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Linsag

Financial Game Trading, Tax and eCommerce Theory

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Hello Everyone

I am interested in the Game Trading and eCommerce theory of how Players interact with each other and the actual game and would like to open up discussions on this subject as I believe at some stage, it will become the next step in gaming.

What I am interested in achieving after many 100's of discussions is an Engine that takes into account many aspects of Trade and they are:

  • Tax system on trades and players (essentially replacing Lootboxes)
  • A method to price items, so that it would essentially be the same price from game to game (that adopts the Engine)

There is a lot more to discuss, but this post is just to fire out the idea and see if there is any interested discussion on this subject.

So for starters, what would some of the issues be, if a Tax System is deployed?

  1. The way I see it, Tax would be used as an ongoing income to Game Developers to expand.develop the game further and thereby increasing its shelf life
  2. Modders who build Mods can use the system to also do "as above" so if the Mod is good, people will use it and the Modder will continue to develop it
  3. Even though there is a Tax system in place, Players can do tasks, quests or other things to have the Tokens to pay Tax

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2 hours ago, Linsag said:

what would some of the issues be, if a Tax System is deployed?

I'm having a hard time seeing any game design issues in what you propose. I mention that because you posted this in the Game Design forum. eCommerce is a business and legal matter more than a game design matter, or am I missing something? I just think maybe this is in the wrong forum.

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I'm going to assume you mean taxes as in game currencies and something that removes money from the system.

Taxes and the others you mentioned can serve a good purpose. It is one of many ways to remove money from an in-game economy.

Extra Credits ran several episodes on the topic, one that explained it well is here:

 

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I've never understood why we don't see more games put a restriction around what NPC merchants will purchase. Maybe I'm behind on state of the art, but it surprises me that we don't have NPCs who can be more discriminating about items that are in demand, able to manage stock levels, able to adjust their prices in accordance with the state of the economy at a given point in time, etc. 

Such mechanics would go far in allowing vendor sold items to have real value to players. As it is, it seems that truly useful items are only ever acquired through combat.

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14 minutes ago, deramius said:

I've never understood why we don't see more games put a restriction around what NPC merchants will purchase.

We can do those things, but unless trading is the point or a major feature of the game, will it actually result in a game that is more fun or enjoyable for the players?

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19 hours ago, frob said:

I'm going to assume you mean taxes as in game currencies and something that removes money from the system.

Taxes and the others you mentioned can serve a good purpose. It is one of many ways to remove money from an in-game economy.

Extra Credits ran several episodes on the topic, one that explained it well is here:

 

Thats the exact thing I have been looking for (thanks)

My theory is that an NPC is just a wasted opportunity and that most in-game currency is just a "descriptive thought" and not tangible.

This video highlighted that the NPC has no real value, except in being a "pawn shop merchant" who will buy and sell anything.

Items are generated without much reason.....

So...

Why not make a merchant character a choosable option by a Player.

Why not make Blacksmiths able to sell crafted item to a Merchant

Why not make hunters able to sell leather to Blacksmith for sheaths etc

Why not make miners able to sell ore to smelters to sell iron to Blacksmiths to sell to Merchants

and so on...

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3 minutes ago, jbadams said:

We can do those things, but unless trading is the point or a major feature of the game, will it actually result in a game that is more fun or enjoyable for the players?

I dont think players who would rather battle, really need to involve themselves into the commerce side, except as a quest to protect villagers etc.

However, an option like this could be used to take in-game currency to the real world... if its done correctly :)
And it would bring in people who like the game concept/design but dont want to grind away in battles all the time...

Its amazing to see how many people would rather be engineers, mission control staff and even cleaners at NASA, instead of Astronauts, just to be in a comfortable position in the genre of the place they work.... The game reality is, that at any time, a Player has less than a dozen character options to choose from and not all Players feel comfortable in those roles, but take them on, because there is nothing else.

Sure, game genres help disperse the genres, but someone that would rather Farm, wont be playing with his mate who would rather Battle Orcs.... but if a game existed that could do that, then the Orc fighter, could meet up with his farmer mate and buy food from him and maybe the farmer would pay the fighter to be able to jump to the farmers protect should the farm ever get over-run by orcs :P

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5 minutes ago, jbadams said:

We can do those things, but unless trading is the point or a major feature of the game, will it actually result in a game that is more fun or enjoyable for the players?

I believe it to have such potential, yes. MUDflation, the term I would use for the phenomenon described in the posted video, has a negative impact on the quality of the game - especially for new players of established worlds.

A frustration I have seen repeated in MMOs is the (seemingly) inevitable triumph of combat oriented gameplay over other forms of reward mechanisms. Attempts to expand the scope of the game experience (and in doing so attract and build a diverse player base) by implementing alternate forms of XP or $$ generation tend to be met with limited success when compared to the profit obtained via grinding, and I will argue that this is the result of those "I'll buy anything no matter what" mechanics we see constantly in virtual worlds.

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21 hours ago, frob said:

I'm going to assume you mean taxes as in game currencies and something that removes money from the system.

 

2 hours ago, Linsag said:

Thats the exact thing I have been looking for

Then I withdraw my previous comment! 😛

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There are games where merchants are more selective about what they accept, but they are difficult to implement in something the scale of an MMO game.

In small games, I've seen merchants with a capacity over time. I've seen merchants that are available only for limited hours, and while present they can only accept a limited count of items. This could be expressed in many ways, like "I'm sorry, my cart is full, I can't take anything more." In other games (particularly Nethack and family) merchants have a specific amount of money; If you buy things they have more money, but once you sell them enough things they stop giving you cash and give you store credit instead.

They scale badly to enormous online games.  It isn't hard to track a small number of merchants for a single player.  It is more difficult (but not impossible) to scale that to thousands of merchants and millions of users. The dataset is small (probably smaller than each user's profile image) but the infrastructure is not typically a priority, and the story breaks down: a merchant with thousands of customers per hour doesn't have cash flow issues.

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