[MUD-Dev] A Query Regarding Economies in a Text Environment

Brandon A Downey badowney at sprynet.com
Tue Oct 13 04:12:10 New Zealand Daylight Time 1998

I'd like to take this opportunity to de-lurk, and introduce myself to
the list, as I've been considering one of those commonly discussed
topics on the list.

To fil you in on my background, I've been involved in multiplayer
on-line games for about five years now, though I had earlier experiences
with hobbyists running electronic bulletin boards. For about 9 months
now, I've been an implementor for a diku-derivative mud,
(pantheon.ender.com 9999) with a focus on roleplaying, an original
world, and a swirl of playerkilling.

One of the things I've been considering lately is the problem of mud
economies, which I'm sure has been discussed here before (I've done a
bit of reading in the archives, of course.) I think I've come up with a
suite of techniques that will prevent a runaway gold spiral, but I
haven't implemented them yet, following the maxim of "think before

What I'd be interested in hearing from the list is what, if any methods
people have seen in Diku (or just text-based in general, I guess) to
produce meaningful economies.

By "meaningful economy", I mean a system wherein some currency (usually
gold) serves as an actuall tool of exchange for things of "in-game"
value (equipment, skills, social standing, property ownership, etc.) Far
too often I've seen the almost inevitable inflationary spiral lead to
gold that's good only for being a paperweight (if I just get 3 million
gold in my sack, it will be too heavy to steal!).

I'm also interested in hearing various techniques, but I'd very much
like to see some systems "in action", as it were. I've done a bit of
mud-dev archive raking, but I'm sure there are places out there people
no about.

Feel free to use this thread to beat into the ground your own particular
views on what would and would not be good ideas for text-based muds
trying to emulate realistic yet playable economic systems - I'll
probably be tossing out some of the ideas I've had on the subject.


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