[MUD-Dev] Economy (was Re: [MUD-Dev] [STORY] Story and population size)

Dave Rickey daver at mythicentertainment.com
Mon Dec 10 10:35:11 New Zealand Daylight Time 2001

-----Original Message-----
From: Jeff Cole <jeff.cole at mindspring.com>
From: "Dave Rickey" <daver at mythicentertainment.com>

Something about your emails keeps my email client (Outlook Express
4.72) from quoting them properly.  It's a pain inserting all those
">" indentations by hand.

>> Unfortunately, it is not, it's because this is not a real world
>> I'm dealing with.

> Huh?  How is it not the "real world."  It is absolutely real.  You
> have people bargaining for things that are of value to them.

It's not real in the sense that no realistic limitations on raw
materials or labor exist, barring my simulating them there is an
infinite supply of both.

>> Setting up a buyer-seller in the real world has a whole host of
>> overhead costs, and is complex enough that we have a special term
>> for it: Business Model.

> The transaction costs (overhead) of almost every transaction that
> you make in the real world, Dave, are completely internalized
> within the transaction itself.  How many of those transactions
> actually involve bargaining?  I imagine that the majority of your
> daily economic interactions are really nothing more than the DAoC
> analog of purchasing from an NPC vendor.  Sure, there might be
> some social interaction with the clerk/agent, but this interaction
> does not go to the essence of the transaction.

The essence of the transaction in an economic sense, but I am not
creating an economic simulator.  I am creating an adjunct to a
loot-and-level game.  The social interaction is far from an
accidental byproduct of the process, it's the *purpose*.  Otherwise,
why bother?

My objection to a vendor system is that personal interaction and the
resulting community-building flies straight out the window.  The
players are back to doing business with NPC's.  In an economic sense
it is a player-to-player transaction, in a gameplay sense it's just
another NPC merchant, with a less predictable inventory.

> Same with DAoC.

> You have artificially increased the transaction costs associated
> by making it more difficult (and inconvenient) for buyers/sellers
> to find each other: it is precisely because these transaction
> costs are internalized.  It is a result of the rather limited
> (hardly evolutionary) interaction mechanics of DAoC.

I have increased nothing.  I have let the transaction costs find
their natural equilibrium, given the rules of the game world.

> To disniss it because the world is not "real" or because of
> transaction costs is a red herring.

>> In a game, any tools we create to assist creating those channels
>> pre-empt any "natural" business models that might emerge.

> How so?  Give an example.  I would argue just the opposite: that
> the tools you create to allow the economy (i.e. "business model")
> to become more natural.

Most of the truly successful tradesmen have become so by cultivating
their market, making items for lower-level players at cost in order
to educate them to the advantages of crafted equipment.  These
players then come back to them later.  Vendor systems would
commodify the equipment and eliminate the social interaction.

> Take Tailoring.  You had to inextricably tie it to Armorcrafting
> just to make it valuable.  That is a kluge.

Yep.  One that *works*.

> Such macroscopic solutions to microscopic, or fundamental,
> problems run roughshod over the system.  Even in the real world,
> artificially imposed barriers to market serve a function other
> than making an economy more "natural."

I have certain advantages that Congress lacks.  I'm not limited by
anything, not even the laws of physics.  Congress would be
hard-pressed to repeal the Law of Gravity.  DAoC trades violate
Conservation of Mass routinely.

>> It's not a matter of *restricting* their ability to interact,
>> it's what artifical means I give them to *bypass* interacting.

> Please tell me how it is bypassing interaction.  Because they are
> not using the client?  Because they are not exchanging /tells in
> real time?  Because they were not at the same place at the same
> time?  How many transactions do you make in a day where you
> actually interact with the manufacturer of the item?

And if I wanted to create a simulation of modern mass-production
consumerism, all that would be fine.


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