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The game econemy

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So most games have NPCs... and quests.  Currency gets added to the game from you selling stuff to them and for completing their quests... and removed from the game by you buying things from them...

 

Currency faucets and sinks... adding money and taking it away to maintain the balance.

 

IRL in the old days currencies were backed by a commodity... like gold... and now governments just print money... or actually adjust numbers on computers to magic money into existence for good or ill... But I've gotten off track.

 

Without NPCs and their quests... how will currency be gained and lost in DU?

 

How could it work?

 

 

some ideas

1.

You could start everyone out with a certain amount... so each new player adds to the overall total amount of liquid currency available... But then amassing any amount would mean everyone else has a little less...  It would keep prices low though.  And anyone who left the game without giving their stuff away would remove that currency.

 

2.

You could reward certain activities... say mining with some sort of currency reward per volume of ore mined... And I guess you could require some currency as crafting component to sink that currency back out...

 

I'm not saying these are good ideas... In fact I'm pretty sure they're both bad.  But I'm trying to figure out how this can possibly work and not coming up with much.

 

 

And before someone mentions DAC... the currency you get for selling that comes from other players not directly from NQ so it isn't a currency faucet.

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This is a question that, in my opinion, has not been properly addressed by NQ. They have stated there will be market bots which will help seed the markets and introduce currency into the game at the beginning, but they have said those will go away over time. As to long term plans for currency management, I do not think it has been properly addressed at all. I am hoping they will stick to the tried and true method of sinks and faucets, even if it affects the "lore" of the game a bit.

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I think most of the economics of the game will have to be determined by the alpha/beta results.

 

@Lord_Void your right about the devs being a little vague on the subject, but the use of bots at the start might be the best solution.

 

It would be a little weird if we started out with money only because it breaks the lore of waking up from an ice box with nothing, however it IS a game so I'm not too opposed to the idea of it.

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It has already been said that NPCs will be around the Ark Ship at the start with basic 'gather resources' quests to build up and jump start the economy, then it's all up to us!

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I think most of the economics of the game will have to be determined by the alpha/beta results.

 

@Lord_Void your right about the devs being a little vague on the subject, but the use of bots at the start might be the best solution.

 

It would be a little weird if we started out with money only because it breaks the lore of waking up from an ice box with nothing, however it IS a game so I'm not too opposed to the idea of it.

 

 

I agree the use of bots at the beginning is a good solution for the beginning, but that isn't a long term solution. Once the flow of new currency into the game world ends, deflation begins. As more material is mined and put into circulation, the currency becomes worth more and more (assuming more currency is not being produced). This isn't such a bad thing at first, but eventually it would result in currency being so valuable that it is hard to trade with. Imagine buying a planet for 10 spacebucks and then trying to sell a few boxes of stuff; they'd be worth maybe 1/10000 of a spacebuck, which is basically impossible. Like you said, having permanent npc sinks would be a bit inconsistent with the lore, but there needs to be a long term solution or it just won't work.

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NPCs to balance the economy are BAD for the game:

-Imagine you have a cargo full of iron. You can sell it to an NPC, that will magically generate money and make your iron magically disappear. Alternatively, if there are no NPCs, you would have sold that cargo to another player so that can be used to build something real (ship or whatever), without generating any inflation since the money is not generated magically. NPCs to balance the economy, reduce the economy itself, create inflation, and reduce the gameplay (since you'd not have build that ship with that iron, you'd fight less). 

-Imagine you want to buy iron from an NPC. Your gold disappear magically, while iron appears. That simply reduce the mining activity from miners, so less piracy, less activity in general. 

 

NPCs usually are used as a way to control by the developers EASILY but is indeed not a good method to generate gameplay and fun. NPCs at start may be fine, but yes, there's still need for something in the long run (adding them temporarily when it's needed isn't really that cool...).

As i said in another thread, that's my idea:

-There's a resource in game, let's call it GOLD. The rarity grade is uncommon. 

-GOLD is a core resource for the gameplay, it will always have a good and stable value. (i.e. it is needed to craft "Core Units", so to build a construct, you need it). 

-You can craft GOLD COINS (ingame credits) with GOLD. GOLD COINS are a virtual currency, you don't have to store it into your inventory. 

-You can craft back GOLD from GOLD COINS, but you'd spend a good amount of energy and time (to prevent people transforming their GOLD cargo into a weightless/protected cargo). 

-People will use GOLD COINS to pay/sell stuff, because it's the only currency the Market Unit supports. 

 

How does this work? It's like you're bartering GOLD (transformed into GOLD COINS for the Market Unit, and convenience reasons (no weight/virtual and safe). 

How does it balance? If there is too much GOLD COINS, people will revert it back to GOLD, and craft "Core Units" (ships/bases) out from it. If there is too few GOLD COINS people will craft it from GOLD as needed. It balance itself. 

 

In the case devs don't want the base currency of the game to be weightless and virtual, then there's no need to adda  currency, because players will figure out one to barter things by themselves (GOLD). 

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NPCs to balance the economy are BAD for the game:

-Imagine you have a cargo full of iron. You can sell it to an NPC, that will magically generate money and make your iron magically disappear. Alternatively, if there are no NPCs, you would have sold that cargo to another player so that can be used to build something real (ship or whatever), without generating any inflation since the money is not generated magically. NPCs to balance the economy, reduce the economy itself, create inflation, and reduce the gameplay (since you'd not have build that ship with that iron, you'd fight less). 

-Imagine you want to buy iron from an NPC. Your gold disappear magically, while iron appears. That simply reduce the mining activity from miners, so less piracy, less activity in general.

 

(....)

It won't disappear, the npcs could just buy from you and make a sell order with your iron. Another player can then buy from that NPC if he chooses to.

 

Problems with your idea:

 

- you would favor big orgs who can explore fast

- you prevent small guys / small orgs to ever have access to such a deposit (because the big guys will defend it)

- you prevent people in the early game to thrive and expand more quickly, because they have to mine everything by hand and can't collect money to help them build a ship for instance

- some other reasons other players will state ;)

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We have no idea what the in game currency will be based off of. NPC should be used as a way to generate credits always. How else are you going to get credits in the game?

 

The trading system will most likely take a cut of it so if you put something on the market for 1,000 it might take 100 or so for listing the item. This is the "gold" sink. How are we to generate money if NPC do not generate it? What would an advance society use as money? Energy is something I feel would be a balance.

 

I could see the credit system be based on "energy" as in if you find radioactive ores, you need those for ship fuel or you can sell to NPC for credits. Then it becomes a balancing of do I need credits or should I use it myself or sell to other players? The Ark ship might also have missions for us to do other things we don't know about yet. We are rebuilding society on this new alien world and do not have a huge amount of systems in place which makes life become very exciting.

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It won't disappear, the npcs could just buy from you and make a sell order with your iron. Another player can then buy from that NPC if he chooses to.

 

Problems with your idea:

 

- you would favor big orgs who can explore fast

- you prevent small guys / small orgs to ever have access to such a deposit (because the big guys will defend it)

- you prevent people in the early game to thrive and expand more quickly, because they have to mine everything by hand and can't collect money to help them build a ship for instance

- some other reasons other players will state ;)

Doesn't make any sense for a NPC to place an order on the player market, firstly because it's a player made market and you could do that by your own, secondly because market are local, there's not a single one. 

 

1) GOLD is supposed to be uncommon, not rare. It means that there'll be enough spread across a planet for everyone. People will explore to find the rarest materials, GOLD would not be the reason. 

2)There's not a single vein, it's spread across the planet. If i remember correctly, JC said that a vein of a common material like copper could be long like 8 kilometers. The value of resources depends on "time to mine them", "risk", "rarity", "energy consumed" and other reasons, not just "rarity". 

3)People will mine GOLD to build a construct, and transform the excess into GOLD COINS. They'll not mine more, since the actual plan is to mine to sell stuff to NPCs, it's pretty much the same. 

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Doesn't make any sense for a NPC to place an order on the player market, firstly because it's a player made market and you could do that by your own, secondly because market are local, there's not a single one. 

 

1) GOLD is supposed to be uncommon, not rare. It means that there'll be enough spread across a planet for everyone. People will explore to find the rarest materials, GOLD would not be the reason. 

2)There's not a single vein, it's spread across the planet. If i remember correctly, JC said that a vein of a common material like copper could be long like 8 kilometers. The value of resources depends on "time to mine them", "risk", "rarity", "energy consumed" and other reasons, not just "rarity". 

3)People will mine GOLD to build a construct, and transform the excess into GOLD COINS. They'll not mine more, since the actual plan is to mine to sell stuff to NPCs, it's pretty much the same. 

 

It makes sense in order to start the market ;)

 

1) see my second point; big orgs will defend those veins, see former OTEC cartel in eve

2) same

3) hmmm....when I have a vein of that Gold I will definitly mine EVERYTHING I CAN GET because it's money

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In the real world, the majority of the "currency" is put into the market through lending.  I don't see how banking could work in this game, although it is possible.  

 

All NQ NEEDS to do the monitor currency is split the currency when necessary due to the inflation caused by economic activity (mining).  That way, they can target the value of each starting currency to represent the market value of a certain level of resources.

 

This will create a problem during the development of the economy because the "interest" rate on saved money will likely be very high (currency will keep splitting, resources will be worth less and less of the original amount due to increased supply).  

 

Eventually, the economy will mature and gathering resources will likely reach equilibrium with using resources.  If the price of resources is high, players will stop building and start mining, if the price of resources is low, players will stop mining and start building.

 

The way this system can be abused (or exploited) is through the creation of players early in the game that are not played at all, but return late in the game with a massive amount of money due to currency splitting.  This could be intentional (far sighted players creating dummy accounts) or accidentally (a player loses interest right away, but years later regains interest).  There should be away to reduce an inactive players currency accumulation due to splitting.

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NPCs to balance the economy are BAD for the game:

...

The NPCs aren't there to balance the economy. They are there to seed it. Then once the player economy kicks in the NPCs are removed. That's what we know of the Devs plans not much else.

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The NPCs aren't there to balance the economy. They are there to seed it. Then once the player economy kicks in the NPCs are removed. That's what we know of the Devs plans not much else.

Indeed thats about all we know right now.

 

Personally I dont think removing the npc's is a good idea. I just dont see how accumulated wealth vs finite credits in circulation is going to work out.

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I actually rather like the idea of being able to turn a resource into currency...

 

It would work just like real life.  Money was more stable when it was gold backed...

 

But maybe several... or all resources should be able to be converted... at differing rates.

 

 

But really what is the difference between there being an NPC you take things to and get currency back... and clicking a convert button to do the same thing?

 

 

I don't like mined resources being destroyed irretrievably... So the convert system is good because you can convert things back...

 

I'd want the NPC system to then sell the resources on the player market.  It would then function as both a currency faucet and a sink...  If it gives out more currency than it's receiving for selling the resources at average market price... then its a faucet and if it's receiving more currency than it's giving out then it's a sink.  It would function to inflate or deflate currency values to a balance point set by the devs.

 

Markets are local yes... but I think the listings are global... meaning you can see what everyone everywhere is selling and their price... and you can buy it from anywhere... but you have to physically go there to take possession. 

 

I'm rather liking this sell to NPC and NPC puts it on the market for current market average idea.  People would still be able to play the market and have value fluctuations based on distance from population hubs and inflation would be kept in check.

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I think this is the most interesting question that's left outstanding by NQ, I don't think any other game has ever had a fully player run economy before.

 

Personally I like the idea of having no "official" currency and having players get by with barter and then let organisations issue currency later on. Would certainly be interesting to see what happens.

 

Another idea is you could have "literal" money faucets that give you a small amount of money when you click on them with a cooldown, it would help keep deflation under control as as people have more money there will be a break even point at which its not worth the time to sit there clicking on them anymore and then as the economy grows and deflation kicks in it will become appealing again.

 

It doesn't help if inflation happens but that's not such a problem.

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Economies are tricky beasts.

 

Here are some of the NPC based faucets/sinks I can see:

 

a) Buy/Sell Raw Material

B) Blue Print designs

c) Assembled devices

d) Go scan/explore an area (grid reference, moon, asteroid, solar system).

 

1) NPC Pricing

If pricing is fixed then materials have a floor value.  i.e. if the NPCs always buy iron at 1.3 credits per unit then no player will sell below 1.3 credits per unit.

If they sell for 13 credits per unit no player can sell above 13 credits per unit.. But the farther you are away from the ark ship the less true that becomes.

If you are a 3 hour flight from an NPC then 20 credits per unit might be the best offer you can get.

 

2) Cash availability

If NPC orders are unlimited for buying/selling then you have an uncontrolled economy that can spiral into hyper inflation/deflation.

 

On the other hand if there is a hidden bank account that is the NPC money supply - when it runs out then the NPCs can't buy any more.

This leads to problems with new players starting.

Unless you pair it with an account per player.  i.e. each new player gets 1 million credits in their hidden account.  They can sell that much to NPCs to get initial cash.

When that per player hidden account is empty then the NPCs have to have funds in the global hidden account or they are broken and can't/won't buy.

Maybe selling doesn't refill the personal hidden account or maybe only up to a certain amount.

If the money supply is shown to be too restricted the devs can add more to the hidden global account and the NPCs start buying again.

Maybe it's determined that 100 credits/second should be added to that global account to keep things smooth, etc.

 

3) Bartering

This one would take a bit more work on the devs part to allow the market units to have individual values for bartering materials.

If on your market unit you could say you value iron at 1.5 credits per unit and are selling a particular widget for 15 credits then they could buy the widget with 10 iron units.

This gives lots of flexibility and makes more sense long term to me.  Credits have almost no meaning if I can't turn them into something I want.  And when your dealing with rare/hard to acquire material you will probably want to trade for other materials.

i.e. I want to put a superb engine I built up on the market for 20k credits + 100 units of dark matter crystals.

If you wanted to be really fancy you could support multiple "prices" per item. i.e. 100k credits, or 20k credits + 100 units of dark matter crystals.

Add in the ability to lock those offers to certain people/groups. i.e. alliance members get special pricing.

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Indeed thats about all we know right now.

 

Personally I dont think removing the npc's is a good idea. I just dont see how accumulated wealth vs finite credits in circulation is going to work out.

I would like to see a dev quote for removing established NPCs.

I don't recall seeing that.

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I would like to see a dev quote for removing established NPCs.

I don't recall seeing that.

 

When NQ has talked about NPCs they always used terms like "in the beginning" and "for the initial period of time" and "kickstart the economy". I think it has been widely assumed (by myself as well) that this meant they planned to remove them at some point, even though I'm not sure if they ever stated that directly. However, more recent phrasing has made it sound more like they won't be removed and will instead form a more permanent role. I don't think they have fully and directly addressed this question yet.

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When NQ has talked about NPCs they always used terms like "in the beginning" and "for the initial period of time" and "kickstart the economy". I think it has been widely assumed (by myself as well) that this meant they planned to remove them at some point, even though I'm not sure if they ever stated that directly. However, more recent phrasing has made it sound more like they won't be removed and will instead form a more permanent role. I don't think they have fully and directly addressed this question yet.

The reason you can't remove them from the game is due to how will you expand or accept new players in the future if they have no way of making money. How will a new person get the credits they need to buy something from the market? How will the existing players trade if no new money is brought into the game? How will the economy handle the loss of credits if someone decides to quit the game?

 

In eve you have the missions and rats to generate income you do not have that in this game. You will need to expand the player base if you just give new players X amount of credits when starting. This also becomes an issue as if you give X amount to players when they start the game 6 months after release that X credits is worth a whole lot more because everyone who has been in game has been dealing with a limited amount of funds to do things and has built up a massive amount of base level things like bases or mines and have resources to build things. This isn't a bad thing but it means your better off waiting to use your money for when you can buy things cheaper if credits are hard to get.

 

With the most recent AMA they said they will have NPC placing buy and sell orders. I think this is a good thing in the long run as yes it creates a base price for materials but also think that this will get credits flowing into the game systems and we will be able to have millions of credits to buy and sell ships or blueprints. The market sinks of listing or fees will keep inflation in check. Also who is to say the NPC won't adjust the prices dynamically as in it will buy 1k copper at 10 credits each then the next order it will only buy 1k copper at 9 credits and if it doesn't get filled in 12 hours it will go up to 10 credits again? 

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They cant remove npcs without providing another way to "print" money, because of natural loss of money due to players that stop playing forever.

Anyway, since their last ama update, it seems they'll not remove them anymore

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I interpreted what they've written to mean that they don't plan to add more.

They will start with some NPCs in the beginning to kick-start the economy, but they won't add any (NPC people) after that.
Not that they would remove the NPCs once the economy was thriving.

 

Something to keep a look out for.
Thanks for the follow-up!!

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I interpreted what they've written to mean that they don't plan to add more.

They will start with some NPCs in the beginning to kick-start the economy, but they won't add any (NPC people) after that.

Not that they would remove the NPCs once the economy was thriving.

 

How then are we to get enough credits in the economy to pay for larger ships? If a small size ship when its new(in terms of generally accessable) costs 10k if they do not introduce more credits into the economy then when a mid size ship would costs the same? That again means that your better off making money early in the game then waiting for people to start selling the big ships cause no new money means that they really can not raise prices as nobody will have any money.

 

People think that inflation is bad but its not that bad what is bad is hyperinflation. Inflation just makes sure if you have 1m credits and take a 6 month break that 1m credits is worth slightly less as the tech/economy is moving forward. What would have cost 1m 6 months ago now only costs 800k as more and more people are able to fly/craft it and find the resources to do it.

 

Another thing to look at is the time to money investment. If a small ship takes 5k units of something to make and a mid size ship requires 15k units of the same material then the mid size ship has 3x the base resource to build it. Now take a large size ship costing 3x the mid size one and your at 45k units of a resource. That is 9x the small ships amount of resource. Are you saying that once the economy is kickstarted that you won't need to add more money? Yes bartering for ships will become a thing but if your not giving a way to make credits then your going to be dealing with no way to pay for these bigger ships.

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I haven't said anything about credits, so I don't understand why you mention "if they do not introduce more credits into the economy".
I said they won't introduce more NPC people after they kickstart the economy.

 

But, we don't necessarily pay for ships via credits.

We need to acquire adequate resources to create large ships. AFAIK, we will be able to manufacture the Elements we want as long as we have the necessary resources.

Purchasing Elements and resources just helps us build more quickly.

I expect some people to barter rather than rely on credits.

 

But, that really has nothing to do with how many NPCs are added to the game after the economy is kickstarted.

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Perhaps we have a great opportunity to make something really unique in the field of game economics. Regarding the problem of game currency, economy initial bootstrap, and control of the currency, there is a way, a very unconventional one, sure, to do things in a different mode.

 

First, I want to point that, in any form that DU economic system is finally implemented one thing will be the same surely: DACs will be the de facto MONEY. I call in this context MONEY an economic asset that fulfils this three properties:

  • Is a tradable asset in the system
  • Is ubiquitous and "easy" to obtain (in the sense that everybody can find it).
  • Is the most liquid asset of the economy

We can think about it all we want, but experience is the mother of knowledge, and DU economy is going to have enough similitude to EVE Online economy, where PLEX is the de facto MONEY in the sense expressed above.

 

But DACs are simply game time. That is, a DAC will represent 30 days (720 hours, or 2,592,000 seconds) of an avatar game "life".

 

So the unconventional proposition is simply: make avatar game "life" the currency of game. For example, make 1 credit equal to one millisecond of game subscription time. Or count prices directly in milliseconds, and deduct or increase the final price of any trade from the "life" time counters of each part in a trade. Just equal to the idea behind the film "In Time"

 

To not distort the in game currency, free game time from trial periods will be non tradable, so it will be not part of the currency base.

 

So when you use a DAC to enlarge your remaining game "life", 2.592B of credits (or milliseconds) will be added to your "account"; you can use it to purchase things or pay for services, the first of all and unavoidable will be "game life" at 1000 credits per second. If in any moment your account reach 0, well, you die. After resubscription or reDAC, you resurrect in the nearby Resurrection Node and can continue to play... 

 

Problems I see:

  • This model can be quite deflationary regarding prices.
  • People that use subscription to play can be left with no life before end of subscription cycle.
  • Scamming and economic warfare will be especially punishing

One way I see to tackle the first two problems is to make that DACs and subscriptions add more than 30 days of "life" time, for example, 33 days. For the third one we can see it as "works as intended", making DU a quite punishing game for people with thin skin, or a very clear and active antiscam policy must be implemented from game moderators to reduce this.

 

Other way to address the problem of "end of life" for people with active subscriptions is to make tradable only the added "life time" and  the subscription term time non tradable; "life time" added by DACs will be fully tradable.

 

This way the quantity of currency in circulation is more or less proportional to the number of subscribed players, because fine tuning sinks will accomplish that quite easily. Additionally no bootstrap is need to start economy nor currency distribution; at the start of the game, people will have plenty of currency in their hands, and even NPCs will be not necessary.

 

The last problem I see regarding this currency model is that from wealth accumulation in the form of assets, the general trend will be for a slow deflation, which if goes out of control can stagnate commerce greatly. I think that the only solution to this is to put some mechanism of decay by time to most of the assets in game, which in effect will function as an asset sink mechanism, making the deflationary trend more controllable (or reverting totally it, if the decay rate is too high).

 

I know that the idea is quite crazy, but, hey, will not be incredible interesting to see such thing?

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So let's take some time to analyze this here. In the game, there will be in game markets that use a form of non-lootable currency. So we need to gain that currency first. We already know of NPCs being on the market early on to help support it, and that's a good idea. However, there is the issue of if players are able to obtain that wealth early on. Let's think about this here.

 

So let's first analyze how currency will be shared. Accounts will be able to support three different game characters. Does that mean each character has their own currency account? Well, we might have to think of it in this way. NQ probably intended that these characters have the ability to be used separately from each other. For instance, you probably wouldn't want currency accounts to be universal due to the fact that any currency accounts under the player account could be access by all characters. So, we can put the idea that all characters have separate accounts. That also fixes an issue with transporting currency between long distances by setting up different characters.

 

Now, we can make a guess that each character has it's own currency accounts. So let's go down the idea of how we gain this currency.

 

  • Each character get's a certain amount of currency off the bat. Now this seems like a good idea. New players will have the ability to buy things off the bat, and there is constant income in the economy, but we also need to think of some others thigns about this. Let's start with the benefits.
  1. Benefit: Each new player later on has the ability to buy something off the bat. This means that everyone has an ability to do something. However, that is also negated by the fact that everyone starts off with that currency. This means that while the player does have something to start off with, it's not as much use.
  2. Benefit: There is no undersaturation in the market. The currency will not gain insane value when players spread out in the world. 
  3. Disadvantage: Artificial Oversaturation of the market. People who have the power to buy multiple accounts could oversaturate the market. As well, if players decide to quit, the currency could start to lose a small amount of value overtime. No NPC can fix that after a long period of time.
  4. Disadvantage: People could see this as a pay to play type of situation. So the fix would be to make the amount small enough that it doesn't really matter. However, that negates new players as well. It wouldn't really help the situation.

This scenario is showing it's best and worse outcomes. Everything seems a bit harder to balance. While it is viable, it isn't reliable. Share your opinion though

  • Characters earn currency depending on their time in the game. Small amounts of currency are earned for each character, not causing an overall boost in a character, but a possible way to stabilize the economy.
  1. Benefit: If the amount is calibrated just right, this could provide some stabilization to the economy. This would in turn provide a suitable way for currency to flow.
  2. Disadvantage: The amount would possibly take months to fine tune, and would possibly need a method that allows the devs or an algorithm to decide what amount should influx at any given time.
  3. Benefit: Since only one character can be be active at a time, it would reduce the problems caused by multiply players entering the game and sharing their wealth.

This scenario has an ability to work. It just needs fine tuned efforts to get it just right in the beginning of the game.

  • There is no immediate way to gain currency. There is no currency flow through players.
  1. Disadvantage: The only way to provide market stability is through NPCs. This means that NPCs will have to be present in the game for longer periods of time.
  2. Benefit: New players will have to quickly work for their income. This means players are forced to go into this economy learning the game and figuring out the best ways that they can play and earn currency.
  3. Benefit: There is absolutely zero pay to win ability.

It is an option, but it changes the game flow in a way.

 

Honestly, the devs will have to tell us how this works. There is likely another way to make this work as well. I am just posting this to give idea's to the discussion. 

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