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AngleWyrm

Monster Drops & Game Economy

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Wasn't really planning on punishment/encouragement; what got me thinking undead characters was a scenario where the player isn't around and the AI plays for him. But I like the safe zone parking idea better. Calling a toon that lost it's player 'undead' just made sense at the time.

Another thing about monster drops: They could be inverted. Instead of creating an encounter with a monster, and having it drop stuff, the encounter would be with stuff and it's owner. The monster would be randomly generated, with a level appropriate to the item(s) at the encounter. Might even make it easier to code monster encounters that use the items, instead of randomly generating a snake with a sword, or a bird with a shield.

An interesting byproduct of that would be that common low-level stuff breeds common monsters, and as the treasure pool runs low so do the random monster encounters.

Unless players get killed by monsters, then the stuff they are carrying goes to the pool, allowing more encounters. Which is sort of Edtharen's gambling idea; the monster and the player bring stuff to combat -- winner takes all (unless running away works).

[Edited by - AngleWyrm on May 24, 2008 5:25:16 PM]

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The Idea you have is good, but as the other guy said it would be very bad for the new players that enter the game. If the old people only get the sword it is very unfair. Plus, some people cant get enough money for these things,it is a cycle and it is their fault, but if you really think about it the process of the +5 flame of death blah blah blah sword will only make the new players to the game quit, and some of the old ones who just cant seem to get enough money.

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Yeah, haven't quite got that one figured yet.

A high mortality rate seems to be an appropriate answer to overpopulation/starvation. But wouldn't the big dawgs be the ones to survive?

Also, if there's only so much stuff a toon can carry, then it's trade up. So a character basically works their way up the food chain, getting better equipment. The really odd thing about that though, would be that the previously mentioned Big Dawgs might defend themselves by killing several sleightly lower level critters, and hoarding the tools that could hurt them.

[Edited by - AngleWyrm on May 24, 2008 6:58:57 PM]

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You can also factor in crafting. While you may not allow players to make their own items, someone at some time had to make that flaming sword of death +5. While uniques should remain unique, mundane weapons shouldn't have a limit, even if this may cause inflation. The more difficult to make, the slower the production rate. To the point that a powerful, difficult item like the aforementioned sword might spawn a new one once every 3-4 months. Also tie it into demand; item production limited by the number of new customers.

You can have each item exist within a value class.

It still introduces inflation to a degree, but slows it tremendously. And new players aren't screwed by their virtue of being new. To eliminate that effect, add in item wear. Only unique artifacts don't wear out.

There should be a cut off point that a characters swag (junk not equipped or on their person at least) should be pushed back into the game economy. Never gold or uniques, or equipped/carried items. Be up front about it. It'll still piss off players, but they can't complain much if it's part of the user agreement.

If you close off the economy, then you have to close off the rate of growth. Which isn't very bright, given that the in-game population growth rate needs to be high for you to pay the bills! I don't think there is any real easy way to check the inflation inherent in any MMORPG world.

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Hey I have an idea, why not make a game that's not based on getting better gear?
How about making a game based on real skill and tactic instead of gear.
Like, the better player is not the one with the best gear and the highest level, but the one that is actually more skilled and more brilliant.

Wouldn't that solve your problem of "closed economy means I can't get cool gear".

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After reading all this, I remembered of Ultima Online several times...

First: At the very start, Ultima Online was a closed economy, but they got a HUGE problem...

As much of you know, RPG Players LOVE to gather the maximum junk that they can... Suddenly on the servers sheeps stopped spawning... Why? They found several players that had about 100.000 clothes on their homes...

Then mining started to fail...

The staff found people hoarding several weapons, even those that they could not use or that were useless (like a player that had about 1000 basic stupid noob knifes...)

They dropped this system...

Some time ago, they made the "unique itens" thing, where unique itens were rare, and lasted long, while normal itens were common and weared with the time...

Result: noone wants to be blacksmith anymore (because they itens are "useless" near the unique ones), and even with its slow spawning rates, the unique itens do not wear, this mean that soon every player got at least one unique item... In the end the economy started to run around the unique itens that were traded like the common itens...

They tried to solve the situation somewhat be allowed blacksmiths to craft unique itens too (Altough of course, this is insanely hard...), but again, the players done something unexpected: several of them started to grind until they could spam unique itens, the result is now that ALL gear is undervaluated and the economy is screwed :/

Once I noticed that many players doing the "chanpion spawns" (a boss) just done t for the sake of doing, many just killed the boss (rather easily) and just threw away the reward, plainly because the reward is useless... (with the reward you can buy a big house in the game, but everyone already has a big house... currently the only thing that are valuable in the game is land, because since everyone has a house, land is lacking... I think that Linden Labs and their Second Life learned something from that :P)

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About the Abandoned Character Idea:
It really is an interesting idea and I haven't seen it in any of the games I've played yet. I think that punishing (not in the sense that you have done something wrong, btw) or giving players a reason to stay on the game that is a much more profitable reason than not playing that game besides being an inactive character such as you've said, could potentially be an ingredient for making the game much more addictive, but it could also be a something that turns them off as well.

About Inflation:
The thing about the economy of MMOs is that currency & resources comes from the monster spawns themselves (gold drops or the selling of its butchered body parts), as well as the regular resource spawns (such as trees or mines, if applicable), to which we all know both spawn at a constant rate and quite rapidly. If one is asking how to represent the economy of MMOs so to make it perhaps a bit more based on reality, then one is probably also asking in essence, how to make the monster spawns more based on reality as well. I think one of the ways to implement an economy based more on reality is to make it so that the rate of monster spawning is proportional to the number of characters that are in a server - if there is a decrease in characters joined/created on a server, monsters/plants would have more cases of "infertility" in their spawning, and if there is an increase, monsters/plants would be more frisky, spawn more plentiful. So, rather than have the world's resources spawn at a constant rate like what we have in most MMOs right now, or even have the world's resources be a constant number like what EVE did before they changed the idea (to which didn't account for the factor of character-creation growth), you would have the world's resources-to-characters actual ratio be a constant number. So this idea would create the illusion of a limited world, which takes into account of the players' own character "spawn" rate.

A limited world sort of handles itself in that things that have been harvested too many times will experience a decrease in value (law of supply & demand). So if you were to implement an illusionary limited world, in this you could also implement some sort of dynamic monster-value system that has its worth (drops & stuff) be dependent on its population. So when a type of monster has been harvested too many times and its population begins to dwindle (rate of players harvesting them > rate of their own growth/spawning), the price/worth on them might become cheaper in the market and thus might motivate players to stay away from them and hack at other newer and untapped monsters/resources. So it sort of balances out in that the monsters will then grow back, the products that it dropped become rare again, and players will be more motivated to go after them again.

This leads to the question of what to make the ratio constant as? This is sort of like asking how big do you want your world to be, how dense do you want the monsters' populations to be on your world, how often do you want the players to return to homebase/vendor from hunting (on average), how long do you want the players to hunt in a particular area (on average), what is X item's default cost, all at once.

You could also have it so that certain monster types spawn less rapidly than others and thus have much more value to them (making them drop much more gold/have parts that are much more rare) which could apply to bosses or mini-bosses. You could also have certain monster types spawn more often than the ratio constant, to which would be like rabbits, plentiful, common, and lower in value because of that.

Now I have no clue what would actually happen if this were to be implemented in a MMO.

[Edited by - Tangireon on May 24, 2008 10:41:37 PM]

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Quote:
I have a counter question to this: Is it fair to the rest of the people playing that they're denied access to valuable/limited game assets?

No it is not, but that is not how the current system is. If it si not fair to punish players for not playing and it is not fair to deny access to resources, then the system must not punish players for not playing and not deny them aceess to resources.

If you are designing your system to be fair, then if it has either (or both) of these then it can't be considdered fair.

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