[MUD-Dev] Re: online economy behavior (was: Self-organizing worlds)

Matthew Mihaly sarapis at achaea.com
Tue Mar 23 16:35:56 CET 1999

At 04:05 PM 3/23/99 -0800, Adam Wiggins wrote:

>Or, in a nutshell - there are few luxuries to be purchased in most fantasy
>One doesn't have to look much further than one's own life to see this in
>action.  For example, I go out almost every day to a nice lunch.  It
>makes a good break in the work day.  I usually eat a $6 - $10 entree and
>drink two or three Guiness.  On average that's $8 + ($4 per pint * 2.5) plus
>tip, or about $20 per day just for that one meal.  Five days a week
>times four weeks in a month makes it $400 a month I'm spending *just* on
>Most of my mud characters "feast" on pipeweed bread and barrels of water
>taken from a public fountain.  (The one exception being when I ran with
>the Tarsis Shriners, a clan on Arctic MUD who ate only Tarsis smoked hams.
>I was willing to pay a price premium for the hams in the name of clan pride.)
>Obviously there's quite a difference there.  I'm sure one could think of many
>examples beyond just food - clothing, entertainment, and even simple personal
>comfort (running the heater at night).
>Sometimes these sorts of elements exist - for example, being able to pay
>a sum of money to personalize an object name ("Bob's longsword of death"),
>or to purchase a house/guildhall.  But generally they are few and far
>between, rather than a daily event like a nice lunch or a movie or running
>your heater.

The problem is really an application of one of Raph's laws I think, the one
that states that it's impossible to produce 'unique' events as quickly as
players demand them. Muds can deliver information in only a very limited
fashion. The information you receive from them is in one form only. This
form only allows the mind to experience certain kinds of emotions. Further,
the information itself isn't particularly varied. It is the mind itself
that shapes what the information means, via our language capabilities.
This is a lot different from the way our minds experience other types of
sensations, namely those we term "physical", like taste, or touch. Having
said that, even most physical sensations get boring if they are repeated
too often. For instance, while you have termed the food you eat at a
particular time each day as, collectively, 'lunch', you don't order the
same thing every day. Though part of your meal (Guiness) is the same every
day, the experience-as-a-whole does not remain constant (you might have the
same meal sometimes, and maybe even some few days in a row, but not every

Beyond things like food are things that are inherently pleasureable, such
as orgasm. Even if an orgasm remained the same every time, it's not
something you get tired of having day in and day out. I would argue that
there are not any constant experiences like this that remain intellectually
interesting on a constant basis, which is why no matter how complicated a
mud is, no one plays the same one forever. You inevitably get bored, due to
the impossibility of having unique things added at a pace that can satisfy


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