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Old 09-26-2002, 03:42 PM   #1
Ashon
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The Politics thread spun way off topic when the delved into the Economy of MUD's so I figured that I would step in and help bring it back to topic here.

The standard Economic Model of MUDs is the Faucet->Drain Economy. The Faucet being things like, MOB's who drop items/gold, and the Drain being mostly Shops, but can include healers, food, etc...

The biggest problem with this system is that there are more mobiles and things out there then are needed. So the players have no need to purchase from the shops. They are able to get their 'best' items and sell everything else, and almost never have to buy things.

The only way to balance the system would be for the drain to be taking as much or more then the faucet releases. Which means not every mob should have gold/items.

I will also point out a couple of patches to the system that have been added over the evolution of MUD's. The first and player favorite being Player Houses. Places that players can pay for their own 'place'. The second, and one that most players hate are degenerating items. Items that need to be fixed, repaired, whatever...

So to keep myself from rambling anymore, what do you people propose to solve the 'economy problem'?
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Old 09-26-2002, 04:14 PM   #2
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On the mud I play, mobs very rarely give you stuff you'd be likely to sell in a shop (i.e. it's all crappy value and most people only sell it when they suck too bad to make anything really good). You don't get money for killing anything, although there's a few quests which give out (usually) small amounts of money now and then. Most mobs just give you tallow and meat, skin/fur if your tanning is good enough, and if they're intelligent maybe they have crappy armor or weapons. I've seen newbies run around selling tallow and annoying all the mages who use it as weight. But I digress.

Shops only have their maximum supply of money at reboots, which used to be about 3 days apart but now average 10-20 days apart. When they went to longer uptimes, they decided to make shops gradually regen money as time goes on, but people are always trying to sell stuff so they rarely have very much.

I think what'd be interesting is if instead of the npc's popping up fully clothed and armed, they had to buy all their stuff. Maybe shops could keep a record of how much of x is in demand, so players could go and make 6 size 125 hauberks or something to sell to the npc's. Of course then they could just make their stuff, wait for the npc's to buy it, kill the npc's, wait for more to repop, and make whatever the new npc's demanded. So I'm not sure how THAT problem could be fixed either.

I really *like* the idea of item degrading, because as it is we have too many piles of 100k seeds or whatever. I've actually seen one (admittedly stupid) player amass 200k apples. But because of the way the storage system works, I'm not sure it'd be possible. (You put items in bins, which then dest them and remember what's in there so when you open them again it can respawn the items.) Or maybe it could just do like bin contains x amount of y, which will degrade at a y's per b time, a being based on how big x is. (The bigger your pile is, the faster it gets smaller.) This would also be interesting for thievery purposes... "Hey I thought we had more apples, we musta been robbed!"

Urg, I had cooler ideas about this a while back when talking to a friend and forgot half of them.

Oh another thought...what'd happen if you had NO npc run shops? What'd happen if players had to get what they could and hoard or sell or steal from each other without recourse to npc run shops at all? Maybe they could start up their own shops, but they'd still hafta stock stuff others would wanna buy if they wanted to make money off of it. (But here again, you'd have some players stocking stuff just to keep it safe, which could of course be fixed by making the shops robbable, but then if you make the shops robbable everyone would just steal each other's stuff instead of buying it and making the owner rich.)

Ergh, WHY do mud players hafta make it so hard on anyone who tries to think of good stuff to code?
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Old 09-26-2002, 08:41 PM   #3
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Thanks for the spin off and summary, Ashon.

Quote:
Originally Posted by
Shops only have their maximum supply of money at reboots, which used to be about 3 days apart but now average 10-20 days apart. When they went to longer uptimes, they decided to make shops gradually regen money as time goes on, but people are always trying to sell stuff so they rarely have very much.

I think what'd be interesting is if instead of the npc's popping up fully clothed and armed, they had to buy all their stuff. Maybe shops could keep a record of how much of x is in demand, so players could go and make 6 size 125 hauberks or something to sell to the npc's. Of course then they could just make their stuff, wait for the npc's to buy it, kill the npc's, wait for more to repop, and make whatever the new npc's demanded. So I'm not sure how THAT problem could be fixed either.
Combine the two ideas.

A non-MUD adventure game that I have limits the amount of coin that shops start with like you mention. If you sell too many items to the shop, they run out of money to buy things from you. If the admins can keep a persistant record of the shop's transactions, this will limit the store's ability to buy items.

Combine it with the your idea that the more intelligent NPC mobs shop from the same stores, and have to 'buy' their gear will resupply the shops with coin.

On the same note, you can also combine in the idea of degenerating gear here. The items that players are pulling off of mobs aren't really likely to be in the best condition, what being splattered in blood and full of sword shaped holes. Put the value that the shopkeeper NPC's give the players on a sliding scale matched to the relative condition of the item.

Quote:
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Oh another thought...what'd happen if you had NO npc run shops?
I know some of the graphical MMPORPGs are trying this path, but I haven't heard of any MUDs going to that extreme. I'm suspicious of it for a few reasons, including the ones that you mentioned. I very much like the idea of player owned/run shops, but I'm not sure how well it would work without NPC shops as well.
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Old 09-26-2002, 11:45 PM   #4
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This is a great topic, my fiancee and I got to talking about it over dinner.

One thing to help drain money from players is to build in a kind of economy. If you use NPC's to sell items, maybe the items npc Bob sells aren't sold anywhere else, giving Bob a kind of exclusivity on his items. Maybe he has something that's very popular with the players on the mud, something that's disposable and used often, say pot pies for a example. Maybe his pot pies are considered the best around, being both tasty and more filling than anything else. As more and more people come and buy pot pies from him, he realizes that his pies are popular, and so charges more for them. Eventually the players may find his price too high, and go elsewhere. After a while Bob notices he's selling less, and so he gradually lowers the price of his pies back to what he was originally selling them for.

I know Bob's an npc and so his actions are most likely coded in, but a fluctuating price can serve a double purpose. It pulls more money out of the economy if people still buy from Bob, and it can encourage players to go out and explore the world, and see if there's an equivalent to Bob's pies out there. Plus, a flucuating price only affects those people who are purchasing that item, the ranger who scouts around in the brush and picks berries and kills rabbits for dinner wouldn't be affected, but that lazy thief who likes to hang around town would be spending more of his stolen coins to fill his belly.

The affect a flucating economy would have on players isn't a big one, but coupled with other ideas it could help drain the excess of money seen on some muds.
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Old 09-27-2002, 12:30 AM   #5
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Item decomposition is a good way to get rid of all the cheap stuff (500k apples, 50 pints of ale, 75 strips of rawhide, 32 eggs)

You could also create 'clean up mobs' like iron maggots... example would be if a player stores 10,000 long swords in a room eventually these iron eating maggots would start to grow and slowly eat away at the swords. That could create a pretty cool plot (a mining town getting infested with iron maggots).

You could go pretty far with something like that. Making the mobs go through stages so a carefull character can keep the damage to a minimum by killing all the eggs.

You could also make certain types of items more valuable in other towns:

The mountain town creates alot of steel based equipment, the forest town creates lots of wood based equipment. Selling a long sword in mountain town will net you 5g, selling it in wood town can get you up to 20g. This could also allow players to become traders.

If the only use for that long sword is to be a long sword, then they will pile up in someone's closet. Allow people to destroy items, but make it with a purpose.

Give a magic spell that allows magic users to turn an ordinary long sword into a long sword +1. The spell to create a long sword +1 involves getting alot of other tings: 5 eggs, 2 apples, 1 pint of ale etc etc. Give it a high fail percentage. Each time they fail, they destroy a long sword and the spell components... depending on the magic user, they could go through a lot of bloated gear that way.

If you have catapults, let them load the catapults full of long swords instead of rocks.

Let gear rot inside a mob's corpse: If player X kills a mob, looks at the inventory and says "Man, that's not at all exciting" and leaves, let the corpse rot away but dont leave the gear, just destroy it with the corpse. This could be a flag on certain mobs, the ones most likely to cause the most trouble.

Still, that's just ideas on 1 part of the economy (there are 100k long swords in the game so now long swords are worthless).

Ideas about keeping it from getting to that point...

Personally, I don't think any mob should automatically just 'create' gear. The mu*s i've seen all allow players to destroy, or donate weapons. If you allow players to destroy weapons, instead of actually destroying them, move them to a special place. When mobs are created equip them with random items from that place (1 random weapon, 1 random armor, 1 random item). This could also keep things more interesting (Sphen the barber has a Trident +4?!

What makes the most sense to me is only having certain random encounter mobs actually create gear.

More importantly:

Each mud economy is going to be different depending on how you want it structured.

How much overall gear do you want in the game?
a) Not much at all, it should be a constant struggle. Players will commonly have to journey to distant towns in search of what they want.
b) A fair amount, players can usually get what they want in their hometown, only having to travel on occasion
c) A surplus. Players should be able to get almost everything and not have to work at getting it. Hey, if they have the cash, they should be able to get what they want

How much cash do you want in the game?
a) Almost none, this game is about struggle. Idealy it should be something like 95% of the players in poverty with 4% middle class, and 1% increddibly rich and powerful.
b) A fair economy, 50% in poverty 45% middle class, 5% rich
c) A generous economy, 35% poverty, 55% middle class, 10% rich.

For me, my goal is to have answer A in both sections (then again, i run a cyberpunk game, and cyberpunk supports that kind of scenario, each game is different).

*shrug*
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Old 09-27-2002, 05:39 PM   #6
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Wow, this is a great thread, I haven't seen a bad idea so far. Most of the ideas I get are from the mud I play which is an IC mud all about struggle, so we have a lot of opportunities open to us that might not be favoured by the player bases in other muds.

Just on the get rid of all NPC shops idea, I would love to see that happen in a H&S mud. It'd be interesting because it'd be a step towards RPing, sorta, so it'd be interesting to see how far it went. Some really famous H&S muds, do become RP mandatory (e.g. Armageddon was a -really- famous H&S about 10 years ago, until they completely changed it and lost a lot of their player base). So unfortunately this could happen to any mud that gets rid of NPC shop keepers.

Armageddon had the problem of gith items (that's a common agressive mob) being REALLY common in the shops, it was getting ridiculous. So they increased the AI for the gith, and make shops stop buying gith items after they have X amount in their stock. This isn't a problem now, because gith are one of the few agressive mobs that are intelligent enough to create their own items, although they do it extremely poorly and it reeks to high heaven.

Those 2 ideas (having mobs not have too many items, and they stop buying it after X amount is in stock) is extremely affective, however depending on your theme it might not work.

Another method they use is to have the mobs incredibly hard to fight (it's set in a desert world, no-one leaves the cities alone), however again, this might not be favourable to newbies.

A dramatic change would be, not allow players to get items from mobs, and create a crafting system, so they have to forage for items and make their own items. You could make animals skinnable, so an animals tooth can be used as a weapon, but would be MUCH more affective if it was crafted into a weapon.

That's all, everyone else has already beaten me to some of my ideas.
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Old 09-28-2002, 04:12 AM   #7
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I'm gonna hold off on my own theories and articles on how to 'fix' the faucet drain problem, but let me talk about a couple of ideas that have popped up.

Mob's not dropping or not having eq. First off this is a ridiculious Idea. If you are trying for a RP mud then this throws out the immersement factor. How can you get immersed in a world where guards don't have equipment on their bodies when you kill them? Now, if you take the idea on step less then everyone has jumped too yo can come up with this: Not all Mob's have great equipment. Goblins may just have sticks with sharp rocks tied to them. The 'poorer' a race is the less valuable their items are. The second step is that not all mob's are going to drop money. Money is a 'civilized' idea. Orc's are probably not going to have gold, they have pretty stones that they use for currency (or whatever)

The next idea of shops buying less of things that they have. This is a good idea. If you wanted to get really advanced, you'd have shopkeepers log how many request / sales per day they have for an item and only stock that many, meaning not buying more. Another idea would be to have shops that only buy certain quality equipment. Not every store is going to buy rat pelts. Heck, very few will.

To take shops a little further you can have specialty shops, shops that only buy 'component' pieces. The tanner only buys skins. But doesn't sell anything. The smith only buys refined ore... Take those crafting skills everyone touts to the next level.

Clean-up Mob's are a great idea. As long as they fit into the THEME / WORLD of the mud. But with a little stretching this can be done. Just make sure you follow suggestion 1 above.

Hopefully this will generate some more discussion...
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