[MUD-Dev] Economic model..

Brian Thyer brian at thyer.net
Wed Feb 25 14:04:20 New Zealand Daylight Time 2004

On Wednesday, February 18, 2004 7:12 PM, Thomas Clive Richards wrote:

> I'm in a very similar situation myself, with he once project
> (www.once.net.nz). First off, I can recommend the "Designing
> virtual worlds" book by Richard Bartle. If you're lucky, your
> library might have a copy. It has an entire section devoted to
> online economies.

I'm actually trying to get a hold of a copy of this right now.

> This is to stop organized groups of players hoarding resources in
> a certain area to stimulate demand, and make lots of money really
> quickly ;) (Some might say this is a good thing, but after careful
> consideration, I think not).

This is an issue I'm a little torn on.  Like you said, players can
hoard to stimulate demand.  Their hoarding causes a decrease in
supply which causes a relative increase in demand.  Without a supply
increase to meat the demand increase you'll see an increase in
consumer's elasticity of demand allowing the hoarding players to
charge more for their products and make a good sum of money.

One work around for this that we're considering is making sure there
are multiple supply options for any necessary resource.  So while
there may only be one supply of a certain kind of wood that makes
the best boats, there's 5 different iron mines in different areas of
the map.  This rolls into the size of the world and the travel
times, making it hard for 1 group of players to securely hold all of
the supply points of a particular resource.  In other words, the
hope is that multiple supply points will help to control barriers to
entry in the manufacturing of goods made from each different

> Also, you have to look at the ways wealth is entering and exiting
> the system. Wealth enters the system in once via raw resources
> (trees-> wood, plants -> potions, monster drops etc. etc.), and
> leaves via used items (whenever a player eats food, drinks potions
> etc.), and NPC trades (NPC's don't spend the money they receive,
> it dissapears). Depending on how much money is in active
> distribution within the system (being spent, rather than hoarded),
> the rate of raw materials entering the system fluctuates.

I think something that has been established is that players hoard.
It's what they do, rather for status, saving for a rainy day, or
just out of habit, player hoard.  So what we're looking at is,
something akin to what you said, a fluctuating system.  Resources
will regenerate in an area at a given steady rate.  Meaning, if you
mine at the regeneration rate, or slower, you'll never run out.  But
if, as we humans are prone to do, you strip mine the lands, you're
going to find yourself out of resources rather quickly.

What the system does is, then encourage players to *not* hoard.
They can't get through their lives on the iron they're hoarding from
their now defunct mine.  They need to sell it, put it out in the
open market, and take their profits to either find a new mine, or
finance whatever other in game operation they have in mind (from
building a house to buying new adventuring equipment).  Obviously
some players will continue to hoard, but my hope is this will help
to reduce the frequency.

- Brian
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