Development Blog

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Economies and you - why an auction house can make or break free markets

Published: 2011-12-18

Author: Teddi

Economies, especially in games can be quite interesting to look at and discuss in depth. How does the economy work, what factors affect it and how do people respond to a sudden crash / increase in value? These are some of the things that we have to take into account with Roleplay as a whole.

Back in RP08 (and the short-lived 09) there wasn’t really any room for some sort of long-term market. Guns were bought from the magical F2 menu at a set price which were then resold by gundealers, druglabs produced money for a minimal investment and for a very long time did not degrade over time meaning you just had to hide your labs somewhere secure. The hunger system was never really balanced as such so you either had hunger going up too quickly and causing issues game play wise or it was too long resulting in never needing to eat apart from once or twice.

Fundamentally it was flawed so users could gain a huge amount of cash and never worry about needing money again. This caused many issues in that as long as you played long enough all you had to do was get the cash and the game was your oyster. Any form of challenge was gone and your fun pretty much descended into itchy fingers where users would antagonise or attack each other just to do something. This as a whole is problematic and it can interrupt others gameplay.

In Roleplay we’re changing things up quite heavily so there’s various money sinks to prevent users from becoming too rich and empowered. On the basic level you have a few minor taxes. Any housing above the basic level of housing will have a rent system (unless you outright own the apartment / house then you avoid this entirely) which will be paid to whoever owns the home. If the owner is the government then your money will automatically be sent there from your bank account. If you lease out homes then the money will be straight into your bank account. The total amount earned from being a landlord / lady will then be taxed as a whole and then sent to the government. This is just one example of how we aim to get players to part with their money easier.

On a slightly lighter note Roleplay isn’t about being taxed and feeling you’re forced into having no money, it’s also about supporting and creating a market over a long period of time. An issue with the older gamemodes is that markets were there and now, people would commonly look at the price of the guns in F2 and then proceed to sell them for a few more thousand than their default worth. In many ways this is a basic economy although it’s a terrible one that was not interesting at all to be a part of and once you had memorised the basic prices you could effectively play what small market there was but only gain so much out of it. Once you had hit the peak, that was it, there was no more market.

This is where crafting, corporations and the auction house comes into play.

There is no more magical F2 store to buy items from. We have stated this time and time again in various locations yet people seem to ignore it so consider this an official statement if you like. There is no more magical F2 button clicky thing to conjure items from. Certain items may be sold via NPC vendors as basic ingredients but they will rarely sell a complete item (unless it’s a basic requirement for an activity). As a result of this it means that gathering will be required to gain the basic materials to then craft (with a chance) an item or part that you’re after. Players will be required to value items by themselves on how much they think it’s worth and as a result over time when the market starts to expand then prices will eventually normalize and become more static. Of course prices could very well change over the course of days depending on supply and demand which is something we’re after. We don’t want some boring flatline market, we want something that can constantly change and is effectively alive. Corporations fuel this even further because some products are only available to corporations and they can gain the ability to mass produce items. However we’ll visit corporation specifics another day.

The auction house is where long term investing and heavy market influence will come in to play. As the auction house is seen as a private domain and not one that is government controlled it means that any products you sell on it are not privy to government eyes although do keep in mind that the auction house is a place of legitimacy so any illegal items would not be allowed on it. The disadvantage of using the auction house however is that because it doesn’t get applied to tax it means that any tax returns that do happen (and these are possible) would not account for this.

There are two charges overall associated with the auction house. You have the deposit fee which is what you pay when you first put the item up for sale. The fee is a very small portion of  the items value  which the auction house dictates. Assuming you don’t cancel your item and your item actually sells, this fee you will get back on top of how much you put the item in for. When the item sells the auctionhouse takes an even smaller cut of what the original deposit was and that’s effectively it.

This has an effect on the market in two specific ways. People will attempt to fulfil and have a small amount of items on there so when other users are feeling lazy or are unable to gather the items and no corporation is manufacturing that item on a mass scale, one can check the auction house to see if the item is available there. This means even at quiet hours, or if no user is online to supply the item then there is still a method of getting it. The second way this affects the market is that everyone will be working out the best deal for themselves and their respective parties. A corporation may set up a deal with another corporation or a person in an attempt to get a guaranteed buyer for their goods - remember, with the auction house you can possibly lose your deposit and the prices can fluctuate whereas a corporation is more likely to remain at a static price over a longer period of time. At the same time there may also be people that are advertising that they want to sell an item quickly (for various reasons) and that they’re selling it at a discounted price compared to the auction house (and possibly other vendors). This means you could effectively buy an item cheaply and quickly and then stick it right back on the auction house to make a considerate profit.

Overall we’re attempting to make an interactive and dynamic market so those that would enjoy this sort of gameplay can have a fun time within Roleplay. Obviously you can ignore this outright  and just attempt to make some money here and there. Oh and did I mention you will most likely be able to access the auction house via the forums?

Feel free to discuss this all at .

Not something I’ve been listening to, but relevant I think.

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