Waiving taxes until launch - hurt or help?

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Gideon Thrax, Sep 16, 2016.

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  1. Gideon Thrax

    Gideon Thrax Avatar

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    • I don't know how many tax free deeds exist.
    • I don't know how many tax free deeds have been placed in game.
    • I don't know how many taxable add-on deeds exist.
    • I don't know how many taxable add-on deeds have been placed in game.
    • I do know that less than 10% of the player population earns more than 90% of the gold in game.
    • I do know Portalarium will be giving away thousands upon thousands of property deeds by way of raffles to players fortunate enough to have earned enough gold to buy a ticket.

    Would it hurt or help the economy if Portalarium waived all property taxes until launch?

    Me, I'm inclined to think that it would help the economy.
     
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  2. Selene

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    I think waiving taxes entirely would promote lot squatting and speculation. Not to mention it would be a hard sell to bring them back later and would remove a MAJOR gold sink, causing inflation. But I think a reduced tax rate during early release balancing could improve "quality of life" in game, as long as it was clear those rates would not persist.
     
  3. Tahru

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    In the past, everything I can remember that was waived in the interest of testing, ended causing a huge fuss when it was removed. For example, the experience bonus and zoning. Had they never put zoning in, we would not have teleport scrolls now. People get too used to easy mode.
     
  4. Poor game design

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    It's a fair question.

    The problem as I see it though is much larger than taxes/no taxes. I believe (read: speculating) that the devs created the taxes to do two things; 1) Act as a gold sink and 2) Act as a way to constantly allow newer players an opportunity to get lots and placed to put those lots (something that has always been a huge problem in other games like UO). But I think an additional byproduct of this system is that it adds value to COTO's that otherwise would not be there to the same degree. I think this wasn't planned for, it was designed over time and implemented when the devs figured out that they'd need more revenue support to continue making the game. It's not a bad system, I like it, but it's not balanced yet (economically) and I'm not entirely sure if it ever will be.

    I have a lot of questions about the economy and a lot of concern over how it will be balanced. If all lot deeds had taxes (even different tiers of taxation) that would be a lot easier. But because one group of people has tax free deeds, that creates a very difficult reality for our economy. Instead of just progressively taxing players across the board, we're kind of stuck with this two tiered system; people that pay taxes and people that don't. But we can't just make the people that don't pay taxes start paying taxes since that would break the promise of what they purchased. We also can't give people tax free deeds because that would break the promise too.

    I'm not sure where that leaves us, but it's really tricky trying to come up with alternative taxation methods, which I believe is what we'll have to do to even this out correctly. We can't just "not tax" some people and tax others. It's not going to work.
     
  5. Sixclicks

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    As long as they definitely brought it back. Otherwise tax-free lots would become pointless and anger a lot of backers. I think it would be better if they just readjusted the rates (lowered them) to be up to date with the current economy. They set the current rates based off of the median amount of gold players were earning just at that time around final wipe. Since they nerfed sales of junk items to vendors which decreased the amount of gold being produced, the rent rates should have also been adjusted to match that change.
     
  6. 2112Starman

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    I just think they need to absolutely lower the tax of houses and then raise them as the game matures and inflation sets in (or gold gets in more peoples hands). The devs proved in the last post motrum that they have 100% complete statistics on not only the wealth distribution in game but all of its analytics. This would also mimic real life. They could even probably do it per city. A rich city would have higher tax's based in the wealth in it. Im sure they could even code this stuff in.

    This is how it works in real life economics. I live in a place that has the highest population growth in the USA, housing values (and our property tax) as well as renting rates are going through the roof. But there are a lot of high tech jobs to be had for the people moving here.

    you cant just go to some rural destitute town in the middle of nowhere in Mississippi where people are all utterly poor and raise the tax on them to an utterly unsustainable level.

    These are some mechanics the devs should have thought about. But like I have said before, software engineers are amazing coders and probably amazing at math, but probably not that great at the topic of economics (I dont claim to what-so-ever either, but I at least took some college courses and know a little, we need Robert Reich in here as a consultant :) ). Although I will say that the last convo on video they had about makes me think Atos and Starr do have a solid understanding.
     
  7. Gideon Thrax

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    How major of a gold sink are we talking about? My thinking is that if taxable deeds aren't being placed - or if they're being pulled due to current tax rates, the gold sink doesn't exist. Maybe something done as an incentive could work in place of removing taxes altogether. Portalarium could give folks tax breaks based on activity. example: city lot set up as a guild house or a place for rentals or as a school or whatever could qualify for greatly reduced taxes based on activity. More player activity on the lot - better tax break. (In this example I expect that a squatter would still be subject to full taxation.)

    There's got to be some middle ground somewhere - quality of life in game is huge.
     
  8. Magnus Zarwaddim

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    @Sixclicks mentions using a median, however, this could be problematic. Right now there are some players (lets say 10%) that have a lot of money in game. This throws off the median and is not representative of the rest of the population. Also, with people moving in and out of the game it gets even trickier. If there are 100 people playing, but they base it off of 200 people, that throws off the median.

    Might be better to stick to a tiered structure. Base it on lot size (as is the case now, I believe) and then do some percentage of that based on some other baseline. I don't know what that other baseline could be.

    Of course why not just try and easy-mode it? Just a straight percentage drop for R34 and see how that plays out. If they increase gold income "x" %, and they lower taxes "y" %, then they can continue to tweak it.

    Not everyone is going to be happy, ever. 90% of the people will be unhappy with 90% of what ever is done.

    Those of us that bought pledges which included tax-free deeds will always be criticized (P2W, anyone? LOL).

    Those that have to work for it in-game will also criticize, but you have to question whether or not they are ready to own a taxed lot. I should not be starting the game today and expecting a house any time soon. I have to work for it. I have to level up skills, get to know people (helps to be placed in a PoT you might like), and get to a point where I can earn a sufficient amount of income to then get a lot. I am not comfortable now with my earnings to say I could afford a taxed lot. And that's me at adventure level 63 and pulling in ~3K + a day (depending on how I grind - I get sidetracked a lot).
     
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  9. Tibs

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    In the real world we shouldn't be able to buy property unless we can afford it. Failing to perform appropriate means-testing was part of the problem with the whole sub-prime mortgage fiasco (and too many of us are still suffering the effects of that).
     
  10. PrimeRib

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    I think they're doing the right thing.
    Placeholder daily quests such as "visit the oracle" which can eventually replaced by more mechanic driven ones.
     
  11. E n v y

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    Would just cause inflation in prices
     
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  12. moko

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    I agree with the above points in favor of keeping the taxes, especially in regards to people getting used to easy mode, lot squatting and the needed gold sinks/means to keep COTO interesting. Also, with the new "daily quests" people will easily be able to afford a row lot since 500 gold from the oracle a day equals the daily cost of a row lot... And if you save up a bit and buy a COTO for 1,2k you can even have some spare change - just by visiting the oracle. So no, in my opinion the system should for the moment stay as is.
     
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  13. yarnevk

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    No the problem is that they did not use the median, they used the average. These two words only have the same value when the distribution of wealth is a normal Gaussian curve. When 90% of the wealth is in 10% of the players hands that is not a normal Gaussian curve, it is instead a Pareto curve.

    A median is when you sort all the players by wealth and see how much the one in the middle makes. What the millionaire makes is irrelevant.

    An average is when you sum all the players wealth and divide by the number of players.

    Here is 9 players not able to pay rent, making only 100g and a millionares average.

    (9*100g + 1*1000000g)=100,090g

    The median player actually takes home only 100g, yet you have overestimated their wealth by 1000x because of the millionaire is skewing what you think the one in the middle is actually making.

    100, 100, 100, 100, 100, 100, 100, 100, 100, 1000000

    The proper thing to do to adjust the gold sinks is balance for 100g earnings, and assign an admin to put a 24/7 watch and log crawl on the millionaire and present them with GM bot challenges to make sure they legit earn the gold while being present in the game otherwise ban them. You do not make the vast majority of players suffer for their exploits.
     
    Last edited: Sep 16, 2016
  14. Sixclicks

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    They claimed to have used the median, hence why I said they based it off of the median back at final wipe. Whether they actually did or not... I can't be certain.

    Directly quoted from their tax rates update:
    "The following are the current Property Tax Rates for Taxable Lot Deeds. These are balanced to be based on about one hour of effort per week to maintain a Row Lot on one end and about one hour of effort per day to maintain a City Lot at the top end. We want the Tax Rates to be achievable for single players easily for the smaller lots and through determined play for the larger lots.

    For reference, we based these values on observing players making about 3500 – 7500 gold per hour at MEDIAN levels with decent crafted gear (some determined players were making as much as 20K per hour!)."

    Link for that update: https://www.shroudoftheavatar.com/?p=61019

    So back when they wrote this, they expected players to be able to earn at least 3500 per hour since that's what the City lot is priced at with the idea that you'd have to work 1 hour per day to pay the taxes of the city lot. That amount is absolutely 100% easy to do once you're higher level right now. I earn about 6k-10k per hour depending on if I'm hitting harvesting nodes or just focusing on gold farming. Although I would certainly find it tedious to have to do that every day just to keep my house. But it is a city sized lot after all.

    The gold required for a day of a Row lot's taxes can be earned by killing about 6 or 7 Fighters in the Serpent Spine Foothills. It's a 4 skull area too.

    The real issue with gold is paying for reagents when you aren't specifically farming for gold in specific areas. When just adventuring in random areas, the enemies the majority of the time do not provide enough gold (including junk item sales) to pay for the reagents it costs to fight them or you barely break even. The only way to get around this is to use a reagent free deck.
     
    Last edited: Sep 16, 2016
  15. Astor Cerberus

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    A median is not a bad approach. Mean (average) is thrown of by the outliers but a median (midpoint) is not. It just says if there are 10,000 players, what is the wealth of player #5,000. The richest 10% could multiply their wealth 100-fold but the median won't move based on that.
     
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  16. nonaware

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    no taxes are here to stay and they need to be here. tinker away with balancing ideas tho :)

    example...

    npc town taxes are static.

    pot taxes are set by owner - but do not go to owner.
     
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  17. Satan Himself

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    I was told there would be no economics. :(
     
  18. Magnus Zarwaddim

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    I get that. It's just that what if they use 200 people, but 100 people do not play, or stop playing, or take a break, or move on to other games? If part of that 100 was part of the top gold earners/holders, then it skews even the median. Using medians or means when the amounts of people fluctuate wildly MAY (emphasis on MAY) not work. Conversely, what if the 100 people are all on the low end but don't play? Then the numbers are skewed lower.
     
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  19. Kirran

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    One consideration that I haven't seen mentioned. If I'm portalalarium, where's my revenue stream from players who pay for their houses using strictly game gold? Do I hope they buy other things from the add-on store?

    Or do I set the rents to the point where the player has to make a decision whether to spend their time grinding in-game to pay the mortgage or just buy COTOs and in effect they're paying a monthly subscription fee?

    The fact that this is veiled as a F2P (but really isn't) creates a lot of cascading havoc in overall gameplay.
     
  20. Tibs

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    I don't think Port is counting revenue stream per player after that player has once purchased the game. Overall revenue stream is where it is at. You get the basics free. You want more, then that is different and even then there are ways to get quite a bit of goodness using in-game gold.
     
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