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Currency and Banking


Sycon
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Is there going to be an in-game currency?

 

This question has had me thinking for a while.  In any system, especially a player driven economy, having some sort of currency system just makes things convenient.  But I am having a hard time coming up with a standard.  Especially if some type of RMT is involved, which has been discussed.  I do not like the idea of a game-wide currency.  The ability to drop into a random campaign with a large amount of cash is something I would not like to see.  Would campaign specific currencies work?  For instance, you cannot take gold into or out of a campaign, however you can use it to purchase items and gear from crafters.  Which will add a little PvE action, and PvP action as people will want to farm those PvE'ers as they collect gold.

 

This currency should be an item in your inventory and able to be dropped upon death.  Does this mean a player will drop all his collected gold each time he/she dies?  This is why I asked about banking.  Perhaps we have the ability to visit a banker and deposit/withdraw our cash as needed.  The banker being a Thrall.

 

Maybe I need to do some more research on the RMT, but hopefully it will be purely used on aesthetics and some convenience and not have a large impact on actual game-play.  I think Archeage screwed the pooch on that one, but that's a personal opinion.  If there is some sort of RMT, I would hope it is only for use in the EK and on personal estates.  Not so much able to affect PvP purposes.  But I am not sure.

 

If this has been answered, I did a quick search and did not find too much.  Please point me in the correct direction if there is one.  Thanks :)

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It would be a tragic mistake for ACE to establish fiat currency. Let players organically arrive at barter interchange currencies. It will happen quickly, players who do not want to get involved in market activities beyond simple exchanges will get all of the benefits of a fiat currency, and players who want to accept higher risk profiles for the possibility of higher rewards can play the currency markets. There's no reason to have "gold" in the game.

 

Look at Diablo II. In-game "gold" was crap and useless, because it was too plentiful, it was too hard to exchange, and it had no intrinsic value. The early standard barter interchange currency, Stone of Jordan, was organically determined. It was common enough that the supply sufficiently facilitated trade, but not so common that prices were unwieldy; and it had intrinsic value such that gross inflation did not occur. Eventually, additional currencies also organically arose (without entirely displacing SoJs): gems and runes. Exchange rates were organically determined and fluctuated as necessary. People could earn value through playing the game and use that value to acquire the goods they desired. It all worked, and Blizzard had no hand in it. It probably worked only because Blizzard had no hand in it.

 

ACE should avoid fiat currency like the plague hunger.

I mean, I'm assuming "fluffer" is just another pjorative term for carebears, whales, etc. Of course, I could be incorrect, but I doubt it.

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for example one of the newer threads about this topic: http://community.crowfall.com/index.php?/topic/6232-is-there-moneygold-in-crowfall/#entry158651

with some usefull links.

 

besides, the ingame currency is still to be discussed within the dev team. just give them a little bit of time. they cant build the whole game in seven days. you know ... the allfather is gone and so on. ;)

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There has to be 'some' kind of in game currency so that you can pay taxes on your parcels, and possibly guild management dues etc.

 

This could be VIP tokens, or whatever commodity the game demands, or crafters might turn gold bars into gold coins...

 

Ironically, accepting the payment of taxes in a given currency is one of the examples given of what gives a fiat currency inherent value.

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There has to be 'some' kind of in game currency so that you can pay taxes on your parcels, and possibly guild management dues etc.

 

This could be VIP tokens, or whatever commodity the game demands, or crafters might turn gold bars into gold coins...

 

Ironically, accepting the payment of taxes in a given currency is one of the examples given of what gives a fiat currency inherent value.

 

A mandated, unitary currency for the payment of public debts (including taxes) is purely policy, not an inherent requirement of public debt systems. It is done primarily to give governments control over economies (being, thereby, monopoly arbiters of what the currency is worth and how much of it they have), and secondarily as a convenience. That governments then enact policies to suppress private currencies is yet more policy, intended solely to protect monopoly control of their economies' money supplies. The first type of policy creates the power, the second kind protects the power from competition.

 

There is no reason, other than the power-lust of governments, for fiat currencies. Since we don't have a government in this game, there's no need for fiat currencies. If a guild chooses to tax in chickens, so be it. ArtCraft will likely tax top-level parcels in variable currencies, chosen to reduce undue surpluses in particular materials.

I mean, I'm assuming "fluffer" is just another pjorative term for carebears, whales, etc. Of course, I could be incorrect, but I doubt it.

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What about campaign only and campaign specific currencies that you cannot take out or take with you into a campaign?

 

With the speed that campaigns will be created and destroyed, each campaign will have different values for different items depending on how plentiful resources, materials and all other things are obtained in that campaign.  The standard, such as the Diablo standard of the Stone of Jordan, would have a hard time developing.  The Stone of Jordan developed over time and became a standard.  Campaigns will be fluid and constantly changing.  So would a campaign specific currency help?  Maybe use a currency sync to build or upkeep buildings inside a campaign?  

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What about campaign only and campaign specific currencies that you cannot take out or take with you into a campaign?

 

With the speed that campaigns will be created and destroyed, each campaign will have different values for different items depending on how plentiful resources, materials and all other things are obtained in that campaign.  The standard, such as the Diablo standard of the Stone of Jordan, would have a hard time developing.  The Stone of Jordan developed over time and became a standard.  Campaigns will be fluid and constantly changing.  So would a campaign specific currency help?  Maybe use a currency sync to build or upkeep buildings inside a campaign?  

 

Fair concerns, but the issue will resolve itself. I say that, first, because human beings are extraordinarily resourceful when they need to be†, so they'll find a solution, very quickly and very effectively. I say that, second, because I'm pretty sure it'll go almost exactly like this:

 

By the end of alpha, there will be an established barter interchange currency that will be taken‡, as it were, into all new campaigns. Whether a superior currency is developed in any particular campaign due to the boundary conditions imposed by the map and particular rule set of that campaign, there will have emerged the most-commonly suitable currency that works sufficiently from the outset of each campaign. Because humans are inertial and tend toward the familiar, campaigns will begin with this common currency until such time, if it ever comes, that the rarer, enterprising types find a superior, situational (i.e. specific to that campaign) currency. Over the course of beta and throughout release, there will be a few additional, common currencies, one of which may attain preeminence; the balance of usage will vary as rule sets change, and as the hardcore spreadsheeters vie against both human laziness and the ultimate superiority of aggregate, unfettered human activity.

 

 

† Conversely, human beings are extraordinarily apathetic, complacent, and child-like when they don't need to be resourceful.

 

‡ I don't mean people will literally take money into the campaigns; I mean they will enter into campaigns, taking with them the presumption of which currency is the standard barter interchange.

I mean, I'm assuming "fluffer" is just another pjorative term for carebears, whales, etc. Of course, I could be incorrect, but I doubt it.

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Unfortunately, Ace wanted 3 things, which they can't have all, so must decide which to keep:

  1. A full barter system and perhaps the ability for players to craft coins from ore bars.
  2. Offer VIP tokens.
  3. Collect EK taxes.

#2 and #3 require Ace to set a value requirement, to which everything #1 attempts... will basically be linked to w/e value item Ace wants to receive.

 

It would have been nice to have just #1 though... for a change.

> Suddenly, a Nyt appears in the discussion...

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#2 and #3 require Ace to set a value requirement

 

I don't know that that's necessarily the case.

 

With regard to #2†, they will be selling VIP tokens for real money, which players will convert according to the exchange rates that will be continually redetermined in-game. This does affect in-game valuations of various resources/materials and products, according to the value of player time as perceived by players in aggregate; however, it only establishes a relative, not absolute, basis against which all other pricing will fluctuate organically, and it sets that basis indirectly, not directly. So while this does create a deus ex machina influence in the game's economy, it is a soft and non-coercive influence. In reality, the biggest influence this will actually have on the game is to drive down prices for item sellers. At the same time, by not having a fiat currency, ArtCraft will eliminate the greatest source of income for RMT farmers, a result which more than compensates for whatever minor negative influence VIP tokens bring.

 

With regard to #3, there is absolutely no reason to assume that ArtCraft wants, much less needs, to set fixed, arbitrary taxation. If they have half a picoliter of sense (and I'm confident they do), they'll implement a relatively straight-forward data processing system‡ that continually evaluates the relative abundances of resources/materials in the game and chooses the most appropriate resources/materials, and the amounts, for taxation at each taxation cycle. Just a few factors (notably interrelated) that would go into this evaluation would be:

  • The extant volumes of the various resources/materials
  • The total volumes of usage (production + consumption) of the various resources/materials
  • The net productions (production - consumption) of the various resources/materials
  • The relative market trade volumes among the various resources/materials

From this evaluation, they'd determine which resources/materials are both valued and available (resources/materials no one cares about are no taxation burden; and resources/materials that are too hard to come by are an excessive logistical burden), and set the next§ taxation cycle's benchmark rate.

 

So while I understand the concerns of #2† and #3, particularly in light of the complete pooch-screw of a job so many other MMOs have done with regard to them, they don't have to be problematic, and we can have a "full barter system".

 

 

† Huh huh huh. Huh huh.

 

‡ As a software consultant, I have considerable experience implementing these systems.

 

§ Setting the current taxation cycle's benchmark rate, depending on the definitions of "current" and "next", would probably create too urgent (and therefore coercive) a pressure on the market's behaviors.

I mean, I'm assuming "fluffer" is just another pjorative term for carebears, whales, etc. Of course, I could be incorrect, but I doubt it.

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Unfortunately, Ace wanted 3 things, which they can't have all, so must decide which to keep:

  1. A full barter system and perhaps the ability for players to craft coins from ore bars.
  2. Offer VIP tokens.
  3. Collect EK taxes.

#2 and #3 require Ace to set a value requirement, to which everything #1 attempts... will basically be linked to w/e value item Ace wants to receive.

 

It would have been nice to have just #1 though... for a change.

 

I don't think it is required for ACE to set a price for #2 and #3

 

For #2, Tradeable VIP tokens will sell for whatever the players decide they are worth.  To me bartering will very much happen around VIP tokens.  Immediately after launch, VIP tokens will be worth very little in game, because the resources and other rewards we bring out of campaigns will be very valuable for EK advancement/expansion.  After some time their (VIP tokens) value will increase as players stockpiles of goods in their EK's increase, giving them disposable resources for such expenditures.  I don't see how ACE would need to set a value requirement on that.

 

For #3, there are two planned systems to consider;

  • Maintenance. The Devs have said that "tax-free" parcels was a way of saying maintenance/upkeep free without having to elaborate on game systems they haven't fully fleshed out yet.  Parcels (non-tax-free) and Buildings will require upkeep. Which may be as vague as 3 metal, 2 wood, and 5 stone a month.  Or even specific types od metal, wood, and stone.  I really doubt it will be an "X amount of coins" type upkeep, but we just don't know yet.
  • Taxes. Actual taxes in the EK's will be set by the individual EK owners (and their vassals who have that degree of access).  While I assume most EK rulers will set their taxes for resources to support and advance their EK, I'm sure some would set a tax figure tied to coin. (which will, I hope, be player made coins)  But still others, I'm sure, would chose not to charge their residents any taxes. And several styles between the three are possible too.

I don't see why ACE would need to set any price point in game.  Maybe I'm missing your point.

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, they'll implement a relatively straight-forward data processing system‡ that continually evaluates the relative abundances of resources/materials in the game and chooses the most appropriate resources/materials, and the amounts, for taxation at each taxation cycle.

 

I've got to learn to type someday.  I used less than half the words you did, and you still responded to Nyt before I could. ;)  (no I didn't count them)

 

On the part of your post I quoted:  That seems like an awful lot of effort for what I would imagine should be a rather simple mechanic for paying maintenance/upkeep on ones properties.  Honestly, if upkeep varied from month to month because of some arcane and labyrinthine algorithm, I think I'd be apoplectic.

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On the part of your post I quoted:  That seems like an awful lot of effort for what I would imagine should be a rather simple mechanic for paying maintenance/upkeep on ones properties.  Honestly, if upkeep varied from month to month because of some arcane and labyrinthine algorithm, I think I'd be apoplectic.

 

It really, super-duper isn't a lot of effort. That no game developers do that sort of thing is evidence only of how immature the market is with regard to data. Honestly, these are businesses, and for a business to know so little in 2015 as game businesses do about their own data is Pretty Sad Bro. Upkeep really doesn't need to vary, but if it doesn't, they have to implement data processing algorithms to make sure the resources/materials required for upkeep are entering the game at a net rate proportional to the amount of upkeeping going on, and there's the bulk of a data processing system anyway. Taxation absolutely must vary, as the market will fluctuate continually; the only alternative is fiat currency and coercive market boundary conditions.

I mean, I'm assuming "fluffer" is just another pjorative term for carebears, whales, etc. Of course, I could be incorrect, but I doubt it.

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For #2: you are correct, in that the players will place a value on those tokens, although, it still has a strong possibility of becoming a currency... although, it could still support #1.

 

For #3: I like the idea of Ace having the flexibility of changing what item and quantity every tax cycle.  That does provide a solution to where the value of an item tied to taxes will be for a limited time.  Players will then want to stockpile pretty much every item that could possibly be used for taxes.  The EK owners could then adjust their tax requirements toward resources they're short on, which it'll be up to the tenants to gather or convert to provide.

> Suddenly, a Nyt appears in the discussion...

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It really, super-duper isn't a lot of effort. That no game developers do that sort of thing is evidence only of how immature the market is with regard to data. Honestly, these are businesses, and for a business to know so little in 2015 as game businesses do about their own data is Pretty Sad Bro. Upkeep really doesn't need to vary, but if it doesn't, they have to implement data processing algorithms to make sure the resources/materials required for upkeep are entering the game at a net rate proportional to the amount of upkeeping going on, and there's the bulk of a data processing system anyway. Taxation absolutely must vary, as the market will fluctuate continually; the only alternative is fiat currency and coercive market boundary conditions.

 

Wow, I really don't think we're talking about the same thing.  I don't think we're even using the same language. ;)

 

If my in game building needs 3 copper bars to maintain it for one month, and the next month it requires 12 oak logs, then that is not an enjoyable system in my opinion.

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Wow, I really don't think we're talking about the same thing.  I don't think we're even using the same language. ;)

 

If my in game building needs 3 copper bars to maintain it for one month, and the next month it requires 12 oak logs, then that is not an enjoyable system in my opinion.

 

No, I knew what you meant. And my point was that, even if the cost of upkeep is always 3 copper bars, in order to make sure that the real value of 3 copper bars remains constant (so your real upkeep burden doesn't increase or decrease over time), they would need to make sure that the net influx of copper bars into the economy (after accounting for all production and consumption) is equal to the amount of copper bars being spent on upkeep†. If they don't do that, then "3 copper bars" becomes either more or less valuable over time. If they do do‡ that, they've built most or all of the data processing system I'm proposing in the first place.

 

† This is actually an over-simplification. The reality is much more complex, necessitating a meaningfully-substantial data processing system.

 

‡ Huh huh huh. Huh huh.

I mean, I'm assuming "fluffer" is just another pjorative term for carebears, whales, etc. Of course, I could be incorrect, but I doubt it.

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‡ Huh huh huh. Huh huh.

Now we're just singing along :P  j/k

 

Couldn't this all be achieved by having a campaign ONLY currency that cannot be brought in or taken out of the campaign?  It is a currency that can be picked up by various monsters according to their relative strength.  In spring, where it is weaker and fewer, there will be less currency (and fewer materials due to everyone just starting out).  Things will be cheaper and items will be less prominent.  As time goes on, harder mobs and more currency will develop, crafters will get more resources and costs will rise.  By the time Fall/Winter hits, the currency will be at its highest and the gear quality at its highest.  It was be a mini-world economy with inflation curves, supply/demand and all the fun little factors until the world dies.  Then it is time for embargo stuff and items, but the in-game-world-currency will disappear completely never to be heard from again.  Each world starts fresh, in respect to currency.

 

This gives PvP/PvE an honest option to go out and get currency.  That way they don't come back with an item that they just can't seem to unload.  Especially newer players getting low level stuff/materials no one wants, but currency even in low quantities can be useful.  But you don't want that currency just building up with no where to go, so I can see the developers making a currency sync.  That's why I said buildings.  Maybe the cost of maintenance goes up with each season.  Thralls in a campaign could need upkeep with currency.  There are a ton of possible options, not every option being "maintenance."

 

And this is my biggest point...  If you plan to have Thralls in the game that can sell your equipment when you're offline.  They just stand around in the area/shop ready to sell to the adventurer... Will you have to set a trade for each and every item they sell?  Or would it just be easier with a currency and you just set the price?

 

This is why I mainly think an in-campaign-only-currency would not only work, but be very convenient for everyone.  How much currency can be produced versus how much of a gold sync you need is a metric I can see the devs balancing better than I can.

Edited by Sycon
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Thoughts on currency in general:

 

So, I get where you're coming from.  Bartering is a pain, which is why humans invented currencies in the first place.

 

But the concept of a currency in Crowfall just doesn't make sense.  

 

Where does the money come from?

Mobs are for threat and a few resources/runes, not gold.  They aren't meant to be farmed.  Kills on people can't generate new money, that wouldn't make sense.  Points of Interests maybe?  But then are you just turning victory points into a currency?  Feels weird.

 

And even if you figure out where it comes from, where does it get spent?

 

Currencies in other MMOs have value because there are certain fixed costs.  NPC merchants, flights/teleports, gear, etc.  However, all of these things will come from players in Crowfall.  There won't be NPCs charging X for some service.  And there won't be NPCs selling resources/gear either.  With everything player driven, currency would have no purpose.

 

I think, kinda what Spectre is saying is the closest we can get: they can try to implement some kind of abundant resource that's used in virtually everything: crafting, building.  But still, if that currency isn't valuable to combat characters, it's still not going to have a balanced value (and certainly not going to be something they carry around to be lootable).  Not to mention doing this would basically be like forcing you to make an NPC do your crafting for you, and just paying them a fee each time.  It'd be arbitrary.

 

 

And even player crafted currency:

 

The problem is that I don't think there's really enough time in Campaigns for a currency to develop and gain value.

 

Currencies came about in society over thousands of years of civilization.  It wasn't until we had gathered enough natural resources, and determined all the uses of them, that we started assigning objective values to things.

 

Every campaign is going to force value into the realm of subjectivity again, so every campaign is going to throw off any currency that has existed prior.

 

 

And a note of pathos: please dear god don't make me farm poorly made socks for gold.  <3

Edited by theDoctor
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In a simple economy like an MMO, a commodity based currency can work fine.  Let's just say people agree on gold ingots.  If you know how many gold ingots any commodity is worth, you can now barter much more fairly, similar to how in Fallout, when you barter, everything is priced in bottlecaps.  Bottlecaps don't change hands, but because everything is priced in that way you know you're getting what is considered a fair deal.

 

There is one argument for crafting gold coins:

 

A gold ingot might be too valuable to be used for every possible transaction, so maybe crafting a hundred gold coins for each ingot grants a little more divisibility.  Different people making competing currencies would be madness, but a universal recipe that even the simplest crafter could use where you take an ingot and make a hundred coins would be logical.

 

There is a strong argument for an overarching fiat currency:

If a commodity becomes the unit of exchange, price volatility will be much higher because players will partially control the money supply.  If gold ingots become the common exchange, people may begin to hoard them, choosing to craft non-gold items and keeping the gold for liquidity, leading to inflation.  Some gold-based item might be shown to provide campaign advantages and suddenly all your money is being turned into siege weapons and we have massive deflation.

 

However let's say currency is measured in diamonds: an item that is found in campaigns that cannot be crafted into anything, but is the only accepted payment for parcel upkeep.  Now you have only a single output source.  This makes it significantly easier for the devs to regulate the money supply.  In this form they can act like the Fed or any other sovereign bank.

 

 

No, I knew what you meant. And my point was that, even if the cost of upkeep is always 3 copper bars, in order to make sure that the real value of 3 copper bars remains constant (so your real upkeep burden doesn't increase or decrease over time), they would need to make sure that the net influx of copper bars into the economy (after accounting for all production and consumption) is equal to the amount of copper bars being spent on upkeep†. If they don't do that, then "3 copper bars" becomes either more or less valuable over time. If they do do‡ that, they've built most or all of the data processing system I'm proposing in the first place.

 

† This is actually an over-simplification. The reality is much more complex, necessitating a meaningfully-substantial data processing system.

 

‡ Huh huh huh. Huh huh.

 

The same argument is being made here about controlling the supply of a commodity currency.  As hamopeche says, if upkeep was denominated in copper bars, the devs could take away the punchbowl when copper gets too plentiful and engage in quantitative easing when copper gets too rare.

 

It would certainly be possible to closely regulate commodities this way, but it isn't desirable.  It would be a cludge that added a lot more work and a little more confusion for the sake of not using dirty dirty fiat.

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