Why would anyone want an NPC Building in their POT?

Discussion in 'Player Owned Towns' started by Poor game design, Nov 20, 2014.

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  1. Arradin

    Arradin Avatar

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    Im talking about NPC Vendors. We sell things to them we dont want, and we buy things we want that players cant provide ( I.E Resources for crafting outside what can be obtained. Example: Chemicals )

    If you dont have any NPCs such as vendors and trainers , you WILL Cripple the citizens of the town.

    Even in my case now , i have the keep at owls head, and i need to run into town to buy incredients and stuff.... EXTREMELY annoying, and it was a POT, i would probably look into moving.

    Your logic is that if the vendors aint there, than the money people would place on vendor, goes to the town instead? Thats not how it works. At all.

    Why dont we turn it around and make NPCs valuable to the PoT?

    I have a huge idea for a PoT Treasury that im doing in a seperate post, which includes NPCs. The PoT Would use money from the Treasury for guard level upkeep and more, and NPCs in the town would add 10% of income towards the treasury .. Just examples.

    Will write more in a seperate thread about that, though.
     
  2. Poor game design

    Poor game design Avatar

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    @Arradin

    I think you're confusing the needs of players in pre-alpha with the needs of players when the game is launched. I.e. I doubt I'll have to buy coal from NPC Vendors. I'll bet we can get that from players just fine. It's only right now for the sake of testing that we have to get coal from NPC vendors.

    But suppose you're right and from now until forever we have to get coal from an NPC vendor? Ok, why do we need any vendors that don't sell that low level junk? That's kind of my point. We don't.
     
  3. Spoon

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    ...and my cup is half full thanks.
    ;)
    The point wasn't the specifics it was the principle that you had missed in the OP. There are NPC features that players can not provide and depending on how those features will work as the game progress, POTs will want to have some of that. Some for RP reasons, some for theme reasons and some for calculated business reasons. (Like all trading oriented towns will want to have a bank, for city/metropolis probably several banks).
    Nope. I read the OP, it didn't, hence why I pointed it out. If your OP would have stated that then I wouldn't have needed to point it out. You might want to edit the OP if you think that it should reflect that you want this topic not to be about that like the RP point.
    (This is a reference to this.).
    Nope. False premise.
    The primary purpose of NPC vendors in the economy is not gold sinks, nor is their primary purpose to balance the economy. They can be used for that, and the devs might probably use them for that but it is not their primary purpose. The most obvious proof of this is that NPC vendors will be in this game and other games like this regardless if they will be used for those purposes.
    False conclusion based on flawed interpretation of observation. (This is a reference to this.).
    This example would only be true if the player buying weapons are going to spend those gold regardless, something which consumers IRL and in games usually don't.

    Let's start with a real life example, there is an IKEA in town, I have a furniture store chain and want to place one of my stores in the town.
    Question: would it be in my interest to be close to the IKEA or as far away from the IKEA as possible?
    Most people's gut feeling (and especially economists) is "as far away as possible" but in the observable reality that is not true. This since it depends on your line of products.

    In almost every town which has an IKEA you will find furniture store chains placing chain stores as close to IKEA as possible. That is because IKEA attracts customers wanting to buy furniture. If you can offer a complimentary line of products to that IKEA store, spillover customers will generate much more revenue and profit to my store as well. Unlesss I only offer a similar line of products as IKEA, then you are screwed. So the good money looks at the IKEA store gets as close as possible and ADAPT to their line of products - and if IKEA change, they change along with it.


    Let's continue with another real life example, there is one mall in town with only 1 clothing store and another mall with 5 clothing stores, I have a clothing store chain and want to place one of my stores in one of the malls.

    Question: would it be in my interest to place in the 1 store mall or in the 5 store mall?
    Most people's gut feeling (and especially economists) is "the 1 store mall" since there is less competition there. But in the observable reality that is not true, clusters of clothing chains are much more profitable for all stores, then those spread out. This since all the stores attract customers looking for clothing, and all of them result in a spillover effect of customers to eachother.

    So now we have established that the principle of what you are claiming is flawed in reality, is it equally flawed in a game like SotA?
    Well it depends on the line of products here. If SotA will be very limited in the choice and variety of products then the real life effects dictate that there will be more competition since all stores offer similar products - then we will start competing in price and all will lose money.
    But SotA has claimed so far that there will be lots of variety and that there will be quality tiers and enhancements and enchantments. They have also stated that crafted items will be able to be higher tier quality/effect than NPC stuff. This tells me that the aim of the game (but not in effect right now in R12) is to have so much more variety that vendors close to eachother will not have to compete on price, as long as they ADAPT to eachother.

    So let's go back to your example. Lets start from a single use case and then work from there.
    I have 1000g to spend and I'm looking for a really cool weapon, I go to the market where we find Bob the NPC and Drocis the player, I check out your wares. So lets break it into scenarios:
    A,
    neither have a cool enough weapon, so I spend nothing and leave town looking for a cool weapon elsewhere
    B,
    both have similar line of products and I find something but nothing that I really want - you need to compete on price, I spend as little as possible on the lowest price so I have gold when I leave so that I might find something better elsewhere
    C,
    both have similar really cool weapons - you need to compete on price, I spend as much as I can within my 1000g limit on the coolest thing I can buy and leave, and due to the competition I'm really happy since I got a good thing for a good price
    D,
    one has the coolest weapon, I spend as much as I can within my 1000g limit on the coolest thing I can buy and leave happy

    Which of these scenarios are covered in your doom and gloom scenario of Bob "taking money from your town"? Only B & C. (Potentially D if you have the wrong line of products - but SotA seems to be aiming for players outcompeting NPCs in quality so this shouldn't happen if you are doing it right).
    Which scenarios are the worst for retention? A & B.
    Which is the highest profit for the seller? D.

    So why all this drudgery, you ask?
    Well it is to point out that the most important part is profit and customers.

    So let's paint you a practical scenario.
    Drocis the blacksmith and his POT want to make profit. In this scenario for simpicity he can only chose between either placing an NPC blacksmith or not. Lets also assume that Drocis the blacksmith has a finite amount of time to spend making weapons. Lets also assume a similar stream of customers with a random purchase limit from low to high with more low than high. We also assume that over time return customers have more and more money and that advertising is mostly word-of-mouth.
    First lets line up the NO NPC
    Scenario 1 -
    he choses not to. Drocis can now have monopoly in town and only sells low tier stuff (low profit)
    Scenario 2 -
    he choses not to. Drocis can now have monopoly in town and has some low tier stuff (low profit) and some high tier stuff (high profit).
    Scenario 3 -
    he choses not to. Drocis can now have monopoly in town and only sells high tier stuff (high profit)

    Which scenario will attract most customers? 2, since it is a wider target
    Which will make the most sales? It's not 1, it's 2, since there is a wider target there will be more customers, since the line is from low to high most find something they can buy within their limit, more sales and more return customers.
    Which will have the most return customers? 2 since the target found something they purchased they will be back, if they were looking for high tier and found 1 they would not be happy, if they were looking for low tier and found 3 they will not be happy and due to the human wetware will usually not return even when they have a larger limit.
    So who will make the most money? We know it isn't 1 since time is finite. So it is between 2 & 3. In this case it is a toss up since 2 will attract more customers and more word of mouth but has to spend some of that finite time on making low tier stuff, while 3 will have a problem with return customers so removing potential future ones from returning but still having a good margin.


    So what can you do to use the knowledge from 1-2-3 to make more money.
    You place an NPC vendor in the POT selling low tier (low profit) weaponry. Right next to it you place Drocis Blacksmithery selling high tier weaponry (high profit). This means that Drocis can spend all the finite time on high profit products. While Drocis get no profit from low tier customers, BUT instead get a high return rate on low tier customers. Those low tier customers get richer and richer and keep returning, more and more they shop at Drocis and not Bob's.
    Drocis makes a lot of money. IF they can differentiate like that.
    So you might be "getting at" the cup being half empty and thus not worth it... but I'm "getting at" the cup being half full and if I just continue to observe what is happening around me and ADAPTING to it, I just might get a refill.

    Since we get to chose, we will chose buildings that we think can help our town - the more we can test before having to make that final decision, the better the choice we will be able to make.
    Trust me, people will see a way to make a profit on having NPC vendors in their POTs regardless if the gold given to those vendors doesn't end up in town pockets.
     
  4. Poor game design

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    @spoon

    I read through your Ikea example and found a lot of assumptions I disagree with. But the only thing that matters is that you're ignoring the problem. NPC's not controlled by Vendors have their gold taken out of the local economy as a sink. You didn't really talk about that.

    Or, I should say to be fair...your argument as I understand it is that the NPC Vendor will bring in more business that will make up for this sink. To which I disagree, and I think is a naive position to take. But hey, you're welcome to that opinion. When it comes to speculation, this where you and I may take two different paths to follow and one will be more right than the other...we'll know in time.
     
  5. Arradin

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    I think there will be things that we always need from NPCs, such as CHEMICALS for carpentry and BLEACH for tailoring.

    If you are talking about things like fruit vendors. No, we dont NEED Them.. but why not? if they bring money to the town, why not?
     
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  6. Poor game design

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    Ok, I think I see the problem here...

    This is how I think that transaction is going to work.

    You grow a bunch of fruit. Like 100 fruit. You take it to an NPC Vendor. Because it's easy to get the fruit, you don't get a lot, but you do get something... You get 1000 gold (10 per fruit).

    So now you go to buy something from the NPC Vendor. The Vendor has a nice suit of armor for 100 gold. You buy that armor and are very happy. But where does that money go?

    You see, the gold you just spent just went out of the town forever. It's not sitting in the vendor's pocket. It's not being used for any calculations. It's gone...POOF.

    And now that vendor has 100 fruit that they have to get rid of. So when another player comes up and tries to buy it for (10 gold per), every one of those transactions becomes a zero sum. But the devs see all this fruit sitting there and say "we gotta do something about this" and they either raise or lower the cost of fruit from a vendor. Well in this case it makes NO sense to sell the fruit to another player for the same price they paid for it. So they mark it up to 20 gold per fruit. That difference is going right now the toilet of the economy. And the value of your armor and those fruit just went down because if the person that bought the fruit wants to sell it back they're only going to get 10 gold from the NPC and if they can sell it to a player they will only get between 10 and 20 gold from a player.

    Non=player controlled NPC's are a sink, and you can't trade around that (on a macro level).
     
  7. Spoon

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    *sigh*
    Explaining these things to you takes too much time if you ignore the arguments made. This is why this doesn't work in forum format. It's the forum equivalent of biggest bladder wins the office meetings.
    What part didn't you understand why there is usually a furniture store next to IKEA and clothing store clusters?

    Check out the A and B players who leaves without spending their limit. That is the worst case scenario. The potential sales leaving the town is just as much money lost as the ones where they spend it on your NPC. And they are also not coming back.
    Profit and customers.
     
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  8. Poor game design

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    Look, there are two options...

    NPC with gold sink
    NPC without

    Why would a player owned town want one with the gold sink? That's as simple as I can put it. I can stock a player controlled NPC with whatever I want (and I will). So there's no way I'm losing anything here unless I run out of stock. But with the NPC Vendor that I don't control I'm guaranteed to lose something. Not to mention I don't really have control over what they sell or what their prices are. It's just a bad deal any way you look at it.
     
  9. Arradin

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    How do you know that the money is gone?

    Ultima Online originally had a vendor economy where it couldnt buy things if it didnt have money. If it had more than X arrows, it didnt buy any more. If they were completely sold out, it would pay more for someone who came up and sold things to them.

    This could be possible in SOTA aswell, and that is something i rather discuss, how we make NPCs BETTER , than acually saying how worthless thet might be, are you following my reasoning?

    Also, the CURRENT calculations on vendors are that they buy things for 25% of what they sell them.

    So if the vendor or NPC market in general value a plate armor at 100gp, they will sell them for 100gp, but will only buy them for 25gp.

    SO you would never see apples being bought for 10 and sold for 10, as you mentiond above, it NEVER worked like that in any game i know of.
     
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  10. Poor game design

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    I know the gold leaves the economy because that's how sinks work. Even if the NPC were to keep the gold (ala UO) then you still have no control over the gold, the prices or the stuff that is sold. The Devs do. (I'm guessing that even in UO the devs are pulling the strings of how much gold those Vendors have and don't have - think about it)

    I don't want the devs managing my town economy if I'm given a choice.
     
  11. Arradin

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    Gold sinks are NEEDED, i do not see where the problem is.

    Do you think that the TOWN magically get gold if you have no vendors? Thats players feel generious that they give away the money instead of buying things from NPCs? I dont get it im afraid.

    And as i said, i propose a tax on NPC vendors that goes directly to the town. If i buy 1000gold worth of apples , 100gp would go directly to your town.
     
  12. Satan Himself

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    I would like NPC vendors to be able to address shortages of materials/items in game. If there isn't enough, I dunno, cotton available from player vendors, it would be nice to see NPC vendors balance out the supply equation by offering such items, although maybe at higher-than-market prices in order to 1) preserve demand for player goods and 2) act as a gold sink.
     
  13. Poor game design

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    That's what I proposed in the OP...a tax on npc vendors. We're totally in agreement there.

    But beyond that, this game is not likely to be like any other you've played. At one point RG actually said he wanted players to make their own coins. This is not going to be a typical economy where you get gold from vendors and dead things. We're in new territory here.
     
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  14. Poor game design

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    Cotton doesn't come from Vendors, it comes from trees. If players go out and gather cotton, you'll have more cotton. But NPC's shouldn't encourage those actions, players should.
     
  15. Grayle

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    First off, these types of discussions and our ability to possibly influence Portal in working these out, are the reasons I invested in this game.

    As a POT owner as well, I share these concerns. Of course I want to offer my town a bank and likely a skill trainer. However, that is not the intent of the OP.

    As for a NPC vendor.... For me there is just too much still to be released on POTs and vendors in general. Here are some of my thoughts...

    1. I feel it is VERY important for me as a POT owner to provide residents and visitors a place to sell goods/gear/treasures that they acquire in their travels to, and around, my POT location. I do NOT want these travelers to move on to the next town. ENCUMBRANCE could end up being a large factor in travel and I don't want to lose out on players because it is such a pain to find the services/sales that they need.

    2. I don't even know how to get NPC vendors into my town. On the POT purchase section, I only see that I get 2 NPC buildings. No mention of vendors. So, without knowing how I would even get these, it makes it hard to determine their worth.

    3. There may be POT owners out there that don't pledge to a level that gives them their own vendor. what will they do?

    4. I want my pledge vendor to be specialized and on MY plot. However, again, I feel it is important that I am able to cater to any traveler that needs to sell something. I would love to be able to control a NPC vendor where they will act like a Portal Vendor, but maybe I have to provide the seed money on the vendor in order for them to buy from travelers. In return I get sales from that vendor as well. For example. my NPC vendor buys items at 50% of Portals estimated value (like they do now at 25%). That vendor then sells those items for sale with a markup of my choosing. All profits go to me the POT owner, or back into the coin pool that the vendor can use to buy more stuff.

    Sorry if I have wandered too much here. For me there is just too much that is not known about NPC vendors and POTs (how to get them and how many you can get) to make anything more than wishes.

    It is a good conversation. I just hope I added something to it.

    Grayle
     
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  16. Vallas (Beran’s Reach)

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    Having a safety net of NPC services is never a bad thing, especially in the early days where everyone's still working through what they want to do. This should be for verrrrrry basic goods and starting gear, probably at fairly high prices (making this more of a last resort). There should be a sufficient void for players to fill within their chosen POT. So for example, you should be able to get hold of a dagger from an NPC at a push but you should naturally drift towards player smithies or stores (which will offer FAR better and cost effective goods).

    That's probably as complicated as this discussion needs to be. There will need to be a balance struck between PC and NPC services, in particular in areas where space for shops is limited, but this will sort itself out. Player businesses will naturally sot out their own supply lines, since they'll be after cheaper materials so POT owners shouldn't stress too much. :)
     
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  17. Sebastion

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    Why remove options for people to choose from? I think they should just be an option. If players want to use/have them in their player town then they can. If not then they do not have to.
     
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  18. Poor game design

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    Just to be clear, I don't remember anyone saying NPC vendors should be removed as an option.

    The OP and follow-up posts that I made suggest that by using NPC vendors that are not controlled by a player, you're losing money.
     
  19. DavenRock

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    Ya I'm all for any part of the game that gives power to the players. for sure. If an NPC is in your town, and you're the owner, you should get the profit from that store that's agreeable with the NPC. The NPC has a life and a house/home right?
     
  20. Merick

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    Along these lines I'd like to see special orders being offered and filled for resources or transportation of goods or something like that. I am hoping to find a way to arrange scavenger hunts myself.
     
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