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f13.net  |  f13.net General Forums  |  The Gaming Graveyard  |  Archived: We distort. We decide.  |  Topic: False Economies 0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.
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Author Topic: False Economies  (Read 33118 times)
stray
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has an iMac.


Reply #35 on: July 11, 2004, 11:15:38 PM

Quote from: destro

Do you think anyone's going to cancel their subscription because somebody has yet to buy the 1000 steel they put up for sale the night before?


I did.

I agree with what HRose said...I just want to play the game my own way (killing mobs and players), be instantly rewarded for it (loot), be able to sell it quickly (NPC vendors) and get back to exploring the real game (if there even is one). I'm old-fashioned, I guess. Money is a reward, not a game in and of itself. I don't give a shit about running a virtual business, and I don't want to be forced to interact with someone who does.

Quote from: Raph
Hmm, I think that one thing that people who want to just axe economies are misisng is that economies can and DO provide gameplay. There's strategic gameplay, large-scale cooperation gameplay, PvP gameplay, and other types of gameplay that kill-the-foozle doesn't offer.


It may be gameplay, but it's kinda niche. Why force everyone to play a game that only appeals to a minority? I'm not asking to axe it necessarily. I just want to play another way (kill-the-foozle), and still be competitive.

I wonder: If both options (loot/NPC Vendors vs. crafting/player economy) were available in the same game, where both paths could grant the same items, would there still be many who chose to trade with other players? Would there be anyone who played a crafter for "fun"? I'd like to see how important a player economy is then.
Venkman
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Reply #36 on: July 12, 2004, 08:23:42 AM

Quote from: Geldonyetich
Things have changed a lot in SWG - I know where I can find a Cantina with a dozen Entertainers on at nearly any time of the day, and the NPC count has been filed down a bit - most of them you run into are either shootable or have a mission you can do or both

Theed and Coronet have been the guaranteed cantinas since about two weeks after launch on all servers. Advanced world cantinas are hit or miss and player cities even more so, by virtue of being player cities. The Planetary Map helps, if folks use the /register command to register their cantina, hospital, hotel or tavern as being able to provide services. Thus, Theed and Coronet continue their trade as entertainment healing centers.

Quote from: Raph
Combat focused players are going to dislike this, they want to get back to doing what they enjoy doing. It's the "I wanna solo!" thing writ large, is all.

Somewhat.

Combat focused players want to continually fight, or at least fight within a time frame entirely defined by themselves. They don't want battle fatigue or wounds nor accept the explanation that both are endemic to a cross-functioning player society. They want to be in the field, fighting the world or each other and dragging along the health packs or healers to be called upon when needed. They're trained by EQ-like games that let them do this.

One obvious recurring result in these games is bots. Some professions compel it more than others. A Master Musician has "less to do" than a Master BH. While that's not technically true, the former is more defined by abstract self-directed pursuits than the latter, which has all sorts of ingame faucets from which to receive goals. Yet MMs perform a critical function (BF, mind wounds and buffing) to combat templates like MBH+(whatever). And combatants think on two levels: "The Best" or "Not the best". Why see anyone else but a Master Doc or a Master Musician for buffs? The result is predictable: bots.

Combatants may also want to solo, but that's not guaranteed. Anyone who wants an EQ Epic or SWG Mandalorian armor or to hit a CoH Task Force knows they'll be doing these things with other players. Other's who want to solo EQ, SWG or CoH can do so, as long as they accept the limitations there as in all games.
Venkman
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Reply #37 on: July 12, 2004, 08:37:57 AM

Quote from: Stray
I wonder: If both options (loot/NPC Vendors vs. crafting/player economy) were available in the same game, where both paths could grant the same items, would there still be many who chose to trade with other players? Would there be anyone who played a crafter for "fun"? I'd like to see how important a player economy is then.

EQ, UO and DAoC prove this out. You can craft great stuff or you can buy it, and you can be both a crafter and a hunter either by virtue of having crafting linked to a combat template (EQ and DAoC) or with multi-character servers (UO).

What they've shown is what I think we've all known all along:

There are a hell of a lot more Hunter types than Crafter types.

That's fine though. Even SWG recognizes this. There is maybe 1 armorsmith for every 200 players out there. Back in the beginning, people were bitching about how many crafters there were. That was simply because the system was new and interesting. While still click-and-play, the decisions made on the front end (resources and economic) as well as backend (experimentation and economics) makes SWG crafting more relevant than that of EQ and DAoC.

But there are still way many more people who'd rather hunt.

A good system incorporates not only both crafters and hunters, but understands the ratio between them.
Arcadian Del Sol
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Reply #38 on: July 12, 2004, 08:41:12 AM

broken economies are NOT largely attributable to dupe bugs or other bad code. They are always always always the result of a system that allows for the alchemistry of unlimited, non-depriciating realm coins, and a complete lack of anything depriciable and costly to spend them on.

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Lum
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Reply #39 on: July 12, 2004, 09:17:48 AM

Well, if there was ever proof needed as to my idiocy, jumping into this thread is probably it. That being said:

Every MMO economy is false. Duh. Trust me, you don't want a real economy in an MMO. It will, with stunning rapidity, result in a tyranny of a very small minority. Much like, well, real economies.

Quote
EQ, UO and DAoC prove this out. You can craft great stuff or you can buy it, and you can be both a crafter and a hunter either by virtue of having crafting linked to a combat template (EQ and DAoC) or with multi-character servers (UO).


The problem with the typical MMO economic model is that crafting items compete with dropped items. Literally: crafters are in competition with the items that world builders are crafting to make hunting attractive. The problem is that one "faction" in this equation is always losing; either craftsmen complain (justifiably) that the results of their labors are marginalized because the Shiny New Sword from Deepest Dungeon is better than anything they make, or everyone else complains (justifiably) that the stuff they're getting from monsters is worthless, because it isn't as good as the stuff crafters are making.

The SWG model (I don't know if anyone else has as radical an economy so let's use them as an example) is that players make everything. Boom, the end. Well, that certainly solves a lot of problems. It also makes a lot of people who are used to the kill-things-and-get-stuff metaphor (a metaphor, I might add, that is not unique to MMOs) unhappy. The economy may be far more realistic than most (in that it has a working model of supply and demand and requires a bit of resource management) but the guy who logs in for a couple hours to plink at things with a blaster is either going to be (a) twinked or (b) unhappy, because the player economy has progressed past a point where the artificial elements (quests, drops from monsters, etc) can keep up.

The same thing happens in kill-things-get-stuff games, of course; try playing EQ or DAOC for a couple hours, then taking the money you've made and buying anything in the player markets. You'll find that the money you've made is an order of magnitude lower than anything you can buy - again, because the player economy has detached itself from the artificial one. However, in the kill-things-get-stuff game you can concievably live completely apart from the player economy - existing off of quest rewards, items that you've looted yourself, etc.

In an economy that is solely player driven (which, for reasons I'm about to demonstrate, very few actually exist), you don't have that option. Your choices become - hmm, what low level menial tasks that other, richer players don't want to do can I do that will give me a small amount of income, or what higher level players can I swear myself out to. Congratulations! You've created a feudal society! From an economic standpoint, it's an accomplishment.  From a standpoint of whether or not it is fun, not so much.

Now, I'm an advocate of, for lack of a better word, socialist tinkering in MMOs. (The spectacle of a radical libertarian in real life working towards the implementation of socialism never fails to amuse me, by the way.) There are things game creators can do to "tinker" with the economy that can create interesting challenges without completely making the game NotFun. Just for one example: track the total amount of money in your game (call it "M1" for giggles) and key the value of your prestige gold sinks off of that. Since, after all, the target of your prestige gold sinks is to soak some of the money out of the bank vaults of your wealthiest few, why not REALLY target them? Make the process transparent. Display the rise and fall of these prices (key it to in-game stock markets for even more fun). Watch your players game down the prices by flushing money out of their vaults... which is what you wanted to happen in the first place.

However, the significant portion of your playerbase that ISN'T level 50 RR10 or a Master Jedi or whatever isn't a member of your player economy. More to the point, they don't WANT to be, most of the time. They want to benefit from the economy, sure. Cheap stuff on the market? Yeah, gimme! Actually working to generate a small amount of value relative to their "worth" in the game world? Oh HELL no. At that point it becomes a job. And most of us already have one of those.

So the trick becomes allowing participation in the economy, without forcing full membership. Hm.
destro
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Reply #40 on: July 12, 2004, 11:29:43 AM

Interesting. Part of this thread appears to have become polarised between the more intellectual players and devs and those of more… modest ambitions, who view having to engage in trade with other players as an imposition, an unwelcome distraction from their real business of killing mobs or completing missions to get their loot.

The most striking thing about this is its similarity to players complaining about the inclusion of player-vs-player combat in games like UO. They use exactly the same lines. “I want to play a game about X, why should I be forced to play a game about Y, which only appeals to a minority?”

Yes, children, and vanilla is America’s favourite flavour. Why are other parts of the game ‘niche’? Because everybody kills mobs from time to time. PKs do it, crafters do it, social types do it a lot because it gives you something to do other than stand around while talking. PvM is a majority made up of minorities, and the smallest minority of all may well be the hardcore PvM crowd who don’t want any sort of interaction with other players – violent or economic – to distract them from pushing the lever and getting their pellet. Because alone of all the types of MMOG player, these players have no reason to play MMOGs.

They only want to interact with other players in order to group, and they only want to interact with the world in order to kill monsters and collect loot. If that’s what you want to do, fine, but why http://www.markovia.com/cgi-bin/fullnews.cgi?newsid1089376484,34432,">pay a monthly fee? Any other game with levels and cooperative multiplayer would be far more suitable.
Raph
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Title delayed while we "find the fun."


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Reply #41 on: July 12, 2004, 11:46:26 AM

Quote from: stray
Quote from: Raph
Hmm, I think that one thing that people who want to just axe economies are misisng is that economies can and DO provide gameplay. There's strategic gameplay, large-scale cooperation gameplay, PvP gameplay, and other types of gameplay that kill-the-foozle doesn't offer.


It may be gameplay, but it's kinda niche. Why force everyone to play a game that only appeals to a minority?


Dude, niche? Across all games as a whole, it's probably more popular than all the forms of combat combined.
Arcadian Del Sol
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Reply #42 on: July 12, 2004, 12:02:08 PM

"You can't please everyone, so you got to please yourself." - Hank Williams.

Looking at economics with an historical eye somewhat slanted by patriotism, the Free Market systems seem to stand alone as the only systems that work; wherein the whole of the community is not eventually reduced to starving cave dwellers hoping they can hide from the big toothy lions.

But what this thread seems to be asking for is a detail rich MMOG economic system that employs the concepts from just about every failed economic experiment in human history - and expects them to somehow succeed where countless civilizations before have failed.

Raph and Lum: please to be making a game with an "each one according to their needs and each one according to their means" economic system that doesn't end up losing a Cold War 80 years later to an opposing system based mostly on the "finders keepers" rule. Thank you.

I wont be holding my breath because I'm afraid the toothy lions will hear me gasping.

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Nyght
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Reply #43 on: July 12, 2004, 12:23:18 PM

Quote from: Raph
Dude, niche? Across all games as a whole, it's probably more popular than all the forms of combat combined.


Wow, thats quite a statement. Now I largely play a crafter in games that offer the opportunity to craft but I find this very counterintuitive to what a lot of us feel we observe.

Given that you have numbers that we don't, I'll take your word for it, but can we know the context of 'all games'?

"Do you know who is in charge here?" -- "Yep."
daveNYC
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Reply #44 on: July 12, 2004, 01:00:17 PM

Quote from: destro
Interesting. Part of this thread appears to have become polarised between the more intellectual players and devs and those of more… modest ambitions, who view having to engage in trade with other players as an imposition, an unwelcome distraction from their real business of killing mobs or completing missions to get their loot.

I think it's more that player's don't want to be dependent on other players.  If you just leveled out of some equipment and need to buy some replacements before you get to go adventuring again, you'd be pretty pissed if you found out that you couldn't buy it from an NPC, and no players who were on had any available.

Make two economies.  Make a PC and an NPC centric economy, and make the NPC one less efficient.
Lum
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Reply #45 on: July 12, 2004, 01:18:56 PM

Quote from: destro
Part of this thread appears to have become polarised between the more intellectual players and devs and those of more… modest ambitions


If I weren't of such modest ambition, I'd think I was being called an idiot here because I disagreed with you. Thanks!

Quote from: destro
The most striking thing about this is its similarity to players complaining about the inclusion of player-vs-player combat in games like UO. They use exactly the same lines. “I want to play a game about X, why should I be forced to play a game about Y, which only appeals to a minority?”


Because it's a leisure activity that they are paying for, not a participation-required thought experiment.
Lum
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Hellfire Games


Reply #46 on: July 12, 2004, 01:21:30 PM

Quote from: Nyght
Quote from: Raph
Dude, niche? Across all games as a whole, it's probably more popular than all the forms of combat combined.


Wow, thats quite a statement. Now I largely play a crafter in games that offer the opportunity to craft but I find this very counterintuitive to what a lot of us feel we observe?


Yeah, not quite sure what Raph is talking about, but active crafters-as-profession crafters driving an economy (as opposed to people who make stuff to be self-sufficient thus removing themselves from the economy) are a very, very small minority. Vocal, sure. Necessary, absolutely (SOMEONE has to make the funny hats). But tiny.
destro
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Reply #47 on: July 12, 2004, 01:33:45 PM

Lum wrote:

Because it's a leisure activity that they are paying for, not a participation-required thought experiment.

A perfectly good answer, but I explained in the following paragraph why the question was based on false premises. They aren't being forced to play SWG if what they really want to play is something more like CoH, and they aren't being denied any game which fits their playstyle because mob-bashing is the one feature which is almost universally implemented. Nor is the game pandering to a minority by including multiple sub-games, since most players will be interested in at least one sub-game in addition to killing mobs - whether PvP, crafting, social activity or what have you.

If I weren't of such modest ambition, I'd think I was being called an idiot here because I disagreed with you. Thanks!

I don't know where you got the idea that I was referring to you. Just because my post was near yours does not mean it was in response to yours, and I agree with much of what you said - certainly that people who aren't interested in being crafters and businessmen should not be forced into being crafters or businessmen.

Was I saying that the two people earlier in the thread who complained that any sort of trade with other players was an unacceptable distraction from quests and hunting are idiots? You may well think that. I couldn't possibly comment.
Lum
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Reply #48 on: July 12, 2004, 01:43:57 PM

Quote
They aren't being forced to play SWG if what they really want to play is something more like CoH


So the flip side, then is that you want them out of your game, I presume, and thus you want a game written for you. Fair enough. So do I. Preferably one involving my ruling an Eastern European country with my iron fist of death.

My point is aimed more at the general behavioral patterns of most players, who would violently recoil at having to participate in a feudal economy as a serf.

[edited to expound a bit further] The problem is that all examples of working MMO player economies ARE feudal in nature. This isn't necessarily bad. It took mankind thousands of years to get TO feudalism, and it took mankind another five hundred years to move past it. However, given the parts of human nature that are currently modelled in online gaming (greed and empire building, mainly), it's not surprising that we've moved to that point in development. In almost every large scale MMO, you have groups of people who combine to achieve a goal. Those groups are larger than their parts. And in some games those groups are required to "win". Thus, membership in those groups are seen as a commodity.

Commodities aren't given away (unless you have a pre-existing social relationship outside the game) - they are traded. You have to have something to trade. For players new to the game/genre (and for the sake of the industry we have to concern ourselves with these precious treasures) the only thing they have to trade is their time, or however the game allows them to trade in that time.

That in a nutshell is every player-run economy to date. Large cartels who farm citizens of lesser status for whatever the game has artificially given them to offer, in return for as little as those cartels can get away with offering in return.

That's interesting from a sociological standpoint. My point is that it isn't particularly fun, unless you are the .05% of the playerbase actually running the cartels. Thus, for the sake of fun, the "pure player-run economy" is intefered with. Whether through "look! that small rat was carrying a sword! Or 34 credits!" or otherwise. Because being a cog in a large machine gets kinda old.
ajax34i
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Reply #49 on: July 12, 2004, 01:47:36 PM

Quote from: Lum
Quote from: destro
Part of this thread appears to have become polarised between the more intellectual players and devs and those of more… modest ambitions


If I weren't of such modest ambition, I'd think I was being called an idiot here because I disagreed with you. Thanks!


Actually, there seem to be three categories:  intellectual players, devs, and, uh, idiots.  I wonder if the "devs" group is half-way on the implied intelligence scale (which would put them at the "normal person" rating), or if they're a totally separate group that he didn't want to insult.  There's no comma ("polarized between intellectual players and devs, and idiots" vs. "polarized between intellectual players, and devs and idiots"), so we'll never know.
destro
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Reply #50 on: July 12, 2004, 02:04:04 PM

Lum wrote:

So the flip side, then is that you want them out of your game, I presume, and thus you want a game written for you.

Not at all. I play CoH. I merely object to the suggestion that all games should be CoH.

My point is aimed more at the general behavioral patterns of most players, who would violently recoil at having to participate in a feudal economy as a serf.

Players seem quite happy to take entirely menial fetch-and-carry tasks from NPCs and mission terminals. They want to be given simple jobs to do with immediate rewards. Does it really matter whether the missions on the terminal come from another player rather than an NPC?

What it really comes down to is not whether the players are working for other players or NPCs, but whether the gameplay involved is any fun.

Edit: I find your MMOG socialism as amusing as you do, but I don't have time to comment on it just now.
Raph
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Title delayed while we "find the fun."


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Reply #51 on: July 12, 2004, 02:05:31 PM

Quote from: Lum
Quote from: Nyght
Quote from: Raph
Dude, niche? Across all games as a whole, it's probably more popular than all the forms of combat combined.


Wow, thats quite a statement. Now I largely play a crafter in games that offer the opportunity to craft but I find this very counterintuitive to what a lot of us feel we observe?


Yeah, not quite sure what Raph is talking about, but active crafters-as-profession crafters driving an economy (as opposed to people who make stuff to be self-sufficient thus removing themselves from the economy) are a very, very small minority. Vocal, sure. Necessary, absolutely (SOMEONE has to make the funny hats). But tiny.


That playstyle is also the playstyle of games from The Sims to the Tycoon games to Civ. It's spreadsheets-as-gaming, as opposed to action gaming. It's not a small portion of the market, not by a long shot, and it tends to be a more female and mainstream audience.
Nebu
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Reply #52 on: July 12, 2004, 02:15:23 PM

Quote from: Raph
That playstyle is also the playstyle of games from The Sims to the Tycoon games to Civ. It's spreadsheets-as-gaming, as opposed to action gaming. It's not a small portion of the market, not by a long shot, and it tends to be a more female and mainstream audience.


Given the limited success and niche community surrounding atitd, I'm surprised that you would say such a thing.  Atitd incorporates much of what is found in the Sid Meier "spreadsheets-as-games" titles, but never achieved the success given the audience you describe.  Granted, the manner in which the in-game mechanics were implemented could have something to do with it.  

I loved the Sid Meier games and played them for hours rabidly.  When economic simulation or "spreadsheets-as-games" got moved to a more social venue (i.e. atitd), I found that some of the appeal was lost.  I think that an mmog economy must be tied to a game with wider appeal to have success of a greater scale.  SWG, DAoC, EQ, etc. all offer crafting in addition to combat, exploration, and questing.  Having the opportunity to enjoy multiple tasks (or progression pathways) within the same environment helps diversify the player base.  I think this is also a key to stabilizing an economy.

"Always do what is right. It will gratify half of mankind and astound the other."

-  Mark Twain
HaemishM
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Reply #53 on: July 12, 2004, 02:18:52 PM

Quote from: Lum
That in a nutshell is every player-run economy to date. Large cartels who farm citizens of lesser status for whatever the game has artificially given them to offer, in return for as little as those cartels can get away with offering in return.


I think it should be considered a small measure of success for fantasy-based games to have risen or achieved the level of a feudal economy. I personally think that makes of fantasy-based MMOG's should try to achieve nothing more than that, because since the entire goddamn fantasy genre which we base these MMOG's off of is in itself based in a time period of feudal society. Thus, art imitates life, or something.

What fucks it all up, creating whiners of the most refined sort, is that we are living in a free market society (for the most part), in which the individual is held as his own sub-deity. What the individual wants is oftentimes more important than the needs of society. This is, of course, in ABSOLUTE AND TOTAL DIAMETRIC OPPOSITION to the entire concept of a feudal society, which only sees those of noble birth as a sub-deity imbued with the divine right of doing whatever-the-fuck-they-want.

Hell, even Star Wars is essentially a feudal system, with kings and knights and such; it just has a veneer of sci-fi thanks to blasters that go "pyew pyew!"

If DAoC and EQ and the other feudal fantasy games have an economy that is mostly feudal, they have succeeded. Call it a day.

I still say that in order to have anything approaching a "real economy" that is player-driven (whatever that means), you will have winners and losers, and lots more of the latter. If you don't, your economy is fucked, because it means supply is too plentiful and demand is met perfectly. That creates too many players with "dead money" as Dundee put it.

Lum
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Reply #54 on: July 12, 2004, 02:19:59 PM

I'd go a bit further and note that "Civ Online" would be considerably less fun if everyone were a Settler.

An MMO strategy game would be loads of fun if done right, but nothing remotely like this has been brought to market yet, so not entirely sure how relevant it is :)
Dundee
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Reply #55 on: July 12, 2004, 04:05:38 PM

Quote from: destro
Not at all. I play CoH. I merely object to the suggestion that all games should be CoH.


Funny, earlier in the thread, I thought that was your position.

i.e. If you can't do an economy right, and you obviously can't, then don't do one at all.

And since you used CoH as an example, which does use a faucet-sink-drain economy, and even allows buying, selling and trading items for 'currency'... that kinda only leaves one element of an economy in the bullseye:  Crafting.

So, I thought (or came to think, as this thread grew), your key point was something like:

If you can't implement crafting without making the game less fun for all the people whom are not crafters, then don't implement crafting at all.

'Course, your original article went off to discuss duping, dynamic economies, developer incompetence, destroyed economies, etc. and now people are talking about all sorts of things... but I think if you stuck to the one point, wrote an essay about that, it'd be more difficult to argue against.

I suppose, you might be saying that crafting could be fun for non-crafters if the economy were more like a real-world economy (in some ways, at least), but since it's not then, it isn't, and should just be omitted.

But is that really your point, or am I just mis-reading you?

'Cause I dunno.  I still think it's generally, typically even, worthwhile to include a crafting system, and support for merchant-oriented players, in the form of player vendors, shops, etc.

Jeff Freeman
Venkman
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Reply #56 on: July 12, 2004, 04:11:52 PM

The Civ-online reference is notable because of The Sims. Far and away the number one best selling game of all time (including the expansion packs). However, how much of a "game" is it? How much of a game was SimCity before it? I see a game very much a screensaver orders of magntitude more boring than Eve, only fun when I can use a cheat code. But that doesn't mean we can ignore the millions of units sold (rare even as that is for solo games).

I totally agree that this may largely be irrelevant in online games though. Solo gamers get the benefit of playing the very God any massive multiplayer is constantly balanced to prevent. And if you can't play God as defined by a game like The Sims, how fun can it be?

As to the fun of tossing Excel spreadsheets around? People don't mind numbers if it gets them closer to their ability to be the snot out of whatever moves.

Quote from: daveNYC
I think it's more that player's don't want to be dependent on other players

Ya. People pay for the opportunity to interact, but they want to do that on their own time.

Having said that though, SWG's economy is not that hard for the average player to get. What falls down is the interface, which is non-intuitive. Back during beta, the Bazaar terminals mistakenly listed items from player vendors in the Region/World/Galaxy. I never got why this was a mistake though. It should be advertised that players must seek other players for their goods. They can buy local on the bazaar when 6k credits is a lot of money, or they can easily see what city/town/building is going to support them the best.

SWG requires player interdependency, but not like EQ, which made it a curse phrase. I rarely, if ever, interact with the sellers of goods. Conversely, they're bound by basic economic principles that dictate the price of things. Players can charge whatever the heck they want, but if they're are ignorant of market forces, they will be ignored by that potential market.
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Reply #57 on: July 12, 2004, 04:45:49 PM

The first Lum's post pretty much explained all I would have hoped to conclude. I also read the last line as "the economic system should be a mean and not the end". And, as I said, you need exactly to control the economy so that it doesn't become too important to require you to focus on it.

For the rest I'll comment randomly since I agree with what has been said and I have just a pair of points to add.

Quote from: Lum
Yeah, not quite sure what Raph is talking about, but active crafters-as-profession crafters driving an economy (as opposed to people who make stuff to be self-sufficient thus removing themselves from the economy) are a very, very small minority. Vocal, sure. Necessary, absolutely (SOMEONE has to make the funny hats). But tiny.

In this case you still cannot deduce a rule from the actual trend. It's similar to the debate about PvP Vs. PvE. The trend is due to a precise history, like Raph said it's not a good idea to axe a path that has a big dormant potential.

Quote from: Raph
Does your game NEED it? No. But given that it is one of the axes of gameplay that makes use of persistence, and persistence is one of the key things these games offer that other games cannot , well, leaving it out may be considered to be at least underutilizing the genre. Not a bad thing if you have a specific other area of focus, but not the One True Way either.

Also, count the PvP players in DAoC, then count them in EQ. Different games, different play-styles. I imagine SWG is producing its own genre and play-style at the moment.

--

I also thought a bit about games like Sim City, since I like even that genre. The reasoning triggered a long list of thoughts spreading in many different ways that are impossible for me to replicate here but I focused at least an element that explains why I liked that kind of games:
- I loved being able to construct, to manage, to achieve something in a positive direction. I loved the progression.

What I consider the soul of the gameplay isn't, once again, the money (because money has *zero* value). But the USE of money to do something interesting. Interesting for me because it replicates the process of achievement and progression that I can find also in a simple treadmilled game. I mean that I don't find any difference between what I like in a managment game or in whack-a-monster. It's never about the money, it's about what you can do with the money.

The GUI reasoning, that Geldon did, applies to every game-type because even in whack-a-monster you need a fun GUI (or CoH would be shit). And then you also need a progression and a sense of "building" something. Exactly the reason why everyone feels, at a point, the lack of sense or of a community in CoH. The game is fun because the GUI is well planned, but then you also need a reason and a purpose for that GUI.

In a similar way an economic based game needs a fun GUI and an endgame or purpose. But wait a second: making a ton of money isn't an useful endgame. It's simply the most stupid thing that could happen.

The money has a value in the USE. In the real world peoples love the money because the money is the solidification of the contingence. The money can be transformed into ANYTHING. It could even transform you. And peoples, in this world, love beyond the limits the possibility. But, again, they still love the *consequence* of the money and perhaps even the money itself but just as the personification of that contingence.

Then what happens in a game? What brings you the fact that you have a ton of money? You, once again, need an endgame or a purpose. A way to translate the resource you have into something that you can desire and use.

Exactly at this point my reasoning flows in what Lum said. Often, even in a game, the money is a luxury in the hands of a few. If you start planning an endgame related to the few rich you will also wipe the most part of your playerbase, and piss them off. The whole purpose of the game (the progression) becomes an exclusive.

Since we are in a game, perhaps, we can develop other ways to make the game interesting. Without relying on an economic system that depends on restrictions (on the playerbase) and a degree of complexity really needing its own environment to feel right and compelling.

Quote from: Haemish
If DAoC and EQ and the other feudal fantasy games have an economy that is mostly feudal, they have succeeded. Call it a day.

Well, I don't think the purpose of these games is to replicate a believable medieval system. In particular I don't think you can brag about a game that rewards a few at the detriment of the most.

It's still a pay-service and the aim is to please everyone the best possible, trying to open up the best you can the access to more meat.

Re-iterating Lum:

Quote from: Lum
My point is that it isn't particularly fun, unless you are the .05% of the playerbase actually running the cartels. Thus, for the sake of fun, the "pure player-run economy" is intefered with.

Quote from: Arcadian Del Sol
Looking at economics with an historical eye somewhat slanted by patriotism, the Free Market systems seem to stand alone as the only systems that work

Huh? No. Free market never happened or the world would have collapsed in about two seconds or less.

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Reply #58 on: July 12, 2004, 04:54:05 PM

Quote from: Dundee
'Cause I dunno.  I still think it's generally, typically even, worthwhile to include a crafting system, and support for merchant-oriented players, in the form of player vendors, shops, etc.

Not really. It strictly depends on the game and your aim. It can really produce a lot of problems for the current game since the two layers won't fit together if you haven't planned the game in advance with that model in mind.

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geldonyetich
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Reply #59 on: July 12, 2004, 05:26:54 PM

Quote from: Darniaq
Theed and Coronet have been the guaranteed cantinas since about two weeks after launch on all servers.

Add Mos Eisley to your list.   Perhaps it was that all the newbie players tend to start out in there, or perhaps it's because it was considered the "main starport" on the planet, but last I checked there was no shortage of entertainers in the Cantina there (that is, the one nearest the starport, not the other one which is the grounded frieghter).

I suspect there's an occupied Cantina near any Starport that is within close proximity.   (The Endor, Smuggler's camp area I was at was an exception probably because Endor is an expencive to visit wilderness sort of Planet.)

Quote from: Raph
That playstyle is also the playstyle of games from The Sims to the Tycoon games to Civ. It's spreadsheets-as-gaming, as opposed to action gaming. It's not a small portion of the market, not by a long shot, and it tends to be a more female and mainstream audience.

Well, if we're talking action vrs number crunching strategy, technically most MMORPG combat fits in the later catagory.   (MMOFPS like Planetside and WWII-online are something else.   MMORPGFPS like Neocron and (possibly) Jump to Lightspeed are something else entirely - a sort of a combination of sorts.)

Personally, I think an experiencied MMORPG player seeking combat isn't particularly seeking action.  Why would they?  MMORPGs combat is and always has been a slow real time conversion of a turn based system.   This translates to the number crunching strategy.

So what do they want?   I propose that an experienced MMORPG player seeking combat within a MMORPG is instead is seeking a sort of *excitement*.  

Granted, there's folks who find mercantile exchanges exciting, and there's folks who find exploration (even of a virtual world) exciting.    However, traditionally RPG combat mechanics have been there to create a source of conflict, and thus resulting conflictual excitement.    It comes down to *types* of excitement, and preferance between different players.

It's this conflictual excitement that combat oriented players want.    I think that these are the majority of RPG players - after all, D&D was borne upon the back of many slain kobolds.    

I also know that the Star Wars movies are greatly geared to create an expectation that there would be that kind of exictement offered.    So I was a little taken aback (as were many of us) when I discovered that SWG was going for the mercantile excitement approach.

Making combat exciting: Tall order, perhaps, but this is what I'm hoping will come about in a certain retooling and unrelated expansion...

Yes, this is related only to an economic discussion in that I'm pointing out that Economy is one kind of gameplay and Combat is entirely another.  I didn't bring it up, you'll note :)
Quote from: HRose
The money has a value in the USE. In the real world peoples love the money because the money is the solidification of the contingence. The money can be transformed into ANYTHING. It could even transform you. And peoples, in this world, love beyond the limits the possibility. But, again, they still love the *consequence* of the money and perhaps even the money itself but just as the personification of that contingence.

Good point here.  This is probably why we're naturally inclined to add money to any broad-reaching game model.   If one can leverage money properly, it'd make a fun game on it's own.   After all, that's the drive behind Monopoly (which I hyperlink just to clarify I'm referring to the board game).

So I guess I'm just restating what Raph said a few messages back - Economies do add gameplay.    However, my point was just that they only add a *type* of gameplay that appeals to certain players.    Why develop a game that only appears to one type of player when MMORPGs can do better than that?

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Reply #60 on: July 12, 2004, 05:59:11 PM

Quote from: HRose
Quote from: Dundee
'Cause I dunno.  I still think it's generally, typically even, worthwhile to include a crafting system, and support for merchant-oriented players, in the form of player vendors, shops, etc.

Not really. It strictly depends on the game and your aim. It can really produce a lot of problems for the current game since the two layers won't fit together if you haven't planned the game in advance with that model in mind.


Yeh, I agree with that.

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Reply #61 on: July 12, 2004, 06:56:05 PM

Quote from: destro
They only want to interact with other players in order to group, and they only want to interact with the world in order to kill monsters and collect loot. If that’s what you want to do, fine, but why http://www.markovia.com/cgi-bin/fullnews.cgi?newsid1089376484,34432,">pay a monthly fee? Any other game with levels and cooperative multiplayer would be far more suitable.


Since I may be the "idiot" in question: It has nothing to do with not wanting to interact with other players. It's just a matter of preferred playstyle, one which becomes hindered with a lot of downtime and delay in a player economy. I don't want to play the "economy" just so I can excel at the combat elements. I could write a post 2 pages long about that if "intellectual" prowess is what you want, but it's pretty fucking simple, really.

It isn't about secluding myself either. Killing mobs, collecting loot, or doing quests isn't really my thing, but it's a good way to pass the time. But if I want gold and riches, what I prefer is stealing and killing from other players. If that's not "player interaction", then what is?
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Reply #62 on: July 12, 2004, 07:00:33 PM

What is really the difference between the feudal model that Lum describes, and companies in the modern market? Leaving aside politically-influenced assessments such as "exploiting the newbs," it seems to me that it's going to be intrinsic to ANY network-based system, such as an economy, for it to develop in like fashion.

And yet, there's fun to be had at multiple levels of economy in the real world. Some people play with giant corporations and multimillion dollar budgets, and others run small coffeeshops. Why do we have to assume that only the guy at the top gets to have any fun? Is there not a scenario where being the guy in middle management is fun?

I knew someone would say "ah, combat is all about spreadsheets too." :) But I don't quite buy it.
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Reply #63 on: July 12, 2004, 07:21:57 PM

Quote from: Raph
And yet, there's fun to be had at multiple levels of economy in the real world. Some people play with giant corporations and multimillion dollar budgets, and others run small coffeeshops. Why do we have to assume that only the guy at the top gets to have any fun? Is there not a scenario where being the guy in middle management is fun?

Now I'll say something cheap. I think Lum just continues a reasoning he did on his blog a few months ago. Developing content just for a minority doesn't seem a good choice. In general I think it's better to gather the players than segregate them in various parts of the game. It's one of the reasons why I like DAoC compared to SWG. The aim is shared and that builds a better sense of community than reproducing an actual believable society with different purposes.

It's like with the treadmill, the problem is that it puts lines between the players.

Then I'd also say that who's at the other side of the corporations doesn't run coffeeshops but just strives for life.

Quote from: Raph
I knew someone would say "ah, combat is all about spreadsheets too." :) But I don't quite buy it.


With the difference that combat is intuitive. There's an accessibility issue. Fighting in WoW is surely more player friendly than running a business.

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Venkman
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Reply #64 on: July 12, 2004, 07:31:03 PM

Combat is mostly about spreadsheets, but I raised the point to highlight the difference between players who suspend their disbelief and those who exploit their understanding of a system. This is particularly relevant in this feudal discussion. Some players think it's fun to harvest and sell resources, not knowing the role that puts them in. Others know it's grunt work but get to learn Small Business Economics 101 outside of staid academia and without any real risk. Some of the principles are actually the same. Learning can turn into "fun" when the reward is near-tactile.

Combat is no different. SWG, EQ, DAoC, CoH, doesn't matter. Players are constantly working numbers to ensure a better-than-50/50 shot in combat situations where they use player skill during at-the-moment decision making rounds.

The biggest difference between CoH and SWG is time. CoH resolves combat rounds much faster, mostly by virtue of having a less complicated combat system, rewarding players for quicker thinking, ala FPS games.

MMOFPS games aren't quite there yet, since so many obviously don't want to pay monthly fees for them. But I personally feel CoH is on the right track for the next generation of combat models. A better balance between meta- and micro-management.

Players want to be rewarded for what they're doing and not just watch the results of decisions they made weeks and months ago.
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Reply #65 on: July 12, 2004, 07:51:21 PM

Quote from: HRose

Now I'll say something cheap. I think Lum just continues a reasoning he did on his blog a few months ago. Developing content just for a minority doesn't seem a good choice. In general I think it's better to gather the players than segregate them in various parts of the game. It's one of the reasons why I like DAoC compared to SWG. The aim is shared and that builds a better sense of community than reproducing an actual believable society with different purposes.

It's like with the treadmill, the problem is that it puts lines between the players.

Then I'd also say that who's at the other side of the corporations doesn't run coffeeshops but just strives for life.


In answer to the first point, isn't another way to look at it that having all the players doing one activity simply segregates the other players out of the game entirely?

In the second point, striving for life is central to the Sims, for example. I really don't think that because something is unfun in real life, it must be unfun in a game. For one, the game really isn't going to mimic to a full level of detail. I am pretty sure that tremendously unfun activities (like, say, swordfighting orcs that want to kill you and eat your flesh) can be made fun in game contexts.
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Reply #66 on: July 12, 2004, 07:57:22 PM

Quote from: Darniaq
MMOFPS games aren't quite there yet, since so many obviously don't want to pay monthly fees for them.

Uhm, completely different topic but you don't think that FPS are more tiring? I can expect to play an RPG for a few hours but I really cannot with an FPS, it needs too much attention focus.

Then there's also the fact that FPS is equal to PvP and so the less progression there is, the better. The gameplay is about reflex and hand coordination (plus PC hardware) and you don't want any treadmill to mess at that point.

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destro
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Reply #67 on: July 12, 2004, 08:09:10 PM

Dundee wrote:

Funny, earlier in the thread, I thought that was your position.

i.e. If you can't do an economy right, and you obviously can't, then don't do one at all.


You’re confusing two separate points I made – my article discussed the idea of an economy without a cash faucet, where low-level crafters are given money and things to do by the higher level ones, who in turn are working toward building up art collections (as many do now) and constructing massive, unique projects.

I did not say that this was a realistic economic simulation, only that it includes aspects of a real-world economy which are potentially dynamic and entertaining. When there isn’t a cash faucet commodity trading becomes more important, because players have to make a choice about which resource to harvest. If you have a money tree the answer is usually the same: Money.

When I said ‘implement no economy’ I was playing devil’s advocate; suggesting that using the old faucet-sink model constituted sitting on the fence between ‘no economy’ and something more dynamic and, yes, realistic.

And don’t pout. I’ve already said that I like SWG’s economy. Only three things disappointed me: The cash from mission terminals came out of  a faucet and not from other players; when people fill their bazaar slots they set up vendors, and when they set up vendors they come to Theed spaceport and http://www2s.biglobe.ne.jp/~the2belo/images/swg/dont%20like%20spam.jpg">spam like motherfuckers; and finally, the lack of anything really tempting to spend my hypothetical big pile of cash on in the endgame.

And since you used CoH as an example, which does use a faucet-sink-drain economy, and even allows buying, selling and trading items for 'currency'...

I don’t think what CoH has can be considered an economy, although there’s probably more trading of enhancements at the higher levels.

If you can't implement crafting without making the game less fun for all the people whom are not crafters, then don't implement crafting at all.

Certainly a relevant point to the thread, but it’s not mine. I like games with a lot of different things to do, so I’ll accept compromises to one kind of gameplay for the sake of including other kinds.

'Course, your original article went off to discuss duping, dynamic economies, developer incompetence, destroyed economies, etc. and now people are talking about all sorts of things... but I think if you stuck to the one point, wrote an essay about that, it'd be more difficult to argue against.

That’s absolutely true. Why didn’t I do it? Because it’s not my intention to make one point and hammer it home. If I have some thoughts about MMOG economies they need to be discussed before I know which are the good ones.

The idea that a good economy uses an endless supply of newbies as cheap labour? Bad idea, shot down. The idea that the homogenity of cash is a cause of duping? Wrong again, although a finite number of individual bills with unique serial numbers would no doubt make it easier to detect.

But cash as a token of exchange rather than a farmable resource, large-scale crafting projects to tempt wealthy players into spending? Those I still feel have merit.
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Reply #68 on: July 12, 2004, 08:15:05 PM

stray wrote:

Since I may be the "idiot" in question: It has nothing to do with not wanting to interact with other players. It's just a matter of preferred playstyle, one which becomes hindered with a lot of downtime and delay in a player economy. I don't want to play the "economy" just so I can excel at the combat elements. I could write a post 2 pages long about that if "intellectual" prowess is what you want, but it's pretty fucking simple, really.

It isn't about secluding myself either. Killing mobs, collecting loot, or doing quests isn't really my thing, but it's a good way to pass the time. But if I want gold and riches, what I prefer is stealing and killing from other players. If that's not "player interaction", then what is?


So, to clarify, you don’t want your playstyle hindered by having to buy things off crafters, but you do want to be able to hinder the playstyle of crafters by killing them and taking their ore?
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Reply #69 on: July 12, 2004, 08:19:22 PM

Quote from: Raph
In answer to the first point, isn't another way to look at it that having all the players doing one activity simply segregates the other players out of the game entirely?

Uhm, I don't think I understand. If everyone is involved with the same endgame or purpose you don't have "other" players out of the system because the system already includes everyone. If you mean that the crafting type player is excluded I'd say that I still don't believe on player types because the style is a simple consequence of a particular game and not the cause of it (like designing a game aimed to a precise audience).

Quote
In the second point, striving for life is central to the Sims, for example. I really don't think that because something is unfun in real life, it must be unfun in a game. For one, the game really isn't going to mimic to a full level of detail. I am pretty sure that tremendously unfun activities (like, say, swordfighting orcs that want to kill you and eat your flesh) can be made fun in game contexts.

Well, that's true. But then everyone wants to be a "Jedi". In the real life you are more or less resigned to stay where you are because there's not much you can do. In a game everyone pays the same and if you build a treadmill between the players it will be hardly seen as a good thing.

It's always a problem to make your players accept the divisions you are forcing on them. It's not that the bottom on the ladder is unfun. It's that it is less fun than the top.

-HRose / Abalieno
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