TERA Online: Chronoscrolls and You
By Darren Henderson (DizzyPW), OnRPG Editor-in-Chief
EnMasse Studios, North American publisher for TERA Online, has made it clear over the course of 2011 that they are going into TERA’s launch with a heavy focus on cracking down on botting and gold sellers. In a previous article I elaborated on the Crisp Platform, a program that tracks members of the TERA community, creates profiles of their behavior, and sends warnings to ingame GMs of illegal activity being performed by players. While this helps battle bots directly, it apparently is not enough by En Masse’s standards to block gold selling.
Enter the Chronoscroll
The Chronoscroll is an idea first implemented by CCP in Eve Online. It is essential an ingame item representative of a month game subscription. As such players who don’t wish to pay a subscription fee but have an abundant amount of ingame gold will be able to get an extra month’s subscription, while the player who paid real money for the chronoscroll gains some ingame currency in exchange for their chronoscroll.
En Masse confirms that there will be no price cap on the amount of ingame currency these scrolls can be purchased for. So market supply and demand will be the ultimate factor in how much you will be able to earn for your real world dollars. This is going to likely result in two outcomes.
For one, those with extra money in the real world are going to be able to earn an ingame advantage over their competition. Being this is a heavily PvP game with political systems, this marks a real threat to balance. Rich people in the real world can literally try to bribe elections in their favor with their superior purchased wealth!
However, I can agree with En Masse’s reasoning that if this option isn’t available, players will seek out illegal gold selling websites all the same to get their advantage. Just having this sanctioned competitive gold selling system will hopefully eliminate much of the game’s gold selling and botting will decrease as a result. The other impact of this system likely will be an increase in player population. Now that hardcore players will be able to use their ingame currency to buy game time, they might decide to play whereas they would normally shy away from a P2P game.
All in All this is likely to be an interesting test in the MMO world for just how successful this system is going to be. TERA Online doesn’t seem afraid to break the norms in game development so if anyone can do this right, I believe it’s them!