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Economics!

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Re: Economics!

Postby Octavius » Wed Dec 18, 2013 4:33 pm

Letters wrote:Esgaroth probably doesn't have a mint. There's probably money brought by refugees or scavengers from Dale, or the dwarven realm or other places further afield. I doubt that there is any sort of standardised system of coinage made from precious metal. Here are two suggestions.


As a center of trade, I do like mixed currency.
* I could see doing this by mixing coins of a variety of origins into their mix, each with a different value, and letting it roll. This gets a little messy, but would function and also have a little fun.
* I can also see if we can variabilize coins. If we do this, you could have coins be common in some ways (the small, silver coin is always 20 cents) but have them randomize the appearance from a host of civilizations.

Converting everything to promisory notes with the gold in a Vault might seem risky with Smaug around. I'm sure he'd like if they tidied it all into a vault for him.


Letters wrote:Spears should be the weapon of choice, with perhaps a variety of other wood-hafted weaponry. Good weapons should be few and far between, and the very best of them would be imported, and probably tightly controlled by the town. Swords should be tremendously expensive. Helmets should be the only common form of metal armour, and the production of mail, while possible in the town, should be long and slow, and mail armour itself unaffordable for all but the stupendously wealthy or those sponsored by the town itself.


This seems sensible. With Erebor closed, metal is an expensive import.

Letters wrote:Tools
This has always been an under-explored field. I don't have anything in particular to say other than to flag it up as an item of interest. Perhaps wear on tools as they're used would be a good thing to have, creating a genuine need for a toolmaker, and another sink for money and resources.

Wear on items
This is vital to ensure a constant cycling of old, worn-down objects out of the system, and new ones back in. Weapons should need to be discarded or reforged eventually. Cloth and leather that is damaged by some direct means should require patching, and even then, it should eventually be worn down to the point of needing to be replaced. Mail should be hard to damage, but once it is damaged, it will need the care of a skilled smith to repair.

It would be nice to see some crafts have a chance to cause damage to clothing. This would keep people wearing sensible work clothes when working, and even those might need replacing.

Fine clothing in particular should require special services to clean up properly. I don't know how feasible that is to implement, but it would certainly keep people wearing it in sensible places.

As mentioned above, it would be nice to see tools have a bigger part to play than just being some easily replaced item.


With the new code, this is possible for certain tools. We can make a particular tool to be a "Use_component" which has a certain number of uses to it. When those uses are up, the tool breaks and needs to be repaired. We can make that number of uses hidden or visible (as it is a numeric counter), or I can make it roughly discernible through an object prog that affects the LOOK command.

The other option is to have use actually damage the item. This wear-and-tear is now a standard feature of Weapons and Armor, as they take actual damage from use in addition to the people. Almost no other objects are impacted by this, though. Having coded damage apply to worn or used items in non-combat situations is likely a large code project. Damage on items needs to be repaired with "repair kit" items. This usually entails a portable item like a "leather polishing set" which can mend small damages to leather, or a larger shop-based toolset that requires proficient skill and can repair larger damages. (Those from ARPI are familiar with this model).

Letters wrote:If there are even shop-fronts at all, I'd rather see them as an opportunity for PC to PC sales.


How would you implement this?

Sales through RP are governed by playtimes, but already possible. They can be done by barter or by coin but are limited by playtimes and RPTs.

Shops as an intermediary (buy from one PC, sell to another) are possible, but offer fixed prices (affected by the Haggle command) and require coin for liquidity.

Auction House code can allow more direct PC-to-PC transaction with player-determined pricing, or auction-style demand-based pricing. It also requires coin for liquidity.

Letters wrote:
People can harvest raw materials.
These people can only sell directly to other PCs, including merchants in particular.

People can make stuff. These people can sell directly to other PCs, and are also able to get a modest income from selling to vNPCs, by using a system akin to Harshlands', rather than the old vNPC sales system.

People can work jobs that don't involve making anything. They'll be paid directly by their employer, whether PC or NPC. A set of basic crafts to ensure that they have to do more than log in for twenty seconds once a week and type payday would prevent the style of abuse of this system which has occurred in the past.

Merchants can sell stuff directly to a select few NPCs. The demand for goods can be adjusted by staff at will. Merchants must source their goods from PCs.

The production of high quality goods in the town should be long and difficult. The very best stuff will need to come from outside, via PC merchants.

Letters wrote:The people who cannot gain vNPC income directly in that proposal are the gatherers of raw materials. Enabling such gatherers to sell their goods directly to NPCs and vNPCs in the past has created preposterous (it required that much emphasis) amounts of wealth, no matter how much it was tweaked and adjusted. I'd much rather see them be required to deal with crafters, or with merchants who handle exports, which can in turn be staff-regulated much more easily than sales for every PC in the game can.


So, we have a simpler setting for Alpha, as the Lumber Camp has a more finite economy. If it works in Alpha, we can expand it to multiple industries in Lake Town. Let me see if I can use Alpha as an example to summarize what you propose above.

Resources are gathered in the Mirkwood - this includes regular lumber, Ironwood lumber, meat, hides, plus forageable herbs/fruits/veggies.

  • Resources are not easily converted to cash. The ability to get straight-up coin for gathered resources should have a low cap.
  • Bulk resources of specific commodities are able to be traded to Merchant Caravans for export.
  • To limit liquid coin, these bulk commodity trades will be done for a "voucher" or non-coin medium that allows barter for only other bulk-provision.
  • All non-town goods are available only by import and can be gotten only in bulk-provision with a voucher.
  • PC Merchants / Clan Lead types would handle brokering these bulk-commodity deals and would need to break up the imports for town-sale and use.
  • Non-trade goods would be for town use. If they can't be converted easily to cash, they would fill demand, stockpile, and then begin to expire... overharvesting of resources is disincentivized by it going to waste (after they expended to get it).
  • Resources are needed by crafters, who will engage in the PC-to-PC agreements to make use of stockpiles (creating natural demand levels).
  • PC crafters need demand for their goods to keep this flowing. They could sell to NPC vendors who's purchase levels will be staff-tweaked. (PCs owning shops with their own random vNPC sales are deemed a bad thing.) They will sell to PCs according to PC-demand for their goods. They could bulk-trade to Merchants under the bulk-lot system if their goods are of high enough quality for export.
  • We could create additional bulk-outlet (demand) of goods in the economy by allowing other uses besides NPC vendors and PC sales. Supporting vNPC farms results in more local output from them. Supporting vNPC militia could result in populated security nodes in the edge of the forest to defend against orcs.
  • Service-based jobs valued by the town will be supported by staple incomes that require time (and/or timers) to acquire. The doctor can have craftable patients who pay him. The town guard patrols can have points they need to check in at to show they actually walked their beat.

Does that sound like a correct adaptation of your ideas?


Time and Timers

One design principle I'm keeping in mind is that we want people to spend online time doing their actual role. Crafters will not execute a lone craft and then go hang out at the pub. The use of progress-crafts is something we pioneered in the ARPI codebase that SOI will now use. This causes time to be spent starting the project, doing the correct amount of stitching, preparing the side-elements, then assembling the final product. If you're playing a clothier, it could take you 20 minutes to roleplay through making a swanky jacket in your shop. Therefore, other players can expect to find you working in your shop more often.

I've raised the idea of adopting the ARPI model of therefore also using craft timers on finished products for economic purposes rather than realism purposes. Basic goods that are quickly made are 2 hours. Ordinary goods 6 hours. Superior goods are 24 hours. But these timers go on the finished products - you have more options for prep-work and progression crafts to let you continue roleplaying actually doing your job in your shop while that timer goes. The timers serve to set an initial balance for the proliferation of high-end goods.

Thoughts on that?
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Re: Economics!

Postby Olthadir » Wed Dec 18, 2013 4:52 pm

I like everything that Octavius presents here. I feel it is fair and attempts to repair a lot of the damage that was evident in the old game.

One comment on the coins themselves. I really like the random descriptions from a variety of locales, but what about the old standby, weight? From my understanding weights were always used to balance out coins from different countries, minted by different people. In various trade centers it was weight that determined the value. As Esgaroth and Utterby are both trade centers, wouldn't it make sense that one uses copper, silver and gold (the old metal standbys for currency) weights to determine what they can purchase?

I don't know how much trouble that can make for the code. Just thought I'd throw it out there.
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Re: Economics!

Postby Letters » Wed Dec 18, 2013 6:18 pm

Octavius wrote:As a center of trade, I do like mixed currency.
* I could see doing this by mixing coins of a variety of origins into their mix, each with a different value, and letting it roll. This gets a little messy, but would function and also have a little fun.
* I can also see if we can variabilize coins. If we do this, you could have coins be common in some ways (the small, silver coin is always 20 cents) but have them randomize the appearance from a host of civilizations.

Converting everything to promisory notes with the gold in a Vault might seem risky with Smaug around. I'm sure he'd like if they tidied it all into a vault for him.


Mixed coinage would be cool. If the variable idea is feasible for use as a currency (that's pretty much dependent on the object type, I'm assuming?) then it would be pretty cool to see, especially since, as I recall, a particular variable can directly effect the value of objects. On the other hand, wrongly loaded variables could become a real pain, so the hand-built ones might be a safer bet?


Octavius wrote:This seems sensible. With Erebor closed, metal is an expensive import.


And perhaps required for tools before it goes into the production of swords. The one cautionary note I'd put down would be to communicate to people pretty clearly that their sword skill or metal-related skills might be less than useful, at least compared to what they're used to.

Octavius wrote:With the new code, this is possible for certain tools. We can make a particular tool to be a "Use_component" which has a certain number of uses to it. When those uses are up, the tool breaks and needs to be repaired. We can make that number of uses hidden or visible (as it is a numeric counter), or I can make it roughly discernible through an object prog that affects the LOOK command.

The other option is to have use actually damage the item. This wear-and-tear is now a standard feature of Weapons and Armor, as they take actual damage from use in addition to the people. Almost no other objects are impacted by this, though. Having coded damage apply to worn or used items in non-combat situations is likely a large code project. Damage on items needs to be repaired with "repair kit" items. This usually entails a portable item like a "leather polishing set" which can mend small damages to leather, or a larger shop-based toolset that requires proficient skill and can repair larger damages. (Those from ARPI are familiar with this model).

Tools with limited uses would do it. Then some crafts might be more wearing on tools than others, and consume multiple uses - I'd set the base number of uses on all tools to some pretty high number to allow for a suitable level of granularity here. Could also include some skill-boosting but expensive tools, too.

Octavius wrote:
Letters wrote:If there are even shop-fronts at all, I'd rather see them as an opportunity for PC to PC sales.


How would you implement this?

Sales through RP are governed by playtimes, but already possible. They can be done by barter or by coin but are limited by playtimes and RPTs.

Shops as an intermediary (buy from one PC, sell to another) are possible, but offer fixed prices (affected by the Haggle command) and require coin for liquidity.

Auction House code can allow more direct PC-to-PC transaction with player-determined pricing, or auction-style demand-based pricing. It also requires coin for liquidity.


The auction house has never survived long in any setting, though if the fees required to use it were to be stripped away - and those have always seemed the greatest deterrent - then I can see it being more feasible. Or perhaps waive the fees for PCs that belong to some suitable clan - which they might gain membership to by any number of means, up to and including just being useful to the town. When it comes down to it, I don't think contriving IC reasons to make it easy to use hurts, since it's something of an OOC convenience to begin with.

I hadn't actually considered the prospect of buying goods at shopfronts. Selling them there works (with the caveat that money is required), but I just don't know how to make buying feasible. The auction house system is a much safer bet there. Is it possible to set up regular shopkeepers as sort-of auction house keepers, so that they can just deal with an individual PC's sales and requests?

Another idea is a postal service, of sorts. These have existed elsewhere before, in various incarnations, typically involving a prog which takes a package and whisks it away to the appropriate postbox. That's possible. Another might be some manner of holding space in the central market. I'm not sure how automated it could be, and suspect it would require staff setup for each 'space', but essentially, would it be possible for PCs to rent, for some token fee, a storage space in the marketplace, that other PCs can place items in using a prog? The rental fee would be a token annual amount or something. It would allow for asynchronous trade to take place.

When it comes down to it, I think that all boils down to creating a measure of OOC convenience when it comes to trade, without it being jarring.

Octavius wrote:So, we have a simpler setting for Alpha, as the Lumber Camp has a more finite economy. If it works in Alpha, we can expand it to multiple industries in Lake Town. Let me see if I can use Alpha as an example to summarize what you propose above.

Resources are gathered in the Mirkwood - this includes regular lumber, Ironwood lumber, meat, hides, plus forageable herbs/fruits/veggies.


Cool. I'll step through it point by point to make sure we're understanding each other properly. I also posted viewtopic.php?f=2&t=307 for clarity's sake, since I realised that it may all make much more sense in my head than it does written out.

Octavius wrote:
  • Resources are not easily converted to cash. The ability to get straight-up coin for gathered resources should have a low cap.
  • Bulk resources of specific commodities are able to be traded to Merchant Caravans for export.

Yup. Resources are the one thing in-game which comes from 'nothing', in a manner of speaking. Anyone with an abundance of them has been easy to get rich pretty quickly in the past. As well as making them a little harder to gather, I'd only have specific means by which to offload them in bulk, and the main one would be staff-regulated caravans - the other, likely smaller one, being sales to PC crafters.

Octavius wrote:
  • To limit liquid coin, these bulk commodity trades will be done for a "voucher" or non-coin medium that allows barter for only other bulk-provision.
  • All non-town goods are available only by import and can be gotten only in bulk-provision with a voucher.
  • PC Merchants / Clan Lead types would handle brokering these bulk-commodity deals and would need to break up the imports for town-sale and use.

I hadn't quite considered that, but, yes, the ability to barter with NPC caravans rather than just using money would be excellent - and if I understand correctly, the voucher is essentially something of an OOC construct to enable 'barter' without liquid assets ever entering the scenario. I think I'd leave the option for money in there, perhaps? I'd give all the people permitted by the town to trade a specific clan (Merchant of Esgaroth or something), which might come with such advantages as being able to enter caravan offices/halting sites, or using crafts related to bulk goods.

Octavius wrote:
  • Non-trade goods would be for town use. If they can't be converted easily to cash, they would fill demand, stockpile, and then begin to expire... overharvesting of resources is disincentivized by it going to waste (after they expended to get it).

Wastage timers on resources - I like that one. Crops would inevitably spoil if left in a heap, fish would rot if left unprocessed, even timber may need to be kept in appropriate conditions, and even if processed to increase their longevity, some things just need to be consumed before too long anyway.

Octavius wrote:
  • Resources are needed by crafters, who will engage in the PC-to-PC agreements to make use of stockpiles (creating natural demand levels).
  • PC crafters need demand for their goods to keep this flowing. They could sell to NPC vendors who's purchase levels will be staff-tweaked. (PCs owning shops with their own random vNPC sales are deemed a bad thing.) They will sell to PCs according to PC-demand for their goods. They could bulk-trade to Merchants under the bulk-lot system if their goods are of high enough quality for export.

Yup. As long as there are PC crafters, there's a certain degree of consistent demand for raw materials. I don't know what the best way to handle the NPC vendors would be - the Harshlands system is one option, if perhaps a little excessive for one set of PCs - but basically, two equally skilled PC crafters should be able to obtain roughly the same amount from sales to an NPC purchaser in a given time period, even if the sales they make to PCs might vary wildly according to who they know and demand for goods. And yes to the trade to Merchants for goods of sufficient quality for export, too.

Octavius wrote:
  • We could create additional bulk-outlet (demand) of goods in the economy by allowing other uses besides NPC vendors and PC sales. Supporting vNPC farms results in more local output from them. Supporting vNPC militia could result in populated security nodes in the edge of the forest to defend against orcs.

Sounds good. I'd be a little careful with having NPCs themselves sell goods, so if vNPC farms are working away, the extra goods which they produce might only be of the bulk export sort, perhaps? I like the idea of supporting the militia having results, too, though I'd worry that automation of such a system might lead to nodes of isolated NPCs that get massacred piecemeal. On the other hand, just keeping a counter for some ambiguously defined 'support level' might be something that staff could put to use for hand-placed things and plot stuff?
Octavius wrote:
  • Service-based jobs valued by the town will be supported by staple incomes that require time (and/or timers) to acquire. The doctor can have craftable patients who pay him. The town guard patrols can have points they need to check in at to show they actually walked their beat.

Yup. I feel that this is particularly vital, actually. If these jobs were to run off a regular payday system, while enabling PCs to also engage in a side-job, whether crafting or gathering, at the same time, then you would inevitably see many PCs working both a 'service' job and one that involves crafting or gathering, and getting the full benefits for both. Having some crafts attached to the service jobs means that, while PCs can still work multiple jobs, they'll only get partial benefits from each.

Octavius wrote:Does that sound like a correct adaptation of your ideas?

Yes, it does. I'm curious about the 'voucher' idea in particular. Otherwise, I think the goal of drastically limiting and regulating the number of points by which any substantial amount of money can enter the system is achieved.

Octavius wrote:Time and Timers

One design principle I'm keeping in mind is that we want people to spend online time doing their actual role. Crafters will not execute a lone craft and then go hang out at the pub. The use of progress-crafts is something we pioneered in the ARPI codebase that SOI will now use. This causes time to be spent starting the project, doing the correct amount of stitching, preparing the side-elements, then assembling the final product. If you're playing a clothier, it could take you 20 minutes to roleplay through making a swanky jacket in your shop. Therefore, other players can expect to find you working in your shop more often.

I've raised the idea of adopting the ARPI model of therefore also using craft timers on finished products for economic purposes rather than realism purposes. Basic goods that are quickly made are 2 hours. Ordinary goods 6 hours. Superior goods are 24 hours. But these timers go on the finished products - you have more options for prep-work and progression crafts to let you continue roleplaying actually doing your job in your shop while that timer goes. The timers serve to set an initial balance for the proliferation of high-end goods.

Thoughts on that?

I wouldn't go with a straight 2/6/24 hour timer set-up, I think. An embroidered handkerchief might be a superior quality piece, requiring a high level of ability to produce, but it still shouldn't take too long to make. Weaving a bolt of linen could be time-consuming, whereas sewing a decent shirt might be much quicker. I would base the timers on a mix of the time it would realistically take, first and foremost, then a balance between the cost of materials and the value of the end product.

Even if a craft produces a superior quality product, if it has both a timer of unlikely length, and the materials for it are expensive, I doubt many people are likely to use it. If a person wants a table, they might laugh a carpenter off completely if he offers to provide an elaborately carved piece made from some sort of fancy wood over a regular, plain table, which has somehow only taken him a twelfth of the time to make.

While I don't quite know the feasibility of it, I'd rather see crafts assessed one-by-one when it comes to setting timers, and even if timers turn out to be too short or too long the first time around, they can still be changed later.

High quality arms and armour have always been a hard thing to control, and it always gets worse as time goes by. I'd put particularly harsh timers on some of these. A mail hauberk may require a full week's worth of timers to produce, never mind the material requirements, and it would ideally need attention from a smith to repair if it suffered battle damage, too - I think it's easy enough to set that up by having only certain items that can repair metal armour, and having those require skills, isn't it?

Getting side-tracked a little there, anyway.

Edited much much later: perhaps a separate thread for craft timers? Incidentally, doing a little reading, it may have taken a matter of months, in reality, for a single mail shirt to be produced. That's no small thing. While a lot of it may be repetitive, monotonous work done by apprentices, there's still probably a very limited amount that a town's worth of smiths can produce, between that and their other work.

Here's an idea for a frighteningly hideous hack for damage to items outside of combat.

Damage, whatever its source, appears to cause damage to clothing covering the relevant body part. Is it possible to set up a prog which triggers when certain crafts are run which causes damage but is so utterly pathetic against 'natural armour' - even if a human's natural AC is 0 - that it won't do damage, even if they're wearing nothing? It may still cause damage to worn items. It's an ugly, ugly hack, if it even works at all, but it would be kind of neat to see labourers actually needing to replace clothing every once in a while. And then I consider that it still doesn't account for upkeep of fancy clothes, which may grow decrepit over time, and start not to like it much anyway. Perhaps something for a much later date.
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Re: Economics!

Postby tehkory » Thu Dec 19, 2013 2:04 am

This usually entails a portable item like a "leather polishing set" which can mend small damages to leather, or a larger shop-based toolset that requires proficient skill and can repair larger damages. (Those from ARPI are familiar with this model).


These are portable and only work when held in Atonement's stock codebase. Has a change been made to make them notake/super heavy/shop-only, or is this a confusion of language on my part?

ETA:

Even if a craft produces a superior quality product, if it has both a timer of unlikely length, and the materials for it are expensive, I doubt many people are likely to use it. If a person wants a table, they might laugh a carpenter off completely if he offers to provide an elaborately carved piece made from some sort of fancy wood over a regular, plain table, which has somehow only taken him a twelfth of the time to make.

It's pretty obvious why a mastercraft table takes longer to make. I'm not sure where the 'somehow' comes from, exactly. Having spent time in Atonement's case, the endgame--even despite armor and weapons wear and tear--is that people end up with whatever the best is very, very quickly and the best becomes the bare minimum standard with shocking ease. Timers, no matter how ridiculous, materials, no matter how onerous the requirements, won't stop people.
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Re: Economics!

Postby Octavius » Thu Dec 19, 2013 11:10 am

Letters wrote:Mixed coinage would be cool. If the variable idea is feasible for use as a currency (that's pretty much dependent on the object type, I'm assuming?) then it would be pretty cool to see, especially since, as I recall, a particular variable can directly effect the value of objects. On the other hand, wrongly loaded variables could become a real pain, so the hand-built ones might be a safer bet?


I would not include variable valuation in the mix as the system would explode. :) I can test if variable descriptions of the coins are feasible.

Tools with limited uses would do it. Then some crafts might be more wearing on tools than others, and consume multiple uses - I'd set the base number of uses on all tools to some pretty high number to allow for a suitable level of granularity here. Could also include some skill-boosting but expensive tools, too.


I'll be honest: Skill-boosting is tough because crafting occurs in a very narrow probability range. You don't branch a craft until you are pretty likely to succeed at it, and boosts narrow that margin too quickly. Skill boosts are more effective in open-ended places like Combat and Healing, where they already do (and will) come into play.

I hadn't actually considered the prospect of buying goods at shopfronts. Selling them there works (with the caveat that money is required), but I just don't know how to make buying feasible.


This requires both brainstorming and testing. Shops could always be set to buy things - we can filter to allow by things that are makeable by PCs, things of different quality levels (basic, ordinary, superior, epic), etc.

What is hard to control is how many the shop will buy. I remember the old code would only allow sale of 32 stackable items, which limited the amount of coin PCs could get. In a variabilized system, however, items are a lot less stackable and I'm not sure it will limit.

If this is an issue, we need to think of a way to limit how much they buy either by prog or code. If we have sales-by-prog and it checks to limit the amount bought-per-day, we can achieve limitation but we lose the ability to use the haggle skill. If we limit the amount of coin in the NPC till, it will only buy until it runs out of cash, but that lets the first PC that comes up after the reset take it all, which is a different problem.

I lack a good answer here and seek input.

I hadn't quite considered that, but, yes, the ability to barter with NPC caravans rather than just using money would be excellent - and if I understand correctly, the voucher is essentially something of an OOC construct to enable 'barter' without liquid assets ever entering the scenario. I think I'd leave the option for money in there, perhaps? I'd give all the people permitted by the town to trade a specific clan (Merchant of Esgaroth or something), which might come with such advantages as being able to enter caravan offices/halting sites, or using crafts related to bulk goods.


It is possible, and Icarus and Frigga will make the ultimate call on that. For myself, I'm not inclined to allow any cash in the transactions. I simply don't want that size of a cash-pile ever existing, or being useful in a way that incentivizes trying to have it exist. (In fact, I'd lobby that if you had a big enough pile of gold to purchase an entire shipment of import goods, that Smaug smells your greed and the gold, and shows up to take it from you.)

In my ideal system, the "vouchers" would also be perishable. You'd need to trade goods relatively quickly (certainly less than a RL week) before the "merchant leaves." This forces players to sit on resources rather than vouchers. I want people dealing with the bulk-goods and what to do with them and not hoarding vouchers any more than hoarding gold.

I don't have a problem with Merchant clanning to get into the Trade Hall, particularly once we move to Laketown, but that consideration needs to account for the size of the playerbase and the willingness of PCs to fill those roles vice others.

Wastage timers on resources - I like that one. Crops would inevitably spoil if left in a heap, fish would rot if left unprocessed, even timber may need to be kept in appropriate conditions, and even if processed to increase their longevity, some things just need to be consumed before too long anyway.


Having seen resource piles and cooked-food piles in SOI, I think we all see the merit, here. Frigga tends to like very high realism, so I think that requiring smoking/preserving or cooking-fresh will likely be part of the system. She'll correct me if I'm wrong, of course. :)

Yup. As long as there are PC crafters, there's a certain degree of consistent demand for raw materials. I don't know what the best way to handle the NPC vendors would be - the Harshlands system is one option, if perhaps a little excessive for one set of PCs - but basically, two equally skilled PC crafters should be able to obtain roughly the same amount from sales to an NPC purchaser in a given time period, even if the sales they make to PCs might vary wildly according to who they know and demand for goods. And yes to the trade to Merchants for goods of sufficient quality for export, too.


This needs more thought. Please continue to propose.

Any use of shops favors the early.

Issuing OOC tokens to allow evenly-distributed sales (ala Harshlands) is jarring to me.


tehkory wrote:
This usually entails a portable item like a "leather polishing set" which can mend small damages to leather, or a larger shop-based toolset that requires proficient skill and can repair larger damages. (Those from ARPI are familiar with this model).


These are portable and only work when held in Atonement's stock codebase. Has a change been made to make them notake/super heavy/shop-only, or is this a confusion of language on my part?


Nope, you are right. I forgot about that issue. Our codebase is going to be stock codebase in most ways, so this will still be a problem.

I would make the the repair object a "workbench of tools" that weighs about 150lbs but is takeable. That's big enough that nobody will try to carry it around. The workaround will need to be that the crafter picks up the workbench when working and emotes using tools from it as they repair things.


tehkory wrote:
Even if a craft produces a superior quality product, if it has both a timer of unlikely length, and the materials for it are expensive, I doubt many people are likely to use it. If a person wants a table, they might laugh a carpenter off completely if he offers to provide an elaborately carved piece made from some sort of fancy wood over a regular, plain table, which has somehow only taken him a twelfth of the time to make.

It's pretty obvious why a mastercraft table takes longer to make. I'm not sure where the 'somehow' comes from, exactly. Having spent time in Atonement's case, the endgame--even despite armor and weapons wear and tear--is that people end up with whatever the best is very, very quickly and the best becomes the bare minimum standard with shocking ease. Timers, no matter how ridiculous, materials, no matter how onerous the requirements, won't stop people.


True, and something I'm inviting suggestions on.

Availability/scarcity of resources is one issue, but any resource that can be gathered will eventually be stockpiled until all rarity consideration is gone. (Desirable Titon metal was indeed scarce for a number of months on ARPI, but eventually it did saturate.)

For resources that are import-only, we can regulate it far more closely, but as no items of quality ever leave the game, this will result in eventual creep as well. Wear and tear adds cost to keeping them, but actual removal still will be rare.

The 2/6/24 timers are designed to help regulate via opportunity cost... do you want 12 basic swords to equip a whole unit, or do you want one superior sword to outfit a single hero?

That broke down on ARPI as there was no need or demand for the basic items, and thus no opportunity cost. Crafting was only to equip PCs, and PCs are all heroes who want the individual superior item. It could be 24 hours or 2 weeks and eventually they'd all have it. Balancing that requires having a demand for basic goods which can logically compete for the Crafter's time with PC demands - creating that demand is part of our economic dilemma.

Options for creating demand for basic-quality items include:

* Bulk export. If necessary materials are gotten by import, and can only be gotten by trading desired bulk exports, then there is an incentive to make a large quantity of basic or ordinary items and bundle them. These finished goods, though, might be competing against bulk-export raw materials (loads of Ironwood lumber, for example) that are easier to acquire and prepare, depending on how we build the market system. This would inhibit this driver.

* vNPC Soldier Provision. This is creating the literal choice of "do you want one guy with a superior sword or twelve guys with basic swords?" If we create a mechanism whereby provisioning and equipping a unit of 12 guys can create a game effect caused by those 12 guys, it could be enough incentive to make the crafter think twice. Outpost archers in the edge of Mirkwood to protect the town, equipped guards for the merchant caravans to protect them from orc predations, improved guardsman on the town wall to protect from assault - these are all ways that the Human side could put an NPC buffer between the PCs and the Orc side through economics. Is that a good enough opportunity to make the weapon/armor-crafters really judge what they're making with their timers? Game design-wise, it allows the humans to combat Orcs with either their PCs or with economic advantage, and allows the Orcs to have NPCs to fight against based on human initiative, rather than always slaughtering PCs. Balance is very difficult, though, and failure to balance has the natural consequence of item quality inflation.

* vNPC non-soldier provision - providing for and supporting groups of vNPC fisherman, farmers, laborers, etc, as mentioned in the earlier post, provides a demand for goods but doesn't necessarily compete in a way to prevent item-quality-creep.
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Re: Economics!

Postby Icarus » Thu Dec 19, 2013 12:28 pm

Throttle wrote:I don't see any point going into so much detail about an economy that won't work out anything like it looks on paper. It'll never turn out as planned, trust me. You're much better off working to establish two or three fundamental features that can define the economy rather than trying to account for everything before you've even seen how it pans out. Keep it simple.

Are you keeping the poor/ordinary/good tiers of equipment from ARPI?


What he said.

Keep it simple, keep it easy, and let it be intuitive. And yes, we are keeping said tiers.
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Re: Economics!

Postby Emilio » Thu Dec 19, 2013 12:30 pm

I'm not the type of guy who writes several paragraghs to explain my ideas. Right now, I have two.

1.- Create special rooms or areas in and out of the Lumber camp using progs with long timers instead of crafts. For example, a forested area where players with axes can cut down trees and trim before taking the logs to the camp. Once there, the players go to a working area where they use tools to make planks and get paid with tokens which they can only use to buy basic stuff from the local store.

Or

2.- Once their characters are approved, the players are given some tokens and taken to an OOC store. This store only sells the very basic equipment, crafting tools, sleeping bag, small tent, small fishing boat, a key to a small house or shed, clothing, arms and armor. Then, they will have to junk their excess tokens before leaving to the starting room.
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Re: Economics!

Postby Letters » Thu Dec 19, 2013 1:33 pm

Icarus wrote:
Throttle wrote:I don't see any point going into so much detail about an economy that won't work out anything like it looks on paper. It'll never turn out as planned, trust me. You're much better off working to establish two or three fundamental features that can define the economy rather than trying to account for everything before you've even seen how it pans out. Keep it simple.

Are you keeping the poor/ordinary/good tiers of equipment from ARPI?


What he said.

Keep it simple, keep it easy, and let it be intuitive. And yes, we are keeping said tiers.

I don't think that anything complex has been suggested so far. Just ideas to avoid the missteps or major problems which I've seen in the last eightish years. Unregulated injection of liquid assets from beyond the system are a sure way to break the system, as is a surfeit of resources to make the player characters' favourite things - namely weapons.

I'm still musing over how to enable a certain limited quantity of vNPC sales for crafters. I posted viewtopic.php?f=2&t=307 for clarity's sake, too.

Limits on the availability of iron would appear to be key to stopping the creep of weapons and armour, combined with slightly amended damage systems.

You could go through a hundred battles on ARPI with a titon sword before it even came close to being permanently 'worn', and as long as a weapon was ordinary quality, lesser metals fared quite well, too. The lifespan - however the total lifetime health of a weapon is measured - could be cut to a half or even a third of its present value.

The damage system for armour requires tweaking as well. Presently, to my understanding, the only way that permanent damage tends to be accrued is when a person dies in it, at which stage 'a permanent damage' may appear. However, armour has an otherwise infinitely long lifespan, and can be patched and repaired without ever reaching a stage where it consists so completely of patches and repaired bits that it is falling apart. Enabling gradual deterioration of armour over time would help to cycle it out of the system. Metal armour should require attention by a smith to repair, and the smith should have to use metal in the work.

No equivalent to titon should be available to player characters. Dwarves might use a superior metal for their personal arms, and they're not selling.

Magnon is too durable, too, even if it lacks the damage bonus of titon. I'd keep it and manon out, unless a specific purpose for either can be envisaged without creating overly durable weapons or too-light armour, and trim it down to metal which only dwarves use, upper end human metal and lower end human metal. All of it would have to be imported from abroad, and staff can easily control availability by only loading limited quantities up on caravans, which are in turn only available to certain PCs - and I'll go off on a tangent to say that I'm taken with Octavius' idea which essentially requires the selling of exportable goods to get these imports, which means that nobody can hoard silver and jump on all the metal the first chance they get. Throttle suggested bog iron in the thread about orcs - it may also have a place, though perhaps it should have a pretty finite limit on how much can be found in a given time period?

Tools should require metal to produce. Also, they should have finite uses, so they'll require eventual replacement. And metal is a finite resource here, and basic tools arguably rather more important than a sword. Without tools, everyone starves.

Is it possible to have tools have more 'uses' if they're made with better quality metal?
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Re: Economics!

Postby tehkory » Thu Dec 19, 2013 3:06 pm

Solution for armor/weapons and their wear/tear:
Just going to pull right from Parallel, to explain how they work/a hopefully code-lite solution that can fix them both. First, armor.

look haub
Fashioned from several overlapping pieces of toughened russet-scaled supple crocodile skin...a series of belts and buckles running up the the sides allows the hauberk to be resized as necessary.

It is in good condition, completely free of rust and with few blemishes.

Look gives you the item's general description, and an overview of how damaged it is. Not much, just a few damages.

exam haub
It is a russet-scaled, titon-plated, leather hauberk.

It will cover the torso, and partially cover the upper-legs,
upper-arms and neck.

It is in good condition. It has a large gouge, and a minor rupture.


Much more specific, this line tells you what the exact damages are(from small up to massive), where they are, and what the overall state of the armor is.

Armor takes damage that can always, always, always be repaired. They are as follows: small(which is grouped together no matter how many), minor, moderate, large, huge, massive. Massive damage can be repaired, but morphs into permanent damage which is worth half of what the massive damage was. It cannot be repaired. This can happen very rarely, and massive damage requires talented or adroit(I forget which) to repair, which are 50-59 and 60-69 out of Atonement's 100-point skill scale. They're very easy to reach as long as you don't dumpstat dex(and even then, I had a low-to-medium average dex with adroit weaponsmithing who could fix massive damages to armor, so it's going to be common pretty easily).

look kni
This weapon is sturdily-crafted...fashioned from titon-alloy metal.
It is in good condition, completely free of rust and with few blemishes.

This is the overall health of the weapon, presented just like armor.

Exam kni
It is a knuckleguard-hilted hunting knife.

It is in good condition.

You'd guess it to be a Small-Blade weapon.

This is a specific view of the weapon/its problems, as should befit examine. If it had any damage, it would be presented as 'small damages,' because all of weapons damages is always small damage. However, unlike armor, a percentage of that small damage remains over time. Eventually a sword _will_ become permanently worn, no matter the skill of the smith that mends it, no matter the materials, no matter what. It does take quite a while, however.

Solution: combine how armor takes damage and how weapons take damage and apply it to both.

Problems: Armor takes forever to repair after a big fight already; obnoxiously long, really. This is going to make that marginally worse, though probably not in any significant fashion. I'm also not sure it can be done as easily as it mighr seem, but there it is; a solution that speeds up both armor and weapons inevitable wear-and-tear. It also won't increase weapons' wear-and-tear given the rareness of massive damages, though with the removal of titon/magnon this might become more common.

RE: Metals, the problem is that alion and titon are unusable due to the -1/+1 they grant to damage, so we only have magnon(durable/heavy)/manon(weak/light)/chrion(medium/medium) to use unless staff are able/have the time to change those values/variables, thus...there's a difficulty in producing 'poor metal' and 'good metal' without either making it incredibly subjective or making it incredibly obvious which you should take.

ETA:
Why don't we just do what Parallel did, except expand it; if you want to make money off of NPCs, it requires a craft. This uses up a lot of hours and provides a slight bit of money. You can even add new crafts later on that give more bang for your buck, but require greater skill-levels. Keep the money low to start with--stupidly low, so low you're sure nobody could ever get enough money with it, because people will surprise you. You can always up it later.
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Re: Economics!

Postby Octavius » Thu Dec 19, 2013 5:27 pm

Points of note...

All damage is permanent and unrepairable unless you are given the repair kit objects to fix it. :) If we're serious about wear and tear, that's one way to do it.

I think the observation that ARPI armor and weapon wear took too long. We can modify that easily, I think, by changing the base quality points of the template objects.

Magnon, Titon, etc will not be present here. Those are not hard-coded, and we will be replacing them with whatever metal heirarchy we decide is right for SOI. (Besides, futuristic magnesium-alloy steel and titanium-alloy steel aren't our theme.)

I gleaned this on the other thread (as a sample)...
You are proposing a metal progression of:
slag iron (recycled)
bog iron
iron
bronze
steel
dwarven steel


Once we decide what types of iron and/or other metals we want available, it is easy to set them to match our desired characteristics. Slag iron is brittle and easily breaks, but its shards hold a naturally sharper edge? Bog iron is heavy, not as brittle as slag iron, and harder to make keen? Whatever. We have lots of options and can make it work when decided.

We can make repairs more difficult than in ARPI. We can cap out what type of damages can't be fixed with repair kits (perhaps only small ones can). We can make repair kits require a lot of resources and difficult to acquire. Many options. But frankly, I think they might be just too much of a pain for major things.

How about this:
- only small damages can be repaired by kits. Ever.
- New items can replace old items.
- A craft can fully-repair any item, requiring the same skill as making a new one. This has the same timers as making a new one, but only consumes half the materials. (Decorations with artistry would also be lost, buffed clean in the process, too.) Even "worn" items can be fixed this way.

Thoughts?
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Re: Economics!

Postby Letters » Thu Dec 19, 2013 5:52 pm

If metal is yet to be fully defined, a thread for input from people knowledgeable about it may be warranted and helpful. We had some absurdities in the past such as steel mail, which I gather just wouldn't be a very good idea. Steel is too brittle to function adequately in mail armour - or that is my understanding of it - and low grade iron is preferred, being softer and less prone to snapping. I think both that and timers warrant their own discussions, though.

I like not being able to repair damage larger than smalls with regular kits as a less code heavy solution to amending how armour works entirely. Minors and up would require the attention of an appropriately skilled character, using a tool kit that would require potentially expensive resources to make or refill.

In fact, I might go so far as to suggest that sometimes, it may be preferable to just have a piece of equipment replaced, since just repairing it could cost almost as much, even if it could, in theory, be repaired. Make real tool kits (not the little ones that can only do smalls) expensive/heavy on resources, and keep the number of uses they have low, so if a piece of armour is badly damaged, it should be rather costly to repair. I'd also create special metal armour repair kits, so that repairing mail and helmets is even more costly. Don't allow the repair of smalls on metal armour without a special kit, either. Require metal for the making of those kits, so the availability is strictly limited, as with everything else metal. Also, disable the existing crossover between repair kits, so weapon kits can only be used on weapons, armour on armour, etc.

That wouldn't work so well with weapons, as is, or shields. They usually only take smalls. They would need to be adapted so that they can take minors. Also, they really did last too long, before, so reducing the quality, if that's what determines overall durability, would certainly help.
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Re: Economics!

Postby Emilio » Thu Dec 19, 2013 7:35 pm

I prefer that repairs be done by a metalworker for weapons and metal armor and a leatherworker for leather, and, paid in coins for their work.
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Re: Economics!

Postby tehkory » Thu Dec 19, 2013 10:28 pm

Emilio wrote:I prefer that repairs be done by a metalworker for weapons and metal armor and a leatherworker for leather, and, paid in coins for their work.

I'm not sure what that second part means--do you meant you want NPCs? Otherwise, it seems like an IC decision what skilled workers accept for their work.
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Re: Economics!

Postby Emilio » Fri Dec 20, 2013 6:22 am

What I mean is that repairs should be done only by crafters.
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Re: Economics!

Postby Throttle » Fri Dec 20, 2013 7:32 am

That's not viable at all, you risk literally grounding a sphere's entire playerbase due to the absence of a specific kind of crafter. There will be times when there just isn't anybody playing that kind of crafter, or they all happen to not log in for a week, or your playtimes simply don't coincide with them. Requiring a crafter for all repairs is gamebreaking and, for that matter, simply unrealistic and nonsensical. They can be (and are, in this codebase) needed for larger repairs, which is sufficient. Being overly dependent on other players isn't always a good thing.
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Re: Economics!

Postby Icarus » Fri Dec 20, 2013 9:13 am

If I may be more clear about this discussion I'm wanting:

A high-level theoretical discussion regarding different approaches to making some sort of "static economy" that lets folks have fun.

Concepts like this:
Payday only! Everyone works for someone, so there is no "turn in 100 logs and get millions of coins"

Trading post! Orcs turn in human heads for coin, humans turn in special wood types for coin! No coin elsewhere!

vNPC Sales Break the Game! Rawr!

Player-to-Player sales! How to make them work?

Does that make sense? Stop debating iron types, and give me a well balanced discussion regarding how different systems have worked in past games, what didn't work about them, and how they might be improved upon.
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Re: Economics!

Postby Emilio » Fri Dec 20, 2013 9:55 am

It really looks like we're extremists and overtly exaggerated. I sidestep to the right and they think I'm turning right on a dime at 100 mph.

Make small repairs kit like sharpening stones without needing more metal and have NPC and/or PC crafters fix the bigger ones at a price. I don't think the characters should be able to do everything without the need of mastercrafters. Besides, I'm not planning to waste my time looking for metal.

EDIT: One more thing, let's make SoI unique and not a copy of some other game world.
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Re: Economics!

Postby Tepes » Fri Dec 20, 2013 10:17 am

Ignore.
Wrong thread.
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Re: Economics!

Postby Throttle » Fri Dec 20, 2013 11:22 am

well balanced discussion regarding how different systems have worked in past games, what didn't work about them, and how they might be improved upon.


The original SOI system was alright, it just relied a bit too much on cash and encouraged players to keep grinding for money. Part of this was of course due to the imbalanced and convoluted equipment system where you could keep upgrading your gear to more and more overpowered stuff until you ended up with full steel plate and whatever overpowered sword had slipped unnoticed through the weapons audit. With a balanced armor/weapon system like ARPI's, that's mostly alleviated.

Another thing is NPC shops, the ones that aren't run by anybody. SOI and Armageddon had a bunch of these, so much so that you could buy almost anything from NPCs except special elite PC-crafted gear. I would recommend having little to no NPC shops and instead sticking with the robust pre-game shop model from ARPI/PRPI where you can get the things you need for your role before entering the game and thus don't have to prowl the market for basic role-enabling necessities.

My preference would be for most of a PC crafter's customers to be clanleads outfitting their clans with money earned through clan activities. It should be uncommon and strange for an independent loner to be seen buying significant arms and armor -- not illegal or anything, but definitely enough to make you go "huh, why does Bill need maille a greatsword? It's not as though he's a soldier."

I would likewise recommend that most sources of income are designed to be clan activities rather than lame solo grinds. ARPI was really bad in that regard with everyone and their mother getting stinking rich off of selling scavenged bundles of literal garbage through a mindless market prog. You get too many players questioning the point of being in a clan if it doesn't grant any tangible benefits, which it won't if everybody can easily make money and buy stuff comparable to what the clans can provide. Since many activities will probably be communal anyway (the playerbase will always trend towards doing stuff in one big group for several reasons), the distinction between soldier and random guy from the bar will be pretty vague if the soldier doesn't come better equipped.

Paydays: I don't like them. Weird and contrived, and has a tendency to cause inflation. It also makes everybody pester the clanlead for pay and makes people rebellious if their rank/job doesn't get a wage.

Player-to-player sales: usually it'll happen naturally even if people have to just do business in person at the bar, but rentable market stalls go a long way towards supporting PC crafters and thus maintaining the economy. I would like to see both stalls and actual shops with storage space intended for clans or independent groups to rent. Stalls can be more common and realistically available to anyone who makes a bit of effort.

vNPC sales: be very cautious with this. Start without them and then keep an eye on things. It can always be enabled later if it proves necessary, but it has a gigantic influence on the economy and is harder to turn off once it's there as people come to depend on it. It also encourages crafters to produce tons of garbage and just live off of vNPC sales without really trying to provide anything of use to the playerbase.

Questy things: same as above, please try to make the game work without these. Turning in proverbial bandit heads for money is such a crutch and tends to do terrible things to people's playing habits.

Generally speaking, I don't think most characters should be expecting or striving to make significant cash unless they're actual merchants or are tasked with outfitting people. One of the most prominent themes in Middle-Earth culture is that pursuit of wealth is an immoral personal failing or outright corruption, but concessions are obviously made for shopkeeps and the sort. Greedy ambition for excess should be viewed as suspicious, and while there'll need to be ways to earn the smaller amounts necessary to buy food and tools and such, these are best kept limited and befitting of the setting's theme.

TL;DR: Marxism.
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Re: Economics!

Postby Emilio » Fri Dec 20, 2013 1:48 pm

I suggest we use pre-made starting role packages with the basic equipment in an OOC shop before they enter the game world. They could be given a single token to buy it. Like, bow-hunting package, spear-hunting, lumberjack and so on. These packages should include a basic clothing set, a main weapon, a knife and a backpack or sack with some food and waterskin full of water. Buying these packages could give the characters skills and crafts needed for their roles if it is possible including the abilities to make small repairs to their weapons. Like replacing a bow string and sharpening.
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Re: Economics!

Postby Throttle » Fri Dec 20, 2013 2:02 pm

That's pretty much how we did it on Parallel, but it's best if there's a decent selection of packages. I designed the packages for PRPI and it turned out to be hugely impractical to devote a single package to an entire role. I'd do something like:

- light armor package (shitty leather vest and cowl)
- medium armor package (shitty ringmail jerkin and half-helm)
- one package for each main weapon type (comes with sheath/strap)
- bow package (comes with quiver and 20 arrows)
- fighter's utility package (knife, small shield, repair kit)
- survivalist package (knife, bandages, lantern, stuff like that)
- one tool package for each main crafting type
- healer's supplies package
- voucher for a small peddler's cart or something

And then you start with three tokens.
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Re: Economics!

Postby Emilio » Fri Dec 20, 2013 2:28 pm

I feel rusty. I haven't play this type of games in years.
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Re: Economics!

Postby Brian » Fri Dec 20, 2013 3:39 pm

I think the big main point that we have to keep in mind was made by someone (I think Throttle?) and that's that the economy will never be what we would want or hope for it to be :p. It's about trying our best but not being too attached I think, since a player will, with sufficient time and motivation, find a way to game the system to the max. I think we should expect that, and not even hate on it really, since it's just one of those things that will happen.

Ideas that I have in how I'd like the economy structured or reigned in:

- In Atonement, it seemed like the really highest level of stuff was sufficiently difficult to make that only a select few would be able to make it, and only those that tailored their playing style to that end. The people who were able to make the best electronic equipment were also not the best fighters, because due to stat set up and the way that skill advancement went, it wasn't possible to be both. I liked this set up. It would make people who attain that rank of expertise in a craft to feel sufficiently important and like their investment was worth something.

- I don't like NPC shops very much. I think that most production should be in the hands of PC, and that what is available from NPC shops should only be the lowest tier. Let anything better be made by PCs only.

- When it comes to items the most important thing to try and govern is combat items. If everybody has the best most elegant chair in the game it might look a little bit odd, but nobody is going to really notice or get too bent out of shape about it. It's when you get people with the best gear that keeps their character's alive/able to be a more awesome hero that people get peeved

- Gear makes a difference of course, but I'd like it if it made less of a difference than it did in the past. This is a combination of item design but also skill design. If it's skills that make the biggest difference in combat, gear will still be a factor, but perhaps not as large. Love the direction items seem to be taking from other threads, with the leather and cloth and what not.
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Re: Economics!

Postby Emilio » Fri Dec 20, 2013 4:11 pm

I think it is better if we forget about all of these and just play a communal tribe of savages where everything is share by everyone. Damaged items are placed in the "Needs repaired" chest in the crafter's hut to be repaired and you take a new one from the "Ready to use" chest. All the food are taken into the kitchen and the cooks cook them when they're online and placed on the table. Furs and hides are taken into the leathercrafter's hut so he can make armor when he wants. If someone wants metal weapons and armor, better find it on his own, but, he's going to be in trouble if the shaman convince the chieftain to expel him for going against the wishes of the Spirits. No NPC shops and no coins.
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Re: Economics!

Postby Emilio » Sun Dec 22, 2013 6:10 am

We could restrict the ownership and usage of armor by a council ruling.
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