Herd Mentality and game economy

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Radiac
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Herd Mentality and game economy

A thought occurred to me recently. In GW2, leather was a raw material that was overly expensive compared to some other stuff, largely because it was needed for a lot of popular armors and could not be mined from the environment like metal and wood, which were always cheaper. So people used to go out and do content against centaurs a lot to get leather, because they drop that.

This made me think about the herd mentality of gamers in general. You don't often see people bucking the trend a lot, they tend to read up about the game, find some guy's internet guide to making IGC, and stick to it.

With that in mind, let's remember that in CoX, you used to be able to set your difficulty to whatever level you wanted, and you could could do a number of different types of content. There was street sweeping, soloing missions, PUGing for missions, doing Task Forces, doing incarnate stuff, etc. And which toon you played made a difference too, as Masterminds could make like WAY more IGC than Defender while soloing, for example.

So imagine someone writes a guide that tells people how to get the most IGC while soloing. People start doing that. Then what happens?

Is that strategy, whatever it is, going to remain the most efficient, even if everyone's doing it that way? Should it?

Imagine if the "best" play style is good, in a vacuum, but maybe it doesn't get you one or two certain items, which you'll then need to buy. But maybe some other game play style DOES get you those items. If that were the case, playing "against the grain" might become equally profitable, or maybe the best return on your time investment ends up thing a thing that changes over time as the market evolves.

Example: Mastermind soloing is really profitable at first, so people start doing that in droves. But that wont get you the type of items that you can get at the end of a TF, some of which are valuable to Mastermind characters. So they pay top dollar for those items so as to be able to solo higher difficulties for better rewards.

Ultimately I think the best thing would be if different play styles yielded different rewards (or the same rewards, but in different statistical likelihoods/ drop rates maybe) in such a way that less popular play styles can yield higher returns for the stuff they generate based on the overall price of the items.

Suppose that in order to make a really good Augment, you need 2 different items. If soloing missions gets you one of them at a much higher rate than the other, then soloers will get a lot of that thing and less of the other. Similarly TFs could give out some reward table at the end for finishing that has the other item as a higher probability.

This way people dedicated to one play style could find value in trading with other players on the market and the herd mentality of "just do X and get paid the best" would probably not be optimal at all times for all people.

R.S.O. of Phoenix Rising

Lothic
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Radiac wrote:
Radiac wrote:

Ultimately I think the best thing would be if different play styles yielded different rewards (or the same rewards, but in different statistical likelihoods/ drop rates maybe) in such a way that less popular play styles can yield higher returns for the stuff they generate based on the overall price of the items.

I would think a good mix of these things would be the general goal of any MMO in order to create enough "supply and demand" to keep the game's economy functional.

But I think you'd need to make sure that things don't get so specialized that it turns out there's only ONE way to get a certain reward/resource. If the game devolved down into strict categories of "you only do thing X to get thing Y" then it might become just a weird collection of isolated sub-games where people settle down into their niches with absolutely no reason to do anything else. This kind of thing happened to some degree with Hami and Incarnate raids - some people did them almost religiously while others hardly/never did them at all.

CoH player from April 25, 2004 to November 30, 2012

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Considering the fact that the

Considering the fact that the NPC Vendors in City of Titans are expected to "play the market" too, as a means of sinking resources OUT of the game (by capping their stocks of resources, presumably, resulting in destruction of supplies when supply exceeds demand at a "loss" to the Vendor NPC) ... if done right, the Supply & Demand counterweights ought to be in place from the beginning. Depending on how they're programmed (and how easily the parameters of their programming can be updated), it's entirely possible for the Vendor NPCs in City of Titans to serve a "boundary" function, in which the prices for commodities can neither rise too high, or fall too low, due to the fact that the NPCs are "playing the market too" along with the Players.


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Lothic
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Redlynne wrote:
Redlynne wrote:

Considering the fact that the NPC Vendors in City of Titans are expected to "play the market" too, as a means of sinking resources OUT of the game (by capping their stocks of resources, presumably, resulting in destruction of supplies when supply exceeds demand at a "loss" to the Vendor NPC) ...

You're right about this - I think I semi-forgot about the NPC vendors in CoT being able to dynamically adjust themselves. It'll be interesting to see how that works in practice.

CoH player from April 25, 2004 to November 30, 2012

Radiac
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Another issue I noticed in

Another issue I noticed in GW2's economy was, like CoT, the lower level stuff was sometimes more valuable than the highest level stuff, simply because there are always more level-capped players in the game running around than lowbies. After all, you can only spend so much time at level 10 before you level up eventually, unless you turn XP off for some reason. This causes the more common gear that drops at the level cap (mithril and elder wood in GW2) to be really cheap as compared to the lower level equivalents (hard wood and iron).

It always seemed like a failing of the game design that the lower level raw materials were more expensive than the higher level ones. Ironically gold (the raw material ore, not the IGC) is like THE cheapest mined resource in GW due to its combination of almost total uselessness in making anything good and the fact that there are mining nodes that produce it.

May the"fix" to that is to make all raw materials non-level-specific. That is, to make it so that while there may be different qualities of raw materials, they are not character level dependent. I don't know, just thinking out loud.

R.S.O. of Phoenix Rising

Lothic
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Radiac]After all, you can
Radiac wrote:

After all, you can only spend so much time at level 10 before you level up eventually, unless you turn XP off for some reason.

I remember people maintaining "level locked" farming characters in CoH specifically for this reason.

Radiac wrote:

May the"fix" to that is to make all raw materials non-level-specific. That is, to make it so that while there may be different qualities of raw materials, they are not character level dependent. I don't know, just thinking out loud.

Maybe keep the "level ranged" materials but don't have them only drop at hard character level boundaries - let them be spread over some kind of bell curve distribution. That way a level 50 guy might get something meant for level 5 like once every few hundred drops - likewise let a level 5 guy get a level 50 item every once in a while which they can keep or sell for extra profit.

CoH player from April 25, 2004 to November 30, 2012

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Radiac, let me take an

Radiac, let me take an analytic look at your proposal:

First let us define the potential playstyles:

  • PvE solo
  • PvE group
  • PvP
  • Raids

Thus we could potentially have up to 4 limiting ingredients for any recipe. When I say limiting ingredients I mean the ingredients that define the rarity of the recipe. For example, in the McDonald's Monopoly game, Park Place tokens are relatively common, but the number of Boardwalk tokens in circulation are what determines the odds of winning that prize.

So if a recipe had four ingredients, to make things simple, you could make all four common in all four playstyles, or you could make each ingredient in only one play style each, or you could make three ingredients common in all four play styles but only one rare in only one play style, and so on; there are several additional combinations of rarity and location available to us.

Is this kind of what you are discussing?

I imagine that the rarest recipes would have all four ingredients of rare scarcity, each only found in its own play style. But the law of unintended consequences would rear its ugly head, however.
It could possibly result in one of the following two undesirable results:

  1. Players in each play style hold onto theirs waiting for players of the other play styles to place theirs on the market, thus no one places any on the market and it ends up being rarer than the devs intended, or
  2. Players complain that the devs are forcingplayers to partake in play styles they don't enjoy in order to obtain their ingredients

Personally, I think both results are not worthy complaints, but that won't stop a vocal segment of the playing population from making those complaints regardless.


I like to take your ideas and supersize them. This isn't criticism, it is flattery. I come with nothing but good will and a spirit of team-building. If you take what I write any other way, that is probably just because I wasn't very clear.
Radiac
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I don't think making anything

I don't think making anything that would be valuable for PVE purposes available mainly to PVP or as a PVP reward drop is a good idea. As for Raids, teaming, and soloing in PVE, those gave different types of drops in CoX, if you recall. At least they did before Reward Merits replaced end-of-TF random drops. The Hamidon had it's own category of Enhancements. And Incarnate content had it's own entirely separate salvage and component crafting system even. And yes, CoX PVP had PVP recipes that only dropped in PVP and were uber expensive because of the low drop rates and general lack of PVP on some servers.

But those were actual useable items, right. A HamiO was a HamiO, not a crafting component that made something else. What I'm talking about is maybe have the raids drop a better chance of one category of crafting stuff, while soloing drops more of another type and teaming drops a third type more. You still get all 3 types all the time, just "extra" of the given type while doing the associated type of content.

Actually, maybe that would be better, maybe doing a TF gets you a random loot drop (like everything else) PLUS an occasional bonus drop of a specfic category, still random, and maybe you force the extra drop when you fulfill a badge run like how the Incarnate Trials used to give bonus drops for getting a badge.

R.S.O. of Phoenix Rising