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money, created by the players, like in life

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If you had a unified pvp world with towns run by the players with political systems, with no inflation, where all items have to be made by players and stuff: people would mine resources, gold, copper etc. They would use these to trade. The government would be given the ability to turn these resources into coins made from the materials. Gold coins, copper coins etc. They would then give them a value. They can make the value whatever they want. If they choose a stupid value like 1 copper coin = 1,000,000 then all the items are going to be quite expensive. Just like irl. When an outsider comes to town they will have to convert their currency to the local currency. (In my mind there would be banks, banks run by players, currency conversion adds another feature to banks.) I like this system because it takes the responsibility of the developer to set prices for stuff. In my opinion the developer should have no input into the economy (apart from designing base weapons and spells), the correct system should sort itself out. This adds to immersion. What do you think? do you think it is worth while?

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to the most part wouldnt inflation be fairly low if you simply had a finite amount of any resource and made the resources to active players ratio constant
(as for the original post im not sure what your saying or asking)

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your not looking at the bigger picture

The government is run by the players
the government makes the money
if the government makes to much money thats there own damn fault.
The the town will fall or
a different government can be voted in
They will not be so stupid as to create to much money
Money can be melted down into its raw materials.
Raw materials exist in a cycle, if somebody drops a dagger on the floor, after sometime it disapears and the resources used to make the dagger respawn in the correct areas. This will happen because storage space will be limited enough that you cant keep everything.

There is not an infinite supply of gold to be mined. Gold is needed for other things. If it all gets turned into money then people are going to have to melt it to use it.

This idea cannot be thrown into WOW. This idea is part of a bigger picture.

Inflation in other games exists because money spawns on enemies and such.
Inflation in my game exists in a realistic way.

In fact the government will be very conservative when creating money because gold is a resource and making a tone of it is a bad idea, the towns gold will very quickly end up in another town.

I dont see how this system wouldnt work. We have this system in real life and it seams to be working.

Kaze; i have thought of your way, it isn't immersive.

makeshiftwings; yes, that would happen if i threw this system into the current line of mmorpg's.

Telastyn; im not sure what your mean, but nothing in life has value, we just assign value to it which depends on factors such as : build time, material cost (thats recursive until you reach a base item like gold or something). I would like the players to consider such things and assign values themselves.

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Well that seems like a very interesting idea.

As for being part of a swords and sorcery setting, that may reduce immersion. People in RPGs want to hack and slash and use magic, not worry about the economy. But as you have said, it's not to be thrown into an existing game. If you developed a new type of game, perhaps some kind of wild west sim, where the players are part of a new land, searching/digging for resources and setting up villages which then become towns and could grow into cities.

Would it be worthwile? Not sure, it may take a lot more effort than anticipated. But it's definately an interesting idea.

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No, I don't think this would work. As Telastyn pointed out, it wouldn't even be possible. You say that the player would assign a number to the coins, and that would be how much its worth. However, this means that in reality, you are just using the economy that is already in place; the economy that measures values based on that pre-defined value that you are assigning stuff.

For example, if we have a copper piece worth 5, and a gold piece worth 10, and a Bronze Sword is worth 4 copper pieces. This is, obviously, the same thing as 2 gold pieces. The problem is that you're not really paying in gold or copper pieces, you're actually paying in that pre-defined currency, which in this case means that the Bronze Sword is worth 20.

You have just taken away the name for value. It was exceedingly difficult for me to write this simply becuase I had no units to work with.

A better approach would be to remove this arbitrary value from currency and let it evolve naturually. This is more how real life money works. A US Dollar isn't worth anything, except what we decide its worth, and there is no real way of measuring its worth, except against other, equally abstrat, currencies. And this probably wouldn't work either.

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ok, i see what you mean.

don't assign a value, just say - this is a gold coin, this is a copper coin.
If gold is 3 times a better material than copper then a gold coin would be roughly 3 times the value of copper. This also depends on the amount of the material there is available.

Add silver into the mix aswell.

are we on the same page now?

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Telastyn; im not sure what your mean, but nothing in life has value, we just assign value to it which depends on factors such as : build time, material cost (thats recursive until you reach a base item like gold or something). I would like the players to consider such things and assign values themselves.


Great. So why (as a player) not just trade the base resource if coins are freely convertable to the resource?

Having a gold coin from JoeLand is pointless if it has the same value as x gold resource. Having the gold coin be worth more is then terrible because JoeLand can then make wealth (since coins are worth more than their resource value, they can buy items containing gold and then some; melt the items to get the gold to make another coin plus extra. Net Profit).

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I would suggest avoiding different currencies and conversion, since it would be complicated and, in my opinion at least, not much fun. Have everyone use copper, silver, and gold coins, the value of which changes according to supply and demand.

It would probably be simplest to just have something like 1 silver coin = 100 copper coins, and 1 gold coin = 100 silver coins built into the system. You could make the comparative values of the three types change based on the availability of the metals or something like that, but it would be difficult and would probably require a government set value. Other values do not have to be government set and it's probably best if they're not. Prices for items will fluctuate based on supply and demand, and if stores only sell items that players sold to them and do not, as they often do, just have an infinite supply of stuff, they can be programmed to change their prices based on how much is in stock and how frequently someone sells them something and how often someone buys it.

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Original post by Riviera Kid
I dont see how this system wouldnt work. We have this system in real life and it seams to be working.

If this could be made to work it would perhaps be realistic but not very fun. Do you see the difference between those two? Because your post has realism-equals-fun-mentality written all over it.

I don't think players will be entertained by the fact that every action they take might break the economy and thereby the game. In real life we have scores of economists working full time in order to prevent the national and international economies from breaking. This game would need some similar function. Will these people be employed staff or players? If the latter then the target audience of the game would be a small group of wannabe economists who's spare time interests involve moderating and stimulating complex markets and preventing them from crashing.

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Original post by Riviera Kid
yes i understand now, see my previous post.


Right, so you understand that if gold is 3*copper, then gold_coin must be 3*copper_coin (if freewheeling conversion between resource and coin exists), and thus it's completely pointless to include them?

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I personally believe it might be a nice touch to a strategy game whether is rt,tb or in between(see this to understand what I mean for in between) to use player-made currency.First I will give an idea about how to implement,and second,I will explain why I think is worth it.
1.a.establish your coin code $-c,Y,E-c whatever
    -using $ in example
b.establish your cent mass
    -using [c mass]=0.2g/c
c.now you want to melt 1kg gold into coins
    -we have [# $]=1kg*yield/([c mass]*100)
      where yield is given by current advancement(0..100%)
d.the real value of those coins is given by many factors:
    -investments made to produce a melt 1kg gold in one go
    (or 2kg or 100kg..that depend on your mint level of development) which might be not linearly dependant on quantity
    - the cost in man power and other resources that might also be not linearly dependent to mint those coins
    - the cost of producing 1kg gold
---------------------------------
    we sum up and divide by [# $] and we got our real produced
  value.however, as this value might be different from one
  place to another in your country-realm whatever you will not
  have a fixed reference value and the market value will be
  allowed to float
2.I think having a liquid market(actually the coined term is free market) could be fun,allowing the players to use trade as a tool to both enrich themselves and ruin others by buying and selling at different prices.I don't know how would be possible to create a free market otherwise(keeping the money at a fixed value would make the market semi-free).Using different coins is a good strategy to allow boycotts on a given currency(the inflation and deflation are actually brought this way into game).It would allow the existence of trade companies(along with production oriented companies) to be included in the game.(this could add some interesting depth to the game, giving the players different roles into the game from the leader of an empire to the CEO of a trade company (or conglomerate) or production company.Trade may also trigger transport routes naturally included into the game this way.
Why use coins in the games?Here is the reason :the real game merchendise is hard to transport and needs transport routes(or even transport units like trucks,ships etc) while money could be instantaneously transported or if not wished for at least having a high value in game compared to their mass(1 kg of gold could do the trick, but the problem is you do not want always to sell such quantities of merchendise).OTOH the merchandize could be represented by very large objects like a fighter-carrier, so you need plenty of stuff to barter with for the ship.Giving the other player other merchendise is not an option because it has to be transported stored,and eventually bartered (by the player which bartered the ship for the corresponding merchandise) with another player for some useful items.Money should be then easier to use(no transport costs, needed most of the time,and allowing to be used in very small amounts-or fractions).Of course barter could be allowed also(but I don't believe it would really be used once the economy started to roll using the money).The man production hours could be also payed in money,while the system will allow the population to use the money to buy neeeded stuff from other commerciants, allowing a population engine to be created easily so that the market would be supported by real consumers.


[:edit:]A humble request:may I know why have one of you rated me down..not that it would matter ,just being curious[:edit:]

[Edited by - vallentin on March 5, 2006 2:01:32 PM]

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I think this is a great idea, quite realistic as well. I think a short explanation of what money is would be of help, though.

Why money? Of course, currency has not always existed. Initially items were bartered, but this had several disadvantages. First, there was a granularity problem: what would you barter a high-valued object for? Carpenters, gold diggers or jewel makers always had great difficulty exchanging their services for something useful (a kettle is useful, a gold nugget worth of kettles is not). The first advantage of currency is to allow lowered granularity: you can transform the value of a gold nugget into the values of a kettle, some grain, some meat, some cloth etc.

Then, there was the conservability problem: most items were at the time intended for consumption (they were not durable). Bartering a worn cloth, an used pot or half-eaten food was difficult, and when it was possible it only happened at a fraction of what a new item could be traded for. This had the consequence of preventing any form of saving (except for jewels and high-valued objects like weapons). On the contrary, currency in its first forms was something of infinite durability, since coins were indistinguishable from one another. Once could actually save money.

Finally, there was the quality problem. An important problem on most markets is asymmetry of information: what a party knows that the other doesn't. This always lowers the average quality of bartered goods (it's a simple game theory conclusion) when quality matters. Quality does not matter for currency since all coins are the same (in a simple world where no fakes circulate). Therefore, the person offering the goods has all the information necessary to trust the buyer and sell higher quality goods.

How did metallic currency work? The first incarnation of money was in the form of metallic coins. A coin has two values: a real value, which is equal to the value of the materials used, and a market value, which is equal to the value of the materials that can be bought with that coin. Again, asymmetry of information strikes and makes the two values different. With a random circular bit of gold, you cannot buy an equal amount of gold, since nobody would trust that object to be actually made of gold. Hence the market value of a coin is, intrinsically, lower than its real value (and in almost all cases, zero).

The market value of a coin is equivalent to the government endorsement. The government states that these coins have a known composition, people who create fake coins are punished by death. This statement creates trust in the coin, which in turn gives the coin a market value: the emblem on the coin gives the required information about the contents of the coin (100% gold or 25% gold + 75% silver etc). So, in effect, a coin is only worth the value put on it by the state that creates it.

But why metal (instead of paper banknotes) ? It's quite possible that non-metallic currencies existed in antiquity, but since the value of currency depends on the stability of its originating government or institution, it's always a good idea to keep money that, given enough effort, can be converted back to its real value. Gold coins could be melted, then sold to experts at their full value (sometimes, nations would buy metal in exchange for the coins made with the metal), while the same is obviously not true for paper money. However, as we'll see, when the stability of nations and institutions increased, paper money began to appear because of its advantages when large sums are involved. Another advantage of metallic currency (especially monometallic currency) is that the conversion rates are obvious (their value is proportional to their weight), and this is very useful when a large amount of coin types are available: in ancient greece, each city-state has its own coins, and sometimes more than one!

How did metallic-referrent currency work? With the Renaissance (or the late Middle Ages) appeared a new type of currency. While metallic currency was endorsed by the state to give it a market value equal to its real value, several new coins, as well as all banknotes, were endorsed to have a market value greater than their real value. The first example was the venetian lettera di cambio, which was a bit of paper signed by the owner of a venetian bank and could be returned to the bank for a complete refund. This was very effective, since merchants could now deposit large amounts of money in the bank in the Netherlands and cash the check in Venice to buy spice and other exotic goods they would sell back in the Netherlands. First, there was no more lugging around heaps of gold coins on bandit-infested roads, since checks can be hidden or transported by couriers. Second, this means that the burden of change conversion was upon the bank (you'd deposit Florins, and get an equal weight of Pistoles, for instance).

If the bank failed to deliver, or became bankrupt, the note was obviously rendered worthless, which is why the power of such checks was inherently dependent on the renown and (assumed) stability of the bank. The best example of this is probably the bank of Amsterdam. The bank only accepted deposits, and delivered on demand certificates of ownership over part of an account, which could be transferred to other people as payment. No credit means no risk of bankruptcy. Finally, the burden of checking that no fakes were paid was upon the bank. This made Bank of Amsterdam Banknotes the safest means of payment (for medium-to-large sums) available throughout Europe for half a century.

In the late Renaissance, nations started creating currency with a market value higher than their real value, using the same mechanism independent institutions had used a few centuries earlier. Coins were no longer made of gold, but rather were equivalent to a fixed amount of gold that would be given by the state when the coin was returned. This had the obvious advantage of preventing certain types of theft where thieves would scrap a bit of gold off of each coin. Now, coins were made of less valuable metals, so this was no longer possible. The disadvantage was that it was not possible to determine the value of a coin by weighting it. This is one of the two reasons why it took so long to appear: nations had to become large enough to be stable (so real value was more or less stable as well), and few enough to keep the number of different coins low.

An interesting experience is that of bimetallic currency, such as that of France in the late Renaissance. Bimetallic does not mean that the coin was made of an alloy, but rather that it was defined in terms of two metals. A coin had the same value as X grams of gold and Y grams of silver. The same could be achieved by keeping both gold coins and silver coins, with a fixed conversion rate between the two. In games, when you hear that one gold piece equals ten silver pieces, you actually hear about bimetallic currency. In real-life, islamic currencies have been bimetallic for a very, very long time (almost since the beginning of islam, in fact). The problem with bimetallic currency is that it creates an artificial lock between the values of gold and silver (this is the most used bimetallic system, although others exist).

If the universal price ratio of gold and silver is different from the national one, one can use the nation's "refund your coins" program to buy and sell at better prices, and the universal price ratio will shift to equal the national one. This has the effect of allowing a nation to select the universal ratio! Of course, should two countries choose different ratios, the richest one would win. Because nobody is foolish enough to engage in a bimetallic battle, bimetallic systems are naturally very stable currency systems.

How does the current system work? Of course, the previous system came to an end in the western world. Mainly because of national debt and inflation. Countries generally created more coins than could be refunded given the country's stockpile of gold. Quite recently, a similar situation was still in effect in Argentina, where the local currency was equivalent not to gold weights, but rather to US Dollars. In the end, the currency-gold parity was abolished, during the last century. It first happened for the USD, and most of Europe followed. The world returned, conceptually, to a barter system. However, instead of bartering bread loaves and kettles, people bartered currency. The respective demand for each currency determined its value relative to others, and demand reflected, in turn, each country's commercial balance (since a country pays with its own currency). Abandoning the gold pariy was made possible by the continued geographical growth of nations: since prices must constantly be reevaluated in all used currencies, this would have been impossible at a time when each city-state and fiefdom used the currencies of its neightbours. Now, each country used only one currency, and currency changes only had to be handled by a handful of people, not every merchant on the street corner.

In most places in the western world, nobody could envision losing all his or her money because of a government change, as could happen in the antiquity. Because of this, money has become safe (though less safe than gold, oil or bonds, as far as canonical bear investments go). This allows continued usage of paper banknotes and non-noble-metal coins. This has a very annoying consequence: inflation. While inflation was first constrained by the amount of gold available, it was now uncontrollable since any country could cheaply start creating more money to compensate for a disastrous commercial balance or to invest in new deals. This happened in the 1930s. The price of basic household items such as pencils jumped from two Mark to two billion Mark in Germany over the course of a few months. In the end, the one-cent coins were worth less than their weight in junk metal, and were melted, as backnotes with additional zeroes appeared. So much for the safety of money.

Nations finally decided that money printing was best left alone if inflation was to be avoided, and willingly gave up their money printing powers. Yes, that's right. Most western nations cannot print money anymore. That role went to the FED or the CEB, independent money-printing banks which have the mission to keep inflation low (one could debate over whether this is a bad thing, since deflation is a very nasty thing too: look at what happened in Argentina, people just don't spend anymore, since money is gaining value over time).

There, that should answer most questions you have about real-world currencies.

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let's just stick to some interesting system which would (hopefully) create some roleplaying as an additional effect: let's keep bartering!!!

No more currencies, no more money... Let's just stick to the old "I'll give you those two chickens, and that nearly new shirt for your old pants and the boiler, plus the wooden plates." "No way!! The plates alone are worth at least three chickens! Look at the finely carved figures!" "Ok. BUt I will also do your chores" "You're on. let's shake it."

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Original post by Fournicolas
Let's just stick to the old "I'll give you those two chickens, and that nearly new shirt for your old pants and the boiler, plus the wooden plates." "No way!! The plates alone are worth at least three chickens! Look at the finely carved figures!" "Ok. BUt I will also do your chores" "You're on. let's shake it."


<Meenx the Wizard> Hey, Smasharr, buddy, didn't you say something about buying yourself the Sword of Worldslaying, the Arrow-Proof Enchanted Cape of Invisibility, the Unholy Full Plate Armor of Indestructible Elderdragonbone, the Potion of Dracolich Blood and Pus, the Unique and Highly Prized Wand of Animate Nightstand (And Lesser Gay Bars) and the Power Level One Bazillion Epic Mount with Defy Gravity and Climactic Cavalcade racial traits?

<Smasharr the Barbarian> Me only have sacred fist-sized diamond of ineffable value. Me cannot split sacred fist-sized diamond of ineffable value. Me cannot pay weapon-man, cloth-lady, armor-midget, potion-hag, wand-gender-indifferent-person and horse-mommy. Me not happy.

* Smasharr the Barbarian has clipped your head off with a cracked, shoulder-length fingernail.

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But why,
As stated before most player want to do something other than micromanage the economy, also giving griefers the ability to screw up the entire game world cant be good.
Why not just give player the option to run a shop or something but have npc’s running on a basic supply and demand rule do most of the work.
For instance
1 player mines minerals
2 player sells minerals to npc
3 npc makes swords and sells them
->the npc will lower prices if he cant sell anything or rasie them if he selling a lot but the price he pays for minerals is relative to selling price of swords (so the players wont mine copper if they cant sell it)
4 the sowrds get lost, break or get dull and requre more minerals to fix or replace

you could do the same for any resurce, just have a defined resource chain with a finite start point and end point, and npcs working on a floating value according to some simple rules

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Surely there are some players that would like to manage an economy and that would create a dynamic enonomy for the others to play in. Now this idea can work, but the resources in the world have to be carefully balanced and the values of these resources, no matter what form they are in, should be determined only by what value the players give them. If you have 100 lumps of gold and you really just want a sword, you decide if it's worth the trade. Coins can be made for ease of bartering, and they may eventually come to have a basically understood value in a certain place and time, but it can fluctuate. That's no big deal. Also there is profit to be made by buying things in areas where they are abundant and selling them where they are more rare. It's all about supply and demand.

The nice thing about a dynamic economy where everything is handled by players, is that every spenditure is not simply draining out of the game world, but is just changing hands. The money begins to circulate. You might even pay taxes in such a game, not to drain money out of the economy, but to encourage it to grow. Imagine you lived in a small player-built village and everyone contributed some money to the town officials, which then used the money to hire the town masons who built a strong wall around the town to benefit everyone, and even used a portion of the money to pay for the stone from the guy that owns the quarry, who in turn uses that money to buy picks and shovels for his workers. And where does he get these items? From the prosperous walled village of course. It all goes to the player crafters who payed the taxes to get the walls built in the first place. Everbody benefits.

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Everbody benefits.


Especially the 'good family men' who take 60% of every transaction since masons, farmers, government officials, quarrymen are all far less skilled with swords than a professional thug.

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You'd run into other problems in your economic model too, like all your resources pooling on a few players, the reason real world economies work is because we all need something (food, shelter, entertainment). But what are you gonna do ingame? Make players buy food? This won't work, because you'd either (a) need all food to be made by players, in which case the hungry player can just make his own food, or (b) have a NPC trader who takes currency in exchange for food, but then, how does that money get back into the economy? The NPC doesnt need anything sure he could buy things, but people probably aren't going to sell him food, so you'd end up with a food vendor with 7000 rusty daggers. Also how do you prevent exceptionally rich people from just hogging all your world currency by being offline? The reason most games don't bother with real world economies is because they arent really feasible, you either annoy the player with all kinds of complications, like 7000 NPCs with no money, so the player has to trek all over the game world just to find an npc to give him money so he doesnt starve to death. To monsters not dropping any gold because its all pooled in some player traders pockets.

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I only see two outcomes to this:

A) The most likely - the game developer doesn't have a firm grasp of economics (I don't either, most of us don't, it's very complicated) and makes a variety of simple mistakes, like making resources infinite or too easy to obtain, messing up resources and needing to patch incessantly which will throw off the entire balance every time, not understanding that a "more important" economy exists outside his game on ebay, etc. The whole system basically fails due to rampant inflation or some other problem, and is scrapped and replaced with a simpler model after the first few months of beta or release.

B) The idea sort of works; there are limited resources and a few people control them, capitalism is born, and the servers quickly, much quicker than "real life", move towards capitalism's inherent problems of "5% of the people control 95% of the wealth", "being born into privilige", and "omg i hate my job so much". You would end up with the powergamer guilds having an iron grip on all the gold mines, farmland, stone quarries, whatever, and the only way to get any money to not starve to death is to work for them. Translation: if you want to continue playing the game, you have to do whatever the group of snotty, homophobic, whiny 12-year old boys tell you to do. This is, of course, those 12-year old boys' dreams. But it's also ranks among everyone else's worst nightmares, or at least very low among "fun things to do for a hobby".

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I have difficulty grasping how capitalism would be a safe or profitable thing to do in a video game, because it requires a solid and complex legal foundation to handle loans, rent, bankruptcy, dividends and shares in a way that is profitable to the average capitalist.

Of course, in the absence of such foundations but with the presence of pvp, you would end up with "feodal capitalism", also known as serfdom, where the capitalist would be a noble in a position of military power, who would own the village lands, ovens, mills and other buildings and force serfs to pay a rent by using his armies.

Another thing to notice is that information asymmetry in games behaves differently than in real world, simply because you know the level of other players (and thus, their skills). Because of this, instead of creating guilds (groups of players skilled in the same area, who know each other and provide a safe façade of skill and quality for clients to see), players tend to create clans (groups of players skilled in complementary areas), simply because a player in your own clan is someone you can trust (since you have access to a lot of information about him).

Concerning the "95% of the wealth goes to 5% of the people", this is a very important issue with closed economies, since all these resources are basically unavailable for everyone else. However, one cannot put ten tons of iron or grain in one's pocket. Large amounts of resources must be piled up somewhere in large buildings, where they can be stolen from (for instance by guards, for a quick profit on the black market — who'll notice a few pounds are missing, especially when it's hard to measure the exact contents ?). Single players could not hoard large amounts of resources indefinitely because of that. Could clans manage to do it?

Well, not really. Let's first make an additional assumption about our game world. Like the real world, resources are not concentrated in permanent "mines": grain can be grown anywhere where fields are avaialable (and disappears after a while), ore mines get depleted and others are discovered in other areas. This would force clans to own all the land if they don't want to miss an emerging ore or gold mine, or a wild wheat field. If a clan can own all the land, you have a problem in your game, because the world is too small.

Another reason why clans could not acquire all resources is the cost. As resources outside the clan get scarcer, the price of "that last bag of iron ore" is likely to jump into the stratosphere. The clans would probably have great difficulty to hoard even more of the resource by buying it, and would even more probably get some stolen (other clans would get a huge profit by stealing from that clan, could ally with each other, and so on).

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Quote:
Original post by BleedingBlue
You'd run into other problems in your economic model too, like all your resources pooling on a few players, the reason real world economies work is because we all need something (food, shelter, entertainment). But what are you gonna do ingame? Make players buy food? This won't work, because you'd either (a) need all food to be made by players, in which case the hungry player can just make his own food, or (b) have a NPC trader who takes currency in exchange for food, but then, how does that money get back into the economy? The NPC doesnt need anything sure he could buy things, but people probably aren't going to sell him food, so you'd end up with a food vendor with 7000 rusty daggers. Also how do you prevent exceptionally rich people from just hogging all your world currency by being offline? The reason most games don't bother with real world economies is because they arent really feasible, you either annoy the player with all kinds of complications, like 7000 NPCs with no money, so the player has to trek all over the game world just to find an npc to give him money so he doesnt starve to death. To monsters not dropping any gold because its all pooled in some player traders pockets.


if a player doesnt play the game for months on end he may find he can't pay his rent for the house he has in the game.

If you want food you have to set up a farm and grow it. Youll have to buy land and what not. Or you can hunt for food which is dangerous.

There will be no npc's. Its rather easy to get rid of npc's if developers would give it a shot. A player run shop with lots of automation features. Bloody hell, that didnt require a degree in game design.

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