[MUD-Dev] DESIGN: Active and Inactive currency

Rayzam rayzam at travellingbard.com
Mon Apr 26 02:10:03 CEST 2004

From: "Castronova, Edward" <ecastronova at Exchange.FULLERTON.EDU>

> If I were watching an online economy, I wouldn't measure inflows
> and outflows at all. I'd measure these things:

>   1. Price level, by character level. What does a typical basket
>   of player goods cost?

>   2. Average earnings per hour of play, by level. How much loot is
>   the average person getting? (Get the median of this figure too,
>   so that twinking doesn't mess it up.)

>   3. Average spending per hour of play, by level. How much money
>   is the typical player actually spending? (Again, using medians
>   purifies the data of twinking effects.)

> There are some other things, and also, since I've never actually
> run a world, I'm sure these are not exactly right. But the point
> is: measure the economic situation of the player first. It's much
> more relevant to design issues than the various money sinks and
> holes and faucets, which are only indirectly related to player
> experience.

While it's good to look at the mean and median, to get a general
overview of the economy in the game, that's not the best view to
take. The problem is that if there are any over-open faucets, and
any amount of money build-up somewhere in the population, be it a
small portion of the population, you have a situation that could
cripple or at least hurt the economy. When the Uber-Rich Person
decides to quit playing the game, and dumps all that cash into the
game, the economy gets thrown off kilter.  Prices for things can
skyrocket because hey, it was gift money after all, and there's a
lot more of it anyways. Or they can drop, because hey, I don't need
to make money, I was just given a nice chunk of it.

Those outliers on the high end of the scales are unstable,
disruptive forces lying in wait. Their economic volcanoes could
erupt at any time. And really, that's how I view it. The buildup of
cash is like building up pressure. What happens if the volcano
erupts?? I'd rather ease the pressure before the catastrophic event
occurs :)

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