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

Jeff Cole jeff.cole at mindspring.com
Tue Apr 29 11:06:13 New Zealand Standard Time 2003

From: Dave Rickey
> From: Marian Griffith

>> Sorry, but no, this is not true.  Economy is created by scarcity.

> No, *value* is created by scarcity.

Not by scarcity alone.  Scarcity is just supply.  You also need
demand to create "value"--at least any utile concept of "value".
Economy occurs when the difference in value of a good between two
actors exceeds the sum of the costs of transacting.

It is hardly difficult to conceive of a market situation in which
making a given good scarcer does not increase the market value of
the good because there is a substitute good in the market.  That's
just a market in the elastic region of the demand curve for that
good.  It happens all the time in MMO*/MUDs as the supply of a given
item increases and depresses the value of less powerful items
(independently of the supply of the less powerful items).  The
decrease in value of the less powerful items much more often results
more from the threat of item-substitution than from an increase in
supply of the less powerful item--if only because the costs
associated with selling the less powerful item will exceed that
marginal value of the less powerful item.

> ... water easily acquired and highly fungible.

I am not sure in what way you consider water "fungible".  The fact
that companies can charge a significant price for bottled water is
evidence that water is not fungible, let alone highly so.

>> I fail to see how [a monopoly] is a sign of broken economy.

> It's certainly broken in game terms (people do not pay money to be
> peasants), and I'd argue strongly that it is broken in social
> terms as well.

Though reasonable minds differ as to whether the amount of consumer
surplus that is transferred to the monopolist properly signals a
"broken" economy, most would agree that the deadweight loss
associated with monopoly is indeed an indication of a broken, or
breaking, economy.

I would argue that developers have been too focused on managing
economy only through supply and have too long ignored demand (much
to the detriment of their economies).  The greater the inelasticity
of demand, the greater the threat of monopoly to the economy.

I am not aware of a MMO*/MUD that has manages its economy through
dynamic management of demand for its resources.

Yrs. Affcty,
Jeff Cole

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