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trapdoor

Game economy in MMO's

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something i havent seen here that you should consider is modelling it based on actual economic theory.

the difference between most MMO's and reality is that MMO's do not implement a true scarcity of goods. most MMO's have a limitless supply of everything and simply reacts to the player base and their actions.


Gold is limitless since drops are limitless. Most crafting resources are based on limitless nodes, that respawn over time, which is a simple throttle for how much gold enters the system at a given time.


The concept isnt unique but the perceived hurdle is that no one wants to be poor in an MMO. Of course the reality is that no one want to be poor in real life either. Everyone has to be a hero in an MMO which of course means that nobody can be a hero.

Scarcity of goods combined with real consumption of end user goods will allow a stratification of income levels.

You will also be in the position to use the supply and demand metric to introduce goods trading and transport as a viable capital gains strategy.

Once travel itself becomes a quest(the caveat here being that if travel is boring and without event then the occupation will be as well) , you will begin to see a predator prey relationship on the main highways, which no MMO has accomplished since UO.(to my knowledge)

the concept requires a shift in thinking and is easily discarded because it involves taking a chance with your user-base as opposed to emulating what already works.

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_winterdyne_    530
We use scarcity of resources as the main driving force for conflict and trade both within a kingdom and between kingdoms. And risk though it might be, the total worth travelling through a particular route node is an attractor for bandit NPCs, so it's well worth (if you're a lord tasked with trading with another kingdom) assigning militia quests to guard caravans as they travel - which costs money (from taxes) and equipment (bought from the Guilds)... and possibly lives (both of players and NPCs).

Of course, the opposite option is also open, for kingdoms to effectively prey on each other's trade routes (especially if you can lay the blame on another kingdom). These actions can severely harm economies, but historically, the use of sanctions and trade sabotage as a precursor to open warfare is not unprecedented.

It'll be fun to see how the different game instances pan out...

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trapdoor    130
As far as crafting goes, and the NPC's supply: Dark and Light allows for players to become NPC's when they are offline. Thus allowing them to sell items while they are offline. This could also be useable as someone who has the materials to make a weapon but not the skill, can take it to an offline character to make. The player sets the rates beforehand and this can be done automatically. Keeps the currency within the players.

Also in a player controlled society (even the king is a player), what about having them control the caps to which others can sell certain items.

Travel and Trade.... I'm already tackling many other risks with the way my game works. What's another?

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Quote:
Original post by trapdoor
As far as crafting goes, and the NPC's supply: Dark and Light allows for players to become NPC's when they are offline. Thus allowing them to sell items while they are offline. This could also be useable as someone who has the materials to make a weapon but not the skill, can take it to an offline character to make. The player sets the rates beforehand and this can be done automatically. Keeps the currency within the players.

Also in a player controlled society (even the king is a player), what about having them control the caps to which others can sell certain items.

Travel and Trade.... I'm already tackling many other risks with the way my game works. What's another?



setting artificial caps for selling prices will only drive the market underground and further inflate its value.

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Bob Janova    769
Yeah. Either that, or, if your enforcement process is good enough that can't happen, will result in your message boards being flooded by annoyed playerswho can't sell their carefully crafted +10 Sword of Uberness for its 'true value'. Artificial caps or controls on item value do not a fun economy make.

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You'll absolutely have to deal with the fact that players use their wallet as a score counter. The longer they play and the tougher they get, the bigger they expect that number to become. They demand that they accrue wealth and assets as a visible manifestation of their superiority to newbies.

Since all the MMO economies to date have rewarded them for that, it's pretty much guaranteed that players will be disappointed by the omission of that dynamic from future games.

Yojimbo was the baddest dude in Japan, but he didn't have a fat wallet and an inventory filled with lewt. He had a sword that was probably of moderate quality, having been issued one back when he was employed, a threadbare hakama and a worn kimono, which he had probably patched himself on numerous occasions. For all that, he was uber. You'll never see that kind of tough guy in an MMO.

The basic misconception that every player deserves to be King Arthur is at the root of the economy problem. If you get rid of the notion that everyone is entitled to hero status and should be wearing six gold crowns and wielding an enchanted sword made of dragon teeth by their fourth month in-game, then everything else falls into place.

The economy isn't an economy, it's a metagame, a second grind. Players expect to be rewarded for killing mobs, and they expect that reward to accumulate and unlock new graphical treats, stat boni and bragging rights. That's the dynamic we're contending with.

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Talroth    3247
EVE online's system seems to work fairly well. I'm not sure how many of the items are player made, there are still lots that are dropped from loot, and lots of ISK (isk being the money, what isk stands for, i never did find out) are generated from bounties.

However the game also has lots of money sinks. To craft isn't just a matter of getting items X Y and Z which anyone can come across in their travels, put them in a window and hit the magic button. In that game, first off you need to buy blueprints, or copies of them (copies can only be run so many times before they degrade and you can't use them) which cost a fair bit for even simple things, and massive amounts of money for larger ships.
From there you then need the resources to build them, for ships this is thousands of units of minerals that are mined and refined, some are easy to find, nearly worthless for each, but needing loads of them. Others only need one or two units for things, but are hard to get, only mineable in dangerous places.

The big sinks in the game are while your ships are insureable, your weapons aren't. Lose your ship, you lose millions in good weapons. And you WILL lose your ship, many many times. Eventually you'll get your ass kicked by a bigger player, or make a mistake and bite off more than you can chew in a fight. However, the rule in that game is "Don't fly something you can't replace" easy enough. Losing a ship isn't really that bad, as most people if they have a weekend to play can usually make enough to replace your new ship in a day using it wisely.
Later as your character gets older, chances are you'll join a corp/guild, and there are costs with that as well. Usually most corps will want their own station, which costs a lot to keep running, taxes and fuel costs and the like. After that there is the chance of getting into wars with other players, which isn't a nice thing.

I guess the big thing is to rig a system where the player spends money they get without feeling like they are wasing it. Repairing their sword, or armour, buying a better quality armour, paying for training for new skills, paying rent on a room to store their loot in, rent on a manor house, taxes to a king for a castle somewhere. Pay for NPC allies, guards for your manor house/castles, craftsmen to work resources gathered from your lands, etc.

As a character grows, he should be able to gain more and more money, however give them more and more things to spend their money on.

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Bob Janova    769
Quote:
You'll absolutely have to deal with the fact that players use their wallet as a score counter. The longer they play and the tougher they get, the bigger they expect that number to become. They demand that they accrue wealth and assets as a visible manifestation of their superiority to newbies.


Then give 'em a score counter that's not linked to their spending power! Award notoriety points for winning in PvP, hero points for slaying enemies, diplomacy points for being in an important political post. Make it so your wealth is not visible to other people but these other score points are.

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I don't really have much to say, but I thought some of you might want to read this. It is a post on the EQ cleric forums from a (now former)gold farmer, and his logic on how it effects a game. Sorry if someone already posted it, I didn't read through the posts.

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Guest Anonymous Poster   
Guest Anonymous Poster
Quote:
Original post by Fournicolas
The goal is PRECISELY that most players remain poor. If everyone remains poor alike, then the expensive items remain expensive, but not out of reach from everyone. And the money doesn't come from nowhere. You have to work to get it, like gather materials for the crafters with the money.

Well, the fact is, you non-crafter players can only get money through selling the materials they loot and thus the only money crafters can win are that they are getting from buyers, again the non-crafters. So, with a fixed amount of money your system simply dont work. The money must be created in some form, if not crafters cannot get rich there wont be any point to be one of them.

Quote:
On the whole, I think some people are getting wrong right from the premises. Money is merely a convenient way to accelerate the bartering.

The economy system must be based in the world style and tech level. If its based on cavemen, ok, then go for a bartering system. If you world is fantasy like, money must exist. And hey, money has been here 4000 years ago.

Quote:
Here and now, in any MMO, you are playing some adventurer. The main occupation of any adventurer is to, well, have adventures in the wild. He doesn't produce goods, and certainly has close to no chance at all to become rich by wandering around idly.

¿The main occupation of any adventurer is to have adventures?. The main motivation of a player is have adventures, but the adventurer character wants to live, and there are some reasons that force them to go wilderness. Maybe get wealthy and rich, maybe destroy the evil, or simply protect their houses, farms or castles. In any case, basing on your premise, "here and now, in any MMO, you are playing some adventurer" and your economy system, who wants to be a crafter?, specially if you cannot get rich. I think if you want to emulate bartering with your economy system, then go for a pure bartering system and forget money.

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Guest Anonymous Poster   
Guest Anonymous Poster
Another point, and belive me, money and richness is a major motivation in players, no matters what game: tabletop, roleplaying or MMO. If you dont give your players a real opportunity to be, a lot of them will quit playing.

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Fournicolas    270
As far as I am concerned, Money has NEVER been an enticing thing. In games, adventure and excitement has, and I'll grant you that having money can buy you stuff that will aloow my character to get to more exciting content. And in Real Life, Comfort is the goal, which can only be accessed via Money. But having money and nothing to spend it on just seems... stupid. If I have nothing to get from it, then I don't need it. If I get nothing more from my money, then why do I raise from my bed every morning and go to work? Why not sit there and just watch the birds sing?

What I was trying to make plain, is that the very mechanic behind the crafter gameplay is wrong. You shouldn't try to become a crafter just to become rich, you should choose to become a crafter because you feel it's more fun than to run after critters and empty their pockets. But right now, I can't think of a game, apart from Yohoho! Pirates, that makes crafting fun. There is no f***ing GAME to it!! You just pile resources in a box, and click. Of course, if the only reward you can expect from being a crafter is becoming immensely rich, then have your satisfaction, and do become rich. But if the satisfaction was "make the best looking sword", or "make the most resistant armor", or merely "enjoy the fun crafting system", money wouldn't be a trouble.

Moreover, just to drive the nail all the way, in the REAL world, there IS a very finite amount of money, even if some banks seem able to produce more than they can cash out, and some people still manage to become rich, merely by producing things people just want to buy, and are not prepared to produce for themselves. It should take skills to become rich, and not just time. You shouldn't be jealous of older players, just of BETTER players, and they shouldn't be better just because they are older. Being jealous of older people is a thing you do when you're five or six. When you grow, you know there is nothing to be jealous about, because everybody reaches that point eventually.

In fact, I think games would be immensely more enjoyable if they weren't aimed at making everyone special, and only allowed one or two of their customers to become special, just because they were there at the right moment. Many people can report UFOs sightings. But only the first one will leave his name in history. A bunch of people walked on the moon. And the world only remembers two of them. Once it's been done, it's nothing new. I don't understand why people seem to spot the fact that MMOs are a grind, and still be completely blind to the fact that being a grind, it cannot make them any special...

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trapdoor    130
A few people have pointed out now (maybe i'm getting mixed up with a few of my other 30+ posts :) ) that maybe having uber loot set that is hard to get, say take about a half a year to a year to collect is not something to be done. Everyone does it but is it really necessary? Maybe just having money really hard to come by, and almost unnecessary to half the players. Ok. I'm not sure how to bring my point across without describing things I don't find realistic, that I find just bizarre. I'll also tell of a scenario that I'd like to see happen and maybe get suggestions on how to accomplish this. don't worry, i'll related this to economics in a minute.

All the professions. They all seem fake. The only one I can see is enchanting and maybe herbalism. I don't understand how a druid or priest would learn skinning and leatherworking, or a warrior as an engineer. A hunter as a skinner and leather worker YES! But seriously. Druids are supposed to be one with nature, or at least in my perspective.

Miners, I don't see how anyone can be a miner. Miner is a career. In Warcraft or Age of Empires, you didn't send fighters to get minerals. You sent your basic workers.

Crafting is supposed to take much longer than 20 seconds to make a weapon or anything for that matter. Crafting should be a skill that the player actually learns, as opposed to it being an ability... let me explain. I once played Disney's Toontown. And I remember one thing that striked me as amazing. When fishing, you don't just cast and sit. Once you're bobble thing moves, you reel it in. You actually reeled it in, not point and click, done. There was a meter that would show if you were reeling too fast or too slow and you had to adjust acordingly. What if crafting was done similarly? Almost like a puzzle every time something was crafted. Obviously the puzzle will be related. And this could also affect what stats the sword gets. Wether it's a well crafted sword, or just a plain one that's a little off-balance.

I guess another thing to note, is that I don't want this game to be traditional. Semi-realistic and fun, but not fit into the cookie-cutter style of MMO's. People want to craft for money, but there are some that actually like to craft. Let the ones who are interested in action, be the ones using the swords, while the ones wanting to support via making the swords do so as well.

-----

I will come back to crafting and professions but I'm going to describe something else for a minute. The money. What about having money only useful for menial things? Another note for this game, I want the character to HAVE to sleep. This can be done automatically when the person logs off, but if they pull a 48 hour shift, then their character is going to suck afer 12 hours of constant fighting. (This may affect those using multiple people to level fast.) Their characters have to eat, again this can be done when logging off. But bonuses to eating lasts 4-5 hours and you can also over eat (negative effects). Travelling via a taxi of some kind costs money as do buying food and sleeping in an inn (if you are away from your home). Potions and training may cost money and weapons will be minimal (if buying from an NPC vendor). Other than that, there's not much else to spend money on... so you don't need all that much. Oh... and taxes where your home is.

Now why have money? Because there are a few players that NEED money. These are people in political positions. Not everyone will as politics denotes little action or at least front line action. The money they gather from taxes will go towards building defenses, hiring NPC guards (nobody wants to be a guard), and other various money spending things.

Now this is where it ties into crafting. If a trade is done between 2 people and the exchange is money, then maybe forcing a percentage to go to the politians as a sales tax. The only way to allow a trade without money is to let the customer perform a service... such as guarding a miner while they gather ore. Protecting the caravan as they transport the ore to the crafter. (Which is how crafters get their materials). You keep the menial tasks to NPCs. Or some Roleplaying Crafters can have people perform rights of worthiness to see if they are worthy of owning a sword. Now I have no clue if people will catch on or ignore or exploit this kind of system but here's the scenario which I would like to duplicate (I had many inspirations up to now about how the economy should work).

----

5% of the player base (could be bigger) are the rich ones. They are rich because they have power. Since they have power, they are also responsible for protecting those underneath them. They are the politians. People are more than welcome to gripe and complain, even take matters into their own hands because who really likes politians? Power hungry players may like to play as politians. Forget about how such a system would work but imagine it already does. So the most costly of all items in the game are things that only politians can get. A new set of barracks, extra guards, Seige weapons...

? % of the player base will be crafters. They don't need a whole lot of money. Maybe they can use money to purchase materials from others. But their main interest is materials to craft with. Again, I don't know how to get this result but maybe make it so they'd prefer to materials over money. Since there is a sales tax on every trade crafters do, they want to stay away from that kind of thing. Any chance they get to have someone escort some materials to them, they'd take that over just selling something.

Majority % of player base will be adventurer's. They only need as much money to survive off of. Again, since the cost of weapons from crafters will be high, to make up for tax, it should be easier and better for players to escort caravans delivering materials. All they need is a small income of money to cover various small things as I mentioned before. That and to cover the reoccuring tax from the powers that be.

------

Maybe somehow make the underlying currency actually a service instead of a material.

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There was a neat thread about this somewhere, and the suggestion was that two games be made. One would be a sim game, where players would farm and manage assets and mine minerals and smith gear and amuse themselves with weather and crops and Harvest Moon-ish things. The other game, using a different client, a different account but the same server cluster, would be the traditional MMO. MMO players would see farms and shops as uninteractive elements, just fences to be vaulted or storefronts to be patronized. Sim players would see MMO players as customers and employees on spreadsheets and in stores.

There'd be no way for PvP players to grief the producers (My mining corp in EvE is now embroiled in arbitrary grief war #4. Productivity is wrecked, profit is down, and the twelve-year-old losers with nothing better to do than shoot unarmed ships and pop a three-inch boner are immune to reason, since they just grief for fun. Bastards.) so there'd be only the most superficial contact between the two games, but the economy would spring from an actual supply chain system, and buy prices for mob loot and resources that can only be obtained through adventuring would fluctuate based on demand. Likewise, the cost of a sword would go up if demons infested the iron mine and nobody could get in there to collect ore.

Sim players could put out bounties on NPC critters that are eating their lettuce, or offer equipment as rewards for doing favors, basically filling the role currently occupied by NPC characters.

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Hawkins8    100
Quote:
Original post by Iron Chef Carnage
There was a neat thread about this somewhere, and the suggestion was that two games be made. One would be a sim game, where players would farm and manage assets and mine minerals and smith gear and amuse themselves with weather and crops and Harvest Moon-ish things. The other game, using a different client, a different account but the same server cluster, would be the traditional MMO. MMO players would see farms and shops as uninteractive elements, just fences to be vaulted or storefronts to be patronized. Sim players would see MMO players as customers and employees on spreadsheets and in stores.

There'd be no way for PvP players to grief the producers (My mining corp in EvE is now embroiled in arbitrary grief war #4. Productivity is wrecked, profit is down, and the twelve-year-old losers with nothing better to do than shoot unarmed ships and pop a three-inch boner are immune to reason, since they just grief for fun. Bastards.) so there'd be only the most superficial contact between the two games, but the economy would spring from an actual supply chain system, and buy prices for mob loot and resources that can only be obtained through adventuring would fluctuate based on demand. Likewise, the cost of a sword would go up if demons infested the iron mine and nobody could get in there to collect ore.

Sim players could put out bounties on NPC critters that are eating their lettuce, or offer equipment as rewards for doing favors, basically filling the role currently occupied by NPC characters.


My current games has a similar design to include both into the MMO environment. As a char's kingdom ranking climbing up, he's entitled to obtain a piece of land used for the "sim" purpose, more like a mini game or mini grind where you manage a virtual village/city to grow crops of different types.

Not much graphics in such a "sim" environment, more like a strategic game. The crops are used as raw materials for special types of weapons, armors, decorative items and etc, a separate set of items usually are not as practical as the other games items/gears, but with a special appearance. Rich players having excess money will usually buy them, just because they look special. They are expensive, especially in the case of a uber one.

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Drethon    212
My latest thoughts on economy is go with something similar to EVE. For a sword and board, or RPG based around a single fighting player as opposed to ship based like EVE, the game can be based around skills as opposed to equipment. From here, pure cash drops can be pulled and instead only equipment drops.

In the main economy, equipment sales can be controlled as an NPC merchant can only produce so many of something at a time and will only purchase so many of something at a time. After that all equipment found in drops can be used by players to craft items, metals can be melted down and woods can be carved into other items.

I believe at this point equipment can be made fairly inexpensive and prevent inflation as there is no influx of cash into the economy... though I'm no economist.

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Fournicolas    270
Quote:
Original post by Drethon

In the main economy, equipment sales can be controlled as an NPC merchant can only produce so many of something at a time and will only purchase so many of something at a time. After that all equipment found in drops can be used by players to craft items, metals can be melted down and woods can be carved into other items.

I believe at this point equipment can be made fairly inexpensive and prevent inflation as there is no influx of cash into the economy... though I'm no economist.



Interesting thought. Can you track equipment as an acccumulation of separate elements, all potentially downsizeable?

I mean, so far, we have more or less agreed that a no-gold-drop system would be probably better than all preexisting MMO economic models, because it would require an active participation of crafters to economy, and would limit Uber-Items to CRAFTED Uber-Items. It would require to have the mobs lootable in all kinds of manners, thus emphasizing the importance of skills in this respect: Skinning, Butchering, Trophy Recuperation, Tendon Recuperation, Leather Tanning and so on and so forth.

As you grow better in a particular skill, you are allowed to try and perform more difficult tasks, and previously accessible tasks faster, and/or with better results.

Which means that you are entitled to have all sorts of crafting components, in all sizes. Which brings me back to my first question: Can you use a BIG crafting component and modify it to make a smaller crafting component? Can you use a Long Handle, and transform it into a Short Handle? Can you cut a Long Strand of CatGut into Thin Strands of CatGut? Can you tailor three Mail Bonnets from a single Large Mailshirt?

In other words can we make recuperation possible in a MMO?

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Drethon    212
Quote:
Which means that you are entitled to have all sorts of crafting components, in all sizes. Which brings me back to my first question: Can you use a BIG crafting component and modify it to make a smaller crafting component? Can you use a Long Handle, and transform it into a Short Handle? Can you cut a Long Strand of CatGut into Thin Strands of CatGut? Can you tailor three Mail Bonnets from a single Large Mailshirt?

In other words can we make recuperation possible in a MMO?


My theorized approach for all the items in the world is they all inherit from a item base class. This base class (among other things) would have an item's weigh, size and material. If the items is built from components, the material would instead be a list of item components, each with their own weight, mass and material. From here, ever item can be melted (if possible for the material type) to a lump of matter of the same weight and mass, or broken down into componenets (see sword blade and hilt) which can then be melted down.

Breaking large items into smaller items would also be fairly easy. Say you have a sword hilt with a size of 1000 cm^3 made out of wood. If you want to make a dagger hilt, the game would check that the dagger hilt is 250 cm^3 and can be made out of wood. After crafting a smaller hilt you now have a dagger hilt, a 500 cm^3 lump of wood and 250 cm^3 of sawdust (possibly useable elsewhere... flameable?). With increased skill in crafting the waste material can be lessened.

I can see all this as being extremely CPU and memory intensive but my plans for a game is text based so I can flesh out more advanced functionality without wasting my time (just my opinion) on producing uber graphics. I also have ideas about load sharing multiple computers (a number of masters with a bunch of reassignable slaves) to even the memory and CPU load (but will my local network be able to handle this? hmm...).

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Drethon    212
Oh, and given that my MMORPG I'm working on is Sci/Fi based with a number of opponents being robots, this idead of componenet contruction works quite well. Though as Fournicolas mentioned this could work with critter parts (See Gemstone IV's allowing you to make arrows with golem bones and arrow fletchings with critter feathers) or dropped equipment.

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Drethon    212
Quote:
You'll absolutely have to deal with the fact that players use their wallet as a score counter. The longer they play and the tougher they get, the bigger they expect that number to become. They demand that they accrue wealth and assets as a visible manifestation of their superiority to newbies.


(moving slightly off topic)

An option I was looking at for this (sorry to post kinda late, fell behind and read from the bottom up...) is status with NPCs. Part of what I want with the game I'm workin on is to use it as an AI research test bed. The friendly NPCs in the game will outnumber the PCs so that the players can get a feel of all the players being "heros" while the world is still populated with "normal" people.

Using this the player would get status with all the NPCs. If the player kills an enemy, they gain status with the friendly faction and loose with the enemy faction. Based on their status with a faction, they can begin commanding NPC characters.

If the player is friendly with military factions, they gain military ranks. If the player is friendly with the merchant factions, they can hire merchant/trader/miners at lower costs. If the player is friendly with criminals, the criminal NPCs will assist with a heist at a lower cost. Etc...

I really want to try to make a game where cash is far less importiant than skills/stratigy/actions.

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makeshiftwings    398
I'll second Talroth's advice. EVE has the best economy in an MMO I've seen, and I've played quite a few MMO's. I highly reccommend that anyone really interested in MMO economy download the free EVE trial and check out how it works. Here are some of the reasons that I think EVE's is a step in the right direction, away from the more common economic model of WoW or EQ:

- There is a galaxy-wide "market" system, where you can place Buy Orders and Sell Orders from various stations. The Sell Orders are somewhat similar to WoW's auction house, but the Buy Orders really take things to another level, since it allows player traders to put in orders for whatever they want and other players to sell the items at that price without having to go meet that player face-to-face. Where in other games you would sell your loot to an NPC and the loot would disappear and be replaced with new spawned gold (inflation), in EVE, it's actually almost always a real trade between players. There are a few NPC buyers, but only for specific items and not enough to make a big impact.

- In addition to most items being craftable, most items can also be broken back down into raw materials. That means that there's a floor price on most items, where no matter what happens to the economy, the average price of an item will never drop below what you could get for it by breaking it down and selling its raw materials.

- Most items need large amounts of different "level" materials. This means that there is an incentive for high-level players to buy things from low-level players. In WoW, for example, all high-level crafted armors just require high-level metals. In EVE, the equivalent item would require the same high-level metals, but also a million copper bars: probably more than you'd want to go harvest yourself, but few enough that you're willing to go buy them from someone else.

There are a lot of other things that contribute to the economic balance in the game, but really I would suggest taking a look at it yourself. It will help open your mind to ideas besides just "my personal gripe with WoW." ;)

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_winterdyne_    530
I seriously think taking the component makeup of items for a game economy can go too far, as can units of measurement. It's easier for players to keep track of arbitary units of particular materials or components, and you can use 'rounding errors' or wastage to provide a money sink to counteract resource generators (like gold mines).

I'll use an example from Bloodspear. This mechanism is probably going to be abstracted and placed in Primogen (our code library) so we can reuse it elsewhere. Each resource type has an arbitrary unit - sacks of ore, ingots of metal, bolts of cloth etc.

Say we want to make (from scratch) a bejewelled, gilt, balanced steel longsword. Several key steps come into play.
First the absolute raw resources:
one small wooden log (for the handle) - umm, woodcutters. Axes. Trees.
one ingot and one sheet of gold leaf - mined elsewhere as nuggets, and smelted (smithy skill) into ingots, from which a jeweller can make gold leaf. Better smithy skill allows less nuggets to be consumed in making an ingot.
three steel ingots - mined as iron ore (measured in bags), and smelted into ingots by using additional coal (mined and measured in bags).
a small leather skin - gathered by hunters and tanned by a tailor (yes, I know it should be a tanner, whole different skill, but tanning is not exactly a fun crafting career, so leatherwork and tailoring are all lumped into one)
a large gem of fine or better quality - mined as an uncut gem (various types) and cut by a jeweller.

The player wanting the sword (possibly the blacksmith himself) gathers the required resources for the sword part - the steel, the gold, the wood and the leather. The blacksmith uses two steel ingots to create a steel longsword blade, one to create a crossguard. Various designs are available. The gold ingot is used to create a gold pommel. The wood and leather is used (not by a carpenter - this is one occasion where the smith uses it) to create a comfortable handle (yes, I know the binding of the handle is usually last - this makes it easier to assemble for a player). The smith can then assemble the components into a product. At this point the weapon is usable.

The stats of the weapon are dependent on a number of things - first the quality of the components used - everything has a quality rating from 0 to 1, and the quality of a component is the average of the resources that were put into it.

Crafters can attempt (by making their skill check more difficult) to increase the quality of a product by 20%, or to reduce the quality (making the skill check easier). Good crafters can therefore use lower quality materials for stock items (giving a niche to low-level miners etc). At no point can the quality of a product exceed 1.

The overall quality of a product acts as a multiplier to its stats, but the components used in it can also alter its behaviour:

A default longsword at top quality does 20-30 points of damage and takes half a second for a standard attack, and costs 5 fatigue points per attack. (These aren't 'real' figures, just approximates).

The gold pommel counts as a 'heavy pommel' and shaves 20% off fatigue cost per attack, and makes the weapon a 'balanced' weapon. It has a corresponding penalty in weight for the item. The pommel is also exposed as a target point for mounting a single gem.

The wood and leather handle is a standard handle - it has no effect on the stats of the item, other than affecting its overall quality.

So after the blacksmith's done, we have a balanced longsword of uncertain quality - the average of the components provides this. Overall quality is applied last.

The player can then take their sword to a jeweller, and have them mount a gem in the pommel and or gild the item with gold leaf. This turns the sword into a bejewelled, gilt sword. The quality of the gem, and the quality of the mounting and gilding work are taken into consideration in determining the overall quality of the sword.

But why do all the extras when you have a functional weapon? Well, in Bloodspear appearances matter - the apparent worth of your appearance is taken into account for a number of interactions with NPCs, and it is a means of showing off to other players. You can take it as read that exotic materials like gold have a much higher rarity and worth than base materials like iron. Decoration of good quality can also have an effect on the usability of the weapon.

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Edtharan    607
_winterdyne_ your system sounds like a well though out system and would give a lot of control over the power of a weapon to the crafter. What about haivn the crafter's skill haveing some effect on the quality of the item. This might be as one component in the overal quality or a restriction to, either the overall quality or the quality of the components used in the item.

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_winterdyne_    530
Quote:
Original post by _winterdyne_
Crafters can attempt (by making their skill check more difficult) to increase the quality of a product by 20%, or to reduce the quality (making the skill check easier). Good crafters can therefore use lower quality materials for stock items (giving a niche to low-level miners etc). At no point can the quality of a product exceed 1.


Different products also have different skill check difficulties - and the skill system also has support for critical success and failure - so a badly failed mining check could break a pickaxe or at least damage it more than standard use (that rock's just too hard, and item decay is essential for the economy) and so on.

It's not granting power to the crafter that I particularly like about it - it's allowing players to develop their own style of play, even within the bounds of a certain skill - one player with swordsmanship might favour blade-heavy, harder-hitting weapons, whilst another might go for bonuses to parry. Perhaps they just want to look wealthy in order to get ahead in society. Plus, the requirement for many different types of crafter (and the fact the game's skill based so you can mix crafting and combat) should make the overall dynamic of the game a little more lively.

Actually - this is a point that should probably be highlighted - SWG removing combat ability from crafters was one of the stupidest (most stupid?) things I've seen - If you have a class based system, everybody should be able to access *most* content, or all of a sudden you end up with no crafters. Trying to counteract this by removing item decay is even more stupid, as it just forces more crafters out, turning the game into a Diablo 2 loot economy.
You can have some limits based on character type (or skill), but cutting such a large portion of the game out completely is dumb. Flexibility is the zen of player happiness. It is however a complete sod to try and balance.

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