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Town-based game

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I was thinking about how to model a real life economy in a MMORPG (obviously not our current economy, that'd make for a terrible game.. or so I would think), and this is what I came up with.

First off, you make your character, and are shown the world map. Said map is divided into sections: Mountains, Tundra, Desert, Rain Forest, Tropics, yadda yadda. You can choose a town to live in whatever section you choose. Towns can just be a bunch of random people, or a guild-owned town. Maybe start the game with pre-made open towns with set population limits, and allow users to use some microtransaction currency to start up your own invite-only town for your guild, which cost more money to increase the population limit.

Each town will have a portal to its respective section's center, or gathering point, which will lead to monster maps, NPC towns, and such. It will require a timed ship that leaves at specified intervals to travel to other sections, encouraging users to stay in their home section.

Of course in your town, you have your own house, which costs resources to improve as well as some sort of money sink item. Of course bigger houses will cost rent, which will make for another money sink.

Living, say, in a desert will allow you to harvest sand easily, and from that make glass which people need for windows, glass armor (impractical, but looks nice), and will have fire/earth based monsters to fight. Elemental weapons will be created using some sort of crystal dropped by monsters, so you'll need to obtain maybe water crystals from somebody living on an island who fought beach monsters to make a water-based weapon for increased damage against the fire-based monsters in your section. Elemental crystals will have a decreased drop rate for outsiders, encouraging you to trade people from said island town to get your crystals.

You will only be able to harvest resources from inside your own town, making resources something else you have to trade for, if you want to have a nice house.
Also, there will be a limit on the amount of resources you can collect, so no player can just hoard loads of resources in a single day.

Any ideas on making this more air-tight? Ways to make money (and lose money), that will take lots of work to become rich, but only require playing for small amounts of time to pay rent on a small house?

Edit: Thinking about it, maybe rather than microtransactions for a guild town, having it cost a large amount of every resource. The same going for town expansion. This way it costs either one person a few weeks of harvesting resources to make a town, or everybody in the guild can pitch in a five-six days worth.

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