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

Vincent Archer archer at frmug.org
Wed May 7 13:04:58 New Zealand Standard Time 2003

According to Marian Griffith:

> that *is* sign of  a broken economy.  The extreme difference in
> wealth between starting players and established players.  For a
> player who just starts (unless she gets help from others) those
> few gold coins that others have millions of,  are highly valua-
> ble  because on that end of the economy  the inflation  has not
> yet had time to strike. They are at the low end of the exponen-
> tial curve  and struggling to gain a few more coins.  Would the
> shopkeepers use the high end coinage then the low level players
> would be unable to trade.

Another way of fighting this is to do away with the whole
exponential wealth paradigm. About every single game is based on the
same principle: a starting character has little or no coinage, a
level 10's full equipment kit is worth 1g, a level 20 is worth 10, a
level 50 is worth a thousand.

Which creates the unfortunate consequences:

  - "Twinking" a low level character is a negligible expense for a
  maxed out character.

  - All mobs have to drop an ever increasing amount of coinage

  - No low level character can engage in meaningful economic
  transactions with a high level character, no matter what services
  he wants to buy

Why not, instead, work linearly, or even almost flat. A level 10
character's full equipment costs 100g, a level 50 character's
equipment costs 500g at most.

You need of course a couple measures to prevent farming of low
difficulty mobs for their coinage (the various giants of EQ are
quite popular for this purpose). Probably link the amount of coinage
and probability of items that drop to the challenge of the mob
fought. And put minimum levels to equipment, or (probably better)
put caps to character power from equipment.

But instead, the low level character can buy equipment and services
from a high level character, at a price that is attractive to the
high level character.

Applied to a game like DAoC, for example, it would probably even
strengthen the group incentives. Right now, you have incentives to
group for XP, and incentives to solo for cash. Which, given that
there are also incentives to solo (no time wasted finding a group,
no problem with unbalanced makeup - "we have to wait for a healer"
syndrome -) would probably cure the current trend of soloing most of
your levels from 1 to 45, with a couple of buff bots thrown in.

You just have a little harder job balancing this than making just
exponential curves from costs and drops.

	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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