[MUD-Dev] D&D vs. MMORPG "complexity"

Dave Rickey mahrinskel at brokentoys.org
Thu Apr 17 07:48:58 New Zealand Standard Time 2003


From: "Damion Schubert" <damion at zenofdesign.com>

> Indeed.  'Economics' starts with having enough people to merit
> 'demand' and some sort of 'supply' that's not enough to spread
> around.  In a six-person table top game, you rarely have
> economics.  You usually just have a GM pulling the price of cheese
> from his ass, and covering it up with a good backstory.

> As an aside, I've seen many theories that suggest that you really
> need things like food, water, shelter, resources, etc before you
> have an economic model.  Fie.  Too many people think an 'economy'
> is what ensures that your newbie can sell the Rat Droppings he
> bought in order to upgrade to second level gear.  Bah.  That's a
> safety net, not an economy.

> An economy is what happens when there's not enough housing to go
> around, when your player killing spell requires reagents that only
> spawn in the dungeon next to the enemy guild's guildhouse, or when
> one rare class in the game is the only one who can perform a
> needed but invaluable service.  Economies can be as realistic as
> the designer would like, but it need not be at all - it just needs
> to satisfy a demand that the player has, however bizarro that
> demand might be.

Nuts.  Economies are about the conversion of one type of value into
another.  In MMO's, there are only two fundamental types of value:
Time, and Power.  Under the right circumstances, there is also
Rarity, but that's a sideshow (by the very nature of involving items
whose difficulty of acquisition (Time) exceeds their effectiveness
(Power)), not the main economy.

Players squabbling over how many millions of gold a pile of horse
dung is worth is a sign of a *broken* economy, not economic forces
at work.  Exclusive control of a source of vital resources by a
small group is another (that group has power far exceeding their
time investment, others cannot have that much power regardless of
how much time they invest).

--Dave


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