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Are Market Bots Really That Bad?


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When it comes to Dual Universe markets I see a lot of people complaining about the market bots. I can tell that the players against it are looking out for their personal best interest and not caring about how it will effect the failing game economy as a whole. The players for it have no other way to make quanta, in fact there is no other way to inject viable amounts of quanta into the game as far as I am aware.

 

Once upon a time for industry/builder folks like myself, mining was a means to an end. Mining was the only reasonable way I could have a ship part that did not take me 2 months of mining and selling ore to afford. It was the most cost effective/efficient way to do things if I could put in the time and effort to push out all the parts to get the end result. Even so there were MANY players that just simply preferred to just sell the ore to the bots as it was easier for them on the brain.

 

Now imagine as it stands, NQ removes the market bots from the game. What do you think will happen to ore prices?

The ore prices will start to floor. This is good for the folks with lots of quanta who do not want to mine for their industry/org and on the other hand VERY bad for the new players that just want quanta to buy a prebuilt ship...so they can mine more, crash it due to one of the many bugs....then uninstall, but I digress. The point is, the market bots are one of the many band-aids for the game.

 

Remember the 0.23 removal of the logout failsafe, fetch removal? Those were band-aids as well and it caused massive harm to the playerbase when they were removed because it was imposed without fixing the underlying problems the band-aids were used to protect players from, instead they upscaled the problem by introducing module destruction(still a headscratcher), then having to roll back after the playerbase exodus.

 

Post 0.23 world, I am not sure there are that many players left to supply a low price ore market. There is not enough demand for ore to push it past what the market bots were paying anyways, I do not believe there is ore consumption comparable to pre 0.23 anymore as the schematics effectively limited the demand.

Not many people enjoy mining for quanta, it is tedious and boring. Also there is the option to place your buy order higher than the bot orders if you feel strongly on the matter, highest bidder always get the product the fastest, everyone will sell to you. For me personally ore was worth more than any of the bot prices listed because it was so tedious to obtain and haul.

 

Now don't get me wrong, there are viable issues with the market bots method of currency injection, you are trading a finite resource for an unlimited supply of currency. At the same time there are issues with the currency itself. You have to think about what the currency is ultimately used for. How much demand is there for whatever the currency is supposed to buy? If you rely on the current economic model, that the currency is meant to mostly be traded between players, then you will eventually have more currency than ore in the universe, as it is recycled from player to player for the most part.

 

There are very few quanta sinks, element destruction cannot hope to offset/stimulate the economy on its own, I see people bring this point up often but even in a bug free flying environment it won't work that well. There are simply not enough players as well as not enough different quanta injectors/sinks to drive a macro economy, you need more variation. Ore should have never been used as the primary way to inject quanta into the game as it is finite and is the base for all industry, which generate what the players will use quanta to purchase anyways. In effect you're trading one currency for a less valuable form.

 

Tiles, blueprint copying, default market ships are not good enough sinks. Cosmetics for quanta could be one part, but there needs to be more. Schematics, sure another small part, but this was more of a black hole for the economy than an economy balancing sink, with how it was implemented it harmed the playerbase far more than it fixed the economy, basically forcefully reduced the value of ore as a commodity/currency while effectively deleting player progress/work. At first glance it probably looked like the holy grail to NQ and smooth brains alike. A pseudo economy reset for sure but pointless in the long run when it caused so much harm to the playerbase and effectively addressed none of the underlying problems.

 

 

TLDR: Market bots are just another band-aid, not good but remove it and you will harm your playerbase further lacking another viable quanta faucet.

 

 

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Prices for ships depend on prices for elements, prices for elements depend on prices for ore.

Would it really be bad if you had to
mine 100kl hema to get only 1.5M quanta, which is enough for only 10 t2 atmo engines L for 150k each
instead of, like now
mine 100kl hema to get  a whooping 2.4M quanta which is enough to buy a whole tenpack of t2 atmo engines L for 240k quanta each?

Lower prices for everything is even better for new players and casuals, as their daily bonus actually has some buy power.

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Yes, market bots are really that bad with the current implementation. There will never be a healthy market with bots not adjusting their prices on supply and demand. That doesn't mean market bots are not required. A fully player driven market wouldn't work either (unless we get player controlled issuing banks and regulating authorities). But they need to behave completely different.

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Since the NPCs (bots) aren't reducing the price they are buying ore for, the ore price is staying high.

 

The higher the ore price, the higher the price of all elements made with ore, therefore ships for your new players your example used.

 

If the ore prices were allowed to fall, elements and then ships would reduce as well. What this mean would be casual players who only play an hour or so a session would start getting better value for their 150K they get each session when they log in.

 

Also, ore is a finite resource. Since the bots are happy to buy it at a given price, shouldn't they be selling it at a few quanta higher so it isn't being magically removed from the universe?

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Cheaper Ore means cheaper ships and maybe in one way means more will take some risks.  Bots should vanish with the mission system IMO since there are other ways to make Quanta then.

 

Honvik

Premier of the Empire

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They are literally awful, all they do is act as a way for players to turn ore into quanta.

 

This might seem like a great idea but it is literal garbage, let's look at it this way: 

Scenario: 

- 10 people play the game

- each player receives 150k per day for logging in

- 5 of these players mine

- 5 of these players build and sell on the market

- there are no market bots

- the game has been going on for 10 days (to make it simple)


1. Player A mines some hematite

2. Player B mines some bauxite

3. A and B want to trade, things like the weight of hematite vs bauxite enter into the equation and they settle on a ratio to trade on

4. Player C comes in and also wants hematite, they want to buy it with quanta (there is only 15mill quanta available in the entire game)

5. Player C wants to build something that needs a lot of hematite, they offer to buy the hematite at 5h/u , Player A counters with 7 and they finally agree on 6

6. Player C sells a bunch of Wing S on the market

7. hematite suddenly goes up in demand as player e and f also want it, the price of wings also goes up too

8. a number of other players find a megapode of hematite on Ion, hematite is worth twice as much as any other ore at the moment, they figure if they mine it all and buy enough wings and thrusters they can probably get it to allioth and make a nice bit of quanta, they get super greedy and decide to showboat it (remember 10 days of the game being about is to keep it simple)

9. a few players get wind of this and try to figure out where and when they are taking off in the hope of shooting it down

 

I could go on but you get the point, the price of the ore is determined by the players and their actions, there is no lower limit, in this scenario miners will want to focus on finding hematite as opposed to bauxite as it is more valuable, even if it is heavier, also the traffic and hauling is also being pushed by the actions of the market, because hematite is twice the price of any other t1 there is a willingness to haul it to the central hub of alioth.

Additionally because hematite is heavier demand for wings goes up as ship designers must cater for ships that have more lift to handle heavier hematite cargo loads.

 

What you have here is a market which is being driven by the actions of the player.

 

What is actually happening is that because of the inclusion of bots which act as a endless ( well not endless but close given the player count) supply of quanta, what tends to happen is a player finds a node, doesn't matter what, any t1 node and then sells it to the nearest market for close to 24-25 quanta per unit, no haggling with players, no supply and demand in action here and no limit on the earning potential of any ore that any player finds, they know it is 23-25 quanta or whatever wherever they are.

 

So what are the ramifications: 

1. Players now have a lower limit of at least 25 quanta for the ore per unit, that doesn't take into account the extra hassle of delivering it or waiting around for a player so the lower limit for selling it to a player is higher because the opportunity cost of waiting for another player rather than a bot is much higher, this results in any new player being 100 percent forced to start doing this or.......well they have to, at least with having no bots a new player might have been able to use their 150k to say buy a small hauler to haul or a small pep ship to escort or pirate, not in this universe no sir, you will be forever condemned to mine your ass off until you can afford the 5mill s core or the 20 mill m core or the 100+ mill L core because you sure as hell aren't earning that kind of money any other way.

2. Players don't need to haul through space at all, just get to the nearest market and bam you are rich, no need to worry about whether you can escape atmosphere just need to be able to get enough lift to take off and enough brake power to set down safely, hell you could even not fly and just use hovers if you really didn't want to bother with a ship.

3. No PvP allowed, with no hauling required there Is really no opportunity to catch people, those same people never consider an escort service because they are totally safe, emergent gameplay such as escort and hauling services never arrive because there is no need for it.

4. Ore has been removed from the game (we aren't talking small amounts either here), not through destruction via PvP (at least that would generate fun) but simply through the conversion of a piece of ore to some quanta, now what this means is that quanta is now more plentiful and ore is less so, that 1 billion you have of quanta means nothing, all you have done is spent your time changing one number in a database to another number in a database, you got no fun out of it, there was no interaction with other players you just transformed one resource into another because you were told the bots would only be at 25 quanta for a limited time and you wanted to cash in hard before you had to get off the gravy train, only problem is everyone did it because there is nothing much else to do.

The kicker is that once you got all that quanta what you probably ended up doing is increasing the schematic collection you have acquired, only problem is now there is far less ore in the game and everyone has quanta, better get mining some more.

So you mine some more and get your factories running and then you go and dump your wares on the market and to your surprise it isn't selling as quick as you might like because everyone got burned out of solo mining for months on end and now you have realised that you just spend months grinding away at something to get to an end......trouble is the journey wasn't what you were promised at all.

5. Either way you have no got a bunch of quanta, you built your solo space station or city and a load of ships and then you look around, what do I do next.....mine for your bot overlords to pay you more quanta because the very same bots have removed any other piece of emergent gameplay that might have.....emerged.

5. outside of the game NQ have dug themselves an impressive hole too, they have just encouraged players to mine the crap out of the game for months in the hope they get a leg over other players........makes it so much harder to pivot towards any kind of reset whatever form that might take when you subjected your player base to thankless grind.

 

 

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OK, so market bots are bad because they change the economy.  Players need to earn cash in the game and will generally pick an activity over others if that activity is a lot easier and more profitable.  DU is also a social game and the core idea behind 0.23 was to get people to interact with one another using the market (forgetting for a minute that this is not real interaction because you don't even know who you bought from, it's what DU said at the time).  But when you mine and sell to a bot order you interact with nobody at all.

 

I do get that bot orders are a necessary crutch at the moment because cash has to be injected somehow and this is the way.  But the way they are set up is game breaking IMO and could be better:

 

-> Some of the prices are way too high, distorting the market.  Quartz, for example, established a price of around 14-17 quanta before 0.23.  Since then it has been bought by bots at 25.  That means people have more money than they should.  Artificial prices are relevant when you are, for example, assessing whether or not you'll make money back from a schematic.  You look at the build cost, look at what the item sells for, then look at the profit and the schematic price.  But then you have to ask 'what if these bot orders all go away?  People will suddenly have less money so I won't sell these for as much, but I have no idea what the ore cost will be because it's all artificially fixed just now so I have no way to know if I'll make my money back'.   Had they put the prices at, say, 1/2 the prices which had been established then the game could work out the 'right' price, which would be higher, and the price of elements could adjust accordingly.  Since so many were mining for schematics, they could have halved the price of those too and it would work out at the same number of hours mined for a schematic.

 

-> The bot orders are too convenient.  Bot orders are literally everywhere.  Wherever I find a node I can just haul it a short way and be guaranteed to sell it to a bot order.  Previously you had to think about what you were going to do with the ore before you mined it and it was possible to make a living as a trader, buying ore on planets with no buy orders and hauling it then selling it for more where it was wanted.  All of that gameplay is shut down completely with bot orders everywhere because it isn't needed.  Also, as a manufacturer, it will be really hard to buy ore even at the bot price because hauling to where I put my buy order is inconvenient.  I'll probably need to put in an order a lot higher than the bot orders just to get anyone selling to me at all.  This could all have been fixed by making fewer bot orders and having them pop up at random in different places for short periods of time or something to reduce the convenience.

But the worst thing IMO is that having a quick, easy way to make a decent amount of money (bot-order mining with reasonable skills is in the millions per hour I'm told) is that it becomes the low-bar in terms of reward-per-hour that people want.  Want to pay someone to escort your ship?  You probably have to pay at least what they'd get mining in the same time period to make it interesting.  And the artificially high price and convenience mean that you probably won't be able to afford to pay that person at all.

 

tl;dr the bot orders are too highly priced and too convenient and they turn the game into 'mining to bot orders online' to a large extent.

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Market bots are currently needed because this game is FAR from complete.

Without bots the ONLY money injection into this game would be the daily 150K, and while slowly increasing day by day that money would be ALL the money in the entire game that people could use for trading.

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The bots provide your starting cash - on day zero if there were no bots how do you make your first quanta? You can't because you have none and no one else does (assuming the 150K login bribe is not their either and in that philosophy it should not be).

 

So, day one there is no quanta and no way to earn any. Of course as someone mentioned in a pure player run economy everyone would start bartering and someone would start a bank and then they would create a secure currency and so forth - but it ain't going to happen so we have bots.

 

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11 hours ago, CptLoRes said:

Market bots are currently needed because this game is FAR from complete.

Without bots the ONLY money injection into this game would be the daily 150K, and while slowly increasing day by day that money would be ALL the money in the entire game that people could use for trading.


This isn't a huge problem, if there is only 150k coming in a day it's not great granted and as someone already mentioned having a player run bank is a non-starter for too many reasons to bother with but it might arguably be better than bots, really doesn't matter if player a has 150k or 150 bill, the total amount of money in the game given healthy supply and demand is going to naturally set prices.

I am by no means suggesting that this would be a sound practice past beta, what I am saying is I don't think it would have hurt as bad as we think, it might have even saved them some headaches, with the current mission system players are rightly pointing out that a showboating mission from Alioth to Feli or wherever is not something are going to do for 5mill, had they not introduced bot orders as they have this might have been completely fine, at that point the mission system would have been implemented and the daily quanta thing could go too, replaced by a one time payment to new players.

All they have really done by introducing these bot orders is

1. set a minimum buy price for ores artificially

2. injected large sums of quanta into the game and ejected large numbers of finite ore from the game (as the current state of the game stands).

3. forced every player who wants to compete at release to become a mining drone

 

Tbh it might not have been so bad had they just set the quanta price to like 1 quanta a unit for t1 2 for t2 etc etc. 

That would have been enough to kickstart the currency whilst they sorted out missions without introducing unnecessary inflation......important to remember it takes more space in a db to hold 100000 than it does 10000 so there is even a teeny tiny technical reason for trying to keep the amount of quanta in circulation low.

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21 hours ago, bleakcon said:

1. Player A mines some hematite

2. Player B mines some bauxite

3. A and B want to trade, things like the weight of hematite vs bauxite enter into the equation and they settle on a ratio to trade on

4. Player C comes in and also wants hematite, they want to buy it with quanta (there is only 15mill quanta available in the entire game)

5. Player C wants to build something that needs a lot of hematite, they offer to buy the hematite at 5h/u , Player A counters with 7 and they finally agree on 6

6. Player C sells a bunch of Wing S on the market

7. hematite suddenly goes up in demand as player e and f also want it, the price of wings also goes up too

8. a number of other players find a megapode of hematite on Ion, hematite is worth twice as much as any other ore at the moment, they figure if they mine it all and buy enough wings and thrusters they can probably get it to allioth and make a nice bit of quanta, they get super greedy and decide to showboat it (remember 10 days of the game being about is to keep it simple)

9. a few players get wind of this and try to figure out where and when they are taking off in the hope of shooting it down

 

I could go on but you get the point, the price of the ore is determined by the players and their actions, there is no lower limit,

 

No, I'm afraid I don't really get it. Alone the schematics for the production of the ships that are required to get the ore of the meganode from Ion to Allioth with reasonable effort (nobody wants to do that with S elements only) would drain out the 15 mill quanta available in the entire game. In order to show that it works you would need to do the math. For example you can't just assume that buyer and seller agree on the arithmetic average of their offers. You need to show that the price actually has a window with profit for both sides and that this window doesn't close or goes to zero over time. That is far from being trivial - not even for just 10 players.

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10 minutes ago, Maxim Kammerer said:

 

 

No, I'm afraid I don't really get it. Alone the schematics for the production of the ships that are required to get the ore of the meganode from Ion to Allioth with reasonable effort (nobody wants to do that with S elements only) would drain out the 15 mill quanta available in the entire game. In order to show that it works you would need to do the math. For example you can't just assume that buyer and seller agree on the arithmetic average of their offers. You need to show that the price actually has a window with profit for both sides and that this window doesn't close or goes to zero over time. That is far from being trivial - not even for just 10 players.


This is the great problem with the way in which NQ has implemented things like schematics, they have set the prices as a snapshot, they have not linked it to anything at all..... in a better game schematics wouldn't even be something that bots just happen to sell, there would be some other game loop to help out with this, at the very least the schematics should have scaled off of economy.

My point is this, it doesn't matter if you have 15 million total quanta in the game or 15 trillion at least from a gameplay perspective; what matters is the distribution of that quanta and the faucets of the game (in our case schematics which I have already addressed).

There is no inherent value in the quantity of quanta you have only the distribution of quanta amongst the player base which is why I am saying that market bots are awful; I think I already mentioned I didn't think relying on the daily reward was sustainable but they could have just waited for the mission system to come in; I know I know there was nothing to do, that's a much bigger issue than market bots, that is an issue of NQ not releasing content in the correct order.

In my mind it should have gone something like : soft wipe will be incoming ->  Mission System -> Power system introduction ->  PvP revamp -> Territory warfare ->  Schematic introduction (schematics should have been dependant on some kind of economical constant)  -> Soft wipe where only blueprints (not compacted) survived the wipe and perhaps your skill points -> Beta where we start tweaking rather than introducing.

Then we wouldn't be in this position where we are talking about market bots because all the game features are there such that mission runners are driving the initial seeding of a reasonable injection of quanta and the same system is also acting as a quanta faucet along with territory upkeep.

Fundamentally market bots are a short term band aid with long term consequences to the health of the game.

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Market bots inject a money game loop for mining. The problem is that nothing injects a money game loop currently for other activities.

 

Industry, only good money if you’re 5/5 with a lot of stuff. So new players are not able to profit for months.

 

Day trading or cargo hauling doesn’t earn money because bots buy everywhere, so their is no ability to buy low, transport, sell higher.

 

Bots are one of the causes (maybe close down all not Alioth bots?). Hopefully Missions will help bring in non mining game loops. But because of market bots, the expectation of quanta/hr is set high

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