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Sayid Ahmed

Game Economics

25 posts in this topic

I posted this in another dev forum focused on web games, but I didn't get much discussion and I'm [i]really[/i] sad so I thought I'd post it here. I'm hoping I'm not being delusional here by trying to recreate these economic concepts into a simple PHP game; hopefully you guys can criticise and help me out in the planning of my economy and politics driven text-based game.


[font=arial,helvetica,sans-serif][size=2][size=3][color=#666666]Economics in games is something that fascinates me, including how much some game developers pay attention to it (EVE Online, Darkfall, Wurm Online) whilst others disregard it. I am trying to create a PHP game which has a strong element of economy, which will hopefully tie in with the military and political module I will create for it. Here are just some thoughts about in-game economy which I take into account when designing my game and maybe we can have a good discussion about it:[/color]

[b]Resource sources & sinks:[/b]

[color=#666666]Quite simply, if too much of a resource is being generated in a virtual world without there being anything to consume it, its value drops. If you have a game where every time you kill a sheep, it drops 3 coins of currency, then over time loads of currency is being easily pumped into the game and all your players are earning money, that currency is now no longer hard to earn, and where a chainmail helm would cost 300 coins it might as well sell for 3000. As a game dev, you could counteract this by making things cost more, such as travelling, skill training, levelling up etc etc, and by doing that you are adding function to that currency and giving it more value. This doesn't apply to currency only, but any resource really.[/color]

[b]Currency:[/b]

[color=#666666]The main function of currency is to have a medium where resources can be exchanged easily. An economy without currency would be a barter system, whereby if I was a farmer and I wanted a shovel, I would probably have to get a sack of grain, trade it in for a shovel, or if not, trade it in for some wood and iron and probably craft a shovel myself. Now this may sound like a bad thing in real life, but perhaps in your game you [/color][i]want[/i][color=#666666] there to be a barter system, that way you encourage players to be more reliant on your crafting system and develop a broader range of skills to make them more self-sufficient. If my history is correct, some areas of Northern Europe during the Dark Ages had a lack of precious metals, trade had collapsed and so society became dependent on sustenance through farming and mining and crafting; land had more value as a result, and so land grabbing happened more often. Whilst in the Middle East and Byzantine Empire, trade was still strong and so urban and sophisticated lifestyle could carry on. [/color]

[b]Trivial Resources:[/b]
[color=#666666]Some games seem to have this problem where they assign no distinct use to a resource, as a result it has little value, and the reward of conquering a country/player which has that resource is little. Supremacy1914 is an example where the resources are fairly balanced. In this game, all provinces have an energy requirement and that can be fulfilled by either coal, oil or gas. Coal can power railroads, oil can fuel tanks, but natural gas has no particular use. The demand for gas is then low, but the need to build industry and other resource boosters in natural gas-producing provinces is also low. As a result you'll find players selling their gas reserves at a similar price to oil and coal, but then never restocking them, making you wonder whether that resource is just trivial and not actually needed?[/color]

[b]Free Market vs Fixed Pricing[/b]
[color=#666666]Some games, mainly MMORPGs, have NPC vendors where resources or items are sold at fixed prices (or maybe proportional to your level/skill) and don't actually respond to economic demand. This has the problem of meaning the world's money sinks will remain quite constant and not adapt to any change in the money sources. In the sandbox world, like EVE Online, players dictate prices and are free to produce, trade and invest in resources or items in order to make money. [/color]

[color=#666666]Perhaps in your game you could follow a similar model; lets say in your game, iron is used to make weapons and armour. The net amount of iron consumed has increased over time, but the net amount of production of iron has dropped or stayed the same, or the big iron producers are stockpiling their iron or whatever. As a result, demand has increased and supply stayed constant, so the price in iron[/color][i] should[/i][color=#666666] increase. This would only happen if the iron producers recognise there is a growth in demand and can bump up their prices. If they do, those players who consume iron will have an increase in their costs, would have to compensate by selling other resources they have, or even better, go to war and grab some iron. This way you are using the economy as a driving force for certain modules of your game. As a dev, you can improve this process by giving your players trends and statistics to improve the chances of your players recognising where there are shortfalls or abundances in certain resources and items etc.[/color][/size][/size][/font]
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[quote name='Sayid Ahmed' timestamp='1332862462' post='4925699']
As a game dev, you could counteract this by making things cost more, such as travelling, skill training, levelling up etc etc, and by doing that you are adding function to that currency and giving it more value. This doesn't apply to currency only, but any resource really.
[/quote]
I don't think increasing the cost of needed things like travelling and skill training benefits the game economy, since new players will have a more difficult time when the bar is set higher the later they enter the game.

With an economy that benefits the rich and makes it difficult for new players to get into wont help the game grow and is likely not to work in the long run.

Also NPC's have a good use, they help maintaining the economy by adjusting the prices. If you use them right they can be a great tool to maintain the servers economy.
Like the NPC selling items to keep the prices down, and buying other items to keep the prices up.
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For me, the key to starting a good Forum discussion is questions.

You bring up a lot of really relevant info, and no doubt there are STACKS of helpful posts lurking around here to help form ideas in your head, help you brainstorm, etc.

However, at the moment, I see a wall of awesomely enthusiastic, but really complicated, text that I just don't know where to start with.
I'm thinking other people might be able to dive in and be a great help, but if you'd like more feedback, opinions, etc. etc. from me - then shoot some questions off.
(You could wait until other people have put in other points, and then load up a "round 2" that I might be able to jump in on ;D)

I'm a big fan of a good, in depth discussion; it's always mutually beneficial ;)

Wyrm.
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[quote name='hustlerinc' timestamp='1332873910' post='4925768']
I don't think increasing the cost of needed things like travelling and skill training benefits the game economy, since new players will have a more difficult time when the bar is set higher the later they enter the game.

With an economy that benefits the rich and makes it difficult for new players to get into wont help the game grow and is likely not to work in the long run.

Also NPC's have a good use, they help maintaining the economy by adjusting the prices. If you use them right they can be a great tool to maintain the servers economy.
Like the NPC selling items to keep the prices down, and buying other items to keep the prices up.
[/quote]

How does that work? If you match the money sinks with money sources then you won't get an accumulation of money in the system. You're assuming these changes are being made after the game has already started.

With regards to the NPC vendors, why would you want that to happen? You want the players who have rightfully invested in their resource extraction or production to profit greatly from it, and the ones who have lost out to react to it.

[quote name='Wyrmslayer' timestamp='1332875497' post='4925779']
For me, the key to starting a good Forum discussion is questions.

You bring up a lot of really relevant info, and no doubt there are STACKS of helpful posts lurking around here to help form ideas in your head, help you brainstorm, etc.

However, at the moment, I see a wall of awesomely enthusiastic, but really complicated, text that I just don't know where to start with.
I'm thinking other people might be able to dive in and be a great help, but if you'd like more feedback, opinions, etc. etc. from me - then shoot some questions off.
(You could wait until other people have put in other points, and then load up a "round 2" that I might be able to jump in on ;D)

I'm a big fan of a good, in depth discussion; it's always mutually beneficial ;)

Wyrm.
[/quote]

Alright then [img]http://public.gamedev.net//public/style_emoticons/default/smile.png[/img]

I'll start off with:

1) Do you feel having NPC vendors within a game is necessary or do they remove the benefit of the free market system?

2) Have you ever played a game, or felt like it would be better, to have no currency in an economy, and stick to a barter system, giving more incentive for your characters to be more self-sufficient and develop their crafting & mining/farming skills?
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Some more information about your game would be useful e.g.:

1. Is it single player or multi-player?
2. What is an actual resource. What sources are there and what sinks?
3. Is the value of the currency fixed? Are you modeling it based on something? How does it enter and exit the world?

Anyways, more specific questions would help get the discussion rolling.
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First of all Im not asking for specific advice about my game. just discussing for all MMOs. how the hell would this work in single player without NPCs?
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[quote name='Sayid Ahmed' timestamp='1332915170' post='4925894']
First of all Im not asking for specific advice about my game. just discussing for all MMOs. how the hell would this work in single player without NPCs?
[/quote]

I'm done with this discussion. Bye.
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[quote name='Sayid Ahmed' timestamp='1332885380' post='4925816']
I'll start off with:

1) Do you feel having NPC vendors within a game is necessary or do they remove the benefit of the free market system?[/quote]

They're certainly not necessary. A game can exist without them, but then relies heavily on active player input.
What do [i]you [/i]see as the benefits of a "free market system"? What about disadvantages?
To me, having NPC vendors gives you - as the developer - a control over the market. Whether their prices change, or stay constant, it gives you an opportunity to step in and change the economy if you don't like where it's going.
Without NPCs you have no control (short of making your own characters to try and force change), if things "go bad" - how are you going to recover the economy? Or do you rely on a bullet-proof system from day one?

[quote]2) Have you ever played a game, or felt like it would be better, to have no currency in an economy, and stick to a barter system, giving more incentive for your characters to be more self-sufficient and develop their crafting & mining/farming skills?
[/quote]

Loads... of board games... xD.
Sometimes a game just works without currency - especially if it "fits the lore".
However, there's a reason we invented currencies in the real world ;).

The no currency system could be amazing fun, but designing it and pulling off a "bullet-proof" implementation of it... a lot harder.
The basic system, as I see it: If I'm a farmer, I need tools, to make grain. That's it. The rest of the market is pretty much shut off to me. The tool-maker gets grain. How does the weaponsmith get food? I don't need weapons, so I'm not trading my grain to him. The tool-maker doesn't need weapons, so he's not trading his grain to him.
Maybe I'm looking at it too "basically", but the "answer" to the issue here is... add a currency ;).

[quote]If you match the money sinks with money sources then you won't get an accumulation of money in the system.[/quote]

You don't want an accumulation of money in the system. Or rather, you don't want an [i]excessive [/i]accumulation of money in the system.
If you have too much money flowing into the system, and not being sunk, the prices of everything go up and "prices" in general become redundant. You want a constant flow of money, through the players, not an accumulation.


Wyrm.
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[quote name='Sayid Ahmed' timestamp='1332885380' post='4925816']
How does that work? If you match the money sinks with money sources then you won't get an accumulation of money in the system. You're assuming these changes are being made after the game has already started.[/quote]
I don't assume anything, just answering your question. What do you mean by "money sinks"?
[quote name='Sayid Ahmed' timestamp='1332885380' post='4925816']
With regards to the NPC vendors, why would you want that to happen? You want the players who have rightfully invested in their resource extraction or production to profit greatly from it, and the ones who have lost out to react to it.
[/quote]
They will still profit from it, and if the demand is high enough players will buy and they wont have to sell to NPC.
However if the prices go down too much, having an NPC with fixed prices is a fallback, so the players wont have to sell too cheap and still earn good money.
And the NPC's could only sell common goods like copper etc, and only a certain amount per day/player to benefit the server.

The reason I got hooked on MMORPG's in the first place was the "living" economy, in my case tibia. If there is a certain amount of rare weapons they sink in prices, to stop them from sinking too much they implemented a travelling NPC, that bought these rare items, for good prices. This way people still earned money from an item that was in abundance on the server.

This doesn't mean everyone sell's to the NPC, since the player to player price is always higher than what the NPC gives, and this spawned a whole other unexpected trade.
Players started buying bulk, and selling to other players for profit. A real economy.
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[quote name='Wyrmslayer' timestamp='1332918704' post='4925905']
The no currency system could be amazing fun, but designing it and pulling off a "bullet-proof" implementation of it... a lot harder.
The basic system, as I see it: If I'm a farmer, I need tools, to make grain. That's it. The rest of the market is pretty much shut off to me. The tool-maker gets grain. How does the weaponsmith get food? I don't need weapons, so I'm not trading my grain to him. The tool-maker doesn't need weapons, so he's not trading his grain to him.
Maybe I'm looking at it too "basically", but the "answer" to the issue here is... add a currency ;).
[/quote]

The farmer needs a lot more than tools. He needs weapons to defend against wild animals and bandits, some sort of container to hold his grain, maintenance on his buildings, etc. There are some people he won't interact with that needs his grain like miners, but they can still get grain through the blacksmith. In such a system, you could see a merchant role emerge. His role would be to carry a large inventory of everything and provide goods that would be inaccessible normally, like a miner trading iron ore for bread. All a currency does is provide convenience. It is not required to run an economy.
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[quote name='Tiblanc' timestamp='1332940587' post='4925976']
The farmer needs a lot more than tools. He needs weapons to defend against wild animals and bandits, some sort of container to hold his grain, maintenance on his buildings, etc. There are some people he won't interact with that needs his grain like miners, but they can still get grain through the blacksmith. In such a system, you could see a merchant role emerge. His role would be to carry a large inventory of everything and provide goods that would be inaccessible normally, like a miner trading iron ore for bread. All a currency does is provide convenience. It is not required to run an economy.
[/quote]

Aaah, I see where you're coming from. I was definately looking at it too basically.
How would a player become a merchant to begin with? One resource would have to be supplied to him with which he could barter his services as merchant, in order to grow? This is not a role I would choose to take on within the game - too much risk, hard to start-up (I'm thinking it's a role that is often given to NPCs), but it certainly opens my eyes to how such a system could work.

And then your point "All a currency does is provide convenience." - I would say that [i]players want convenience[/i].
And so, short of any genuine reason not to have currency (a lore point, for example), it would be a smarter move to include it.


Wyrm.
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[quote name='loom_weaver' timestamp='1332918063' post='4925899']
I'm done with this discussion. Bye.
[/quote]

May your future errands grant you peace and gracefulness.

[quote name='Wyrmslayer' timestamp='1332918704' post='4925905']
They're certainly not necessary. A game can exist without them, but then relies heavily on active player input.
What do [i]you [/i]see as the benefits of a "free market system"? What about disadvantages?
To me, having NPC vendors gives you - as the developer - a control over the market. Whether their prices change, or stay constant, it gives you an opportunity to step in and change the economy if you don't like where it's going.
Without NPCs you have no control (short of making your own characters to try and force change), if things "go bad" - how are you going to recover the economy? Or do you rely on a bullet-proof system from day one?
[/quote]

I see the benefits of a free market system where resource production, conversion, creation (etc) is a driving force for the game. Greed lets players profit and want to grab more. There is an incentive for players to act based on supply and demand - e.g. the main oil producers are stockpiling too much oil and not supplying the world trade with enough, the big oil consumers go to war over it until equilibrium is re-achieved and then eventually another resource is up for grabs.

Actually, you may have control but this all depends on what the setting of the game is and how it works. An NPC is just another proxy for how you as a dev interact with the players in a virtual world. I know for my game, as a dev I will rebalance the economy by affecting how the natural resource generation works. For example, if there is an excess of coal being generated into the game due to whatever reasons, such as high demands have led to high supplies, players have misconceived the importance of coal, or maybe the algorithm in which new areas are being produced has just randomly created too many coal providers, then as a dev I can tweak the mechanic for generating new nations with new players, so that less coal is being created as a resource in new countries,and compensate with another useful resource, like gas or whatever.

Disadvantages? Yeah, you [i]need[/i] to have player input. You are relying on players to create both supply and demand for goods. This may be tricky, but pulling it off with the right incentives for players to take part in your game is the magic of creating a game, I feel.

I hope that makes sense.

[quote]

You don't want an accumulation of money in the system. Or rather, you don't want an [i]excessive [/i]accumulation of money in the system.
If you have too much money flowing into the system, and not being sunk, the prices of everything go up and "prices" in general become redundant. You want a constant flow of money, through the players, not an accumulation.


Wyrm.
[/quote]

Yes, agreed. I didn't mean to say it was desirable to get an accumulation of money btw.

[quote name='hustlerinc' timestamp='1332925437' post='4925931']
I don't assume anything, just answering your question. What do you mean by "money sinks"?
[/quote]


Actually, you said that it was unfair for new players who had less money than the rich ones, so yeah, you did make the assumption that this price raising would happen half-way through the game starting.

A money sink is the opposite of a money source. The same way you have a heat source and a heat sink.

A money sink would be anything that costs money really. Whether it's paying for items, travel, land, healing, bribing, whatever.

[quote name='hustlerinc' timestamp='1332925437' post='4925931']
They will still profit from it, and if the demand is high enough players will buy and they wont have to sell to NPC.
However if the prices go down too much, having an NPC with fixed prices is a fallback, so the players wont have to sell too cheap and still earn good money.
And the NPC's could only sell common goods like copper etc, and only a certain amount per day/player to benefit the server.
[/quote]

How does that work? Why would they be selling [i]above[/i] the NPC price in the first place? They would only be able to sell cheap, and even that's assuming they can gather that resource/item at a cheaper rate than the buying price from the NPC vendor - e.g. from the environment, loot, etc.

With regards to the common goods being supplied by NPCs, why yes that's actually pretty useful. Sometimes you need a quick currency exchange to something with more use. Plus, maybe that way you won't have crafters/merchants having monopoly of basic goods, but would have to specialise into more higher-value or niche goods. So yeah, good for pointing that out, I might use it.

[quote name='Wyrmslayer' timestamp='1332941324' post='4925980']
Aaah, I see where you're coming from. I was definately looking at it too basically.
How would a player become a merchant to begin with? One resource would have to be supplied to him with which he could barter his services as merchant, in order to grow? This is not a role I would choose to take on within the game - too much risk, hard to start-up (I'm thinking it's a role that is often given to NPCs), but it certainly opens my eyes to how such a system could work.

And then your point "All a currency does is provide convenience." - I would say that [i]players want convenience[/i].
And so, short of any genuine reason not to have currency (a lore point, for example), it would be a smarter move to include it.

Wyrm.
[/quote]

Yeah there are many ways to pull it off - that's your job to be creative. The example Tiblanc gave is something I'd agree with.

For merchants, it depends on the game, but essentially players/countries/factions will grow, produce more but also consume more. You can design the game so that everyone has an imbalance of what they produce and what they consume, forcing them to either trade or attack each other for useful resources. When one player recognises that they have something of value in abundance, which other players might need, they will offer it in return for currency or resources or service etc.
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[quote name='Sayid Ahmed' timestamp='1332950251' post='4926018']
Actually, you said that it was unfair for new players who had less money than the rich ones, so yeah, you did make the assumption that this price raising would happen half-way through the game starting.
[/quote]
Based on this statement yes:
[font=arial,helvetica,sans-serif][size=2][size=3][color=#666666]"As a game dev, you could counteract this by making things cost more, such as travelling, skill training, levelling up etc etc, and by doing that you are adding function to that currency and giving it more value. This doesn't apply to currency only, but any resource really.[/color][/size][/size][/font]"


[quote name='Sayid Ahmed' timestamp='1332950251' post='4926018']
How does that work? Why would they be selling [i]above[/i] the NPC price in the first place? They would only be able to sell cheap, and even that's assuming they can gather that resource/item at a cheaper rate than the buying price from the NPC vendor - e.g. from the environment, loot, etc.
[/quote]
You're misunderstanding me. Let me explain. If the NPC buys copper for 10 gold, the player will obviously sell it for atleast 11 gold to another player or he "can just go to the NPC and sell it" commonly used in tibia and other games.

On the other hand, if the NPC sells copper for 15 gold, the player can never sell it for more than 15 gold, because then the threats to go to the NPC comes from the buyer instead. Put a maximum cap per day on the amount of resource the NPC sells to each player and you have somewhat steady prices, but still a means for players to set their own prices above those of NPC.

But me personally I wouldn't play a purely resource based economy game. Because it makes it inconvinient, sure there might be a market for it, but it's a very niche market. And it will be extremely difficult to balance.

Coins is a means to put a price on items, the players manage this very good themselfs, You can still have a resource and accumulation based economy, just that the oil vendor wont have to give away too much oil for something of less worth. In a resource based economy players are forced to trade useless items just to get the full worth of their items, while coins is more measurable.

But if noone values these coins, they become useless, so it is still resource based. This is how economy works, and there is a good reason for it. Even in the stoneage they used pieces of rock to do this.
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[quote name='hustlerinc' timestamp='1332951671' post='4926027']
Based on this statement yes:
[font=arial,helvetica,sans-serif][size=2][size=3][color=#666666]"As a game dev, you could counteract this by making things cost more, such as travelling, skill training, levelling up etc etc, and by doing that you are adding function to that currency and giving it more value. This doesn't apply to currency only, but any resource really.[/color][/size][/size][/font]"
[/quote]

How does that imply anything?

[quote name='hustlerinc' timestamp='1332951671' post='4926027']
You're misunderstanding me. Let me explain. If the NPC buys copper for 10 gold, the player will obviously sell it for atleast 11 gold to another player or he "can just go to the NPC and sell it" commonly used in tibia and other games.

On the other hand, if the NPC sells copper for 15 gold, the player can never sell it for more than 15 gold, because then the threats to go to the NPC comes from the buyer instead. Put a maximum cap per day on the amount of resource the NPC sells to each player and you have somewhat steady prices, but still a means for players to set their own prices above those of NPC.
[/quote]

[i]How[/i] would they sell it for 11 gold? This doesn't make any sense. Why would a player pay for a big order at a rate of 11 gold and not a small order of 10 gold? Bulk orders should be cheaper if anything.

[quote name='hustlerinc' timestamp='1332951671' post='4926027']
But me personally I wouldn't play a purely resource based economy game. Because it makes it inconvinient, sure there might be a market for it, but it's a very niche market. And it will be extremely difficult to balance.
[/quote]

EVE Online?

[quote name='hustlerinc' timestamp='1332951671' post='4926027']
Coins is a means to put a price on items, the players manage this very good themselfs, You can still have a resource and accumulation based economy, just that the oil vendor wont have to give away too much oil for something of less worth. In a resource based economy players are forced to trade useless items just to get the full worth of their items, while coins is more measurable.

But if noone values these coins, they become useless, so it is still resource based. This is how economy works, and there is a good reason for it. Even in the stoneage they used pieces of rock to do this.
[/quote]

No, coins are a means to exchange resources easily. They don't necessarily have to reflect the true value of what is being sold.

Why would the oil vendor give away something of [i]less[/i] worth? They'd be losing money.

Why the hell would you have useless items in your game anyway? Look at the 3rd heading in my OP. And if coins supposedly reflect the value of those 'useless items', how in the hell does that make them more measurable than the items themselves?

Players need to acquire goods for whatever reason, be it war, crafting or whatever the endgame scenario is for the game. Currency can be introduced in order to allow for these goods to be exchanged more easily than bartering. Economy is good when resources are being extracted, they are crafted/converted and value is added to them, and they are being supplied to those people who demand them, in return providing other people with the resources and items that they need. Some provinces have an abundance of some materials and the other provinces have other materials. When one province gets hold of too much value of materials, war and theft can occur in order to break the imbalance. Money flows from pocket to pocket and the world is being productive and destructive.
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[quote name='Sayid Ahmed' timestamp='1332954018' post='4926047']
[i]How[/i] would they sell it for 11 gold? This doesn't make any sense. Why would a player pay for a big order at a rate of 11 gold and not a small order of 10 gold? Bulk orders should be cheaper if anything.
[/quote]
It's obvious, unless the player pays what the seller wants, the seller simply goes to an NPC. And you are the one to mention bulk, i am comparing same amount whatever the price. bulk of 10 could be 100 gold and 105 gold, it would be retarded to sell for less than what the NPC offers wouldn't it?

[quote name='Sayid Ahmed' timestamp='1332954018' post='4926047']
Why would the oil vendor give away something of [i]less[/i] worth? They'd be losing money.

Why the hell would you have useless items in your game anyway? Look at the 3rd heading in my OP. And if coins supposedly reflect the value of those 'useless items', how in the hell does that make them more measurable than the items themselves?
[/quote]
Misunderstanding me again, the oil vendor might not need 14 shovels from the shovel producer just to meet the worth of HIS oil, the oilvendor doesn't give extra items to get rid of the oil obviously that would be retarded. But every item is not useful to every player, thats why economy was introduced in the first place, the first account of currency is from 2000 B.C. Do the math, why would you want to go backwards in your game?
[quote name='Sayid Ahmed' timestamp='1332954018' post='4926047']
Players need to acquire goods for whatever reason, be it war, crafting or whatever the endgame scenario is for the game. Currency can be introduced in order to allow for these goods to be exchanged more easily than bartering. Economy is good when resources are being extracted, they are crafted/converted and value is added to them, and they are being supplied to those people who demand them, in return providing other people with the resources and items that they need. Some provinces have an abundance of some materials and the other provinces have other materials. When one province gets hold of too much value of materials, war and theft can occur in order to break the imbalance. Money flows from pocket to pocket and the world is being productive and destructive.
[/quote]
I think the contrary will happen, players will have a difficult time getting rid of the accumulated goods without a general currency, and a economy like this is very much dependant of the community, how exactly will that community grow? dont expect to get full servers and flowing exchange in the beginning.

Anyway I don't know if you misunderstand me on purpose or are too in love with your idea to understand my points. I'm not trying to change your opinion, my last posts have been trying to explain my first post.

Let me know how successful your economy is once the game is released.
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[quote name='hustlerinc' timestamp='1332955237' post='4926057']
It's obvious, unless the player pays what the seller wants, the seller simply goes to an NPC. And you are the one to mention bulk, i am comparing same amount whatever the price. bulk of 10 could be 100 gold and 105 gold, it would be retarded to sell for less than what the NPC offers wouldn't it?[/quote]

No I am sorry it is not obvious. Why would you even bother going to a player vendor to buy copper when you can buy copper from the NPC, unless like I originally said, the vendor can get hold of it even cheaper than the NPC rate, e.g. theft, loot, etc

[quote name='Sayid Ahmed' timestamp='1332954018' post='4926047']
Why would the oil vendor give away something of [i]less[/i] worth? They'd be losing money.

Misunderstanding me again, the oil vendor might not need 14 shovels from the shovel producer just to meet the worth of HIS oil, the oilvendor doesn't give extra items to get rid of the oil obviously that would be retarded. But every item is not useful to every player, thats why economy was introduced in the first place, the first account of currency is from 2000 B.C. Do the math, why would you want to go backwards in your game?
[/quote]

Of course I am going to misunderstand you if you make no sense. Why would you even put non-useful items into the game? If however, you mean, one resource is not useful from the perspective of the oil vendor, then he's not going to trade oil for that resource and the value of that resource is now reduced. Why would I want to go backwards? Sorry, but WTF does that even mean?


[quote name='Sayid Ahmed' timestamp='1332954018' post='4926047']
I think the contrary will happen, players will have a difficult time getting rid of the accumulated goods without a general currency, and a economy like this is very much dependant of the community, how exactly will that community grow? dont expect to get full servers and flowing exchange in the beginning.

Anyway I don't know if you misunderstand me on purpose or are too in love with your idea to understand my points. I'm not trying to change your opinion, my last posts have been trying to explain my first post.

Let me know how successful your economy is once the game is released.
[/quote]

LOL what? Why does it suddenly have to be difficult if every player needs to either trade or fight in this game? How will that community grow? Ever heard of a mechanism known as advertising or marketing, perhaps?

Don't expect to get full servers in the beginning? No, I never said I would. And why would it have to be [i]full [/i]in order to function?

Too in love with my idea? What idea? When did I even propose my game idea here? I am just summarising real life economics in a basic way that can be implemented into a game! You, however, are talking crap that makes no sense to me whatsoever. Unless someone else could please clarify your points in a manner in which I am capable to comprehend, other than the idea of NPC for basic goods, everything you've said seems illogical to me.

And when did I ever say I will make a successful game? I'm merely having a discussion. Whether my ideas are brilliant or absolutely stupid doesn't matter because it is the implementation of making a game in the final run that matters - we are not discussing that part of the process.

You are trying to make me sound pretentious when I'm really not. [img]http://public.gamedev.net//public/style_emoticons/default/dry.png[/img]
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You might give some consideration to making money (coin) a focussed resource as well. One way in which I could see this utilised:

Each country produces it's own coinage - inflation/deflation becomes the control mechanism on its purchasing power. Utilising precious metal resources to produce the coins would open up another use for the metals as well as defining a limit on how many coins could be produced. Not to mention the creation of a monetary exchange system. Backing the coin with an actual value i.e. the gold standard would tie up precious metals kept as backing for the coins value or alternatively the coin itself is made of gold..in which case if gold suddenly became very valuable would melting down the coins suddenly be viable and correspondingly forcing an increase in bartering as the amount of coin diminishes.
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[quote name='Sayid Ahmed' timestamp='1332956193' post='4926063']
Same stuff as previous quotes.
[/quote]
I will make one last try to explain it as I would explain to my 4 year old little brother.

1) NPC both BUYS and SELLS copper.
2) BUYING price = 10 gold for 1 piece of copper.
3) SELLING price = 15 gold for 1 peice of copper.

This makes it useful for players with alot of copper, when the demand is low and supply is high, to STILL MAKE SOME PROFIT by selling to NPC. Mkay?
Since the NPC BUYS copper for 10 gold a piece, the player SELLING the copper wouldnt SELL for LESS than 10 gold to another player right?
Say he gets offered 9 gold from another player, this means he would lose 1 gold by selling to the player instead of going to the NPC.

Benefits: Keeps a steady lowest price for goods once they are too available, and still makes good profit for players who wants to get rid of these quick.
Call it a parachute for too much inflation.

On the other hand, the player might want to try his chances and make more profit, he might not need the money right away, so he waits until a player that has reached his daily cap of copper from the NPC (remember 15 gold per copper bar) so the player SELLING this copper can make a bigger profit, if he is patient.

This benefits both kinds of players, patient and impatient. While providing a means of controlling the economy from spinning out of control.

Next we will cover the NPC SELLING copper. We agreed on 15 gold right?
"So why does he sell it more expensive than he buys it?" you might ask.

You see my friend that is to keep a margin in between where you as a developer see the currency fit considering the mechanics you introduced in the game. (accumulation rate etc).

But remember there is a maximum amount of copper available from the NPC per player and day.

Example: Player 1 needs 5 copper bars, NPC only allows him to buy 1 each day.
This leaves our player with 2 choices, be patient and economic, and wait for five days buying 1 bar of copper every day, summing up to 5 days multiplyed by 15 gold = 75 gold.

On the other hand he could just buy 4 from another player. at the price of lets say 20 gold for the ease of multiplications. this has lost our player 20 gold, but he gained 4 days in waiting time choosing to buy from another player.
He could also wait until a player sells his copper bars for less than the npc SELL them for (not BUYS try not to mix them up this time). Which could be 14 gold.
This way BOTH players benefits from 1 single transaction, where the SELLER SELLS for MORE than he would to the NPC.
And the BUYER BUYS for LESS than he would from NPC.

Benefits of the merchant NPC: Keep a roof on the prices.

In this 1 transaction, the real resource of value is the copper. But the gold helps the players buy this copper.
What if the buyer only had oil, a crate of oil might be worth 200 copper bars. and he only needs 5. He might not want 195 copper bars lying around.
That is why currency is good. This is why we have used it for 4 thousand years.

If you don't get it this time I give up.
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[quote name='Stormynature' timestamp='1332958401' post='4926075']
You might give some consideration to making money (coin) a focussed resource as well. One way in which I could see this utilised:

Each country produces it's own coinage - inflation/deflation becomes the control mechanism on its purchasing power. Utilising precious metal resources to produce the coins would open up another use for the metals as well as defining a limit on how many coins could be produced. Not to mention the creation of a monetary exchange system. Backing the coin with an actual value i.e. the gold standard would tie up precious metals kept as backing for the coins value or alternatively the coin itself is made of gold..in which case if gold suddenly became very valuable would melting down the coins suddenly be viable and correspondingly forcing an increase in bartering as the amount of coin diminishes.
[/quote]

That definitely sounds good mate, might be hard to implement in my game but perhaps it can give a better function for the 'precious metal' resource in mine. i don't know if this has been used elsewhere. Perhaps it would be easier to have one universal currency which could have its uses in things which other resources do not, like paying wages or funding research or skills. Nonetheless I'll take what you said into account.


[quote name='hustlerinc' timestamp='1332958546' post='4926076']
In this 1 transaction, the real resource of value is the copper. But the gold helps the players buy this copper.
What if the buyer only had oil, a crate of oil might be worth 200 copper bars. and he only needs 5. He might not want 195 copper bars lying around.
That is why currency is good. This is why we have used it for 4 thousand years.

If you don't get it this time I give up.
[/quote]

As I said for about the 5th time, currency is great for exchanging goods.

Well lets put this bluntly, hustlerinc. It is impossible for the player to profit [i]by selling to the NPC[/i] without finding a cheaper alternative, such as loot or theft or by-product of resource extraction. And what did I say before? Almost exactly that.

In the case you have explained, the player [i]must sell to another player[/i] who does not have the benefit of an NPC. And what did I say before? You cannot have a good economy with just NPCs, you have to have some free market for players to make profit and here we are - a situation where the NPC cannot provide the excess of goods to the player's demand and thus another player must provide this on a private trade.

And why does this mechanic control inflation? - because you're introducing a reliable exchange to convert a currency into a more hard or functional asset or service within in the game. Effectively introducing a money sink. And I wonder I said at the start when I introduced this topic?

And this other stuff about resources must be useless to someone? Well, as a dev you have to design this problem out of the game. As I said...

I hope we are all getting the picture now.
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In EVE Online, buying/selling goods is done by putting up buy orders and sell orders, and these are located at specific station (the goods will stay at the same station). Personally I find this a bit to much. After loosing a ship, I spent simply to long time buying a new ship and with a decent fitting, where the parts were not bought at ridicilous prices.

An npc vendor/market offers simplicity. You buy and sell everything instantly and one item has one price. In mmorpg games, like WOW, you do have auction houses, but I find these very impractical. Just as in EVE, they're very time consuming. Note that for items that are very rare and expensive, direct player transactions or auction house is probably the best.

In games like WOW, there are npc items, and player made or player looted items. This distinction is the problem.
NPC vendors have unlimited supplies of their own type of items, that are equivalent to player found/crafted items. The items they sell have a constant price, and they will buy unwanted items the player has for a constant fee aswell.
Rather than have NPC vendors offer an alternative to other items, they should sell the types of items players can craft or find. NPC vendors should have a supply of these items, and lower supply means higher prices, and vice versa.

Note that I don't propose that every npc vendor should have their own supply. Supply could be global, or it could be regional. If supply is calculated regionally, then selling to an npc vendor in a given region, will not increase the price of that item in another region.

In Rift, NPC vendors would not sell materials used for crafting (just a few types). I had to use the auction house, or collect it myself. The Auction house barely had any, where most was ridicilously price, or where I would have to wait a long time to get the goods. Rather than this detachment between player run economy, and npc run economy they should be mixed.

Summary:
Players can sell goods to npc vendors, which will increase supply of that good (globally or in a region), which will reduce prices.
Players can buy goods from an npc vendor, which will decrease supply of that good, and this will increase prices.
NPC vendors should sell most types of goods available.

Additionaly, the game should be made so that every item sold by a vendor, must be found or crafted by players.
I do think this is a good solution for mmorpgs, and in mmort's this could be a marketplace
(only individual supply per marketplace, compared to regional/global supply for npc vendor).
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[quote name='ImmoralAtheist' timestamp='1333063577' post='4926482']
Summary:
Players can sell goods to npc vendors, which will increase supply of that good (globally or in a region), which will reduce prices.
Players can buy goods from an npc vendor, which will decrease supply of that good, and this will increase prices.
NPC vendors should sell most types of goods available.
[/quote]
I have to say I love this idea. Is there any game using this?
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[quote name='hustlerinc' timestamp='1333063998' post='4926485']
[quote name='ImmoralAtheist' timestamp='1333063577' post='4926482']
Summary:
Players can sell goods to npc vendors, which will increase supply of that good (globally or in a region), which will reduce prices.
Players can buy goods from an npc vendor, which will decrease supply of that good, and this will increase prices.
NPC vendors should sell most types of goods available.
[/quote]
I have to say I love this idea. Is there any game using this?
[/quote]

Guild Wars has traders, like material traders. Materials are needed to craft items. As far as I know, traders in guild wars will only deal in types of items that are found. They will not deal in items that are player crafted. I would like to see the armor merchant, actually sell the types of armors a player can craft.

In Rift, armors I could craft was very limited. The level difference between two types of a given item, would be about 5-10 levels apart. Armor merchants had their own armor pieces, because naturally crafting would be useless if they sold what players could craft.
I say, let armor merchants sell the armor pieces that player crafters sell to npc vendors.
This also applies to other items. Not just armors.
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An NPC only providing basic materials for crafting is almost the same as the players gathering basic materials through mining/farming/extraction for crafting. Just one has a different label and interface to the other. You're pumping resources into the system at the player's request, at some cost, albeit maybe a small cost, whether it's money or time or inconvenience. You could have a regional bias in the resource extraction, but like you say, you could also regionalise the supply chain of the NPC vendors, depending on the game. But from a net wealth balance it's exactly the same (value in - value out = accumulation).

[quote name='ImmoralAtheist' timestamp='1333063577' post='4926482']
Summary:
Players can sell goods to npc vendors, which will increase supply of that good (globally or in a region), which will reduce prices.
Players can buy goods from an npc vendor, which will decrease supply of that good, and this will increase prices.
NPC vendors should sell most types of goods available.

Additionaly, the game should be made so that every item sold by a vendor, must be found or crafted by players.
I do think this is a good solution for mmorpgs, and in mmort's this could be a marketplace
(only individual supply per marketplace, compared to regional/global supply for npc vendor).
[/quote]

Mortal Online is planning to implement a broker system; an NPC waits in town and you make them trade your goods to buyers, but with a transactional fee. That way your physical presence isn't required for trade and it sinks some of the money in the game.

I believe that's the same as what you're describing?

[quote name='ImmoralAtheist' timestamp='1333063577' post='4926482']
In EVE Online, buying/selling goods is done by putting up buy orders and sell orders, and these are located at specific station (the goods will stay at the same station). Personally I find this a bit to much. After loosing a ship, I spent simply to long time buying a new ship and with a decent fitting, where the parts were not bought at ridicilous prices.

An npc vendor/market offers simplicity. You buy and sell everything instantly and one item has one price. In mmorpg games, like WOW, you do have auction houses, but I find these very impractical. Just as in EVE, they're very time consuming. Note that for items that are very rare and expensive, direct player transactions or auction house is probably the best.
[/quote]

What you need to remember is that convenience isn't always great; well ok, it is good for most games, but for an economy-driven game it isn't. Sometimes you want to subtly guide your players to play one way (the barter system is an example of a harsh option). Eve Online works because its players are greedy and want to destroy each other. They think that way because they are in control of who makes profit and who suffers. Stability may be great in the real world, but in the virtual world you want boom and bust of different players/guilds at different times. Again, this all goes back to what is the endgame - I'm biasing towards an economy-driven game with lots of PvP, guild cities and all that kind of crap. A game that focuses on dungeon raids, social immersion, skill grinding, PvE etc, would probably want a very predictable, controllable and stable economy. If I was playing WoW, or Rift or any of the latter types, I wouldn't want to spend months leveling up a top character only to find that the type of weapons I've skilled up in have spiraled into high cost and suddenly my character is rendered crap because of the irresponsibility of the wider virtual society.

Oh and before someone smites me, I'm not saying economic-driven PvP is the best idea in the world! It's just [i]an[/i] idea of a good MMO and it has been executed in some games.
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[quote name='Sayid Ahmed' timestamp='1333070483' post='4926511']
An NPC only providing basic materials for crafting is almost the same as the players gathering basic materials through mining/farming/extraction for crafting. Just one has a different label and interface to the other. You're pumping resources into the system at the player's request, at some cost, albeit maybe a small cost, whether it's money or time or inconvenience. You could have a regional bias in the resource extraction, but like you say, you could also regionalise the supply chain of the NPC vendors, depending on the game. But from a net wealth balance it's exactly the same (value in - value out = accumulation).
[/quote]
Not certain what you understood from my post, but I did say that NPC vendors would not sell their own basic materials (my proposal). Instead of players directly selling to one another, players will sell materials to a npc vendor. All npc vendors in that region can now sell this item to another player. Vendors are not pumping resources into the system. Goods and money flows through them, where they take a portion of the money. Ofcourse measures must be taken to avoid players from profiting by buying and selling in large quantities very fast.

[quote name='Sayid Ahmed' timestamp='1333070483' post='4926511']
Mortal Online is planning to implement a broker system; an NPC waits in town and you make them trade your goods to buyers, but with a transactional fee. That way your physical presence isn't required for trade and it sinks some of the money in the game.

I believe that's the same as what you're describing?
[/quote]
From what I've understood, you can place items at a broker as WTS offers. Another player can go to that broker and buy a WTS offers some other player has set up with that broker. This is equal to market at a station in EVE. However, in EVE you can also place WTB offers.
In other words you don't sell items to the broker. You are dependent on another player buying your item from that broker to recieve money.

In what I described, you would sell and buy items directly from a vendor, and one type of item would have a single price (not several offers with variour prices).


[quote name='Sayid Ahmed' timestamp='1333070483' post='4926511']
What you need to remember is that convenience isn't always great; well ok, it is good for most games, but for an economy-driven game it isn't. Sometimes you want to subtly guide your players to play one way (the barter system is an example of a harsh option). Eve Online works because its players are greedy and want to destroy each other. They think that way because they are in control of who makes profit and who suffers. Stability may be great in the real world, but in the virtual world you want boom and bust of different players/guilds at different times. Again, this all goes back to what is the endgame - I'm biasing towards an economy-driven game with lots of PvP, guild cities and all that kind of crap.[/quote]
Is EVE an economy-driven game? I'd say economy is an important aspect of it. What I found to be the most important aspect about the economy in EVE, was that every item was found or crafted by players. They could replace the WTB and WTS system with the market buying and selling directly and it would not take away the players role in actually manufacturing/finding the items.

[quote name='Sayid Ahmed' timestamp='1333070483' post='4926511']
A game that focuses on dungeon raids, social immersion, skill grinding, PvE etc, would probably want a very predictable, controllable and stable economy. If I was playing WoW, or Rift or any of the latter types, I wouldn't want to spend months leveling up a top character only to find that the type of weapons I've skilled up in have spiraled into high cost and suddenly my character is rendered crap because of the irresponsibility of the wider virtual society.[/quote]
I certainly did not find the crafting aspect very enjoyable in Rift. In what I described crafters would sell items to npc vendors, and npc vendors could those items to consumers. This would also mean you could move npc armor pieces to craftable types of pieces, so crafters would have a larger amounts of items they could craft.
I'd definitely find this more enjoyable, than it's current state, where sold armor pieces are converted into currency and that's that.

Non special weapons might vary in price, but it's unlikey you couldn't afford them. Given they require the same materials to craft as other weapon types, this scenario is not realistic. Crafters would prefer to craft this weapon type due to higher prices, and by that balancing supply and price.
If you're looking for epic equivalent items though, that should rather be sold through auction house (which I did say). However, it is definitely not more in favor of stability, but that's how it currently is in these games.

I find it curious that you seem to want as little player impacted economy as possible in a regular mmorpg, while you're eager to create an economic focused game.

[quote name='Sayid Ahmed' timestamp='1333070483' post='4926511']
Oh and before someone smites me, I'm not saying economic-driven PvP is the best idea in the world! It's just [i]an[/i] idea of a good MMO and it has been executed in some games.
[/quote]
I did not notice you were talking about a economic-driven game. Having WTB and WTS offers adds more complexity than buying from and selling to merchants with dynamic prices. You might still ask how important this specific aspect is though. There are other ways to make players more involved in the economy.
Players Crafting and finding the items available for purchase is definitely important.
You also have the mechanics behind extracting natural resources. I'd want to see something more interesting than EVE's lowsec mining. This extraction of resources is where there's true potential for economic driven pvp.
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