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How will you deal with inflation?

Discussion in 'Ultimate RPG Discussions [Archive]' started by Bombadil, Aug 13, 2012.

  1. Bombadil

    Bombadil Guest

    It always happens in games where the gold supply keeps increasing and increasing and items do not decay.

    Look at original Ultima Online and look at recent Diablo III. How could we prevent this from reoccuring?
    Neves, kelmo, Coldren and 1 other person like this.
  2. Vanpry

    Vanpry Visitor
    Stratics Veteran

    Jul 1, 2008
    Likes Received:
    No way to really stop it but I think it can be minimized with item destruction, crafting failures, and up-keep cost to various systems.

    I love crafting but I have seen a trend of crafting resources become semi-rares more and more with the GD nodes only spawning every couple minutes and typically a farmer that sits on every node. Ends up being the material is way more valuable then the item created.
    Valice Belgraham, Coldren and Neves like this.
  3. XDarkxMageX

    XDarkxMageX Visitor

    Aug 17, 2012
    Likes Received:
    Reasonable gold sinks and low drop of coin from the majority of monsters should help keep things under control. I agree with Vanpry that up-keep costs for player housing is a good idea. Also, players should also have to pay fees for, should the game allow it, stabled pets, dry docked ships, hired guards for player cities and taxes for those who are able to purchase homes in NPC cities.
    Valice Belgraham likes this.
  4. Woodsman

    Woodsman Guest

    I think if you reach the point where you start putting in all kinds of gold sinks, like rent or fees for ships, pets, etc., you are making things more complex for players, and difficult. You also run the risk of driving them away. Who the $#%$ wants to track whether they have enough gold to keep their pets/ships/houses? And what happens if they don't have enough gold, and they lose that stuff? Think they are going to stick around in the game?

    If you are having to come up with all kinds of ways to remove gold later on, taxes, mandatory gold sinks, you've done a bad design job up front. You need to be looking at where the gold is coming in at from the beginning.

    If you want gold sinks, make them vanity. Mounts, ships, houses, those should not be considered vanity items. Make it clothing, or maybe only a few ships and mounts (but not constant upkeep).

    But really, I think you need to look at gold coming in from the very beginning. If it's too easy, it needs to be scaled back.
    Valice Belgraham likes this.
  5. H3atmiser

    H3atmiser Guest

    Inflation is subjective; it isn't necessarily because of the monsters spawning too much gold, it's just because players don't have anything to spend it on. The scale of the economy has to match player spending, and if there are no gold sinks around, then the economy will most surely fail.

    If a high level monster were to spawn 1,000 gold every time you kill it, the economy would take that into account, and adjust itself appropriately. Exceptional commodity items would peak at about that gold price range, with lower level items being cheaper. If that same dragon were to drop 100 gold instead, exceptional items would drop down to the 100 gold level, with lower/more common items dropping below. It's all about the scaling; in one game a player with a million gold may be considered rich, while in another it'd be maybe just a "paltry" ten thousand.

    You need to remember that this is a video game where currency gets fabricated out of nowhere, as opposed to circulated in the real-life. Every time you kill a monster, it devalues that currency all that much more.
    Valice Belgraham likes this.
  6. senescal

    senescal Adventurer

    Aug 2, 2012
    Likes Received:
    And why wouldn't this, too, drive players away?
  7. Woodsman

    Woodsman Guest

    There's the problem. There can and will be people who farm several hours a week, either through legit play or through scripting.

    If you start adding in mandatory gold sinks, taxes, whatever you want to call them, to deal with that group of players who outdistance themselves from everybody else as far as gold, you start hurting the newer players, and the casual and non-combatant players. You have to give value to that money and restrict its circulation. You either deal with it at the source, where it's created, or you are constantly treading water coming up with new ways to remove it, and every time you implement new ways, you risk pissing people off.
    Hyper-inflated prices could drive many players away as well. Since videogame gold is basically coming out of a faucet, if you are not careful, you can find new/casual players priced out of the game.

    Not every game can hire economists like World of Warcraft or EVE Online. I don't know the solution, but I think that it needs to be one of the most carefully designed systems from the very start. There is an impulse to want to make it easy for players to get gold, and there is an impulse to try and deal with that group of players who are just going to farm like crazy, legitimately or not.

    And I wouldn't want a system like Warcraft of Diablo where you have tiered gear and the game is designed to force you into constantly buying and selling or tossing gear as you go up the leveling ladder. That has its benefits, it can keep the economy moving along and it prevents players from buying an uber suit early on and then just banking all of their gold as you can theoretically do in UO now, but you have left the sandbox at that point.
    Valice Belgraham likes this.
  8. H3atmiser

    H3atmiser Guest

    I think I finally see where you're coming from, and I agree that there will be players who outpace the majority through legitimate or illegitimate means in every game. However, these "gold farmers" are a very small sector of society; I'm looking for an economic solution that is more situated around the common player, not the hardcore ones. Gold sinks are, more often than not, put in place to stabilize the general economy, not to accommodate the hardcore players.
  9. Vanpry

    Vanpry Visitor
    Stratics Veteran

    Jul 1, 2008
    Likes Received:
    If there is a steady flow of items in and out (item destruction), crafting failures, and make most if not all items reasonable to get in game I think inflation will stay pretty low. For example resource prices in UO never got to out of hand because it wasn't this semi-rare node hunt that most mmos have become. If you keep the economy cycling in and out then a ton of gold sinks won't really be required.

    If URPG is more about player and less about gear (I hope) then inflation shouldn't be a problem.
    Valice Belgraham and Woodsman like this.
  10. Woodsman

    Woodsman Guest

    Vanpry made a good point about it - you need to build it into the system that gold is going to leave the economy on a regular basis through normal use. I think you should be willing to revisit the economy as time goes on to make adjustments - reduce the amount of gold coming in or the rate at which things decay. A lot of games, once they have started, would rather just tack on gold sinks than revisit their economic system. People learn the ins and outs of the economy, and veteran players can generate a lot of gold quickly just by farming a few areas, and that becomes an issue, and the response by many teams is to just make another gold sink or two, although some will revisit areas. Blizzard does this with WOW and Diablo 3 - if they find areas that people find to be really easy farming, they will eventually deal with it.

    When you are talking about the common player, you have to be careful as well. I was saying don't touch housing/mounts/ships with taxes/rent/gold sinks, because you don't want a game that starts taking away things from players if they don't play X amount of hours to raise X amount of gold, and you don't want people to have to feel like they have to play X amount of hours every week just to keep what they have already earned. A sandbox should be where people do what they feel like doing, especially if they are paying a subscription or some other monetary contribution. Putting them in situations where they have to do a certain amount of farming in a dungeon or grinding away at a craft every week is going to decrease player retention, especially if they have limited time, and it cuts down on those times in-game where they just hang out at places or with friends.

    I think you have to go with what you and Vanpry and others said, keep the item destruction/loss constant. With a game like UO, introducing things that made item loss and item destruction almost impossible really changed the dynamics of the game and the economics. On the one hand, people could make uber suits and weapons and rest easy knowing they won't lose them. On the other hand, it created a situation where gold started piling up in player accounts and a certain amount of inflation crept in when it came to other areas. It also through off PvP to an extent, completely taking the risk out of PvP, but that's for another thread.
    Valice Belgraham likes this.
  11. H3atmiser

    H3atmiser Guest

    Item loss and destruction does help immensely with economy inflation, but I wouldn't exactly rest on just those two concepts to keep balance.

    To address the upkeep fee issue, the system I have in mind would accommodate the players on how large/extravagant the house they own is. For example, a small shack which costs 50,000 gold might be "billed" 1000 gold a month, where-as a castle costing 10,000,000 gold would cost 20,000 a month -- each economic situation is taken into mind for each player, at a very minimalistic cost for their appropriate economic stature. These fees would be able to be worked off in an extremely short amount of time.

    One reason why I like this system so much is because it doesn't penalize the player for going on vacation or taking a break; simply just allocate the appropriate funds in your bank for however long you'll be gone and you will not have a worry in the world about your house collapsing. It also helps the urban sprawl variety a little bit as well; the UO shard "Second Age" comes to mind. If you look at the housing situation on this shard you'll notice that anywhere that a castle/keep can be placed there is one; a lot of these players over the months this shard has been up accumulated so much wealth they just go ahead and buy huge real estates and think nothing of it. Of course the idea that the shard might be doling out gold a bit too generously comes to mind, but one must remember that, especially with games like these, players are constantly making progress on their character. There will eventually come a time where players "plateau" in skill/level, and if there aren't enough gold sinks they will eventually plateau in wealth as well.

    Meh, these are just my thoughts anyways. You're probably right about how the common, casual player doesn't want any of these features in this game, and chances are, the upkeep system will more than likely not make it into URPG. Gone are the days of the virtual world, where full-loot and petty crimes such as stealing and house theft were committed. I genuinely miss the fact that you had to be quick to enter your house, and lock the door behind you not risk yourself being killed by a malicious, conniving player. I might be a little uncouth when saying this, but I really wish the typical, casual player wasn't so self-centered about just their own character progression; they should learn to enjoy the game as a whole, and think on their own feet for once instead of relying on the game's stranglehold of that is a ruleset.
    Valice Belgraham likes this.
  12. Woodsman

    Woodsman Guest

    The kind of game you describe can and does happen - EVE Online is the biggest example, but Darkfall to an extent, and the upcoming ArcheAge, which embraces bits of UO, EVE, and even Dark Age of Camelot. I actually enjoy that kind of game - the thrill and risk inherent in EVE Online's PvP is second to none as far as I'm concerned. It's difficult though, because that type of gameplay automatically excludes a large part of the market. They have less economic problems though, since you can and do loose things all the time.

    It's difficult to do that within URPG because Richard Garriott embraces non-combatant players who may come in and want to do nothing but craft and mine and chop their hours away while hanging out with players. And I maybe wrong about my housing views, I just think that because housing is done so rarely in MMORPGs, that it should be seen as something to bring people into the game and keep them around and that it should be the cornerstone of any subscription fee.

    My biggest concern is that if you get people used to the idea of things like housing or mounts or ships being a continuous gold sink, and if the economy gets out of whack, what happens if they increase such fees/taxes/rents on those things to try to adjust the economy? You begin to push new players and casual players out of the picture.

    And casual players is probably a poor choice of words on my part, I don't mean people who participate in very little of the game, I mean people who have less time. Luna bank sitters to me are casual players. Some of them can spend 20 hours a week just chatting away at the bank. I've got friends who might only play 2-3 hours a week and be considered casual players, but 95% of that 2-3 hours is knee-deep in combat in a dungeon somewhere or in PvP. They'll see more action in that 2-3 hours a week than a Luna banksitter might see in 2-3 weeks, if not a month.
    #12 Woodsman, Aug 23, 2012
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 23, 2012
  13. Red

    Red Guest

    I know that this idea was toyed with when factions came along, but what if there were a certain group of people that ran a city, including the economy?
    I think that this has the potential to be very cool.
    I think it would be more immersive if I was actually a citizen of some city, and could contribute and participate with the city function.
    ArturoGurrola likes this.
  14. Bombadil

    Bombadil Guest

    Maybe there SHOULD be a limited gold circulation which depends on the amount of players in the game.

    Think about it - with all RPG's - where does gold come from? Monsters?

    But why?

    Isn't that silly? Maybe it is time to abolish this rather weird practice. Monsters should drop appropriate loot. There should never be a scimitar on a rat.

    Gold should come from doing transactions with NPC's, from renting out property, from taxes. There should be a different economic system if you truly want to make this game interesting and not just another "let's grind for gold".
  15. Bombadil

    Bombadil Guest

    Also, easy answer - item decay and repair. Make it costly.
  16. Pito Wilson

    Pito Wilson Visitor

    Nov 28, 2012
    Likes Received:
    Good day to all, I have just arrived.

    Im sure that everyone here has UO experience. I am trying to read every post to get up to date, it seems amazing to be able to contribute to this. The creation of this new world emerging. Thank you Mr. Garriot.

    I am in favor of some of the last posts, a new game economy can and should be devised, based on "work". Killing a dragon surely is work, until it is worked out like a formula and now someone can produce tons of gold (among other things) in a purely mechanical way.

    My grain of sand is this.

    If certain non-necessary but rather useful consumable items are only available through npcs that creates an automatic sink hole for gold, though it may take away something from the game.

    If spawning is not fixed to a specific place could also help things out, randomness can be a very interesting concept. Say you know dragons spawn around this area but you dont know exactly where, no one does.

    Perhaps traveling could be another aspect of the game that could be capitalized on. In fact in a certain way game creators must act the role of government, finding ways to take our good earned cash, without causing that "we the people" revolt to another game, and this too could be a very interesting aspect of the game.

    Player interaction within the game can be taken to new levels, which I believe was at the heart-core of UO, where players could get involved in almost every aspect of the game. With a good responsible staff it could be achieved and maintained.

    A very important thing to keep in mind is that "we the players" must never, EVER, be punished for either being too good, playing "too" much, adquiring too many. In fact thats precisely what a hardcore player is.

    Check and balances. Subtleness.

    Pito Wilson
    Sera Presidente!
    #16 Pito Wilson, Nov 28, 2012
    Last edited: Nov 28, 2012
  17. Tanivar

    Tanivar Crazed Zealot
    Stratics Veteran Stratics Legend

    May 28, 2003
    Likes Received:
    How about having a set amount of gold available in game based on the current number of subscriptions and have it circulate via Player and NPC activity? Brigands rob a bank of a large amount of gold, each player loses that percentage of gold which is now circulating among the monsters, brigands, and treasure stashes, to be found by Players again.

    A Player hordes gold at his house, this becomes known and a dragon attacks to get the gold, and perhaps items for it's own horde in it's cave. This would make hording not a really good idea. He could be able to hire NPC guards to try and protect his piles of gold and the gold they are paid would become available again.

    NPC thieves mug Players, break into a house and carry out whatever weight they can carry in gold. That gold winds up back in circulation.

    Have banks, merchants, and Player crafters have to move gold & goods by caravan between cities. They may get attacked by NPC Orcs and lose some gold & goods, or they may make it safely to their destination.

    This would limit the total gold in the game, and provide ways to keep too much of that gold from being kept out of circulation by Players hanging onto it. Anyone really rich is going to be a target for anyone who wants some of that gold for themselves.
  18. Krellian

    Krellian Visitor

    Mar 8, 2013
    Likes Received:
    What about allowing a guild that conquers a certain aspect of the game such as a quantity of territory or trade - allow them to introduce a new currency form (silver, rubies, whatever) Automatically it would be a scarce item, and gradually monsters would drop it, vendors would stop trading in the old currency and adopt the new one if that guild holds their position long enough, say months.

    Then you wouldn't have to have tons of gold sinks because players wouldn't lose pets, houses, or other assets (assuming there isn't a huge fee on them) and they could convert their old currency to the new at a loss.

    If you had a lot of gold and wanted to keep that as the main currency, you'd have to team up with other guilds and take down the dominant one. Players would really determine the scarcity of a currency and there wouldn't be big losses to the less wealthy players. - Big money players aren't really put out of the game if they lose 10% of their 50 million.
    #18 Krellian, Mar 8, 2013
    Last edited: Mar 8, 2013