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Economics!

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Re: Economics!

Postby Burke » Sun Dec 22, 2013 8:24 pm

I, too, haven't played on a game with a heavily coded economy for a long time. In fact, one of the only decent economic system I've seen from a player's perspective was on SoI circa 2005, and that may have seemed decent to me because I never got into chasing wealth.

The other decent game economy I've seen was on Elendor, where there was very little player crafting and severely restricted raw materials. It mainly served to limit the number of coded weapons and armor available within the combat system since those were the only objects that had any coded effects. That's an entirely different kind of game, of course.

The thing I'd most like to see would be the end to what turned me off the most when I tried to play SoI again about three years ago: object dumps. Piles of cooked food, piles of different bulletin board-type objects, walking into rooms or looking at containers that contained twenty things, some of those being container that themselves contained twenty more things... it was absolutely insane and senseless. It felt like trying to RP in a hoarder's basement. I know that is only peripherally connected to the economic system, but if there is some way to design an economy that doesn't lead to that sort of mess, I think it would definitely be a benefit.
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Re: Economics!

Postby Icarus » Mon Dec 23, 2013 1:57 pm

Throttle, thank you very much for your input, as well as that of the others! (Octavius, make a note of his suggestions, as I want to steal most of them. If Brian agrees with what he says, and you do to, we should probably take it into consideration)

As for object dumps, I agree. I fully support the usage of "crafting cabinets" or "toolboxes" that you can fill with those dozen bloody screws that make your screen fill up.

As for the folks not liking the head idea. How do we encourage humans to go to the orc area, and for orcs to hunt those humans. Actually that might solve itself, since players who want to play orcs usually like to kill things anyways...
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Re: Economics!

Postby Throttle » Mon Dec 23, 2013 2:21 pm

As for the folks not liking the head idea. How do we encourage humans to go to the orc area, and for orcs to hunt those humans. Actually that might solve itself, since players who want to play orcs usually like to kill things anyways...


Shared wilderness. Humans shouldn't want to go into orc caves, but they'll both want meat and bog iron and whatnot. With shared finite resources, both sides will want to make sure they get as much of it as they can, which will lead to encounters and a desire to gain control of the land. There should be no such thing as "the orc area" except for their tribe's actual home and maybe a small surrounding area that's too vile for humans.
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Re: Economics!

Postby Brian » Mon Dec 23, 2013 9:57 pm

I think you've seen my thoughts on that Icarus, in those emails that we were passing around in Sept/Oct?

One thing I really don't like is raidable NPC villages. As "fun" as it is to do, it's totally immersion breaking. For one, if you have a guard that can't protect their own holdings, then what is the point of them? Also, if a village gets raided once, or twice, maybe some people stay, but if it happens again and again how long until a) everyone leaves or b) they are depopulated by repeated raiding? It isn't a good way to give people things to do.

The essence of what I suggested (it was very long and a back and forth thing so I'll try to distill it) is to have places that the Men need to go that are within the sphere of influence of the orcs, or rather, that are in a shared sphere that nobody really controls but that both sides have access to. Things like caravans to the spot where they hand off control of a caravan to the Elves, common lumbering areas, hunting grounds, etc. These are the areas that the Men want/need to protect, and the areas where the orcs can go to try and stir up trouble.
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Re: Economics!

Postby Letters » Mon Dec 23, 2013 11:14 pm

There was some discussion of that in the thread on orcs, if you want to go picking the brains of people posting there.

I think the problems with past attempts at an economy are all well known. I laid out my thoughts on the first page or two with a set of general solutions, but the whole discussion only just touched on interaction with orcs. It might be better to figure out how the orcs are going to be sustained, then see how they fit in with the human presence, maybe? That's assuming that there aren't nearly as many orc characters, and that they can be more tightly regulated by staff without it becoming jarring.
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Re: Economics!

Postby Olthadir » Sun Dec 29, 2013 3:10 pm

I understand everyone's aversion to vNPC sales, but I still think they have a place, not to necessarily support a business but to at least show that there are other people in Esgaroth than just the PCs, which, if SOI2 is any indication will only number ~100.

Using the DMG 3.5 settlement generation rules as a guideline, lets say that Esgaroth is a Small Town with a population of 901-2000, I'd say about 1000, but anyone with better information can correct me. I am going to assume that those 1000 are all vNPCs, and everyone else, i.e. the PCs add to that population.

Assume that 5% of that 1000 are high class noble types.
Assume that 25% are a sort of middle class.
60% are lower class labourers.
And the last 10% are soldiers.

50 nobles
250 merchants types
600 labourers
100 soldiers

Now lets assume the income of each group.

Nobles probably earn about 10 silver a week.
Merchants about 1 silver a week.
Labourers about 5 copper.
The soldiers get a flat rate of about 1 silver, but have lodging and food.
These can be corrected, obviously.

Now for the business, a tavern, where there is a good chance everyone of the above type would go once in a while.

A noble would go to the tavern to talk to people. They probably wouldn't buy anything as it would be below them unless they had good wine or a good brew.
Merchants would probably be the most frequent visitors, going there about once or twice a week.
Labourers would have a hard time going because of their income. But it wouldn't stop many of them going for an ale or two after work.
Soldiers have everything the need at the barracks, but would probably want a solid ale every now and again.

For the sake of easy math, let's say 5% of the nobles attend a tavern once a week.
10% of the merchants.
5% of the laborours.
5% of the soldiers.

So in a week that's:
2.5 nobles
2.5 merchants
30 labourers
5 soldiers

The nobles would buy one food and one drink of decent quality, say about 50 copper.
The merchants would buy anything of middling quality about 10 copper.
The labourers would buy drinks, and occasionally a bite, so 5 copper
The soldiers would only buy ale, costing about 2 copper.

So, grand total income in a week:
150 + 25 + 150 + 10 = 335 copper a week income from vNPC sales.

That is hardly going to fetch nobility for the tavern owner. And the numbers above can be tweaked to better reflect the actual population of Esgaroth. Especially when they have to pay wages, taxes and for goods. (And a far way off from the ~2500 copper income I got when I ran the Shield)

What always bothered me about vNPC sales is that they buy out the entire storehouse, which made no sense to me. If there was a way to say this block of vNPC would buy things of this price range and only this amount, then good, there you go. Then storeowners would try to get a decent spread of goods to appeal to a wide range of people, or you can specialize and try to get more nobles and less labourers.

For another type of business, like a farm or a tailor, do the same thing, but there would be different percentage of purchases for the groups.
Tailors would sell a lot of noble clothing because nobles love clothes (and by a lot, I'd say maybe one or two a month). Lower class clothes would sell regularly dependent on the price.

This way staff would have some control over the income of players, but it wouldn't be enough to change the financial standings of merchant PCs.

So to really make money, people need to find other PCs and sell to them. Especially those not in the food industry like carpenters and tailors who will have maybe a sale or two a week.

This way, at least the shopkeeper feels that there are some people out there in the town and outskirts that buy stuff other than just PCs, but it isn't enough to seriously change the economy.

The problem: is it actually possible to code?
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Re: Economics!

Postby Emilio » Sun Dec 29, 2013 5:59 pm

    1.- 50 nobles in a town of 1000 people? There would be a single noble family at most. Now a city holding the King's court, I can see a lot more nobles.
    2.- You're assuming there's only one tavern for the whole population. In Spain, there are more than one tavern per 100 population.
    3.- Merchants are mostly located at larger towns, trade hubs and ports. At small towns with 1000 population, there would be store and shop owners. On the other hand, travelling merchants are more common and I'm talking about merchants travelling in carts, buying stuff from there and selling somewhere else. But, I doubt that in a town that small there would be so many merchants living there, specially in Esgaroth. You'll have to take into account how many products are exported and imported and how many suppliers and buyers are available.
    4.- The number of soldiers can be determined by an average percentage of a population. You´ll have to account the level of criminality inside the town and the proximity of lurking dangers outside the town. Esgaroth may have a lot more soldiers because of its isolation from the rest of the civilization.

We need an Auction Hall in Esgaroth where travelling merchants can store their products merchants while they wait to auction their goods to the local highest bidder and buy local products at their cheapest prices.
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Re: Economics!

Postby Olthadir » Sun Dec 29, 2013 6:51 pm

As I said numerous times in my post, the numbers are just a suggestion, I never said that was the number in Esgaroth.
They were just chosen to show the math.
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Re: Economics!

Postby Emilio » Sun Dec 29, 2013 9:09 pm

And I'm just pointing some of the factors which needs to be considered. But, frankly, in my opinion, vNPC sales should be just enough for the PC to live because it is easier to calculate than measuring how many coins can fill his coinsack over what he really needs. Everybody should experience what happens when the economy is low.

My suggestion is don't specialize in one thing only. It is a lot better if we have general stores where clothing are sold alongside grain, bread, cakes and so on. For example, a merchant creates a company with a bunch of different crafters, opens a general store to sell the crafters' goods. Then the less needed stuff are made when someone orders it.
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Re: Economics!

Postby Olthadir » Mon Dec 30, 2013 12:37 am

Emilio wrote:My suggestion is don't specialize in one thing only. It is a lot better if we have general stores where clothing are sold alongside grain, bread, cakes and so on. For example, a merchant creates a company with a bunch of different crafters, opens a general store to sell the crafters' goods. Then the less needed stuff are made when someone orders it.


And I agree in this sense. A farmer would probably sell grain, milk, eggs and while s/he's at it, break and cake as well. Farmers have been doing that for hundreds of years!

For someone owning a tavern, it'll be a little more difficult to generalize unless they do so by class and taste.
They can also generalize on the side, I suppose.
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Re: Economics!

Postby Rivean » Mon Dec 30, 2013 3:44 am

I've come somewhat late to this party, and forgive me, but I haven't quite finished wading through all the posts in the thread - so I apologize if what I'm about to say has been covered before.

While a fully developed, dynamic economy was possible (if extremely difficult to achieve) in SOI1 and some parts of SOI2, such a thing is impossible here. As Throttle touched on, I'd like to emphasize that the economy, in its most basic form, has simply One role to play in Laketown:

To ensure that the game is not 'broken' by unrealistic economic phenomenon like ultra-rich hunters, and unsustainably impoverished merchants.

The simplest, cleanest, and easiest way to achieve this is to regulate earnings via vNPC sales and paydays - both of which seem to be polling rather poorly in this thread.

First of all, I would like to attempt to dismiss the notion that PC-to-PC economic activity is something that is greatly desirable, and constitutes a valid reason to disallow vNPC sales:

Speaking as someone who has played more than one crafter, a raw material gatherer, and a merchant envoy in SoI1 and 2, my personal experience has been that transactional RP has NEVER resulted in a rewarding or particularly entertaining roleplay experience.

In fact, transactional RP makes up probably the majority of the most boring RP sessions I've ever had. Yes, getting people to talk to other people is a good thing. No, simply getting them to go through the motions of a sale does not really improve the quality of RP in any meaningful or significant way.

Secondly - PCs are the most unreliable of consumers. They don't eat as much as they should, they don't drink as much as they should, they don't consume a tenth of the goods and services they should, and furthermore, their spending patterns fluctuate WILDLY from player to player, and are not, as is seen in the real world, generally predictable on average. This means that hanging your hat on any PC based system is pretty much a death knell for people like Olthadir's old character, who specialized in providing non-code-essential goods and services. Unless, of course, one is setting up some sort of complicated, arcane system which actually compels PCs to act in more realistic ways with their money (in my opinion this is both cumbersome and entirely unnecessary).

Thirdly - if the entire economy runs on PC expenditure, it's a TINY economy, already a fraction of what is essentially a much smaller market than our crafters have been used to in prior iterations of the game. This means there isn't much room for more than one or at the most two (if you're lucky, depending on the demand for your area of service) crafters of the same type. This was already a problem in even giant markets like MT - 'Sorry, we don't have room for baker number 3' or 'Maris just can't take any more healer apprentices, pick something else.'

Finally - it's just plain unrealistic. It simply does not fairly represent what a town of that scale would be buying, what a given crafter ought to be making, etc. It's bound to crop up some sort of ICly unsupportable situation/question five times a day, giving me frequent-immersion-breaking implosions.

In conclusion, therefore, unless there are other, more compelling reasons to dismiss vNPC sales, promoting PC-to-PC transactions really ought not to be on top of the goal list here. Maintaining an 'unbroken' economy still trumps that goal, I think, by a country mile.

In my next post, I'm going to outline what I believe to be a simpler, more elegant, uncomplicated model that ought to keep everything in line.
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Re: Economics!

Postby Rivean » Mon Dec 30, 2013 4:03 am

[Consider this a placeholder. Have to go for lunch and don't want to rush this, though it ought not to be a giant post.]
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Re: Economics!

Postby Emilio » Mon Dec 30, 2013 7:14 am

Could it be possible to code automatic vNPC sales on the town basic needs like foodstuff on a daily basis? The basis of an economy is supply and demand. The main problem is high prices which means the demand of goods is lot higher than the supply. So to drive prices down, the supply have to be higher than demand, but, to avoid overproduction, it's better that they're even.
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Re: Economics!

Postby Rivean » Mon Dec 30, 2013 11:03 am

So, I decided to make a new post instead of editing the placeholder. Hopefully, Emilio, your query will be answered by this model too.

Step 1: Decide Ideal Income Norms

Get together and decide what makes sense for how much people should be making relative to one another. So for example, one might start with a scale of 0 - 50, and allocate each profession a number. The patron in chief of House Sindbar might be 50 on that scale, a master weaponsmith might rate at 18, a fisherman might be 2, unskilled labor might be 1, unemployed might be 0. Etc. I'm not advocating any values here, just saying that values ought to be decided and assigned for all professions.

Once you know how much people ought to be making relative to one another, it's easy to arrive at how much they ought to be making in hard numbers. Taking my above example, the unemployed earn 0 cp per month, the fisherman 100, the smith 1800, etc.

Step 2: Income Allocation - Paydays and Craft Timers

Once we have the estimated figures for how much everyone should be (at maximum) making, we design the crafts and paydays in such a way as to fall in line with our earning targets. This works thusly:

Craft Timers: All craft timers should be allocated for the entire month (RL week). This allows players who can only play on weekends to be on equal footing with players who can play everyday. Batching the crafts for the whole month also allows staff to very accurately control HOW MUCH in both production and $ terms any craft profession is able to make.

Craft timers should allow a crafter to make exactly whatever we have already decided they are expected to earn. So - a fisherman should be able to catch 100 cp worth of fish in one month (RL week), to carry on with our example. He does his crafting either all at once, or stepped out and can no longer craft till the next month (RL week), till his timer runs out. Note that if he should realistically be expected to make more or catch more fish, then we have either wrongly set the price of fish (and should adjust it) or have wrongly set his income target (and should adjust that).

Paydays and vNPC Sales: For people selling virtual services that most PCs never buy (for example scribes) or people that are earning actual salaries, PCs can receive a payday in accordance with what they should be earning, based again on figures we arrived at via step 1.

For people with storefronts that actually see PC traffic, for both producers (because their craft timers should not allow them to make more than what they're supposed to be earning) and resellers, we can look at their target incomes, allow for a percentage that will be filled by PC sales, and fill the rest with a vNPC sales. For example:

According to our plan, baker Jim Bob is supposed to earn roughly 600 cp per month. We initially estimate that PCs will be able to bear the brunt of around a quarter of that, and therefore we give him 450 cp in sales (and hopefully split them over the month, unlike the silly 1 day mass vNPC purchase of SoI1 and 2).

As it turns out however, over a month or two of observation, we find that PCs are either buying more or less than we expected, and so we adjust his vNPC sales accordingly.

ETA: Step 3 - Price Allocation

Prices and incomes go hand in hand. Integral to deciding where on our 0-50 scale any given profession goes is what sort of lifestyle that person can live. So for example, if we've decided that the difference between an Innkeeper and a fisherman is that:

The fisherman can eat basic meals, drink once or twice a week, has basic housing, and can get a new set of clothes twice a year.

The Innkeeper eats basic meals plus a little better, drink twice as much as the fisherman, maintain one horse, larger housing, and can get a new set of clothes every season.

We divide up both the innkeeper and the fisherman's income over the items we think they ought to have in relative proportion to what makes sense, make minor adjustments after comparing the two, and finally decide on what each of these items is worth.

Skill Gain, Branching, etc.

Make this a once per RL week limit thing (in line with our craft timers) and make it slightly easier to gain/branch (and dare I say it? Make the branching process less insanely random - perhaps even give the player the option to choose which branch of a selection?) so that players still progress with the much reduced instances of crafting/skill use. May tweak up or down for individual skills as required, and for non crafting skills in particular, to keep in line with realism.

And that's that.

Following such a system, we find that:

    a) Everybody earns what they ought to be, with some variance for PC ingenuity and chance.
    b) There is no absurd economic scenario such as my month's rent being worth 5 meals in the tavern.
    c) There are no 5 billion deer carcasses in the clan hall because Joe Bob was bored.
    d) It is not possible to earn more than is realistic, regardless of how much you twink.
    e) There is no incentive to twink your crafts all day - nor is it really possible to do so anymore.

Problems not yet resolved?The lack of Coin sinks and eventual inflation. That discussion is wide open regardless of whether or not one adopts this base system.

I'm sure I'm forgetting something important, but that's the norm these days.
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Re: Economics!

Postby Emilio » Mon Dec 30, 2013 3:07 pm

Complex... complex and more complexity.

We need to realize several aspects of the game. I seriously doubt that PC's will own any stores at the start of the game. The crafters will have to begin by working for someone else and when they have enough money, they'll buy their own store and license(If the admins decide to use licenses and permits as a way for traders to pay taxes). Until then, there's no need for a vNPC sales system.

So we have plenty of time to develop it.

In the mean time, we're all starting Alpha at a lumber camp with an even playing ground. There are plenty of other subjects under economics to discuss before Beta.

Frankly, I want to see a food market with rental stalls for fishmongers, butchers, fruit and vegetal sellers, poultry, etc. A street or two full of privately, merchants and family own shops for leather products, clothing, blacksmith, taverns, Inns, breweries, distilleries, breadmaker and bakeries, crafting & occupations guilds, warehouses, trading&fishermen docks and an Auction Hall.

Should we have guilds or merchants run the local economy? And, by that, I mean guilds or merchants own the stores and shops and the PC crafters actually work for them and they'll have salaries, board and food. Either way, we won't have to worry about vNPC sales for a long while.
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Re: Economics!

Postby whitt37 » Thu Jan 02, 2014 1:12 pm

Emilio wrote: Until then, there's no need for a vNPC sales system.

So we have plenty of time to develop it.


As an IT guy this is second only to "That won't ever happen." on this list of reasons it should be planned for now. When folks start trying to fix bugs, discover all the little "gotchas" that didn't get coded, and get busy dealing with a rabid player base, there is no time to plan - only time to implement what has already been planned or start the process of band-aiding solutions.

Emilio wrote: Should we have guilds or merchants run the local economy? And, by that, I mean guilds or merchants own the stores and shops and the PC crafters actually work for them and they'll have salaries, board and food. Either way, we won't have to worry about vNPC sales for a long while.


The problem arises when there is a PC crafter with a trade that, for whatever reason, has no PC buyers - but that there should be buyers for. Best example I can come up with - Chandler. Folks will use food to center roleplay, want clothes and weapons, but no one bothers worrying themselves over much about light. They just go to a lit room and do their RP there. No need to spend my limited resources for a zero-return necessity when I could be buying up weapons/armor/crafting goods or even that trademark hat.

Your suggestion above could still work if the society has a Merchant House that is willing to act as the sole vNPC sales, purchasing crafted goods for trade outside the town - even if just slightly above the cost of materials. This gets away from the horde of supply and still allows the PC crafter to keep advancing their craft because they shouldn't (barring repeated failures at crafting) go broke from lack of sales.
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Re: Economics!

Postby Throttle » Thu Jan 02, 2014 1:37 pm

It's not a system that needs to be developed. You can activate vNPC sales by literally adding that flag to the shopkeep NPCs, it would take a minute. The code is there and can be employed anytime at the press of a button, which is why it might be worth trying without it first to see if it's necessary. It completely changes and redefines the game's entire economy, and it's much harder to turn off once people have adapted to it than it is to turn on.

I think it would be better to ensure that each craftset produces something that PCs want rather than catering to craftsets that have nothing useful or appealing to the playerbase. If people don't want to buy candles, don't design the system around automated sales of candles so that people can keep playing these chandlers that nobody cares about. If a craftset doesn't produce anything useful or valuable, bundle it in with a skill that does or get rid of it entirely.
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Re: Economics!

Postby Emilio » Thu Jan 02, 2014 8:53 pm

We could create a complete list of occupations that Laketown's playerbase could use.
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Re: Economics!

Postby BoogtehWoog » Sun Feb 09, 2014 5:11 pm

One of the biggest problems with SOI before its closure was this obsession of trying to create a realistic economy. All it did was distract the staff from more important issues and they never got anywhere close to creating one anyway. It simply isn't possible to do so for a number of reasons with the biggest being the size of the population. All we ended up with were these hopelessly convoluted systems that never really made sense and just caused even more problems economically than existed before.

Before looking to the realism, look to what makes for the most fun and for engaging people. Fun triumphs realism any day of the week.
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Re: Economics!

Postby cfelch » Sun Feb 09, 2014 7:16 pm

Yes, but money has some realistic affects that can get out of hand if you completely ignore it for the sake of fun.

Money is a form of power, if the system is too loose with it, you will get rich bastards trying to buy political clout... or it gets devalued via surplus to the point where nobody wants it anymore.

I know i was rather stinky rich out in Pel-Anor from controlling two stalls with auto sales.
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Re: Economics!

Postby Octavius » Mon Feb 10, 2014 12:22 pm

Kithrater and I had a lot of conversations about these theories when he was redoing this codebase. The ideas at the center were "Economy" and "Player Economy." SOI2 had tried to do an economy, with macroeconomic inputs and outputs, viable vNPC purchasing, and the ability to support most any producer role. Kithrater took it the entire other way on Atonement RPI Beta - he focused exclusively on Player Economy. That means that the players represent an adventurer class with different needs than that of the larger vNPC economy; it assumes that the vNPC economy has the ability to care for its own basic needs, and has little interest in the weapons, armor, and firearms that PCs care about most. To this end, the crafts and economics were catered around PCs creating the things that PCs needed. There were some notable flaws in this process as well, which came out as their Beta played through.

Our current approach here is more of a hybrid. This has been formed out of the conversations earlier in this thread as well as the discussions amongst staff and elder staff that resulted from the lessons learned that players posted here.

  • Most crafts - and thus skills and materials with them - will focus on things that are consumable by player characters.
  • As an RPI, this goes beyond weapons and armor to include various food, beverages, remedies, home furnishings, candles and light sources, etc.
  • We ARE choosing to support a certain degree of non-player-production roles which provide goods that are wanted by society rather than the 'adventurer base' because we see the inclusion of characters operating in these roles as a positive for the game's stories.
  • Non-player production will be consumed by 1) putting it into vNPC farms/outposts that provide resulting benefits, 2) a bulk-trade mechanism which handles exchanging valuable imports for exports through clan-based action, 3) limited ability to sell individual items to vNPCs for cash
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Re: Economics!

Postby TheHPL » Tue Feb 11, 2014 7:11 pm

I always viewed the economics as an issue. Someone gets paid 30w(whatever's)/month and a simple shirt costs 100w. I've always viewed it as PC greed, ie I'll charge whatever I want because I can and hopefully the vNPC market will buy it and I'll get that coinage, or as staff being (usually rightfully so, mind you) tied up with other more pressing aspects of the game than regulating the marketplace. I ran a few IG businesses, and my prices were always lower than everyone else's, drastically so, and I still made such a huge profit my PC was wayyyy to wealthy IMO. I uses to just buy things just to buy them or completely outfit new PCs just to make them interested in the game or redecorate entire rooms just for funsies and still have stacks of crowns left over. I think it needs to be regulated like min wage, if a street sweeper makes 30w/pay cycle - the lowest quality shirts need to be sold at just above a quarter of that price. A low quality sword should equal that etc. Start there and then progress it will make PCs only have available RP props that would realistically be available for them, actively regulate the IG economy, and give PCs something to save up for that won't take them 1 RL year. My two...er..w..lol.
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Re: Economics!

Postby Hawkwind » Tue Feb 11, 2014 7:46 pm

One thing that would offset it would be perma-rent rather than outright purchasing. Regardless of how much you offer for a one-off payment, always have the rent at a moderately high amount. Two failed months and on the third, you are booted out!
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Re: Economics!

Postby Brian » Tue Feb 11, 2014 8:57 pm

I believe I made a suggestion early on in this to set prices relative to must have items; ie how much is a loaf of bread, what kind of standard food goods is one going to consume in a day and what percentage of income should that be? By building the prices from items like that it will hopefully influence what professions are paid and add some semblance of normalcy to things.
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Re: Economics!

Postby cfelch » Wed Feb 12, 2014 6:26 am

In antiquity...

People of all ages drank more beer/wine than water (presumably due to potability issues) but it was of lesser alcoholic content.

People were usually kept on the brink of starvation with only barely enough for subsistence. A crust of bread, a wedge of cheese and a bit of meat... the makings of a sandwich WAS a meal fit for a King, or at least an Earl.

Just how meager of a wage do you want?
Is 'room and board' upper middle class?

The wealthy got the good food cause they had the good money.
Let me eat cake.
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