The value of the Exchange Market

With successful RPG games reaching the 3 to 4 even 5 year lives operations mark, designers are left with not much to evolve their system to

  1. Make is easy to understand for new players
  2. Provide enough content for players to continue coming back.

The market exchange shop has went through many iterations and facelift during its evolution.

The reason for the Exchange Market.

Economy of scales had a huge impact on the why this feature became a thing  This system is very common in end game MMO system where players farm certain currency to exchange for high end pvp or pve gear.

The reason for doing is because end game creates many floating points in the game where players are able to farm currency and creating an economy where currencies started to fload and not enough sinks to emphasize these currencies in end game.  

What is End Game?

End game is the game once you finish the story more or PVE mode.  Story mode in MMO are usually considered the Tutorial and completely this grind to max level commences the real competitive element of the MMO is experience.  

The epic 40 Man Raid Boss battles, or a competitive PVP matches you see on the Twitch channels are all system designed for end game players.

What’s very similar with MMO’s and successful mobile rpg games is the concept of providing a meaningful end game experience that is competitive and fun.  What that means is extremely subjective and should be tailor made to your audience.

How this is connected to your exchange market.

The PVE experience is designed with a reward distribution in mind that allows for players to upgrade their roster enough to have a controlled, “fun” experience with NPC Bosses.  This controlled reward funnel is fined tuned and balanced over and over again so that the initial experience of the game has a first good impression.  The objective of this is to

  1. Make for a fun experience
  2. Slowly drip new game systems and features to players so they are not overwhelmed with the complexity of the game.

MMO’s are designed anywhere around 3 – 6 month game play, whereas a console game is designed around a 20 – 40 hour game play.  

“ Apples and Oranges” when you compare games”

What happens at End Game and Whats the connection with the Market.

Once players start transitioning into end game, i mentioned earlier in my post about floating points. These floating points are all the currency that was controlled, peppered and distributed all throughout the PVE experience so that the game balancers can hit the desired game play hours or days the PM set forth at the beginning of the project.

Enter Exchange Market

This system was originally designed to create a sink for all the floating points in the game.  Mainly your soft currency.  Unfortunately this system was just a bandaid to a bigger problem which was end game players play an obscene amount of game play hour vs the average player and find exploits in the game to farm currency the most efficient way possible. Inevitably not being able to manage the currency and ending up with a broken currency where many players would have an excess of SC and nowhere to spend, leaving it useless.

If you break it, Make a new one

What this has created was a dynamic for MMO designers to just create a new currency to create demand.  This was the fastest and effective way to create demand for end game players but brought forth complexity to new users.

In MMO’s every new PVP season or New Updated Raid Progression will yield its own unique currency where players can farm to purchase the new End game gear content.  What Mobile RPG games have started to do it for every new feature they add to their game, whether it be,  Raid Boss Mode, or PVP mode or something new that provides a unique experience will drop a unique currency in that particular feature.

The value proposition for dropping a unique currency and attaching it to the exchange market is to increase the participation rate of all the new features the developers roll out.

Here’s an example:

A soccer game just released a league mode, where it’s an asynchronous PVP system where players compete against other players data to reach top rank in this feature.  Victory in every match will yield X Unique currency that cannot be farmed in any other feature.  The Chase Character in the game is a Super Rare Character but takes about 30 – 45 days of league plays to purchase from the Exchange market.  This is where players are engaged.

To increase engagement even more is to make this chase champion available for a limited time.  Lets say 30 days.  But if the system is designed to take roughly 30 – 45 days, this friction will force players to monetize the game so that they don’t miss out on the character before the event ends.


Exchange market has been an important system for successful RPG games due to its flexibility and ability to create on the fly demand for anything and everything they do in their game.

If you are having issues with engaging your end game players or don’t think you exchange market is enticing enough, Contact Rittle Throne for more information.

Good luck


  • 15+ year mobile application industry veteran, probably product managing multiple apps. If he’s not busy running this website, you can probably find him at the gym shooting half court shots, while playing the latest mobile rpg game.

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