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In-game Economy will crash [Long]


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Have a suggestion, or rather a thing to look into right now before things get out of hand. The player driven economy topic. Might be lengthily, but i'll try to keep it as short as possible.

Crowfall having same/similar fundamentals to Albion only economically wise, made me realize that it can also have the same problem as Albion. Problem i foresee is ruined Economy due to Chain of Production.

Chain of Production = To craft a New vessel for example, you need to be a necromancer, it requires assistance (parts) from alchemy and parts from Runes professions. This also implies 3 gathering professions to accompany each. 

Ideally, from what i see, person can only have 2 gathering and 2 crafting professions per character. meaning he will need to socially interact with another player and buy parts from 3rd profession, he is lacking. This would create a proper cycle. farm 2/3 of parts, buy remaining one from player/vendor (where price includes the time used for gathering plus profit percentage built in for processing). This would force crafters to interact and create healthy (more or less economy).

 

Problem that will happen, is when 1 player, will create 3 characters, give each a professions, that is necessary to create a product (in this case new vessel) by himself, like without interaction with other players/market. Full chain pf production for vessel is in his hands, completely self sufficient. Such player will drop market prices for things to rock bottom, literally will charge for time it took him to farm every resource and that's it. Sure it will take lots of time, but we all know china farmers, and people who play from countries with such low job pay, that playing the game 20 hours a day is more convenient than going to work.  - this Alone, will easily ruin the whole "player driven economy" dream.

 

Why i think so? let me give explanation based on Albion Online, i'm pretty sure you heard and probably tried it.

For example you want to Sell dire wolf mounts in Albion, they cost 600k gold each. good income you would say. it requires the following: you need to farm dire wolf pup, you need to have a farm to raise the pup in proper cage, raising pup takes 3 days (cool down). for 3 days you have to feed pup with raw meat, you get raw meat you need to raise ducks/chicken, which in turn have 1 day cool down and need to be fed with crops, which in turn you need to grow, which take 1 day cool down.  Keep in mind that farm you have, that is maxed out gives you very limited farm land. which prevents you to grow every thing i listed and if you stick with wolfs. you will only be able to grow meat for them, or crops. the other you will have to buy from auction house.

Another thing comes into play, crafting. you need butcher, to cut chicken into raw meat, to feed wolves. he doesnt work for free, you need to feed him cooked food. so you have cook there, which ALSO needs to be fed. food for both you have to buy or grow. 

After All that, you get grown dire wolf, which is not yet a mount. to turn him into a mount you need to have riding trainer, he also doesnt works for free and needs food, which you have to grow and than cook and than feed. plus provide leather to make the mounts out of dire wolf.

you would think, with so many things needed to be crafted, people would be forced to trade/buy one from another and that would create healthy economy. Economy where people would base price of dire wolf mount, including gold/time to get raw meat, raw crops, account for food butcher, cook and trainer consumes, also build in price for cooldown to grow the wolf. Also account for cooldown to grow chicken, grow crops. Also account for price to buy seeds for crops from vendor and buy the small chicks to grow into big chicken. People just have to interact with each other, where one grows wolfs, another grows, chicken, another grows crops, third runs a cook, 4rth runs butcher and 6th runs mount trainer.

BUT!!!! sneaky players figured out how to cheat it all. Character creation is unlimited. and to sustain this whole cycle of production, they created 30 characters, each a farmer. 5 characters raise wolfs, 15, raise crops, 10 raise chicken. 1 of them just owns 3 stores (cook, butcher, trainer). All the guy has to do is grind form wolf pups and farm leather. All this not mentioning that premium account, allows farming of crops ducks and wolf pups and creation of thing in shops (butcher, cook) better, with bigger return. to the point that player doesnt has to buy seeds for crops and, small chickens to raise them big. with premium account you can enhance the nodes and you'll have 100% return on seeds and chicken hens. 

what does this mean. Originally, because players have to split the chores of professions. The price should consist of every playing charging for cooldowns (to grow things), for food it took to upkeep the proper shop (butcher shop for example), plus including their own profit, time it takes to run this small chain. finally when all that has been donw and wolf mount has been created, it should cost like 1 mil silver or so.

Player who runs the whole chain of creation, only factors in time it took him to farm the wolf pup and leather. the rest is donw by his 30 farmer toons. Since, his chain of creation is absolutely self sufficient, he controls the market prices. After 3 years of game release, those older players who leveled 30 farmers and build self sufficient chain of product creation, run the market. New Player, or a player who all of a sudden wants to make some silver of his farm land, can't compete. It costs him way more to grow those wolfs and turn them into mounts, than he could earn by selling that said mount. This created negative economy, where you cant profit because players/farmers, found a loop hole in economic system and dropped prices rock button, just charging for time it took them to farm the wolf pup and leather.

Grand finale: prices from auction house (approximate, i might be a bit off), based off 1 dire wolf mount and what it needs to raise 1. Dire wolf mount costs 600k silver. Dire wolf pup (if you dont farm) costs 800k silver, meat to feed wolf, 10k silver, leather 20k, food for butcher 40k, food for trainer 20k, food for cook, 15k, crops 50-100k (including food for chicken, butcher and etc), chicken hens another 50k or so.  I might be off a bit here and there.  But picture is clear that Dire wolf mounts are being sold 600k a piece, mean while it costs over a million to create one from rock bottom. This is example of negative economy, as when you spend so much time/gold to create 1 final product, to sell and profit, the market value should at very least include the cooldowns it takes you to grow crops, chicken, wolf, plus base price of those. But it's not.

 

getting into production/crafting/farming in Albion is nearly impossible, as you wont be able to do it and profit at least for half a year or real time and that's with premium account active. Also you wont be able to do much else, but farm your 30 farm lands, and than gather staff outside. Because day consists of 24 hours and you'll need to do farming and gathering 10 hours a day. 

 

I dont know how, but this needs to be avoided in Crowfall and chain of production/creation, should never be possible to be done by a single player. Make it 1 crafting profession per account and 1 gathering (which you can have on every character, but on all it's the same). Or some thing like that.

 

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7 minutes ago, Leather_Moose said:

I dont know how, but this needs to be avoided in Crowfall and chain of production/creation, should never be possible to be done by a single player. Make it 1 crafting profession per account and 1 gathering (which you can have on every character, but on all it's the same). Or some thing like that.

 

That would just mean folks would have multiple accounts. 

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Yeah, what you're describing CAN happen... but on an extremely long time line and only be someone with multiple accounts. 

The passive skills act as a huge barrier to anything like this for a very long time.

More pointedly, gold is almost pointless to most people - so while it is currently the only accepted currency for vendors, for the really shiny shinies people will either be doling them out in guild/alliance - or trading them for something equally valuable... 

... which leads to the final problem.  The EK system, as currently implemented.  Even if you have all your market cornered shinies waiting to be sold... you have to have people find your EK to buy them.  That's non-trivial as well.

All in all, while you laid out a worst case scenario, I would think as things currently stand its very unlikely to come to pass any time within at least a few years of launch.

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@Van_ZantThere are MANY players today with multiple accounts who have many crafter professions covered so it won't take years to raise many crafting passives. Each account raises it's passives at the same time.  And, why would ACE want to limit this? They made money from each account. It won't take years.

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@MacDeath Sorry for the confusion, to be clear i was just responding to the original poster's doomsday scenario. 

Their whole scenario was predicated on a single player doing all the things on a single account - my post was the challenges involved with that specific approach.

I am aware of several players with enough accounts to do something similar, but even then the benefits of cornering a market, currently are still almost nil.

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problem is that, mean while we all think this is not going to happen. Albion players thought so too and yet, their market is already crushed, because more than few people do it like this. Why would ACE not want it? because it will have a bigger life span for the game, it will not spook players off the game, like Albion spooked, me and many others like me when they realized that their whole, godly, player driven economy is ruined and that you cant profit out of professions at all, only profitable thing is hard grind. Game without good player base, is a dead game. Rule of marketing "crowds attract crowds". 

Edited by Leather_Moose
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There is no practical way to prevent this from happening.

You can not ban people from using multiple accounts. Any attempt to do so just results in a smaller group of players that have slightly more technical skills to obfuscate their IP and transactions doing it.

The only way to ensure an economy of scale is to create an accessible supply of raw material so large people can more conveniently buy things they need than create them. The more the economy leans on scarcity, the more rewarding it is to avoid trading altogether. The more it leans on choice of activity in a given time frame, the more rewarding it is to trade your time for someone else's.

This is why EVE Online's economy works. Nothing is truly scarce in EVE for someone specialized in getting it, or with prper infrastructure to utilize it. However, everything requires massive volume. Anyone can very easily find and harvest any of the blueprints, drops, or materials in the game needs for crafting, but the end products of crafting require specialized facilities, skills, and content. Crafting is more an exercise in time spent than risk taken, although risk is still an element of successfully obtaining raw materials and drops. You can't really do three or four activities at once in EVE. If you're mining, you're mining. If you want to do not-mining it generally requires a trip back to a station, switching a ship, and flying to a different area. This distinction means that everything you want to do efficiently requires heavy investment in not only skill training, but equipment to utilize it.

This implementation also keeps people in the world and at risk on a near constant basis. Mining and farming might not be particularly exciting to do in EVE, but people do them all the time because they are, without fail, valuable activities. You can always sell that tritanium to someone who doesn't want to mine trit. You can always sell that faction BP to someone who doesn't want to farm faction loyalty points. The pimary driver of trade in EVE, one of the longest running functional MMO economies isn't scarcity, it's time.

Very few people source all of their own components and minerals in EVE simply because it would take too long to do so, not because it is especially risky or difficult to do it.

Crowfall's problem is that activities are largely homogenous and more often limited by some form of respawn than by the efficiency of your build. A single character can just as easily mine, skin, kill a chief, run a pig, and fight over a fort in the same equipment and with the same build. When the chiefs, pigs, motherlodes, and forts are all more limited by their respawn or vuln timers than by your choice of activity, it is highly advantageous to just do it all yourself as you're not really losing much in the way of time spent.

Being bad at mining in EVE means you spend up to 50 times longer mining. Being bad at mining in Crowfall just means you get slightly less stuff. Or you don't mine at all because you can just use your combat toon to run pigs or forts. That is a crucial difference that determines why nobody sells anything in crowfall and everyone sells everything in EVE. The world is too stingy to provide a surplus of materials or drops worth selling for people that specialize in volume.

Edited by PopeUrban

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3 hours ago, PopeUrban said:

That is a crucial difference that determines why nobody sells anything in crowfall and everyone sells everything in EVE. The world is too stingy to provide a surplus of materials or drops worth selling for people that specialize in volume.

I think the lack of functioning economy/marketplace tools is the biggest reason. Remember when the game economy was going to be 100% player driven revolving around EK's, and the game would soft launch(in part) in order to have a fledgling economy for new players to enter into game with? Ya.... those design loops are now broken too.

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6 hours ago, mystafyi said:

I think the lack of functioning economy/marketplace tools is the biggest reason. Remember when the game economy was going to be 100% player driven revolving around EK's, and the game would soft launch(in part) in order to have a fledgling economy for new players to enter into game with? Ya.... those design loops are now broken too.

I don't know where you got the idea that the soft launch was intended to provide a fledgling economy for new players. It had nothing to do with that. Soft launch was a strategy for how and when they would spend marketing dollars.

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2 hours ago, Jah said:

I don't know where you got the idea that the soft launch was intended to provide a fledgling economy for new players. It had nothing to do with that. Soft launch was a strategy for how and when they would spend marketing dollars.

Couple years ago from the horses mouth in reference to a discussion about not wiping passive skills between soft launch and official launch. It was stated that not wiping would be needed in order to have a viable economy for new players joining at launch. I never indicated it was the sole reason for a soft launch, in fact i was very specific in putting in a disclaimer highlighting that. 

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Albion Online is flawed because you can farm infinite resources and run them through cheap pipeline without risk.

In Crowfall if you want to create something good you have to go into campaign and compete with other players for resources. If you want to export them you have to be on top of the leaderboard. But that still won't make you the best on the market, because the best things are crafted inside campaign keeps, which have to be captured and defended by your guild.

If you want to exploit the market, you need to win campaign, win over resources in that campaign, craft in campaign on several different accounts, then export those things (which is still limited) and sell to other people cheaper than competitors would do (or sell things inside the campaign, but there will be limit of buying because everyone has export limits). In other words you need to be a winner.

So... is winning an exploit?

Edited by ComradeAma
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On 10/19/2020 at 8:22 AM, ComradeAma said:

Albion Online is flawed because you can farm infinite resources and run them through cheap pipeline without risk.

In Crowfall if you want to create something good you have to go into campaign and compete with other players for resources. If you want to export them you have to be on top of the leaderboard. But that still won't make you the best on the market, because the best things are crafted inside campaign keeps, which have to be captured and defended by your guild.

If you want to exploit the market, you need to win campaign, win over resources in that campaign, craft in campaign on several different accounts, then export those things (which is still limited) and sell to other people cheaper than competitors would do (or sell things inside the campaign, but there will be limit of buying because everyone has export limits). In other words you need to be a winner.

So... is winning an exploit?

Certainly not. Its the game functioning as intended.

However, the game functioning as intended is mutually exclusive with a game that seeks to have a thriving economy where it is expected that players trade goods of considerable value. Winning makes your internal economics trivial, therefore you don't need to buy anything. Losing makes your internal economics starved as a result of not being able to reliably source the large amounts of material you require to gear competitively.

The people who have enough of this stuff to sell you are the winners, however the winners aren't going to sell you this stuff because you have nothing of value they want in trade, and they know if they themselves become the losers there will be nobody to sell things to them, either.

The system rewards and borderline demands hoarding for everyone involved because the amount of material value needed to support one player is astronomical in comparison to the amount of material value that player can provide even under ideal circumstances.

According to recent comments JTodd seems to think this is a problem, but I can't honestly see a way to solve that problem without an extraordinary shakeup in the basic supply and demand economics of crowfall. If you want to stop any guild from hoarding everything, you have to give every guild a powerful incentive to trade with their competition, either directly or through a proxy.

I'll use EVE as an example again here. EVE doesn't encourage competing null alliances to trade with each other, but it DOES encourage them to trade with a third party, hisec. Hisec is largely the domain of tritanium miners, a type of resource that is needed in large quantities for the production of almost anything in the game. Tritanium is rather rare in nullsec, but abundant in hisec, and because of its relative safety tritanium mining is a popular activity among new players, solo players, and small economic corporations.

So, the way the economy has classically worked in EVE, with minor changes, for most of its lifetime, is that null has easy access to things hisec needs, and hisec has easy access to things null needs. Because there are no competing blocs in hisec, every null bloc trades their morphite or whatever else to hisec in exchange for, among other things, tritanium.

This "third party proxy" is how EVE has historically solved the problem of hoarding. CCP tried an experiment in null self sufficiency a few years ago, and has recently begun doubling down on undoing that as the result was, you guessed, it, lack of trade and massive hoarding. In EVE that massive hoarding also translated to such massive stockpiles of what should have been expensive trade drivers that CCP has literally resorted to starving the entire economy of the game to force people to burn through the stockpiles in an effort to fix what they broke. They have also announced they will shortly enact even more draconian forms of regional resource scarcity to return trade to equilibrium.

CCP learned that despite endgame guild desires for self sufficiency the end effect of allowing that self sufficiency was a rapidly breaking economy in which those on top had a virtually endless source of wealth, and those on the bottom were unable to climb the ladder due to a rapidly depressed need for anything they had to offer. What CCP is trying to prevent in EVE is the current state of the game in Crowfall.

The basic concept here is simple. If you and your enemy both need thing A, and neither of you can possibly produce thing A in the volumes you require to maintain a competitive posture in comparison to your rivals. This means both of you have a strong incentive to trade with a third party that DOES produce thing A, but can't produce thing B that both you and your enemy can produce. You happily trade with that third party because they aren't a threat to you, and because if you fail to do so and your enemy does you'll be at a severe economic deficit compared to your enemy, and likely end up in an economic fail spiral in any major conflict.

In EVE thing A is Tritanium, and thing B is morphite. This also has the effect of providing strong trade drivers for players in hisec, generally lower on the competitive totem pole to provide thing A, because it has value, and because they need thing B.

There is no corollary for this mechanism in Crowfall. Every guild can produce everything. They MUST produce everything in the short term due to the campaign mechanism, import limitations, and export limitations. There are no real territorial regions within a campaign, and even if there were you can more often than not simply import material from a previous campaign to cover your deficiencies. Not only that, Crowfall is designed to be in a state of constant major conflict.

I can't image how one would translate the third party proxy paradigm to crowfall. The very nature of the game seems to prevent any version of it. This leaves the only option for an economy that people actually feel compelled to use being the leverage of massive opportunity cost limitations. Even then I'm not sure the way resources, harvesting, and crafting work in crowfall this is possible. After all, the game is designed for guilds to be able to start with nothing and gain everything they need in a very rapid time frame.

It may simply be a fact that crowfall's core campaign design is incompatible with a robust player economy. I'd hate for this to be true but I can't think of a way out of it without radically changing its core gameplay loops.

Edited by PopeUrban

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1 hour ago, PopeUrban said:

It may simply be a fact that crowfall's core campaign design is incompatible with a robust player economy. I'd hate for this to be true but I can't think of a way out of it without radically changing its core gameplay loops.

Because Wealth is one of the big win conditions, guilds should be encouraged to trade their hoardered things off and than use that income to score on wealth cards.

I don't like the current Weatlth cards design anyway, which looks like a pig run extension of Power cards, so maybe changing Wealth cards to be real money spender is the way to fix both issues at the same time. What do you think?

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1 hour ago, ComradeAma said:

Because Wealth is one of the big win conditions, guilds should be encouraged to trade their hoardered things off and than use that income to score on wealth cards.

I don't like the current Weatlth cards design anyway, which looks like a pig run extension of Power cards, so maybe changing Wealth cards to be real money spender is the way to fix both issues at the same time. What do you think?

Why would ANY guild willingly trade real wealth for stupid cards that provide no lasting reward?

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3 hours ago, ComradeAma said:

Because Wealth is one of the big win conditions, guilds should be encouraged to trade their hoardered things off and than use that income to score on wealth cards.

I don't like the current Weatlth cards design anyway, which looks like a pig run extension of Power cards, so maybe changing Wealth cards to be real money spender is the way to fix both issues at the same time. What do you think?

One thing I would also like is if each island had their own product so to speak, such that guilds are either forced to split their forces around or to make deals to get some resources.

The game needs to start having guilds interact with one another. You all might be competing but there is time where both parties can benefit, that is how economy works.

Would it be better for a guild to own the whole server and get everything themselves? Hell yeah, but I seriously hope that isnt something feasible.

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2 hours ago, MacDeath said:

Why would ANY guild willingly trade real wealth for stupid cards that provide no lasting reward?

Currently there are no rewards for winning campaigns, but there will be.

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I have seven accounts...  I can only actively control one at a time.  (yes, I can multi-box at leveling but I challenge you to time and rate solo work vs cooperative work in the crafting environment)  While I will have the capacity (eventually) to do a lot with this including an early but self sufficient prospect of vending a few good products, most of my time will be playing the game as an active combatant.   The economy will be much better than your experiences to date given the developer goals.  A true player driven economy is self adjusting, barring some major flaw, of which we are all good at both pointing out and addressing.

Looking forward to soft launch reset and the economic race.

 

 

Edited by Frykka

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On 10/22/2020 at 7:52 AM, ComradeAma said:

Because Wealth is one of the big win conditions, guilds should be encouraged to trade their hoardered things off and than use that income to score on wealth cards.

I don't like the current Weatlth cards design anyway, which looks like a pig run extension of Power cards, so maybe changing Wealth cards to be real money spender is the way to fix both issues at the same time. What do you think?

Its an interesting idea, but I have a hard time envisioning a practical application of it.

Current wealth cards award spending, mostly on building upgrades right? You toss some gold and building materials down a bottomless pit in order to upgrade the building. Even if you never lose that building, that wealth is lost forever when the campaign ends.

Trading, however, requires both parties in trade get something of value. Generally this is transient value. My rocks for your gold, which I use to buy like a sword or something. For trade to work, you need two things. You need a form of currency that has universal value, and you need things to buy with it.

So, lets say we award people for sacrificing gold, right? The question then becomes "what is the most efficient way to get gold" and the answer is probably not "trade stuff I farmed" but in stead "go farm the gold myself"

In this case you change the wealth cards from being an extension of power cards to and extension of glory cards. Go farm tribes and sacrifice stuff.

Maybe we specifically mark traded gold, so that people can only get credit for sacrificing gold they didn't earn? Then you have a problem of a system that's very easy to game. Just sell stuff to an alt.

Maybe we require people to sacrifice crafted items? Again you have the same problem. Why would you trade gold for crafted items when you can craft them yourself.

Wealth cards as a concept seem then to be only possibly implemented as a mechanism for destroying wealth, since you can't effectively mandate trade that removes value. Anything you can trade for you can also just go and get. The current wealth cards destroy wealth in exchange for something that remains at risk. You essentially sacrifice your gold and building materials, but also assume the risk someone can take the result from you.

I'm not sure wealth cards can realistically be an effective driver of trade. Trade is about liquidating assets in order to amass capital for purchasing other assets, while cards must be about destroying assets in order to create a risk scenario. These seem to be opposing systems. If your wealth system is destroying assets, then you have less incentive, not more to trade those assets away, right?

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