[MUD-Dev] DESIGN: Active and Inactive currency

John Buehler johnbue at msn.com
Sat Apr 24 10:09:22 CEST 2004

Jeff Freeman writes:
> From: Matt Chatterley

>> If we extend the model, and include (as another poster suggested)
>> the Baker (BA), we have:

>>   CH + DG sell to CO.
>>   DG sells to BA.

>>   BA sells to everyone.
>>   CO sells to everyone.

>> Does this added complexity add anything to the model, or not?

>> Now the DG players can sell to two buyers, and if they were to
>> work harder and produce more dough, they could sell more,

> I don't think this additional level of complexity is useful.
> Bakers are still Cookie-makers.  Abstracting the model to this
> level, we're better off just considering them all CO's regardless
> what they really (virtually, hypothetically) make.  You might get
> *some* more cookie-makers by extending the choices, depth and
> interest of the level, but probably not that many more.

> I say they're the same because the BA's and CO's are selling
> essentially the same thing: Well, for one it's bread and the other
> it's cookie, but if bread serves the same purpose as cookie, then
> we might as well consider it to be a cookie, just as we consider
> BA's to be cookie-makers.

> Point being that doubling the number of crafting professions in
> the game won't double the number of people who want to craft:
> You're just dividing the same pool of players.

That's where you have to play with the other factors that go into
cookie-making and bread-making.

  1. Elves get as much as 30% more value out of aspect 1 of cookies
  than aspect 1 of bread.

  2. Dwarves get nothing out of aspect 2 of cookies, but plenty out
  of bread's aspect 2.

  3. Gnomes don't actually eat cookies.  They sprinkle them on their
  crops of Dungle Berriers.

  4. Cookies are more compact than bread.

  5. Bread has greater efficacy early on, but loses it over time
  faster than cookies.

  6. The equipment to make bread occupies twice as much floorspace
  as that required to make cookies.

  7. The ingredients for cookies spoil after 10 days, while the
  ingredients for bread spoils after 20 days.  Magic can double
  those times.

  8. The quality of the ovens used in each space varies, and the
  quality controls both the quality of the product as well as the
  speed of production.

Keep adding asymmetries between them and you get two very different
things that overlap as competitors, but they're not head-to-head
competitors.  Vary the numbers involved on a per-instance basis (per
elf, per oven, per cookie) and you get a really involved problem.
Everyone knows that the best solution is to have infinite money to
buy all the best equipment at the best locations, etc.
Unfortunately, nobody has infinite money, so they have to juggle all
the factors.  Because not all customers are created equally, they'll
have to juggle suboptimally according to their preferences.

This might devolve into the stamp collector's dilemma, but if we
switch to a more entertaining product, it might be that getting into
business and providing the goods might add to the entertainment
value of the entire player base even though only a few players are
actually operating as businessmen.

>> What it suggests to me is: There must be other outlets for
>> money. Better ovens. Bigger shops, a larger wheelbarrow to carry
>> choccie chips in - whatever it is, things such as upgrades will,
>> if made available, encourage the richer players to re-invest
>> their 'inactive cash', putting it back into circulation.

> True, but in the real world investment means risk.  Players will
> demand a garuanteed return on their investment, with no risk or
> potential for loss.  They'll put the money back into the system
> (such as when they buy dough or chips), but only with the complete
> assurance that they'll get it back later, plus a little more.

As I mentioned in another post, it's important that the people who
are drawn to virtual businesses are of a mind to risk things.
Without that willingness, they will sit on the cash that they
accumulate.  A risk-taker will do something with that money.

If a player just wants to make shirts and that's what they find fun,
have them work for a normal wage at a shop that makes shirts.  They
might even get to monogram their name into the shirts that they
create.  But they are paid a minimal amount of money for their
effort.  That's because they're not risking anything.  The real
point here is that they're not doing much of anything to entertain
the other players.  THAT is the group of players that games want to
reward (where the reward should be in a currency that befits the
activity - money and stuff are not curealls).

> So offline we have banks and other investments, risk, taxes and so
> on to redistribute wealth, but online we have none of these
> things, and the players would probably hate it if we did.

Consider that the business owners are supposed to be risk-takers.
So they can be little banks if they want to by lending from their
pool to start other businesses.  If that results in some of the
profits going from the new company to the old, it's an incentive for
businesses to risk.  It also increases the overhead for certain

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