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CecilZephyr
05-27-2008, 11:24 AM
"This world of ours is not as it seems:
The monsters are real,
But they're not in your dreams.
Learn what you can from the beasts you defeat,
You'll need it for some of the people you'll meet."
- Goodnight Dragonslayer, by Voltaire

(I'm a long time gamer, but never played World of Warcraft, so I need some advice)

What if a new WoW campaign made the economy of Azeroth subject to a central banking cartel? Gold would be replaced with bills of credit and virtual economic turmoil would befall its citizens until the cartel was routed from the land.

It would serve as a microcosm for the world's younger audiences to see what happens when unsound economic principles are practiced.

Now, my understanding of banks and currency in WoW is:

Gold, silver, and copper are the precious metals used in currency.
Currency takes up no space in an inventory and there is no monetary penalty for death, making its placement in the many banks moot.
Banks instead store items.


So, I'm not certain how it'd be done, maybe:

Due to a new expansion gold would take up space in an inventory, unless it was converted to bills, so people would put gold in banks, then it'd be outlawed to own, etc. Y'know, like history.
Or something more sinister like a banking class comes in and starts loaning very unsound loans.


Any ideas on how it could be implemented?

I think Blizzard would have to get behind it, which would be both awesome and difficult: If Ron Paul is right, and we are heading for an unprecedented economic downturn, our campaign will reign in to our cause more powerful and genuinely good American-born companies like Google, Pixar, and (even) Blizzard to help return our nation to sanity. But it is a worldwide game and a worldwide problem.

Thoughts?

The Economics of World of Warcraft (http://www.lewrockwell.com/orig7/villacampa1.html) on Lew Rockwell
WoW Wiki: Banking (http://www.worldofwar.net/wiki/Banking)

OptionsTrader
05-27-2008, 11:29 AM
Online games would be an interesting test-bed for alternate forms of economies. I am not sure how a hard money system would be developed however since money "drops out of thin air" when a mob is killed.

micahnelson
05-27-2008, 11:53 AM
You can emulate a world of warcraft server. If it was designed simply to simulate an economy, and not for some of the higher end functions, it would be pretty simply to maintain. Check out "Wow Emulation".

Many real world scenarios have been demonstrated in WoW.

For instance, when the Zul'Gurub instance was created the final boss fight involved becoming infected with a disease so when the boss drained your life, he took damage. People began getting infected, then using the heartstone (an item that allows a player to instantly transport to a chosen home location) to appear in capital cities. The disease spread. Population centers were targeted, and because all major functions only took place in capital cities, the servers had to be reset. This caught the FBI's attention, they have studied the behavior used by virtual bio terrorists.

Each account can have several characters in each realm. If your characters are on the same realm, and the same faction, they can mail each other. It is very easy for a high level character to obtain gold. Brand new players do not have much gold. Additional characters of high level players have access to thousands of gold. This puts low level items at prices well beyond what a new player at that level could afford. However, the prices for raw materials (minerals, stones, plants, animal leathers, etc) has skyrocketed as higher level players have the money to spend on practicing new professions. Thus, if a new player wants to earn money they are being forced into service based professions. They do the mining, skinning, and herb picking for the "upper class".

I should probably write an article on it, but I'm not sure anyone would read it. Its kind of geeky stuff, but gets a peek into economics in a fishbowl.

OptionsTrader
05-27-2008, 11:57 AM
If money is created when selling loot to a vendor and money is dropped from things that you kill, how can there ever been a hard-money like gold standard in an MMO? You almost need a centrally planned economy in order to have the right amount of money sinks to make money disappear (buying craftable components) etc otherwise you would have runaway inflation from money farming.

Kludge
05-27-2008, 01:50 PM
This would require extensive coding to try and emulate a central bank and would provide a disservice to its players.

You could start a central bank for poorer but reputable guilds to use and charge them weekly interest if you truly wanted to, but most established servers' guilds have too much gold then they know what to do with.

On a related note, did anyone hear about the leader of Nihilum jumping off his balcony because he didn't get a world-first raid kill?

lol.

yongrel
05-27-2008, 01:53 PM
I was going to make a snarky comment about the market of WoW being subject to the ignorant whims of 12 year olds, but then I realized that wouldn't be much different from the real world.

Kludge
05-27-2008, 01:54 PM
I was going to make a snarky comment about the market of WoW being subject to the ignorant whims of 12 year olds, but then I realized that wouldn't be much different from the real world.


:D

Xenophage
05-27-2008, 05:01 PM
As an avid WoW player myself, I've often thought how strikingly the economics of the game mirrored real-world economic principles. There is no reason at all that an online virtual environment cannot be considered a micro economy of its own when its apparent what an impact it has on the real-world global economy. People trade WoW currency for dollars and euros all the time, not to mention characters and their equipment, on a sort of grey market that Blizzard tries hard to discourage.

In essence, the entire game is already a planned economic system. You don't need to create a central bank.... the game itself is its own central bank. Money is arbitrarily created and destroyed by the game system in an attempt to maintain an ideal "player to gold" ratio (Blizzard learned a bit better how to do this after the horrible inflationary problems they encountered with gold in their Diablo games). The primary method by which they control the supply of money is via in-game vendors that "repair" your broken armor and weapons for a fee. Its something every active player has to do because your equipment is constantly undergoing wear-and-tear. Obviously, the repair money doesn't actually go to the vendor and start circulating in the economy: its simply deleted. There are other similar "money sinks": non-player characters that teach you new abilities for a fee, sell you pets and ridable mounts, recipes and schematics, reputation with particular factions, cosmetic improvements to your character (like fancy titles), and more.

Considering the vast amount of money generation that takes place in WoW, its a testament to Blizzard to be able to maintain a relatively thriving game economy where players gather resources, craft items, and sell them. The principals of supply and demand are fun to watch in action whenever Blizzard arbitrarily changes the attainability of a particular resource.

The real challenge would not be to "socialize" the economics of WoW, but to create an online game that emulated realistically the functioning of a capitalist economy with limited resources. I've often wondered how long it would be until such a system was implemented. The closest thing we have, I think, is Second Life.

Xenophage
05-27-2008, 06:01 PM
You can emulate a world of warcraft server. If it was designed simply to simulate an economy, and not for some of the higher end functions, it would be pretty simply to maintain. Check out "Wow Emulation".

Many real world scenarios have been demonstrated in WoW.

For instance, when the Zul'Gurub instance was created the final boss fight involved becoming infected with a disease so when the boss drained your life, he took damage. People began getting infected, then using the heartstone (an item that allows a player to instantly transport to a chosen home location) to appear in capital cities. The disease spread. Population centers were targeted, and because all major functions only took place in capital cities, the servers had to be reset. This caught the FBI's attention, they have studied the behavior used by virtual bio terrorists.

Each account can have several characters in each realm. If your characters are on the same realm, and the same faction, they can mail each other. It is very easy for a high level character to obtain gold. Brand new players do not have much gold. Additional characters of high level players have access to thousands of gold. This puts low level items at prices well beyond what a new player at that level could afford. However, the prices for raw materials (minerals, stones, plants, animal leathers, etc) has skyrocketed as higher level players have the money to spend on practicing new professions. Thus, if a new player wants to earn money they are being forced into service based professions. They do the mining, skinning, and herb picking for the "upper class".

I should probably write an article on it, but I'm not sure anyone would read it. Its kind of geeky stuff, but gets a peek into economics in a fishbowl.

A market only exists for those low level items because of the high level players that are training new professions. Its par for the course to gather the basic materials you need to train your own professions as you level your character from 1 to 70. The high level materials are quite a different matter.

jon_perez
05-27-2008, 10:18 PM
(Blizzard learned a bit better how to do this after the horrible inflationary problems they encountered with gold in their Diablo games). Whoever said just because you use gold as money you won't encounter inflation eh?

In the real world, this actually happened in Europe when Spain imported vast amounts of gold from the New World.

:p

DriftWood
05-30-2008, 05:12 AM
Obviously, the repair money doesn't actually go to the vendor and start circulating in the economy: its simply deleted. There are other similar "money sinks"

Never played the game.. but it sounds similar to how central banks manage the value of the currency. Everyone knows about the FED increasing the supply of money by simply "printing it out of thin air", but the FED also sometimes decrease the supply of money by taking it out of circulation, they simply unprint (or delete) the money. The way they do this is by (selling assests, or if they dont have any by) issuing and selling bonds. The money they get like this they just keep out of circulation by not spending it. They put it in a vault and throw away the key. Deleted. Obvioulsy they dont do enough deleting.. the value of the dollar is a testament to that. Today, when the demand for the dollar is falling (coz people dont buy as much crap as they used to), the FED should unprint money, so that the supply is reduced by as much as the demand is. If they did this the value of the dollar would stay level. There would be no inflation (or deflation). Sounds like the WoW programmers do a better job at managing the value of their currency than the FED does. You mentioned that people trade, WoW money for dollars.. It would be interesting to see how stable the WoW virtual currency is against real life gold. It would be abit funny if the wow money turned out to be more stable then the dollar.

I dont think the fed should be scrapped, i think it should be run by a computer. It would print or unprint money to keep the supply in level with demand. It would know when the supply was more than the demand by checking if the price of gold (or a basket of commodities) has changed. Instead of a low interest rate target, it would be a low (gold) inflation target.

Cheers

Grimnir Wotansvolk
05-31-2008, 02:54 AM
MMOs hardly emulate economics as they fail to reflect the things that sit at the very core of the economic spectrum: the need for all denizens, rich or poor, to nourish themselves, shelter themselves, and fuel their transportation.

Also, all of banks are linked, so aren't they essentially centralized?

Kludge
05-31-2008, 03:10 AM
MMOs hardly emulate economics as they fail to reflect the things that sit at the very core of the economic spectrum: the need for all denizens, rich or poor, to nourish themselves, shelter themselves, and fuel their transportation.

Also, all of banks are linked, so aren't they essentially centralized?

A few MMOs (EVE, PotBS, EQ2) have tried to make a complex economy and have included one or two of the aforementioned needs, but still fail to have all of them. Hopefully gameplay innovation will be welcomed back into the game industry instead of repeating formulas & franchises.

When I did play WoW on retail, I really wasn't interested in anything but the economy, and played the AH until I started inflating the prices of sub-components and raw mats by ~200% - which ultimately failed, like all monopolies, but damn did I have a good time watching trade chat bitch about high prices. After I leaked out my name, my guild kicked me and a couple other conspirators out saying we were gold farmers (guild broke up later because the GM kept talking about her being a lesbian, which pissed off a swedish officer who often had his kid on... wtf)....

Then I sold my account for ~$90 :D

Fox McCloud
05-31-2008, 03:16 PM
A few MMOs (EVE, PotBS, EQ2) have tried to make a complex economy and have included one or two of the aforementioned needs, but still fail to have all of them. Hopefully gameplay innovation will be welcomed back into the game industry instead of repeating formulas & franchises.

When I did play WoW on retail, I really wasn't interested in anything but the economy, and played the AH until I started inflating the prices of sub-components and raw mats by ~200% - which ultimately failed, like all monopolies, but damn did I have a good time watching trade chat bitch about high prices. After I leaked out my name, my guild kicked me and a couple other conspirators out saying we were gold farmers (guild broke up later because the GM kept talking about her being a lesbian, which pissed off a swedish officer who often had his kid on... wtf)....

Then I sold my account for ~$90 :D

Nice Kludge, nice!

Anyway, sounds like something I'd be interesting in doing.

One example of inflation gone totally wrong is The Sims Online; some people hacked the game and set up a nasty little program that just "printed money" 24/7, let's just say it wasn't pretty.

Either way, it'd be really cool if there was a "Simulation America" where the system is based on exactly how the Fed, our government, and such work...it'd be very complicated, and you'd have to have people like G. Edward Griffin, Murray Rothbard, and the likes supervise to make sure the Fed models, and such were 100% accurate, and the economy was based on our very own.

It'd be fun; you could destroy the economy if you were elected Fed Chairman.

Agent CSL
06-01-2008, 12:58 AM
MMOs hardly emulate economics as they fail to reflect the things that sit at the very core of the economic spectrum: the need for all denizens, rich or poor, to nourish themselves, shelter themselves, and fuel their transportation.

Also, all of banks are linked, so aren't they essentially centralized?

Actually Runescape, for 5 years, had a very good working economy. You ate, had houses, and transportation was varied. Everything was non-reusable. Then they centralized it/put a cap on prices in December 2007 causing massive amounts of people to quit, including me. The cap on prices stopped any usual "hardcore" users from working to make their "living" on the game, so they quit. Now a game that would usually have millions of players on a day only have about 100K.

Sad to admit most of my economic knowledge began with Runescape and GaiaOnline.

Doktor_Jeep
06-03-2008, 12:08 AM
Ahhh!

"Wargaming"!!!!!


Let me tell you all the value of this. The Pentagon does this. Not with WOW actually but they try to make everything mathematically represented for computer simulations of possible scenarios.

This is part of the control grid and the reason why the government want to know everything about everything. Once they can accurately predict every move, they can then decide how to best screw the people and get away with it.

Otherwise, on a lighter note, representation of situations and calculated outcome is not new. Back in the 70s, this was done with funny looking dice and a combat system that existed only on paper. It was called Dungeons & Dragons.

I once played WOW. It got boring after a while but my interest in it was simply for the wargaming reason. Representation of a world in rule-based terms is a very interesting feat for a computer system and such amazing complexity of factors can make the endeavor a challenge indeed.

WOW is somewhat skewed in that the availability of gold and silver is not connected to the production of mines. In the real world, back in the 19th century foreign gold and silver coins were used sporadically in America due to a lack of production of these metals. But an ounce of gold from Spain was worth an ounce of gold from California. It did not matter.

I would first attempt to make the precious metals actually precious, and not make 100 silver coins automatically become 1 gold coin. 100 copper becomes one silver. They don't morph. But there is plenty of pennies around but anyone seen a real silver dollar lately or how about a gold one? You have to buy them of course.

As for testing outcome, in additon to central banking, I would add confiscatory progressive taxation, and make all major cities "sword free zones" where you would be disarmed.

Then we see how long it takes to collapse. I estimate that barring force of the NPCs, roughly a week.

Mini-Me
06-05-2008, 05:38 AM
Never played the game.. but it sounds similar to how central banks manage the value of the currency. Everyone knows about the FED increasing the supply of money by simply "printing it out of thin air", but the FED also sometimes decrease the supply of money by taking it out of circulation, they simply unprint (or delete) the money. The way they do this is by (selling assests, or if they dont have any by) issuing and selling bonds. The money they get like this they just keep out of circulation by not spending it. They put it in a vault and throw away the key. Deleted. Obvioulsy they dont do enough deleting.. the value of the dollar is a testament to that. Today, when the demand for the dollar is falling (coz people dont buy as much crap as they used to), the FED should unprint money, so that the supply is reduced by as much as the demand is. If they did this the value of the dollar would stay level. There would be no inflation (or deflation). Sounds like the WoW programmers do a better job at managing the value of their currency than the FED does. You mentioned that people trade, WoW money for dollars.. It would be interesting to see how stable the WoW virtual currency is against real life gold. It would be abit funny if the wow money turned out to be more stable then the dollar.

I dont think the fed should be scrapped, i think it should be run by a computer. It would print or unprint money to keep the supply in level with demand. It would know when the supply was more than the demand by checking if the price of gold (or a basket of commodities) has changed. Instead of a low interest rate target, it would be a low (gold) inflation target.

Cheers

Run by a computer, aye? Who gets to write the algorithm? ;)

Axolotl
07-22-2008, 11:58 AM
This would require extensive coding to try and emulate a central bank and would provide a disservice to its players.

You could start a central bank for poorer but reputable guilds to use and charge them weekly interest if you truly wanted to, but most established servers' guilds have too much gold then they know what to do with.

On a related note, did anyone hear about the leader of Nihilum jumping off his balcony because he didn't get a world-first raid kill?

lol.

Hahaha, After all the hype about Nihilium I thought it was awesome to see the underdog stick it to em!