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Discussion *blows off the dust* - MMOG Economy

 
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Kalorian
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Location: Uiejonbou, South Korea

PostPosted: Tue Jan 23, 2007 11:08 am    Post subject: Discussion *blows off the dust* - MMOG Economy Reply with quote

Hello all,

Again for those that know me from prior to my busy life I use to run a lot of different discussions and topics that was requested by the development team. In this effort we could find fresh new ideas and common player annoyances with different functions in game and such. I am sure this has already helped some with the design process of the game.

I would like to open a discussion (not affiliated with dawn of daria) but open discussion of some experiences players are having with other MMOG's out there. This is just a good discussion on the topic of economy/tradeskills/crafting and its role in MMOG's .

Final Note: I can not discuss things pertaining to the dawn of daria discussions as this would be a breach of my NDA, so I am focusing on what other games I've played have done right and wrong in my opinion. Perhaps others will see something they agree and disagree with? Smile

------------------------------------------

I've watched many games (professional and freelance) promise such great things for the economy and crafting and how it will be different from every other mmog. But it ends usually fairly fast because of timing or money. For professional companies mainly the money and for freelance groups mainly the time and trying to release a finished game so they can go on with their life or perhaps go professional etc..

Eve Online I want to start with one of the games I feel has the best economy. This game is so in depth and the genre is unique in the same.

The game is divided up by regions. NPC Companies produce the general goods but players can buy the blueprints to produce the items themselves. Depending on the players skill and the region market a player can easily find a niche in the market and make some decent money. For instance Essence Region has a major ammo supplier for general ammo but no Missile or Fighter Drone supplier. The player can then look at the track history of the other ammo sales (yes its that detailed) and determine if there is a lot of traffic that would support that sort of investment into mining minerals and such to produce the goods.

My most favorite feature of this game is the fact that the top items in game can only be created. The Top ships can only be created by players. Some of the large ships used in Player Owned Space require 5-10 corporations of 50-100 members to mine the minerals needed to construct all the parts for the ship. This behemouth of a ship operates like a starbase but mobile and players can dock and such.

But, there is a big catch. Tech II items and the huge ships cost a ton of money, and Tech II can ONLY be acquired through research and luck. This is what is fascinating about how they've decided to do this.

If you look at any other MMOG the highest guilds get the best equipment and crafting stuff because they have the money. But.. Tech II is lottery based. Each day you accumulate research points which acts as a single "ticket" that could possibly be drawn when CCP (the company that runs the game) releases Tech II BPO's (Blueprint Originals, Blueprints can be copied as well and then BPC's). But with this a small corporation that is just getting on its feet and picks up a research agent for a month and all the sudden they pick up a tech II frigate BPO. They now have a BPO that is worth about 5-10b (last when I played.. the B standing for billion). And the ability to make billions from the production of those tech II ships. They could easily afford to hire/build their own freighter (if they have the skills to fly/operate it) and move large chunks of these tech II frigates to different regions and capitlize on a large scale level.

Key Points.

- The best items in the game are crafted.
- Best items in the game are not achieved by being the oldest player in the game with the most money, but Luck

Now there are a few downsides. Because of player owned space, much of the heavy needed minerals are "controled" by player alliances and it prevents and hinders your building based on older corporations monopoly on the dangerous space. So high end minerals are usually very very expensive which drives up the production cost of the ship/item you are making which cuts your profitability.

Market flooding is rampant. CCP changed this some with longer production times and also more items get lost when a ship is destroyed. Makes dieing very expensive.. especially if you have about 2 billion ISK worth of implants in your head for helping you learn skills faster heh.

--------------------------------

Anyways, I wanted to start this with a game many people may not be familiar with. I was tempted to do WoW but I figure I will let someone else tackle that beast. Blizzard has done some amazing things with the production of that game especially the expansion, very immersive from the first moment you go through the portal.

So.. for those that wish to discuss, having a system like the "research" system. Is this a good idea for fantasy based MMOG's?

What would be a good way to implement such a system that would fit with the "theme" of fantasy?

Let the discussion begin *hopefully* Wink go wake everyone up and lets get these forums moving with some ideas and good discussions Smile

- Kalorian
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Nexego
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 23, 2007 3:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

After having played most MMORPGs that have existed since Everquest first was released I believe I'm quite experienced with different types of economy systems.

I cannot say that I think Eve Online is one of the better MMORPGs I have played and the reason of that may be that I was younger when I played and wasn't too much into complicated games which I thought Eve Online was. So I did not spend too much time with that game.

However, to the subject economy. I have never liked the auction house systems that exist in many of the current and the past MMORPGs, I simply don't think that this should exist in a game meant to be taking place in the past. I would rather see a system that bring the community together, having a sort of old-school market in towns which could be configured by players themselves. Perhaps you would be able to hire a vendor or similar to work for you in your smaller shop. Or perhaps you may have to put up your smaller shop yourself and do what you can to sell your items.

In Akarra I did not really like that had to depend on a few vendors who would sell items that you needed only now and then, and when an item did not exist at one of the vendors you had to go and do something esle and hope for your luck when you came back to it.

Although I cannot really say I've been very pleased with any of the MMORPGs economy systems. Finding something that is quite simple and social seems to be very hard...

World of Warcraft's crafting system was very easy to understand and to work with,. However I can't say that I think it's a good idea to make the best items of the game craftable like in Eve Online, well maybe if the reagents were really(and I mean REALLY) rare, not to talk about the skill, formula, scheme or similar that would be needed to create those items.

To get the best items of the game you should, in my opinion, not only have luck but also alot of skill.

Regards,
Nexego
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Milktoast
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Joined: 27 Dec 2004
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 23, 2007 10:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ah, I agree with you Nexego,

Quote:
To get the best items of the game you should, in my opinion, not only have luck but also alot of skill.


Keywords: Luck and Skill

You'll need luck to encounter this extremely rare item. You'll need luck as not to be killed while transporting this item. You'll need luck as to (possibly) not falter while crafting an item. You'll need skill to figure out the forumla. You'll need skill as to find this rare item's capabilities. You'll need skills to be able to survive in such areas, though the item could possibly be located in an easy location, therefore throwing the player off; the ones who think "Ultra-hard areas = ultra-hard monsters = ultra-rare loot". Who knows? You'll need skill in finding this item as well, to think of "Hey, where is this damned item?"

Some logic would probably be needed as well. You'll need logic to realize that the item you have is indeed rare Smile, and that it's probably key to some cool weapon.
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Kalorian
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 23, 2007 10:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well ok I see what you guys are saying.

I agree. Players end up getting into the "knowing where everything is" As a "minimally" experienced game designer its a challenge to make dynamic and changing content. Because you can't change it too much based on a single player success or failure as it will benefit or hurt another player's success or failure.

One thing to consider, I've never seen an MMOG attempt "rotating loot tables". Most high end mobs "guarentee" a high level item. Thats great.. but still I stand by my original statement that all high level items should be crafted. Wow has done this with having to piece together different heroic/epic pieces and combine them into a weapon of amazing power. These items are by far not easy to come by.. and ends up becoming work as it should.

But the comment by Milk about everything should be very hard, I disagree to some extent. What if loot was rotated so the parts and such shifted to new regions and areas and were not as common. I remember back from the old map of Daria and there was a ton of space.. So if players had to keep "searching/seeking" these parts it would keep players moving from different parts of the world.

This does bring in some problems though.. with higher level characters searching and hunting and farming low levels and high levels and mid level bosses the lower level player base has to fight for spawns which would negatively impact their gameplay. This is why in general higher level players are always kept seperate from mid/low zones.

Is there a way around this?

Is this a good idea to make "finding parts" and some items more challenging to come across?

Another comment on market flooding. Blizzard has done an amazing job with the bind on pick ups and such and bind on equips. It prevents the market being flooded with lower end items which would kill prices which benefits newer playes from cheap gear but hinders their ability to make money at the sametime.

Is this form of "looting" a good idea for continued MMOG development?

-Kalorian
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Miklotov
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 23, 2007 11:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

To prevent High lvl pc's farming lowbie zones and/or Bosses, you just change the chance of getting a drop from kills eg.: +/-5 lvls best chance, the bigger the diffrence is the lower the chance. Could have another multiplier that increases the chance of destroying or seriously damage the item that is supposed to drop when the Char is too mighty. Could have diffrent effects form diffrent kind of attacks so a fist fighter might has high chance not to destroy the item....

Economy: will post alter when i made a mind about
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Milktoast
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 23, 2007 11:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

What I was talking about was trying to find an essential item for an extremely high-end weapon. When you get into this part of the game as to where you have nothing better to do than to try and create/find the best weapon available, I think there needs to be an extreme challenge - Or why else would the weapon be the 'best'?

Ingrediants found from all around the world in remote places that are nearly unreachable due to intense difficulty proposed by monsters, or low navigation capabilities due to thick vegetation that's never been inhabited. Prehaps a hidden cave inside of this thick forest that is just bursting with the ingrediant. Or, even better - There is only one way to craft the weapon. In Akarra - That would mean a special NPC. Other possible ways would include a special anvil, special hammer prehaps? Maybe the metal is extremely too hard for the weak to pound into a sword? Maybe the Gods don't want you to have this weapon and cause the metal to turn to dust? Prehaps you mixed the ore for too long and instead of making the metal you create a useless dust?

(Off topic, but in Chemistry class a couple of days ago, we were boiling NaHCO to rid it of water and create a white dust like baking soda. (NaHCO is baking soda + vinegar) I turned our heat up too high and unfortunately boiled the white powder into a black liquid which formed a crystal form...lol the teacher was kind of amazed)

Anyways.

I enjoy the player-ran economy. The only NPC's are those who sell the basic weapons and items. It is up to players to create and distribute the various items of the world. Where would one be able to get their food faster than just farming? A Farmer of course! Where would one buy their armor? A blacksmith of course! Where would one buy their potions? An herbalist of course! Well, since the NPCs only sell the basic items, this would encourage much more player interaction - Thus, the world basically being ran by players.


To Kalorian: Not everything should be hard - But you can't expect to just kill a monster and receive the most awesome weapon in the entire game can you? (That's a little extreme..lol) You can't expect the higher-end things to just be handed to you on a silver platter do you? Yes, the Darian world will be big and provide enough space to scatter all of these items out pretty nicely.
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Miklotov
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 24, 2007 10:06 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Economy in MMORPG's:
Let's make a brainstorming about what is needed for an economy ran by player characters:
- Items, Materials, Sources, ... not sold by npc's
- diffrents between items sold and crafted or found ones (a shortsword sold in a human town is defenitly diffrent to the one droped by someone who has no access to towns even the weapon itself does not differ much in stats but maybe in material, requierements and how much it is worth.
- Shops hold by PC's, Auctions lead by PC's or NPC's (% of price goes to the one holding it as fee), 2nd hand shop offers maybe some kind of pawn shop. Material for Item trades, instead of currency trades,
- NPC's shop owners disslike ppl trading near his shop
- Random rare skills that are obtained/learned by fighting against (rare) enemies, --> PC's can offer to train others for a fee in a foreign skill ( skill train fellowship, where you need to run a special kind of party to learn the skill form a PC's or beeing able to write a book about your skill)
- Variable needs stuff Npc's are going to buy (could have effects on the items he sells aswell)
- Class that majority is crafting (better quality due to higher skill other classes, races, xxx can't reach )
- Basic materials spread around in the world (only found in certain areas)
- Durability on items (destructable, loss in quality stats when repaired)
- Low buying price from Npc's high sellign price (Shop ran by PC's is able to offer items for lower price or increadible high, when its currently "low/rare/in need" availible
- Set bonuses when using a certain set
- Alignment, acceptence against NPC's (depending on that you might not be offered the same like someone who helped or stole from an npc's or diffrent race.
- ... play with my brainstorm ideas as i think you should not copy too much from another mmorpg DoD should stay unqiue in style or not?
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Kalorian
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 24, 2007 11:17 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Good posts so far.

@Milktoast - I was agreeing in my original post. I just meant that having a "shifting" loot table would allow high end item "ingredients" be dynamic as in its not found in the same spot and moves from day to day to a new lead boss etc. So its not only a challenge to defeat bosses around Daria but also takes a little of luck to find the ingredient you are looking for.

I agree that it shouldn't be easy to get the best item and it should require some level of work. I was only emphasizing that parts of the item should not be static drops, perhaps a wondering mob that goes all through out daria and this would require a special skill from a ranger type class to help track the beast/mob.

@Miklotov -

Quote:
Items, Materials, Sources, ... not sold by npc's


I agree. This is where crafters come in to some extent harvesting/growing/producing the mass ingredients needed for items. Also drops on creatures and mobs. Making all loot useful in someway is the key. World of Warcraft has made it this way somewhat but you still pick up the standard vendor trash which is good to build up your gold.

Quote:
diffrents between items sold and crafted or found ones (a shortsword sold in a human town is defenitly diffrent to the one droped by someone who has no access to towns even the weapon itself does not differ much in stats but maybe in material, requierements and how much it is worth.


If Dawn of Daria truely goes towards the faction role where there are factions all fighting each other. It is easy to implement supply and demand into this system. Certain base items would only be sold in certain cities. Such as a standard example.. an elvish city would be more like for bows and staves and wood items.. will the dwarven cities would have a lot of ore based goods perhaps some jewelry. The human cities would have a mixture of it etc.. (I know Daria doesn't have these races just using as an example).

This is where player "traders" or "crafters" can work and develop their relationships through factions with business. They may need to craft 100 shortswords for 2 copper each for a faction to sell at 8 copper each.. but this helps them build up reputation with that faction to keep the city open so they can buyout goods from those vendors that aren't sold commonly in other area/cities.

Quote:
Variable needs stuff Npc's are going to buy (could have effects on the items he sells aswell)


In a past discussion it was discussed (about 9 or 10 months ago) to have NPC's that run low on goods have quests that pop up that craftsman can then be hired for. The higher the reputation with that NPC's faction the more likely he/she is to be hired to complete the task. Filling orders and such increases your faction rating. So while fighters/mages and all that jazz are fighting their way to gain trust and respect in factions. Crafters & Traders produce/harvest/trade their way into factions.

Quote:
Set bonuses when using a certain set


Yes I like this idea. Another blizzard idea for the most part but having items that are "intuned" with each other. For instance a crafter that makes a higher end chest piece produces the piece so well it adds a small bonus to the armor or stat. And say the player buys the legs from the same crafter its possible the same "intunement" or "aura" could be recognized and provide an "unknown/random" bonus that is geared towards the classes needs. This would be the high end crafting of course.. but that idea just kinda came on the fly.

Quote:
... play with my brainstorm ideas as i think you should not copy too much from another mmorpg DoD should stay unqiue in style or not?


I agree but ignoring what other MMOG's are doing can really kill your project. You need to know what players think about certain features.. find out how to change the ones they don't like and implement it into your end result of the game. Find ones they like and find ways to enchance it and make it your own. Just many things in life, they are improved on not created. This goes big time in the game industry.

Thats all I have for now.

-Kalorian
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