[MUD-Dev] Broken Economies (was RE: Learning about MUDs)

Derek Licciardi kressilac at home.com
Tue Apr 3 18:13:59 New Zealand Standard Time 2001

> -----Original Message-----
> From: mud-dev-admin at kanga.nu [mailto:mud-dev-admin at kanga.nu]On Behalf Of
> geoffrey at yorku.ca
> Sent: Tuesday, April 03, 2001 12:55 PM
> To: mud-dev at kanga.nu
> Subject: [MUD-Dev] Broken Economies (was RE: Learning about MUDs)

> Derek Licciardi wrote:

>> The thought that was being mentioned here is that it is impossible
>> to recreate a realistic economy in a MUD/MMOG.

> I think a more appropriate phrasing would be to state that no one
> has managed to replicate the contemporary, N.American version of an
> economy.

> An 'economy' is not a specific system, but simply a term used to
> describe *any* system under which economic transactions occur.  The
> barter system is just as valid an economy as any other.  A world in
> which only two people ever trade swords while everyone else is
> self-sufficient still has a functioning economic system - just not a
> very active one.

> In fact, it is completely erroneous to state that it is possible for
> an economy to be broken.  It is, however, possible to state that an
> economic system is not performing as desired - but then you enter
> the realm of subjective opinion.

Your response is better worded than mine.  My intention was that
broken was equivalent to not operating properly.  The previous
articles used the term that way and I merely followed suit.  Your
explanation is probably more accurate in that an economy can never
truly be broken, just not operating as expected.

>> 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.

> <snip>

>> We missed the opportunity as a group to really see if a closed end
>> system could work, hence the opportunity to improve upon it and
>> possibly change the 'It won't work.' way of thinking.

> Actually, if my memories of Econ 101 serve, closed economies don't
> even work on paper.  Hoarding screws it up.  An economy must
> continually expand (more trade and/or more production from
> discovered/stolen/divinely conceived resources) in order to maintain
> even the status quo level of resource distribution.

> Timothy Dang could probably expand on this more...

My only point here is that as a simulation or experiment, we missed an
opportunity to advance our knowledge of economies as a whole.  Had the
bugs not been present in UO, we all may be singing a little different
tune today.  Instead we dismiss it as an example of a broken economy.
All I intended there was to say that we will now never know until
someone tries it again.

> <snip>

> The physical barrier to hauling around a lot of goods doesn't really
> exist in most MUDs, so there is no real reason to carry around
> pieces of paper or metal that represent the ownership of certain
> goods, when you can just carry around the goods themselves.

Following this logic would make me believe that money in the US is
supported by some standard.  The closest thatstandard can be is faith
because you can't take a dollar anywhere and trade it in as a
promisory note for something else.  My point in the above statement
was to intimate that money has become much more than we believe it to
be.  Because of this, I feel it takes away from the immersive quality
of the game, when something so completely natural to many people is
not familiar and predictable when the system being used is modeled
after the 'real world'.

>> When playing in an MMOG where the currency is not critical to the
>> players of all levels and abilities, the feeling is not natural,
>> therefore detracting from the immersive experience.

> Again - that's pretty subjective.

I'll admit that much.  It is pretty subjective.


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