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Economics

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Here''s an open question to the forum - what is the ideal level of economic control that an MMORPG should have? -Laissez-faire, all the way, or moderated by a god-like GM supersystem that allows central control. -Moreover, at what point do you determine "economics" to end and gameplay to begin. What level of control should a person have over their own actions? If I made a deal with another player, can I break it and run off with his stuff? Is it fair that if I can take something that I can have it, and the right to property is only guarenteed by one''s ability to protect that property? (Maybe this says something about you, rather than gaming, eh? ) -Also, a biggie, CURRENCY. Should there be some arbitrary currency set up by the GM, like "gold" or should it be up to the guilds and players to figure out and publish their own currencies. Will that open up a new realm for experimentation and conflict or would it just make the world a sea of unless coins. Cheers, -Operator

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I think a combination of both laissez-faire and a controled system... when starting a new MMORPG, have both a controlled currency and possibilities for creating new currencies... but I think that a base currency would be required to add some stablilty.

Or you can do the exact opposite and have no form of currency in the beginning - players are forced to barter (which, in itself, might be interesting). Then, maybe "encourage" the development of a currency system, gold standard, whatever, so that one can be developed by the players.

Something like that.

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Economics is an interesting subject. To first understand how money and trade works, you have to understand the concept of value. No meatworld/RL object has any intrinsic value. Value is assigned by the degree of want by a consumer. Bartering is the system by which people exchange goods that they have ranked at relative values according to their degree of want. Me being willing to trade this bone that i''ve sharpened into a knife for that pretty colored cloth that could be used for making clothing.

The concept of Money is an abstraction of this degree of want, to be used as a measure. At it''s essense, money just represents an agreement that we have all made with each other. The agreement is that with so many units of currency, I can trade them with you for such and such object, and you can find the object you want with those units of currency. Now, its important to note that none of those units of currency have any value unless there is a need for trade. $20USD on the shelf is worthless if you have everything you want. It only becomes valuable when there is something you want.

That said, Economics is the study of the movement of wealth and the improvement and degredation of the value of consumables and currency. Some of the formulas involved are actually quite boring, but the discussion of how people effect economics and economics affect people can be interesting.

As for an MMORPG, Laissez-faire has one specific problem and thats the side effect due to the capturing of wealth, which is the economy ceases to exist once the totality of wealth has been captured by a small group. On that same token, Socialism, or rather the redistribution of wealth for benevolent purposes, introduces the side effect that it degreades the value of the redistributed materials, due to lack of want. An interesting MMORPG experience would be to have a many-governmental system. That is to say, have one town where there is a taxation, or at least cost associated with the storage and protection of wealth, have another town that is very communistic and totalitarian (while presenting a reason to live there like total protection and safe development of character), and then at the same time allow the players involved to live out in the wilderness and build their own societies and economic styles.

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I think to make a realistic econmey in MMO setting requires there to be no predifined currancy of value system. Instead it should be based entirly on value set by the players. Afterall remeber the old saying "How much is something worth?" answer "Whatever someone is willing to pay for it"

So let the player create the whole econemy ofcourse this requires elimanating the merchants with infinite stocks but thats not a bad thing.

But because of that there will be no stores until a player decides to open one.

-----------------------------------------------------
Writer, Programer, Cook, I''m a Jack of all Trades
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Chaos Factor Design Document

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Well, without NPC shopkeepers, currency would be essentially valueless. In Fallout, you could trade a $300 gun and a $20 grenade for a $306 packet of drugs, and have the guy throw in 14 bottlecaps to make up the difference. It had a little thing at the bottom of the barter screen that calculated the net worth of the goods being offered (which was modified by your barter skill), and you could tweak it one way or the other until it balanced.

In a game where all the trading was person-to-person, gold coins would just be a very heavy, largely useless commodity. the gold standard came about because people wanted gold, and could make things out of it. You get a silver spoon, melt it and make a silver coin, that silver coin is worth a silver spoon, minus the silversmith''s fee. It was the substance, not the currency, that defined its value. Currency based on trust is a relatively new idea.

So, if you could convert those gold coins into something useful, then go for it. If not, leave them. ON the topic of having currency that can be converted to something useful, how about this:

Magic as currency. Make magic, be it enchantment or effect magic, into a form of money. You could have a certain amount of raw magic associated with a special runestone or something that you carried with you. It would work like a credit chit in Sci-Fi games. You sit down, trade a little dagger, a pair of boots, and fifteen joules of magic for a new shield. You can take your runestone to a magicsmith and have him turn your raw magic into something useful, like a strength enchantment for your new shield, or you can cast spells in combat, converting a certain amount of it into fire or healing energy. But in its raw form, it would be inert. MP as GP. What do you think?

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This is an idea I''ve been privately bouncing around a bit. I persoanlly think it''d be a great factor in an MMORPG seeing as slaying monster after monster easily gets boring. A non-combat role as a merchant/trader/landowner whatever.

Anyway a little more on topic. I personally feel that there should definatly be an established base currency (we''ll use gold here). This is to avoid the coding hassles of building complete global exchange but to also avoid having to deal with the instability of players folding currencies and creating new ones all the time.

Most of my thoughts on the subject came from a MUD called Federation (which is now Pay-2-Play and still running see: www.ibgames.net).

NOTE: I got sidetracked so I''ll add the rest at a later time.

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quote:
"How much is something worth?"
"Whatever someone is willing to pay for it"

Make the NPCs ''want'' things... kind of like mini quests? Make them like gold and be willing to exchange gold for things... I dunno... now that I think about it, leaving the economy in the player''s hands may not be such a good idea...

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I know this thread is inactive, but I wanted to put in my two cents.

It always bugged me that MMORPGs'' economies are player based, and that most of these players are fighters.

Any kind of army needs a civilian backbone. So all those NPCs in the towns and castles and things should want things. They should want food and clothing, so much so, that a PC could make a fine living purchasing and reselling these commodities.

At the same time, each PC would need certain things, or their character would die (you can always resurect, right?). So the PC would need to make sure that they have clothes, and food, and a place to sleep.

Whenever the PC is logged off, their character wanders around in their hometown, taking care of business (such as sleeping, eating, etc.)

This way, there is a strong economic basis for goods. Also, I always like the idea of a PC''s character remaining in the world when they''re signed off.

This, of course, creates several problems, but I think it would be a neat area of development. It would allow for truly non-combative based playing (well, _I_ think it would be neat).

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