Bioshock MMORPG Economy :
Things To AVOID in the Economic System :
- Games that have money created out of thin air (as Quest loot) always face inflation in prices between Players.
- Players accumulate rediculous amounts of money when insufficient interesting/useful things to buy/do with money.
- Block Large lumps of money that can become an outside game commodity - interfering with fairness of the game.
- No lame grindy crafting systems that produce less worth than is put into it (time and materials).
- Players cannot sit and grind infinite resources, as world resource should get consumed (and shouldn't spawn back over and over).
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Economy Aspects of the New Rapture :
- Loot acquired from Missions/Quest/scrounging is not automatically 'money', but goods.
- Rapture IS expanding (and game world can grow bigger to expand into as the Game progresses) so the need for many goods & labor is continuous.
- Consumption of consumables (food, etc..), but also wear-out factors should cause need for replacements.
- Manufacturing from raw materials to parts to finished goods (materials are consumed) and value IS added.
- Player controlled building space - rents as income (Player has to restore the 'building' to own it).
- Bounties paid for certain critical items by the City (items not all consumed, but become source of jobs).
- Additional labor can be hired for Player's project work (contract and day labor, part time jobs) - NPCs.
- Private deals between Players - not regulated - still have the usual locked-in-trading interface to prevent handoff 'cheats'.
- Some goods have limited markets, and having too many NPCs/Players competing for too few 'sale' will happen. More versatile/flexible production/vending of multiple goods is prudent (expect the server run NPCs to do this)
- Most fabricated items WONT be mass produced (even at its original population ~20K there just was not the demand for large numbers of certain items. Some basic consumable production CAN benefit from 'economy of scale'. (Modern Automation can still be done 'small scale'.)
- Some City 'jobs' (base employment) are based on standard time for task completion, which can be shortened by skill (giving jobee more free time)
- Others jobs are actually paid for the time put in (ie- Pneumo-Man (postman) who sorts mail on a 'shift').
- Spending on 'cosmetic effects' by Players is OK, and a popular feature for MMORPG (game can have the various 'collecting' activites/achievements). Money sink for characters.
- Old money (Rapture/Ryan Dollars) does not convert directly into new money (it is to be found like confetti in the 'wild', or in old empty vendor machines) - so has has limited uses (like when you find an OLD vending machine NOT empty)
- City economic schedule that follows old '8-hour work day' pattern and 'shifts' for more busy activities.
- Supply and Demand system:
--- --- Players can make private deals/transactions paying what seller and buyers willing to agree on
(NPCs might do so via mail, but 'negotiation' is probably very simplistic)
--- --- Hard-to-get useful goods/items get premium prices IF they enable/ease gameplay (may need clever way for NPCs to decide how much things are worth ...) Prestige items also can still exist with elevated prices.
--- --- Labor rate negotiable for the higher 'in-demand' skills (base value scale set by government jobs, private jobs more flexible)
--- --- 'City' acts as a constant 'demand' sink for resources (to drive some economy if the Players largely ignore it).
- Day schedule will probably be compressed time to 2 hours per day (need to make sure 'commuting' doesnt eat inordinate amount of NPC time - walking and transit) But consider that even OLD Rapture was only a few miles across...
Regulation Mechanisms (Ccomomy Balancing automatically or adjusted by server) :
- Server adjustments to money supply (to avoid drastic pendulum swings when Players dont act 'realistically'):
--- --- Limited money supply - no NEW money as loot
--- --- Minting/printing (money creating by 'City' to facilitate 'unit of exchange', versus ugly/inefficient 'bartering for everything').
--- --- Needs gradual adjusted increase with the additions of active Players.
--- --- Income in, equals Payment out (City Operation runs on a realistic CASH transaction/accounting system).
--- --- Adjust for problems with disappearing money (Players quiting or idle accounts).
--- --- Money Supply has to be sufficiently large to allow Players to build some savings for projects (a significant amount of money not in daily transactions). Players have to be able to build up CASH reserves for larger purchases (up-front payments - few sane Players will take 'loans').
--- --- If all else fails and the programmed balancing fails, GMs can make appropriate adjustments.
- Low end 'dole' to prop up beginning Players (based on assets 'city' controls including the semi-automated fishery)
- NPCs running shops/manufacturing are controlled by Server and can moderate some buy and sell prices (its hard for Player to 'crank up' (manipulate) prices when competing NPCs are selling for a lower price).
- City takes in rents/utility fees and pays out for maintenance jobs (keeps basic economy moving).
- Goods hoarding usually limited by storage space Players can have (extended bulk storage in building require rent paid or maintenance expense).
- Basic starter jobs paid by 'City' at fixed wages (number of jobs offered gives some control) Jobs at higher skill (and pay) can likewise be offered (and adjusted).
- Fixed value of 'money' = the unskilled labor "hour" (City will consume labor and pay standard pay rates). Public Rents/Utilities are likewise standardized. Basic food - fish also at fixed price.
- Rent income from City-owned resources (paid back out as maintenance jobs, project materials, etc..). A Player controlled building collects their own rent, but still have to pay for City utility services and maintenance.
- Looting limited by what you can carry back (physical limit of carry and transport methods and time) - prevents massive windfalls (and repeated activity required to go grab all the goodies)
- Oversupply (for non-basic items) will cause prices to drop and excess buying to cease (NPCs and City) - encourages Players diversifying activities.
- Quantities of City-offered-jobs can be 'adjusted' to shift economy balance. Adjustments between high/low job offering can be use to moderate at least the public segment of economy.
- City Projects can be sped-up/slowed down if needed (purchase of materials and equipment).
- NPCs will likely (can be adjusted) do less 'moonlighting jobs' and 'adventuring' to get extra CASH than Players.
- Tiered consumer 'standard of living' so that higher income can 'upscale' (and pay more in as rent, higher priced 'quality' goods...). This absorbs income and keeps money moving in economy (and demand for different classes of products).
- Lower Tier items of all kinds available at multiple NPC shops (and produced by NPC fabricators) to prevent monopolization and to moderate prices. Higher Tiered goods made as demand rises (and skilled workers exist), and are more subject to supply & demand dynamics.
- Skills improvements show 'decreasing returns' to not have the highly skilled players make other Players at lower skill irrelevant. (higher skills enable more difficult tasks -- not the MMORPG usual brownie-like mass production)
Facilitating Transactions :
- How to set 'going rate'/market prices (NPCs at least could follow server calculated pricing) - Price setting for basic goods so many (most) consumer transactions are not 'haggling'.
- Auction House (bulletin board bidding) for unusual items (typical MMORPG mechanism)
- Clearing houses, broker mechanisms - NPCs generally buy at discount for bulk in-demand items
- Bounty prices (Official 'will-buy' offers) for items city wants to use or to remove from circulation.
- Want ads for items (on newspaper/bulletin boards)
- Phone orders from shops (remote interaction with vendor) - extra paid for delivery.
- Easy purchase game interface for individual items (Priceboards, Display cases)
- Want some kind of working arrangements (specific contract deals?) where a NPC business/broker will buy materials/items at a agreed on price (and amount limit) so Player can get rid of materials (dispose of loot) immediately and not have to wait for Player interactions (not have to store all the crap) or via more tedious smallscale 'piecemeal' NPC interactions.
- Dole tokens as alternate starter money - only good for minimal uses (paying for fish barracks/residence )
--- Basic vendors redeem tokens (... designated 'dole' shops with public employees ?? )
--- A normal progression moves 'citizen' on to paid jobs and expenses (with sufficient excess so no 'hand to mouth' overrealism)
Real Economy/Economics :
The Economy is just not just a backdrop for a 'shoot the mutant' game, but gives motivations to get things done, and additional EARNED resources to give Players a changing role in their game experience. The economy and the City that grows with it also will have visible progress shown -- something the player has actually been part of producing (instead of those static lifeless mannequin dummy worlds so many MMORPGs are these days). Yes its alot of work to create such a thing , but thats what this MMORPG is all about.
You might notice that this is NOT quite Ryans Rapture philosophy economically (as presented/implied in the Solo Games).
There is a 'safety net' for the new citizens (who NEED a bit of time to adjust after such a drastic change -- something Ryan should have expected if the game plot didn't get in the way - weaning people off the way the World they came from worked). As it is, its a minimal 'Dole' system that encourages citizens to leave it for something better (and largely pays for itself). There is some limited authority that sets priorities on what things NEED to get done (didnt Ryan do that himself?) using 'city' money.
Practically, its a minimum support for Players to get started and to avoid most economic complications of the game if they want to (BUT there is also the merit mechanism that the effort you put into such activity is rewarded in-game).
Players can go beyond that 'Dole' system to do their own projects and activities (with their OWN priorities) and still lean on 'City' stability and conventions instead of an unrestricted uncooperative 'dog eat dog' environment.