[Mud-Dev] Broken currencies

Timothy Dang tdang at U.Arizona.EDU
Sat Apr 7 21:17:53 New Zealand Standard Time 2001

On Wed, 4 Apr 2001, Michael Dekker wrote:

> What are the real assets in a Mud? Typically, they are the
> possessions of the players and the skills of the characters.  Gold,
> in a Mud, is not a real asset, because it cannot be used to produce
> goods.  (It can only be used to purchase things that produce goods).
> Neither is gold a financial asset, because it does not represent a
> claim to the income generated by real assets.  Thus, financially
> astute players in a Mud are not interested in the acquisition of
> gold, except insofar as gold is a tool that will lead to the
> acquisition of other real assets or financial assets (which
> typically don't exist).

Gold in a (typical) MUD is a real good, a productive resource. This is
one of the ways MUD economies differ from real ones. In the real
economy I can't burn $10 and suddenly make a twelve-pack of beer
materialize. In a MUD the fire may look like a person and there may be
the fiction that that person had the beer in stock, and is
transferring ownership to me. But in fact, the beer has just been
created. In this sense, money in MUDs is economically equivalent to
(for instance) spell components which allow you to kill a monster and
get the monster's (created) loot.

Money in MUDs has a lot of weird aspects, and the fictions of the MUD
can get in the way of seeing what's really happening. So, MUD money
could be seen as a productive commodity which happens to be extremely
tradable. Or it could be seen as backed currency, particularly in
games with fixed NPC prices. It's got some features of an "inside
fiat" currency, in that there are some transactions which might only
be possible, or practically possible with the currency. For instance,
you can't barter with a player-run vendor in UO.

Timothy O'Neill Dang / Cretog8
One monkey don't stop no show.

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