Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Gaming: When economy translates

The funny thing about real-world economics (at least in capitalism, where I have more first-hand experience) and how it correlates to in-game economics in an MMORPG is that they are extremely similar in almost every respect with the largest, glaring exception being supply.  In MMORPGs, it is possible to create goods from thin air... almost.  Usually there is a resource to be harvested, or money for raw materials to be paid, but there are instances where stuff just... appears.  Critical successes on creating food ingredients in LotRO, for example, will result in a triple batch instead of a single... three balls of dough as opposed to one or critical success on polishing gemstones will get you three for one.  That's the only "thin air" example I can think of off the top of my head, the rest of the supply chain is in fact earned, through either time, work, or payment.

Players often treat the economics of an MMORPG like everything is "found".  But you're not taking into account the time it took you to run all around a map zone, looking for that Ancient Silver.  Don't sell yourself short.  If you only get an hour to play on a weeknight, and you spend half of that gathering materials, charge appropriately for your time.  Consider the wear and tear on your tools, your armor, and other gear as well.

Sounds like small business, doesn't it?  By all means, keep the game fun, but if the in-game economy is bothering you, don't contribute to its downward spiral by not taking your time and effort seriously.  If you put items up for auction, do research and charge appropriate prices.  Otherwise you might as well just sell it all to an NPC game vendor and be done with it.

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