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Fungibility, Farming, and Degenerate Economic Efficiency

beaushinklebeaushinkle Member
edited September 2021 in General Discussion
First, a definition:

Something is "fungible" if it's able to be replaced by or exchanged for an identical item readily. Barrels of oil and sacks of corn are fungible. Yeah, the oil inside and the barrel itself isn't atomically identical, but no one especially cares. The Mona Lisa is non-fungible.

In MMOs, a lot of the items are fungible. The potions are fungible, all of the trade goods, all of the raw resources, etc. A lot of the gear tends to be fungible, as well.

Sometimes, depending on how the game is structured, you end up with one-of-a-kind gear, or gear that's extremely rare. If there was another piece of gear with exactly the same rolled stats, then it could be exchanged, but there isn't, so it isn't currently fungible.

Some games create non-fungible gear by making it so that after players pick gear up, they aren't allowed to trade it to other players. WoW has the "soulbound" system. Gear is either "Bind on Equip", meaning that once you put it on, you can never give/sell it, or it's "Bind on Pickup", meaning that as soon as you loot it, you can never give/sell it. BoP gear is never fungible because it can never be exchanged. BoE gear is fungible until equipped.

So say that you were creating a game where all gear is generally fungible (which, as far as I understand it, is the design direction of Ashes). Then, you tie a large amount of your character's power to your character's gear (which, also as far as I understand it, is the design direction of Ashes).

It would stand to reason that since your gear is fungible and gear is power, and fungibility means exchangeability, then this directly implies that a large amount of your character power is strictly about how much wealth you have accumulated. Given that this is the case, the most efficient path to power in ashes is going to be whatever the most efficient way your character has to farm currency is.

I would love for the following to be the gameplay experience: I have a ragtag set of armor. I have a bad chestpiece, a dull weapon, and slimy boots. I hear tale that the artisans can craft better boots for me if I bring them the leather from the hydra of the dunmire swamp, so I gather my adventuring buddies and slog through the swamp a few nodes over, defeat the hydra at the end of the dungeon, skin it, bring the loot back, and get better boots crafted. I hear that I can get my dull sword sharpened if I bring back the scale of a wyvern from the nearby mountains. I do so. I hear that a questgiver is willing to give me their family heirloom chainmail if I'll escort their caravan to the east. We get ambushed by bandits but I see them through.

The above is what I want. Here's the actual, min-max gameplay experience. I have a ragtag set of armor. I have a bad chestpiece, a dull weapon, and slimy boots. I know that the most efficient way to earn currency on my character is to farm nearby gnolls for hides for the next 6 hours, and then I'll have enough hides to sell so that I can buy all of the upgrades I need. I do so. Now that I have better gear, maybe I can handle a more efficient farming method! ​

The issue here is that when people are operating optimally, they only have 1 real gameplay option for getting upgrades: whatever their most efficient gold farm is. The players can choose to play suboptimally to keep things fresh, but a lot of them won't. Some percentage of the population would rather not have fun and play "correctly" and complain than have fun and play even slightly "incorrectly", much to the chagrin of the devs.

There was an era in diablo 3 where the most efficient way to play the game was to farm this single bridge in act 3 over and over. You would teleport to this one waypoint, speed-clear the bridge in about 4 minutes, back out, reset, and repeat. You would do this for hundreds of hours and go insane. But, there was a ladder to be had and races to be won.

The devs eventually were able to get players to stop doing this by introducing "adventures". The game gave you a random place in the campaign to repeat, and once you repeated that random section, you would get a big bonus. That big bonus at the end made the random section more efficient than the bridge on average. This made it so that doing adventures was now "the most efficient" and players were released from bridge duty.

World of Warcraft fixed the "spend all of your time doing your highest gold/hour activity" by introducing soulbinding. You can't get your better boots in any other way but to go to the dunmire swamp and fight the hydra. It was clunky and introduced a bunch of other problems, but it fixed that one.


So, I laid out my economic problem, and you may be wondering if I have a solution. I do, sort of, but I don't really like it, and I hope someone else has a better one, or can improve on mine.

Say that you're trying to craft a Turbo Sword and that requires a bunch of Iron Ore. You can either go gather the ore yourself, or you can do your most efficient activity and then buy the ore. It's always better, in this case, to buy the ore from someone else whose most efficient activity is to harvest Iron Ore (specialization).

So here's the trick. Make it so that whenever you mine Iron Ore, you mine some Iron Ore that you can sell (fungible) and some Iron Ore shards that you can't sell, but serve as Iron Ore for the purposes of crafting. Now, you going out to mine Iron Ore to sell isn't economically efficient if you're just trying to sell Iron Ore to earn currency, but if you're doing it to craft a Turbo Sword, it's twice as efficient as the market. If that doesn't make it more efficient than whatever else you would have done instead, just adjust the rates until people are actually going out and doing their own stuff and using the market.

Thoughts?


Edit:

It took a lot of doing, but we got there by page 4.

The TLDR for the folks who don't want to go through the relatively complex economics are the following ideas:
  • Try to make sure the relevant important crafting materials are low liquidity
  • Try to make sure the relevant important crafting patterns take multiple different low-liquidity materials
  • If repeating a single economic activity is over and over is a valid option, some limits on this over longer than some amount of time should exist, to release optimizers from optimization-hell. Potentially give players the ability to intentionally subject themselves to optimization-hell-lite if that's how they relax.
mmo design essays: http://beaushinkle.xyz/
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Comments

  • AzheraeAzherae Member, Alpha One, Adventurer
    I don't view this as necessary.

    As always, my experience is drawn from FFXI. I wish I still had that 'thesis paper' but it was long ago.

    The methodology that game used for a long time was threefold, and I see strong signs of it in Ashes.

    "The most efficient way to make money in the game is entirely market dependent."

    On average, during the period I refer to (I'm just going to use the frame when I wrote the paper), a player with no specialization or focus would make 10k gil/hr.

    This was market enforced. Anytime you found anything that gave more than that, everyone else would immediately try to do it too. The respawn rate of creatures (it was usually drops) didn't support that many people. So the 'spot' going from 2 people to 5 people instantly cut everyone's profit down to 4k gil/hr. PvE game, so people would realize this and move on.

    Without someone to craft the highest gear, there's no one to buy the gear from, so that's a limiter on its own. Your answer couldn't be to 'just go make more money'. There was no 'source of money' to make because nearly no enemies drop gil and most items you can sell to NPCs are hard to get. So you adventured.

    The best items came from group content, but you didn't need these items either.

    So, in short.

    1. I go out to farm beehive chips because honey and beeswax sell well.
    2. I find someone else farming beehive chips, 3 times in a row, cutting my profit in half.
    3. I go look for something else someone wants that no one else is gathering, instead.
    4. Since very few common things have a defined value that is worth the time except in the eyes of other players, equalization happens because every time you can make more than the 'going rate' without using your specific skills, a bunch of 'unskilled labor' runs in to do it too.
    5. I figure out that I like fishing instead, join the Fishing Guild, and sell special lures I get from doing work for the guild, to make 20k gil/hr instead because I have so much less competition because others don't like fishing and are conditioned to know that 'trying to jump in on my niche' will immediately make it worth much less than I'm getting.
    6. I profit.

    I'm looking forward to Ashes because everything in their design implies (or is explicitly said) to be aiming for this result. Therefore I have no concerns and will just 'point out whenever they have created a Money Printing Activity that will break the above'.
    Sorry, my native language is Erlang.
    
  • I'm a little confused by the reply - you join the fishing guild and you specialize, so now as a market specialist your most effective g/h farm is to fish. It'll always be something, but right now it's fishing. Hopefully on reset day, your most effective farm is to try to kill world bosses for rare world boss mats, otherwise it won't be worth leaving your farming spot and you should just buy world boss mats.

    Anyway, you farm up fish and sell them and now you have currency. You then exchange your currency for gear. You can get all your gear this way in an open market game - that's the part I'm saying degenerates. Rather than having novel experiences, like having to perform different activities to sharpen your sword to get your chest piece or get new boots, you just always fish, sell your fish, and buy what you need, because that's the most efficient thing you can do.
    mmo design essays: http://beaushinkle.xyz/
  • AzheraeAzherae Member, Alpha One, Adventurer
    It's not always the most efficient thing I can do, because of rarity of value.

    The point here is competition.

    I can't just 'buy World Boss mats' because I have to buy them from someone. And I will be outbid if I don't have enough money.

    I could 'always fish' and 'hope to have the most money by always fishing', but the pyramid outcome fights against this.

    Because someone fights that world boss. And they get an item of some value. As long as any other player says 'this is worth 20 hours to me' and I either don't have '20 hours of currency' or 'disagree with this', then I have no mats.

    Remember that my money in this situation always comes from some other player. I am not NPC-ing these special lures, in the example. Someone has to care about them enough to buy them from me too. So the efficiency of the fishing is reliant on how many people care about lures.

    Fish aren't good money. 'The specialization that comes from trading in the Fish (which has a cap) to get points, to buy special lures from an NPC instead of making them at a loss, and then knowing how many lures people will buy over time', is the money.

    You go out 'looking for new ways to make money' because the game literally does not support 'everyone doing the same thing to make money'.
    Sorry, my native language is Erlang.
    
  • beaushinklebeaushinkle Member
    edited September 2021
    Okay, sorry, backing up.

    I was saying "if fishing is the most efficient thing you can do, then you fish". If it isn't, then you don't. This assumes that there's some sort of market demand for fish and you can supply for that demand. If there's very little demand for fish and you're massively supplying them then yeah, the price of fish will tank. If the demand for fish is 10k fish per day and you're able to supply 200, then you're not changing the supply much, so you're not changing the price much.

    The same goes for boss mats - if there's a lot of liquidity in the market, there's a bunch of throughput and there's a large supply and large demand, then prices will be relatively stable. If the mats are super rare then they probably won't be sold that frequently. Regardless, folks sold completed, max-enchanted items in BDO. All you had to do was farm enough stuff to sell on the market to get enough currency to buy them. Make enough milk-tea and that tri-enchanted witch's earring was yours.

    Either way, fishing is an example. I'm not trying to claim "a single activity will always be the most efficient". Rather, the claim is "the fastest path to character power is to do whatever the highest g/h farm is at the time", which degenerates the game into currency farming.
    mmo design essays: http://beaushinkle.xyz/
  • AzheraeAzherae Member, Alpha One, Adventurer
    Okay, sorry, backing up.

    I was saying "if fishing is the most efficient thing you can do, then you fish". If it isn't, then you don't. This assumes that there's some sort of market demand for fish and you can supply for that demand. If there's very little demand for fish and you're massively supplying them then yeah, the price of fish will tank. If the demand for fish is 10k fish per day and you're able to supply 200, then you're not changing the supply much, so you're not changing the price much.

    The same goes for boss mats - if there's a lot of liquidity in the market, there's a bunch of throughput and there's a large supply and large demand, then prices will be relatively stable. If the mats are super rare then they probably won't be sold that frequently. Regardless, folks sold completed, max-enchanted items in BDO. All you had to do was farm enough stuff to sell on the market to get enough currency to buy them. Make enough milk-tea and that tri-enchanted witch's earring was yours.

    Right, but that was an issue of the way BDO's design works.

    Money in BDO is generated from 'trash loot'. You can get rich without interacting with other players.

    I'm saying that there is no trash loot in FFXI worth doing this for, and by current intention, none in Ashes.

    Also, from the BDO front, the EU server actually has a problem with this. EU players are conservatively opposed to gambling, and enchanting Accessories in BDO is just gambling, right?

    So they don't exist.

    So few people want to burn all their cash on enhancing PEN Crescent Rings that they all just sit there waiting for someone else to do it, piling up their cash.

    Now imagine that but without BDO's Auction House price caps.

    Point is, that when the game doesn't give you a way to just 'go convert time to money without other players', the dynamics are very very different.
    Sorry, my native language is Erlang.
    
  • Azherae wrote: »
    Okay, sorry, backing up.

    I was saying "if fishing is the most efficient thing you can do, then you fish". If it isn't, then you don't. This assumes that there's some sort of market demand for fish and you can supply for that demand. If there's very little demand for fish and you're massively supplying them then yeah, the price of fish will tank. If the demand for fish is 10k fish per day and you're able to supply 200, then you're not changing the supply much, so you're not changing the price much.

    The same goes for boss mats - if there's a lot of liquidity in the market, there's a bunch of throughput and there's a large supply and large demand, then prices will be relatively stable. If the mats are super rare then they probably won't be sold that frequently. Regardless, folks sold completed, max-enchanted items in BDO. All you had to do was farm enough stuff to sell on the market to get enough currency to buy them. Make enough milk-tea and that tri-enchanted witch's earring was yours.

    Right, but that was an issue of the way BDO's design works.

    Money in BDO is generated from 'trash loot'. You can get rich without interacting with other players.

    I'm saying that there is no trash loot in FFXI worth doing this for, and by current intention, none in Ashes.

    Also, from the BDO front, the EU server actually has a problem with this. EU players are conservatively opposed to gambling, and enchanting Accessories in BDO is just gambling, right?

    So they don't exist.

    So few people want to burn all their cash on enhancing PEN Crescent Rings that they all just sit there waiting for someone else to do it, piling up their cash.

    Now imagine that but without BDO's Auction House price caps.

    Point is, that when the game doesn't give you a way to just 'go convert time to money without other players', the dynamics are very very different.

    The game definitely allows you to convert time into money, otherwise gold wouldn't exist. Everyone spawns into the game with 0 gold, right? If gold is only exchanged, where does it all come from? The game has to generate it somehow. There are gold faucets (quest rewards, humanoid mobs, etc) and gold sinks (auction house cuts, repair bills, etc). If the sinks and faucets aren't correctly balanced, you either get inflation or deflation, which I wrote about here.

    At any rate, I'm not claiming that you get rich by not interacting with players. I'm claiming that you get rich by doing whatever economic activity earns you the most currency from other players. If that's fishing in the current market conditions today, then you fish today. If that's killing bosses and selling the boss mats, that's what you do. If that's buying elixirs the day before reset, holding them, and selling them on raid day, that's what you do. If that's shuttling Iron from the east coast the west coast, that's what you do. These activities are hopefully dynamic, but characters have to specialize, and when you specialize it limits what you can be good at.

    At any rate, what we've been talking about is purely economics and goldmaking, which is like econ 101. What I'm actually concerned about is how when gear itself is fungible you can buy all of the equipment you'd like, and how this encourages you to do nothing but whatever the most market efficient thing is.

    WoW gets around this by forcing people to actually go to dungeons for their gear (since it's bind-on-pickup). Maybe Ashes could make it so that you have to actually kill harder bosses once before you can equip boss-material gear? I'd really like to avoid the situation where someone grinds to max level, and then essentially realizes that the most effective way to play the game is to play the auction house until they have enough currency for all of the best gear.
    mmo design essays: http://beaushinkle.xyz/
  • AzheraeAzherae Member, Alpha One, Adventurer
    If the ways that players get cash are actually mostly nonrepeatable, let's say every new player gets a total of 40,000 gold from finishing the early questlines, then the richest person on the server is the first one to find 'a thing that they can sell to other newbies, but only require time to produce'.

    So, they make a wand, new players in a hurry or who don't like the process of making wands, buy the Wands this person makes, then go off with their Wand to kill enemies for exp. The enemies don't drop good loot, so that person's 40,000 gold stays under 50,000.

    But if they were willing to pay even 5000 gold for that wand, and the Wand-maker takes an hour to make the Wand, then the Wand Maker is making 5k g/h and the newbies are making 500g/h (let's be generous with their payout from killing monsters that don't drop anything other people want).

    Then the Wand-maker wants something. Someone gets a lucky drop from some dungeon enemy. Everyone wants it. 10 hours in. But it's an auction. And none of the newbies have over 50k. The Wand Maker has nearly 100k. Even if the most desperate newbie offers every gold piece they have, the Wand Maker only has to go '60k!'

    Maybe they pool together with their friends and the wand-maker has none. 100k!

    Maybe the wand-maker promises people wands in advance, or a bunch of their old customers come to help them out. 130k!

    By the time the economic battle is over, someone has bought that lucky drop for 200k, and now the lucky player is the one with the power to outbid anyone else on the server. Some number of players are broke. The Wand-maker has possibly promised 20 hours of their future work to others, but if they were successful, they now have 'Server first' on that lucky item.

    And everyone knows... someone's willing to pay 200k for that...

    But no one has 200k except the person least likely to want it (the person who sold it first). No gold was generated from this interaction. It just moved around.

    Yet somehow we ended up with 'Lucky Drop?! Man, that's great, I heard someone sold that for 200k, you can probably get at least 160k."

    This situation is controlled by gold sinks, droprates and the attached spawnrates, and the 'minimal trash loot' philosophy. Perhaps the Wand-maker just always makes Wands, but the free market always looms over one's shoulder...
    Sorry, my native language is Erlang.
    
  • AzheraeAzherae Member, Alpha One, Adventurer
    Azherae wrote: »
    Okay, sorry, backing up.

    I was saying "if fishing is the most efficient thing you can do, then you fish". If it isn't, then you don't. This assumes that there's some sort of market demand for fish and you can supply for that demand. If there's very little demand for fish and you're massively supplying them then yeah, the price of fish will tank. If the demand for fish is 10k fish per day and you're able to supply 200, then you're not changing the supply much, so you're not changing the price much.

    The same goes for boss mats - if there's a lot of liquidity in the market, there's a bunch of throughput and there's a large supply and large demand, then prices will be relatively stable. If the mats are super rare then they probably won't be sold that frequently. Regardless, folks sold completed, max-enchanted items in BDO. All you had to do was farm enough stuff to sell on the market to get enough currency to buy them. Make enough milk-tea and that tri-enchanted witch's earring was yours.

    Right, but that was an issue of the way BDO's design works.

    Money in BDO is generated from 'trash loot'. You can get rich without interacting with other players.

    I'm saying that there is no trash loot in FFXI worth doing this for, and by current intention, none in Ashes.

    Also, from the BDO front, the EU server actually has a problem with this. EU players are conservatively opposed to gambling, and enchanting Accessories in BDO is just gambling, right?

    So they don't exist.

    So few people want to burn all their cash on enhancing PEN Crescent Rings that they all just sit there waiting for someone else to do it, piling up their cash.

    Now imagine that but without BDO's Auction House price caps.

    Point is, that when the game doesn't give you a way to just 'go convert time to money without other players', the dynamics are very very different.

    The game definitely allows you to convert time into money, otherwise gold wouldn't exist. Everyone spawns into the game with 0 gold, right? If gold is only exchanged, where does it all come from? The game has to generate it somehow. There are gold faucets (quest rewards, humanoid mobs, etc) and gold sinks (auction house cuts, repair bills, etc). If the sinks and faucets aren't correctly balanced, you either get inflation or deflation, which I wrote about here.

    At any rate, I'm not claiming that you get rich by not interacting with players. I'm claiming that you get rich by doing whatever economic activity earns you the most currency from other players. If that's fishing in the current market conditions today, then you fish today. If that's killing bosses and selling the boss mats, that's what you do. If that's buying elixirs the day before reset, holding them, and selling them on raid day, that's what you do. If that's shuttling Iron from the east coast the west coast, that's what you do. These activities are hopefully dynamic, but characters have to specialize, and when you specialize it limits what you can be good at.

    At any rate, what we've been talking about is purely economics and goldmaking, which is like econ 101. What I'm actually concerned about is how when gear itself is fungible you can buy all of the equipment you'd like, and how this encourages you to do nothing but whatever the most market efficient thing is.

    WoW gets around this by forcing people to actually go to dungeons for their gear (since it's bind-on-pickup). Maybe Ashes could make it so that you have to actually kill harder bosses once before you can equip boss-material gear? I'd really like to avoid the situation where someone grinds to max level, and then essentially realizes that the most effective way to play the game is to play the auction house until they have enough currency for all of the best gear.

    And I'm just giving you the data that there has been a game where the concern did not turn out that way. Your concern is entirely 'are the sinks and faucets balanced'. That's the only thing that needs to be solved.

    FFXI's is 'Missions and a few drops give you reasonable amounts of gil', 'materials you can buy and the price of Chocobo rentals and teleports remove it'. They spent their time balancing only this. 90% of the enemies in the game do not drop any gil. 50% drop 'things that sell for less than you'd spend on a potion from an NPC if you NPC the thing''. 75% drop 'less than it would cost you to rent a Chocobo so you don't have to walk 45 minutes through partially dangerous territory to get to the hub city'.

    Or is the concern that 'buying the best gear then makes you capable of earning faster so you can buy more of it'? I'm still not seeing the concern. Isn't the person who makes the gear incentivized to make the gear by all these people who are buying it?

    Is it that you want people to have to 'step outside their niche'? I perhaps misunderstood your concern as 'everyone will do the same thing'.

    I personally quite enjoy 'mostly not having to do anything other than my personal optimal'. To me, that's a bonus to immersion, not a penalty.
    Sorry, my native language is Erlang.
    
  • beaushinklebeaushinkle Member
    edited September 2021
    Azherae wrote: »
    Azherae wrote: »
    Okay, sorry, backing up.

    I was saying "if fishing is the most efficient thing you can do, then you fish". If it isn't, then you don't. This assumes that there's some sort of market demand for fish and you can supply for that demand. If there's very little demand for fish and you're massively supplying them then yeah, the price of fish will tank. If the demand for fish is 10k fish per day and you're able to supply 200, then you're not changing the supply much, so you're not changing the price much.

    The same goes for boss mats - if there's a lot of liquidity in the market, there's a bunch of throughput and there's a large supply and large demand, then prices will be relatively stable. If the mats are super rare then they probably won't be sold that frequently. Regardless, folks sold completed, max-enchanted items in BDO. All you had to do was farm enough stuff to sell on the market to get enough currency to buy them. Make enough milk-tea and that tri-enchanted witch's earring was yours.

    Right, but that was an issue of the way BDO's design works.

    Money in BDO is generated from 'trash loot'. You can get rich without interacting with other players.

    I'm saying that there is no trash loot in FFXI worth doing this for, and by current intention, none in Ashes.

    Also, from the BDO front, the EU server actually has a problem with this. EU players are conservatively opposed to gambling, and enchanting Accessories in BDO is just gambling, right?

    So they don't exist.

    So few people want to burn all their cash on enhancing PEN Crescent Rings that they all just sit there waiting for someone else to do it, piling up their cash.

    Now imagine that but without BDO's Auction House price caps.

    Point is, that when the game doesn't give you a way to just 'go convert time to money without other players', the dynamics are very very different.

    The game definitely allows you to convert time into money, otherwise gold wouldn't exist. Everyone spawns into the game with 0 gold, right? If gold is only exchanged, where does it all come from? The game has to generate it somehow. There are gold faucets (quest rewards, humanoid mobs, etc) and gold sinks (auction house cuts, repair bills, etc). If the sinks and faucets aren't correctly balanced, you either get inflation or deflation, which I wrote about here.

    At any rate, I'm not claiming that you get rich by not interacting with players. I'm claiming that you get rich by doing whatever economic activity earns you the most currency from other players. If that's fishing in the current market conditions today, then you fish today. If that's killing bosses and selling the boss mats, that's what you do. If that's buying elixirs the day before reset, holding them, and selling them on raid day, that's what you do. If that's shuttling Iron from the east coast the west coast, that's what you do. These activities are hopefully dynamic, but characters have to specialize, and when you specialize it limits what you can be good at.

    At any rate, what we've been talking about is purely economics and goldmaking, which is like econ 101. What I'm actually concerned about is how when gear itself is fungible you can buy all of the equipment you'd like, and how this encourages you to do nothing but whatever the most market efficient thing is.

    WoW gets around this by forcing people to actually go to dungeons for their gear (since it's bind-on-pickup). Maybe Ashes could make it so that you have to actually kill harder bosses once before you can equip boss-material gear? I'd really like to avoid the situation where someone grinds to max level, and then essentially realizes that the most effective way to play the game is to play the auction house until they have enough currency for all of the best gear.

    And I'm just giving you the data that there has been a game where the concern did not turn out that way. Your concern is entirely 'are the sinks and faucets balanced'. That's the only thing that needs to be solved.

    FFXI's is 'Missions and a few drops give you reasonable amounts of gil', 'materials you can buy and the price of Chocobo rentals and teleports remove it'. They spent their time balancing only this. 90% of the enemies in the game do not drop any gil. 50% drop 'things that sell for less than you'd spend on a potion from an NPC if you NPC the thing''. 75% drop 'less than it would cost you to rent a Chocobo so you don't have to walk 45 minutes through partially dangerous territory to get to the hub city'.

    Or is the concern that 'buying the best gear then makes you capable of earning faster so you can buy more of it'? I'm still not seeing the concern. Isn't the person who makes the gear incentivized to make the gear by all these people who are buying it?

    Is it that you want people to have to 'step outside their niche'? I perhaps misunderstood your concern as 'everyone will do the same thing'.

    I personally quite enjoy 'mostly not having to do anything other than my personal optimal'. To me, that's a bonus to immersion, not a penalty.

    Here's the concern: there are a bunch of gameplay opportunities - I could go kill the pirates in the cove to collect bandanas, fish in the bay for nightfins for my consumables, go to the dunmire swamp and defeat the hydra for leather for my boots, mine iron ore to craft my turbo sword, etc. These are all activities that I could do, and stuff that other players are doing.

    It is more efficient for me to spend the next 6 hours farming nearby gnolls for hides, sell the hides, and then buy bandanas, nightfins, the leather for my boots, and the ore for my turbo sword. It ends up that my whole gameplay is just to farm gnolls for hides, even though I'd love to kill pirates and hydras and go fishing. I know that if I do those things, I'll be less efficient.

    And yes, I do know that I can do any of those things, in the same way that when I got on diablo 3 I didn't have to clear the bridge over and over. But the developers don't also have to make the game such that clearing the bridge over and over is the most effective way to play the game, either.
    mmo design essays: http://beaushinkle.xyz/
  • AzheraeAzherae Member, Alpha One, Adventurer
    edited September 2021
    Azherae wrote: »
    Azherae wrote: »
    Okay, sorry, backing up.

    I was saying "if fishing is the most efficient thing you can do, then you fish". If it isn't, then you don't. This assumes that there's some sort of market demand for fish and you can supply for that demand. If there's very little demand for fish and you're massively supplying them then yeah, the price of fish will tank. If the demand for fish is 10k fish per day and you're able to supply 200, then you're not changing the supply much, so you're not changing the price much.

    The same goes for boss mats - if there's a lot of liquidity in the market, there's a bunch of throughput and there's a large supply and large demand, then prices will be relatively stable. If the mats are super rare then they probably won't be sold that frequently. Regardless, folks sold completed, max-enchanted items in BDO. All you had to do was farm enough stuff to sell on the market to get enough currency to buy them. Make enough milk-tea and that tri-enchanted witch's earring was yours.

    Right, but that was an issue of the way BDO's design works.

    Money in BDO is generated from 'trash loot'. You can get rich without interacting with other players.

    I'm saying that there is no trash loot in FFXI worth doing this for, and by current intention, none in Ashes.

    Also, from the BDO front, the EU server actually has a problem with this. EU players are conservatively opposed to gambling, and enchanting Accessories in BDO is just gambling, right?

    So they don't exist.

    So few people want to burn all their cash on enhancing PEN Crescent Rings that they all just sit there waiting for someone else to do it, piling up their cash.

    Now imagine that but without BDO's Auction House price caps.

    Point is, that when the game doesn't give you a way to just 'go convert time to money without other players', the dynamics are very very different.

    The game definitely allows you to convert time into money, otherwise gold wouldn't exist. Everyone spawns into the game with 0 gold, right? If gold is only exchanged, where does it all come from? The game has to generate it somehow. There are gold faucets (quest rewards, humanoid mobs, etc) and gold sinks (auction house cuts, repair bills, etc). If the sinks and faucets aren't correctly balanced, you either get inflation or deflation, which I wrote about here.

    At any rate, I'm not claiming that you get rich by not interacting with players. I'm claiming that you get rich by doing whatever economic activity earns you the most currency from other players. If that's fishing in the current market conditions today, then you fish today. If that's killing bosses and selling the boss mats, that's what you do. If that's buying elixirs the day before reset, holding them, and selling them on raid day, that's what you do. If that's shuttling Iron from the east coast the west coast, that's what you do. These activities are hopefully dynamic, but characters have to specialize, and when you specialize it limits what you can be good at.

    At any rate, what we've been talking about is purely economics and goldmaking, which is like econ 101. What I'm actually concerned about is how when gear itself is fungible you can buy all of the equipment you'd like, and how this encourages you to do nothing but whatever the most market efficient thing is.

    WoW gets around this by forcing people to actually go to dungeons for their gear (since it's bind-on-pickup). Maybe Ashes could make it so that you have to actually kill harder bosses once before you can equip boss-material gear? I'd really like to avoid the situation where someone grinds to max level, and then essentially realizes that the most effective way to play the game is to play the auction house until they have enough currency for all of the best gear.

    And I'm just giving you the data that there has been a game where the concern did not turn out that way. Your concern is entirely 'are the sinks and faucets balanced'. That's the only thing that needs to be solved.

    FFXI's is 'Missions and a few drops give you reasonable amounts of gil', 'materials you can buy and the price of Chocobo rentals and teleports remove it'. They spent their time balancing only this. 90% of the enemies in the game do not drop any gil. 50% drop 'things that sell for less than you'd spend on a potion from an NPC if you NPC the thing''. 75% drop 'less than it would cost you to rent a Chocobo so you don't have to walk 45 minutes through partially dangerous territory to get to the hub city'.

    Or is the concern that 'buying the best gear then makes you capable of earning faster so you can buy more of it'? I'm still not seeing the concern. Isn't the person who makes the gear incentivized to make the gear by all these people who are buying it?

    Is it that you want people to have to 'step outside their niche'? I perhaps misunderstood your concern as 'everyone will do the same thing'.

    I personally quite enjoy 'mostly not having to do anything other than my personal optimal'. To me, that's a bonus to immersion, not a penalty.

    Here's the concern: there are a bunch of gameplay opportunities - I could go kill the pirates in the cove to collect bandanas, fish in the bay for nightfins for my consumables, go to the dunmire swamp and defeat the hydra for leather for my boots, mine iron ore to craft my turbo sword, etc. These are all activities that I could do, and stuff that other players are doing.

    It is more efficient for me to spend the next 6 hours farming nearby gnolls for hides, sell the hides, and then buy bandanas, nightfins, the leather for my boots, and the ore for my turbo sword. It ends up that my whole gameplay is just to farm gnolls for hides, even though I'd love to kill pirates and hydras and go fishing. I know that if I do those things, I'll be less efficient.

    Most people don't care.

    Also, sell the hides to who?

    EDIT: Are you one of those people who optimizes the fun out of your own game, btw? Because I don't think I can be any use even as a mirror in that case.
    Sorry, my native language is Erlang.
    
  • AzheraeAzherae Member, Alpha One, Adventurer
    And yes, I do know that I can do any of those things, in the same way that when I got on diablo 3 I didn't have to clear the bridge over and over. But the developers don't also have to make the game such that clearing the bridge over and over is the most effective way to play the game, either.

    Now I'm with you, I didn't perceive the 'fear' (I hope I can call it that).

    Tell me if this is right, abstracting the 'You' into 'any given person'.

    You want X, you want to be able to buy X. You must compete with others for X. In order to compete for any given rare X, against any other player who also wants it, you must be as efficient as possible, as demonstrated by the above.

    You want to do other things, but you also want to buy Rare X and can't just 'go get it' and have to compete with other people who aren't taking the risk of doing the thing to get it, they're just 'Max Efficiency' and therefore always 'win the bid'.

    You want the game to make it so that you could do other things, perhaps 'have a specialization that is not the most efficient one', and still offer paths.

    By the nature of the math, this isn't possible.

    There will always be a 'most efficient', and those who enjoy it will always enjoy the game the most, both because they get to spend their time doing something enjoyable and also get to win the bids.

    What you have to hope for is the 'cooldown' and the 'competition'.

    When the player buys rare X, they no longer need it, or no longer have the money to do it again. You have to 'get in line' behind the people who enjoy the most efficient activity, or hope that competition within the most efficient activity disrupts them enough that you, with your less efficient workbench with less competition, get to outstrip them.

    And so...

    1. You farm Gnoll hides, but you must sell them to someone.
    2. If farming Gnoll hides is easy to specialize for, and they are not required in massive quantities for the craft they are needed for, then any given user of them can just get them, themselves.
    3. If they don't, it's because they don't enjoy collecting the hides. But then they must do something else.
    4. But the something else they do must either be more profitable, or more specialized, or they should be farming Gnoll hides (or they don't care because they are weighing their fun pretty high).

    The person buying the hides is the one having the fun, and possibly also the one most efficient. If you don't like Leathercrafting though, you can't compete with that person. You have to find something else. They get whatever they want first, and you get in line behind.

    You have to hope that the game provides so many things that everyone can find an enjoyable niche and not be terribly worried about their place in the 'line'. "Economic Slots", which exists when there is no 'trash loot' and enough variation. Classes provide 'unintentional specializations' of this type. Clerics are better at fighting Crabs than they are at fighting Scalerunners, Tanks are better at Scalerunners than Crabs (on average).

    FFXI did this and all they had to do was 'the same things Ashes is already doing' and then tweak the sinks and faucets. Ashes can. Not saying will. Just 'can'.

    Given all that, can you run by me again how the fungibility of gear, specifically, moves outside this? I feel that it helps rather than hurts it. It makes the 'line shorter' when people who no longer want the gear can just sell or give it away.
    Sorry, my native language is Erlang.
    
  • Azherae wrote: »
    EDIT: Are you one of those people who optimizes the fun out of your own game, btw? Because I don't think I can be any use even as a mirror in that case.

    I share a lot of the same concerns as Beau here. I get the impression we have similar MMO experiences and I can say that after many years of playing WoW, I feel like I’ve been conditioned to “optimize the fun out.”

    One of the problems I consistently run into with games is that certain activities are substantially more efficient than others and once I’ve seen it, I feel punished for doing anything else. My time is really important to me and it feels really bad when developers over-incentivize certain activities, especially if they’re as degenerate as farming Gnolls like in Beau’s example.

    I have no intention of fear mongering, but I think it’s an important topic that Beau brings up. “Optimizing the fun out” is a hot topic across many MMO forums for a reason and it’s because a large portion of the player base finds that “meta” and starts to focus on it over anything else, effectively killing off less incentivized activities in the game. We can’t convince everyone to play the game the same way, but the devs can adjust how the game works and how rewards are distributed to limit this type of degenerate behavior.

    I hope the Ashes devs actively attempt to mitigate this.
  • AzheraeAzherae Member, Alpha One, Adventurer
    AaronH wrote: »
    Azherae wrote: »
    EDIT: Are you one of those people who optimizes the fun out of your own game, btw? Because I don't think I can be any use even as a mirror in that case.

    I share a lot of the same concerns as Beau here. I get the impression we have similar MMO experiences and I can say that after many years of playing WoW, I feel like I’ve been conditioned to “optimize the fun out.”

    One of the problems I consistently run into with games is that certain activities are substantially more efficient than others and once I’ve seen it, I feel punished for doing anything else. My time is really important to me and it feels really bad when developers over-incentivize certain activities, especially if they’re as degenerate as farming Gnolls like in Beau’s example.

    I have no intention of fear mongering, but I think it’s an important topic that Beau brings up. “Optimizing the fun out” is a hot topic across many MMO forums for a reason and it’s because a large portion of the player base finds that “meta” and starts to focus on it over anything else, effectively killing off less incentivized activities in the game. We can’t convince everyone to play the game the same way, but the devs can adjust how the game works and how rewards are distributed to limit this type of degenerate behavior.

    I hope the Ashes devs actively attempt to mitigate this.

    I actually sympathize, because I have the same 'efficiency preference'. Knowing that I'm considerably inefficient affects my fun enough to actually need to calculate the tradeoff.

    I'm moreso saying that I have been able to play a game without this issue that has the same design as Ashes (as I understand it). And I agree that I've barely seen any that do not, since that 20 year old game.

    It doesn't seem to be a serious topic for most designers, but I have faith that it is a very serious topic for Steven. That said, it won't solve the problem because the core problem isn't solvable past what I've mentioned so far.

    If you remove most or all of the 'ways to generate money in this way' to the point where the 'fastest' way to make money is to 'make alts and run them through early quests for starter cash' and, people will do that, and that is honestly almost the least fun possible thing to do.

    But at least at that point, it's a massive underspecialization.

    I actually suggested a while back that maybe they should explicitly choose one. Specifically, 'crafting weak potions'. That way, we don't need an NPC that sells them. Optimize the game such that the easiest time-for-money activity supports the activity of others, and I would hope this one solves itself. Of course, the goal should always be to balance as much as possible, but I'm saying that if the devs feel a need to 'give people a way to earn money' by selling anything whatsoever to NPCs, then the 'most profitable thing' should be just... potions.

    That's just an example, but it gets at the concept of design. If the most profitable thing is 'fun for some set of people and not others', you're in trouble. If it is 'accessible only to one type of player', trouble. Just make it 'go fish, then collect herbs, then use an Alchemy thing in a node'.

    But it wouldn't last. Because somehow it would cease to be the most efficient thing, as soon as there were too many potions on sale. But at least if that was always, by definition, the highest NPC-related gold/hr, you'd have a benchmark.
    Sorry, my native language is Erlang.
    
  • beaushinklebeaushinkle Member
    edited September 2021
    Azherae wrote: »
    And yes, I do know that I can do any of those things, in the same way that when I got on diablo 3 I didn't have to clear the bridge over and over. But the developers don't also have to make the game such that clearing the bridge over and over is the most effective way to play the game, either.

    Now I'm with you, I didn't perceive the 'fear' (I hope I can call it that).

    Tell me if this is right, abstracting the 'You' into 'any given person'.

    You want X, you want to be able to buy X. You must compete with others for X. In order to compete for any given rare X, against any other player who also wants it, you must be as efficient as possible, as demonstrated by the above.

    You want to do other things, but you also want to buy Rare X and can't just 'go get it' and have to compete with other people who aren't taking the risk of doing the thing to get it, they're just 'Max Efficiency' and therefore always 'win the bid'.

    You want the game to make it so that you could do other things, perhaps 'have a specialization that is not the most efficient one', and still offer paths.

    By the nature of the math, this isn't possible.

    There will always be a 'most efficient', and those who enjoy it will always enjoy the game the most, both because they get to spend their time doing something enjoyable and also get to win the bids.

    What you have to hope for is the 'cooldown' and the 'competition'.

    When the player buys rare X, they no longer need it, or no longer have the money to do it again. You have to 'get in line' behind the people who enjoy the most efficient activity, or hope that competition within the most efficient activity disrupts them enough that you, with your less efficient workbench with less competition, get to outstrip them.

    And so...

    1. You farm Gnoll hides, but you must sell them to someone.
    2. If farming Gnoll hides is easy to specialize for, and they are not required in massive quantities for the craft they are needed for, then any given user of them can just get them, themselves.
    3. If they don't, it's because they don't enjoy collecting the hides. But then they must do something else.
    4. But the something else they do must either be more profitable, or more specialized, or they should be farming Gnoll hides (or they don't care because they are weighing their fun pretty high).

    The person buying the hides is the one having the fun, and possibly also the one most efficient. If you don't like Leathercrafting though, you can't compete with that person. You have to find something else. They get whatever they want first, and you get in line behind.

    You have to hope that the game provides so many things that everyone can find an enjoyable niche and not be terribly worried about their place in the 'line'. "Economic Slots", which exists when there is no 'trash loot' and enough variation. Classes provide 'unintentional specializations' of this type. Clerics are better at fighting Crabs than they are at fighting Scalerunners, Tanks are better at Scalerunners than Crabs (on average).

    FFXI did this and all they had to do was 'the same things Ashes is already doing' and then tweak the sinks and faucets. Ashes can. Not saying will. Just 'can'.

    Given all that, can you run by me again how the fungibility of gear, specifically, moves outside this? I feel that it helps rather than hurts it. It makes the 'line shorter' when people who no longer want the gear can just sell or give it away.

    I think there's a couple of differences between what you're describing and what I'm describing and they mostly have to do with market liquidity. Maybe a concrete example will help.

    Say that I'm playing classic WoW and I want to craft a lionheart helm. It takes
    • 80 thorium bars
    • 12 arcanite bars (1 thorium bar 1 arcane crystal)
    • 40 wicked claws
    • 10 blue sapphire
    • 4 azerothian diamond
    Arcane crystals have a 3% chance to drop from large thorium veins, which in turn produce ~3 thorium ore. It takes 4 thorium ore for a thorium bar. I need 92 thorium bars (368 ore, which is ~122 veins) for just the ore. Over the course of those 122 veins, I would have collected ~3.7 arcane crystals, so I would still need ~8.3 more, which would take ~276 more veins, leaving me with an excess of 828 thorium ore.

    Maybe I can sell this thorium ore to buy wicked claws, blue sapphires, and azerothian diamonds. Arcane crystals are only able to be collected by miners, and you're only allowed to have 2 professions - maybe I'm not a miner. Maybe I'm an herbalist. So instead, I make a route through felwood for dreamfoil to sell on the auction house. After I collect enough dreamfoil, other players buy it, and I can buy my 80 thorium bars, 12 arcanite bars, etc.

    The dreamfoil market, thorium bars market, wicked claws market etc are all highly liquid because there are thousands of players transacting daily and these are all commodities.

    So, I've reduced a task that could have been "journey around the world and collect a bunch of different components from different novel places" to "do this one efficient loop in felwood until you can buy everything you need".

    The trouble is, when I'm done getting the materials to craft my lionheart helm and I want to craft my Turbo Sword, which requires a completely different set of materials, what do I do? I go back to my felwood loop and gather more dreamfoil.

    As you say, making it so that the money has to come from players instead of NPCs fixes this, but only to a degree. The more players and more liquid the market is, the less individual price impact you have. It could be the case that there are so many concurrent players, and so much trade volume for dreamfoil, that you could do your efficient felwood dreamfoil loop for months. If other players start camping your node, there's always the un'goro dreamfoil loop, or the winterspring dreamfoil loop, etc. There's always some most efficient g/h farm.

    Here's what I'm proposing as the alternative (and I don't really like this yet, and am still actively thinking about it).

    We need to find some way in the above scenario to make it so that players are incentivized to actually go out and collect their thorium and arcane crystals instead of just doing their dreamfoil loop, right? Just like how in diablo 3, they fixed the game by making it so that it was no longer optimal to farm the bridge over and over, we want to make it so that it's no longer optimal to farm dreamfoil in order to craft the lionheart helm (and everything else).

    What if when you mine a large thorium vein, it produces 3 thorium ore and 3 soulbound thorium ore. Now, if you're just mining thorium to sell, you're getting 3 per vein. If you're mining thorium to craft, you're getting 6. If the g/h of the dreamfoil loop was 1.5x more efficient than mining thorium, then now mining thorium makes more sense, but only if you plan on crafting with it.
    Azherae wrote: »
    Given all that, can you run by me again how the fungibility of gear, specifically, moves outside this? I feel that it helps rather than hurts it. It makes the 'line shorter' when people who no longer want the gear can just sell or give it away.
    If gear is fungible, then I can farm dreamfoil until I have enough gold and then buy it. If gear is non-fungible, then I have to actually go do the content that drops it, which gets me to stop farming dreamfoil.
    mmo design essays: http://beaushinkle.xyz/
  • AzheraeAzherae Member, Alpha One, Adventurer
    Ok got it.

    I, obviously, in my bias, would prefer for this problem to be solved in the way I am used to, which is an issue of scale.

    The very idea that there could be hundreds of anything on a serious market is silly to me. That problem comes from the 'tendency to make timesinks by making players gather a lot of something so that it is more fair'. And that is, in itself, a gateway through something. Here's a list of materials for a mid level armor piece in FFXI. Note that my intention here is to support your point, not make my own, I'm just framing.

    2 x Darksteel Sheet
    1 x Linen Cloth
    1 x Iron Chain
    1 x Tiger Leather
    1 x Sheep Leather
    1 x Velvet Cloth
    1 x Wool Thread

    All the above are purchasable. Finding someone with the skill to make the item is somewhat harder, and that person generally doesn't make all these items themselves.

    A non-specialist in that game never makes this armor. Maybe 2-4 people per server make 3 or so per day.

    But someone must defeat the tigers, and tigers are rare in most zones.
    Someone has to mine the Darksteel ore, and that's slow to find too.
    If no one is mining Darksteel, there's another way to do it with slightly different materials, but it's still work. If, for some reason, no one is farming Tigers, and you want this gear, you gotta go do it, or wait. If you don't have the skill to make Tiger Hide into Leather, you have to find someone to do so.

    You could choose to wait until someone else notices. It might be inefficient for you personally to go kill tigers. But it's also not terribly efficient to assume that you will make money doing so because the armor piece exists.

    As I noted, I don't think there's a way to 'get a player who automatically optimizes' or players like me and possibly you, who get that weird 'why am I doing this when the game is obviously trying to get me to do X instead', to not experience that. There were always arguments about exactly this. Opportunity cost.

    But in the end, someone has to get that Tiger Hide. And as soon as everyone else decides 'this isn't worth my time, I'm not doing it', in the game I'm referring to, the supply can reasonably drop to zero. Ashes is like this as of Alpha 1. If you need a 'Majestic Griffon Claw' and there are only 3 'Majestic Griffons' on a 10 minute respawn timer with a 5% drop rate, on top of one craggy cliff...

    They're either always camped or no one does it, and the average 'Majestic Griffon Claws' made available per hour is 1.

    That's what I'm used to. I just assumed that no other games have used this as much because 'actively disincentivizing players from farming by using this style of operant conditioning leads to poor engagement when in competition with games that reward players with 50% or higher droprates'.

    Psychologically, it's easy to see why that would be. But then balance rears up, and eventually people realize that they are doing the same amount of work, and the dopamine hit wears off for some. In BDO, they Skinnerbox everyone and rely on the fact that you 'have to' do it (leading to tons of players trying to find literally any way around this, that they can).

    So my 'experience' is not helpful to you, I guess. It's resolved in my favorite games by downscaling the economy to the point where it works, and you've now reminded me that Ashes won't necessarily be anything like that. Either way I think I just don't see or feel what you do. I like when I am 'just making potions' and mostly just that for money, I just don't like it when 'everyone else is making potions', and I was counting on the 'implied promise' that it won't be another 'yeah everyone can just farm spiders for like 50 Spider Silk per hour which is enough to make 10 Scarfs and you need 20 to make this one turban' game'.
    Sorry, my native language is Erlang.
    
  • AzheraeAzherae Member, Alpha One, Adventurer
    Here's what I'm proposing as the alternative (and I don't really like this yet, and am still actively thinking about it).

    We need to find some way in the above scenario to make it so that players are incentivized to actually go out and collect their thorium and arcane crystals instead of just doing their dreamfoil loop, right? Just like how in diablo 3, they fixed the game by making it so that it was no longer optimal to farm the bridge over and over, we want to make it so that it's no longer optimal to farm dreamfoil in order to craft the lionheart helm (and everything else).

    What if when you mine a large thorium vein, it produces 3 thorium ore and 3 soulbound thorium ore. Now, if you're just mining thorium to sell, you're getting 3 per vein. If you're mining thorium to craft, you're getting 6. If the g/h of the dreamfoil loop was 1.5x more efficient than mining thorium, then now mining thorium makes more sense, but only if you plan on crafting with it.
    Azherae wrote: »
    Given all that, can you run by me again how the fungibility of gear, specifically, moves outside this? I feel that it helps rather than hurts it. It makes the 'line shorter' when people who no longer want the gear can just sell or give it away.
    If gear is fungible, then I can farm dreamfoil until I have enough gold and then buy it. If gear is non-fungible, then I have to actually go do the content that drops it, which gets me to stop farming dreamfoil.

    And now, separately... isn't this psychologically offloading the 'problem' onto someone else though?

    Now the crafter that uses the thorium feels 'buying this item is 50% less efficient than getting it myself, and anyone else willing to get it themselves is 2x as effective as I am'. It might disincentivize some people from mining it, but not much? It would still cost the same amount if any of these crafters are willing to buy it.

    I also don't understand the 'go do the content that drops it' from an Ashes perspective. Someone's doing that content already or you have nothing to buy. Maybe that person 'is a fool', and maybe that person 'is a specialist', but if they're a specialist, and the gear you want is valuable, then you have to fight them for it, and then still do the content.

    Is this a result of some other game's design? Are other MMOs such 'relatively over-rewarding easymode' that 'just go do the content that drops it' is an option? I think that's the part I'm unused to.

    "Competing with the specialist is always inefficient unless you plan to take their place, and always efficient if they aren't around and you don't have to compete."

    That's where I'm failing to connect to your perception, right? I just don't have the model that allows me to see the capacity or importance of the 'just go do the content yourself' part?
    Sorry, my native language is Erlang.
    
  • Azherae wrote: »
    Here's what I'm proposing as the alternative (and I don't really like this yet, and am still actively thinking about it).

    We need to find some way in the above scenario to make it so that players are incentivized to actually go out and collect their thorium and arcane crystals instead of just doing their dreamfoil loop, right? Just like how in diablo 3, they fixed the game by making it so that it was no longer optimal to farm the bridge over and over, we want to make it so that it's no longer optimal to farm dreamfoil in order to craft the lionheart helm (and everything else).

    What if when you mine a large thorium vein, it produces 3 thorium ore and 3 soulbound thorium ore. Now, if you're just mining thorium to sell, you're getting 3 per vein. If you're mining thorium to craft, you're getting 6. If the g/h of the dreamfoil loop was 1.5x more efficient than mining thorium, then now mining thorium makes more sense, but only if you plan on crafting with it.
    Azherae wrote: »
    Given all that, can you run by me again how the fungibility of gear, specifically, moves outside this? I feel that it helps rather than hurts it. It makes the 'line shorter' when people who no longer want the gear can just sell or give it away.
    If gear is fungible, then I can farm dreamfoil until I have enough gold and then buy it. If gear is non-fungible, then I have to actually go do the content that drops it, which gets me to stop farming dreamfoil.

    And now, separately... isn't this psychologically offloading the 'problem' onto someone else though?

    Now the crafter that uses the thorium feels 'buying this item is 50% less efficient than getting it myself, and anyone else willing to get it themselves is 2x as effective as I am'. It might disincentivize some people from mining it, but not much? It would still cost the same amount if any of these crafters are willing to buy it.

    I also don't understand the 'go do the content that drops it' from an Ashes perspective. Someone's doing that content already or you have nothing to buy. Maybe that person 'is a fool', and maybe that person 'is a specialist', but if they're a specialist, and the gear you want is valuable, then you have to fight them for it, and then still do the content.

    Is this a result of some other game's design? Are other MMOs such 'relatively over-rewarding easymode' that 'just go do the content that drops it' is an option? I think that's the part I'm unused to.

    "Competing with the specialist is always inefficient unless you plan to take their place, and always efficient if they aren't around and you don't have to compete."

    That's where I'm failing to connect to your perception, right? I just don't have the model that allows me to see the capacity or importance of the 'just go do the content yourself' part?

    Oh, as I mentioned, making gear nonfungible has a whole host of other problems. Namely, that it makes the entire gear crafting system pointless and no one touches it. Instead, people just craft actually useful things like consumables (since you get your gear by doing content). It fixes the "All I do is gather dreamfoil" problem though.
    mmo design essays: http://beaushinkle.xyz/
  • CROW3CROW3 Member
    edited September 2021
    Keep in mind that unlike WoW, FFXIV, and say Albion Online the macro economy is not going to be accessible so easily or ubiquitously in AoC since auction houses are only accessible from well-developed economic nodes.

    This is going to put a lot of attention on micro-economies supported by Freeholds, guilds, and player-to-player trading. A lot more diversity of demanded material to create craftable gear.

    Still fungible, but highly inefficient (for some time,) with a pretty stratified way to produce/attain gear.

    https://ashesofcreation.wiki/Auction_house
    AoC+Dwarf+750v3.png
  • Azherae wrote: »
    Ok got it.

    I, obviously, in my bias, would prefer for this problem to be solved in the way I am used to, which is an issue of scale.

    The very idea that there could be hundreds of anything on a serious market is silly to me. That problem comes from the 'tendency to make timesinks by making players gather a lot of something so that it is more fair'. And that is, in itself, a gateway through something. Here's a list of materials for a mid level armor piece in FFXI. Note that my intention here is to support your point, not make my own, I'm just framing.

    2 x Darksteel Sheet
    1 x Linen Cloth
    1 x Iron Chain
    1 x Tiger Leather
    1 x Sheep Leather
    1 x Velvet Cloth
    1 x Wool Thread

    All the above are purchasable. Finding someone with the skill to make the item is somewhat harder, and that person generally doesn't make all these items themselves.

    A non-specialist in that game never makes this armor. Maybe 2-4 people per server make 3 or so per day.

    But someone must defeat the tigers, and tigers are rare in most zones.
    Someone has to mine the Darksteel ore, and that's slow to find too.
    If no one is mining Darksteel, there's another way to do it with slightly different materials, but it's still work. If, for some reason, no one is farming Tigers, and you want this gear, you gotta go do it, or wait. If you don't have the skill to make Tiger Hide into Leather, you have to find someone to do so.

    You could choose to wait until someone else notices. It might be inefficient for you personally to go kill tigers. But it's also not terribly efficient to assume that you will make money doing so because the armor piece exists.

    As I noted, I don't think there's a way to 'get a player who automatically optimizes' or players like me and possibly you, who get that weird 'why am I doing this when the game is obviously trying to get me to do X instead', to not experience that. There were always arguments about exactly this. Opportunity cost.

    But in the end, someone has to get that Tiger Hide. And as soon as everyone else decides 'this isn't worth my time, I'm not doing it', in the game I'm referring to, the supply can reasonably drop to zero. Ashes is like this as of Alpha 1. If you need a 'Majestic Griffon Claw' and there are only 3 'Majestic Griffons' on a 10 minute respawn timer with a 5% drop rate, on top of one craggy cliff...

    They're either always camped or no one does it, and the average 'Majestic Griffon Claws' made available per hour is 1.

    That's what I'm used to. I just assumed that no other games have used this as much because 'actively disincentivizing players from farming by using this style of operant conditioning leads to poor engagement when in competition with games that reward players with 50% or higher droprates'.

    Psychologically, it's easy to see why that would be. But then balance rears up, and eventually people realize that they are doing the same amount of work, and the dopamine hit wears off for some. In BDO, they Skinnerbox everyone and rely on the fact that you 'have to' do it (leading to tons of players trying to find literally any way around this, that they can).

    So my 'experience' is not helpful to you, I guess. It's resolved in my favorite games by downscaling the economy to the point where it works, and you've now reminded me that Ashes won't necessarily be anything like that. Either way I think I just don't see or feel what you do. I like when I am 'just making potions' and mostly just that for money, I just don't like it when 'everyone else is making potions', and I was counting on the 'implied promise' that it won't be another 'yeah everyone can just farm spiders for like 50 Spider Silk per hour which is enough to make 10 Scarfs and you need 20 to make this one turban' game'.

    Even though you only need 2 darksteel sheets, presumably those are crafted from some other material like ore, which is gathered in some other higher number with more liquidity, right?

    It could also be a scale thing - at any given point in time, how many darksteel sheets (or the ore to make them) were available on the market (how much liquid was there)? I tend to always play on the most populated servers because they have the most liquid and healthy economies, and so I'm probably used to different market conditions than you.

    At any given time in World of Warcraft (on herod for classic), for example, the auction house had enough materials for someone to come and buy the stuff to craft ~50 lionheart helms. There would probably be ~40 people online and around willing to craft it for you. Relatively high liquidity.

    That isn't to say that it was cheap. Those materials costed the equivalent of ~45 hours of efficient, dedicated farming to purchase when my friends were buying their lionhearts. It's just that the market had enough liquidity to support it.
    mmo design essays: http://beaushinkle.xyz/
  • AzheraeAzherae Member, Alpha One, Adventurer
    Azherae wrote: »
    Here's what I'm proposing as the alternative (and I don't really like this yet, and am still actively thinking about it).

    We need to find some way in the above scenario to make it so that players are incentivized to actually go out and collect their thorium and arcane crystals instead of just doing their dreamfoil loop, right? Just like how in diablo 3, they fixed the game by making it so that it was no longer optimal to farm the bridge over and over, we want to make it so that it's no longer optimal to farm dreamfoil in order to craft the lionheart helm (and everything else).

    What if when you mine a large thorium vein, it produces 3 thorium ore and 3 soulbound thorium ore. Now, if you're just mining thorium to sell, you're getting 3 per vein. If you're mining thorium to craft, you're getting 6. If the g/h of the dreamfoil loop was 1.5x more efficient than mining thorium, then now mining thorium makes more sense, but only if you plan on crafting with it.
    Azherae wrote: »
    Given all that, can you run by me again how the fungibility of gear, specifically, moves outside this? I feel that it helps rather than hurts it. It makes the 'line shorter' when people who no longer want the gear can just sell or give it away.
    If gear is fungible, then I can farm dreamfoil until I have enough gold and then buy it. If gear is non-fungible, then I have to actually go do the content that drops it, which gets me to stop farming dreamfoil.

    And now, separately... isn't this psychologically offloading the 'problem' onto someone else though?

    Now the crafter that uses the thorium feels 'buying this item is 50% less efficient than getting it myself, and anyone else willing to get it themselves is 2x as effective as I am'. It might disincentivize some people from mining it, but not much? It would still cost the same amount if any of these crafters are willing to buy it.

    I also don't understand the 'go do the content that drops it' from an Ashes perspective. Someone's doing that content already or you have nothing to buy. Maybe that person 'is a fool', and maybe that person 'is a specialist', but if they're a specialist, and the gear you want is valuable, then you have to fight them for it, and then still do the content.

    Is this a result of some other game's design? Are other MMOs such 'relatively over-rewarding easymode' that 'just go do the content that drops it' is an option? I think that's the part I'm unused to.

    "Competing with the specialist is always inefficient unless you plan to take their place, and always efficient if they aren't around and you don't have to compete."

    That's where I'm failing to connect to your perception, right? I just don't have the model that allows me to see the capacity or importance of the 'just go do the content yourself' part?

    Oh, as I mentioned, making gear nonfungible has a whole host of other problems. Namely, that it makes the entire gear crafting system pointless and no one touches it. Instead, people just craft actually useful things like consumables (since you get your gear by doing content). It fixes the "All I do is gather dreamfoil" problem though.

    I see.

    Well if I had to take the choice between 'droprates below 10%' and 'a tendency for crafting to be pointless' I'll take the former, but again, that's bias.

    BDO literally hurts to play from the 'crafter/merchant' perspective for me, and I'm usually pretty successful cash flow wise even without trying (but that's on Console where I hoped that the 'tendency to never log off in order to max your gains' would change the meta - it didn't), to the point where I just gave up and uninstalled it. Ironic, given that it's explicitly a game you don't actually 'play' personally if you're a merchant type.
    CROW3 wrote: »
    Keep in mind that unlike WoW, FFXIV, and say Albion Online the macro economy is not going to be accessible so easily or ubiquitously in AoC since auction houses are only accessible from well-developed economic nodes.

    This is going to put a lot of attention on micro-economies supported by Freeholds, guilds, and player-to-player trading. A lot more diversity of demanded material to create craftable gear.

    Still fungible, but highly inefficient (for some time,) with a pretty stratified way to produce/attain gear.

    https://ashesofcreation.wiki/Auction_house

    I personally don't believe in this even a little bit. If Alpha-1 island was to scale, all that will happen is that the per hour price of certain things will go up, tacking on the travel cost. Worse yet, it just makes players who survive ambushes easier, more likely to do this.

    Even without autorun. Even without fast travel. Some people will just enjoy 'riding from one end of the continent to the other'. In fact I expect so many people to enjoy it, that they will just 'play as traveling merchants'.

    I'm not saying that's a bad thing. I think that's absolutely fabulous and am 100% on board.

    I just really don't expect micro-economic forces to be meaningfully stronger once they start as a result. The useful part of it being the fact that you can disrupt it, compete over trade routes, etc.
    Sorry, my native language is Erlang.
    
  • beaushinklebeaushinkle Member
    edited September 2021
    There will also be third party websites that index prices across different nodes on different servers more or less immediately
    mmo design essays: http://beaushinkle.xyz/
  • AzheraeAzherae Member, Alpha One, Adventurer
    Azherae wrote: »
    Ok got it.

    I, obviously, in my bias, would prefer for this problem to be solved in the way I am used to, which is an issue of scale.

    The very idea that there could be hundreds of anything on a serious market is silly to me. That problem comes from the 'tendency to make timesinks by making players gather a lot of something so that it is more fair'. And that is, in itself, a gateway through something. Here's a list of materials for a mid level armor piece in FFXI. Note that my intention here is to support your point, not make my own, I'm just framing.

    2 x Darksteel Sheet
    1 x Linen Cloth
    1 x Iron Chain
    1 x Tiger Leather
    1 x Sheep Leather
    1 x Velvet Cloth
    1 x Wool Thread

    All the above are purchasable. Finding someone with the skill to make the item is somewhat harder, and that person generally doesn't make all these items themselves.

    A non-specialist in that game never makes this armor. Maybe 2-4 people per server make 3 or so per day.

    But someone must defeat the tigers, and tigers are rare in most zones.
    Someone has to mine the Darksteel ore, and that's slow to find too.
    If no one is mining Darksteel, there's another way to do it with slightly different materials, but it's still work. If, for some reason, no one is farming Tigers, and you want this gear, you gotta go do it, or wait. If you don't have the skill to make Tiger Hide into Leather, you have to find someone to do so.

    You could choose to wait until someone else notices. It might be inefficient for you personally to go kill tigers. But it's also not terribly efficient to assume that you will make money doing so because the armor piece exists.

    As I noted, I don't think there's a way to 'get a player who automatically optimizes' or players like me and possibly you, who get that weird 'why am I doing this when the game is obviously trying to get me to do X instead', to not experience that. There were always arguments about exactly this. Opportunity cost.

    But in the end, someone has to get that Tiger Hide. And as soon as everyone else decides 'this isn't worth my time, I'm not doing it', in the game I'm referring to, the supply can reasonably drop to zero. Ashes is like this as of Alpha 1. If you need a 'Majestic Griffon Claw' and there are only 3 'Majestic Griffons' on a 10 minute respawn timer with a 5% drop rate, on top of one craggy cliff...

    They're either always camped or no one does it, and the average 'Majestic Griffon Claws' made available per hour is 1.

    That's what I'm used to. I just assumed that no other games have used this as much because 'actively disincentivizing players from farming by using this style of operant conditioning leads to poor engagement when in competition with games that reward players with 50% or higher droprates'.

    Psychologically, it's easy to see why that would be. But then balance rears up, and eventually people realize that they are doing the same amount of work, and the dopamine hit wears off for some. In BDO, they Skinnerbox everyone and rely on the fact that you 'have to' do it (leading to tons of players trying to find literally any way around this, that they can).

    So my 'experience' is not helpful to you, I guess. It's resolved in my favorite games by downscaling the economy to the point where it works, and you've now reminded me that Ashes won't necessarily be anything like that. Either way I think I just don't see or feel what you do. I like when I am 'just making potions' and mostly just that for money, I just don't like it when 'everyone else is making potions', and I was counting on the 'implied promise' that it won't be another 'yeah everyone can just farm spiders for like 50 Spider Silk per hour which is enough to make 10 Scarfs and you need 20 to make this one turban' game'.

    Even though you only need 2 darksteel sheets, presumably those are crafted from some other material like ore, which is gathered in some other higher number with more liquidity, right?

    It could also be a scale thing - at any given point in time, how many darksteel sheets (or the ore to make them) were available on the market (how much liquid was there)? I tend to always play on the most populated servers because they have the most liquid and healthy economies, and so I'm probably used to different market conditions than you.

    At any given time in World of Warcraft (on herod for classic), for example, the auction house had enough materials for someone to come and buy the stuff to craft ~50 lionheart helms. There would probably be ~40 people online and around willing to craft it for you. Relatively high liquidity.

    That isn't to say that it was cheap. Those materials costed the equivalent of ~45 hours of efficient, dedicated farming to purchase when my friends were buying their lionhearts. It's just that the market had enough liquidity to support it.

    Not much. Darksteel Ingots are 1 Darksteel Ore + 3 Iron Ore. It's just that Darksteel Ore itself is rare.

    Those sites exist. You can check one now.

    It's not that there weren't enough resources to make more Brigandines possible.

    It's that the scale meant that it's effectively 2x Darksteel Ore that is part of one Brigandine, and because the server simply didn't need more than 4-5 per day, if everyone went out and got a ton of Darksteel, then they all sit around until someone needs enough Brigandines.

    It's a waste of their time to gather more Darksteel than the crafters need (this is actually why that game's economy collapsed, no lower level content requirements meant no more such crafting, and endgame gear is seldom crafted anymore). They'll tank the price instantly.

    I mentioned before that people would farm beeswax, for example. They'd kill bees for an hour to get about 12-20. One 'stack' and a bit.

    But the server demand for the thing we used to make it might fluctuate. So there were about 3 'Bee Farmer' slots on a bad day, etc.
    Sorry, my native language is Erlang.
    
  • Azherae wrote: »
    I personally don't believe in this even a little bit. If Alpha-1 island was to scale, all that will happen is that the per hour price of certain things will go up, tacking on the travel cost.

    That’s a pretty thin conditional statement. Yes, distance and trade routes are going to be a factor. But taking distance and time only entirely ignores that resources are going to be scarce compared to other games. No 100 loops around an area to get 120 stacks of ore. Raw mats are going to be hard won and fought for. Supply chains are going to be under heavy pressure and require heavy guard to move. The length of a journey will have an exponential threat not a linear threat to the potential end product. Micro-economies mitigate those threats and reduce risk of loss. Thus higher-end materials winding up in the hands of master crafters is going to be a higher risk v reward endeavor, reducing the fungibility of that gear.

    Which I think is awesome.

    AoC+Dwarf+750v3.png
  • AzheraeAzherae Member, Alpha One, Adventurer
    CROW3 wrote: »
    Azherae wrote: »
    I personally don't believe in this even a little bit. If Alpha-1 island was to scale, all that will happen is that the per hour price of certain things will go up, tacking on the travel cost.

    That’s a pretty thin conditional statement. Yes, distance and trade routes are going to be a factor. But taking distance and time only entirely ignores that resources are going to be scarce compared to other games. No 100 loops around an area to get 120 stacks of ore. Raw mats are going to be hard won and fought for. Supply chains are going to be under heavy pressure and require heavy guard to move. The length of a journey will have an exponential threat not a linear threat to the potential end product. Micro-economies mitigate those threats and reduce risk of loss. Thus higher-end materials winding up in the hands of master crafters is going to be a higher risk v reward endeavor, reducing the fungibility of that gear.

    Which I think is awesome.

    You're making a lot of assumptions that I hope are true but have no surety on.

    Also, if resources are scarce, caravans are going to be less required.

    Design clash again. If mats are rare, and I can therefore carry 10x of some rare item on my solo character, how am I going to be stopped except 'people killing everyone on the road because they might be carrying something rare'?

    And if the latter is the 'standard gameplay' of Ashes, there are some other things that will hit design clash points.
    Sorry, my native language is Erlang.
    
  • .
    Azherae wrote: »
    Azherae wrote: »
    Ok got it.

    I, obviously, in my bias, would prefer for this problem to be solved in the way I am used to, which is an issue of scale.

    The very idea that there could be hundreds of anything on a serious market is silly to me. That problem comes from the 'tendency to make timesinks by making players gather a lot of something so that it is more fair'. And that is, in itself, a gateway through something. Here's a list of materials for a mid level armor piece in FFXI. Note that my intention here is to support your point, not make my own, I'm just framing.

    2 x Darksteel Sheet
    1 x Linen Cloth
    1 x Iron Chain
    1 x Tiger Leather
    1 x Sheep Leather
    1 x Velvet Cloth
    1 x Wool Thread

    All the above are purchasable. Finding someone with the skill to make the item is somewhat harder, and that person generally doesn't make all these items themselves.

    A non-specialist in that game never makes this armor. Maybe 2-4 people per server make 3 or so per day.

    But someone must defeat the tigers, and tigers are rare in most zones.
    Someone has to mine the Darksteel ore, and that's slow to find too.
    If no one is mining Darksteel, there's another way to do it with slightly different materials, but it's still work. If, for some reason, no one is farming Tigers, and you want this gear, you gotta go do it, or wait. If you don't have the skill to make Tiger Hide into Leather, you have to find someone to do so.

    You could choose to wait until someone else notices. It might be inefficient for you personally to go kill tigers. But it's also not terribly efficient to assume that you will make money doing so because the armor piece exists.

    As I noted, I don't think there's a way to 'get a player who automatically optimizes' or players like me and possibly you, who get that weird 'why am I doing this when the game is obviously trying to get me to do X instead', to not experience that. There were always arguments about exactly this. Opportunity cost.

    But in the end, someone has to get that Tiger Hide. And as soon as everyone else decides 'this isn't worth my time, I'm not doing it', in the game I'm referring to, the supply can reasonably drop to zero. Ashes is like this as of Alpha 1. If you need a 'Majestic Griffon Claw' and there are only 3 'Majestic Griffons' on a 10 minute respawn timer with a 5% drop rate, on top of one craggy cliff...

    They're either always camped or no one does it, and the average 'Majestic Griffon Claws' made available per hour is 1.

    That's what I'm used to. I just assumed that no other games have used this as much because 'actively disincentivizing players from farming by using this style of operant conditioning leads to poor engagement when in competition with games that reward players with 50% or higher droprates'.

    Psychologically, it's easy to see why that would be. But then balance rears up, and eventually people realize that they are doing the same amount of work, and the dopamine hit wears off for some. In BDO, they Skinnerbox everyone and rely on the fact that you 'have to' do it (leading to tons of players trying to find literally any way around this, that they can).

    So my 'experience' is not helpful to you, I guess. It's resolved in my favorite games by downscaling the economy to the point where it works, and you've now reminded me that Ashes won't necessarily be anything like that. Either way I think I just don't see or feel what you do. I like when I am 'just making potions' and mostly just that for money, I just don't like it when 'everyone else is making potions', and I was counting on the 'implied promise' that it won't be another 'yeah everyone can just farm spiders for like 50 Spider Silk per hour which is enough to make 10 Scarfs and you need 20 to make this one turban' game'.

    Even though you only need 2 darksteel sheets, presumably those are crafted from some other material like ore, which is gathered in some other higher number with more liquidity, right?

    It could also be a scale thing - at any given point in time, how many darksteel sheets (or the ore to make them) were available on the market (how much liquid was there)? I tend to always play on the most populated servers because they have the most liquid and healthy economies, and so I'm probably used to different market conditions than you.

    At any given time in World of Warcraft (on herod for classic), for example, the auction house had enough materials for someone to come and buy the stuff to craft ~50 lionheart helms. There would probably be ~40 people online and around willing to craft it for you. Relatively high liquidity.

    That isn't to say that it was cheap. Those materials costed the equivalent of ~45 hours of efficient, dedicated farming to purchase when my friends were buying their lionhearts. It's just that the market had enough liquidity to support it.

    Not much. Darksteel Ingots are 1 Darksteel Ore + 3 Iron Ore. It's just that Darksteel Ore itself is rare.

    Those sites exist. You can check one now.

    It's not that there weren't enough resources to make more Brigandines possible.

    It's that the scale meant that it's effectively 2x Darksteel Ore that is part of one Brigandine, and because the server simply didn't need more than 4-5 per day, if everyone went out and got a ton of Darksteel, then they all sit around until someone needs enough Brigandines.

    It's a waste of their time to gather more Darksteel than the crafters need (this is actually why that game's economy collapsed, no lower level content requirements meant no more such crafting, and endgame gear is seldom crafted anymore). They'll tank the price instantly.

    I mentioned before that people would farm beeswax, for example. They'd kill bees for an hour to get about 12-20. One 'stack' and a bit.

    But the server demand for the thing we used to make it might fluctuate. So there were about 3 'Bee Farmer' slots on a bad day, etc.

    This sounds like mostly like low-liquidity economics. There isn't a lot of liquidity in the market, so there's a lot of price volatility. If you only need 3-4 darksteel ores per day and someone goes out and farms 20 that crashes the price. If the market needed 2000, then farming 20 would just be a drop in the bucket, so it's mostly about throughput, liquidity, supply, and demand.
    mmo design essays: http://beaushinkle.xyz/
  • AzheraeAzherae Member, Alpha One, Adventurer
    .
    Azherae wrote: »
    Azherae wrote: »
    Ok got it.

    I, obviously, in my bias, would prefer for this problem to be solved in the way I am used to, which is an issue of scale.

    The very idea that there could be hundreds of anything on a serious market is silly to me. That problem comes from the 'tendency to make timesinks by making players gather a lot of something so that it is more fair'. And that is, in itself, a gateway through something. Here's a list of materials for a mid level armor piece in FFXI. Note that my intention here is to support your point, not make my own, I'm just framing.

    2 x Darksteel Sheet
    1 x Linen Cloth
    1 x Iron Chain
    1 x Tiger Leather
    1 x Sheep Leather
    1 x Velvet Cloth
    1 x Wool Thread

    All the above are purchasable. Finding someone with the skill to make the item is somewhat harder, and that person generally doesn't make all these items themselves.

    A non-specialist in that game never makes this armor. Maybe 2-4 people per server make 3 or so per day.

    But someone must defeat the tigers, and tigers are rare in most zones.
    Someone has to mine the Darksteel ore, and that's slow to find too.
    If no one is mining Darksteel, there's another way to do it with slightly different materials, but it's still work. If, for some reason, no one is farming Tigers, and you want this gear, you gotta go do it, or wait. If you don't have the skill to make Tiger Hide into Leather, you have to find someone to do so.

    You could choose to wait until someone else notices. It might be inefficient for you personally to go kill tigers. But it's also not terribly efficient to assume that you will make money doing so because the armor piece exists.

    As I noted, I don't think there's a way to 'get a player who automatically optimizes' or players like me and possibly you, who get that weird 'why am I doing this when the game is obviously trying to get me to do X instead', to not experience that. There were always arguments about exactly this. Opportunity cost.

    But in the end, someone has to get that Tiger Hide. And as soon as everyone else decides 'this isn't worth my time, I'm not doing it', in the game I'm referring to, the supply can reasonably drop to zero. Ashes is like this as of Alpha 1. If you need a 'Majestic Griffon Claw' and there are only 3 'Majestic Griffons' on a 10 minute respawn timer with a 5% drop rate, on top of one craggy cliff...

    They're either always camped or no one does it, and the average 'Majestic Griffon Claws' made available per hour is 1.

    That's what I'm used to. I just assumed that no other games have used this as much because 'actively disincentivizing players from farming by using this style of operant conditioning leads to poor engagement when in competition with games that reward players with 50% or higher droprates'.

    Psychologically, it's easy to see why that would be. But then balance rears up, and eventually people realize that they are doing the same amount of work, and the dopamine hit wears off for some. In BDO, they Skinnerbox everyone and rely on the fact that you 'have to' do it (leading to tons of players trying to find literally any way around this, that they can).

    So my 'experience' is not helpful to you, I guess. It's resolved in my favorite games by downscaling the economy to the point where it works, and you've now reminded me that Ashes won't necessarily be anything like that. Either way I think I just don't see or feel what you do. I like when I am 'just making potions' and mostly just that for money, I just don't like it when 'everyone else is making potions', and I was counting on the 'implied promise' that it won't be another 'yeah everyone can just farm spiders for like 50 Spider Silk per hour which is enough to make 10 Scarfs and you need 20 to make this one turban' game'.

    Even though you only need 2 darksteel sheets, presumably those are crafted from some other material like ore, which is gathered in some other higher number with more liquidity, right?

    It could also be a scale thing - at any given point in time, how many darksteel sheets (or the ore to make them) were available on the market (how much liquid was there)? I tend to always play on the most populated servers because they have the most liquid and healthy economies, and so I'm probably used to different market conditions than you.

    At any given time in World of Warcraft (on herod for classic), for example, the auction house had enough materials for someone to come and buy the stuff to craft ~50 lionheart helms. There would probably be ~40 people online and around willing to craft it for you. Relatively high liquidity.

    That isn't to say that it was cheap. Those materials costed the equivalent of ~45 hours of efficient, dedicated farming to purchase when my friends were buying their lionhearts. It's just that the market had enough liquidity to support it.

    Not much. Darksteel Ingots are 1 Darksteel Ore + 3 Iron Ore. It's just that Darksteel Ore itself is rare.

    Those sites exist. You can check one now.

    It's not that there weren't enough resources to make more Brigandines possible.

    It's that the scale meant that it's effectively 2x Darksteel Ore that is part of one Brigandine, and because the server simply didn't need more than 4-5 per day, if everyone went out and got a ton of Darksteel, then they all sit around until someone needs enough Brigandines.

    It's a waste of their time to gather more Darksteel than the crafters need (this is actually why that game's economy collapsed, no lower level content requirements meant no more such crafting, and endgame gear is seldom crafted anymore). They'll tank the price instantly.

    I mentioned before that people would farm beeswax, for example. They'd kill bees for an hour to get about 12-20. One 'stack' and a bit.

    But the server demand for the thing we used to make it might fluctuate. So there were about 3 'Bee Farmer' slots on a bad day, etc.

    This sounds like mostly like low-liquidity economics. There isn't a lot of liquidity in the market, so there's a lot of price volatility. If you only need 3-4 darksteel ores per day and someone goes out and farms 20 that crashes the price. If the market needed 2000, then farming 20 would just be a drop in the bucket, so it's mostly about throughput, liquidity, supply, and demand.

    And as @CROW3 has just pointed out, some of us are under the impression (and hope) that Ashes is a lower-liquidity game.

    Do you consider that to be sufficient? Is that experience unpleasant conceptually? I feel like one is always making a tradeoff between the stability offered by high liquidity, and the concept that player choice in niche markets actually matters.

    I haven't personally seen any high-liquidity game economies that don't lead to metagaming. Niches happen, but it's just when someone like BladeBoques (back before the whole... thing) or me starts cranking up the spreadsheets and leaves all those who adapt more slowly, behind.

    In a 'no trash loot' game, even with higher liquidity this will still happen, won't it?

    I dunno, I've never seriously bothered to run the numbers much. I just concluded back in 2013 that high-liquidity games are just 'incorrect' when it comes to being MMOs of the type Ashes wants, and arrogantly moved on to doing it 'right' by my own standards, in design.

    I'm constantly learning where to draw the line though. I don't think most people other than my close friends would say that any game I made was actually enjoyable, once they actually got their hands on it. It might be 'very much not broken' but I've been told that 'broken' is part of the fun for many.

    If you gathered over 40 ore of the 'main type' in an hour running around a mine in an MMO I made, I'd nerf it.
    Sorry, my native language is Erlang.
    
  • Azherae wrote: »
    And as @CROW3 has just pointed out, some of us are under the impression (and hope) that Ashes is a lower-liquidity game.
    Steven wrote:
    "We really want resources to be persistent and non-renewable. If there’s a mithril vein, that mithril vein will be there until it runs out. The server will manage these amounts on its own, and will repopulate things where and when it desires. You might find another mithril vein in that location sometime later, or somewhere nearby, or maybe never again!

    https://ashesofcreation.wiki/Resources



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  • AzheraeAzherae Member, Alpha One, Adventurer
    CROW3 wrote: »
    Azherae wrote: »
    And as @CROW3 has just pointed out, some of us are under the impression (and hope) that Ashes is a lower-liquidity game.
    Steven wrote:
    "We really want resources to be persistent and non-renewable. If there’s a mithril vein, that mithril vein will be there until it runs out. The server will manage these amounts on its own, and will repopulate things where and when it desires. You might find another mithril vein in that location sometime later, or somewhere nearby, or maybe never again!

    https://ashesofcreation.wiki/Resources



    I'm aware, but that doesn't tell you anything about how much any given thing will give you or how much there will be in total.

    In BDO a tree gives 2-4 sap.

    I can go into a forest with two sap collectors and gather 900+ sap in 1h because there are enough trees. They don't have to let me gather from more than one tree for this to work. It's a common thing I do.

    In Alpha-1, it was not that much harder. If you had even a little focus, 1 hour of gathering was over 100 logs+ores in a certain area. This is a density question.

    As long as you make each resource node drop at least 1 item, you need a travel time of at least 1 minute on average between them to prevent 50 items per hour. If you want to make it so that gathering 'raises your chances of getting more items from the resource', for example, even if it is only 20%, now it's more. Also that would suck the same way it always does, when 'knowing the route' plus 'anything that grants a 20% movement speed bonus' makes a player able to equal the gatherer who doesn't have that.

    It's three steps from there to what BDO is.

    I'm not saying that they won't make it so that it is lower liquidity, I'm saying that their other intentions for things and the expectations of players of what 'fun' is, may clash heavily, enough to change the liquidity level to the point where the travel thing won't be true.

    This is a delicate and somewhat stressed 'whiteboard of interconnected functions' again. Push too hard to lower the liquidity and the construct will break.
    Sorry, my native language is Erlang.
    
  • maouwmaouw Member, Alpha One, Adventurer
    edited September 2021
    beau, I think the "efficiency" problem you are trying to solve is actually a necessary part of gameplay.

    If you find that doing X is the most efficient for gold, it means you've found a niche in the economy.
    From a big-picture perspective, the solution to your problem is to remove niches from the economy. Which I don't think is a smart thing to do (I'm not even sure it's possible).

    If you don't attend to this niche, then its gold efficiency goes up because supply is even lower. And so it becomes a question of "how gold efficient does this activity need to be before players will compromise on their fun?"

    In your example of near-infinite demand, shouldn't you be pushing the price up to the point where players will literally be 50/50 on whether they should collect it themselves or buy from you? Which in turn causes players to start collecting the items themselves? (to put it bluntly, sub-optimal pricing maintains consumer demand and thus keeps you in "optimization hell" for longer - so isn't that somewhat self-inflicted?)

    Ok, but let's talk solutions.
    I think what would actually help to limit "optimization hell" is to keep the niches moving.
    And the best way to keep niches moving is to make the market as competitive as possible.
    And isn't that the true "purpose" of fungibility: To create competition?
    This is where the D3 example fails, because instancing the world is anti-competitive.

    Am I making sense?
    I wish I were deep and tragic
  • maouw wrote: »
    Ok, but let's talk solutions. I think what would actually help to limit "optimization hell" is to keep the niches moving.
    And the best way to keep niches moving is to make the market as competitive as possible. And isn't that the true "purpose" of fungibility: To create competition?

    Well, if market competition is ‘’best,’ and limiting supply creates competition. Sounds like murdering gatherers is best for the node. @Dolyem

    🤪


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