Psychochild's Blog

A developer's musings on game development and writing.

16 May, 2016

Designing away the economy
Filed under: — Psychochild @ 7:49 PM

A major focus of a lot of MMOs is the economy. People have written academic papers analyzing game economies, economists have drooled at the prospect of tinkering with game economies to test theories, and game companies have even hired economists to help with the design of the game.

But, here’s a radical idea: what if a game didn’t have an economy? What if the design didn’t have currency that people use to buy and sell items from NPCs and from each other?

Intrigued? Then, let me share my thoughts for such a design.

Before I start, I want to say that I know this may not be the most popular idea. A lot of people like game economies, warts and all. There are blogs dedicated to things like auction hall arbitrage and making tons of fake money from morons and slackers. But, I think there’s a lot of good arguments for why replacing the economy with another gameplay system might be the right answer.

Game economy inequalities

The typical MMO economy is unlike anything we see in the real world. The economy is faked, a system known as a “faucet and drain” economy. Money is created from some sources, such as defeating monsters or from rewards from quests. Money is then removed from the economy via gold sinks such as repair bills, housing, or transaction fees. So, as players literally make money appear in the economy, they also have expenses.

Generally, there is no limitation on how much money is created. players are known to hoard resources and having a limited supply of money would quickly mean that the faucets would run dry; look up information about UO’s original resource system to see what happens when you try to limit the total amount of resources. Also, you cannot enforce too many obligatory drains on the economy, as someone without resources would probably prefer to leave rather than live the life of a pauper in a fantasy game.

The consequence of unlimited faucets and limited drains is called inflation; as more and more currency builds up in the system, prices will be inflated to match. This has a negative effect on new players coming into the game, as the amounts they earn will be paltry compared to the amounts of resources already acquired by experienced players. Unless the new player figures out some way to rapidly acquire currency, they will be behind others in wealth. On the other hand, this is good for Achievers as they have another metric which keeps increasing; as long as they keep accumulating currency, they feel like they’re making progress.

Money not worth the bits it’s generated with

In most games with inflationary economies, money actually has very little practical use. Most economies are balanced around the initial launch of the game. Meaning that gold sinks like repair bills are built around the assumption that a new character only has money gained from playing the game. Once the game gets established, this assumption is violated repeatedly: alts get cash stipends from their high level counterparts, and new players sometimes get a chunk of cash from veterans. A minor amount of cash from a veteran character will feel like a lot to the newbie. Eventually routine expenses, like repairing gear, feel insignificant to the player who has accumulated a lot of currency.

This leaves two other avenues for currency: paying other players and significant gold sinks. Paying other players is part of the player-to-player economy supported by crafting. (And crafting has its own game design challenges.) While some people can sell their crafting goods and services to others, many times player organizations like guilds will have crafters who literally give away their stuff. Given the escalating nature of advancement in most modern MMOs, lower level gear is almost trivial to craft (and to acquire materials for). So, while crafting is another part of the economy, it doesn’t necessarily use currency for every transaction.

The other use for currency is significant gold sinks. Housing is a great example, where houses generally require a large amount of currency to acquire, decorate, and sometimes to maintain. Another significant sink might be rare drops which can be posted on the auction house for high prices. While most of the currency is transferred to the player who got the rare drop, some of it is taken in transaction fees. But, these types of sinks are put in place to drain off some of the currency and to act as a reward to achievers who were efficient at acquiring it.

The buying of gold is the root of all evil

The last major problem with the economy is the development and support time it consumes. Designing a good economy is hard and easy to get wrong. A economy that isn’t well-balanced can drain some of the fun from the game for players. Whether a game team hires an economist or not, the development team has to spend time working on the economy and balancing it.

The other major problem with in-game currency is the scourge know as “gold selling”, or “real money trade”. In this system, people will farm gold and then sell that gold to others for offline currency such as dollars. This can lead to all sorts of problems, such as people trying to monopolize high return hunting areas at best, or hacking accounts to steal money or exploiting bugs to duplicate money at worst. The slightly inflationary economy means that some people will see this as the only viable way for them to “catch up” with others, despite the problems it causes.

So, what can developers do?

Seizing the means of production

I was lead designer to make an online version of the Anno series of games, also released in the U.S. as 1701 A.D., etc. (This was a different project than what eventually became Anno Online). The Anno games have a strong focus on crafting, gathering, and production of goods. The goal is to grow your city by generating the right blend of goods to attract more (and richer) citizens. The games had combat, but combat tended to be expensive and very risky, so economics was a better way to get what you needed.

The online version was intended to cater to the four Bartle motivation: Achievers, Explorers, Socializers, and Killers with four different types of gameplay: economy, mapping, city building, and military fights. Because there was a strong focus on economy gameplay, I didn’t want to implement the typical broken economy that you see in other games.

So, I proposed eliminating currency and using a Wealth stat.

Measuring wealth

A Wealth stat means that wealth would be treated like any other stat. For example, a character might have a certain Strength that allows him or her to wear certain equipment or weapons. Similarly, that character would have a Wealth stat that restricted what goods could be acquired, bought, and sold. For example, a lucrative trade route for an exotic spice would require the player to have a higher Wealth than a simple trade route selling common goods.

This would work well for Achiever-focused players, as Wealth would be a stat they could work up. Running that simple trade good route for a while would increase your Wealth stat. And, like any stat, doing the same thing repeatedly would have diminishing returns. The income from the common goods trade route would feel like a rounding error to a wealthy player, so they would not advance Wealth very easily by doing that easy run. The real beauty here is that all the systems already being developed to implement and balance stats could be used for this system as well; no more special work to make an economy that would likely be broken later.

Even non-merchants would want to work up Wealth, although it may not be a primary focus just as Strength isn’t always a focus for a Wizard. Having a certain minimum level of Wealth was necessary for all characters in order to afford certain goods or services. This meant that a general with a higher Wealth stat would have access to better equipment for his or her army. And, that general didn’t have to track tens of thousands of units of currency in order to afford all the equipment he or she might need.

The inspiration for this system was the Resources background in the tabletop RPGs for the World of Darkness. Instead of counting individual dollars a player had, the player would have a certain level of money based on their Resources stat. This would increase and decrease through gameplay rather than from knocking over some dragon’s lair.

Trucking in material good

One big restriction here is that players cannot trade Wealth freely. A wealthy merchant can’t just give away all his Wealth stat to someone else. This restriction prevents degenerate gameplay, such as having mules farm cash, or gold sellers able to build up wealth to trade to someone else for cash.

The system had a few other interesting elements to help the system along. For example, a player could sacrifice some of their Wealth stat to get a temporary boost. So, if you were one or two wealth points away from that lucrative spice trading route, you could sacrifice some of your wealth to get a temporary boost. Now you could run that spice route, but if something happened and you lost that load, you’d have to work even harder to get back up to that point.

To duplicate the social interaction that a higher level player giving a newbie a wad of cash, richer merchants could become patrons of other players. In essence, the lower level character got a boost in their Wealth that would allow them to afford nicer things. Lower level merchants could take more lucrative trade routes faster, or lower level generals could get access to better equipment for their army. But, becoming a patron carried risk, in that a general that lost a lot or a merchant that failed to deliver goods might result in a lower Wealth stat for the patron.

Every time you spend currency, you’re casting a vote for the kind of economy you want

But, what about one time, direct player-to-player transactions? Although the Anno game I was designing didn’t support it, this could be an important part of a fantasy RPG. This could be handled in a similar way to trade goods. The goods a crafter can create would be restricted by their Wealth stat; no creating ultra-rare mythril armor when you’re starting out. And, a player could not receive goods they could not afford; so that crafter creating mythril armor couldn’t just trade it to the newbie with a low Wealth stat. But, if the crafter finds a player with high enough Wealth stat to take the item, then that would result in progression for the crafter’s Wealth stat. Perhaps the player could also have the option to leave a “tip” for the crafter, which would increase the crafter’s Wealth stat progression even faster based on the tipper’s Wealth stat (without necessarily decreasing that stat.)

You could also incorporate the patron system, with some cost for becoming or ending a patronage to avoid degenerate behavior. A few wealthy characters could still power a guild and keep them going.

It might seem a bit weird to have a Wealth requirement to obtain gear, but if you think about Wealth as a stat, it’s really no different than requiring a certain Strength or even level to equip a piece of gear. Merchants would probably have some way to instantly assess someone’s Wealth, so that they could craft the appropriate type of equipment for someone needing gear without asking cumbersome questions or trying to guess. Again, this really does feel like the same amount of work that goes into every other stat, just used in a way to avoid gold sellers and other economic woes.

I think a Wealth stat and supporting systems would make particular sense for a game where players were organized into different teams. Having crafters who didn’t have to worry about collecting nickles and dimes from their fellow teammates seems to make a lot of sense, particularly if the teams were under conditions of constant war. It seems more than a little silly to try to hold out for the best price when you’re actually supplying the warriors out defending your civilization from the enemy hordes.

So, what do you think? Would a Wealth stat make sense to you? Or are you too in love with the oft broken economies that MMOs currently have?


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14 Comments »

  1. I forgot to post a link to another interesting discussion related to economics: http://www.tyrannodorkus.com/2016/05/character-bound-items-need-to-be-dropped.html

    This article talks about how bound-to-character items seem kinda silly. I explain that this is mostly due to economic considerations. The good thing about the Wealth stat is that you could have less need for bound-to-character items.

    Comment by Psychochild — 16 May, 2016 @ 8:31 PM

  2. I could see it working, especially if higher Wealth allowed you to invest more in NPC shops/ventures too. You’d lose liquid wealth, but gain long-term wealth gaining relationships with the game.

    Comment by Murf — 16 May, 2016 @ 9:01 PM

  3. I think the concept breaks down when applied to the current endgame of most MMOs. In general, you make or collect items that have a higher value than you’re normally able to acquire as an alternate progression mechanic. I don’t see how a wealth stat would accommodate this. If I can make endgame gear at Wealth 11, what is my incentive to work towards Wealth 12? Every extra point of Strength would increase my damage and thus has some value, but Wealth would inherently have to cap in functionality, if not in absolute terms. And if Wealth caps, then why would I want to make high end gear for other players?

    You’d also be nearly forced to move away from equipment drops in favor of token systems to justify the stat, which I think is less appealing.

    Comment by Silvanis — 17 May, 2016 @ 12:02 AM

  4. The Wealth stat would work as you describe it. I think issues over real-world parallels would make it deeply controversial and very unpopular with a significant number or potential customers, though. It might very well draw some distinctly unwelcome media attention too, so on balance I’d be very surprised to see any major commercial producer authorize it. It could be the USP for an indie project, on the other hand.

    Personally I have never understood why MMOs need any kind of economy. When I first encountered the concept in EQ in 1999 it totally threw me. Like most new players back then I expected to buy my gear from NPCs. That’s how RPGs always worked. The idea of buying things from other players seemed bizarre and when I discovered that the main way to do it was at player organized bring and buy sale in the East Commons Tunnel, requiring a long, very dangerous journey lasting an hour or more followed by anything up to all the rest of the day spent bartering, well I thought the world had gone insane.

    Over the years we’ve all become used to MMOs having economies and the mechanics have become more convenient but I’ve always wondered why we even bother. I’d absolutely love an MMORPG with literally no player-to-player trade option of any kind. I’d simply have a system where you sell your items to an NPC at a set cost and the NPC resells them to other players at a set cost. In my opinion MMO economies aren’t even a necessary evil. They’re just an irrelevance.

    Comment by bhagpuss — 17 May, 2016 @ 1:15 AM

  5. The wealth stat sounds great. Standing around in the auction house manipulating some auction mod for profit creates “interaction” between players that is meaningless. Meaningful patronage, yay.

    I would add “guild wealth” so that you can have limited lifetime/use “guild items” to make guilds more powerful/relavant without permanently boosting players.

    Also, need a “Goblin Tears” mug for Gevlon :)

    Comment by Dominic Fitzpatrick — 17 May, 2016 @ 2:47 AM

  6. http://themonetaryfuture.blogspot.de/2010/01/resolving-goldfarming-through-concealed.html?m=1

    or you keep the gold / currency but enforce personal wealth by restricting / limiting “unwanted” non-merited trade interactions / wealth exchanges. :)

    Comment by Jan — 17 May, 2016 @ 6:14 AM

  7. Thanks for the link back, Brian. :D

    This is a great idea. Not something that all MMO games should adopt, but something new that can be designed around. I like the wealth stat in the PnP games, but hadn’t thought to carry it over to MMOs.

    I can see in games like EQ, where progression is based on your equipment and abilities, it’ll be difficult because of item trade. How would wealth come in to play here? Would trade just be between items? I’m sure it can be done.

    I think competitive games can definitely use a system like this, where progression is more based on teams vs a single character. Games like Crowfall come to mind, where a wealth stat gives you access to more diverse equipment to take into battle, or cooler stuff for your guild hall, etc.

    Comment by Tyrannodorkus — 18 May, 2016 @ 9:14 AM

  8. Murf wrote:
    I could see it working, especially if higher Wealth allowed you to invest more in NPC shops/ventures too.

    I could see this working in a similar way to BDO’s contribution points, where you could invest wealth into things to “grease the wheels” and make things work faster/better. You can even “rent” things with contribution points.

    Silvanis wrote:
    If I can make endgame gear at Wealth 11, what is my incentive to work towards Wealth 12?

    Wealth is its own alternate advancement mechanic. A player would need to keep increasing his or her Wealth to make better items, just as you need better item level to tackle harder content easier. So, Wealth 11 might make Tier 1 items, Wealth 12 would make Tier 1.5 items, Wealth 13 is required for Tier 2, etc. So, Wealth 11 is fine until you need to increase it when the patch hits and new dungeons/loot/crafting recipes are released.

    You’d also be nearly forced to move away from equipment drops in favor of token systems to justify the stat, which I think is less appealing.

    Not necessarily. For example, a piece of equipment might need a certain Wealth stat to fully unlock the stats; it costs resources to maintain that item level 10,000 legendary raid boss equipment drop at a level to keep it at peak performance. Just like in most current games it takes a constant flow of currency to keep items repaired.

    bhagpuss wrote:
    I think issues over real-world parallels would make it deeply controversial and very unpopular with a significant number or potential customers, though.

    I assume you mean the overt focus on the idea of capitalistic acquisition of money? Why would this draw more attention than EVE Online, which is pretty much a cutthroat capitalism simulator?

    Personally I have never understood why MMOs need any kind of economy.

    Players generally build an economy in the absence of an actual economy. There have been many cases where in the absence of an economy players will create one. Meridian 59 had the “dark angel feather” (DAF) economy when a bug made currency worthless. Diablo 2 had the Stone of Jordan economy for a while because it was impossible to trade gold coins.

    I’d absolutely love an MMORPG with literally no player-to-player trade option of any kind.

    You’d have to put a lot of work into doing this, as players are pretty clever. For example, if I wanted to trade some highly desirable piece of gear, I’d sell to a remote NPC and tell the person I’m “trading” with to go to that NPC to buy it.

    Gifting also builds up social ties, so a strict no-trading system would hurt some of the social aspects of the game. This is one of the reasons why I wanted the patronage system for the Wealth stat.

    Dominic Fitzpatrick wrote:
    I would add “guild wealth” so that you can have limited lifetime/use “guild items” to make guilds more powerful/relavant without permanently boosting players.

    A guild Wealth stat could be useful. Like how a lot of games have guild levels these days. So, guild features would be bound by wealth as well. Plus, it could help members by giving an adjustment to their individual Wealth stats.

    Jan wrote:
    or you keep the gold / currency but enforce personal wealth by restricting / limiting “unwanted” non-merited trade interactions / wealth exchanges. :)

    This sounds a bit like Randy Farmer’s “KidTrade” proposal: http://habitatchronicles.com/Habitat/KidTrade.pdf

    As I replied to bhagpuss, restricting trades would harm some of the social fabric of the game. I’d like to keep a way for people to help each other, rather than making games even more solo-focused than they already are.

    Comment by Psychochild — 18 May, 2016 @ 9:38 AM

  9. I like this notion on several grounds.

    1. It plants a boot in the backside of what’s become a hidebound convention. Conventions aren’t all bad. They can be a useful communications shorthand, letting people start having fun faster. But conventions always need to be challenged so that they don’t just become copy-paste design.

    2. Questioning the conventional in-game economy feature can be defended by outlining specific claimed benefits of no longer tracking individual coins. I mostly agree with those arguments. But there’s a bigger reason to do it, and that’s to consciously think about and understand the unique thing that your game wants to be and what features it needs to implement as active gameplay in order to become that game.

    If you want to attract Achievers, it’s very helpful to offer possessions that can be accumulated. If attracting Achievers is not your primary goal, then you have some leeway WRT possession accumulation. You can: 1) do away with that possession type altogether, or 2) you can abstract it, just like you abstract other things that need to be in your gameworld but that you don’t want to be the focus of active gameplay.

    It seems to me that a Wealth stat takes that second path: it abstracts away actively possessions-based gameplay. If the intention is to make a typical Achieverfest, this might not be a good idea. You’d be depriving yourself of one of the most conventional means of satisfying the security-seeking motivation.

    If OTOH you are consciously trying to design a game with a more equal balance of features for different motivations, then abstracting money into a Wealth stat — without doing away with wealth completely — may be a good design choice. You still want some active gameplay features that are attractive to Achievers, but there’s no law that says individually collectible money tokens has to be one of those features.

    In fact, I could argue that the Social Standing character attribute in Traveller performed some of the functions of a Wealth stat. It’s not a perfect match; maintaining a high Social Standing actually functioned as a money drain, plus Traveller wasn’t an MMORPG. But in practice, players could use their character’s Social Standing attribute as a convenient stand-in for money. (“Give the baron our best room!”) That sounds to me very similar to how it was proposed a Wealth stat might work.

    So, yes, please thrash this convention soundly for me. :) And for a follow-up, how about questioning allowing alts at all? What are the ramifications, bad and good for a given design goal, of enforcing a one-character-per-server design?

    And while I’m asking for stuff: how about a blog post that tries to enumerate the biggest conventions (that we may not even realize have become conventions) in MMO design? Unless you’ve already done this and I missed it, I’d be very interested in reading what you think have emerged as conventions of this field.

    Comment by Bart Stewart — 18 May, 2016 @ 9:51 AM

  10. Copying over some comments from the Google+ discussion:

    Ian Borchardt (Reverance Pavane) wrote:

    Wealth states work well for pre-capitalism. Especially since a lot of wealth was based on the ability tofeed your people (who then worked for you and produces the foods and goods that you could trade to get what you want). Wealth was thus fairly static, since there was a natural limit to the system (the amount of food that could be grown and transported to feed the people). Unlike wealth, food doesn’t accumulate very well.

    ======

    I always liked Swordbearer’s Social Status/Equipment rules. You could have up to 10 items. They were all you could afford or keep track of whilst adventuring. Certain collective items that don’t tend to wander (like a shop or a tool kit) could be purchased as a single item. You could acquire equipment at around your SL with a lot of hard work (and they were important possessions). Items at a lower SL were progressively cheaper and easier to acquire (for you). Items above your SL were very hard to acquire and ran the risk of reducing your social level if you acquired them. Items of higher SL result in calls of “Stop! Thief!” Treasure (always an inflationary impetus in RPGs) could either be spent to live well (wine women and song) or to increase your SL – it generally couldn’t buy equipment directly (there were exceptions of course, as there is in any game). Retainers counted as equipment, but could look after stuff for you. So a Valet provided a selection of clothes and accessories, a Groom looked after the horses and equippage and the Captain of the Guard looked after your personal guard.

    One of the big problems with a lot of RPGs is people approach wealth with a very modern mindset, where the amount of money you have determines how rich you are. However throughout a lot of history it was actually how much you spent that showed how rich you were. both in statements of status (a nice chateau or clothes), but also as gift to your followers. A lot of this was because that was the only way wealth could be redistriuted as needed in a substantially barter economy (Adam Smith was mistaken when his model of historical barter was people exchanging goods on an individual basis – barter was performed in collective trades not all the dissimilar to modern market contracts). One of the roles of the local leader was to act as a clearinghouse for goods for their followers.

    Tony Demetriou wrote:

    Makes perfect sense. Like your inspiration, we gave up on tracking money in our tabletop games long ago.

    We don’t even track “resources” like in WoD anymore (where it felt like an obligatory thing to buy the “right” amount of resources.)

    Our current game we just write a concept, and assume the PC has reasonable resources and items for that concept. So “police detective” would have a car and an apartment, but generally be fairly poor. “witch” would have a cauldron and broom and place to live, but probably very little money, and “stock trader” would have a nice apartment.

    This works for us, because the game system allows dice rolls where the player “explains” or “justifies” why they’re rolling that. So the PC could say “I rent us a car. I’m going to roll my social skill” and if they succeed they rented the car. If they fail we would describe why they failed. So if the witch went to rent the car, we might describe the cars being too expensive for her to afford. If the stock trader failed, perhaps the rental place was closed for the weekend.

    I think that “just roll with it” attitude works well in MMOs. People “just roll with it” when they can’t wear the better armor because they aren’t high enough level. It’s a lot easier to roll with it when they don’t have enough wealth. You can easily say “Oh, I couldn’t afford that!” and carry on.

    Michael Birke (aka Longasc) wrote:

    Very interesting idea, also very inspiring comments.

    Yet… when the Wealth Stat has a unit, let’s call it RU for Resource Units or Gold… my aim is to make it GO UP, to get access to more things and stuff, right?

    I would spend RU in the hope of acquiring more RU. Also what happens to my wealth stat if I get some gear requiring really high RU? Would my RU not go down, would that make it different from gold count going up or down?

    What about loot and related value. You might remember how much I like mining, be it GW2 or WoW, I just love to find a random gem in the ore…^^

    I hope you get to make such a game, I would really like to see it in practice. It seems more viable than the Star Trek Utopian economy of “we are all scientists working on the betterment of society and exploration!”

    Richard Bartle wrote:

    This is a very good idea: it essentially puts gold pieces on a logarithmic scale, which makes them much less dangerous than they are now (or were in the days when dupe bugs were common).

    I’m still surprised when I start a new MMO and see its currency is measured in thousands from the outset (Black Desert Online for example). It’s going to look ridiculous a thousand times faster (in BDO’s case, by doing a “let’s call a million GPs a gold bar” unit shift). If you know your currency is going to inflate, why start off with a pre-inflated currency?

    We didn’t have currency in MUD1 precisely because we feared that it would rapidly inflate. What we didn’t anticipate is that people would like the false sense of wealth they got from having a current account that has to be stored as a floating point number.

    Comment by Psychochild — 18 May, 2016 @ 10:00 AM

  11. “Would a Wealth stat make sense to you? Or are you too in love with the oft broken economies that MMOs currently have?” Can I answer “both”? :)

    I tend to be a more worldy-sandboxy player, so I am in love with the oft-broken economies of games. But I can see where they don’t fit particularly well also, such as the more game-y or theme park style games. In the latter, I think a Wealth stat, or even no currency/wealth system at all (still thinking that one through) might be appropriate.

    On the other hand, sandboxy games like Eve should have the economy as a first-class game mechanic. By nature, economies are emergent, so the fit with games based around emergent gameplay. Balancing them can be hard, but balancing any game mechanic is hard, so it’s a question of picking your battles.

    I have had in my head a pure economic game (which will likely never get made) but one of the problems I saw right away was the degenerate gameplay issue of mules and feeder accounts. My idea to counter that was to make it impossible to gift things, but rather to only allow trades for fair market value (algorithmically determined). This doesn’t rule out mule accounts, but makes it so one has to play the game normally on all of them, which limits their value.

    Comment by fenjay — 19 May, 2016 @ 10:03 AM

  12. As far as i’m personally concerned, if a putative online multi player RP game doesn’t have an “economy”, maybe it should have been made it single player. I’m unlikely to play it. I don’t require a full-on Eve Online experience. It doesn’t have to be a monetary economy. However, trade is one of the ways humans are social, and to lose that is losing a whole aspect of life.

    Comment by John Dougan — 26 May, 2016 @ 6:41 PM

  13. John Dougan wrote:
    However, trade is one of the ways humans are social, and to lose that is losing a whole aspect of life.

    You can have trade without an economy. Families do it all the time. Or, did your parents make you pay them to cook your food when you were young? :)

    You can’t really stop people from looking at transactions in a purely economic way; I’m sure that even under a system with a Wealth stat as I describe that some people would set up barter economies and would seek to only trade items with others in order to get comparable items back themselves. As I said above, players will generally designate a currency and develop an economy even if the game doesn’t provide a designated fiat currency.

    I think one of the biggest wins with a Wealth stat is that it would allow someone in a guild to progress even while supplying goods to their friends or guild “for free”. That way a person doesn’t have to focus on merchant skills or sales if they just want to craft cool stuff for their friends but still progress.

    Comment by Psychochild — 28 May, 2016 @ 12:39 PM

  14. I’d sell to a remote NPC and tell the person I’m “trading” with to go to that NPC to buy it.

    That’s particular case is not hard to fix – NPCs don’t keep the items you sell them. They give you moneys, take your item, and drop it in dev/null. If there is a desire to keep a buyback bag to ease the pain of accidental sell actions, you make that part of the PC data, not part of the NPC.

    But the general point that players will create an economy when one is not provided is still true. In the most degenerate case, players will trade real money for access to their account in order for someone to farm for them.

    Comment by Tim! — 9 December, 2016 @ 12:47 PM

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