Thoughts on the economy

Polare

Count
Alliance Rules
Moderator
Seattle Staff
Yames said:
I'm a fan of mandatory retirement, it would piss off alot of the high level players but really that is the minority and it would save the economy, the level spread would even out, magic items would circulate, and the game would function in a natural way.
One issue that has come up again and again when discussions about the IG economy arise is that it's not an entirely IG thing. There is an extremely significant OOG personality component which is revealed time and time again.

If I were to try and construct a formula that tried to estimate how much "worth" a particular character might have (between magic items, gold, and other "stuff") it would be something like:

OOG Player Ability (50%) x Character Desire for Stuff (25%) x Character Level (25%)

That's not something that many people like to hear, but there it is. I've been playing for about 15 years now and have come to realize that the great majority of "ability to get stuff" is an OOG factor. Players can get better (or worse) at it, but it depends far more on the player than on which specific character they might play.

If you take a high-level game with players who have played for 1 year, 5 years, 10 years, and 15 years, and restart them all at level 1, invariably the same people who have the greatest amount of "stuff" will end up having it again.

I'm not saying this to try and make the task of catching up seem insurmountable - far from it, I'm actually saying that in some cases it's a lot easier than you might think to catch up in terms of material wealth. I am willing to bet money that an experienced player who is very good at getting "stuff" could restart a new character and end up with hundreds of gold and lots of magic items within a year - I've seen it happen tons of times over the years. The level is a very, very small part of what makes it possible.

So what is it that lets characters get "rich"? There's several factors that go into that "player ability" category above:

1. Experience with the game system. A player who knows the system inside and out will be able to target how most effectively to acquire stuff right off the bat.
2. Experience with the particular plot team and chapter "style". I'm not saying favoritism kicks in here, but if Joe knows that the plot team in Chapter A tends to put big-money gems on random crunchies, he knows to go after the crunchies there, while in Chapter B he should go for solving "quests" and mods, because that's where they hand out their big-money gems.
3. Player personality. Yep, we are all about "be all that you can't be"... but at the end of the day, if you are a person who knows how to network and charm people OOG, you're going to be able to carry those skills over to your characters. That absolutely sucks to realize to start with, but take heart: these are skills you can learn (and then transfer back to your OOG life). I was terribly shy when I started playing; I credit LARP for a dramatic difference in how outgoing I have become and how able to connect with new people and persuade them to my point of view.

If you are looking at how to solve "have" vs "have not", look at the players, not the characters. Character level really isn't a big part of it, but experience with the game is a big factor. If you are instead looking at "how could you make coin more useful", well, that's an entirely different discussion, but it sounds like that's not what you're aiming at with your musings.

-Bryan
 

Yames

Newbie
RiddickDale said:
Yames,

I appreciate your passion. Your last post came off a bit aggressive. I'd like it if you would tone down your remarks.

This is a touchy subject that can get heated, but we have to be careful to not let that heat reach our posts. It defeates the purpose of having any sort of discussion.

I don't know if you ever played WoW.... but the debate over Hardcore Raider vs Casual player on their forums got insane. But, the developers paid attention and over time found ways to make things better.

The "developers" responsible for the direction of this game (Owners, ARC, National Staff) are reading all of these threads to glean information and feedback to determine what changes, if any, need to be made. An aggressive tone does not help your case in the LEAST.

Cheers,

Stephen
Chair
National Publicity Committee
Noted, I don't play WoW so I have no Idea what that issue was but I understand your point.
Thank you for corralling me in before I got too far ahead of myself emotionally. I do however feel that If the " developers" as you put it do not see the level of frustration that this causes the player base, then it will ultimately take longer to fix or a fix may not come, it is much too easy for civility to be misconstrued into a lack of passion and urgency that a problem causes.

As far as a level cap goes to where I feel mandatory retirement should occur I could not tell you as I have no idea how far the highest levels extend. What I do think is that after a certain level players become nearly invincible and obtain so much power that they essentially break the system, as can be seen by the fact that almost all recent discussions have been on issues regarding things that really only pertain to the high level characters. The Magic Item issue comes as a result of Level Creep and the flood of magic items that has come as a result of the skewed APL. The quote "Coin hoarding" has come up on numerous occasions and it pertains to the fact that characters live unnaturally long lives in which coin constantly flows into the system, yet it never leaves the system. This stems from the fact that players are living too long and not permanently dying. It is not an issue of the high level characters having too much access as much as it is an issue in that when players live for so long in a game they accumulate wealth, and when there is no wealth going out of the game the economy naturally bloats and inflation occurs. Essentially If the top richest and highest level players in a chapter where to retire and liquidate all assets to the plot team, the economy could move back to a normal non inflated system.

So, say if there were a level cap of say 35 after which characters would retire and could start a character at half build I feel that many of the issues in the system would be fixed.
Essentially, I feel that it is a waste of time to chase after fixes for things like magic item bloat and coin hoarding without addressing the root of the problem which is that there is not nearly enough character turnover to support the system.
Doing so without addressing the main issue of character turnover would be like putting a bandaid on a giant gash. The bandaid may temporarily hide the issue but you really need to stitch up the gash.

I feel that the player base needs to toughen up and realize that the game would work much more efficiently and correctly if the lifespan of characters was not so unnaturally infinitesimal.
At some point the flaw in the system needs to be fixed for the good of the whole player base, even if to do so would hurt the feelings of some players.
 

phedre

Squire
There's already a half-build system in place. Anyone can turn in a character of any level and get a blank card with half the build and half the deaths.

Killing players doesn't cause coin to leave the game, possessions are easily willed away or absorbed by teams, family, or friends.

Any suggestions for getting coin back out of the game?
 

Yames

Newbie
Polare said:
If you are looking at how to solve "have" vs "have not", look at the players, not the characters. Character level really isn't a big part of it, but experience with the game is a big factor. If you are instead looking at "how could you make coin more useful", well, that's an entirely different discussion, but it sounds like that's not what you're aiming at with your musings.

-Bryan
I honestly am not trying to solve the "have" vs. "have not" thing because your right that is a function of players and not characters. What I really wanted to point out initially is that the economy is not fluid and that it seemed to be not working. The problem is that it instantly got turned into the finger pointing battle that I was trying to avoid in my initial post. I know it is not an issue of "have" vs."have-not" because as was pointed out the culture of the game involves a lot of selfless giving from the higher level characters to the lower level characters.

The only thing I'm seeing is that there is a marked lack of character turnover which means that the economy will probably not change. The only thing that will change is the levels of the characters in the high and low level groups.
so if right now there is a group of high level characters sitting at levels 35-45 and a low level group of characters at levels 5-15, without a change in character turnover the problems with the system will not change, and we will be having the same discussions in a few years with the only difference being that the same high level characters from before will be at levels 55-65 and the same low level characters from before will be at 10-25 and maybe there will be an even lower level group at 1-5.
 
Bryan, well spoken. My thoughts are more focused on the frustrating transition period between the two economies. when you get caught in between the coin economy and the ritual scroll/magic item economy there doesnt seem to be a great way to make the transition in a smooth, rewarding way. As i stated before, when you start getting ritual scrolls they are essentially useless for their intended purposes until you have achieved a nice stack of them, their components and the ability to cast them. I have found it extremely difficult to get a fair market value on scrolls in order to get coin that is still desperately needed. I can mod hard for a day and get a good 12 or 13 gold and some more random stuff but as far as liquidating assets in order to get the low/mid range items i need immediately we are faced with taking a huge loss on the value of a scroll or two and then finding the affordable 2 or 3 rit items which seem much less prolific in the actual market. no caster in their right mind would make a small trinket that lasts 6 months or a year when they could sit on the rits and throw them on 20 rit perms that only circulate at the top of the economy. it is much less about getting stuff as it is about a broken economic system that makes participating in something i feel is essential to the immersion a frustrating process. i could go for crunchies, i could just mod all day long and avoid any real economic contact but that seems to cheapen the experience of game. My character should not have to live off the grid (if you will) because of the flaws with buying and selling goods. (im not entirely sure i am making sense and as a disclaimer i still love the game and am overall very pleased with my progression through most of the system. the economy in particular just seems very clunky.)
 

evi1r0n

Baron
I know we would all love to make the game better. This topic has been brought up over and over again. This is a really touchy subject since most solutions result in hurting some people's feelings. I can see that from a managerial stand point this must be insanely hard to deal with. In the end I think we can agree on this: The game is fun and we are passionate enough to spend our Thursday afternoon discussing ways to improve it. Even if we do get a bit off topic at times. :lol:
 

Talen

Adept
phedre said:
There's already a half-build system in place. Anyone can turn in a character of any level and get a blank card with half the build and half the deaths.

Killing players doesn't cause coin to leave the game, possessions are easily willed away or absorbed by teams, family, or friends.

Any suggestions for getting coin back out of the game?
Oh, for dragons with a "Detect Gold" ability and a desire to make beds out of the stuff.

*SNIFF SNIFF SNIFF* MMM, YOU HAVE WHAT I HUNGER FOR. GIVE THE GOLD TO ME OR PERISH.

The flow of stuff into the game is vastly higher than the rate at which those items are removed- by whatever means, and that includes coin. Tossing MI's in via auctions and such just adds to that problem instead.

The average campaign should be attracting NPC thieves, magic eaters, and greedy monster types by the dozens every month, cause some of them at this point have a gold reserve comparable to Fort Knox. :p

That is, players should have plenty of reasons to fight FOR the money they have, along with fighting to get it from others.
(Of course, since Wards are incredibly common now, many games are also Fort Knoxes with every cabin.)
 

Polare

Count
Alliance Rules
Moderator
Seattle Staff
Yames said:
... we will be having the same discussions in a few years with the only difference being that the same high level characters from before will be at levels 55-65 and the same low level characters from before will be at 10-25 and maybe there will be an even lower level group at 1-5.
Not sure if this makes you feel better or worse, but this same discussion has been held every couple years for the last, oh, at least 6 to 8 and probably before that as well. The big difference between the last few years and earlier is that there is a much easier method of communication (online forums) by which players can pool their thoughts. I remember having this discussion when the highest level players in the chapters I played in were level 25. Now they're level 40, but it's the same topic and the same issues.

If we're purely talking about economy hiccups, the ones that really cheese me off (and IMO contribute to the problems you outline) are:

1. Not enough to spend money on - in real life we spend our money on shelter, food, clothing, and retirement savings. None of these apply in game. Sure, a character can *choose* to spend money for a meal here and there, and some places *might* charge a few silvers for the inn... but basically all of a character's money is spent on "adventuring gear". If you don't need to (or don't have the opportunity to) spend money on this gear (like most high level and mid level players who don't deal much in the production item economy anymore), you save it until you get a chance, or (in some chapters) you spend it on Plot items to feel good about buying a ship.

2. This is one of my personal pet peeves: people can make IG money by OOG means. Anyone, and I do mean anyone, can get basically infinite IG riches by bringing fudge, or root beer, or whatever in game and selling it for gold. I absolutely 100% hate that with a passion - it substantially devalues every single IG action that can be done to get IG money, and makes a character's IG actions to get said money nearly meaningless. Time and again I've seen the guy who works his butt off for a great IG con, or heist, or raid, or something, only to be *easily* outspent when trying to bid for the neat magic item by the guy who bought a case of bottled root beer and sold it for IG money. That quite frankly sucks, and my personal opinion is that no matter what else is done, the Alliance economy will *never* work because of this factor. I do realize though that my opinion on that is in the minority, and it's not something I often bring up or push for the reason that I don't expect it will change :)

-Bryan

(clearly, the above is my personal opinion only and should not be taken as any sort of official statement for any position I might hold)
 
Ron, you make a good point but perhaps the fact that it does come up so often and so passionately is an indication that the system really should be reworked. one idea would be completely removing the permanence and 5 year preserve rituals. that would get rid of the artificial inflation on ritual scrolls and reinforce an actual magic item/ritual scroll economy. with more magic item turnover we could have a more evenly spread out economy (buying and selling of goods, not loot gathering). That would give players more to spend coin on if their magic items were turning over every year.
 

Inaryn

Knight
Polare said:
This is one of my personal pet peeves: people can make IG money by OOG means. Anyone, and I do mean anyone, can get basically infinite IG riches by bringing fudge...
Turn about is fair play I suppose... :thumbsup:

The problem with that is there are people who, as players, don't have the savvy that means they will always have gold and items no matter what character they player, new or old. They've used their brain to figure out a way to get what they need. I think it's more of a bad thing that they felt they had to resort to selling OOG things IG in order to keep up. And, having been there and done that, you lose out on a lot of other stuff sitting in the tavern selling fudge. Sure you can walk away from the event with 20g... which you end up turning right around and giving back to the people who went out adventuring for the stuff that they bring back.

I think far more prevalent of a problem though is both not enough to spend money on, and not enough willingness to do so.

We just had our big plot arc ender. As part of my character's downtime, I built a bunch of shops. Plot told me that I was going to X amount built, and that for 30g, I could get three more of my choosing. I didn't get the tags for these, they aren't mine. But the money was spent and the shops were built. Because we needed them. And then, I got to see in game, in real time, that what I did mattered. I don't know that it's a solution for every plot team and every player, but it sure made me feel like it was money well spent.
 

Talen

Adept
Polare said:
1. Not enough to spend money on - in real life we spend our money on shelter, food, clothing, and retirement savings. None of these apply in game. Sure, a character can *choose* to spend money for a meal here and there, and some places *might* charge a few silvers for the inn... but basically all of a character's money is spent on "adventuring gear". If you don't need to (or don't have the opportunity to) spend money on this gear (like most high level and mid level players who don't deal much in the production item economy anymore), you save it until you get a chance, or (in some chapters) you spend it on Plot items to feel good about buying a ship.
I'm still amazed there isn't an upkeep cost at this point. Considering how much gold is building up, you could easily charge people a silver or two a month for "between event living" and they'd barely notice. Heck, you could make weapons and armor have expiration dates if you wanted to (that could be renewed by production), and that *might* make a dent in the inflation.

2. This is one of my personal pet peeves: people can make IG money by OOG means. Anyone, and I do mean anyone, can get basically infinite IG riches by bringing fudge, or root beer, or whatever in game and selling it for gold. I absolutely 100% hate that with a passion - it substantially devalues every single IG action that can be done to get IG money, and makes a character's IG actions to get said money nearly meaningless. Time and again I've seen the guy who works his butt off for a great IG con, or heist, or raid, or something, only to be *easily* outspent when trying to bid for the neat magic item by the guy who bought a case of bottled root beer and sold it for IG money. That quite frankly sucks, and my personal opinion is that no matter what else is done, the Alliance economy will *never* work because of this factor. I do realize though that my opinion on that is in the minority, and it's not something I often bring up or push for the reason that I don't expect it will change :)
It's sometimes stunning to realize that a guy bringing sodas IG can out-earn the guy with multiple levels of craftsman. And often does.
 

Yames

Newbie
Bryan,

You are awesome. I guess the big thing I take out of this is that even though this system has flaws and issues come and go. Ultimately everything works out and I have fun.
At the end of the day I'm sad when I leave an event and I can hardly wait for the next event so we're doing something right here.
 

Druk

Rogue
Personally, I'd like to see players who are bringing items into sell, be required to pay an IG price for materials and supplies, as well as have the Merchant skill or an appropriate Craftsman skill. I'm not saying you should need that to sell any item, if another player likes your hat and offers you some coin for it, that's great. But, if you're making hats and bringing them to sell IG, then you should at least have Craftsman: Haberdasher and be paying a price at logistics to reflect costs of production, just as with any production item.
 

RiddickDale

Squire
Moderator
Public Relations Committee
Yames said:
At the end of the day I'm sad when I leave an event and I can hardly wait for the next event so we're doing something right here.
You just hit the nail on the head there chief.

As an aside... I know we talk about high level characters who have enough money to swim in and never spend any of it...

I have zero idea how they do it.

Not a single idea. Seriously.

I lead the Phalanx.. we are a MASSIVE team with numerous high level characters... and we spend so much money every event between production costs (20 lvl potion/scoll/blacksmith, 10 lvl Alchemy), buying out treasure from shared kills, and feeding our "corpulent ones" hot dogs... I freak out when I see the spreadsheet sometimes....
 
The problem with upkeep costs such as rooms at the inn, downtime food, etc is that is penalizes lower-level characters and new players over the people who are hoarding gold. For a 3rd-level character, 2 silver can be significant. For even a 10th level character, it becomes so small as to be pointless. What would be ideal would be a form of an income tax, where the richer characters pay more than their poorer brethren. It wouldn't have to be a straight tax, it can be high-end plot that requires you to have a ship or a keep and the like.
 

Yames

Newbie
RiddickDale said:
As an aside... I know we talk about high level characters who have enough money to swim in and never spend any of it...

I have zero idea how they do it.

Not a single idea. Seriously.

I lead the Phalanx.. we are a MASSIVE team with numerous high level characters... and we spend so much money every event between production costs (20 lvl potion/scoll/blacksmith, 10 lvl Alchemy), buying out treasure from shared kills, and feeding our "corpulent ones" hot dogs... I freak out when I see the spreadsheet sometimes....
As Bryan said, Some people are just good at what they do, no faulting them.
 

phedre

Squire
RiddickDale said:
I lead the Phalanx.. we are a MASSIVE team with numerous high level characters... and we spend so much money every event between production costs (20 lvl potion/scoll/blacksmith, 10 lvl Alchemy), buying out treasure from shared kills, and feeding our "corpulent ones" hot dogs... I freak out when I see the spreadsheet sometimes....
Entirely off topic, but is there a line in there for Bacon Soup?

I will say, on topic, that people who devote OOG resources and IG time so you can buy real stuff with fake money shouldn't be looked down on. I spend about $75 per game and hours of time so I can provide food above and beyond what people get at meals. I'll buy the COs to support it, but please don't insinuate that I'm somehow playing outside the rules to make money. It's a nice perk, because I miss plenty of stuff while I'm cooking for 60-80 people, and I like to know that the people around me are fed, hydrated and happy.
 

SkollWolfrun

Squire
Oregon Staff
Perhaps a medieval type of system:
higher level characters are considered 'land owners' and would have to pay an amount to the crown (Plot). They would be considered to have a home of their own, somewhere.

Lower level characters are considered 'vassals' and would pay a small amount (or a craftsman skill would consider it full payment during downtime) to the crown(Plot). They basically would be renting a room somewhere.

I know more than a few players in Oregon bought ships. I got ideas on how to use those in game possibly too...
 

Druk

Rogue
phedre said:
I will say, on topic, that people who devote OOG resources and IG time so you can buy real stuff with fake money shouldn't be looked down on. I spend about $75 per game and hours of time so I can provide food above and beyond what people get at meals. I'll buy the COs to support it, but please don't insinuate that I'm somehow playing outside the rules to make money. It's a nice perk, because I miss plenty of stuff while I'm cooking for 60-80 people, and I like to know that the people around me are fed, hydrated and happy.
I don't look down on people selling OOG stuff IG, I think it adds to the game to have a wider variety items for sale (other than production items) and it is supported by the rulebook as a way to make money. I would just like to see an IG balance for the selling of items, either through a production price or CO skills (or both, depending on the situation). This also is fairer, IMO, to the people who have invested their build in CO and have players come in selling the same item with no IG cost (build or coin) for it.
 

Polare

Count
Alliance Rules
Moderator
Seattle Staff
phedre said:
I will say, on topic, that people who devote OOG resources and IG time so you can buy real stuff with fake money shouldn't be looked down on. I spend about $75 per game and hours of time so I can provide food above and beyond what people get at meals. I'll buy the COs to support it, but please don't insinuate that I'm somehow playing outside the rules to make money. It's a nice perk, because I miss plenty of stuff while I'm cooking for 60-80 people, and I like to know that the people around me are fed, hydrated and happy.
I think there's a line between "spending lots of your event time" - which affects what you can do in the limited time available at events - and "spending OOG time and money away from site". I'm going to use the fudge example again, not to pick on Sarah (hey, you're the one who used Translator for an example initially ;) ) but because it's a good example and I've seen it done by several people over the years.

IG time and money are a limited resource for all characters, and (more importantly) are an *equally* limited resource. If two characters go to the same events, they have precisely the same amount of IG time and the same opportunities for IG money. If you spend some of your IG time cooking food, and someone else buys that food with IG money, you've traded one IG resource for another - I don't see an issue with that.

On the other hand, some players have way more time or money OOG. When they're able to leverage that into more IG resources, I see a big disparity that I personally feel severely detracts from the game and has horrendous effects on the economy. If I have the money to buy a couple cases of Henry Weinhardt's root beer and sell that for 1 gold per pop in game, I'm using my OOG monetary advantages for IG resources - not cool. If I have the time to bake a few tins of fudge before I come to site, again, I'm using OOG time advantages to gain IG resources. I do feel it's different if you're doing it at game, because then you're spending time you could otherwise be using to go out and explore some caves or something for IG resources.

Inaryn said:
The problem with that is there are people who, as players, don't have the savvy that means they will always have gold and items no matter what character they player, new or old. They've used their brain to figure out a way to get what they need. I think it's more of a bad thing that they felt they had to resort to selling OOG things IG in order to keep up. And, having been there and done that, you lose out on a lot of other stuff sitting in the tavern selling fudge. Sure you can walk away from the event with 20g... which you end up turning right around and giving back to the people who went out adventuring for the stuff that they bring back.
That's a very valid point. I really don't mean to personally be knocking anyone who's done this; I have some very good friends who regularly make the majority of their IG money by bringing OOG goods to sell. I do however think it's a shame that it's part of the system (hey, I don't like Gypsy Curse either), but so long as it's part of the system I totally understand why people use it. I would much rather that there were other, equally valid ways for people to earn money that didn't screw over the economy ... but as it is, it's one of the better ways to get ahead in the IG money game, so I can understand why it's so widely used.

If we someday got to a point at which there were lots of wonderful IG ways to make money, and lots of wonderful IG things to spend money on, I'd love to eliminate this option (using OOG money and time to make an IG profit) - but until that point arrives, the economy is so crippled anyways that it's just one thing of many poking a hole in any semblance of IG economic sanity.

I would support the alternative of "you need to spend some IG "materials cost" money to bring OOG items in to sell" - I have seen (and used) this system in other LARPs. It is a pain in the butt for Logistics, unfortunately.

-Bryan
 
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