[MUD-Dev] D&D vs. MMORPG "complexity"

Jeff Cole jeff.cole at mindspring.com
Wed May 21 09:40:16 CEST 2003

From: Dave Rickey
> From: Jeff Cole
>> From: Dave Rickey
>>> From: Jeff Cole
>>>> From: Dave Rickey

>> I don't disagree that a design need consider the boundary
>> conditions--both theoretical and practical.  However, you were
>> offering examples at the extreme in support of what I inferred to
>> be your assertion of very general principles.

> I am having trouble following your reasoning here.  We're still
> having a conceptual break over the "irrational" economic behaviour
> of players, I'm claiming that the irrationality that economists
> dismiss as "extreme" and discard from their theories, is actually
> inherent to the system and will break systems that are not built
> to account for them, and pointing to Camelot as an example of a
> system that did *not* break.

I think our conceptual break is greater than that.  I disagree that
Camelot does "economy" well--either objectively or subjectively
compared to the prior art.  In order to claim the Camelot economy
didn't break, you need to assume such limited definitions of
"economy" and/or "break" as to beg the question.

> You seem to be defending the traditional view of irrationality
> being only the result of inadequate information, so any
> irrationality in Camelot *must* be the result of inadequate
> information, and therefore "built in" (since we controlled most of
> the information availability). ... Am I correct (both in my
> assessment of your argument, and of the essential core strength of
> it)?

No.  Where do I argue that irrationality results *only* from
inefficient/inadequate information propagation?

I am well aware that many (most!) economic market decisions are made
irrationally--both in-game and in-real-life--even if the actor has
complete access to information.

With respect to (ir)rationality, my main argument is that an economy
can operate rationally (for the most part) though it's participants
make their decisions irrationally. If only because an irrational
decision process can still lead to the rational result--the goal,
then, is to encourage efficient propagation of information (in a
very broad sense that includes game mechanics, efficient transaction
mechanisms, etc.) in order to allow the rational results to thrive.

With respect to Camelot, it so thoroughly encourages irrational
market decisions that I question any general economic principles
drawn from its economy--especially any general principles as to the
effects of irrationality on an economy.

> If, in fact, there is such a systematic error, the MMOG's would
> seem to be a good environment for finding it.  The number of
> participants is limited, the interaction with outside influences
> is comparatively minor, the ability to manipulate the core
> scarcities and inherent demands effectively limitless, and the
> information available to an observer far closer to complete, than
> in any real system.

I disagree in large part.  Game systems and general designs have to
provide for much more efficient transaction and for participation of
a much larger portion of a server/shard's population in a much
greater percentage of markets.  Then, maybe.

Yrs. Afftcy,
Jeff Cole

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