[MUD-Dev] Re: online economy behavior (was: Self-organizing worlds)

Matthew Mihaly sarapis at achaea.com
Tue Mar 23 15:41:54 New Zealand Daylight Time 1999


At 11:18 AM 3/23/99 -1000, Robert Green wrote, in his own stunning and
often disturbing, Kafka-esque way:


>Immediately in my mind comes my own personal habits -- I can see where it
>would be much more easy to apply the sorts of self discipline to an
>character in ways we ourselves would be too self-indulgant to stick to ...
>certainly I find it a lot more difficult to put aside a proper amount in
>savings in real life, where my "actual" standard of living is affected ...
>I doubt many MUDs have any sort of in-game parallel to these kinds of
>psychological factors.
>
>Is there more insight on this you can share with us? Economy seems to be a
>constant source of difficulties for our balance deptartment, more ideas
>and information would certianly be useful ... or at least enlightening...

I would like to hear more insight on this from Raph too. I'm quite
impressed that he and the people he work with have gone so far as to employ
economic theorists. I know that, like you, I've struggled over and over
with an economic system. I have not even put in anything past a rudimentary
one because nearly everything I design economically, I start to see
(theoretically) the kind of flaw that Raph talks about. Anything repetitive
that doesn't require a high level of strategy can easily be automated by
players, which virtually eliminates any cost (as long as it isn't likely
the player will be attacked, and as long as said mud has a combat system
that cannot be properly automated) to doing the sort of repetitive
activities that most mud economic systems (well, all that I've seen at
least) are composed of.  

As you say, in real life, you wouldn't work for 24 hours a day to maximize
your earnings potential, but in a mud, it is all-too-easy to do just that
with automation. Even without automation, I can't imagine that any mud
would require its players to put in a solid 8 or 10 (or 14 if you have a
tech industry!) hours a day in order to maintain a reasonable standard of
living. 

--matt





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