[MUD-Dev] DGN: MMOG Game Economies

John Buehler johnbue at msn.com
Thu Nov 3 05:02:10 New Zealand Daylight Time 2005

William Leader writes:

> Lets assume that Cash rewards are static (they might be a random
> range but that just makes the example hard). Lets also assume that
> the target price index is 1 (because this makes the example easy.)
> Now lets say that your typical cash reward is $10. but you notice
> that the price index is up to 1.1 this is bad. so to curb the
> inflation before giving a reward we multiply it by the target
> index divided by the actual index. 10 x 1 / 1.1 = 9 (rounded to
> whole number). So the index goes up players get less cash this
> counters inflation. You can also use this for calculating the
> price merchants pay for items too. Now if the index is down, then
> 10 * 1 / 0.9 = 11 (again rounded). Players have more money and
> this combats deflation.

> What I find very compelling about this solution is that A) its
> permanent. No need to add new sinks with new expansion packs so
> its less long term work for the developer. B) its completely
> transparent to the players allowing them to complain to the
> developers about how some other class race combo has more buffs,
> rather than complain about why rocks are so expensive.

It would be an interesting experiment to see how economies adjust to
actions traditionally performed by developers that changes the worth
of various items and services to the players; new objects and skills
supplanting or competing with existing objects and skills.
Introduce houses, and suddenly snakes are dropping 100 gold pieces.
Why?  A huge base of value has been introduce into the ecoonomy.
Logic would dictate that money would have to be injected in order to
maintain a status quo.

This suggests to me that the introduction of goods and services
(value) should be done gradually so as not to mess up the balance of
the economy.  I wonder if it also suggests that items of massive
value should accumulate their value only slowly.  That is, palaces
must be built over some period of time.  If palaces are a single
step purchase, then the buyer would have to hoard all the money up
front and suddenly dispense it all at once.  It would be difficult
to manage an index for low-volume and high-value items like that.
If the value of a palace is derived from the construction materials
and labor involved, and the materials and labor were purchased over
a period of time, then no index need be constructed for palaces.
Only for the various raw materials and labor.

Again, I wonder how the instantaneous adjustments, changes and
enhancements that developers make to their virtual worlds would
cause such a balanced economy to react.  I wonder too if those
relying on the seeming stability of an economy would be particularly
burned by sudden changes by developers.

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