[Mud-Dev] Broken currencies

Ben Sizer brsizer at kylotan.eidosnet.co.uk
Wed Apr 11 00:24:22 New Zealand Standard Time 2001

On Saturday, April 07, 2001 1:26 PM
Derek Licciardi <kressilac at home.com> wrote :

> ps Chew on this.  Inflation in MUDs leads to devaluation of currency
> and barter systems.  I believe it undermines class balance, item
> balance, item rarity, and overall power levels causeing all kinds of
> bad things to happen. Could it be possible that we need to link the
> entire game, power, money, skills, characters, mobs, and items to
> some sort of health index so that fixing the correct relative values
> for all elements of the game is based on this inflationary index??

There are various methods that one could use to reduce the impact of
inflation on the game. Any kind of numerical constant that refers to
or implies some sort of income or price could indeed be linked to some
sort of figure that tracks inflation over time. I don't think this
would be as hard to deduce as it might initially appear, either. A
thorough statistical analysis of player wealth, along with the amount
of wealth that the system generates, as well as the amount of wealth
the system loses through various drains, could provide a fairly
accurate figure.  The only problem I can see is that, whereas the
amount of income (even adjusted for inflation) your best players can
produce is ever-increasing, due to their increasing skills (whether
player or character), the amount of income your newbies can produce is
always going to be pretty static. So a single figure applied as some
sort of multiplier to all prices/costs/incomes is going to penalise
the newer players, I fear. Perhaps working out 3 inflation figures,
corresponding to the inflation on low, medium, and high worth/level
items, and then plotting the resulting curve would give you a decent
basis to work on.

Inflation isn't all bad, of course. Inflation means that hoarding
money is less desirable, since it devalues over time. This means that
most players will invest in material goods, which are easier for us to
remove from the game. Armour and weapons get damaged, food decomposes,
spell components get consumed, arrows get fired, etc. By accepting one
problem we perhaps reduce the effects of another.

But I came to the conclusion that the best way to deal with currency
issues in my game would be to omit currency altogether. Keep
everything on the barter level, and let the players decide the
relative worth of an item, rather than me as a designer trying to
second-guess what is going to have more utility, and thus more
value. It makes having NPC traders a little more tricky, but not

Ben Sizer

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