[MUD-Dev] Economy

Vincent Archer archer at frmug.org
Wed Dec 12 12:04:08 New Zealand Daylight Time 2001


According to Jeff Cole:
> From: Dave Rickey

>> 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.
 
> It's a design decision.  I would argue that in DAoC, it's much
> more an issue of the skills system as a whole.  At the moment,
> raising skills requires overproduction.  Combine that with a
> levelling curve far steeper than that of the crafters and you've
> got further issues.

I would disagree with the levelling curve. If anything, people
complain that they have "outlevelled" the crafters. The crafters are
now catching to the powerlevellers population, but that's not that
easy.

It is far more easier and far more "rewarding" to powerlevel than it
is to "powerskill". Powerlevel is usually more varied, with tactics
adapted to surroundings and the mobs coming in, while powerskilling
is exactly the same activity at skill 1 and at skill 800 (and thus
intrinsically more boring for most people). In addition, levelling
adds to the character's worth (in the form of loot), and thus can be
sustained indefinitely, whereas skilling depletes a character's
worth, eventually leading to a stumbling block where the character
can no longer afford it unless he gets help (in the form of player
sales, guild donations, whatever).

As for raising skill requiring overproduction, there's no real way
to do this much better (that I can see; but then, I'm not that
creative).

How can one's skill increase?

  - Increase only from worthwhile production (i.e. you want to
  discourage frivolous a-la-UO production). So player made items
  cannot be sold to NPCs, they all must be sold to customers.

    Problems: People still produce frivolously to raise the skills,
    they now destroy items rather than recycle them into cash. You
    just have raised the "cost" of a skill point, requiring a large
    (x10) increase in the profits a crafter requires to further
    skill up. Crafters must sell at inflated prices, or require an
    ever larger numbers of customers.

  - Skillpoint vendor machine. Give N silver/gold to the craft
  master, and you get 1 skill point in "exchange".

    Problem: the skill point raise can occur very fast. Given enough
    platinum coins, one guild crafter might raise from 1 to 800 in
    record time.  (the "I'll be master smith today" syndrome)

See any better mechanism?

>> My objection to a vendor system is that personal interaction and
>> the resulting community-building flies straight out the window.

I've already supported this point of view.

Adding the crafter name to the items is very good, because it allows
people to figure whom they should give return business to.

>> 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.
 
> Any markup that a craftsman of any significant skill (the next
> higher material?) above that which the lower player wants/needs
> could reasonably expect from said player is insignificant to the
> crafter.

At lower levels, that's true. At higher material tiers, that's no
longer the case. Going from iron to steel multiply the prices by 4,
so profits from iron sales is pretty poor when you need capital for
steel. Going from mithril to adamantium multiplies the cost by 1.5
only. Selling mithril items gives you a good profit when you're
working at adamantium skills.

Of course, this causes another problem, namely the upper-end armor
whose price relative to lower-end armor is fixed ends up more
expensive for a lesser effect than the next material armor.

But, as Dave said, the main reason a good crafter sells to lower
players (often at cost, which is a bad habit, as people come to
expect free ride to level 50) is to develop your customer
network. Just like a consultant or another highly skilled worker
will take jobs that are not lucrative, because he expects these
serve as introduction, and you expect a better return.

>>> Take Tailoring.  You had to inextricably tie it to Armorcrafting
>>> just to make it valuable.  That is a kluge.
 
>> Yep.  One that *works*.

> Sure it works ... ok.  Too bad tailoring wasn't designed to be
> valuable within the scope of the game.

Tailoring IS valuable. Ask any rogue class or Friars :)

The design of the tradeskills called, I think, for each crafter to
have a reasonable guaranteed market. In theory, yes, you could have
done the same using exactly two craft skills: armor & weapons. That
would have led to imbalance, so splitting armor in two was a good
move. The problem is, of course, finding how to balance the
marketshares so that, during the levelling process of an average
population of characters, people would buy "about the same amount"
to each of the crafter classes.

Tailoring products are often bought indirectly only, but they end up
being necessary. In practice, I would even argue that tailors have a
better time than armorers, because they don't have to deal with
fifty different customers to run after: they have a much smaller
number of customers, who buy a lot more.

The ONE crafting class that isn't balanced and not *that* valuable
is fletching. The marketshare for fletching is far too small
compared to the others.

One of the things I would expect from Spellcrafting (the next
addition to the craft skills) is the ability to make focus staves,
which would probably triple the potential market for fletchers as
they could finally sell to the - rather large - caster population.

--
	Vincent Archer			Email:	archer at frmug.org

All men are mortal.  Socrates was mortal.  Therefore, all men are Socrates.
							(Woody Allen)
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