Bowen's Economy Analysis

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Bowen Bloodgood, Jan 28, 2019.

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  1. Bowen Bloodgood

    Bowen Bloodgood Avatar

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    @Chris @DarkStarr

    I know your time is precious. Resources are limited and you have to set priorities. I've broken up the following in what I hope is bite sized and easy to follow reading without too many ramblings..

    For all: Please keep in mind that every proposed idea is made within the context of the whole. Questions that pop up from one doc may be resolved in another. The following docs are shared on google drive.

    The Overview

    Most of these are about 1 page or less. Apologies if it's a little unrefined. This is of course, my generalized analysis and approach. I tried to keep existing systems in mind. I've no intention of asking the devs to redo anything.

    So am I missing anything?
     
  2. Cirsee

    Cirsee Avatar

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    I think it really needs to be noted that casual and new gamers have a heck of time coming up with 100K in gold for a suit of armor, just to have it break down in a couple weeks. I realize there is a good ton of gold out there in the game, but by older players. Reagents for spells are still very expensive as are crafting reagents. This is even worse for newer players and casuals. I know the filthy casual comment, but seriously casuals do help keep the lights on. You also have an older player base with less players; economy changes when that happens naturally. I can totally agree on fixing crafting to make it a bit easier (or cheaper) on players to make quality items and removing COTO repairs. Repair kits need to stay in for when you are in a group and things break. Where can you go right then and there to get things fixed to continue? You can reduce kit functionality to a point though.

    While some of those gold sink items sound like fun; lets not make it too oppressive. It is supposed to be a game to have fun in, not a job just to make the money back I spent on reagents to make money to buy the reagents to adventure in the first place. Or if we have to have more gold sinks, lets make obtaining gold more fun than grinding endlessly. Either way, feeling perpetually poor while other players have all this great stuff may be real life, but I don't play a game to experience real life.
     
  3. Bowen Bloodgood

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    My personal philosophy on gold sinks is that the majority of them should be optional. Stuff you WANT to spend money on when you have it.. not stuff you must spend money on.
     
  4. Vladamir Begemot

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    Great writeup Bowen. I agree with most. Very succinct.

    I'm not sure this is going to fly though:

    First, that doesn't reduce the junk sales, second it just makes them more cumbersome. Players will have to stock up to do a bulk junk dump.

    This is an interesting idea, although will that just lead to more overflow? Can an NPC in Ardoris buy something and then an NPC in Aerie sell it moments later?

    I don't care much for the "Not Cared For" method of breaking down. I am more in favor of dropping the COTO repairs and continually monitoring item duration measured by hours played with it in combat. There should be a target number for gear type, based on the magic numbers they see. 50 hours, 100 hours, 1000 hours, I don't know the right number but the devs should be specifically adjusting that target.

    Plus, we just need more players, one way or the other. The problem of demand might disappear when that happens.

    Why would a new player need a 100k suit of armor? Why would anyone other than people soloing dragons or Ruined Keep or all in PvP'ers (not casual in the slightest) need a 100k suit of armor? I doubt the Ruined Keep guys even do, but at least they would have an excuse. A 100k suit of armor is just driving around in bling to feel good. I will ask around but I doubt any of my Guildmates have 100k armor, nor feel the need for it.
     
  5. Cirsee

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    Each piece is usually 10 to 20K .. some 20K themselves. Group content makes a big difference with armor that has supporting abilities. Food buffs are also a must have for most.
     
  6. Bowen Bloodgood

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    Depends on implementation really. The increased difficulty isn't just for realism. People will tend to move towards whatever uses the least effort. What I was thinking includes more 'junk' being salvageable. Easier to offload or use up scrap that it would be to sell large quantities of junk. Also, any junk not bought by players from NPCs would ultimately end up recycled back into the loot tables.

    Scrap is useful and so there is incentive to salvage. So it's a little carrot and stick if you will. I would be less in favor of restricting selling to NPCs without a useful alternative. Also, being able to turn junk into scrap encourages a player market for the stuff yes? Less money from NPCs and more moving between players. In theory.

    I'd rather not rely on simply having more players. More players may mean more players needing things.. but it also means more crafters.
     
  7. FrostII

    FrostII Bug Hunter

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    By "more players", I assume you're not speaking of "old player" alts .
    More players, to me, means NEW players.
    And those won't be competitive crafters for quite a while.
     
  8. LiquidBlaze

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    Interesting, under increasing currency value, It is true that UO vendors acted in such a way now that I think about it. Only buying and selling so much that is.
     
  9. kaeshiva

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    Very good summary of a lot of the issues, Bowen.

    Low Currency Value
    I think another opportunity you could mention under "low currency value" I guess, would be with regards to 'chaff' loot can only be sold.
    Improvements to salvage could help mitigate this, as the main reason for currency inflation is the unlimited sell-junk-to-npc mechanic.

    If I need gold for something, my only option is to go kill monsters, take their stuff, and npc it. There are no faucets in crafting, at all, anymore. They have been stamped out completely, as has demand for agricultural resources since there's no longer any use for them that gives you return on investment. Brewing is a small exception to this, but is a lean return on a pretty long timer (ie weeks).

    I'd suggest that either salvage, or implementing "something else you can do with" dropped junk loot - currently you can trade it for money, what if you could trade it for other things? It would make more sense to me if the vendor offered you scrap for junky swords rather than cash, for example. Or even if there was some sort of way to trade it for recipes, experience (say via daily turnin tasks)...instead of having 'money' be the only return. That also would give such items value on the player market.

    High Market Prices
    This is a significant part of the problem in that raw resources sell for considerably more than any outputs. As a pretty heavily invested crafter (Producer level 111, several skills 130+, working in collaboration with my husband who has same, but allocated into different specialised roles) there is nothing we can craft that has any hope of recouping the costs of mats, due to the RNG. This is a systemic problem that does not improve at higher levels. NPCs offer sometimes less than 1% of cost of items and they dont scale up to reflect invested materials. That and the lack of player demand means you end up with a bunch of items that have no purpose, aren't quite right, nobody wants them, and selling to the npc is almost a complete loss. As an example, I went through over a million gold worth of resources yesterday, upgraded 2 pieces of my own equipment, and handed down a few 'okayish' items to guild members. The amount of materials it takes to make 1 viable equipment item (that to make matters worse, is not even gonna last more than a few months of heavy use).

    Low Demand / Unbalanced Sinks
    I don't think that making things break faster is the right direction - its already far too expensive to get nice things and the nicer they are, the less durability they have, meaning the faster they break. Sure, if you're wearing middle of the road stuff it will last months, but if you're investing millions into a couple of pieces they need to last at least as long as it takes you to earn those millions. A lot of the reason why you can't sell the high end items is that they are so disposable, who's gonna pay 200k for a sword that's junk in a month? I think we need alternative item sinks, the most obvious of which is making salvage give viable return.

    I think that players' constant desire to 'improve' their gear creates demand in and of itself - almost all of my customers who come to me for crafting to do cause they're trying for "better" not because they're replacing something that's broken. But the limit in spend is always due to the rng factor and the fact that its simply not worth investing a ton of resources into something that is impermanent. Crafting specialization will band-aid this a bit in that at least things can be replaced at a more reasonable cost. It will also create demand in that people can now diversify and try various gear sets/types since doing so wont be so prohibitively expensive.

    I wouldn't fiddle around at all with the rate at which items take secondary durability loss - if anything I think its too fast. I can shred through a melee weapon or bow in a couple weeks of play to the point where it needs coto-ing even with grandmasters in preservation skills. Instead I'd remove repair kits from the drop tables and NPCs and adjust the recipes to be balanced with each other and create a player market for them. Higher skilled artisan should make better repair kit - give value to skill. It will take a while for the stockpiles to diminish (I think I have over 3000 carpentry repair kits that I've gotten as monster loot drops that I continue to throw in a box). Add a recipe to craft tool repair kits. Make PRIMARY durability drop faster - need to repair more often, creating a sink for kits. Consider secondary durability repair from kits at grandmaster levels, or a 'chance' of such (heals 1-2 points). When considering they want to add this 'item memory' thing so that your sword that's killed 1000 kobolds becomes kobold slaying, it needs to last long enough to make doing so worthwhile.

    Low Currency Value
    NPCs only buying what they use?
    This already exists in some extent, (see sotawiki - tag match) in that you get better cash if you sell the right types of things to certain vendors. Sadly, a small % of vendors in game actually have this implemented. I would not like to see vendordump restrictions, its already tedious enough to do inventory management of all the trash you pick up without having to walk 10 places to try and get rid of it. I think using the existing tech to make the bonus more noticeable for selling to the 'right' npc (and a bigger penalty for selling to the 'wrong' npc) is better than a hard limit making it hard to get rid of junk.

    The entire food system needs an overhaul. People eat the same 4-5 things, everything else is worthless, no point making it, don't care. If there was some way to say, combine low tier foods into a superfood that someone might actually want to eat, then suddenyl there's demand for it. Ardoris Coleslaw adding 1 int for 40 minutes or whatever, what if you had a recipe that combined 10 Ardoris Coleslaw with perhaps a bottle of wine and it was called "Potent Perennial Coleslaw" and now added a better effect. Not 10x, but maybe 5x? (IE, take 10 crappy foods, make 1 food, that has half the bonus/duration of the 10 foods added together). Some sort of conversion system. Either that, or just eliminate and rework all the junk recipes, which is most of them. The food benefits especially the new fishing stuff really show a lack of understanding of player consumption - food needs to have enough of an effect for players to want it, but be cost-effective enough to make that you can make/sell it. Needing to fish for 22 hours to get a fish to make a food that gives a short-term buff is unreasonable. A lot of the food is very labor intensive, and that's fine - but you can't markup for player time, not really. This is cause everyone can make it. Have food effects scale with cook level would be a start.

    Lower Material Prices
    Just bumping the harvesting speed bar / node respawn rates would go a long way toward making gear-crafting significantly less tedious. It takes days or weeks to get enough ore to make even modest gear. And that's okay. But it needs to be worth your time. In most games, you go chop a couple trees, maybe harvest some sort of flax/string plant, bam, you make a bow. In Sota, you need to spend HOURS chopping trees even to make a basic bow, plus refining time, plus buying npc goods (fuels) as well. I think removing the RNG on crafting (via specialization as discussed) will go a long way toward mitigating this. But we need it sooner rather than later, as it will trickle down into the economy pretty significantly.

    Increase Demand
    Already touched on this...dancing around the repair issue. I think the 'well maintained gear breaks slower' is a good concept but, assuming people take care of their things well, it isn't going to increase demand. You only buy a weapon if a) you have no weapon b) your weapon broke or c) you want a better weapon or d) you want to try something else out, different materials or different weapon/armor type entirely. I think C/D should be the focus, particularly since we're talking about having weapon achievements and such. Really high end stuff that is bespoke should reflect the skill investment - currently, there's very little difference between what a grandmaster makes and what someone with 10x the investment makes. I'd suggest skill scaling should be cranked up to adequately reflect this and you'll find that higher skill items will be more wanted than all the chaff. We need a sink for the chaff. Whether that's turning in a bunch of 'crap' weapons to an NPC in exchange for gold (omg, a crafting faucet), or perhaps XP, recipes, knowledge, unique components only obtainable this way (IE, turn in 5 meteoric iron swords, get some sort of special hilt or something) - etc. It doesn't have to be about money. But we need something to do with the garbage that at least recoups part of the investment. And having that, some people may then buy up junk to utilize it for this purpose. Currently, the only thing you can do with a crafted piece of gear is wear it or place it as deco - more uses for it (even if that meant melting it down!) would up demand in kind.
     
    Last edited: Jan 29, 2019
  10. Bowen Bloodgood

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    Well that'd take more time than I currently have to respond to. :) But I will say I took a lot of factors into consideration that aren't quite so obvious. There's a lot of interdependencies. ie changing durability loss first relies on getting production prices down, dealing with the RNG etc No one wants to spend a lot on something they think isn't going to last. Just as I wouldn't put restrictions on NPCs buying junk without first having an alternative to dealing with the junk.. ie salvage.
     
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  11. Spungwa

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    Nice analysis, but incomplete.

    This is gear in the economy analysis. Now I don't have the numbers, but if gear makes up 50% of the transaction value of the economy I would be surprised. Including the sales of the materials to make said gear.


    Regards
    Spung
     
  12. Bowen Bloodgood

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    Can you be more specific?
     
  13. Beaumaris

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    Good thoughts in this thread.

    The economic challenge can be examined and argued from multiple ends. Ultimately I see it as high prices that lead to excess vendor inventory that slow down desire to buy newly crafted stuff.

    Because there is an alternative. Using a COTO to repair stuff seems cheaper.
     
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  14. Spungwa

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    Some examples of the economy and demand that is not driven by gear demand.

    Wood prices only stopped dropping when brewing was introduced. It is demand for cask and therefore barrels that drives the wood price.

    Granite price only got above the NPC vendor price when dungeon pieces were added.

    Consumption in general increased when magic mover was added. People stopped redecorating and just saved it and started again, buying/creating a whole new set of furniture.

    Potion of guidance hugely decreased the demand of raw materials for crafter's just buying materials to grind up skill levels.

    Just some off the top of my head, but all of these examples are demand within the economy that is completely outside of gear crafting.

    Looking at gear alone is doing economics, but to assess and balance a whole economy you use macro economics. Considering all supply and demand within the whole economy.


    Regards
    Spung
     
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  15. Spungwa

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    All the threads I read assume that the biggest consumption must come from gear, and therefore gear destruction. This is not true, it could be true. But that is an economy design CHIOCE not the only solution.

    To my mind it is not even close to the best choice. Here's a couple of reasons why.

    Doesn't consume all types of raw materials. No amount of gear decay will increase the demand of grown wheat for example.

    Faster gear decay hurts casual players disportionally more.


    Regards
    Spung
     
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  16. that_shawn_guy

    that_shawn_guy Bug Hunter

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    How so?

    my assumption has always been that gear decay is, and should be, based on wear gained over time during use. as an example, let's say we have a chest piece that, with normal repairs, last 100 hours in upper tears before it is completely broken. it wouldn't matter if the 100 hours was in a row or an hour a day for 100 days. a hit is a hit.

    major repairs seem to be a commonly used coto sinks. with that in mind, i think there is a good argument that the casual player comes out ahead of hardcore grinders.
     
  17. Spungwa

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    It is not the cycle buying, repairing, destruction, then repeat that hurts the casual player. Exactly as you said this is set by usage time.

    However with higher decay, as said gear demand increases therefore the amount of hours of gold collecting (by whatever means) to get the gold to get on that cycle in the first place increases. If it takes 100 hours of gameplay to make enough gold to get decent set of gear that helps you make more gold. That first step could be months for a casual player.


    Regards
    Spung
     
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  18. Nevyn Waldail

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    While supply and demand takes its role its not the full picture because it isn't the real world. In the real world, there is a much smaller population with a higher percentage of "rich" players, this skews the prices and make people believe when Mr rich comes along and buys wood at 50gold each that its a demand set price. It isn't, Ive had wood sitting at 35g each for over a week on fairly prominent vednors.
     
  19. Nevyn Waldail

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    yes but it wears out at a slower rate too
     
  20. Spungwa

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    But only after you pass that hurdle. Once in the cycle yes. Getting into the cycle however.....
     
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