[MUD-Dev] Curtailing the 'Super-Rich Effect'

Bob McFakename bobmcfakename at hotmail.com
Mon Apr 9 18:27:32 New Zealand Standard Time 2001

(if you like, we can call it the 'Gates Effect' :)

I've noticed that in virtually all MUDs, the higher-level players
have such ridiculous amounts of money - actually, that should be
'assets' - that they can give medium-level equipment away.  Most
people don't seem to care a great deal about this, but it has always
bothered me, for a few reasons:

1) I'm a realist and I like to see an /appearance/ of reality -
although yeah, 'real' reality is impossible - in MUDs.

2) Rich players tend to give good stuff away to new players.  It's
nice to have help starting up, but then I /like/ the long, slow climb
as opposed to the 'here's-some-plus-one-plate
and-a-broadsword-don't-mention-it' approach.

3) I think that many aspects of a game should be challenging, in order
to provide new challenges and enhance replayability.  You can't become
a super-mega-grand-master in 2 weeks of play (if you want a
life/job/school career), why should you be able to become super-rich

The reason for super-richness is pretty well documented: once you have
money, it gets you more money. If you have a thousand gold and make 10
trade runs at 15% profit, you make about three thousand gold. Do the
same with a million gold and you make three million gold. This and
related phenomenon make wealth-gaining basically an exponential growth
process (in both VR and RL worlds.)

On the other hand, there are few super-rich in RL, certainly fewer per
capita than in MUDs. I would guess that the reason is simple enough:
RL, it costs a lot to be rich.

Think about it. Rich people have to guard their wealth. They have to
hire staff to clean their mansions and take care of minor affairs.  As
a general rule, they have to be generous and give money to this and
that foundation for sick puppy dogs. They have to throw elaborate
parties to maintain the impression of being rich. Hell, in many
societies, all the costs of being rich have driven the rich into debt
and poverty (Victorian europe, Tokugawa Japan are two examples I can
think of... but in Tokugawa Japan, the samurai could always kill the
moneylenders. (More often they just unilaterally declared their debts
to be gone.))

On the other hand, in most MUDs, there are no living expenses to speak
of, and they certainly don't go up when you're rich.

So how can we curtail the super-rich effect? (Do we want to?)  Any

As always, I apoligize for my long-windedness, maintain a supply of
egg near my face should I have missed something, etc, etc, etc.


                Fredfish (E. Harper)

PS Apologies for the hotmail account, my regular email isn't sending
right. Email replies to oxford_thames at on.aibn.com, please.

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