[MUD-Dev] The Monad (was: Broken Economies)

shren shren at io.com
Wed Apr 4 12:59:27 New Zealand Standard Time 2001

On Tue, 3 Apr 2001, Sellers, Michael wrote:

> Nevertheless, I am one of those who believes that a complex, robust,
> engaging, sustainable economy can be created within an online game.
> I hope we find out someday.

One of the core problems I see in mud economies is the bizarre
division between the "gold coin" and the rest of the items.  Gold
tends to be omnipresent, available on a large percentage of the
monsters.  It seldom weighs anything.  It is often a special catagory
of item.  You can usually carry an infinite amount of it (well,
restricted by the integer precision of your choice.)  I see that as
being problem 1.  Gold is just too surreal.  You don't dig it out of
mountains.  It's apparently a type of monster vital organ.

Problem 2.  Usually, everyone who plays the game has gold inflow.  How
could this not skew the economy?  Most games involve killing monsters
most of the time, and most monsters have gold.  The stuff just flows
in, in rivers, to anyone who swings a sword.  It flows out through
gold sinks and shoddy equipment.  (NPC sold gear is usually inferior
to monster loot.)  No wonder the stuff piles up and devaluates.

My personal angle on this (for my hypothetical mud) is to change the
"nature" of money.  It's been viewed that the real currency in many
MUDs tend to be not the gold that you trip over but some item that
combines "rare" and "useful" in just the right amounts, which is what
got me thinking about having currency be something common and useful,
with the normal properties of money intact.  (stackability and

The best thing I've come up with along these lines is to add two
alchemical spells that most anyone can learn or get at low levels,
"Create Monads" and "Split Monads".

I'll use UO for an example.  Pretend for a bit that reagents are
mined/harvested and not bought from NPC vendors.

Create Monads would take a set amount of cloth, an ingot, say 4 logs,
one of each reagent, and 10 feathers.  It uses one mana.  The result
is 10 monads, an item that in character acts exactly like a gold piece
- it weighs the same and stacks the same.

Split Monads inverts the process on a stack of Monads, leaving 0-9
Monads and the appropriate amount of each item.

Monads would be manufactured by players and not found on monsters.
Now, you have a concrete idea behind the money, and the money is
assembled by a known quantity of work, instead of having the
well-known properties of MUD gold.  The money is valuated by it's
components and thier use instead of by NPC prices.  I think that a
simple understanding of the source and "absolute value" of money might
alone change the way it is handled in games - but then again, I'm an
inexperienced optimist with odd ideas.



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