[MUD-Dev] (fwd) Re: MUD Economies

J C Lawrence claw at koala.kanga.nu
Mon Mar 15 00:23:38 New Zealand Daylight Time 1999


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From: Brandon A Downey <badowney at sprynet.com>
Newsgroups: rec.games.mud.admin
Subject: Re: MUD Economies
Date: Sun, 07 Mar 1999 02:10:30 -0600
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Siobhan wrote:

> I am interested in ideas which other admins out there have about generating
> economies on their MU*s.  On ours, we've come to something of a glass ceiling
> in terms of having a use for gold beyond buying a selling equipment.  I was
> hoping those who have had experience with things like player-run shops,
> player property, trade, or other things might lend us some of your wisdom.
> We've tried reducing the amount of gold in play, but players still accumulate
> vast sums due to sheer amount of time spent on the mud.  Anyone have some
> ideas about developing and implementing some more sophisticated economies?
>

Several people have already responded with some excellent suggestions (as well as
an elegant statement of the faucet/drain problem), but I'll chip in with a few
more suggestions.

Things to halt the flow of gold into player hands:

(1) Diminishing returns on mobiles:

Typically mobiles will return repeatedly, with the same amount of gold they
started with.
Combat this by having some sort of a "how many times killed recently" counter, so
that the
more you kill a given mobile, the less gold it returns with.

(2) Finite/Bounded Gold Supply:

Have the gold produced when a mobile dies be proportional to a mud-wide "economy"
variable.
You could even have this be a scale from 0 to 1. Have this variable depend on the
amount of gold
in player hands: The more gold players have in their personal possession (or in a
bank), the less,
on average, mobiles produce. You also probably want a term to account for the
total number of
players (or player levels), so that there you don't suddenly get terminal
deflation just because you
become super popular due to your working economy. :)

(3) Limited equipment:

The best equipment ought to be either finite valued, or appear only at a
frequency dependent on the total number of players (or player levels). This
ensures that if you have a really good sword, you can't just get an infinite
number of copies of it (killing most mobs for equipment is generally an exercise
in patience). Having fifty vorpal swords of dragonslaying can mess up an economy
just as surely as gold messups.

------------------

Things that encourage the flow of gold out of player hands:

(1) Bribable mobiles:
Have intelligent pc's be willing to part with equipment for the right price.
Obviously, you want the price for this to be rather steep -- and you might also
have a class of mobile which charges any more, but happens to be wearing the best
equipment. ("Why fight when you can buy?")

(2) Key spells available for a prices.

Typically, the rarest sort of magical effects are (1) transportation or (2)
healing/protective magic.
You might make a mage who'll take you to a place only accessible magic, or gate
you from city to city, for a suitable fee. "Sanctuary", or any spell that reduces
the damage you take in combat, is a much coveted spell. Remove easy access to
this spell, and make it only available from a potion or from someone who casts
the spell, for a large fee.

(3) Training/teaching of skills/spells.

Make it so that after a certain low level, receiving training for your
skills/spells/stats cost gold. The better the skill, the more it might cost.
Sure, a mage gets to roast his enemies alive -- but it costs 10,000 gp to do the
research, or hire another wizard to teach you.  More daringly, you might have a
service that lets people trade gold for xp -- but I'd advise you make it cost
gobs of money, and not implement this until you were actually sure that your gold
supply is stable.

(4) "Entropy"

Anything that causes a player's abilities/skills/other assets to deteriorate with
use, or over time. This includes all the things about armor/equipment needing
repair. It might also involve things like potions of youth for players who've
grown old, or 'supplemental' training to keep your skills from atrophying.

(5) Personalization:

Allow players to build/design their own rooms/houses/castles/keeps/pocket
dimensions for exhorbitant sums of gold. This gives the player the feeling that
he's really a part of the world around him. You might also let him pay for
restringing weapons/armor to be personalized. ("A long steel longsword" might
become "Geoffrey's longsword", etc.)

(6) Socialization:

Since you mention you're not a RP mud, why not have a facility where people can
buy their own channels? Imagine, you pay X gold, get a gem that allows you to
make your own channel, and determine who can use the channel. The channel would
last a finite time, but it'd be a great way for friends far away to communicate
with each other. (Above and beyond "Group tells", which require you to be grouped
with the people you want to talk to). That, or let people run their own tavern
message board for gold, or what have you.



Finally, you should pay some attention to lateral distribution of wealth -- i.e.,
between players. For a vigorous economy, I would definitely a more 'open'
playerkilling system. Most designers discuss the social implications of
playerkilling, but very few take into account the _Economic_ ramifications.
Hoarding too much wealth, in the form of gold, or equipment, makes one a tempting
target, allowing wealth not to become stagnant at any one point in the system.
Being very rich ought to be synonymous with being very skilled, IMHO.

Also, when viewing any sort of economic manipulations, try to think about what
players want, and what they have to trade for it: Basically, any virtual economic
transaction is a tradeoff of player cleverness, or player time, in return for the
things player's mud for (to identify these things, you might want to read Bartle,
who divides players into achieverers, explorers, socializers, and killers..)

Also, I'd be very interested in seeing any sort of economy done in a
ROM/Merc/Diku setting -- it's what I'm most familiar with, and as yet my own
proposals have been theoretical (an economy is something I've planned for my own
MUD, but there are so many other things to do first)


>
> BTW this is not a role playing mud, so aim suggestions towards players who
> are not interested in doing such things.
>
> Thanks in advance =)
> Siobhan

Hopefully, this will help to point the way in terms of directions in which you
can go.

-- end of forwarded message --

--
--
J C Lawrence                              Internet: claw at kanga.nu
----------(*)                            Internet: coder at kanga.nu
...Honorary Member of Clan McFud -- Teamer's Avenging Monolith...


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