Learning about MUDs (was: Re: [MUD-Dev] Re: MUD-Dev digest, Vol 1 #301 - 15 msgs)

Travis Nixon tnixon at avalanchesoftware.com
Tue Apr 3 08:30:22 New Zealand Standard Time 2001

Derek Licciardi wrote:

> I would agree with you that EQ has an economy that is working as
> intended(as publicly demonstrated by your company).  The thought
> that was being mentioned here is that it is impossible to recreate a
> realistic economy in a MUD/MMOG.  In some way the economy will be
> broken and it is not a surprise to many on this list that it occurs.
> The only difference now is that it has become a 'vogue' topic for
> gaming magazines and such that are just catching up to the online
> world of MUDs and MMOGs.  When I first heard about the closed end
> system in UO, my initial reaction was that it would break and
> degenerate into less than what they desired.  While on paper, the
> closed end economy is a wonderful idea, it simply couldn't work in
> practice.

I'm going to completely ignore the EQ slant on this message and make a
quick comment about closed economies.

Everybody says they don't work, that they CANNOT work.  I say that's
only true as long as the economy is based purely on the players.  If
your supply/demand model is based purely on what the players are
doing, of course it's going to fail, unless you have a world fully
populated by players.  And when I say fully populated, I mean that the
people sweeping the cobblestones are all players, that the guy hauling
water is a player, and that the deaf, mute, blind, and drunk homeless
guy down the street is a player.

I'm not sure any virtual world will ever be populated to that point,
but all of those people take part in the economy, and you have to take
them into account.  You can't just say "well, whatever the players are
buying a lot of, we'll call that 'in demand' and increase the price,
and whatever the players are selling a lot of, we'll call that 'in
supply' and decrease the price", because then you're only considering
one very small group of people that is very likely to have at least
somewhat similar interests.

So, closed economies aren't destined to fail, but closed economies
that are based purely one a single segment of the overall population,
and a segment that is generally homogenous to boot, well, of course
they're destined to fail.  They'd fail in the real world too.

But since I can't resist commenting on Everquest, here's my two cents:
The economy in EQ is much healthier now that it was, say, a year or so
ago, meaning that I believe "trade only" is a much less common thing
to see these days.  Used to be you could never get anything halfway
decent without having something good to trade, but now you can get
almost anything for the right amount of platinum.  That's not to say
it doesn't have problems of its own, say, for example, extremely
severe deflation, but hey, nobody's perfect.

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