Drowning In Glimmer

Economies and the currencies they trade in have become integral to the RPG experience, and the more layered and long-term they get, so do the economic systems that support them. When you cross into MMO territory, you run the risk of getting lost in a sea of materials and rarity levels.

In the latest patch, Bungie has attempted to fix a few mistakes they made with their economies. However, for some unfathomable reason, they have completely forgotten about their base currency, glimmer. One can easily and continually bounce against the 25,000 glimmer limit without using any of the glimmer magnets (which just seem to pile up in your vault, right?). After years of playing EVE Online and other large RPGs, one comes to know how important currency-sinks are. The concept is simple enough. Give the player enough interesting things to spend currency on, and they currency takes on an intrinsic value and weight. Glimmer is far too easy to come by and impossible to spend in any worthwhile fashion, when a well-designed economy should be the opposite. In fact, except for a insignificant component of upgrade costs, there is nothing of value in Destiny that you can buy with glimmer.

It’s actually amusing when you consider the lore puts a large amount of importance on the stuff…

What’s worse, and depending on your definition of the word “useless”, there are anywhere between two and six useless vendors in the Tower. At present, besides the Cryptarch (who you only see to decrypt engrams, not actually perform economic transactions with), Xur, the bounty tracker and the other vendors that deal in marks, everyone else in the Tower is pretty much useless. If all of these vendors have nothing to offer a toon post-20, and if the game starts post-20 as Bungie says often, one has to wonder what Bungie was thinking. When was the last time you interacted at all with the Gunsmith, or the Shipwright? One could be forgiven for forgetting they exist at all, but they’re there and they’re collecting dust in plain sight.

So how would Bungie go about fixing all this? Well, that’s tricky. At present, Destiny simply doesn’t have enough items and types of items in its inventory to support the kind of economy Bungie seems to want. As the game grows that will change, but it’ll likely be too little, too late. When there was word that materials were going to be purchasable, I fully expected them to trade for glimmer as you have been able to sell them for glimmer since day one, but alas they’ll just be one more thing people will grind marks for. The Gunsmith could sell legendary weapons and armour and the Shipwright could sell legendary ships and sparrows, and for a time that could be enough. In any future iteration of the Destiny economy, Bungie will definitely need to rebalance purchasing power as well as introduce many more items into the marketplace.

What are some new items that Bungie could introduce beyond weapons and armour that you would consider effective glimmer-sinks?

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