[MUD-Dev] Casual player socialization & Bertering

ceo at grexengine.com ceo at grexengine.com
Fri Jan 10 01:59:15 New Zealand Daylight Time 2003

on Wed, Jan 08, 2003 at 09:03:51PM -0800, Ted L. Chen wrote:
> Adam M wrote:
>> a small 2D graph, with "Probablility of selling" along one axis,
>> and "Sell price" along another", and a single or double bezier
>> curve with endpoints anchored at the top right and bottom left
>> corners of the graph.
> When's the last time you heard someone complain about so-and-so
> weapon/class being too effective, quoting some obscene damage
> rating that only happens 0.01% of the time?  This leads me to
> predict that the first time a player encounters a sell at $0 which
> had a low, but non-zero probability, he's going to throw a fit.
> "The game is bugged!  I want my money back!"  Conversely, that one
> sale at the other extreme skews the expectation (unjustly) to a
> higher value.  If I *was* cynical, I'd also point out that players
> are greedy and would naturally inflate all the values.  ;)

But in buying and selling, my real-life experience counteracts this
(and I confess I was surprised when it happened at first). Some
years ago I was making a living by capitalizing on the price
differential between different auctions and sales channels
(primarily online, but also offline). I saw a vast number of sales,
including the useful process of seeing the same sale happen
repeatedly, but with different buyer/seller each time.

Attempting to sell an item - or even several items - by auction is a
very fast way to learn the realities of the maxim "its worth only
what people will pay for it". Even the least mathematically or
economically savvy individual only needs one or two unsuccessful
auctions to realise that whilst something may be supposedly worth
$100, the actual amount you can get for it in a general marketplace
may be heavily discounted. Or, to put it in terms that many people
explain it to themselves, "You can never sell something for what its
actually worth".

I have to confess that since nto many people looked too deeply into
understanding WHY there was this difference between their assessed
value and the price the market would pay, many responded simply by
lowering their price - which proved a lucrative source of more
profit for myself, who assumed the risk of whether I had correctly
guessed at the reason for the difference, and the risk of whether I
could successfuly eliminate that and hence sell at a profit.

My economist friends brush this aside as "ease of sale was part of
the trade that the seller wanted, hence the cash price was
discounted, although the overall value of what was traded was
probably equivalent on both sides". Which is true - but this doesn't
mean the sellers realised this - they were just learning to adapt
very quickly to the realities of trading.

So, I suggest that you can in fact very easily and rapidly train
people to obey the simple aspects of tradinig, and to accept these,
as long as you don't need to make them understand it, and as long as
they aren't going to develop a major problem with the fact that
other people (who better understand the mechanics) seem to be able
to turn around a much better profit.

> If anything, it's an interesting idea despite being another
> interface to learn.  Just drop the probabilities and make it
> deterministic.  Bubba inspects Buffy's curves.  :)

LOL ;)

Adam M 

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