Creating a Functional Economy

While I’ve always taken away new lessons and experiences from every game that I’ve played, one of the most educational, complex, and interesting games that I’ve played has been (and continues to be) EVE Online. My goal here is not to compare EVE and Oort at all. They are entirely different games. However, one aspect of EVE will always stay with me, and it has been the evolution of the game’s economy, and how it’s design has changed my perspective on games in general.

To simplify this discussion I’ll explain a couple concepts. I don’t at all intend to sound pedantic, and my apologies if this comes across that way. I just want to explain the concepts in order to clarify my intent.

Most money or currency within a game comes from only a few places. NPCs pay players to complete quests, mobs/monsters drop money, etc. This is money creation. Cash is literally being created from nothing. With enough time and enough players inflation would grow so severe that money would become valueless because there would be an infinite supply.

Money must be destroyed to create a balance. This is often confused with moving from one place to another. Money moving from player to player is not destruction. Long term storage of cash, in a bank of sorts, is not destruction. Currency destruction is when that money leaves the game forever. Paying money to NPCs for services or goods, spending money to travel from place to place, or even if the money is a component in the creation of an item… those things remove money permanently from the game. Think of it as a faucet and a drain and the sink in-between them. When the sink gets full there is so much money that it simply looses value or importance. This leads to inflation because money begins to lose it’s value.

This lesson has always stuck with me over the years because I very frequently see games where there is a big faucet and a very small drain. Money is created, and rarely destroyed.

My entire goal in bringing this up is to start a discussion on potential mechanics for the creation and destruction of money. I’d love to see people chime in on experiences they’ve had in other games, novel ways they’ve seen this balance achieved, or maybe just brainstorm some ideas that might help the Devs and Oort in general.

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1 good way could be guild beacons, guilds need to pay for their beacon cause these will be bigger, in order to keep it up, but will cost chunks, other ways would be on death 1-10% of your money is dropped just ideas and im sure the dev team already has an idea due to the fact they have someone with a degree in economy in their team (atleast thats what i think it is its something along those lines.)

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Since the dev’s said there won’t be NPCs, I think those are both good ideas. Perhaps money could be a kind of oort crystal shard, where you can use them as currency or use them to craft weapons.

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Ironically I was just thinking about how neat it would be to have a shop that appears once to twice a month for about three~ish days which could be run by an NPC or something of the sorts, maybe make it a block that interacts as a shop and they offer items of value greater than say: Uncommon Materials. They could be reasonably priced as well as being limited in the quantity that is available for a certain amount of time, refreshing either each day or within a certain amount of hours; this, in turn, would create a good opportunity for builders and traders alike, and could help in keeping the monetary flow in check.

Just a thought, I might be missing something from the big picture and this could turn out to be a horrible idea due to oversights in my haste to put it on paper.

We’ve already had more than one thread about this and I would say we should not start another one. Because we’ve already put all our ideas in there and wouldn’t want to repeat us again and again.

https://forum.oortonline.com/t/gold-sink/358

already here. also they said that in the current plan there wont be NPC’s in the game, the question is if they need to introduce gold at all, i would hope so, but where would they come from? killing creatures?

what you are refering to is a the MiMo principle, Money in, Money out, the MiMo need to stay balanced, if you get more money than you lose then inflation happen if you use more money than comes in a certain value drop happens, that combined with supply and demand.

again its a very interesting subject but it have already been discussed thouroughly here, and one of the devs for the game comes from an economic educational background so they know that this is a thing :slight_smile:

EVE Online and Ultima Online were our references when we first discussed economy in the game way back. Fantastic examples of strong player driven economies.

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Also worth mentioning: while we’ll sometimes say “we’re planning on doing [feature] this way”, that shouldn’t stop you from speculating or coming up with other creative suggestions. That’s part of the fun, and it’s why we have this community!

Oort Online is going to be a first person game, but that shouldn’t stop you from coming up with a design for 3rd person Oort Online if you get a kick out of it!

When I get quoted in threads “Ben says this…” and it kills the conversation I feel sad. Keep the dreams alive, but remember we can only make one game :smile:

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Great post. You’ve introduced the subject in a clear and understandable way. I’m looking forward to seeing peoples thoughts on this.

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This is a good idea because it creates a money sink and creates a reason for people to come back to the game, or prevents unused beacons accumulating!

It depends on how you view it. cause while i understand what you mean and that it sometimes happen, its better to be realistic or to try and base speculation of what have been said by the devs.

lets say there is a really good idea where npc’s are involved, is it better to just say ‘’ cool idea bro’’ or say ‘‘atm NPC’s are not planned in the game, could you rewrite it in a way that NPC’s are not a part of it’’?

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Can you link the these threads here too? Thanks.

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i already did. the biggest one of them.

i also have one talking about loot from monsters which i assume is relevant. and then there are others of the currency itself, where the question is raised ‘‘do we even need gold?’’

its a nice currency to have, because it puts a baseline on prices which are based on time, if 100 ore takes 2 hours to get and 40 leather takes 2 hours to get, then theoretically they are worth the same and worth the same amount of gold, ofc supply and demand plays in, but that is the main part. i assume.

Eve is an excellent example but also comes with the game being used to generate real world money via plex, there have been some news headlines relating the the quantities of money lost in real terms. The legacy of Moocorp! I love eve though, but don’t have the time anymore to invest in it. I think beacons would be a great drain. Portals could also work but this could slow down progression if they are too expensive. Crafting high end gear could also incur a cost, this depends on what the currency is, if the currency relates to oort shards, e.g oort chunks/dust then this could work well. Better or more sophisticated items could require the expenditure of this.

It could be tested in game as well. We could have a week where we see how much money we can gather and spend and see what the difference is, what the overhead is for beacons/portals etc.

Surely the leather would be more expensive because you get less leather for your time invested compared to ore?

Yes. 1 leather would then be worth 2½ ore, which means that 40 leather is worth the same as 100 ore, not counting supply and demand ofc, these are if there are equal demand for them, but if people buy 10 times as much ore than leather then ore will be more valuable, i honestly find mmo economy fascinating

something i really enjoyed was reading this

http://www.gamasutra.com/view/feature/134576/virtual_economic_theory_how_mmos_.php?print=1

i would recommend people to do the same, its very interesting.

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Interesting read, the author does not like FFXiv thats for sure!

It should replicate eve I think, it’s a great model for an economy. Oort also has the opportunity to make it simpler and more accessible eve is very very daunting when you first start playing.

In Metro 2033 & Last Light, the main currency (since it is post-apocalyptic) is military grade rounds. You can use them to buy guns, ammo, and supplies, or you can use them in combat as bullets that are much more powerful. One way the currency (Oort Shards?) could be used, is as ammunition for the slingbow, or as fuel for some other source. That way you could either save them up for buying items and stuff, or you can use them to keep a beacon alive or have more kick behind your weapons.

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Really interesting idea. I’ve played Metro 2033, and I love the agonizing feeling of stepping in to a fight and agonizing over my accuracy because it quite literally amounts to money running out the end of my gun’s barrel. It would be a very interesting concept to introduce a destructible and tradeable resource, such as naturally occurring glass, as the functional currency in the game. However, balancing it’s presence in the game might be very difficult.

Cool food for thought though.

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I also think that this will be the best way to implement currency.
Since, unlike in Metro, there wont be NPCs you can buy/sell goods to I think there is no need for a “hardwired” currency at all. Meaning that the game currency should be what the community decides it to be (probably Oort shards).
For example: I played on many RPG"ish" Minecraft servers and on most of them diamond was used as currency, not because it was written by some rules but because it was practical due to it´s natural “sink” and rarity.

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