One of the most difficult challenges with an online game – any online game, browser or otherwise – and to an extent normal games as well, is how to keep the economy under control. When you play monopoly, the amount of money in play is always the same, it just changes hands. When you play a computer game like World of Warcraft or Shadowrun: Corrosion, where you can create money out of nothing by doing missions or quests, it becomes important that the amount of money earned (created) is balanced out by the amount of costs incurred (destroyed.) In Shadowrun: Corrosion, we’re looking at ammunition to help solve that problem.
Ammunition comes in different forms; actual ammunition for weapons like pistols, rifles and bows are the most common types of ammunition. You can buy this ammunition and it depletes whenever you fire your weapon. Not every character will have use of that type of ammunition as shamans and mages can use spells instead, and there’s always the option to duke it out with your fists or with a katana! In essence, these will have an edge over those using ranged weapons, but they’ll most likely suffer more damage as a result of drain and as a result of closing the distance to their opponents, essentially making hospital trips and slap patches more their kind of ammunition. In the end, nuyen is destroyed and the economy remains more balanced.
Balancing the costs and earnings of a character is probably something that’s going to take a lot of effort. Interestingly enough, a game I used to play, The Dead Awaken, a really simple but very addictive and popular browser game where you try to survive in the midst of a zombie plague, had terrible balancing. Inflation was insane, prices sky rocketed, but luckily it didn’t diminish the popularity of the game. Unfortunately, in the case of Shadowrun: Corrosion, I think it’s going to be a lot more important to keep things balanced. Essentially, training is probably going to be the biggest nuyen sink, followed by ammunition in the long run, and then perhaps gear.
Because there’s not that much gear out there that scales with a character’s progression, with the possible exception of Cyberware (regular, alpha-, beta- and deltaware) and spells (force 1, 2, 3, etc.), we were thinking of keeping certain gear bound by reputation constraints. That way it takes a while before you can get your hands on an AK-98 with all the trimmings, putting the emphasis more on weapon modifications. Another thought was to incorporate special weapons. Like Ah Mae Sing’s Colt L36, a special issue L36 with some bonuses, much like they do in Fallout 3.
Getting back to ammunition; the idea is now to make certain ammunition purchasable (regular rounds, gel rounds, etc.) and make certain ammunition purchasable from special vendors or perhaps only something as a reward for performing particular missions. EX Explosive Rounds, adding an extra 2 points of power to a weapon must be something worth putting a little effort in. Running out of ammo in the middle of a mission is going to cost dearly when ghouls tear you apart as your weapon repeatedly goes “click click”. It’s going to be even better when you get ambushed in a PvP fight and they didn’t realise you were packing EX rounds in your Ares Predator and had the Woo Clip modification doubling your ammunition capacity. I see potential. :)