[MUD-Dev] Dgn: Currency free game

Tony Hoyt gmtonyhoyt at yahoo.com
Sat Jun 11 01:02:55 New Zealand Standard Time 2005

In some games that even had an established currency, players
occasionally created new ones that worked alongside the old
currency.  Case in point, Dark age of Camelot.  Mythic introduced
into the game, quite early on in its release, a cross realm dungeon
known as Darkness Falls.  They designed a system that allowed
players to earn credits that they could then use to purchase items
with in addition to the typical MUD Drop system you find nearly
universally in other similar online games.  These credits were
called seals and came in three varieties, Emerald, Sapphire, and
Diamond, which were intended to scale from mid to upper level
players as desirable objects to acquire.

Players started trading these seals as if a second currency to those
who wished to convert them into the primary currency (gold) via
Tradeskilling.  The price per seal also tended to vary only slightly
by server and became a staple of the crafting system for players
within the game.

While the value of the credit/seal system was largely based on how
much players could make on the conversion, so hence the value wasn't
all player manufactured.  It shows that players do sometimes
spontaneously create a currency when the situation is advantageous
to do so..

Yet, if the game does not have a built in currency, I tend to think
the initial player base will find itself in a period of confusion
where players try to figure the cost value of goods and eventually
generate a currency system that is typically considered sufficient
with expectations that all players after that point that join the
game will soon adopt.  So that initial development phase of the
player base is interesting, but short lived and usually never
repeats itself again.  I think starting a game without a currency
might actually hinder your initial launch because it adds an
increased complexity to the learning curve, which you may or may not
mind.  Remember, player made currencies are not something the
developer documents so the players have to learn on their own, This
can greatly increase the learning curve to an unsatisfactory level
for amateur MMOG players.  If you are looking for a game that's not
focused in neophyte players in general, this might be an acceptable
and perhaps even desired effect.  If not, then you might want to
reconsider that no built in currency concept.

Although no doubt there is some game that proves my points wrong...


"Opportunities multiply as they are seized." - Sun Tzu
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