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New Magincia & gold sinks

Discussion in 'UHall' started by Sargon, Apr 9, 2011.

  1. Sargon

    Sargon Seasoned Veteran
    Stratics Veteran Stratics Legend Campaign Supporter

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    For years I have been among the people who felt that UO was in dire need of gold sinks to repair the economy. After seeing the billions and billions of gold being poured into the New Magincia lottery, it has become obvious that even the largest gold sinks won't make a dent in the gold supply by themselves. The lottery has truly been a massive gold sink, yet the gold sellers still have plenty more available at under $1 per million. I applaud the dev team for their creative lottery idea, but it won't be long before scripters have replenished that gold and more. Unless the source of the gold is addressed, a one-time gold sink will have almost zero impact on the long-term economy.

    So what else can be done?

    1. Reduce all gold pieces and checks by a multiple of 10 (or any other number). I know this has been suggested before, but what is the downside? Everyone would maintain the same relative wealth to each other, but it would be significantly less intimidating for new players.

    2. Reduce monster loot. This is at the heart of reducing the source of the gold. At the current spawning rates, nothing will reduce inflation without reducing the amount of gold that people get from monsters. This could possibly be scaled so that lower-level monsters are not decreased as much, once again so that new players stand a chance.

    3. Create new continuous gold sinks. New Magincia is a good one-time sink, but we need continuous sinks in order to prevent the economy from being constantly flooded with new gold. This may need to come at the expense of some UOgamecodes sales. If the most frequently-purchased item was instead placed on an NPC vendor for a high gold price, that would serve as a continuous gold sink.

    I don't think I have stated anything that hasn't been suggested before, but I just had this on my mind as I watch the New Magincia lottery unfold. New Magincia is a good start, but its impact will quickly dissipate if nothing else is done. Hopefully we will see more of a long-term gold-control strategy at some point in the future.
     
  2. GalenKnighthawke

    GalenKnighthawke Grand Poobah
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    Originally, Cal had said the housing lottery wasn't intended as a gold sink.

    Not too long ago, however, Phoenix suggested it was so-intended after all.

    Either way, I am ever-less convinced that having a lot of gold around is all that much of an issue at all. Posts that wish to propose solutions for it would first have to argue that it warrants a solution, and few do.

    Because people who do argue the economy is in some-way "broken" have secured the supremacy of their argument through repetition, I find it prudent to repeat my arguments as well.

    So, here they are, with some modifications to answer this particular post.

    One argument I do not deal with in this post is that too much gold is bad because it reduces the price of RL money/UO gold exchanges. I do not consider this to be a valid argument, because I fail to see why the in-game economy should be structured as to benefit gold sellers. I further do not see the RL money price of in-game gold as a valid indicator of anything in the UO economy, because RL prices are by definition the product of RL economic forces, not in-game economic forces. If, say, 5 million people played UO, gold would cost more no matter how easy it was to obtain in-game simply because there would be more demand for it. More customers plays as much a role in the price of a product as does that product's availability. Remember, it's supply and demand.

    Why would there being a of gold in the economy be an issue at all? I can think of two arguments. Inflation and wealth disparity.

    • Inflation

    Is inflation the concern? Do we have UO inflation hawks here?

    If you look closely at prices, they have actually gone down for some useful, or essential, items. Indeed sometimes prices have gone down enough that people complain prices are too low. I remember people on GL whining in global chat that GL was an "ignorant" shard because no one would pay over-inflated prices for, say, a metallic dye tub. (They were from other shards which had more of a merchant culture; GL's culture appears more skewed towards "get it yourself if you at all possibly can." I make no claim about which is superior, just highlighting differences.)

    Prices on the Ornament of the Magician are down from a few years ago, down markedly. Crimson Cinctures are in the 12m to 15m range on GL; I usually sell for 10m because I'm all about the quick sale. Prices on Tangles have also rapidly come down in recent times, and now the price is on GL at least commensurate with that of a Cincture. Imbuing has made, say, an excellent demon slayer radiant scimitar decline from 20m in value to 3.5m in value. The catch is that it's imbued and will break down sooner or later; but by the time it has gone down in value you will have made enough money to buy another one. There is a shop near Yew that sells very respectable armor from anyplace from 5k to 100k a pop; those prices are all within range given time. For a little more gold there's a nice shop near Zento. This armor would have cost a lot more a few years ago.

    Barbed Runic Kit prices are way down from just a couple of years ago.

    So if it's inflation, if you see in-game inflation as bad in and of itself, then rest assured that the prices for some useful or essential items have gone down enough to suggest that in UO inflation is uneven enough to in effect render it a non-concern.

    • Wealth Disparity

    Is wealth disparity the issue?

    Well, money is surely available. The catch is you need to hit a certain level of effectiveness before you can start making it. For an experienced player who is tired of being cash-poor? This is actually fairly easy. Demons, dread spiders, lesser hiryus, dragons (not greaters), those two-legged wolf demon thingies from Tokuno, troglodytes....All examples of monsters within range of a mid-level player that have great gold return.

    The mid-range of monsters is very wide in this game. If anything some of them need to have, slightly, more gold, so a newer player can catch up faster.

    And then of course there's joining a guild and talking them into chaining Corguls or chaining the Doom Gauntlet. An excellent way to make money, and to find good equipment, or at least relic fragments, along the way.

    To me, wealth disparity is only an issue if it prevents those at the low end from getting what they want or need, and/or from eroding the disparity. When wealth is not zero-sum and someone without wealth can reasonably acquire it? Then I do not see the issue.

    Where the failure is, is in a brand new player (we do get a few of those, just not a lot) trying to come up to speed and become viable. Even that's doable if you have someone teach you the tricks. (Make your first 20k to 100k on ettins; it'll take forever but then you can buy better armor and move on to earth elementals and demons.) So even the failure isn't complete. And even this failure isn't an economic situation; it's a new player experience situation.

    I knew a guy who made a lot of money on crystal elementals.

    And finally let's not forget one of UO's least-sung truths, which I wouldn't have realized had I not sent a character of mine on a random "wander around the map and explore" quest: There's a lot more casual players in this game than we give credit for. There are players who just log in and live out their characters' daily lives, killing, say, solen infiltrators to buy the bay new shoes and have enough left to kick back with some ale. For those players, neither inflation nor wealth disparity are all that much of an issue as long as they can get what they want and need. We at Stratics are not the entirety, or even the majority, of the UO player base, though we appear to want to think so.

    In other words, one of the key proposals in this thread, reducing the amount of gold on monsters, would appear to be tailor-made to hurt the few new players we have and to hurt casual players.


    • Conclusions

    To me, inflation and wealth disparity would only be an issue in UO if they prevented characters from obtaining the equipment they needed and from functioning in the economy, from living their lives.

    We are fortunate in that UO's "open faucet" system in effect insures that this is unlikely. And as the team's already pointed out, the faucet may need to be opened a bit more to ensure that newer players can get in faster. I suggest merely doubling the gold on some of the lower-end monsters of UO's long mid-range. Say, ettins, trolls, ogres. Things it is traditional for noob characters to fight to bring themselves up to speed. From 100gold to 200gold to 200gold to 400gold.

    People refer to UO's economy as "broken" but the reality is that it's still functioning as an economy. And that's really all that counts. Neither inflation nor deflation nor wealth disparity are all that pressing, as none of them, at present, impinge seriously on the functioning of the game.

    Regardless of your RL political or economic policy orientation, regardless of your stance on RL welfare or RL monetary policy, you simply must try and recognize that the RL economic rules don't apply in UO. The RL economy may or may not be zero/sum. UO's, however, definitely is not. One of the key proposals in this original post would make it closer to a zero/sum model, and that's bad. Horrendous in fact.


    • Additional Thoughts

    The temptation to use RL economics to understand the in-game economy should be resisted for two reasons. One, this is not an RL economy, it is a game, and the "economy" is less of an economy than it is a game mechanic. In single-player games, the economy in effect becomes a sub-game that most players have no problem winning. In an MMO, the economy has aspects resembling an economy but it still isn't one in any meaningful sense. It's a game mechanic. And messing with it is as tricky, or more tricky, as messing with any game mechanic.

    Two, RL economics has a hard enough time explaining its own RL subject matter. Academic economics tends to forget how culturally dependent economies are, for example. And tend to foolishly see their own discipline as more of a hard science, analogous to physics or chemistry, and not as what it is, which is a social science, more analogous to sociology or anthropology than to physics or biology or chemistry.

    (It is worth noting that some of the classical economists, David Ricardo and Adam Smith come to mind, were nowhere near as absolutist in their writings as contemporary economists are in theirs. Those guys understood what they were studying.)

    In-game taxes are a bad idea, and I say that as someone who had sympathy for the notion not too long ago. But then I actually thought about it. IRL, you pay taxes and, whether you realize it or not, get services for them. Roads, cops, public schools, public universities, the Congressional Research Service, etc. In-game the most you could really do would be to obviously upgrade the guards' uniforms or something like that, or start putting in more impressive buildings. And that isn't really the same thing.

    Gold sinks are always fine because they are optional. But as others have pointed out, they are a one-time sink in an open-faucet system. Not necessarily a bad thing.

    And finally: Until you can eliminate duping we won't even really know what the in-game economy "should" be per game mechanics alone.

    -Galen's player
     
  3. Galen Perfect Reply.

    Wealth disparity is not an issue because, as you stated, players can gain access to wealth easily... if they play.

    Wish people would stop saying reduce gold by FACTOR X

    If they do that, I hope the reduce monster gold by FACTOR X and what you can sell back to NPC by FACTOR X.

    If you dont reduce the ENTIRE GAME by the same factor, then you just secretly saying I WANT GOLD WEALTHY to be hurt.


    NOW FOR GOLD SINKS.

    If the made the MAG houses not DECAY you current HOUSE... You would have seen TRILLIONS spent.

    Good Concept... one to grow on.
     
  4. Madrid

    Madrid Slightly Crazed
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    Another friggin' thread on this?:wall: :thumbdown:

    Hit the nail on the head there...sadly.

    Your statement epitomizes what goes on here on stratics all too often.

    Yes it's a free country and people can't talk as much as they want and start as many threads. Unfortunately I have neither the time keep up with these repetitive threads nor do I have the desire to argue against these repetitive posts which have absolutely ZERO evidence to back up the claims. The economy is NOT broke! It's working as it should be! The notion that the economy is broke is nothing more than a figment of players imagination. There is absolutely no concrete evidence to support those claims.

    I really don't understand why people can't put their 2 cents into an already existing thread and let it lie. I see players talking in circles about things there are absolutely no facts to substantiate.

    The worst part is every now and then the Devs buy into it because there are players spending more time posting on stratics than they do playing the game. It's ironic...

    Stratics is and always will be the vocal minority and this thread is a prime example why many players laugh and joke about stratics.

    It's also a shame that Moderators allow this repetitive threads to take place. They should be locked and the OP should be directed to a thread in which there the topic is already being discussed.
     
  5. Amber Moon

    Amber Moon Seasoned Veteran
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    It just that players see the power differential issues of the powerplayer/vet/casual player/noobie through the lens of the economy because the game is so item based now. Fair game play is an issue. Everybody wants what they perceive as level playing field regardless of their playstyle.
     
  6. Dermott of LS

    Dermott of LS UOEC Modder
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    ...

    The economy may not be "broken", but it can definitely be helped with more and more constant, useful ways to remove gold from the game.

    Obviously OP's suggestion #1 is not going to work. All that does is disguise what's going on by lopping off 0s. That really suggests to me that the person suggesting it is going on the logic of "big numbers = broken economy" and is logic that ignores the fact that UO uses a single base currency and not a graduated currency (it's like labelling everything in cents instead of dollars and cents, or in copper pieces in other games such as WoW or LotRO).

    Suggestions 2 and 3 I don;t think are bad suggestions.

    2. Monster loot SHOULD be looked at to see if and where the places that allow for an inordinate amount to be farmed quickly are located. If a monster can be killed in one or two shots and respawns quickly, then they SHOULD NOT be dropping 1000+ gold. By the same token, monster loot should ALWAYS be periodically checked to see if it could be made more interesting by removing older special drops in favor of new ones. Lower end monsters may need a raise in gold drops, mid to upper end probably need a lowering of gold drops.

    3. Again, regardless of how much gold is in or is entering the system, more ways to remove that gold from the game are always helpful so long as they are useful and voluntary. Mandatory, punitive "sinks" whose only function is to remove gold arbitrarily are a HORRIBLE idea.
     
  7. Madrid

    Madrid Slightly Crazed
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    The only problem right now with UO is a lack of players. The game is being flooded with items and there is a lack of players to buy the items.

    I'm neither for or against gold sinks. Personally I see no need for them but I don't have a problem with the Devs introducing them besides the fact I'd like to see their resources and time being spent on something that might actually make the game better. Fix Bugs, High Resolution graphics, another expansion etc...

    None of the recent steps taken by the Dev team indicate they are trying to limit the amount of gold in the game:

    1) Weight of gold was reduced
    2) Bags of Sending were reactivated
    3) Gold on Monsters was increased
    4) Gold at Champion Spawns was increased
    5) The New Brittainian ship was made available at UOgamecodes making an item that was going for 150M is now selling for 20M.

    Perhaps the right hand doesn't know what the left hand is doing...

    There is nothing wrong with the economy! What the game needs is more players which isn't going to happen until they get some contemporary graphics into the game.

    What's killing this game is the 2D Jurrassic Users who have sabatoged every single client that has been introduced in the past 10 years. Just as culpable are the Devs for trying to appease the Jurrassics' time and time again instead of focusing on a client that will actually bring new players. :wall:
     
  8. Amber Moon

    Amber Moon Seasoned Veteran
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    Yep, always makes sense to blame the players for the condition of the game.

    :wall: