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Op Ed

Mises Daily - A Virtual Weimar: Hyperinflation in a Video Game World.
Two obvious solutions for managers of virtual economies include more vigilant bot restrictions and close — indeed, real-time — monitoring of faucet output, sink absorption, prices, and user behaviors. More critically, though, whether structured as auctions or exchanges, markets must be allowed to operate freely, without caps, floors, or other artificialities. Unrestricted (real) cash auctions would for the most part preempt and obviate black markets.

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14. Re: Op Ed May 27, 2013, 05:37 InBlack
 
As has been said here a thousand times, the GAH and the RMAH are just indicators of vast underlying problems with D3.

If you want to base your game on item hunting, then you have to make sure that your items are interesting, varied and DIFFERENT/UNIQUE enough to warrant searching for them and to make enough of them valuable at different points in your playthrough for the various available builds and characters. Diablo II and LOD did this very well.

The tools who designed DIII just used a variation of WoWs retarded system, which made the items boring, samey and excepting the top 0.1% extremely worthless.

Combine this with the second point that there are no skill trees and no customization and any character is free to experiment with any build they wish to make and you get the formula for a very stale, boring item hunt. Because the items are not tailored to particular skills this is made even worse.

Until this is changed there is no hope for D3.
 
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13. Re: Op Ed May 27, 2013, 01:42 Prez
 
A lot of my favorite games from the SNES/PSX era, for example, were simulation (Koei titles), and certainly a lot of people like some realistic gameplay (ARMA, etc.). Yes, you said economist, but let's be clear that you're really saying realism.

Well apparently I was not clear enough, because realism is not what I meant at all. I mean if the real world intersects with the virtual world (cash shops, real money auction houses), it ruins my experience. If it feels like the virtual world was substantively altered to accomodate real world considerations (cash shops, real money auction houses) as it so obviously does in my example Guild Wars 2, it ruins the game for me. In Skyrim it doesn't matter how much gold (septims) I accumulate because the economy is not affected by or affecting other players, and I can only accumulate riches in one way - by earning them in the virtual world. There's no economy to "ruin" by people farming/botting (whatever it's called - I don't really care).

An in-game economy can be realistic without dreadful things like RMAH's and cash shops that totally ruin the gameplay in my opinion because the game needs to be designed around those first and foremost. In the space game 'X3', if you play as a trader you can saturate a system with a particular good thereby reducing the price you can get for it until the supply goes down and the demand comes back up. The economy acts realistically with no real world cash and bottiing or farming to make a mess of things.

This comment was edited on May 27, 2013, 06:27.
 
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“The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.”
- Mahatma Gandhi
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12. Re: Op Ed May 26, 2013, 22:50 NewMaxx
 
Prez wrote on May 26, 2013, 20:55:
To rephrase my earlier rant if a gameworld needs an economist then I don't want to play it.

I'd argue that such an outlook only bars you from some gameplay (genre) experiences, but far from all.

A lot of my favorite games from the SNES/PSX era, for example, were simulation (Koei titles), and certainly a lot of people like some realistic gameplay (ARMA, etc.). Yes, you said economist, but let's be clear that you're really saying realism. The point of the person I quoted (Eirikautha) is that games that attempt to simulate worlds are, at least in part, simulations, and worlds as we known them always include economics. It's one of the foundations of civilization.

Titles that claim to be persistent worlds (MMO's, usually) fall into this category. So if you're saying you have no interest in persistent worlds, then I'm fine with your comment. If, however, you're saying you'd play Minecraft but not WoW, then I'm already partially disagreeing because economics is a very real part of any persistent world. I'd go so far as to say that any game that attempts to simulate persistence/stability requires economics, and thus, an economist for design by its very definition.

At least games where the economy poses issues for the player in real life...such as Diablo 3. I don't really consider that "persistent," though, but I do think MMO's generally qualify. Yet I'd have to say that titles like EVE, PotBS, etc., that are based on economy and have real world attachments, are much more upfront about it. I would not exclude them from my playlist simply for that nature.

This comment was edited on May 26, 2013, 23:01.
 
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11. Re: Op Ed May 26, 2013, 20:55 Prez
 
To rephrase my earlier rant if a gameworld needs an economist then I don't want to play it.  
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“The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.”
- Mahatma Gandhi
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10. Re: Op Ed May 26, 2013, 19:28 NewMaxx
 
Eirikrautha wrote on May 26, 2013, 11:39:
Good article. It's funny how folks that are so good at algorithms to simulate the real world (physics, projecting a 3D image on a 2D plane [your monitor], etc.) are frequently so inept at understanding the algorithms that make the real world tick (and by extension, their game worlds).

Which is why Gabe Newell had the sense to hire an economist.
 
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9. Re: Op Ed May 26, 2013, 18:31 Prez
 
This is why I only play games that have no auction house or cash shop. For games that use this stuff, the discussion always is about dry business economics instead of how to make the game be fun and stay fun for the long haul, or maybe how to reduce the grind for people who only want to use the currencies they earn in game to buy stuff. This "business-first" feel permeates throughout Guild Wars 2, and the game holds zero appeal for me because of it. My friend bought me a copy so I would game with him, but honestly every minute I play it is a chore. It's a terrible RPG.  
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“The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.”
- Mahatma Gandhi
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8. Re: Op Ed May 26, 2013, 16:14 Draugr
 
Flatline wrote on May 26, 2013, 15:43:
Actually, when subscriber numbers started to dip or more likely were projected to dip, they'd release a new WoW expansion to keep people interested.

Right, so they didn't rest on their laurels, they tried to nip a dip like that in the bud, this is why I say the RMAH making them money doesn't really have anything to do with an expansion coming out (at least not directly.) Blizzard never said "oh no we're losing subscibers, get an expansion out, quick!" Generally speaking they were released on a very consistent schedule (Assumedly taking into account retaining subscribers with that schedule). Sorry, I did a poor job of presenting my Wow example the way I intented.

Bringing back players for d3? This won't be accomplished with an expansion as there is more than needs to be fixed with the game than just more content, I don't think they would want to tie too many of those changes to an expansion, as without showing that off first a lot of people won't even consider an expansion, and I'm of the opinion they aren't worrying about the content until they get the game where they want it.
 
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7. Re: Op Ed May 26, 2013, 15:43 Flatline
 
Draugr wrote on May 26, 2013, 15:30:
Flatline wrote on May 26, 2013, 15:12:
Cutter wrote on May 26, 2013, 13:51:
The only problem I have with real money being utilized is then it becomes class warfare where those with money can buy anything they want/need while those who don't can't. And isn't that one of the main draws of games? The escape from reality? Where you can be uber and forget about things like money problems for a while?

Well in theory yes. This isn't about the player side though, this whole clusterfuck arises from wanting residual income and legitimizing gold farmers by taking 15% (which ironically didn't work).

And as far as residuals and new revenue streams, D3 is a success. I mean, they haven't released *any* new content have they? They released some rule systems to let you keep grinding past level cap but that's not *really* new content is it?

10 years ago Blizzard would have had to have resorted to expansion packs and DLC and new content in order to continue bringing in a revenue stream. Instead, they just sit there and scrape the cream off the top of the pot for people who are addicted to the game. I actually wonder if we will see a significant expansion/content update.

Correlation =/= causation. Them not releasing new content by now has nothing directly to do with the revenue generation d3 is currently doing. Using your same reasoning, they should have never released wow expansions or content because it was making them lots of money. I would almost say you are drawing the opposite conclusion than you should. If they had the momentum they wanted, they would keep that going, if it comes lurching to a halt (due to something like bad gameplay/desgin decisions.) then that's something they are going to need to address before they can get those people to dumb extra money on more of your game. I'd say more content not coming out has more to do with the current state of the game rather than they are satisfied with the revenue.

In addition to that, the ps3/4 release is getting worked on. This at least gives them the chance to sell you the game twice, (since the new version had a lot of the stuff people wanted in the original release.) I imagine they will worry about an expansion after this - Provided the changes and (and in turn the population) warrant it.

As others have mentioned, it's funny to think they have these issues considering the influence they can have on it, and supposedly they have economists who are working on this thing.

Actually, when subscriber numbers started to dip or more likely were projected to dip, they'd release a new WoW expansion to keep people interested.

I forgot about the PS3 version however. You're absolutely right there.
 
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6. Re: Op Ed May 26, 2013, 15:30 Draugr
 
Flatline wrote on May 26, 2013, 15:12:
Cutter wrote on May 26, 2013, 13:51:
The only problem I have with real money being utilized is then it becomes class warfare where those with money can buy anything they want/need while those who don't can't. And isn't that one of the main draws of games? The escape from reality? Where you can be uber and forget about things like money problems for a while?

Well in theory yes. This isn't about the player side though, this whole clusterfuck arises from wanting residual income and legitimizing gold farmers by taking 15% (which ironically didn't work).

And as far as residuals and new revenue streams, D3 is a success. I mean, they haven't released *any* new content have they? They released some rule systems to let you keep grinding past level cap but that's not *really* new content is it?

10 years ago Blizzard would have had to have resorted to expansion packs and DLC and new content in order to continue bringing in a revenue stream. Instead, they just sit there and scrape the cream off the top of the pot for people who are addicted to the game. I actually wonder if we will see a significant expansion/content update.

Correlation =/= causation. Them not releasing new content by now has nothing directly to do with the revenue generation d3 is currently doing. Using your same reasoning, they should have never released wow expansions or content because it was making them lots of money. I would almost say you are drawing the opposite conclusion than you should. If they had the momentum they wanted, they would keep that going, if it comes lurching to a halt (due to something like bad gameplay/desgin decisions.) then that's something they are going to need to address before they can get those people to dumb extra money on more of your game. I'd say more content not coming out has more to do with the current state of the game rather than they are satisfied with the revenue.

In addition to that, the ps3/4 release is getting worked on. This at least gives them the chance to sell you the game twice, (since the new version had a lot of the stuff people wanted in the original release.) I imagine they will worry about an expansion after this - Provided the changes and (and in turn the population) warrant it.

As others have mentioned, it's funny to think they have these issues considering the influence they can have on it, and supposedly they have economists who are working on this thing.
 
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5. Re: Op Ed May 26, 2013, 15:12 Flatline
 
Cutter wrote on May 26, 2013, 13:51:
The only problem I have with real money being utilized is then it becomes class warfare where those with money can buy anything they want/need while those who don't can't. And isn't that one of the main draws of games? The escape from reality? Where you can be uber and forget about things like money problems for a while?

Well in theory yes. This isn't about the player side though, this whole clusterfuck arises from wanting residual income and legitimizing gold farmers by taking 15% (which ironically didn't work).

And as far as residuals and new revenue streams, D3 is a success. I mean, they haven't released *any* new content have they? They released some rule systems to let you keep grinding past level cap but that's not *really* new content is it?

10 years ago Blizzard would have had to have resorted to expansion packs and DLC and new content in order to continue bringing in a revenue stream. Instead, they just sit there and scrape the cream off the top of the pot for people who are addicted to the game. I actually wonder if we will see a significant expansion/content update.
 
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4. Re: Op Ed May 26, 2013, 14:12 Kajetan
 
The really sad thing ... we're talking about virtual economies. You dont have to suffer "inflation" or such. You have everything at your disposal to counter these developements. Games are a PARADISE for modern business scientists, where you can explore and influence every notion and motion an economy makes.

But looking at recent events, all i see is video game companies with no knowledge on how to manage virtual economies. Heck, even Blizzard, with all the money to afford a whole staff of economists ... they just stood there and let it all fall apart.
 
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3. Re: Op Ed May 26, 2013, 13:51 Cutter
 
The only problem I have with real money being utilized is then it becomes class warfare where those with money can buy anything they want/need while those who don't can't. And isn't that one of the main draws of games? The escape from reality? Where you can be uber and forget about things like money problems for a while?
 
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"The South will boogie again!" - Disco Stu
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2. Re: Op Ed May 26, 2013, 12:06 Cpmartins
 
Having a true successor to D2 OR having a smash n grab with a built in moneymaking scheme. For the shareholders, that was a no-brainer decision. More money >> Slightly less money.  
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1. Re: Op Ed May 26, 2013, 11:39 Eirikrautha
 
Good article. It's funny how folks that are so good at algorithms to simulate the real world (physics, projecting a 3D image on a 2D plane [your monitor], etc.) are frequently so inept at understanding the algorithms that make the real world tick (and by extension, their game worlds). Just about ever person who followed the Diablo3 development told them the RMAH would create incentives and stresses that would destroy the game economy, but they just wouldn't listen...  
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