[MUD-Dev] [STORY] Story and population size

Christopher Kohnert chris at achaea.com
Tue Dec 4 11:55:06 New Zealand Daylight Time 2001

Derek Licciardi wrote:
>> -----Original Message-----
>> From: Adam Martin
>> Mostly I'd be interested to hear what anyone else has to think
>> about how the whole ball-game changes as you rack up the number
>> of players.

> The next generation games will most likely try to handle a larger
> number of users.  Besides the budgetary costs associated with this
> level of server design, it changes the entire design of the server
> and directly impacts the gameplay inside your game.
> IMO the first aspect of the game that should see a dramatic
> improvement is the economy.  I believe it will be easier to manage
> an economy given 50,000 or 100,000 plus players.  Today's games
> are fragmented populations that do not have statistically large
> enough numbers to sustain the proper buyer/seller relationship.  I
> use EQ as an example where you can walk into Eastern Commonlands
> anytime and hear a pile of seller and buyers with very few items
> actually being sold.(based on the numerous repeat sell auctions
> and repeat buy auctions by a single person in five minutes) By
> increasing the number of players you increase the chance that the
> economic transaction will take place and the flow of goods to and
> from buyers and sellers will not stop.  that being said I think
> this whole idea of improving the economic flow in these games will
> bring with it increased problems from the admin side that we have
> never seen.

Let me begin by qualifying and saying that I am neither an EQ player
nor any sort of economist. However, I really have a bit of a problem
with people claiming that simply increasing the number of players
somehow magically solves some of the problems in today's
systems. (Recalling a couple other posts to this original post
here...) For example, the problem above sounds simply like the the
buyer doesn't want what the seller is offering, etc. This is a
common trait when say, there are two different goods, one of which
is easy to obtain, the other quite difficult. In the first, you're
going to get lots of people who gather it up and try to sell it
(because it was easy), but of course because it was so easy to
obtain, nobody wants to buy it, they can go get it themselves. In
the second case, few people harvest the hard to get good, and so
there are less to sell. The rarity or difficulty in finding it is
what makes it a good selling item (as opposed to going and getting
it one's self). This is generally speaking of course, there's always
going to be exceptions. If, again, for example, the economic system
was perfectly modelled (ignoring the monumental task that is), then
I should think that it would be independent of the number of
players. Farmer Joe can sell his old John Deere to his neighbor for
a couple of his neighbor's wife's blueberry pies if he wants. Small
population transactions happen all the time.

A small population isn't some sort of system crippling attribute. Of
course, that being said, there is also obviously such a thing as a
critical mass required to get things to work nicely. Which, I will
claim, is nowhere near the 50k+ numbers people are throwing out as
'magic' numbers in most cases. It only takes a certain number of
people to make a decent bell-curve, any more than that, and you're
just wasting your time for marginal improvement.

Hurrah for 100k+ players online, that will be extremely cool. But I
hardly think it simply solves problems in and of itself. I should
think it would introduce newer, possibly harder, ones.

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