchange system allowing people to purchase in-game gold with USD.”

How accurate this is I do not know, however if they do an exchange of real world money for in-game currency then it should either be limited or at a reasonable conversion rate. It’s a very very fine line.

Found my guide helpful? Show your love by adding my Friend Code:1996D8

7/31/2015 4:41:21 PM #3

I see the point you are getting at, and that sounds perfectly balanced, as long as this in-game exchange market isn't juggling real world money around. What I mean by that is someone can put up an offer of 1,000 in-game currency for $50...  the person buying the gold spends $50 but the person selling the gold doesn't receive that money, but rather receives it in another form of currency (maybe currency that can be used in a special shop in game?) If it isn't built like this, gold farmers can easily exploit the system and make tons of real world money.

7/31/2015 4:47:23 PM #4

I agree with you on how it should be limited, but the conversion rate will always change, because as time goes on gold becomes less or more valuable depending on the market. On launch day, the gold value will probably be at its peak, and will slowly decrease until everyone dies in a year, where it'll rise again because gold just suddenly gets flushed out. And you're right about it being a very very fine line, because if they execute it properly it will be a beautiful mechanic, but if done wrong it could destroy the game.

7/31/2015 6:03:46 PM #5

The in-game exchange system is a tightly monitored, tightly controlled currency exchange between Soulbound Studios and players. We have no plans to allow people to get money back out of the game.

The system is in place for two reasons.

1. Gold farmers will sell gold. It's unavoidable. The reason? People will buy gold. This way, we can at least have some control of the exchange rate, and more importantly the amount of money in circulation.

Also, CoE is different than most MMOs because there is no mail system. People have to physically take money and give it to another person. I don't know about you, but if I discovered certain characters were gold farmers, I'd probably become a highwayman and repeatedly steal from them... just sayin'. ;-) They'd be forced to pay for bodyguards, etc... and would very quickly end up using all their farmed gold to protect the gold.

2. The second reason for this system is to make it fair for people who have money. Yep. You heard that right. Typically people fall into two user groups - those with plenty of free time and little money, and those with plenty of money but not a lot of free time. Most MMOs today have been built with the former group in mind. Those with families, careers, limited internet access due to travel, etc... are often left feeling like they need to spend all of their in-game time farming gold. 

A system of buying gold and using it to purchase training from other players allows those who want to enjoy the game, but don't have a lot of free time, a way to stay caught up and competitive. 

The other important thing to call out here is that while money is important for survival, building cities, equipping armies, etc... the game is not centered around advancement through money like other MMOs. While there will be slightly better armor and weapons, gear more suited for cold/wet climates vs. hot/warm, etc... the majority of what determines success in combat is player/character skill, not itemization. So on the micro level, having a lot of money doesn't really help anyone. At the macro level, money is generally gathered via taxes, etc... so buying gold isn't practical.


4/25/2016 11:22:12 AM #6

Hi Tiberius, I have no doubt you can name games that have fallen over that have included gold sales, the same as we could also name lots of games that have fallen over that haven't included gold sales. I find that games usually don't fail on one concept alone.

Then there's games like Guild Wars 2 which feature gold sales (well, specifically you buy "gems" with your cash and the gems can be used in different ways, including buying gold), and it's still doing really well after almost 4 years of being live out there.

EDIT: And as VR says below, it's not happening in the same way any longer.

FWIW, I was KS Backer #21 and wanted nothing but the best for this game.

4/25/2016 11:23:01 AM #7

There is a good reason not to bump old posts for games in development, they might well be out of date information. This is one of those instances. There is no longer any plans for an exchange between gold and money. They have realised the balance they were trying to get between those that had time and those that had money was better achieved in other ways.

As for IP, it can only be used at the start of the game and everything you gain that has a place in the world can be lost. That title you got? Well you can be dethroned. That land you bought? Others can take it from you through adverse possession. Even if you start with higher skill you will die and be back to zero. It just gives you a different starting point in the game, a different story to work on. This is not a game that has max level or end game. You have not won if you become King, you are just playing a different story. For me the fact the rewards can be temporary and that story is the focus means that IP to me feels like a good balance between rewarding those who have helped make the game a reality and meaning that those who come later have no place.

Author of the Elyria Echo the first, and least up-to-date, CoE fan site.

4/25/2016 12:58:46 PM #8

I don't know if it worth to scare away potential game box buyers for a few hundred of big wales .....this topic is already a turn away from game for me.

If you are greedy and priced soul spark is not enough and you want to implement some retarded F2P crap like, for big wales than I'm not even interested to support this game even with 1 cent . Decide lot of supporters with small pockets or few big wales with large pockets. Look at BDO only 400k sales with their greedy cash shop and buy to play.... Still so much hype for that Asian crap from also economic situation in Europe sucks and next years it seems it will get worse.

OP thanks for bringing this topic up

Even Cosmetic Cash shop crap is worrying now days look at gw2 They sold Hot Expansion with barely some content they cancel expansion content for which we payed but they update cash shop with new cosmetic trash every weeks ...

if you guys want to follow same path your not better than all these greedy/trashy mmos that we have today than I lose interest in CoE

I know this is business but there should be some limit to greediness

VictoriaRachel oh glad to hear that

My bad when I hear all this F2P heresy suddenly my epilepsy symptoms show off )))

4/25/2016 1:03:43 PM #9

Mihai Soltan there is no longer any plans for an exchange between gold and money. This is a 9 month old topic for a game in development, and things have changed.

Author of the Elyria Echo the first, and least up-to-date, CoE fan site.

4/25/2016 1:36:35 PM #10

I'm not sure why this post is still carrying on honestly. Caspian's post is clear and settles all my uneasiness about the in game to USD system. A player who spends real currency on CoE will not be at a huge advantage. His money will not buy him the Uber Sword of Epeen. You, being the player that does not buy in game currency will have every opportunity to obtain what the rich man purchased via real currency. I'm a single father which puts me as a player with little time or money. I must learn the ancient secrets of turning cannis poo into gold as an alchemist :P

My favorite point Caspian made was gold farmers will not find CoE to be very lucrative. The money spent protecting there in game currency will out weight what they farmed. My only concern would be the spirit loss gained from killing said gold farmer :P Non the less it would still be worth it. It would give me the same giddy feeling like killing the silly miner that over burdened himself while mining in Felluca.

5/8/2016 3:46:24 PM #11

I am really sorry for necroing this post but what are you claiming here?

" two user groups - those with plenty of free time and little money, and those with plenty of money but not a lot of free time."

I work 11-12 hours per day and average 600 euros or like ~850 dollars per month (its high for my country) like many others.

I have neither "unlimited time" nor "unlimited money". I still expect to pay for the game but not get trashed by people who are in a better financial situation >out of the game<.

I dont mind getting destroyed by people who farmed their gold in game.I dont have the opportunity to find a better job, i do have the opportunity to devote more time into farming.

MMORPGs were supposed to be a way to "escape" from reality and create your own character regardless your personal circumstances. I would think you of all people , seeing as you indentify your game as "a game by gamers for gamers" would know that.

5/8/2016 4:02:13 PM #12

Well it's all moot now as they seem to be saying that you now cannot buy gold for real money.

Which is a good thing because I guess as they found out you can never balance between players who have time, against those who have cash to burn, any system that allows you to buy in-game gold for cash, will always not matter what be a pay-to-win n some ways.

[The Immortals] - We lived a thousand Lives! United we Stand! Website:

5/8/2016 4:10:59 PM #13

If you are reading this, STOP! IT HAS BEEN CHANGED! No more gold for real money.

This was before lives cost 30$, stop posting in threads almost a year old.

This is why we are moving to a new forum, so moderators can lock threads like this that spread false, outdated information.

Count Einzbern of Aichhalt.

Kingdom of Ashland.

Duchy of Sanctaphandri.

Seated in Darmindatch.

5/8/2016 5:34:38 PM #14

This might be better off being closed or having [Outdated] added to the title to avoid confusion/misinformation.

5/8/2016 5:49:08 PM #15

Agreed. The information contained herein is outdated, and the system has long-since been changed.