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

Bob McFakename bobmcfakename at hotmail.com
Wed Apr 11 17:46:46 New Zealand Standard Time 2001

From: "Michael Tresca" <talien at toast.net>
To: <mud-dev at kanga.nu>
Sent: Wednesday, April 11, 2001 12:46 AM
Subject: RE: [MUD-Dev] Curtailing the 'Super-Rich Effect'

>Bob McFakenam posted on Monday, April 09, 2001 2:28 PM

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

> The problem, as I see it, is that MUDs are a little too accurate in
> their representation of how players (ya know, people) handle money.
> People are still people -- folks who are friends with rich people
> benefit, just like newbies who know highbies benefit.  Were there an
> administrator viewing the rich in action in real life, he or she
> would probably downgrade them right quick.

Certainly, the last thing we want to do is impose some form of
Draconian control upon socialization with rich people - unless we're
running MarxMUD.  But I'm talking mainly about large gifts from rich
players to people they *don't* know. If you go on most muds and walk
around for a few minutes saying 'hi, i'm a new player, could anyone
spare a little eq?' or some such, you can amass equipment and gold
well beyond the means of the average rat-slaying 1st level peseant.

>> 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.

> We have this in real life too, it's called inheritance.  Family
> members are given a distinct advantage through inheritance.  All very
> "real" situations.

When Bill Gates dies, he'll make his 3 children very wealthy. You can't
walk around his house going 'Hi, i'm a new human, spare some eq?' and
he'll give you a hundred thousand dollars and a brand new Jeep Grand
Cherokee (AFAIK, <G>). Different situation.

>> 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.

> My personal experience, having encountered more than one
> millionaire, is that this is patently untrue.  If anything, that's a
> biased perspective from folks who don't have money.  We like to
> think that the rich are unhappy, hate their lives, and have to horde
> their gold in fortresses.  The rich folks I know do none of these
> things.

When did I say anything about unhappy life-hating rich hoarders? I was
talking about problems connected to inflation and economic structure
in a MUD. And my points about having to guard wealth, be charitable,
live in high social cicles, etc. still stand...

...at least in an ancient society. With ATMs, electronic money, and
good ol' Marshall McLuhan's global village a reality, it may not cost
so much to be rich in the modern world.

> The problem isn't necessarily that there are haves and have-nots.
> It's the permanency of the exchange.  What problems do the rich have
> that rich MUDders don't have?

(besides the ones I mentioned)

> Accountability.  Inheritors are often watched like hawks by their
> parents/grandparents/etc. who want to make sure they "spend their
> money right."  How many MUDders give money to their newbie friends
> and then say, "I'm going to watch your evolution every step of the
> way, how you act reflects on me, you better make me look good, I'll
> be watching!"  It's very rare that kind of permanence is attached to
> "Here buddy, here's a million gold pieces" -- but this is more the
> fault of gold being disposable and characters being transient, than
> the game lacking economic realism.  Just GIVING someone a million
> dollars is not an easy thing to do (legally) in real life.

> Likewise, taxation, political influence, etc.  These are all factors
> that go into the "money is power" paradigm.  Too often, MUDs lack
> those issues that make being rich more than owning a lot of money.

Let's say 'assets' instead of money. Once you get to a certain point
in most MUDs, better equipment has to be stolen, fought for, or traded
for. Thus, the raw medium of exchange, be it gold coins, shekels, or
deutchmarks becomes completely disposable - and this is an important
part of the 'super-rich' effect.

        Fredfish (E. Harper)

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