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Removing NPC economy.


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#1 Gava   Members   -  Reputation: 277

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Posted 07 January 2013 - 08:55 PM

Inspired by another topic in this forum (Discussion: Resource Gathering as a genre) I started wondering:

What if you eradicated all merchant NPCs from an MMORPG?

Lets assume you have a mechanic in place for players to make absolutely every item available in-game(classes or skills or whatever) and that looting from PvE only provided raw materials for equipment/potions/tools/etc.

Could you conceive a fully player driven barter economy to be sustainable? I mean removing completely the concept of money for trade. You need to exchange items for items or make your own from raw materials.

I'd appreciate your input on the subject. Limitations you see would cripple the game, interesting mechanics to complement this idea, etc are all welcome.

 

Some thoughts of my own on the economy:

This would require a lot of player interaction. Your progress as a player is bound to bartering with other players in order to acquire the equipment you want/need.

With a small playerbase this could be imposible to achieve. Item shortage in the low/middle tier equipment could kill the game.

I can see a lot of pressure being placed in the “production” players, a lack of a certain class could cripple the game (but prices should sky rocket for the unavailable items making the class more appealing so a balance should be achieved in the long run).

Some raw materials should cover some basic needs (meat is a very rudimentary health booster, a wood piece is a basic weapon, a rock is a ranged weapon, a bone is a low quality tool, etc).

A synergy between production classes could be achieved by requiring several different skills and steps to make a high tier equipment (eg: miner gets rock, lumberjack gets wood, smelter takes rock and melts it by lighting the wood making bars, smith turns bar into sword, encruster places gem into sword giving it x or y power, priest enchants the sword using z potion giving it another power, etc).

For the economy to be interesting a ton of modifiers should be available for the items. Otherwise every short sword is just that. (weight/strength/durability/range/stat boosts/damage/stat requirements/magic properties/etc).

 

Some thoughts of my own on game mechanics:

I see that if there is no greater calling than just PvP/PvE the players would find the system too demanding. Everyone would be keeping the best goods for themselves forcing high ranked players to have several production class characters just to provide for their main character. To avoid this the game needs an endgame that relies in collaborating with other players. This could be achieved by placing the players within a two or three way faction war. The players would battle over certain key places where high quality raw materials could be acquired. This would give them an edge over the other factions when the all out wars/invasions happen. (This is my way of creating a sense of us vs them instead of me vs the world fostering socialization and the sense that keeping all the good items /rejecting to build them for affordable prices actually cripples your factions chances of winning).



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#2 ndssia   Members   -  Reputation: 172

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Posted 07 January 2013 - 09:09 PM

I think it'd actually make the game really involving for the the first wave of players, since you'd really be making a great deal of difference with your actions.

 

However, as you've stated, most players will simply create alts for this purpose; perhaps if there was gradual diminishing returns on profession effectiveness vs. profession level, instead of a hard-cap, that could be discouraged.

 

Regarding factional warfare, the issue with that is the snowball effect; once a faction secures a high quality resource for any amount of time, it'll will become more and more difficult for anyone to kick them out, due to their superior equipment. This may even reach a stage where the other two/ten/fifty factions working together are unable to defeat that one faction, unless of course there was some sort of betrayal, or lack of scaling against player numbers.


Edited by ndssia, 07 January 2013 - 09:10 PM.


#3 DtCarrot   Members   -  Reputation: 327

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Posted 07 January 2013 - 09:21 PM

What if you eradicated all merchant NPCs from an MMORPG?

 

If you got rid of every single NPC, the economy will be reliant on how player plays the game and how they create the supply and set the pricing. One of the potential problems with that would be the lack of a fixed price for essential items such as potions, basic equipment and so on. Without control, the prices for these essentials may be unpredictable. It can become too low or become too high. If the price increases, it could be difficult for beginners at the start since they may be unable to afford them as easily compared to veteran players. 

 

Once again, I would like to reference Atlantica Online and Goonzu Online since both their economic principles are almost the same. Almost every single available-in-game item is only available through PvE or crafting which requires material obtained from PvE with the exception of some basic items such as potions which the low level used. This gives a security cap to ensure that newbies do not have problem getting the basic essentials. 

 

Could you conceive a fully player driven barter economy to be sustainable? I mean removing completely the concept of money for trade. You need to exchange items for items or make your own from raw materials.

 

I like the idea of a fully player driven barter economy. As interesting as it be, it may get a bit too troublesome for players. Imagine that someone would like to trade a short sword for a short dagger. However, I have a short bow, I am unable to trade with them and may have to trade a short dagger with someone else in order to get it. Despite that, it might increase the amount of interaction in the MMORPG.

 

Also, yes. It may require a large population base in order to achieve it so that players can easily get their materials and prevent item shortage. 

 

I can see a lot of pressure being placed in the “production” players, a lack of a certain class could cripple the game (but prices should sky rocket for the unavailable items making the class more appealing so a balance should be achieved in the long run).

 

Referencing back to Atlantica Online, it has a crafting system such that there is no limitation to the amount of crafting skills you can learn. Some very profitable crafting skills may set you back economically when the player first starts learning the skill since the items that players need to produce is very unprofitable and can make a lot of losses.

 

For the modifiers available for the item, it could be such that the stats could be randomized and depend on the player skill as well as luck. Some eqs may have very high stats while others being weak. The better one naturally fetches a higher price.



#4 KulSeran   Members   -  Reputation: 2587

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Posted 07 January 2013 - 10:24 PM

Have you looked into EVE Online? It comes really close to that, but requires some key elements:

 

1) You need inscentive to produce stuff.  The reason production classes in games like World of Warcraft suck is that there is no sink for the items. Once you have an item, there is no way to get rid of it besides upgrade. There is no market for non-top-tier items, because everyone only has to buy 1 of any particular item but someone has to make 2^32 of them to gain a level.

EVE solves this in a simple way. Everything can be destroyed. If you die, a percentage of everything you were carrying is instantly blown up, what's left may be damaged.  If a PC killed you, they're going to loot what remains. If a NPC killed you, you may not be able to safely retrieve your remains. You're going to die, so you're going to lose stuff.  To add to the danger, items always have a location and the world is big.  People have inscentive to produce items near the required resources to speed up gathering, then risk transporting the finished goods to a point-of-sale where people are using them.

 

2) You need to know the price of stuff. Auctions, like most MMOs have, don't cut it. They leave out the buyer's side of the equation. For the system to work you need a market.  Like EVE, you have to be able to place both BUY and SELL orders so that producers can exert the proper market forces on the price of resource goods (and trash they can recycle easily).

 

3) You need to seed something. For a very long time EVE seeded the basic resources (minerals) with fixed buy/sell orders from NPCs.  Because everything recycles to minerals, and minerals can create anything, this set the price point for everything on the market.  They also seed items into the game through loot drops. This is important because it gives players a way to get items better than anything you can make, but people still make stuff because the good drops are hard to find. It also provides a source for lower level items to insure that the market has enough basic goods floating around. Again, cause items have a location in EVE, drops also play an important trade role, since some drops only happen in some areas but are best used in others.  WIthout this seeding, the market has a hard time starting up.

 

4) You need to think through your cost curves. There should be reason to produce everything. Consumables (ammo) will always be in great demand, but the beauty of the free market means that everyone buys the cheap (crappy) ammo for their day-to-day lives, and only splurges on the expensive stuff (best dps) when it really matters (bosses / PvP). Non-consumables often follow a different curve where people buy one really really expensive "grinding set" to make gathering resources care-free because gathering is low risk, but they want to buy dozens of crappy to mid-tier sets of equipment to do their day-to-day battles in, because it's likely to get destroyed, and maybe a couple of sets of high-tier stuff for important but risky battles. So the prices and number of tiers should reflect the usage.

 

 

For the economy to be interesting a ton of modifiers should be available for the items. Otherwise every short sword is just that. (weight/strength/durability/range/stat boosts/damage/stat requirements/magic properties/etc).

I think this is totally wrong. The problem is that it ruins the price calculation of the items.  Buyers buy for less than or equal to the resource cost for items because they want to melt them down and sell the resources.  Buyers buy for more than the resource cost because they see a good margin, and are just going to turn and re-sell the items.  Sellers however sell for resource cost + profits, and try to cut that margin as close as possible so that their items sell before anyone else's.  If you toss in randomly added modifiers you hurt the ability to calculate the right sell/buy points. It's better to do like EVE does with fixed gun modifiers + fixed ammo modifiers. Mix and match the combination.

 

 

The players would battle over certain key places where high quality raw materials could be acquired.

EVE does this greatly. There are some safe zones where stuff can be acquired, but many of the more rare (higher level) resources only spawn in PvP locations that factions fight over. Even better spawn locations are actually claimable by factions as faction-held teritory, giving bonuses to the area for that faction.



#5 rpiller   Members   -  Reputation: 706

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Posted 08 January 2013 - 12:39 PM

I'll let you know in a couple months as this is what I'm currently doing. However my game is a casual game. Not your normal MMO where you have a ton of NPC's etc. My game is more like real life where you chop trees for wood, gather berries, farm corn, wheat, etc. There are zero "NPC's", I will have animals like cows, deer, etc that provide raw matierals like meat, fur, etc.

 

The players buy land plots and can build things like a bakery, lumbermill, even a marketplace where other players can put up their goods for sale and the owner takes a % of the sale. All this is 100% player driven, I just randomly seed the map with these resources and the users are able to do things to replicate the resources (breed, plant, etc) to keep things moving. The players have certain needs just like we do which will force them to collaborate together to meet. One person can't possibly do everything to meet their needs.

 

Alts? Sure but then they'll have to meet their alts needs too. It just won't be efficient to do that. The needs are things like a VARIETY of food, drinks, clothing, & entertainment. Each need has sub-needs that make up the greater need which makes up the players greater "health".

 

This is sort of like an experiment to see how players play the game. Could it completely backfire on me? Sure, but then again I'm doing this for fun.

 

A think a stable supply and demand system will eventually come out. At first prices might be high but as more resources are gathered they'll come down. At first the % to sell something in someones market will be high, but someone else will make another market and undercut the other market and so competition will start to drive prices down. As with the real world the ones who get there first will generally get the rewards.


Edited by rpiller, 08 January 2013 - 01:00 PM.


#6 SelethD   Members   -  Reputation: 405

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Posted 08 January 2013 - 03:39 PM

I would think, that after a while, people would store up so much of a quantity of raw materials, the trade for items might get way out of porportion.  Or the world becomes so saturated with raw materials, that new players are given so many things from previous players, that you loose the 'fun' factor of obtaining the raw items.

 

Perhaps if there was an 'expiration date' on a raw item, so that you could not store up large quantities of it, without it going 'bad' and being unusable.  Even crafted items might have some sort of 'durability' that would eventually require the re-creation of the object, or the rapair of it.



#7 rpiller   Members   -  Reputation: 706

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Posted 08 January 2013 - 03:56 PM

Yep, for sure. Everything needs to be replaced eventually. Meat goes bad, cloths get old, buildings break down. The act of breaking down things, just like in the real world, means stockpiling is minimized. The balance between that is the key. Break down to often or fast and people can't keep up and the game becomes a pain to keep up with things breaking. Break down to slow and people stockpile and become bored. My goal with my game is to start with only a few of these things, and slowly start adding more and more materials, buildings to process those materials, and balancing the break down of those mateirals.



#8 Greatak   Members   -  Reputation: 120

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Posted 08 January 2013 - 05:29 PM

*cough cough* Has anyone mentioned EVE? They're as close as I know to something like this. NPC merchants are usually unrealistically expensive. While most purchasing is on it's surface, like an NPC transaction. Players decide what stuff they want to sell and set a price and quantity. Others can then buy this. There's a trade skill, I forget what it's called, that changes how far away you can market your buy/sell orders, only inside the system, or within the region or everywhere. This also introduces logistical concerns. When you buy things, they don't show up in your inventory, they're just earmarked for you in whatever station the seller left it in. Then you have to go pick it up. There's a whole slough of players who do little more than act as interstellar UPS drivers, hauling people's goods across the universe.

 

You would control prices of things the same way the real world controls them, however you get to pick how easy it is to make things and how easy the materials are to come by. Starter gear needs to be produced by a large number of people with cheap materials. These expiration date mechanics are not implemented in EVE and their economy functions just fine. There is attrition of components because ships can be destroyed, and ammunition is used, but this isn't an essential mechanic. Just as in the real world, some things are durable and others are not. You shouldn't arbitrarily have durable goods become perishable just because you want a fluid economy. It sort of ruins the sense of achievement that comes from finally acquiring x thing, when that thing will just fall apart in a few weeks. Without an object of desire, economies will stagnate eventually as well.

 

The key to 'fixing' relative prices, I would guess is complexity. That's why mundane things are expensive. Your television commands a high price compared to bread not because plastic and silicon are rarer than wheat, but because it's much harder to make a television. With a properly implemented system of crafting, the balance should come from that, things you want to be rare, make them hard to make. Raw materials should be relatively universal, so limiting them in that regard is troublesome. People don't want to mine magnetite vs. hematite, they want iron. Don't make resource gathering too tedious and annoying. There's little entertainment value in mining or farming, that should be relatively easy. The transformation of those materials is where people invest their attentions and energies, they should get a reward for that.

 

Also, I would recommend against implementing strict castes. Maybe make crafting classes, so certain players can only make certain kinds of items, but don't restrict their ability to do other things in the game. Combat shouldn't be exclusively classed apart from crafting, it gets boring that way.



#9 Caldenfor   Members   -  Reputation: 323

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Posted 08 January 2013 - 11:42 PM

What if you eradicated all merchant NPCs from an MMORPG?

 

 

If you got rid of every single NPC, the economy will be reliant on how player plays the game and how they create the supply and set the pricing. One of the potential problems with that would be the lack of a fixed price for essential items such as potions, basic equipment and so on. Without control, the prices for these essentials may be unpredictable. It can become too low or become too high. If the price increases, it could be difficult for beginners at the start since they may be unable to afford them as easily compared to veteran players. 

 

Once again, I would like to reference Atlantica Online and Goonzu Online since both their economic principles are almost the same. Almost every single available-in-game item is only available through PvE or crafting which requires material obtained from PvE with the exception of some basic items such as potions which the low level used. This gives a security cap to ensure that newbies do not have problem getting the basic essentials. 

 

 

Could you conceive a fully player driven barter economy to be sustainable? I mean removing completely the concept of money for trade. You need to exchange items for items or make your own from raw materials.

 

 

I like the idea of a fully player driven barter economy. As interesting as it be, it may get a bit too troublesome for players. Imagine that someone would like to trade a short sword for a short dagger. However, I have a short bow, I am unable to trade with them and may have to trade a short dagger with someone else in order to get it. Despite that, it might increase the amount of interaction in the MMORPG.

 

Also, yes. It may require a large population base in order to achieve it so that players can easily get their materials and prevent item shortage. 

 

 

I can see a lot of pressure being placed in the “production” players, a lack of a certain class could cripple the game (but prices should sky rocket for the unavailable items making the class more appealing so a balance should be achieved in the long run).

 

 

Referencing back to Atlantica Online, it has a crafting system such that there is no limitation to the amount of crafting skills you can learn. Some very profitable crafting skills may set you back economically when the player first starts learning the skill since the items that players need to produce is very unprofitable and can make a lot of losses.

 

For the modifiers available for the item, it could be such that the stats could be randomized and depend on the player skill as well as luck. Some eqs may have very high stats while others being weak. The better one naturally fetches a higher price.

 

What do you mean, "essential items"? Why does a potion need to be essential? Why can't it just be a perk?

 

Basic equipment is reliant upon definition. What do players need to start the game with? If they need all of this extra gadgetry/itemry, perhaps gear isn't the flaw of the game?

 

As for needing more money to do something before you can actually turn a profit? Doesn't this just provide extra benefit to rich players? New players need to be able to compete as well.


Edited by Caldenfor, 08 January 2013 - 11:44 PM.


#10 DtCarrot   Members   -  Reputation: 327

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Posted 09 January 2013 - 12:18 AM

What do you mean, "essential items"? Why does a potion need to be essential? Why can't it just be a perk?

 

Actually, potion as an essential may vary from game to game. In this game, it is rather important since it's really difficult to survive against bosses and more powerful monsters without potion. Thus, I would classify it slightly to the essential side rather than a perk. If one of your mercenaries die, you must use a potion to revive them else you have to walk all the way back to town to revive them.

 

Basic equipment is reliant upon definition. What do players need to start the game with? If they need all of this extra gadgetry/itemry, perhaps gear isn't the flaw of the game?

 

Generally, equipment are obtainable through item boxes which will be given by the game or easily looted from mobs and thus players will have no problem getting it.

 

 

As for needing more money to do something before you can actually turn a profit? Doesn't this just provide extra benefit to rich players? New players need to be able to compete as well.

 

This only applies for some craft items, there are other types of craft skills in which players can learn while earning a profit at the start but they may be more intensive and slightly less profitable. Yes, I agree that it may provide extra benefits to the richer player, but it's not so bad as you may see. The loss is really minimal but players can sacrifice their money in the long run while forgoing some equipment.

 

 

NPC merchants are usually unrealistically expensive.

 

Regarding this, I think that games should have NPCs whose goods are rather expensive. It can work as a last minute resort in case the market runs out of supply. In this case, players can buy from the NPCs to fit their emergency needs though it may be much more expensive.

 

Also, I would recommend against implementing strict castes. Maybe make crafting classes, so certain players can only make certain kinds of items, but don't restrict their ability to do other things in the game. Combat shouldn't be exclusively classed apart from crafting, it gets boring that way.

 

Yes, I agree with this. Players should not be limited to a few crafting classes. Sometimes, their solution may be just to create another new account and learn the remaining crafting skills available. Yes, combat should be separate from crafting. Some players may prefer just playing the economy and not grinding. Thus, it helps to appeal to a different crowd. They can also help to provide the crafting supply which helps to maintain the supply and demand structure.



#11 samoth   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 5037

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Posted 09 January 2013 - 03:26 AM

Runescape worked that way nearly a decade ago, although there were NPC merchants. If you had a character that could mine runite and smith rune items, or a character that could craft dragonstones, you'd usually receive payment in coal (or fish). Gold was kind of worthless, and you needed tons of coal, which was a real pain to get. The only useful thing you could really do with gold was buy coal certificates, but dealing with greedy and unreliable kids usually took almost as long and was almost as annoying as mining it yourself.
Not sure if this is still true nowadays, 6 years have passed since I last looked at it. A lot of content (and huge gold sinks) has been added since then, so it might be a completely different story now.

Ryzom was a similar story. NPCs existed, but anything you could buy at a NPC was total crap. Every piece of equipment you used (except for craft tools) was crafted from harvested or looted raw materials. No items were dropped, only raw materials. Money was abundant from selling crafted junk to merchants, and there was nothing to spend money on once you had bought your packers and your apartment. Most people would just give out most items for free. Special outpost materials (experience boosters and special item ingredients such as maga or egiros) were bartered in the beginning within factions, usually on a one-to-one base. A kind of "commonwealth" system was established within factions to give OP produces to guilds that did not own an outpost but contributed in defending the faction.
Later, as players diminuished and outposts kept generating stuff every day for free, things were traded across factions, too, and finally given out for free in dozens to just about anyone. Making room in your guild vault was the bigger problem than getting something in return. Charging money (dapper) for anything was quite unusual (I've seen it maybe 3 or 4 times total).

Now, the idea of faction war on areas and resources is another story... this can work, and it can fail. EVE is quite successful, but I daresay that "faction issues" was one of the major reasons for Ryzom failing so bitterly. I've seen people leave in dozens due to faction issues. Dozens leaving are not much of an issue if you have 750,000 players -- but they matter a lot if you have a total 500-1,000.

Insofar, I could in principle imagine that such a thing could work, but a lot of care is necessary.

Edited by samoth, 09 January 2013 - 03:27 AM.


#12 Legendre   Members   -  Reputation: 966

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Posted 09 January 2013 - 06:47 AM

Removing the NPC economy has several (possibly undesirable) effects:

 

1) You lose control of the economy. It is now subject to chaos and market forces.

 

As others have pointed out, it can be hard to balance such an economy or fix issues. Also, there are much research on the unpredictability of the economy, even by PhD economists. E.g. www.nytimes.com/2007/04/15/magazine/15wwlnidealab.t.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0

 

2) It becomes more capitalistic.

 

It has been said that MMORPGs are appealing because of its differences from real life: everyone starts equally broke, there are opportunities (grind) everywhere in return for time/work. E.g. realityisbroken.org

 

An economy that mimics real life also mimics its problems - inequality, shortages/high-prices of desirable goods, lack of opportunities, little gain from hard work etc. The overall result might not be fun.



#13 rpiller   Members   -  Reputation: 706

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Posted 09 January 2013 - 07:37 AM

An economy that mimics real life also mimics its problems - inequality, shortages/high-prices of desirable goods, lack of opportunities, little gain from hard work etc. The overall result might not be fun.

 

I don't know if it would take on all the real problems. If all characters have the same abilities then it doesn't become like the real world. If I'm able to mine ore, chop down trees for lumber, farm crops, & bake food all in a 3 hour playing session then it means the lack of opportunity or inequality isn't there. Nobody is doing all that in the real world in such a short time span and being able to do everything would change the economy to not exactly mimic the real world economy which means it won't share all of it's problems. However, it might create new problems that are unforeseen. Guessing we'll have to make it to find out smile.png

 

 

 

 

1) You lose control of the economy. It is now subject to chaos and market forces.

 

As a game designer I think that's a little of what makes the idea fun. Designing something that the players take control of and make it their own. The players of the game would decide on the outcome. I know in my game I'm going as far as making public officials that have even more control over certain things like taxes, public land, etc. Players vote other players in and can vote them out too if they don't like how one is running things. I'm interested to see what players do with something like that. This is where indie's have the creative control to test stuff like this out. I think most game designers are terrified to give power like that to players in fear of them using them for evil and killing their game, but if you give all players the power of the vote, then they all feel empowered that they can change the game.


Edited by rpiller, 09 January 2013 - 07:42 AM.


#14 Yrjö P.   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 1412

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Posted 09 January 2013 - 08:20 AM

An economy that mimics real life also mimics its problems - inequality, shortages/high-prices of desirable goods, lack of opportunities, little gain from hard work etc. The overall result might not be fun.
I disagree with a lot of that. A game economy that mimics real life's free market aspect mimics its wealth of opportunities. Being able to initiate high risk, high payout business maneuvers is exciting. Being able to make long term plans is exciting. Being able to actually affect the market is exciting. That becomes entertaining gameplay by giving the player strong enough economic tools so they can concentrate on making interesting deals, instead of stupid busywork.

And it's easy to get started from zero. Most MMOs offer you a straightforward grind outside the player economy with which you can reliably build initial capital. Your virtual dude doesn't have taxes to pay or mouths to feed. Even if you drop down to zero, you can start again; failure isn't really risky. When you start doing business, there will be no patent troll lawsuit or overzealous government bureaucracy to bankrupt you. Most importantly, the participants in the economy are extremely loose with their money, because for the majority of them the entertainment of the game lies strictly in the sections where you get to bash dragons in the head; it's a heaven for a new virtual entrepreneur.

The opposite is the economies MMOs like WoW have: fixed plumbing, carefully designed to transport the bodily waste of the grind engine which is the game. The only "opportunity" you have is getting bored out of your mind camping the AH for the rare deal you won't get anyway because there are 10 other people doing the same, or constantly manually re-entering tens of sale orders for your bulk goods, with no way to even keep track of your inventory, profits and sales history, and no way to turn a profit that makes this worth your while.

Edited by Stroppy Katamari, 09 January 2013 - 08:20 AM.


#15 Legendre   Members   -  Reputation: 966

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Posted 09 January 2013 - 08:32 AM

I don't know if it would take on all the real problems. If all characters have the same abilities then it doesn't become like the real world. If I'm able to mine ore, chop down trees for lumber, farm crops, & bake food all in a 3 hour playing session then it means the lack of opportunity or inequality isn't there.


Just like in the real world economy, anything characters can do easily will not be worth much.

Spending 3 hours doing simple resources gathering and then selling them for meaningful profit only works if there are NPCs to sell to. But if there is only the market driven economy, then they are unlikely to be able to sell easily obtainable stuff for good profits. Just like in real life, you can spend 3 hours getting wood or baking food, but you are unlikely to make any profits doing that.

www.entropiauniverse.com tried making basic resources vital to crafting all items - to artificially generate demand for them so people lower down on the food chain can gather resources and sell for profit. This didn't work because those resources are easy to gather, and thus the market is flooded with them.

 

Next, they created a basic resource that can only be harvested in limited quantities - to drive up prices and ensure that everyone can gather some valuable resource with little effort everyday. This has the problem of "if supply is too low, profit is too low to matter. if supply is high, everyone harvests it, profit becomes low".

 

The thing is, in a solely market driven economy, most things are worthless. So its hard to find opportunities to succeed. Also, prices are driven by demand (the whims and fancy of the crowd) instead of efforts.



#16 Olof Hedman   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 2955

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Posted 09 January 2013 - 08:34 AM

I too think MMOs in general need more interesting economics.

And that you need to go all out and skip all kinds of NPCs and "fixed" prices, except possibly some of before mentioned "seed" NPCs that really just try to simulate a rational agent in the economy, to give it some momentum.

And a complex crafting system that starts from a few simple resources that should be easy (skillneed/gear) but time consuming to produce. I also really like the recycling of EVE, to be used instead of sink NPCs.

But I do not see why you have to throw out money and go barter economy... That I think will only slow the economy down, and make it harder to manage.
Money was invented for a reason you know...

Edited by Olof Hedman, 09 January 2013 - 08:42 AM.


#17 Legendre   Members   -  Reputation: 966

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Posted 09 January 2013 - 08:38 AM

 
Being able to initiate high risk, high payout business maneuvers is exciting. Being able to make long term plans is exciting. Being able to actually affect the market is exciting. 


These options will unfortunately be limited to a few people who can afford to do so...just like in real life.

 

 

And it's easy to get started from zero. Most MMOs offer you a straightforward grind outside the player economy with which you can reliably build initial capital. Your virtual dude doesn't have taxes to pay or mouths to feed. Even if you drop down to zero, you can start again; failure isn't really risky.


Precisely why we need NPCs to buy from the player - to give a way for players to start from zero.

Or a way outside of the economy to earn significant gold. Again, requiring NPCs in the economy.



#18 Olof Hedman   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 2955

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Posted 09 January 2013 - 08:54 AM

I did play entropia universe for a while...

 

The economy has some interesting parts, but I think EUs largest problem is that the whole gameplay is basically just a slotmachine hidden in a grind-game, and equipment/skill has only one purpose, enabling you to shuffle more $/hour through the slotmachine... Some like to tell themselves that some of the gear is more efficient, and give a better return, but I don't think anyone have been able to really prove that...

 

Margins are really slim before it gets painfully obvious you are on a slipping slope just waiting for your money to run out.

 

(In its defence, it does offer a bit more then that, specially if you focus more on the social aspects of the game, but speaking purely gameplay mechanic...)



#19 rpiller   Members   -  Reputation: 706

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Posted 09 January 2013 - 09:00 AM

Spending 3 hours doing simple resources gathering and then selling them for meaningful profit only works if there are NPCs to sell to.

 

I don't agree with that. If your characters have needs that have to be met (think The Sims), then all these resources that help meet your characters needs will be purchased by characters. You simply make it so one cannot possibly meet all their needs on their own. Do this by requiring a variety.

 

Let's take WoW for example. Buying normal food is basically worthless because it's not a need, it's a perk. But lets say WoW required that you eat a balanced diet to perform at your max. Anything but a proper diet and you would start being docked efficiency in damage and armor. This gives people an incentive to get food. Now let's say this means you have to eat meats, veggies, fruits, grains, dairy, and even sweets!  That's 6 different kinds of food that you need in a decent amount of quantity. You couldn't possibly gather all that yourself to be efficient. So now if you give people a way to grow these resources but it requires a decent amount of time and care to do so, then these resources just became valuable and the AH will have a thriving market for them of people selling to other people.

 

 

 

 

Precisely why we need NPCs to buy from the player - to give a way for players to start from zero.

 

I don't think this is true at all. I can start from zero and start gathering resources that I know other players want and sell them to other players to make my fortune. For example again in WoW I could sell off all my gear and give away all my gold, and in a couple weeks of gathering resources I could have my fortune back from selling it to players (not NPC's) because there are resources that players want/need and don't have the time to do it themselves. If you think about it almost every need in the real world are needs we could all meet ourselves. We used to a long long time ago. Buying our needs is easier and so people will do that over spending huge quantities of their time in trying to meet their needs 100% on their own.

 

In my game for example, if I want to build a house for my character it'll take, for example, 10K lumber. That could take me a month or so to gather myself because I can't JUST gather lumber, I have to meet my other needs or food, water, clothing, entertainment, etc. So it's more efficient for me to go to the market and buy lumber. How do I get the money to buy lumber? When players start the game they are given x amount of money, so everyone has some money to start with. If I need to inject money into the game at all (print money) I can get creative and introduce treasures that people can find! 


Edited by rpiller, 09 January 2013 - 09:53 AM.


#20 Dan Violet Sagmiller   Members   -  Reputation: 897

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Posted 09 January 2013 - 10:26 AM

It has been said that MMORPGs are appealing because of its differences from real life: everyone starts equally broke, there are opportunities (grind) everywhere in return for time/work. E.g. realityisbroken.org
That brings up an interesting concept, What if people didn't start equal. 1, we have powerful conglomerate base. It already has lots of resources, but its weighed down with bureaucracy, and not just a matter of building more defenses, etc.. but you have to prove the value some how, for anything you want to do. (not sure how to make this mechanic work in game) I.e. you have hoops to jump through to get things to change. 2, you have your smaller start up, or Indie group :D. Very little resources, but you get free reign to do what you want. You can react, do things that make little sense.

Edited by hpdvs2, 09 January 2013 - 11:04 AM.

Moltar - "Do you even know how to use that?"

Space Ghost - “Moltar, I have a giant brain that is able to reduce any complex machine into a simple yes or no answer."

Dan - "Best Description of AI ever."

My Game(s), Warp Wars is in early development and can be found here: http://blog.WarpWars.Net.





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