Any who plays MMORPGs more than occasionally knows that the most common problem plaguing long-time MMORPGs is the economy. Primarily, the issue is that there becomes a surplus of money in the system and as such money becomes less and less valuable in the game.
In a static economy system (where prices do not change to meet demand/surplus issues), this means that highlevel/longtime players each have about three kingdom's worth of money as pocket change.
In the now more common system where prices do change to fit supply and demand, this generally leads to highly inflated prices.
The third option, which is the most effective in my opinion, is the player run economy. This means that money is generally passed between players directly, instead of through NPCs. However, a true player run economy is the closest thing to anarchy (HrH, for example. Great game, but needed more direction and standards). Thus, most PREs (Player Run Economies) are built with an NPC infrastructure to facilitate the minting of new money with which to stimulate the economy.
As you can imagine, this still leads to the problem of a gross increase in the amount of money in the system.
To combat this, game designers use "money sinks", nifty things that are designed to draw money out of the system in return for a service. Examples include the ability to change one's appearance (hair styles, etc), participate in PvP activities, own a home, item storage, etc.
I'd like ideas and opinions on how to handle this problem. My own idea which I plan to implement is a lottery system. The prize is either an item or an amount of money. If it's money, there is a base value for the prize amount. Enough that it will entice players to buy tickets. Tickets cost an amount dependent upon the economy, of which half is put into the pot if the prize is money.
For example: In a Final Fantasy type MORPG there is a lottery held in the main city. The prize is 2000 gil and a ticket costs 200 gil (*note: figures are based off of FFXI from experience). 2000 gil is a high enough value that many players will buy one ticket, and 200 is a low enough value that many will buy more than one. Each ticket increases the pot by 100 gil. It requires 20 tickets to be sold in order to even out the cash flow into the system. Any more and it's a net negative cash flow (money leaving system).
Each ticket bought places the character's name on a list. The more your name appears, the more likely you will win.
Let's say that 100 people buy tickets for today's drawing. 12 people bought 4 tickets each (48), 15 people bought 2 tickets each (30), and 22 people bough 1 ticket each.
The pot sits at 2000 + (100*100) = 12,000. Each of the first 12 people has a 4% chance of winning. The second set of 15 each has a 2% chance, and the 22 others have a 1% chance.
A grand total of 20,000 gil was used to buy tickets. 12,000 gil is being paid, leaving a net of 8,000 gil to leave the system.
On a true MMORPG, the numbers would be much higher still. On FFXI (the basis for my observations), tickets would be sold in Jeuno which has the largest player population at any given point in time. It could be expected that closer to 500 tickets would be sold in one day, with the same prize value and price of tickets. Change the prize to a base 5,000 gil and you'll get about 1,000 tickets sold a day. That's a net of 95,000 gil leaving the system per day!
Anyway, I'm just looking for a good MORPG economics disussion :P Fire away!
Nov 2 2004, 5:05 pm