MMOCulture reports that the in-game economy for the Korean version of TERA is suffering from severe inflation problems, which sparked an exhaustive discussion on the official TERA forums. This subject was originally reported on the Korean gaming website Game Chosun. The problem, according to the Game Chosun discussion, stems from poorly balanced rewards for end-game content. For example, one end-game boss supposedly drops obscene amounts gold, but can be defeated in under ten minutes. The cost of supplies and repairs needed to take on said monster are nominal compared to the monetary reward.
Because money is so easy to acquire at end-game, the value of gold has plummeted. The image example provided shows that level 50 gear can sell for hundreds of millions in gold. But this issue has greater ramifications; inflation leads to a huge spike in prices (as we can already see), which negatively impacts newbie players and at the same time empowers the wealthy, high-level veterans. Low-level players cannot amass any significant amount of wealth until end-game, and inflated prices will ensure that they cannot afford quality equipment or items. Even when a newbie does reach end-game, if TERA suffers from continued inflation, it would take much longer to grind enough gold to “gear up” their character.
The Game Chosun discussion goes so far as to compare the inflation issue with the astronomical hyperinflation in Zimbabwe.
While TERA’s inflation hasn’t grown to such horrifying size (yet) the second example provided is a side-by-side comparison of the value of a specific piece or equipment between two months. The item was originally valued at 45 million back in February. In April, the item is valued at 120 million.
While the easiest fix seems to be to reduce the amount of money end-game monsters drop, there is more to virtual economics to consider beyond gold-drops. Fortunately for North American and European fans, TERA still has ways to go before it is released in the west. Publisher En Masse Entertainment has made it clear that they are listening closely to fans on this very subject.