In playing the game, I've noticed a few minor things.
First, because everyone gets the same selection of items in the store, when people start going to do research on Rippertech, people start overlapping research efforts simply because of availability. The only outside case to this is due to what people can afford and what people miss due to when they are paying attention. But if you are in game at least once an hour...
Second, because the selection changes infrequently, this leads to a greater opportunity for people to purchase the same items, thus the gifting element of the game is of little use...in fact about the only use for the gifting elements of the game is to trade ingredients that someone else happened to find adventuring and you didn't. Which IS helpful...
Have everyone get a unique store and have it change every 20 minutes, 1/2 hour or something like that. More frequent changes and more variation among players would be useful. Instead of game-wide stores, have regional or even player-based stores. This would change the economy significantly, and make it much more useful to gift to other people.
Of course, doing this would require that a few other changes need to be made. Blue items would need to be made correspondingly more rare, and a proper trading system would need to be implemented. Another FB game I use allows trades to be sent for a certain in-game money value, and the player has the choice to accept/reject the trade based on whether or not the item sent has the corresponding value to them.
So for instance, I might have a gatling pistol (or four, as the case may be...), which I bought at the store for £250~, but because it's exceptionally rare, I might be able to trade it to another player for £1500.
Of course, they would be able to accept or reject that trade as in the other game I play, but I would suggest the opportunity to make a counter-offer (perhaps they think it's only worth £1100).
This would set up an in-game economy for items, and allow for the implementation of various stores. Of course cooperative players who know each other would likely sell stuff to each other for less, and there might be a certain amount of gifting back and forth, but just like any real economy, this has advantages and drawbacks...
Of course, the crafting of wierd science & relics would influence this economy somewhat, with those who could craft being able to sell crafted items at a premium to those who could not (and likewise, those who can craft 3 ingredient rippertech selling at a premium to those who cannot), but that's well within the scope of the game. This is not at all unlike how a real economy works--those who have the ability to do something others cannot generally can sell at a premium. Market forces are powerful!
That's my suggestion...and I think it would add another level to the game, making it even more 'real' and certainly more interesting.
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