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# MMORPG economy...

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Okay this is going to be as much a rant column as anything. The problem being that I''ve seen MMORPG economies almost collapse because of packrats. Rare items increase in number and they lose value because they''re no longer rare. Here''s a brainstorm I had on a way to deal with the problem of rare items not being rare anymore, I don''t know if it''s been done already or not but here it is. I''ll try to word this in a simple example(hope I dont confuse you)... you have a Sword of Death of High rarity you have a Dragonscale Armor of Medium rarity you have a Ring of Invisibility of Low rarity now let''s say you have 1000 people subscribed to play your game. Now a lot of games I''ve seen use a probability system where items with a High rarity have a lower probabilty of being gained. The problem being that the more people who play that enemy the more items of High rarity are found and the lower their value. So that Sword of Death that was once worth 10000 gold because no one had one is now worth 100 gold becausde everyone but the newest characters have one. Solution(I think): Make a system where items are found based on probability AND a ratio system. For Instance we would have ONE Sword of Death for every 100 people subscribed, ONE Dragon Scale Armor for every 50 people subscribed, and ONE Ring of Invisibility for every 4 people subscribed. That would keep the value of High rarity items at a more or less constant value. The way I see it when theres an encounter the computer would look at a database and determine if the quota for an item has been filled. If it has then there is no chance of gaining that item in an encounter, if it hasn''t then it adds that probability to the table for the creature. So for those 1000 people subscribed there''s only going to be a maximum of 10 Sword of Deaths, 20 Dragonscale Armors, and 250 Rings of Invisibility. Now if 4 more people subscribe you have 251 Rings of Invisibility, 50 more people-21 Dragonscale Armors, 100 more people 11 Swords of Death. If an item was lost or Destroyed then the quota is simply adjusted accordingly. Like I said I don''t know if this system has been used already but I thought it might work. It could be easily adjusted for different items. I''d be interested in any suggestions on it or thoughts on why it would or wouldn''t work. Word Up and Peace Out.

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It sounds good. However as soon as someone figures out the umber of items per players it going to turn into "now that that player has joined theres another sword of death...charge!!"

Alternativly, you could get a situation where there are a thousand people, 10 swords of death, and one player with all of them :-) He could then set his own price knowing that he has control of the entire world supply of swords of death. Actually thinking about it this might not be so much a problem as an intresting feature :-) You could have the first monopoly in an mmorpg :-)

Alan

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quote:
Original post by AlanKemp
you could get a situation where there are a thousand people, 10 swords of death, and one player with all of them :-) He could then set his own price knowing that he has control of the entire world supply of swords of death.

And then said player gets attacked, and slain by a mob of 800 players wanting one of those swords .

That does sound like a system worth considering. However, I would tweak the quota from time to time tostop players from guessing the exact number of items. One day the quota is 1 per 1000, the next, 1 per 1100. 8 hours later, its 1 per 900.

If there are more items in existance than the present quota allows, simply don''t create any more until the number left is less than the current quota. After all, equipment does wear out rather quickly when in constant use .

Virtual Worldlets, the home of online worlds

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Out of curiosity, why are you making the assumption that commonality of items is necessarily a bad thing?

Yes, things eventually lose value as there are more of them. Standard economics. But let''s look at this from the standpoint of pure player enjoyment. I would propose the following:

Players like to be under the impression that they are capable of possessing those items that make them more powerful.

Players are willing to spend large amounts of time to acquire the aforementioned items.

Players get frustrated when it is impossible for them to obtain items they deem necessary for their playing enjoyment, thereby detracting from game enjoyment.

Is it really that important that there only be 4 rings of uberness per server? Or is it more important that the player is happy because they have been able to make the effort (while paying you to let them make the effort, muwaha...) to acquire that item, even if it turns out that every player, after playing for, say, 6 months, has the aforementioned item? To be honest most people I''ve seen really couldn''t care less if their Uber Happy Super Spiff Sword of Rat Slaying is unique or rare, so long as they have one.

The fact that a single item becomes "common" doesn''t mean the collapse of the entire economy. It just means money becomes worth more. So long as you have a thriving game and the ability to make multiple characters, there will be a constant supply of new characters to outfit with rings of uberness.

Now, granted, you''re going to tell me "but, fel, if they all have rings of uberness they''re not going to want to play anymore!". Well, not true. Here are some ways you can make the game drag out for the rest of your players natural lives:

1: Hang equipment from every possible part of a player''s body. My EQ characters have I believe 20 different slots in which to put items. That''s a lot of item gathering.

2: Make items situationally specific. For instance, a certain dragon might require the player to have a sword with fire resist that does cold damage. The player''s "super-uber sword of cold resist and fire damage" does diddly for them there.

3: Make lots of uber items. Make people passionate about debating the virtues of one uber item versus another. This will make people want one of each so they can try them for themselves. More months in the subscriber base trying to get them all... woot!

4: Make items class specific, then make a heck of a lot of classes for players to play through. Be sure to give them plenty of character slots for this.

5: Make getting the items tough. Don''t take away the ability to get items due to numbers, take away the ability due to the fact that the thing that drops it only shows up once a week, or takes 30 people to kill. EQ is maddeningly good at this. Grr.

6: Make the uber items the result of a quest that takes hours of running around killing stuff and doing errands for random NPC''s. You can keep people busy for literal months this way.

7: When you think the economy is getting sluggish, spice it up by releasing a few more dungeons with Uber Inside (TM) stickers on them. Heck, sell it as an expansion pack. People on MMORPG''s love buying expansion packs because their friends have them and they want to be there, darnit. People on MMORPG''s will get up at 3am and go stand in line at EB to be in the new dungeon first.

8: If you really want to cut down on the number of Uber Warrior Breastplates of Sparkliness, then make it so that you can''t give the Uber Warrior Breastplate of Sparkliness you found to anyone else. It then becomes immune to economic forces upon the rarity of the item, and becomes a matter of "you have to go kill the nastiest mob in the game. Here''s a sword. Good luck. *snicker*"

-fel

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I had a very similar idea on a project I''m designing. I like the idea of having people fight over items like hungry animals. Isnt that what MMORPG''s are for interaction with other human players, and considering greed is a comminality for humans, you could have some interesting situations, such as human controlled quests requiring you to track another player down to wherever he might be to retrive a certain item that the person who sent you on the quest will either reward you or you can keep it until he or someone he hires hunts you down.

"There is humor in everything depending on which prespective you look from."

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You should also consider that usualy players own more than one character,so you will have 1000 players and 4000 different characters which mean that only the oldest one will ever own a "sword of total destruction".
I think the solution is simple to let items to be not invulnerable...after a while, the items will be lost forever.
At this time you can think of implementing something like a smith in order to repair damaged items,and this will also introduce a new skill (maybe a player only skill-->ie:no NPC will ever repair your sword of dominion).

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Like I said the system is easily modified to adapt the environment and what you''re aiming for. Hopefully the ratios wouldn''t be common knowledge but if they were it could be adjusted server side without the public knowing.

As far as whether having an abundance of items is a bad thing or not, there''s two heads to this coin as well. If a player has a very rare item it gives them a sense of pride in their acomplishment, and they''re more likely to keep playing because of what they are proud. Now if everyone else got very rare items they lose that sense of pride and the bragging rights that some people enjoy having. They wouldn''t nessesarily get frustrated if they still have other things to occupy them. In an MMORPG there''s not going to(or shouldn''t be) just 1 ultrarare item to desire. With enough variety players will be dreaming a long time into the future of what they think their char could do with this item or that.

Another thing(and mabye its just me) is that veteran players like being able to distinguish themselves from the newbs. However, when that superduper weapon is so cheap that lvl 1 players can afford a full suit of the best armor and start off killing lvl 20 monsters, veterans lose interest because there''s now nothing to differentiate between the two groups. As long as there are rare items vets keep the sense or distinguishment and newbs are looking at these vets and saying to themselves "Someday I want my char be that powerful." So now you have both groups hooked.

Sorry bout that sorta went off on something else there. But thx for pointing out those issues. Those are real good suggestions Fel, thx.

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I also like the idea I''ve seen in some games where items become imbued with experience when you use them. In other words, the item itself becomes more useful with age as long as you have it equipped. If you are to sell/give this to another person, it loses that experience and so the person receiving the item needs to start at ground zero. This encourages players to hold on to their items--the value of a 40th level sword of sparkliness is much more than a 1st level. This might help to stem the proliferation of items.

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What the hell is an uber and where can I find one?

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If you want to distinguish veteran players from newbies, the obvious way would be experience-based levels, not items, unless the items are not able to be transferred between players. Strength of the character should be due mainly to character development, not item, in my opinion.

But, as I pointed out, making uber-mobs rare is a good way to make items "unique".

Take for instance, my level 56 Everquest druid, Lanys T''Vyl server. She is wearing a neat-looking piece of equipment called a "golden efreeti breastplate". There are, to my knowledge, 4 on the server (the server has approximately 2000 people on it at any given time), hers was the first. There is no rule on the number of golden efreeti breastplates. It is rare because first off, you have to be level 46 (out of a maximum 60) to even go to the plane (sort of like a dungeon) that it drops on. You have to organize 36 people to go up to the plane thanks to the difficulty. You have to perform key quests across 5 islands covered in nasty high-level beasts to get to the island with the being that drops the breastplate, and the being that drops it only spawns once every 24 hours minimum. It takes approximately 12 hours of fighting, if you''re doing well, to get to the fifth island. You will at a very minimum lose about 30% of your raiding party in attempting to defeat the monster that drops it, as the monster that drops it is 63 (top level for any player character is 60) and does truly massive amounts of damage very quickly. If you do manage to kill it, the breastplate is an extreme rare drop, so the breastplate only drops off the monster one in an estimated 50 or so kills. To compound it, the breastplate is "No Drop", meaning I cannot give it to any other player. Considering that the server has been up a year and a half now, and there are only 4 bp''s, I think the strategies I mentioned work quite nicely in making certain items rare.

I am, by the way, very intrigued with the idea of a player "imbuing" equipment with "experience".

-fel

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