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

Adam Wiggins adam at angel.com
Tue Mar 23 16:05:01 New Zealand Daylight Time 1999


On Tue, 23 Mar 1999, Robert Green wrote:
> "Koster, Raph" wrote:
> > There's a couple of economics researchers who are working with us here to
> > actually try to pinpoint the differences between human behaviors in virtual
> > economies as opposed to real world economies. Turns out there are some
> > fairly significant differences which make traditional economic models tend
> > to fail. Among these differences is the savings habits of players (eg
> > hoarding). A lot of this went over my head, but apparently the economists
> 
> 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.

Or, in a nutshell - there are few luxuries to be purchased in most fantasy
worlds.

One doesn't have to look much further than one's own life to see this in
action.  For example, I go out almost every day to a nice lunch.  It
makes a good break in the work day.  I usually eat a $6 - $10 entree and
drink two or three Guiness.  On average that's $8 + ($4 per pint * 2.5) plus
tip, or about $20 per day just for that one meal.  Five days a week
times four weeks in a month makes it $400 a month I'm spending *just* on
lunch.

Most of my mud characters "feast" on pipeweed bread and barrels of water
taken from a public fountain.  (The one exception being when I ran with
the Tarsis Shriners, a clan on Arctic MUD who ate only Tarsis smoked hams.
I was willing to pay a price premium for the hams in the name of clan pride.)

Obviously there's quite a difference there.  I'm sure one could think of many
examples beyond just food - clothing, entertainment, and even simple personal
comfort (running the heater at night).

Sometimes these sorts of elements exist - for example, being able to pay
a sum of money to personalize an object name ("Bob's longsword of death"),
or to purchase a house/guildhall.  But generally they are few and far
between, rather than a daily event like a nice lunch or a movie or running
your heater.

Adam W.




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