First off, yes, I’m reusing the same featured image as my last ArcheAge article . I don’t have access to make my own screenshots… <cough> Trion and XL Games, Please Let Me Into ArcheAge </cough> .
This is going to be a quick and dirty article as I discuss it enough on the official forums.
Okay now let’s discuss things here. There is a thread over on the official forums on if Should Stolen Trade Goods Be Split 60/40%? It seems that if you are making a trade run and another player who’s playing a pirate plunders you, the game splits the goods 60% to 40%, the pirate getting 60% of the goods, while the person robbed keeps a magical 40%. I voted no, they shouldn’t keep the split. IT isn’t fair to the pirate, and isn’t realistic to the person robbed.
That said, I don’t think it is fair to leave the trader with nothing, unless they forgo insurance as I’ll talk about now. To that end I proposed the idea of insurance (here, here, here and here, and endorsed at least in part here and here).
This would work one of two way (or both).
Under one the trader buys insurance per route. Let’s say they are going from A and can go to either B or C. C is a high risk route, so insurance would cost more. If they decide midway through to change to B, they still pay the cost of insuring to C. If they say they are going to B to save insurance costs, but go to C, they pay the C fee. This avoids people trying to short change the system.
The second method, and perhaps the better one, is a flat monthly fee. If you get stolen from a lot, your premiums go up. The advantage of this one is that while both plans pay via in game money, this one can also be paid via the cash shop (well both can, but this is the easier one), which means Trion gets to make some money off the whole affair.
The insurance doesn’t cover the full value of the goods stolen. It does cover the full or near full worth of the ship if it is destroyed, sort of like Star Citizen insures craft. After a short time you are given full LP (Labor Points), and most if not all the goods needed to rebuild the ship. You have to actually spend the time rebuilding the ship though. The goods you don’t get either, but you get perhaps 20% of its value mailed to you after a wait period.
If a trader decides not to buy insurance, then they get nothing. They just run the full risk, which for some is well worth while. Especially larger guilds dealing with larger groups that can protect their larger shipments. Smaller guilds and certainly individuals will likely need insurance.
The pirates meanwhile don’t get 100% of the full retail cost of goods. As I said in the forums, stolen goods aren’t worth as much as retail, they always sell for less. They need fenced and the like. There are two ways to deal with this, one complicated and one easy.
The complicated method is to track each item stolen and flag it as stolen and make it’s value 80-90% via special NPCs or other players (who can pay whatever they want), after which it is “clean” and can be sold at full retail costs.
The easy way is just to cut the treasure down to 80-90% of the total and let them sell it at full price (or full wholesale whatever the NPCs typically buy stuff at, and of course whatever price players want to pay).
Trion could also add a special NPC that takes in game money (or real world money for those players who are willing to pay) that will give full wholesale value (or if we did the easy route, they get 100% of the treasure). This gives the pirates an option to earn more per ship they plunder, basically this NPC is better at laundering the goods, which is why he charges. The fee for this has to be small enough to make it worth paying to get a full 100% return rather than the default 90%, but only if you plunder a lot.
As I noted in the threads if a FedEx truck is stolen, they don’t lose the full value of goods, they have insurance for that, and the thieves don’t get full wholesale or retail value, they get a street value.
Insurance allows a way for trade players to mitigate their loses while still encouraging them to take the risks, meanwhile letting the pirates keep a bigger percentage of their steal, encourages them to continue their trade. It is a win win, with a potential source of income for Trion.
Making it 100/0% makes no sense at all. It discourages traders from taking the route if there is no insurance option, unless the rewards are pumped to ridiculous and unrealistic levels. At the same time, keeping it 60/40% makes no sense. Insurance solves the issue, they trader loses all their goods, but gets a percentage back in ingame gold after a waiting period, the pirate gets a large percentage that simulates fencing.
The future looks great for ArcheAge… now if only I had access. 🙂
EDIT: There are in game options now. As I understand it you can hire an NPC escort, or more likely just have your guild protect the trade ship. However I think insurance adds a level of realism to the game. Even if not implemented, the pirates should never get 100%, as in real life (and yeah, I know this is a game and not real life) you don’t get 100% of the retail value of goods you steal or pirate. A pirate taking a container ship knows they won’t get full value, they’ll get a fair black market value. IMHO people clamoring for 100% are just being greedy, that isn’t how things work. You are dealing with stolen goods, there is a cost to dealing with stolen goods.
EDIT 2: Insurance would also be available for homes/castles and the like. The parentage of protection wouldn’t be the same as traders, and the other faction would get the same rewards they get now. Not sure if the percentage of protection would go up or down from trader… I’m talking about goods. Insurance on a house or castle itself could also be available, but would be much more. There needs to be more incentive to keep a castle guarded by players and the like rather than rely on insurance.
EDIT 3: I would wager this big a change requires XL Game’s blessing, but I would have to think it would work beyond the Western markets as insurance isn’t a uniquely Western concept, and would end up being a good thing for all the markets, especially the cash shop end of it.
EDIT 4: It was pointed out on the official forums (here) that the trader won’t know it was stolen, that you are turning it in to the person who was waiting for the shipment in the first place. However, I’d still argue that the pirates, by nature, have to deal with less savory traders, who likely wouldn’t give full retail, which is why I still argue for an 80-90% cap on the pirate end. I still agree the person robbed gets nothing, though if they paid insurance, the insurance company eventually repays up to 20% of the value of stolen goods. It effectivly is 80/0 or 90/0, just the trader has the option of paying a fee to get a small percentage of value back.
Also, the pirate is limited to how much space they have obviously, so if a trader has more goods than the pirate has space for, then the trader keeps the goods above and beyond what the pirate took. I’m not sure how this would work out with the 80-90% take, in that case they get to sell all they got at 100%, of course they didn’t get 100% of the goods, only up to 90%, so it more or less washes out.
Further, a trader who dumps their load and then makes a claim can be accused of making a false insurance claim, even if the dumped load is actually stolen. This would result in jail time and if they repeat it enough, loss of the ability to get insurance (after the first time, there is a premium spike that makes it nearly not worth it, the second time you lose insurance privileges).
The best goal is still to have a guild to protect the shipment, perhaps sans insurance, and/or make deals with pirates to offer protection. I’m not sure if pirates can pk other pirates without issues as to provide protection for merchants under an individual’s protection…