[MUD-Dev] DGN: MMOG Game Economies

William Leader leader at k2wrpg.org
Fri Nov 4 01:32:25 New Zealand Daylight Time 2005


Artur Biesiadowski wrote:

> 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.

I've never considered the solution to be something that is added to
a running world. Since I don't have a running world to worry about,
I've always considered that it should be implemented from the
beginning. But for academic discussion lets think about what would
happen in an established world.

> 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 ?

Ok, players are making high dollar transactions, so yes the index
would go up. Now we have to pay attention to what this index is
telling us. Prices going up is a symptom of inflation (prices going
up is not inflation its self. This is basic macro-economics.)

> 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.

Your missing something critical here. Your right that player will
want to charge as much as they can for something. How much they can
charge is dependent on how much cash other players have to
spend. How much cash they have to spend is determined by how much
cash the system gives them. The relation ship is not the higher the
index goes the more cash the system hands out, but the opposite, the
higher the index goes the less cash the system hands out. This
reduces the money supply, and thereby combats inflation. Prices go
up because there is too much money, to push prices down you need
less money in the system.

So if we have an established world, and they system is implemented
to bring inflation under control, then what should happen is that
all players will be getting less money. So less money finds its way
to the high level players. High level players can no longer afford
massive money sinks. Is this really a bad thing?

> 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.

This assumes that massive money sinks are the right way to do it. If
an economy is built right they aren't needed. The huge money sink is
kind of like sticking you finger in the hole in the damn. Its only
going to work for a little while, and it doesn't solve the problem
of where is all the water(money) coming from. The point is that as a
high level player, you should need to charge huge amounts of money
to support a habit. Any level players should be able to generate a
normal income, which they spend to buy normal priced things from
other players. Having huge money sinks is a symptom, not a cure.

> 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.

The system I propose has no effect on the economic mechanics of the
game, there will always be high level players who want to make money
buy offloading loot onto low level players. The difference here is
that the total amount of money in the game is less, but the number
of transactions is the same. The only difference is the prices are
lower because all players (not just low level ones) have less money,
because the system is regulating the amount of money going in. If
you have a world where the amount of money going into the system is
not regulated you are going to have problems with inflation.

There is an article in my wiki that goes into more detail with
background theory and examples at
http://www.k2wrpg.org/wiki/index.php?Inflation

-Will Leader
http://www.k2wrpg.org/
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