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Plages to save the World's economy

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I was asking in a previous thread the way items should work to please most users in a MMO, and so it seems the best way is to fullfil the consumerist desires of gamers, that hate to wait and to share, by constantly bringing new items into this World. That's not a problem to implement in the game (it could rain hamburgers), but the economy will be punished with a horrible ever-increasing inflation.

Searching these forums and reading several topics on how to devise a healthy economy, I found out that the most basic concepts in a MMO's economy are the money faucet and the money sink. That means in order to allow the game self-regulate there must be a signal between faucet and sink. As players open the faucet, the game should activate a mechanism that opens the sink's hole wider to deflate the economy.

Then I recalled watching a documentary about the Black Death, specifically this segment is very interesting:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=TczFkRnBto8#t=179s

But of course the game can't kill its most valuable asset, players. Instead plages will target items. As players harvest raw materials, trade or produce artifacts, and loot, their inventories will randomly harbor these "bugs" that devour tangible values of certain nature. For example, moths could swallow fabrics, termites will eat wooden objects, and corrosion will make metals (and maybe even gold coins, thru alchemic corrosion) to disappear from the World. Basically in my design items will have infinite lifespan, as long as they aren't destroyed by a pest.


I think this is also a good way to keep players from hoarding insane amounts of artifacts. There may be no limit to what you can store or the weight you can carry in your inventory. But if you own a huge stack of trash, it's pretty possible that bugs are happily living and reproducing in the heart of that heap. Since most plages will be always present, players could produce or buy remedies. These will be use-once items that remove one sample of a pest at a time, and the effectivity will be divided by the size of the inventory, and is reduced in time. In example, each rat eats only a portion of poison, and you will need more portions to put in all their entrances, but each will spoil eventually and must be replaced.

Finally I guess the variety in plages and the World's dynamics will also reduce the chances of over-production of "pesticides". Hope "mothballs" won't be the favorite item on top of the "mega-sword of all might".

So what do you people think of this mechanic? Thanks in advance for your comments!

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As a player I don't think I would much like a random outbreak of "pests" to devour the whole of my collection.

Gear that breaks and methods of "donating" materials/items/weapons/etc that give the players the option to get rid of stuff would be a good start.

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I think "soulbind on equip", making all items single-use and thus disposable when the player out-levels them, is a more orderly way of dealing with constant production of items. Also, hoarding stuff is fun. Having one's collection limited or vulnerable isn't much fun. Edited by sunandshadow

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I think "soulbind on equip", making all items single-use and thus disposable when the player out-levels them, is a more orderly way of dealing with constant production of items. Also, hoarding stuff is fun. Having one's collection limited or vulnerable isn't much fun.


Bind on equip is just a byproduct of "themepark" design. It all depends on the goal of the game being provided, but it is not something that I would ever personally design into an MMORPG.

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Thank you for your sincere opinions. Now I can see a pattern here:

As a player I don't think I would much like a random outbreak of "pests" to devour the whole of my collection.

Having one's collection limited or vulnerable isn't much fun.


You people are totally right. Flushing the player's special collection through the sinkhole is not a good idea at all, that will unlink the player from the game. But the basic idea is simply to remove items from the economy system, in order to avoid inflation. To keep this mechanic, players could mark all of their favorite items as part of their precious collection. That is a set of items of any size that they won't ever sell or exchange, and will receive constant care ensuring that no pest reaches it.

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Thank you for your sincere opinions. Now I can see a pattern here:

[quote name='Caldenfor' timestamp='1347726097' post='4980411']As a player I don't think I would much like a random outbreak of "pests" to devour the whole of my collection.

Having one's collection limited or vulnerable isn't much fun.


You people are totally right. Flushing the player's special collection through the sinkhole is not a good idea at all, that will unlink the player from the game. But the basic idea is simply to remove items from the economy system, in order to avoid inflation. To keep this mechanic, players could mark all of their favorite items as part of their precious collection. That is a set of items of any size that they won't ever sell or exchange, and will receive constant care ensuring that no pest reaches it.
[/quote]
Still, perhaps you could put it more under the player's control which items are removed. For example, you might make entry to a dungeon cost a sacrifice of 5 junk items per player per entry?

I've also seen pets and evolving/living items which need to be fed other items. Edited by sunandshadow

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[quote name='sunandshadow' timestamp='1347744943' post='4980482']
I think "soulbind on equip", making all items single-use and thus disposable when the player out-levels them, is a more orderly way of dealing with constant production of items. Also, hoarding stuff is fun. Having one's collection limited or vulnerable isn't much fun.


Bind on equip is just a byproduct of "themepark" design. It all depends on the goal of the game being provided, but it is not something that I would ever personally design into an MMORPG.
[/quote]
I dunno, it seems like it would work well for craftspeople in a sandbox MMO. The craftsman would not equip the crafted items, so they would be salable as normal, and the buyer would only be stuck with them if they actually used them. But I do personally prefer themepark design to sandbox design, so I'm not an expert on what would work for that. Edited by sunandshadow

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Still, perhaps you could put it more under the player's control which items are removed. For example, you might make entry to a dungeon cost a sacrifice of 5 junk items per player per entry?

I've also seen pets and evolving/living items which need to be fed other items.


Yes, I think there should be voluntary and fun ways to remove items from the economy. The idea of feeding pets is pretty cool, thanks for sharing!

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I was asking in a previous thread the way items should work to please most users in a MMO, and so it seems the best way is to fullfil the consumerist desires of gamers, that hate to wait and to share, by constantly bringing new items into this World. That's not a problem to implement in the game (it could rain hamburgers), but the economy will be punished with a horrible ever-increasing inflation.

Searching these forums and reading several topics on how to devise a healthy economy, I found out that the most basic concepts in a MMO's economy are the money faucet and the money sink. That means in order to allow the game self-regulate there must be a signal between faucet and sink. As players open the faucet, the game should activate a mechanism that opens the sink's hole wider to deflate the economy.

Then I recalled watching a documentary about the Black Death, specifically this segment is very interesting:

http://www.youtube.c...FkRnBto8#t=179s

But of course the game can't kill its most valuable asset, players. Instead plages will target items. As players harvest raw materials, trade or produce artifacts, and loot, their inventories will randomly harbor these "bugs" that devour tangible values of certain nature. For example, moths could swallow fabrics, termites will eat wooden objects, and corrosion will make metals (and maybe even gold coins, thru alchemic corrosion) to disappear from the World. Basically in my design items will have infinite lifespan, as long as they aren't destroyed by a pest.


I think this is also a good way to keep players from hoarding insane amounts of artifacts. There may be no limit to what you can store or the weight you can carry in your inventory. But if you own a huge stack of trash, it's pretty possible that bugs are happily living and reproducing in the heart of that heap. Since most plages will be always present, players could produce or buy remedies. These will be use-once items that remove one sample of a pest at a time, and the effectivity will be divided by the size of the inventory, and is reduced in time. In example, each rat eats only a portion of poison, and you will need more portions to put in all their entrances, but each will spoil eventually and must be replaced.

Finally I guess the variety in plages and the World's dynamics will also reduce the chances of over-production of "pesticides". Hope "mothballs" won't be the favorite item on top of the "mega-sword of all might".

So what do you people think of this mechanic? Thanks in advance for your comments!


I too have been working on conceptualizing a complex, dynamic internal economy for my game, partly I am dissatisfied by how most in- game economies function. In relation to your post, I think it would be both less complex and more believable to transform the very foundation of your economic model.

I've also conducted a lot of research and one model for a game economy that offers everything that I had envisioned in a game economy is the one featured in the MUD Shattered Lands. Its modelled on how our world's economy actually functions and features a player run financial system, player owned banks, ability to make loans and borrow money, and all prices are set by the players themselves. The financial system doesn't cause inflation, because all idle money eventually finds its way back into the banking system to pay back debt and provide savings for players. This system provides a reasonably stable flow of money into the game economy and according to Wikipedia prices have remained stable for over a decade.

Economic model
Shattered World has drawn attention for the success of its "Loans Standard" economic model. In this design, all businesses are player-owned, and players may set prices to any level desired, with the only central control imposed being on the amounts banks may loan, yet the system has produced reasonably stable prices since the 1990s. In the wake of Ultima Online's economic crash, this stands out as a remarkable accomplishment. The necessity that the system lack "faucets" that produce money ex nihilo means that newbies must start the game completely destitute, however, and this raises concerns as to whether this model could be made to scale successfully to larger player-bases.[5][6]

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shattered_World

The economy of Shattered World relies on an economy theory known as the "Loans Standard Economy". More simply it can be described as a zero sum economy. That is the total outstanding loans always equals the total amount of money in use in the economy.

http://www.shattered.org/economic.htm

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I investigated and read about Shattered World when it was mentioned in another thread. I agree it's a very interesting system, and I'll be looking to include loans, and player controlled stores and even banks. Yet I want to make something different by mixing several aspects that I already designed. In the usual economy system changes are mostly drived by the mechanics of gathering and crafting, but where is for example magic? Yes, you can create enchanted artifacts, but how could magic alone make deep impact in a economy based on cold numbers, for good or for evil? Magic is about controlling nature, and introducing a natural factor like plagues with a role as fundamental as production (indeed the exact contrary: degradation), will bring a new perspective to the game. I still have to work on this aspect, but the degradation process of items might be some sort of recycling, with the positive effect that captured "bugs" in the inventory could be transformed into mana; and on the other side, some magic skills could accelerate item degradation, or even slow it down to cripple other character's capacity to quickly replenish mana.

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