[MUD-Dev] Re:(fwd) Re: Multiple currencies

Mike Sellers mike at bignetwork.com
Fri Jun 5 20:10:18 New Zealand Standard Time 1998


At 04:39 PM 6/5/98 -0500, Michael.Willey at abnamro.com wrote:
>Here's a question:  What collective feature of these examples engages the
>player imagination and inspires this status game?  I could just as easily
>see an attempt at creating a player currency flop spectacularly.  What does
>it take for a simple perpetual prop to become a player currency, and how
>can we incorporate these ideas into our own MUDs?

Excellent question.  I can think of a few examples of "true" if offbeat
player-currency -- the great "gold pants" fever in The Realm a couple of
years ago comes to mind. :-)  Guild halls and guild rank in M59 had some of
the feel of currency too, except that they were about as mobile as the
coins on the island of Yap. :-/ =20

Three requirements that come to mind are scarcity, visibility, and
mobility.  A thing has less status if anyone can get it easily, or if you
cannot show that you have it easily (in this regard, had we made it
possible to show what guild hall you owned in M59 via a "coat of arms" or
something, that probably would have helped their status value).  Also,
currency is worthwhile only so long as it is transferrable; the proverbial
"white elephant" loses all its value (and is in fact worse than worthless)
even though it is rare and visible, because it cannot be transferred to
another.  Sometimes utility or power conferred helps increase trade or
status value, though this is by no means necessary.  Even in our world,
gold is of limited personal utility and yet has held value for thousands of
years. =20

FWIW, in worlds where the PCs are assumed to be a small part of a larger
civilization, I don't see anything wrong with the "faucet-drain" simulation
of an economy, so long as the drain and the faucet are affectable and/or
tied together in some way.  That is, the faucet should not have infinite
original capacity, and the amount of money drained out of the PC economy
(presumably soaked up by the thousands of NPCs we don't bother showing)
should affect how much money comes back into circulation.  Hoarding or loss
of materials should reduce currency, as should hoarding or loss of the
currency itself (consider the havoc a tribe of orcs could wreak by
capturing the only mine that supplies gold for coinage). =20

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