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

Daniel.Harman at barclayscapital.com Daniel.Harman at barclayscapital.com
Mon Dec 17 12:10:49 New Zealand Daylight Time 2001

From: Jeff Cole [mailto:jeff.cole at mindspring.com]
> From: "Dave Rickey" <daver at mythicentertainment.com>
>> With a population that varies from 500 to 3000, divided into
>> three realms, and further divided between 4 trades, that works
>> out to 8-48 people online at a time you might do business with.
>> However, the chances of someone wanting to buy something, and
>> being unable to find *anyone* prepared to sell it to him, is
>> extremely high, especially off-peak.
>> Which creates a nasty Catch-22: I have to reduce the barriers
>> between buyer and seller, up to and including offline trading.
>> But if I lower them *too* far, the market is too efficient, and
>> no-one actually makes any money.
> That you have to manage artificially you economy with barriers
> between buyers and seller should set off all kinds of warning
> bells that your economy is fundatmentally unsound.  What you are
> really saying is that DAoC has such potential for overproduction
> that you must restrict the ability of players to interact in order
> to artificially manage supply to keep demand (and prices)
> inflated.

I alluded to this in my other economy thread, but I believe that the
problem most of the games I've played suffer is that there are
insufficient barriers around the trade skills. There should be costs
associated with becoming a trader, being a trader and stopping
trading. Examples of which are buying equipment to pursue the skill,
joining relevent guilds, buying premises to trade from, and
liquidating this all when you stop. This prevents the non-commited
from entering the economy as a producer and means that those who
trade, and then forsake the skill can't just come back and compete
with those building themselves up for the first time, without
significant investment. Otherwise all decisions based on trading are
trivialised. When you start up a business in real life, there is
considerable risk of finanical loss which is what stops every damned
person doing it. The games seem to miss this point or oversimplify
and load all the costs onto learning the skill.

The other fundamental problem with trade skills is the bottom heavy
approach of the products, both newbie craftsmen and masters can
produce the cheap items. As a game progresses the production
capacity become more and more inverted to the wealth/level of the
player population. How does one make starting off as a trader viable
in this situation?

I think there is some mileage in moving away from the sole trader,
crafting by himself and moving towards a master/apprentice/trade
conglomerate model.  The goal being to persuade the masters to not
compete for newbie trade and perhaps encouraging them to subsidise
the apprentices. A scheme not unlike ACs fealty technique might work
whereby the transfered benefits might be status, %profit, access to
guild resources, access to bulk consignment contracts (which ideally
should go out to competitive tender). I must confess this idea isn't
fully formed, but it could be fun I think.


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