[MUD-Dev] DGN: MMOG Game Economies

Jaycen Rigger jaycen.rigger at sbcglobal.net
Wed Nov 2 12:03:56 New Zealand Daylight Time 2005

I'll quote your piece and respond point-by-point:

"Christopher D. Chapman" <chris at steelanvilstudios.com>

> The issue with this is that the sinks aren't exponential and thus
> won't match the character's > potential income.  The growth in
> wealth will always outpace the cost applied to these sinks.  >
> Eventually, they will get to a point where the player is making so
> much money in the game > that these flatly priced money sinks will
> essentially have no effect on their wallets and we're > back to
> the same problem.

My proposal for a money sink includes a sliding scale and is based
on cities or other "groupings" of players.  Taxation of players for
city services and property ownership can grow automatically as the
tax base grows, or even as the size of the tax pool grows
(accumulated revenue assumes that the wealth of the tax base can
afford the higher rate, if the accumulated revenue drops, the rate
auto-adjusts back down).

> The developers could scale the cost of these sinks up, but that's
> silly.  Just because my > character is a higher level than yours,
> I have to pay a higher price for my equipment?  Even > though it's
> the very same equipment you are purchasing?  Shouldn't that be the
> other way > around?  With money comes power and influence -- price
> discounts, not increases.  > Regardless, not only are there
> metagaming ways around this weird price fixing (low level >
> fences, for example) but, it's just a terrible idea.  How many
> players do you know that enjoy > paying arbitrary 'taxes' in any
> game they play?

No, because you are more wealthy, you are required to pay more
taxes.  Look at it any way you like - you consume more because you
can afford a larger family, more livestock, more servants, etc.
Ultimately, taxation increases simply because it can.  Look at any
point and any governmental system in our history.

Price discounts often come when buying large quantities of items,
which necessarily equates to SPENDING a lot of gold to begin with,
not the other way around.

Arbitrary taxes would suck.  That's why the system I propose pays
the players back with skill and stat bumps or with services not
normally available to them in the game.  By rewarding gold with a
"service", you don't inflate the junk-pool in the game and create
another source for creating gold.

Selling titles to the very rich players is another tactic.  Titles
could allow players access to larger property plots (which of course
means paying more in property taxes).

> In our example, it costs the player nothing to make fistfuls of
> gold and become more > powerful.  That 10gp sword is netting huge
> ROI because of the multiplying effect of having > these two
> currencies.

I'm a fan of item decay.  I'm also not much of a fan of "repairing
items".  I say allow 80% of an items total HP to be repaired each
attempt thus forcing the item to decay no matter what happens.

> If characters had to pay 1 gold (or however your currency breaks
> down) for each experience > point, it would solve the problem.
> You need to pay for power.

> This will make money scarce again.

Not really, what it does is change the focus for achieving more
gold.  In reality it creates a problem for newb characters and
frustration for old characters.  It's the principle we've argued
here many times regarding the purchasing of in-game items using real
world money.

Many of the free servers allow players to buy skill points with
gold.  This leads to players who "buy" super characters but don't
necessarily go through any of the "life experience" that leads to
having high skills.  In your case, it won't be skills, but the
special-magic benefits that experience confers in your game.
Players will "buy their way into power", which you've as much as
stated, but many players will resent this style of play.  Unless, of
course, that's your goal.

Paying for training doesn't keep the economy in check.  It creates
situations where players become gods in days instead of weeks or
months.  It engenders phrases like "the grind".  I remember when
"grinding" really meant "playing the game and gaining the experience
you've actually earned".

There exist an arsenal of excuses for not "playing the game and
gaining the experience you've actually earned", but I'm sure others
will be glad to detail those out for me.

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