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robert4818

Anti-trust Measures

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I'm working on a game economy concept that in a way resembles the real-world. The idea is for products to be built in multi-step processes using raw resources that are separated out around the game world. (I.E. one area may be a desert that is rich in Iron ore, while another is a forest rich in different woods. Instead of Tiered systems (pine = lvl 1, Oak = lvl 2, etc.) each individual component will have different strengths and weaknesses. The ultimate goal is to have a system where resources are gathered, processed, and traded on a guild-level, not an individual level. The problem I'm running into in the concept at the moment is the "Uber-guild". The ones that maximize everything and are as self-sufficent as possible. Thats not what I want. I want the system to be co-dependent. So how do I keep one guild from gaining access to too many resources. In a sense How do I keep guilds specialized in one or two resources for trade?

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You can introduce a tax based on revenue, and calibrate it so that when a guild operates on only 1 or 2 resources and trades, the guild has the highest revenue-after-tax to revenue-before-tax ratio.

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Make the buy Trade Rights, which expire after a set time.

First Trade right costs nearly nothing, but after that have them go up on whatever curve you wish. Make them expire fairly quickly or tradeable in someway, so as not to lock a player into one thing for too long, should they wish to switch industries.


Throw in an Ingame court system, which includes a simplified legal code, and have your GM act as Judges. Issue fines and sanctions rather than bans for breaking game 'law' (still have rules which are a different thing, such as macro/exploits/multi accounts and that, but make Anti-Trust as game law not game rule. The difference is, Game Law becomes something you TRY to toe the line with as close as you can, and step over as much as you dare to try and get ahead, and hope you don't get caught, where as game rules you get banned for breaking as they're not 'part of the game')

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Quote:
Original post by robert4818
The ultimate goal is to have a system where resources are gathered, processed, and traded on a guild-level, not an individual level.


How do you enforce "fair trade" between guilds? If you don't, there's nothing to stop me from having many toons and creating many guilds that all give each other resources for free. Most hardcore guilds use 3rd party apps for voice communication anyway, so there's no communication penalty for splitting toons across multiple guild entities.

Out of curiosity, what's the design reason for preventing "uber guilds"? One of the strongest reasons for joining a guild in the first place is so you can get everything "for free": help, mats, crafted items, gold, etc.

Another thing you could do is require the construction of expensive structures to refine materials: want to make metal bars -> build a forge. Guilds could be given finite building space in which to construct these buildings. That would prevent a guild from being able to process all materials into usable form. This doesn't cover the different toons, different guilds "exploit" however.

-me

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The easiest way I can think of is to just put in a hard limit for a guild to only work with one resource. You could implement it by issuing some equivalent of a Royal Charter for a guild to work with a specific area - think of something like the East India Company, except limited to a specific resource (like tea, for example). You could then limit each guild to only having one charter.

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ECON 101: As long as a comparative advantage exists, free trade will always make sense. As long as one guild is 'relatively' more efficient, trade will exist.

There are many ways you could ensure this 'relative' efficiency -- the most simple is to explain it by Nurture versus Nature -- that those born and raised in certain areas are raised in a culture that understands the raw material, and therefore has technological superiority when it comes to working with the raw material. Or, as others have mentioned, this 'relative' efficiency could be created by law enforcement. There are many explanations as to why this relative efficiency could exist.

As far as the innards of the mechanic go, you simply have to make sure, in a rather large matrix, that at least one relative efficiency exists for each guild compared to another. For smart players (aka, profit maximizing players), this will ensure that trade will always exist.

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I'm against hard limits. They break immersion in my book. I know that a hard limit is the most effective way, but not the direction I would like to go.

I'm wondering if physical transport of goods, and larger areas would help the problem.

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Quote:
Original post by Palidine
Quote:
Original post by robert4818
The ultimate goal is to have a system where resources are gathered, processed, and traded on a guild-level, not an individual level.


How do you enforce "fair trade" between guilds? If you don't, there's nothing to stop me from having many toons and creating many guilds that all give each other resources for free. Most hardcore guilds use 3rd party apps for voice communication anyway, so there's no communication penalty for splitting toons across multiple guild entities.

Out of curiosity, what's the design reason for preventing "uber guilds"? One of the strongest reasons for joining a guild in the first place is so you can get everything "for free": help, mats, crafted items, gold, etc.

Another thing you could do is require the construction of expensive structures to refine materials: want to make metal bars -> build a forge. Guilds could be given finite building space in which to construct these buildings. That would prevent a guild from being able to process all materials into usable form. This doesn't cover the different toons, different guilds "exploit" however.

-me


I'm not one for preventing uber guilds, but preventing an uber-guild from forming a stand-alone breach in the economy. If one guild controls all aspects needed to start full manufacturing can ruin an economy.

Note: Numbers pulled out of thin air

My opinion is this:

If we have 25-30 various resources that result in creating around 100 or so items then a normal guild would be able to manage 1-2 resources, and be able to manufacture maybe 5 items.

An Uber guild should be able to manage maybe 4-6 resources and manufacture maybe 15 items.


The Multi-guild/toon issue is part of the thing I'm trying to figure out. My solution, which isn't a popular one at all is to limit players to 1 toon/server/account. This limits the multi-toon to people who bother to have multiple accounts....which usually brings us back to uber guilds anyways...

I want to seperate the traders and business men from the adventures and create a symbiotic relationship.

Managing manufacture of a resource should "stress" a lesser guild, and managing much more than that should "stress" a larger guild.

I'm trying to figure out the ways to do that.




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I understand that you are looking for the most natural way to impose the anti-trust, but resource gathering industry naturally favors systems more like monopoly because ownership of the land and equipment makes it hard to get into the industry.


An obvious solution is to make it really easy to find a new mining site and for anyone to start a guild to mine, but that is not what you want.


One direction to think about this problem is to impose an incentive for people within the management of the guild to split a guild. This also prevents different guild masters from forming agreement outside the mechanics of the game.

One objective is to make players hate each other more at the management level. You can do this by introducing decisions that requires personal sacrifices and or personal investment. Also make room for the players to debate and argue what to invest on. When the people at the management level do not always agree on what the company should do or how resources should be allocated, you create the incentive for the company to split.

The bigger the guild, the more decisions and arguments the management circle faces. Only the players that can mentally handle this conflict can manage a super guild. Make the choices hard and there won't be any super guild.

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It seems like from the original post this is somewhat solved. What we want is for each guild to generally rely on resources which are at hand, and make sure that the resources "at hand" are only a small percentage of all resources in the game. The easiest natural way to handle this in my opinion is to make transportation of raw resources very difficult. Food products can grow moldy, minerals can rust, and the actual transportation devices (carts etc) can be prone to break if pushed too hard. It wont be practical for a single guild to be self sufficient if they are having to import product from distant locations at highly exorbant prices. If some of this cost goes back into the economy (paying transport companies/players, paying the producers of the raw goods, paying the other guilds in trade), then the uber guilds can be a benefit rather than a curse.

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I think Saluk has the right idea. Impliment a cost associated with the possesion and maintainence of the resources. The more resources you have, the greater the costs involved. Resource transportation and storage would be something to look into. You could tweak the costs so that guilds using a Just In Time business model would be the ones to prosper. These guilds would then be vulnerable to fluctuations in supply or demand but their ability to produce things in volume creates the incentive to become a powerful guild. Guilds dealing in smaller volumes would be less at the mercy of these extra costs.

Quote:
Exerpts from Wikipedia:

Inventory is seen as incurring costs, or waste, instead of adding value, contrary to traditional accounting. This does not mean to say that JIT is implemented without an awareness that removing inventory exposes pre-existing manufacturing issues. Under this way of working, businesses are encouraged to eliminate inventory that doesn’t compensate for manufacturing issues, and then to constantly improve processes so that less inventory can be kept.

JIT implicitly assumes a level of input price stability such that it is desirable to inventory inputs at today's prices. Where input prices are expected to rise storing inputs may be desirable.

JIT implicitly assumes that the quality of available inputs remains constant over time. If not firms may benefit from hoarding high quality inputs.

Karmarker (1989) highlights the importance of relatively stable demand which can help ensure efficient capital utilisation rates. Karmarker argues that without a significant stable component of demand, JIT becomes untenable in high capital cost production.

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The problem is not logistics.

Even if raw material is impossible to be transported across region, such a model does not prevent the guild masters of different regions and resources to form a coalition.



Scenario 1:

Suppose players A, B, C separately control the production of items X and Y in regions a, b, c, and items X, Y can only be used locally (so there is no reason to transport X).

The problem is this: what mechanism in the game prevents A, B, C from making an agreement to make Y a guild-member-only item, and sell only X to the public?



Scenario 2:

Suppose items P,Q,R are essential items, and player, D,E,F controls the complete path of manufacture process in regions d,e,f. What mechanism in the game prevents D,E,F from giving P,Q,R to only their guild-members, thus effectively kicking anyone out of the regions that do not belong to their guilds?


In the scenarios above, the cost of logistics is infinite, and the guild masters do not need to be the same player. In a setting where it is difficult for a new guild to enter the market, they could control the economy.

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I'm thinking that the logistics provide a point of entry for an adventurer (or perhaps just a random event) to support or interfere with a guild's or coalition of guilds' supply chain. Thus creating additional gameplay and creating a mechanism to disrupt powerful guilds without completly disabling their formation. It's less about increasing costs and more about creation of an element of risk and uncertainty for the large guild to deal with and the small guilds to exploit. As you suggest, Wai, that uncertainty and risk could be internal from the guild's management structure but it would then be dependant on the relatively small number of people within the guild. If the risk is generated due to exposure to the outside world then it should be easier to shake things up.

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If the transport routes receives random disturbance, statistically, the collection of setbacks received by independent guilds is the same as that received by a super guild. Therefore, natural or uniformly random setbacks do not deter the formation of super guild.

In fact, you would expect that if there are natural and random setbacks, the system would infact encourages the formation of super guilds, because super guilds can endure the setback from its diversification, while small guilds would starve to death.



On the other hand, if the disturbance are caused by players, super guilds could receive a disproportional number of setbacks through terrorism. However, this doesn't prevent the super guild from conquering the other guilds using the same tactics.



In general, if you can implement an investment system or upkeep system using personal resources, then you will prevent super guilds from forming. I don't know whether the game is RPG. If the game is RPG, you can implement a ManagementPoint/LeadershipPoint system, so that a game character must earn these LP himself and spend them himself to advance a guild. The restriction is that LP is not like money and can't be traded.


If it is an medieval RPG, you can make money an item (gold) that needs to be physically transported from one place to another place. When someone logs out, the guild gold remains physically in some guild hall in the game world. You can make it such that a guild master must entrust its subordinates to protect the gold when the guild master logs out. The leadership here is to play trust. A guild cannot get very large because when it is large, how many players can the guild master trust to protect the gold?

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