[MUD-Dev] DGN: MMOG Game Economies

Artur Biesiadowski abies at adres.pl
Thu Nov 3 09:58:46 New Zealand Daylight Time 2005


William Leader wrote:

> 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.

Will it really work ? Let's imagine that you have already running
world, with certain experienced players hoarding very large amount
of money, bunch of newbies with a lot of money gained by
twinking/ebay, plus majority of honest, low level
players. Experiences players start to charge large amount of money
for any useful items - it is not worth for them to even click on
trade button for small amounts. Twinked newbies buy these items -
your index goes up (let's say to 5). What is the effect ? Wealthy
players are even more wealthy (thus are going to charge more money
for items), twinked characters have to get twinked a bit more or
shell out few bucks on ebay, honest players now need 5 times as much
time to get same amount of money as before, with this money being
worth 5 times less - so they need to farm dollar spawning bushes for
25 as long as originally, or 5 times as long as with just normal
inflation, without autobalancing.

With constant cost money sinks, ability of low level players to
support high-level players sinks by buying stuff from them is
reduced by price index. If I (as a high level player) need $10k per
week for my sinks and I used to sell nice-item +3 for $1k, I had to
farm 10 of nice-items +3 per week to pay for sink upkeep. Assuming
that new players are able to generate $100 per hour, I had to find
100 newbie-hours of customer resources. Some time passed and due to
twinking of newcomers everybody started to be able to charge $5k per
nice-item +3 - which reduced my costs to farming 2 items per
week. But this also means that newbies are able to generate only $20
per hour - so I would need to find 500 newbie-hours to support my
hedonistic sink. Please note that lowering just my price would not
help - it will not affect server overall index, I would still need
500 newbie-hours - it only leads back to increasing my effort to 10
item per week. It is easier to find 2 twinks per week, then to find
10 people who are able to waste 50 hours a week just to buy new
item.

If you increase money sinks with price index, everything will be
just ^3 instead of ^2. What could be interesting would be making
sinks _cheaper_ as price index grows. This way you preserve constant
ratio of newbie-hour versus high-level-player-sinks. Unfortunately
such solution would have similar problem, as I would have to find
only 1 twink per few weeks to make my living, still without
decreasing the price.

I expect that scaling you have proposed would only lead to wrestling
rest of buying power from newcomers, increasing effect of inflation
expotentially.


Artur
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