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Helping CoT Make Money w/o Pay to Win

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WraithTDK
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Micro-transactions, for good

Micro-transactions, for good or for bad, are here to stay. Real-money sales of virtual items; for better or for worse, are here to stay. Personally, I think that they can be of tremendous benefit to both players and developers, IF handled properly. So here are my rules for micro-transactions and real-money item markets:

1. Never sell items that give someone an advantage or “boost.” Weapons, powers, etc. This is a sure-fire path to “pay to win.” Note that advantages gained from a single-tier subscription options don’t count.

2. Never sell items that subscription players cannot reasonably earn by simply playing the game; and I don’t mean a “once a day you get an ad-supported roulette spin that grants a .01% chance. I mean “you can buy this cape, or you can earn it as a task force reward.” I can, however, think of one exception to this: charity items. Sim City, for example, sells red-cross branded hospital for your city, which can only be obtained with real money; and the proceeds all go to charity. That’s the kind of thing that a community like ours-who want nothing else as much as we want to be heroes – can always get behind.

3. Avoid, or at least severely limit, the “limited time items.” At least one game I can think of has a new limited time item every week. The appeal for the company is obvious – the small window of opportunity creates a sense of desperation in users “uh-oh, I better buy this now or I’ll miss out!” Which makes people buy more. It simultaneously prays on people’s weakness for impulse buys and leaves virtually everyone with a sense of lost opportunity over all the items that they missed out on. It really adds a sense of sourness to the game. Let’s avoid this. I don’t mind Christmas-themed items that are only available in December, or Halloween items in October; especially if those items return every year. But it shouldn't just be a revolving door of briefly available items for no reason other than to drive impulse buys.

So those are my rules for real-money transactions, but I do have one further word of advice: take a page from Steam’s playbook, and include an in-game marketplace for user’s items, which allows for real-money purchases. Here’s how I would do this:

Users can sell any and all items they have earned, crafted, or otherwise acquired on the market. Players can purchase items on said market using a market-specific currency which can be purchased using real money or the STANDARD in-game currency. Missing World Media gets a small cut of every transaction. This idea does come with two questions, so I’ll try to answer them before they’re asked:

Q. Any and all items? Doesn't this break the rule #1 you made above? The “pay to win” rule?

A. No, for two reasons. First of all, this would have to come with a level restriction rule for power-items. For example, if a weapon normally can only be earned by a task force requiring you to be level 25 or above to run, said item can only be wielded by level 25 characters. Level 24s and below can buy them from the market, but they will be warned ahead of time that they will be unable to use it until they hit 25. The second reason why this doesn’t create a “pay to win environment” is that unlike having the items just sitting in the market, in order to buy these power items, SOMEONE had to have actually put in the work to earn them.

Q. Why have a market-only currency? Well, you've got three options for the marketplace:
1. You can have the items purchasable using only standard in-game currency. This, however, does nothing for Missing Worlds Media, and will take money away from their item store/micro-transaction options.

2. You can allow people to BUY standard in-game currency, thus allowing real-money transactions in the market. The problem there is that it created pay-to-win scenarios buy simply allowing everything that can be bought (including power items) to be buyable

3. You go with my idea, and have a unique currency which can be bought using standard in-game currency or real-world money, thus allowing items to be acquired using a combination of cash and earned, in-game credit; and since MWM gets a small cut, they wind up making money by hopefully getting people to spend more real-world money on this currency.

So, those are my thoughts on the matter. I'm interested to hear what the rest of you think!

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Segev wrote:
Segev wrote:

I assume that the subscriptions under your model would ALSO have perks just for being subscribed, such as (to use an example from CoV) subscriber-only archetypes like Mastermind.

I would certainly hope I could assume this. I'd expect a sub to give me access to regular updates of core stuff (a la CoX "Issues") with any stipend or discount applying to "extra" stuff. For example, if a new zone or level cap increase were released, I'd expect that to be part of my sub; a new power set for an existing AT or costume set would be the sort of thing I'd expect to see purchaseable with the stipend/discount. In other words, pretty much what they did in CoX -- aside from the random packs, which I hate with a passion.

Spurn all ye kindle.

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Segev wrote:
Segev wrote:

That makes a bit more sense, now that you lay out the way you plan for the subscriptions to have varying discount levels. Doing it by length-of-time subscribing might work. (I was trying to figure out why you'd have multiple subscription levels when all they did was give increasing discounts.)

Okay, good. I was wondering what the stumbling block to comprehension was, and as usual it was an incomplete reception of a concept or an idea. The discount by length of time model is functionally a Loyalty Reward.

Segev wrote:

I assume that the subscriptions under your model would ALSO have perks just for being subscribed, such as (to use an example from CoV) subscriber-only archetypes like Mastermind.

You're free to assume that, of course, but I would bring your attention to the point that the Discounts Model I've been advocating for is completely agnostic on this particular issue. Special perks for subscribers COULD be done, but there's no particular reason (other than Good Business Sense™) that says they HAVE TO be done.

Now, if you're asking me if I think that subscribers ought to get "special benefits" not available to non-subscribers ... I would say that there would be some things which could be done by Missing Worlds Media in this direction which do not amount to a Pay To Play enforcement. Limiting Archetypes (as mentioned, Masterminds) ... I'd recommend against such limitations in principle. As a specific example, I offer the Cape of the Four Winds ...

... which was an exclusive unlock for buying the DVD Edition of City of Heroes. And by exclusive, it was *EXCLUSIVE* ... meaning even YEARS later after there were no more DVD copies of the game to be had/sold, Paragon Studios wouldn't make this particular cape available for purchase with Paragon Points.

My thoughts in this area run more towards time shifting and staged releases, so that *everyone* eventually gets everything ... but the Subscribers get "first crack" at everything before it becomes available to everyone, because the subscribers have (literally) pre-paid for everything. So if Missing Worlds Media comes up with a new powerset and decides to "sell" it through the cash shop (like Paragon Studios did for Staff Melee, Street Justice, Beam Rifle, etc. etc.), that new powerset would be "purchasable" by subscribers only for a time (weeks? months?) before becoming generally available to everyone. Same deal with new costume parts ... or access to the Beta Testing server for future releases ... and so on and so forth. There are a wide variety of "things" in a game like City of Heroes (which City of Titans aspires to be) where being able to get early access to New Stuff™ could be a valuable enough commodity as to warrant a subscription, and feel like you're getting your money's worth for it.

The important thing is that anything that is Subscribers Only will have an expiration date on that status, such that it will eventually be available to everyone. So I have no problem with a Subscribers Only implementation so long as that is a TEMPORARY state, rather than a permanent one. Clear?

Segev wrote:

The fungibility of a Star, however, is important to the structure I'm hoping to instill whereby players can spend real money to buy in-game useful items that help subsidize the truely free-to-players' ability to access paywall-locked content (costume pieces, convenience items, quality of life items, vanity base items, possibly special mission or early-access to missions or on-demand access to rotating missions...still not entirely sure what would be locked behind a paywall and we're fiddling with ideas; other than "no pay to win" items back there, at least).

The first and foremost concern I have for that sort of economic flow is ... how easy it might be (or become) for either a single Player (or more likely, a group of Players) to capture and manipulate the market to serve their own interests and ends. Specifically, I'm talking about "flow control" of how quickly (and easily) capital can flow through the market, because if there's no limit you're basically BEGGING for someone to resurrect the Ebil Marketeers and the Professional Gold Farmers (since there will be only one server).

The other thing you need to watch out for is the cautionary tale of what I consider Diablo Economtricks, where you wound up with the Stone of Jordan becoming the "currency" Players valued in Diablo II (for a while, until the cheaters duped their way to outrageous inflation), and then in Diablo III where the Real Money Auction House functionally ruined the game. Fortunately, City of Titans, like City of Heroes before it, isn't intended to be a heavily "gear mods" driven game (unlike Diablo II and III, which are heavily gear dependent) ... but that doesn't necessarily mean that Gold Farmers won't be trying to set up shop in City of Titans. The only way to keep such riff-raff from overrunning everything is to ensure that the foundational fundamentals of the market include enough Capital Controls to make "mass production farming" of the game either unsustainable or not effectively profitable over time.

The way that you're talking about your Stars system here, Segev, has me very concerned in that it seems (so far at least) that the structures you're talking about would aid and abet Gold Farmers, rather than discourage them. Granted, nothing has been "built" yet, but I do worry that if you make everything "too easy" you run the risk of market capture by speculators, hustlers and swindlers.

Segev wrote:

This is a lot of brainstorming on my part, here. As ever, it's subject to a lot of change. You're watching me "think out loud" here, bouncing off some of your ideas and toying with problem-solving. There are no new official announcements at all in this.

Oh, that's completely understood! This is the time to Peer Review ideas and structures, to poke holes in them while they're still on paper so they aren't easy to subvert and manipulate once people start actually USING these systems.


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Segev
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I'd like to address the "gold

I'd like to address the "gold farmers" issue. I suspect and hope that this, too, is a matter of incomplete reception of my idea.

Gold Farmers make their stock and trade by going out and doing high-profit-for-time-invested "work" in MMO game worlds, often to the detriment of more normal players who would like access to that content (where such things must be competed for). They take the massive surplus of "stuff" (often including large quantities of in-game currency) and sell them for in-game currency or on a real-world market (where possible). They take the in-game currency, as well, and put it up for sale on third-party sites.

Their customers then decide they wish to spend real money to get in-game currency (and perhaps other items). They go to this site, and (assuming they aren't scammed) they make an arrangement to pay real money and then initiate a work-around of whatever systems the game has in place to prevent players from engaging in this behavior to transfer the in-game currency to their account.

This leads, among other things, to massive inflation.

The motives for the gold farmers are two fold: First, they make money this way, obviously; secondly, there are many who are scammers who use it to trick people into giving their account information and credit card information and stealing things from them that way.

All of this still directed towards "making real money off the desires of players of this game."

It has been not-uncommonly suggested (though rarely received terribly well) that a way to avoid this is for the game company to simply sell in-game currency for real money. Cut the gold farmer out of the equation entirely, and profit 100% directly. The problems with this are myriad, not the least simply being "that's pay to win" and the perception (however true or false) that the game company is just trying to milk more money out of its players. It doesn't avoid any of the inflationary problems this can pose, either. In fact, the ease of it - not having to "grind" for the currency in game - can make it worse.

However, it WOULD cut out the gold-farmers. It might make other players engage in the irritating farming behavior, but they're doing it for themselves at that point. At least they're legitimately playing the game. :/

Now. My proposal with the Stars is to also cut out the gold farmers by allowing players to buy in-game currency and other in-game-useful items - anything they might want to "pay to win" by buying with real money - through an officially sanctioned channel in the game. Specifically, through the AH.

I do not see how gold farmers of the traditional, we-live-in-China-and-work-in-an-MMO-sweat-shop-to-make-real-money sense would be anything but discouraged by this. The prices they would have to offer would have to undercut what the players themselves are offering on the AH. And they'd have to do so by a significant margin to make the hassle of all the work-arounds worth-while. Moreover, the buying of large sums of in-game currency may not even be desirable, since using Stars directly to buy goods on the AH will be a possibility.

(In-game currency, I think, will still be essential for dealing with vendors and buying goods and services from NPCs, though. So there will be a reason to get it.)

But if "gold farmers" are active players who are motivated by a desire for Stars, I think it will be healthier for the game than if they're the kind of not-really-playing-at-all gold farmer who is working a full-time job to sell the currency for real money.

I don't think we'll see as many of that latter kind. The former kind - the guys who just grind because they want to sell things on the AH - will be motivated to do so, but they won't be ABLE to make a paying job out of it, so that real-world drive won't be there.

Does that make sense?

Am I missing something about gold farmers that would make this attractive to them?

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Segev wrote:
Segev wrote:

Am I missing something about gold farmers that would make this attractive to them?

My concerns lay in the direction of market manipulation and "capture" such that a gold farming "group" might be able to horde enough of the game's (multiple?) currencies so as to be able to potentially dictate supply. Kind of like DeBeers and diamonds, where controlling the supply allows you to set the prices for commodities ... which then makes possible all kinds of profiteering (including the predatory real money variety).

Essentially my concern is a matter of exploits and what I suppose might be construed as racketeering (after a fashion, I guess). What you're saying makes sense, Segev ... but I'm not seeing anything which suggests that your currency model does anything intrinsic to discourage or "fight" gold farming tactics and methods, and therefore carries the potential to facilitate yet another vector by which (exploitative) gold farming activities can become profitable (or worse, thrive).


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Segev wrote:
Segev wrote:

I'd like to address the "gold farmers" issue. I suspect and hope that this, too, is a matter of incomplete reception of my idea.
Gold Farmers make their stock and trade by going out and doing high-profit-for-time-invested "work" in MMO game worlds, often to the detriment of more normal players who would like access to that content (where such things must be competed for). They take the massive surplus of "stuff" (often including large quantities of in-game currency) and sell them for in-game currency or on a real-world market (where possible). They take the in-game currency, as well, and put it up for sale on third-party sites.
Their customers then decide they wish to spend real money to get in-game currency (and perhaps other items). They go to this site, and (assuming they aren't scammed) they make an arrangement to pay real money and then initiate a work-around of whatever systems the game has in place to prevent players from engaging in this behavior to transfer the in-game currency to their account.
This leads, among other things, to massive inflation.
The motives for the gold farmers are two fold: First, they make money this way, obviously; secondly, there are many who are scammers who use it to trick people into giving their account information and credit card information and stealing things from them that way.
All of this still directed towards "making real money off the desires of players of this game."
It has been not-uncommonly suggested (though rarely received terribly well) that a way to avoid this is for the game company to simply sell in-game currency for real money. Cut the gold farmer out of the equation entirely, and profit 100% directly. The problems with this are myriad, not the least simply being "that's pay to win" and the perception (however true or false) that the game company is just trying to milk more money out of its players. It doesn't avoid any of the inflationary problems this can pose, either. In fact, the ease of it - not having to "grind" for the currency in game - can make it worse.
However, it WOULD cut out the gold-farmers. It might make other players engage in the irritating farming behavior, but they're doing it for themselves at that point. At least they're legitimately playing the game. :/
Now. My proposal with the Stars is to also cut out the gold farmers by allowing players to buy in-game currency and other in-game-useful items - anything they might want to "pay to win" by buying with real money - through an officially sanctioned channel in the game. Specifically, through the AH.
I do not see how gold farmers of the traditional, we-live-in-China-and-work-in-an-MMO-sweat-shop-to-make-real-money sense would be anything but discouraged by this. The prices they would have to offer would have to undercut what the players themselves are offering on the AH. And they'd have to do so by a significant margin to make the hassle of all the work-arounds worth-while. Moreover, the buying of large sums of in-game currency may not even be desirable, since using Stars directly to buy goods on the AH will be a possibility.
(In-game currency, I think, will still be essential for dealing with vendors and buying goods and services from NPCs, though. So there will be a reason to get it.)
But if "gold farmers" are active players who are motivated by a desire for Stars, I think it will be healthier for the game than if they're the kind of not-really-playing-at-all gold farmer who is working a full-time job to sell the currency for real money.
I don't think we'll see as many of that latter kind. The former kind - the guys who just grind because they want to sell things on the AH - will be motivated to do so, but they won't be ABLE to make a paying job out of it, so that real-world drive won't be there.
Does that make sense?
Am I missing something about gold farmers that would make this attractive to them?

Good stuff here. and some good points. Except believe it or not, many gold farmers are nto China based. In relative amount, very few are. That is simply a stereotype that gotten out of hand. Many are US based people, some are European based, and not talking about only eastern bloc. France Germany, England, Italy type too.

In COX it seemed to be a rare case of inflation caused gold farmers to become apparent and profitable instead of gold farmers causing the inflation. Before IO And AH market, there wasn't many gold farmers hanging about, plenty of PL people but not many Gold farmers because through out the course of normal game play regardless of chosen path usually netted enough money to buy stuff. Once IO hit and prices inflated beyond what could be obtained in normal gameplay to levels that seemed near impossible unless one spent time becoming a part time marketeer, then there were less PL survives and more and more gold farmer services. And people buy just to compete. Yes, gold farmers should be cut out of the equation.

And I see what Red is saying. If there is a way to exploit, and or corner the market, some players will find a way, and when someone point it out and the effects it causing the response probably will be like the response for the COX market. "Learn to play AKA either exploit like me or shut up. SO the question is really, what things would be in place to prevent a relative few from basically cornering and controlling the market again. In COX, it was all play money and kind of turn a blind eye. But this could have real money with real life consequences that can do damage than any gold farmer scam.

But from what I see with the different currencies and ways of obtaining them it would be or so it seem would be difficult for any one or group of players to corner the thing. They may corner the AH in game currency price again, and charge 100 million for this and that and 500 million for another piece and cause in game currency inflation but... with the other currencies maybe that would control inflation because, assuming the other currencies are put on a competing scale and not thrown in there where it's no where near feasible and have to farm just to get a few bits, or spend thousands and maybe have enough for half of the lowest grade stuff, aka, it's in there but can tell the devs are nudging people towards the other stuff type nonsense, people then could spend and get what they want using the other currencies. Thus if one wanted to sell for in game currency they may not be able to charge 100 million a pop and may have to drop their price or else it wont sell. And people will buy it with Stars or get it through other means.

Basically, what will cause inflation is not people buying currency but the price of stuff. Higher the price of items that outside the normal range of what can be obtained in game, which is probably bound to happen when players control the prices, then more people will have to buy to compete. But if there is somewhere where prices are controlled, then that could place a ceiling on inflation and create a real market like it works in the real world. Too high price here, they go somewhere else. But when there is only one source then people charge what ever the hell they want. And thus, nothing much the buyer can do but either, spend less time playing and playing marketeer, or buying from gold farmers in order to get what they want. Now since with a player controlled market inflation is all but guaranteed to happen, and people will buy from gold farmers if they feel cornered between choosing to spend time farming or otherwise having to focus on a side part of the game for long periods of time just to keep up, gold farmers will make a killing. Unless those gold farmers are simply other players. But while gold farmers will probably be kept in check, what are the factors to keep other players in check, some which are way worse than gold farmers when allowed to be and the exploit is there.

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Doesn't the selling of sub

Doesn't the selling of sub time, help curb this? Someone buys a 15 dollar One Month Game Sub Time, then can sell it on the market for however much they want, and whoever uses the item gets 30 days of game time.

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Brand X wrote:
Brand X wrote:

Doesn't the selling of sub time, help curb this? Someone buys a 15 dollar One Month Game Sub Time, then can sell it on the market for however much they want, and whoever uses the item gets 30 days of game time.

It can curb it, and in fact CCP have seen this happen.

However, as currency amongst the older players accrues, the in game currency price for the game time card will slowly but surely increase.

It didn't stop the ISK spam, but at least it cut down on it (not to mention as well being proactive with the banning, and not just banning one or two members of a group, but tracing all the routes that the currency takes before it gets spent and then banning the relevant parties... takes longer, but gets more people.)

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In order to corner a market,

In order to corner a market, you have to control the source of supply. The items I am envisioning being on the market are things players either craft themselves or pick up from "drops." (or mission rewards)

Let's say we have a single player, Scrooge McDuck, who has somehow managed to accumulate more than half the extant in-game currency in the game.

He decides he wants to corner the market on Number One Dimes (NODs), which are a popular, but somewhat rare, item.

So, to do this, he offers far, far more than the NOD's current market value for every NOD on the market. Every NOD on the AH is snapped up by him. He then turns around and offers his NODs for even more than he bought them for. Fewer people can afford them, so they become harder to get, and he's sitting on a stockpile that's huge. If he sells enough of them, he'll break even while still having some left to sell (now for profit).

The market value floor is now what he offers to buy them. So any time Huey, Dewie, or Lewie find an NOD in the game, they can sell it for at minimum what Scrooge is offering.

But this is the AH: if people are buying NOD's at Scrooge's sell price, they will pick up anything that Huey, Dewie, or Lewie puts up for anything below that (somewhere between Scrooge's "buy" and "sell" prices). If Huey realizes that the "market value" right now is Scrooge's sell price (because that's what everybody else is buying at, since he cornered the market), Huey might well sell at taht price or just under, helping keep the artificial price up. But Scrooge has to sell at a rate that keeps up with his buying, or he's bleeding money to maintain his locked-down inventory.

Huey, Dewie, and Lewie are still out there winning the occasional NOD. And Scrooge isn't buying Huey's at the price he bought everything else; he's buying them at his sell price or just below if he's buying Huey's at all.

He might still snap up Dewie's, but only if nobody is bidding higher than his "buy" price but under his "sell" price.

Ultimately, this falls apart because he doesn't control the supply, and he'll have to lower his prices to something enough people can afford to recoup his outlay on the massive purchase. And, tomorrow, more NODs go up for sale by other people who harvested them from the game.

Scrooge has inconvenienced people, but it should self-correct. If Scrooge is lucky and he read the market exactly right, he'll manage to sell enough NODs at a massively inflated price to recoup what he spent on the ones he hasn't sold yet. But he doesn't have infinite in-game currency, and if he keeps buying them as they come in and can't sell them fast enough to restore his liquid funds, he can't keep this up. And if demand were high enough to support the amounts he wants to charge, then the prices for NODs would already have been up there. As prices rise, the number of people willing to buy falls. So he has fewer and fewer customers the higher he has to raise the price on NODs.

Now, maybe he's counting on some people who pay2win to be so desperate for it NOW NOW NOW that they'll shell out real money to buy Stars to buy in-game currency with from other players (maybe even himself), and then use that bought currency to buy the inflated NODs. But even that's short-term, and will ultimately leave him with less in-game currency than he started with, either because he sold for less than he bought, or because he has an inventory he can't move for the prices at which he bought it.

And, if he's counting on this short-term to convert his in-game currency into Stars, he'd be better off just selling the in-game currency for Stars directly. He's hoping people will be so desperate that they'll buy NODs at his inflated price before more supply comes in from the other players. Again: even if he does snap up the new supply at his inflated buy price, he's accumulating NODs faster than he can sell them for the prices he needs to sell them to turn a profit.

DeBeers can control the diamond supply because they own practically every diamond mine in the world. They don't have to "buy up" others' supply at prices unsupported by the scarcity of what is available to anybody but them. Put another way: if you don't count the diamonds they have, the supply really is scarce enough to support the prices they sell for right now. And with the exception of that hoard, there isn't a constant influx at a lower level of scarcity (i.e. a more abundant supply).

For Scrooge in our hypothetical situation to manage this, he'd need to somehow keep anybody but himself from harvesting NODs in the game.

Now, Minotaur's given scenarios I hadn't been able to conceive, so I'm open to counter-examples. But this one doesn't seem like it could be sustainable long enough to do anything harmful.

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Segev wrote:
Segev wrote:

Scrooge has inconvenienced people, but it should self-correct.

This, right here, is the key sticking point that I'm putting my finger on. Over a long enough time span, the self-correction point is entirely correct, simply due to Supply and Demand. The question is ... how long? I ask this because of the somewhat mildly famous observation by a fellow named Keynes that in the long run, we're all dead (which, I shouldn't have to point out, is also true).

What we're really talking about here is market volatility. To a certain degree, some market volatility is something you want to have, since it allows the prices of goods and services to float and fluctuate ... but an excess of it can be very bad, especially when you've got multiple currencies through which a "spike" of market contagion can propagate from one sector into another (so that when, like mountain climbers tied together, when one falls they all fall together) in a sort of cascading failure. Yes, the market will "correct itself" ... eventually ... but only after inflicting a lot of pain and hardship on a whole lot of people who didn't deserve it. To quote another mildly famous economist who is living today, economics shouldn't be thought of as some kind of morality play, where the accumulation of wealth is the equivalent to the accumulation of virtue (or for those of us who played on the server, Virtue).

A very great deal of the entire prospect of being able to "control" or even just "manipulate" the in-game market(s) in a way advantageous to a single Player (or aligned group of Players) rests on the ability to buy and sell in unlimited amounts ... allowing for extremely wide and wild swings in both supply and demand pressures on commodities. Specifically ... although in-game markets can be expected to "self-correct" over the long term, that does absolutely nothing to combat exploitative practices in the short and near term which can adversely disrupt those markets in a way that can be manipulated and used to the advantage of the few at the expense of the many. One way to combat such exploitative short term gains at the expense of market stability is what amounts to having ways to control the flow of capital through various exchanges, thus hampering efforts to establish a market dominant or controlling position (thereby increasing the risk that such attempts will ultimately prove unprofitable since the market will keep moving "around" such attempts).

There are various ways to structure such limitations on flow ... the easiest and most obvious being a limited number of auction slots (something we should all be quite familiar with in a variety of games). Another limitation can be one of "refining" capacity, as is seen with Star Trek Online's markets for Refined Dilithium Ore, and how that limits the "flow" of Dilithium through the game's economy. Other limitations can be putting things like cooldowns on purchases, such as City of Heroes putting a purchase timer on use of Hero/Villain Alignment Merits to buy things like Invention Recipies ... and so on.

The reason that I bring this up is because the (real) world financial system is starting to discover that having an unlimited free flow of capital into and out of countries tends to set them up for all kinds of really big financial crises (re: Cyprus) which can include some rather shady stuff, not the least of which is money laundering (re: Cyprus again) among other things. That sort of environment is precisely the sort of thing which allows a Gold Farming community to take root and thrive within a game, when there are little to no safeguards, check and balances, or flow controls on currencies and assets freely pouring through a game's economy without any limitations or restrictions of any kind. Maximum liquidity of assets and currencies has a nasty tendency to make "free" markets extremely vulnerable to "attack" by market manipulators, even if those manipulators themselves do not control a very substantial share of the market at large, since there will always be plenty of profit takers willing to follow the "lead" of the manipulators in ways that aid and abet their manipulations of the market in the short term as opposed to over the long term.

All I'm asking for is that you be aware of these ... realities ... and build the structure of you in-game economy, and the expectations it will instill in your player base, accordingly. After all, those who do not learn from history, are doomed to repeat it ... and there's a fairly rich history of in-game economies "doing things" that we shouldn't be setting ourselves up to repeat right from the get-go.


Verbogeny is one of many pleasurettes afforded a creatific thinkerizer.
Segev
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My limited experience and

My limited experience and less-limited study of most of these so-called "free" markets that have suffered due to "free flow" of currency is that they're usually not really free, and there is usually active theft going on somewhere, with nobody enforcing property laws. Which are one of the few kinds of laws that free market supporters tend to endorse.

Risk of political discussion aside, however, what I would expect is that markets in-game would self-correct fairly quickly - on the order of a day or, at a stretch, a week - unless the NODs were so rare that there wasn't a genuine "Steady state equilibrium" that would be reached with them coming in and flowing out at related paces.

Part of combating highly short-term market manipulation would, in fact, be to give lengthy - maybe a month? - histories on average, high, low, and median prices for goods over the course of hours and days. Users can check the going rate on their item of choice, see that it's grotesquely inflated all of a sudden, and decide to wait it out on the principle that these things usually level off.

I admit to perhaps a dearth of imagination, here, but I'm having trouble picturing how one might manipulate the market when the commodities you are trying to control to drive up the price just keep coming in (and at an increasing rate, as those who do choose to farm for in-game income will start specifically hunting for them). Can you aid me by giving a step-by-step example of the kind of manipulation you're expecting to see? Everything I can think of results in losing money for the person trying to do it, because he can't offload his inventory at the price he bought it for when it just keeps coming in from "outside."

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Segev wrote:
Segev wrote:

In order to corner a market, you have to control the source of supply. The items I am envisioning being on the market are things players either craft themselves or pick up from "drops." (or mission rewards)
Let's say we have a single player, Scrooge McDuck, who has somehow managed to accumulate more than half the extant in-game currency in the game.
He decides he wants to corner the market on Number One Dimes (NODs), which are a popular, but somewhat rare, item.
So, to do this, he offers far, far more than the NOD's current market value for every NOD on the market. Every NOD on the AH is snapped up by him. He then turns around and offers his NODs for even more than he bought them for. Fewer people can afford them, so they become harder to get, and he's sitting on a stockpile that's huge. If he sells enough of them, he'll break even while still having some left to sell (now for profit).
The market value floor is now what he offers to buy them. So any time Huey, Dewie, or Lewie find an NOD in the game, they can sell it for at minimum what Scrooge is offering.
But this is the AH: if people are buying NOD's at Scrooge's sell price, they will pick up anything that Huey, Dewie, or Lewie puts up for anything below that (somewhere between Scrooge's "buy" and "sell" prices). If Huey realizes that the "market value" right now is Scrooge's sell price (because that's what everybody else is buying at, since he cornered the market), Huey might well sell at taht price or just under, helping keep the artificial price up. But Scrooge has to sell at a rate that keeps up with his buying, or he's bleeding money to maintain his locked-down inventory.
Huey, Dewie, and Lewie are still out there winning the occasional NOD. And Scrooge isn't buying Huey's at the price he bought everything else; he's buying them at his sell price or just below if he's buying Huey's at all.
He might still snap up Dewie's, but only if nobody is bidding higher than his "buy" price but under his "sell" price.
Ultimately, this falls apart because he doesn't control the supply, and he'll have to lower his prices to something enough people can afford to recoup his outlay on the massive purchase. And, tomorrow, more NODs go up for sale by other people who harvested them from the game.
Scrooge has inconvenienced people, but it should self-correct. If Scrooge is lucky and he read the market exactly right, he'll manage to sell enough NODs at a massively inflated price to recoup what he spent on the ones he hasn't sold yet. But he doesn't have infinite in-game currency, and if he keeps buying them as they come in and can't sell them fast enough to restore his liquid funds, he can't keep this up. And if demand were high enough to support the amounts he wants to charge, then the prices for NODs would already have been up there. As prices rise, the number of people willing to buy falls. So he has fewer and fewer customers the higher he has to raise the price on NODs.
Now, maybe he's counting on some people who pay2win to be so desperate for it NOW NOW NOW that they'll shell out real money to buy Stars to buy in-game currency with from other players (maybe even himself), and then use that bought currency to buy the inflated NODs. But even that's short-term, and will ultimately leave him with less in-game currency than he started with, either because he sold for less than he bought, or because he has an inventory he can't move for the prices at which he bought it.
And, if he's counting on this short-term to convert his in-game currency into Stars, he'd be better off just selling the in-game currency for Stars directly. He's hoping people will be so desperate that they'll buy NODs at his inflated price before more supply comes in from the other players. Again: even if he does snap up the new supply at his inflated buy price, he's accumulating NODs faster than he can sell them for the prices he needs to sell them to turn a profit.
DeBeers can control the diamond supply because they own practically every diamond mine in the world. They don't have to "buy up" others' supply at prices unsupported by the scarcity of what is available to anybody but them. Put another way: if you don't count the diamonds they have, the supply really is scarce enough to support the prices they sell for right now. And with the exception of that hoard, there isn't a constant influx at a lower level of scarcity (i.e. a more abundant supply).
For Scrooge in our hypothetical situation to manage this, he'd need to somehow keep anybody but himself from harvesting NODs in the game.
Now, Minotaur's given scenarios I hadn't been able to conceive, so I'm open to counter-examples. But this one doesn't seem like it could be sustainable long enough to do anything harmful.

Well there are a lot of things in COX AH that didn't self correct. Because one thing that is forgotten about, is that in many cases the artificially high price became the "normal" price.

Common items that are easily obtained, yeah it's harder to control supply. But with rarer items where it's like winning lottery to get some, then it's pretty simple especially when an item is not gained often in relative terms. AKA like purps in COX and some red IOs. At first things will be normal price, and buying. Then someone with plenty of cash buys up the supply. Now, They probably list one or two at a time at what ever price they want. Eventually someone will gain some and put it on the market. Now the Scrooge usually simply buy up the lower priced items as much as he can and with rare or very rare items it isn't hard to do. Then inflate the price and relist it. If it's at the price they listed it for or near they probably wont buy it because with the items scrooge bought prior at a now relative very low price, he will still make much more than what he bought them for even if he decide to undercut the now new standard price he created.

Now what happened is that when people go and list, they see the inflated price, and that is the what they list it for maybe a bit lower but usually way higher than the past normal price. Then Scrooge, still sitting on a big stockhold, may either slowly sell his items at the now inflated and now "normal" price and make a killing or he may dump at the new price and then and make it back all at once. Making great profits and usually exiting the market or moving on to something else in a temporary sense of cornering the market. The main question is how long and the lasting effects. True that one person probably wont be able to corner the market forever but at the same time usually they have cornered it to affect the price and buying ability of other players much longer than they cornered the market with the prices rarely ever going back to true normal. Thus causing great inflation, especially if rewards from playing the game do not keep up pace and still on the scale of when prices were normal and or was balanced around prior to the inflation.

Another thing that prevents normalization is sometime game mechanics not showing history. Unless a person been keeping up with prices before the inflation then to them coming in , the new inflated price is considered normal in their eyes. If there is a deep well into the past history of price, then people can easily see what was the true actual normal price and spot inflated cornered market, temporary or not, items and can post at the normal price hindering the one that cornered the market. But without history beyond the last 5-10 items sold, then the new inflated price probably and has been deemed the normal price. And how long one corner the market do not lessen the effect of someone cornering the market. Rarer the item, longer it will take to "normalize" if ever. Common items, it probably will normalize fairly quickly because then people probably come across the drops enough and plenty more for sell. With rare items, they may not drop but for a lucky few, low supply, easy to corner, very long time if not years if ever to normalize.

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jag40 wrote:
jag40 wrote:

Well there are a lot of things in COX AH that didn't self correct. Because one thing that is forgotten about, is that in many cases the artificially high price became the "normal" price.
Common items that are easily obtained, yeah it's harder to control supply. But with rarer items where it's like winning lottery to get some, then it's pretty simple especially when an item is not gained often in relative terms. AKA like purps in COX and some red IOs. At first things will be normal price, and buying. Then someone with plenty of cash buys up the supply. Now, They probably list one or two at a time at what ever price they want. Eventually someone will gain some and put it on the market. Now the Scrooge usually simply buy up the lower priced items as much as he can and with rare or very rare items it isn't hard to do. Then inflate the price and relist it.

Okay. I follow you up to here, but disagree with your assessment. If Mr. McDuck can list his stockpiled rare items - even just one or two at a time - for $largesum, and they get bought, then that is the market price for them.

If Mr. McDuck had not bought up the whole supply when he "started" his "control the market" scheme, then those "normal priced" items would vanish quickly and the market would have none of this super-rare item. There is no "normal" price for things in something like this player-to-player market; there is only what the market will bear.

If Scrooge realized that the market would bear far higher than these items were going for, then his snapping up the whole of the supply was still buying under the market value.

Now, when Huey finds that "lottery"-level item that Scrooge is hoarding to control the market, he wisely examines the market to see what this item is selling for, and puts his up at right around that price. Maybe a touch lower, if he wants to make sure his sells quickly. Scrooge buys it up, and maintains his monopoly.

But then he relists it at his "inflated" price.

You talk about him putting only one or two up at a time and listing them for vastly inflated prices. How long does he wait for them to be bought? How much inventory is he sitting on? How often do his limited releases get bought compared to how often the super-rare item is dropped and sold on the AH by those who find it?

The reason I don't think this is a problem is quite simply that, if Scrooge is not going to lose money, he has to sell approximately one of these super-rare items for every one that drops in the game world. If he releases them more slowly than that, he spends more money buying them up from others than he earns selling them. In the process, he builds up an inventory of these items, but that inventory isn't helping him any. He will not be able to sell that inventory off faster than prices would drop if he stopped buying up the finds of others.

If, on the other hand, he IS managing to sell about 1:1 (or maybe 1:0.99, since he's probably got a profit built into his sell price), then that means that there are enough people who have enough money to keep buying at that rate who want the item. If Scrooge had not raised the price for everybody else to buy that item by becoming the sole supplier, the demand for that super-rare item on the market would be higher, because there would be more people who could afford it at its "going rate." But when more people can afford it at its "going rate," it will disappear and there won't be any available until more people find it and put it up for sale. At that point, those who want it the most will bid even higher for it, hoping to snap it up before somebody else who is only bidding at what looked like the "going rate."

This will push the price up, until it reaches a point where only as many people want it at the price it's offered as there are items coming on the market to replace those they buy.

jag40 wrote:

If it's at the price they listed it for or near they probably wont buy it because with the items scrooge bought prior at a now relative very low price, he will still make much more than what he bought them for even if he decide to undercut the now new standard price he created.

Scrooge only makes a profit if he sells for more than he bought them for.

So, let's say the "going rate" before Scrooge started buying up the supply was 100gp per item (it is super-rare after all). He buys them all for 250gp each, to make sure he wins all the bids for even somewhat overpriced sales.

Then, he turns around and sells them for 1000gp each. He needs to sell 1 of them at that rate for every four he bought just to break even.

Huey, realizing that the price for these things has jumped, finds one and sells it for 900gp. Scrooge has three options: he can buy it at 900, he can ignore it, or he can lower his price to, say, 800 in order to undercut Huey.

But there's a third collection of people involved. Donald, Webby, Mrs. Beakly, and many others all would like this rare item, but have not had the luck to find one. How badly these others want it determines how much they'll pay for it. Will they shell out 1000 gp for it? How many of them will? Will enough shell out 1000gp that Scrooge can keep selling them at least as often as he buys them from Huey, who keeps gathering them and trying to sell at 900?

If Scrooge neither cuts his prices nor buys Huey's item, then Huey will take one of Scrooge's potential customers. Scrooge will sell one fewer than he otherwise would. If there is still enough demand that Scrooge can keep selling his afterwards at a pace he finds comfortable, that works. But that means that he is selling faster than Huey (and others like him) are bringing in new supply, so that means demand is high enough that, at Huey's prices, supply would vanish.

And, when supply vanishes, people start making higher bids if they want to make sure they win it.

If Scrooge chooses not to buy from Huey and lowers his sell price to 750 to undercut him, Scrooge is making less profit. But he might sell more of them. He needs to sell 1 for every 3 he bought to break even, now. But Huey still wants to sell his; he may well lower his price again. And thus they will undercut each other until Huey is selling them as fast as he can bring them in and Scrooge is maintaining a constant pace.

Either way, the thing that really controls how much they sell for is how much demand there is versus the ongoing supply that comes from drops.

I think, what we're seeing when it looks like Scrooge is manipulating the market, is really evidence that there is a surplus of these items and that these items are under-priced at the 100gp "going rate." If 100 gp really is reflective of their value based on the supply-drop-rate from gameplay, then Scrooge could create artificial scarcity for only a short time - a few hours, maybe a day, depending on rarity of the item's drop - before prices would settle at a rate that gets the new ones selling as fast as they come in. Too few people would want them at Scrooge's price to bother buying them, so Scrooge would not sell as fast as they come in from drops.

jag40 wrote:

Now what happened is that when people go and list, they see the inflated price, and that is the what they list it for maybe a bit lower but usually way higher than the past normal price. Then Scrooge, still sitting on a big stockhold, may either slowly sell his items at the now inflated and now "normal" price and make a killing or he may dump at the new price and then and make it back all at once. Making great profits and usually exiting the market or moving on to something else in a temporary sense of cornering the market.

This doesn't quite work, though. Unless enough people are willing to buy at the "inflated" price for Scrooge to sell everything he bought up, he will be left with inventory and won't sell enough of them to regain what he spent. And, as you noted, if he tries to sell them over time, the price will drop back down to what it should be and he'll lose money overall.

Only if demand is actually high enough to support whatever "inflated" price he lists at will he make a killing. If that is the case, then all he did was realize that it was UNDERPRICED before, and take advantage of it. That's the only way things reach a "new normal" as long as it is the game world - not players - who control the drop rate of items.

jag40 wrote:

The main question is how long and the lasting effects. True that one person probably wont be able to corner the market forever but at the same time usually they have cornered it to affect the price and buying ability of other players much longer than they cornered the market with the prices rarely ever going back to true normal.

I think the problem here is one of perception. There is no "true normal." There is only supply and demand. If the demand is high enough to support a "new normal" that seems inflated compared to the old, it would have gotten there anyway, because the "old normal" would have resulted in shortages as people bought them all up and it was impossible to find them on the market for sale. That would lead to people putting out buy orders at higher and higher values, trying to make sure they got the next one to come up before anybody else could. This would happen until the number of people willing and able to make the "going rate" buy offers was equal to the number of items coming in from drops (or at least is close thereto).

jag40 wrote:

Thus causing great inflation, especially if rewards from playing the game do not keep up pace and still on the scale of when prices were normal and or was balanced around prior to the inflation.

Again, I am not sure how you're defining "normal." The only way we get this "normal" that is lower than the "new" price is if there was an abnormal glut or the market was usually bare of the item.

Remember: there is no magic number that says something is "normal." Not unless we have a vendor who sells the item and can just produce it on demand for the fixed vendor rate we, as devs, set for it. (This, then, sets a CEILING on what it will go for on the market, since anybody who wants one will buy it from a vendor rather than pay more than the vendor offers. Typically, anyway.) But for items available only through drops or through crafting, the AH price has no "normal" that is not established by market forces.

jag40 wrote:

Another thing that prevents normalization is sometime game mechanics not showing history. ... If there is a deep well into the past history of price, then people can easily see what was the true actual normal price and spot inflated cornered market, temporary or not, items and can post at the normal price hindering the one that cornered the market.

Agreed. It will be easier to make rational judgments of "true value" of an item if you can see how it's trends have gone. (Recalling that "true value" is "what others are willing to pay for it.")

jag40 wrote:

And how long one corner the market do not lessen the effect of someone cornering the market. Rarer the item, longer it will take to "normalize" if ever.

It will take longer, but still should be reflective of true value without going longer than a week or so. The thing is, the items that are so rare that it would take a long time for them to re-normalize are also the items that would naturally be very expensive, anyway. They would be the items that it's all but impossible to find on the AH marketplace, because the going rate would be such that it goes out almost as fast as it comes in. Only if something created a glut of them would the price drop and not make them vanish entirely until the next one is dropped.

So it's hard for Scrooge to "buy up" the supply when there isn't a supply to buy up. If it's just a vanishingly small supply, he'll buy up the handful, and can raise prices temporarily, but if he raises them too much, he won't sell all he's bought up. If he CAN sell all he's bought up, he's not inflated the price; he's recognized that it was underpriced. Because as long as new ones coming in sell off the shelves quickly, it's at or below it's "true" value. If the "new" price is where it normalizes, that means Scrooge just found a price closer to its "true" value and showed everybody else who gets the item how much they CAN get for it.

jag40 wrote:

Common items, it probably will normalize fairly quickly because then people probably come across the drops enough and plenty more for sell. With rare items, they may not drop but for a lucky few, low supply, easy to corner, very long time if not years if ever to normalize.

Again, those vanishingly rare items will normalize by virtue of demand. If they're vanishing off the shelves at the "inflated" price, that is the real value of it. It might even still be underpriced. If people are unable to sell them at that price, they'll eventually lower the price until they can sell it. And that will normalize it fairly quickly.

Please, feel free to point out flaws in my reasoning. I know it's not "nice" to say that the prices were likely too low if somebody plays Scrooge's game and winds up making the price higher than it was before, but I think it happens not because the system is broken, but because the perception of the price being as low as it was before was a perception of undervaluing the item.

In practice, if an item is vanishingly hard to come by because it sells off the shelves as soon as it's found (and it's found so very rarely), Scrooge might corner the market temporarily simply by being the guy to FIND one, and decide to sell it for 10x what the last sale went for. If he manages to sell at that rate, somebody else will look at that and see that people bought the item for that amount. And they may well try to sell at that rate, too. And if that sells...well, we're seeing now the other side of how prices rise. Buyers and sellers both can do it in a blind auction, when the buyer puts up "ludicrously" higher than the "going rate" for an item that simply can't be found in order to snap up the next one to show up, or a seller recognizes that there are no others for sale and so he might be able to sell his for more.

Summing up: I don't think the person cornering the market can make a profit unless what he's done is recognize an item that is going for less than people will pay for it, and thus decreases demand to match supply by buying up the cheap ones to sell for what they really will go for.

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Minotaur
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Another issue with your

Another issue with your scenario is the "realising what the market price is".

What information is available on previous sales (This is where CoH fell down)

Does the AH take a cut ?

If not the manipulator sells n to his other account to fool the history.

There are lots of dirty tricks available, but which ones work will depend on the mechanisms chosen.

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Segev wrote:
Segev wrote:

jag40 wrote:
Well there are a lot of things in COX AH that didn't self correct. Because one thing that is forgotten about, is that in many cases the artificially high price became the "normal" price.
Common items that are easily obtained, yeah it's harder to control supply. But with rarer items where it's like winning lottery to get some, then it's pretty simple especially when an item is not gained often in relative terms. AKA like purps in COX and some red IOs. At first things will be normal price, and buying. Then someone with plenty of cash buys up the supply. Now, They probably list one or two at a time at what ever price they want. Eventually someone will gain some and put it on the market. Now the Scrooge usually simply buy up the lower priced items as much as he can and with rare or very rare items it isn't hard to do. Then inflate the price and relist it.
Okay. I follow you up to here, but disagree with your assessment. If Mr. McDuck can list his stockpiled rare items - even just one or two at a time - for $largesum, and they get bought, then that is the market price for them.
If Mr. McDuck had not bought up the whole supply when he "started" his "control the market" scheme, then those "normal priced" items would vanish quickly and the market would have none of this super-rare item. There is no "normal" price for things in something like this player-to-player market; there is only what the market will bear.
If Scrooge realized that the market would bear far higher than these items were going for, then his snapping up the whole of the supply was still buying under the market value.
Now, when Huey finds that "lottery"-level item that Scrooge is hoarding to control the market, he wisely examines the market to see what this item is selling for, and puts his up at right around that price. Maybe a touch lower, if he wants to make sure his sells quickly. Scrooge buys it up, and maintains his monopoly.
But then he relists it at his "inflated" price.
You talk about him putting only one or two up at a time and listing them for vastly inflated prices. How long does he wait for them to be bought? How much inventory is he sitting on? How often do his limited releases get bought compared to how often the super-rare item is dropped and sold on the AH by those who find it?
The reason I don't think this is a problem is quite simply that, if Scrooge is not going to lose money, he has to sell approximately one of these super-rare items for every one that drops in the game world. If he releases them more slowly than that, he spends more money buying them up from others than he earns selling them. In the process, he builds up an inventory of these items, but that inventory isn't helping him any. He will not be able to sell that inventory off faster than prices would drop if he stopped buying up the finds of others.
If, on the other hand, he IS managing to sell about 1:1 (or maybe 1:0.99, since he's probably got a profit built into his sell price), then that means that there are enough people who have enough money to keep buying at that rate who want the item. If Scrooge had not raised the price for everybody else to buy that item by becoming the sole supplier, the demand for that super-rare item on the market would be higher, because there would be more people who could afford it at its "going rate." But when more people can afford it at its "going rate," it will disappear and there won't be any available until more people find it and put it up for sale. At that point, those who want it the most will bid even higher for it, hoping to snap it up before somebody else who is only bidding at what looked like the "going rate."
This will push the price up, until it reaches a point where only as many people want it at the price it's offered as there are items coming on the market to replace those they buy.
jag40 wrote:
If it's at the price they listed it for or near they probably wont buy it because with the items scrooge bought prior at a now relative very low price, he will still make much more than what he bought them for even if he decide to undercut the now new standard price he created.

Scrooge only makes a profit if he sells for more than he bought them for.
So, let's say the "going rate" before Scrooge started buying up the supply was 100gp per item (it is super-rare after all). He buys them all for 250gp each, to make sure he wins all the bids for even somewhat overpriced sales.
Then, he turns around and sells them for 1000gp each. He needs to sell 1 of them at that rate for every four he bought just to break even.
Huey, realizing that the price for these things has jumped, finds one and sells it for 900gp. Scrooge has three options: he can buy it at 900, he can ignore it, or he can lower his price to, say, 800 in order to undercut Huey.
But there's a third collection of people involved. Donald, Webby, Mrs. Beakly, and many others all would like this rare item, but have not had the luck to find one. How badly these others want it determines how much they'll pay for it. Will they shell out 1000 gp for it? How many of them will? Will enough shell out 1000gp that Scrooge can keep selling them at least as often as he buys them from Huey, who keeps gathering them and trying to sell at 900?
If Scrooge neither cuts his prices nor buys Huey's item, then Huey will take one of Scrooge's potential customers. Scrooge will sell one fewer than he otherwise would. If there is still enough demand that Scrooge can keep selling his afterwards at a pace he finds comfortable, that works. But that means that he is selling faster than Huey (and others like him) are bringing in new supply, so that means demand is high enough that, at Huey's prices, supply would vanish.
And, when supply vanishes, people start making higher bids if they want to make sure they win it.
If Scrooge chooses not to buy from Huey and lowers his sell price to 750 to undercut him, Scrooge is making less profit. But he might sell more of them. He needs to sell 1 for every 3 he bought to break even, now. But Huey still wants to sell his; he may well lower his price again. And thus they will undercut each other until Huey is selling them as fast as he can bring them in and Scrooge is maintaining a constant pace.
Either way, the thing that really controls how much they sell for is how much demand there is versus the ongoing supply that comes from drops.
I think, what we're seeing when it looks like Scrooge is manipulating the market, is really evidence that there is a surplus of these items and that these items are under-priced at the 100gp "going rate." If 100 gp really is reflective of their value based on the supply-drop-rate from gameplay, then Scrooge could create artificial scarcity for only a short time - a few hours, maybe a day, depending on rarity of the item's drop - before prices would settle at a rate that gets the new ones selling as fast as they come in. Too few people would want them at Scrooge's price to bother buying them, so Scrooge would not sell as fast as they come in from drops.
jag40 wrote:
Now what happened is that when people go and list, they see the inflated price, and that is the what they list it for maybe a bit lower but usually way higher than the past normal price. Then Scrooge, still sitting on a big stockhold, may either slowly sell his items at the now inflated and now "normal" price and make a killing or he may dump at the new price and then and make it back all at once. Making great profits and usually exiting the market or moving on to something else in a temporary sense of cornering the market.
This doesn't quite work, though. Unless enough people are willing to buy at the "inflated" price for Scrooge to sell everything he bought up, he will be left with inventory and won't sell enough of them to regain what he spent. And, as you noted, if he tries to sell them over time, the price will drop back down to what it should be and he'll lose money overall.
Only if demand is actually high enough to support whatever "inflated" price he lists at will he make a killing. If that is the case, then all he did was realize that it was UNDERPRICED before, and take advantage of it. That's the only way things reach a "new normal" as long as it is the game world - not players - who control the drop rate of items.
jag40 wrote:
The main question is how long and the lasting effects. True that one person probably wont be able to corner the market forever but at the same time usually they have cornered it to affect the price and buying ability of other players much longer than they cornered the market with the prices rarely ever going back to true normal.
I think the problem here is one of perception. There is no "true normal." There is only supply and demand. If the demand is high enough to support a "new normal" that seems inflated compared to the old, it would have gotten there anyway, because the "old normal" would have resulted in shortages as people bought them all up and it was impossible to find them on the market for sale. That would lead to people putting out buy orders at higher and higher values, trying to make sure they got the next one to come up before anybody else could. This would happen until the number of people willing and able to make the "going rate" buy offers was equal to the number of items coming in from drops (or at least is close thereto).
jag40 wrote:
Thus causing great inflation, especially if rewards from playing the game do not keep up pace and still on the scale of when prices were normal and or was balanced around prior to the inflation.
Again, I am not sure how you're defining "normal." The only way we get this "normal" that is lower than the "new" price is if there was an abnormal glut or the market was usually bare of the item.
Remember: there is no magic number that says something is "normal." Not unless we have a vendor who sells the item and can just produce it on demand for the fixed vendor rate we, as devs, set for it. (This, then, sets a CEILING on what it will go for on the market, since anybody who wants one will buy it from a vendor rather than pay more than the vendor offers. Typically, anyway.) But for items available only through drops or through crafting, the AH price has no "normal" that is not established by market forces.
jag40 wrote:
Another thing that prevents normalization is sometime game mechanics not showing history. ... If there is a deep well into the past history of price, then people can easily see what was the true actual normal price and spot inflated cornered market, temporary or not, items and can post at the normal price hindering the one that cornered the market.
Agreed. It will be easier to make rational judgments of "true value" of an item if you can see how it's trends have gone. (Recalling that "true value" is "what others are willing to pay for it.")
jag40 wrote:
And how long one corner the market do not lessen the effect of someone cornering the market. Rarer the item, longer it will take to "normalize" if ever.
It will take longer, but still should be reflective of true value without going longer than a week or so. The thing is, the items that are so rare that it would take a long time for them to re-normalize are also the items that would naturally be very expensive, anyway. They would be the items that it's all but impossible to find on the AH marketplace, because the going rate would be such that it goes out almost as fast as it comes in. Only if something created a glut of them would the price drop and not make them vanish entirely until the next one is dropped.
So it's hard for Scrooge to "buy up" the supply when there isn't a supply to buy up. If it's just a vanishingly small supply, he'll buy up the handful, and can raise prices temporarily, but if he raises them too much, he won't sell all he's bought up. If he CAN sell all he's bought up, he's not inflated the price; he's recognized that it was underpriced. Because as long as new ones coming in sell off the shelves quickly, it's at or below it's "true" value. If the "new" price is where it normalizes, that means Scrooge just found a price closer to its "true" value and showed everybody else who gets the item how much they CAN get for it.
jag40 wrote:
Common items, it probably will normalize fairly quickly because then people probably come across the drops enough and plenty more for sell. With rare items, they may not drop but for a lucky few, low supply, easy to corner, very long time if not years if ever to normalize.
Again, those vanishingly rare items will normalize by virtue of demand. If they're vanishing off the shelves at the "inflated" price, that is the real value of it. It might even still be underpriced. If people are unable to sell them at that price, they'll eventually lower the price until they can sell it. And that will normalize it fairly quickly.
Please, feel free to point out flaws in my reasoning. I know it's not "nice" to say that the prices were likely too low if somebody plays Scrooge's game and winds up making the price higher than it was before, but I think it happens not because the system is broken, but because the perception of the price being as low as it was before was a perception of undervaluing the item.
In practice, if an item is vanishingly hard to come by because it sells off the shelves as soon as it's found (and it's found so very rarely), Scrooge might corner the market temporarily simply by being the guy to FIND one, and decide to sell it for 10x what the last sale went for. If he manages to sell at that rate, somebody else will look at that and see that people bought the item for that amount. And they may well try to sell at that rate, too. And if that sells...well, we're seeing now the other side of how prices rise. Buyers and sellers both can do it in a blind auction, when the buyer puts up "ludicrously" higher than the "going rate" for an item that simply can't be found in order to snap up the next one to show up, or a seller recognizes that there are no others for sale and so he might be able to sell his for more.
Summing up: I don't think the person cornering the market can make a profit unless what he's done is recognize an item that is going for less than people will pay for it, and thus decreases demand to match supply by buying up the cheap ones to sell for what they really will go for.

I hear ya. But what I'm getting at, in a cornered market where the prices shot up, because someone cornered a certain item, the supply didn't change and in fact later there was more than what was there before yet the price still stayed high and or rose higher at the new set price. With your definition, basically it would mean there is no such thing as inflation and basically a rise in prices is simply meaning it was under valued to begin with. Which may be very well true.

See in player ran AH, supply demand doesn't always happen textbook as you explained it. In the ideal world, yes, supply go down, price go up. Supply become more abundant, the prices drop. In the reality and even in COX market most of the time that wasn't the case. As time went on, there were more and more of the rare items, yet the prices kept rising regardless of supply each time, setting a new "normality" and quickly out pacing what could normally be earned in by playing the game. AKA, inf went less and less far because while the prices rose, usually regardless of supply fluctuations, the rewards didn't go anywhere. AKA, in real life it would be like, prices products, but wages do not move. In the real world market they call that wages not keeping up with prices or inflation. Not simply, stuff was under valued. Of course, many other factors come into play in real world market due to the sheer amount of markets in the economy compared to one in a game like COX.
Like I said, you are right, when stuff is in short supply but many stuff were plentiful on the market, and many items got plentiful over time, yet the prices rose anyways, regardless of supply. Really though as much as AH game markets try to emulate and be compared to real life markets, it really in practice do not work anywhere near the same. One, mostly due to the blind bidding system. In real life most items are not bidded on or else, someone with deep pockets could over bid, say $50 for a loaf of bread, because $50 is worth it to them. And even though it was selling at $2.00 a loaf, now it could be said that bread was under valued at $2.00 a loaf and the proper price is now $50. The thing you do not seem to be thinking of, is the effects of that type of stuff and adjustment of "normal" price to the average player. And mostly focusing on people who is flushed with in game currency or spend a lot of time playing the market. Remember marketeers are not the only gamers out there. And probably not even the majority. So while rich people probably wouldn't care about spending $50 for a loaf of bread, that leaves a lot of people out of the loop now under the presumption of bread was under valued at $2.00 a loaf and it simply adjusted to true market value of $50 a loaf. Secondly, there are usually competition in real life markets that help control prices. In game, there is only one market. Either buy from AH, or get lucky, or ya SOL. There is not much places to shop around and thus in a way, you are right, about the normal part because there is not many ways to get a baseline of what items are worth. Basically it's what some people are willing to pay, usually people flushed with cash, and everyone not is left out. In the real world, a billionaire walk into the store, the price of bread is $2.00 just as it is for the poor person, even if the billionaire is willing to pay more. In game AH market, a person with billion influence decides he wants to pay more, and thus that now becomes the new going rate with out taking heed that not everyone is walking around with billions. But simply because a few people have more cash then they know what to do with in a blind system can bid outrageous prices above going rate and that can become the next normal price of it. As it has happened in COX, even when more rares and purps became available. But since AH was nothing like a real market and thus does not operate by the same rules, you might be right that there is no such thing as inflation and simply adjustment of the "normal" price.

I think there should be some sort of baseline for items though and or adjust in game currency awards as prices rise and "normalize".

Or if the AH is meant to be anything like a real market, then there should be competition. Meaning if something on the AH is over priced for a person, they can go somewhere else with in game currency and buy the item. Because who knows the value of an item because with soley the AH controlling prices, it's what ever the person that have it say it is. And either a person have no choice to pay or not have it. That doesn't mean that the price is what a person is willing to pay or want to pay. Only way true value of something can be found out if there is something to compare it to really and thus it cant really be said that items were simply balancing out as they rose because in reality, there wasn't anywhere else to buy with in game currency (Influence and infamy) besides the AH market. So who's to say it was the true value and the higher prices was because it was under valued. There wasn't many other choices.

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Segev wrote:
Segev wrote:

The reason I don't think this is a problem is quite simply that, if Scrooge is not going to lose money, he has to sell approximately one of these super-rare items for every one that drops in the game world. If he releases them more slowly than that, he spends more money buying them up from others than he earns selling them. In the process, he builds up an inventory of these items, but that inventory isn't helping him any. He will not be able to sell that inventory off faster than prices would drop if he stopped buying up the finds of others.
If, on the other hand, he IS managing to sell about 1:1 (or maybe 1:0.99, since he's probably got a profit built into his sell price), then that means that there are enough people who have enough money to keep buying at that rate who want the item.

Wow, and I thought that *I* wrote walls of text!

Segev, this analysis of yours is fine and valid so long as you're dealing in a single currency and a single commodity. Unfortunately, we already know (because we have experience) that this will not be the case. You're already talking about multiple currencies (Stars plus INF at a bare minimum) and there will no doubt be a multitude of commodities in play in the market(s). This means that there will be multiple vectors through which gains in one area can be used to subsidize losses in another area. In other words, the assumption of a zero sum game in a single currency exchange for a single commodity is not valid.

This is why I'm warning you NOW about the prospect of market manipulation and the potentially disruptive effects of speculative bubbles, because you're already making it possible for such activities to be undertaken in "lightning strike" fashion if adequate "flow controls" are not established from the outset on how quickly (both in quantity and in time frames) currencies can be exchanged for each other.

City of Heroes was absolutely appalling in how it "informed" Players as to market movements. The Last 5 Transactions history was simplicity itself to manipulate. Markets can only be resistant to manipulation when Players in that market are INFORMED and a Last 5 Transactions history is barely useful for anything. This is why I vastly prefer the setup that Cryptic has used for their Dilithium Exchange for the buying and selling of Zen for Refined Dilithium in Star Trek Online, since it works more like a commodity exchange, telling you how much is selling for what price and how many buyers there are willing to pay at what prices ... and when the two "meet" at the same price, sales and transfers happen at the agreed upon price. Since you can SEE the prices of outstanding Buy and Sell orders waiting to be filled, it's more informative than a Last 5 Transactions system, and therefore more resistant to market manipulation.

Mind you, there is no such thing as foolPROOF ... merely foolRESISTANT.

The trouble is that you don't want to make it "easy" for Speculators (either singular or as a group, either coordinated or not) to be able to blow bubbles into your market that can serve their short term goals at the expense of every other Player in the market (or at least, you don't want to make it "too easy" for them). Reason being that that kind of Market PvP behavior is one of the major sources of funding that can allow a professional Gold Farming operation turn a profit in real world monies ... at the expense of the community at large, and quite possibly at the expense of the company supporting the game itself.

There is something to be said for the sentiment, expressed in antiquity, that "everything is worth what its purchaser will pay for it" (thank you Leonard Nimoy for the outstanding voice work). But there's also something called highway robbery and the structure and mechanisms of markets should not be set up in a way that favors the thieves, soundrels and speculators over the interests of the community that the market is ostensibly intended to serve simply as "the cost of doing business" in that market.

At any rate ... you've been warned, Segev. Please don't EVER give me cause to say the unfortunate words, "I told you so" with respect to this topic ... because if I do, then we ALL lose (which is what I want to avoid).


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Just in case I wrote too much

Just in case I wrote too much. This above may explain it better.

Segev
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I suspect the reason that Inf

I suspect the reason that Inf-prices rose and stayed high at those "new normals" was, literally, textbook inflation. That is a problem that all in-game currencies tend to have, because they "drop" as the single most abundant reward that is created ex nihilo by the game. In CoX, when you beat an enemy, inf dropped. When you completed a mission, you got inf. When you sold stuff to vendors to clean up your inventory, you got inf. Inf fell every which place.

While those who did NOT play the market had a bit more difficulty getting "ludicrously rich" in inf, the fact is that inf entered the game far, far faster than it left. And many people only ever spent inf in the market, giving it to other players. Thus, it never was drained out (or, rather, the rate at which it drained was much slower than that at which it was gathered). The AH actually exacerbated the issue with its high-wealth marketeers making prices very high: others ran out and farmed like mad to earn inf to be able to play the market, themselves. This created more inf, which leads to more inflation.

Thus, I don't think it's that the market-manipulators caused individual items to inflate to a "new normal" by cornering them. It was, rather, the collective set of problems that surround an in-game currency and its creation method that led to the inflation, and the fact that - as you guys have noted - many players just posted prices at the "current normal" without really thinking about it is what made it look like the prices were caused by market manipulation.

If anybody who used dollars could actually create new ones when they work for them, the number of dollars out there goes up, and each individual one loses value. Supply and demand work on currencies as much as on less liquid goods. That loaf of bread may well rise to $50 or $100 or even $1000 if dollars just kept materializing.

I'm not discounting the hazards, mind, but rather trying to analyze what I think the real source of it is.

Assuming we kept it to just two currencies - in-game and Stars - then we have two things to concern ourselves with inflation on. Stars are actually self-limiting: they are created only when somebody spends money - gives it to MWM - to create them (i.e. buys them from MWM). Dollars have a limited supply and genuine value beyond their ability to buy Stars, so Stars should avoid inflating past a certain point by that virtue alone: they're tied at least in some extent to the value of the real-world currencies used to buy them (I presume we'll be taking payment from international customers in their native coinage).

In-game currency - what inf was to CoX - is another matter. I had, at one point, proposed simply not having it, and just letting Stars be the currency of the AH. But that has its own problems, and the lack of an in-game currency limits or eliminates the potential for NPC vendors to just sell things to players. But if it's going to drop based on how hard people play, it will inflate. There are simply too few things to buy - generally speaking - if it's just "better gear" you're buying. There are two things that can combat this inflationary trend on in-game currency:

  • Currency sinks
  • "maximum wallet capacity"

The former is something that is hard to do, because you have to calibrate it to the rate at which in-game currency drops. And that rate is one of the single most player-controlled things in the game: the more players, the more in-game currency is generated as they all play in parallel. The more a player plays, the more currency HE creates in the drops for his playing. Currency sinks generally are optional, so they don't cripple players less involved in grinding out in-game currency, and are almost always fixed in maximum drain by virtue of having fixed (if recurring) costs. The closest thing I can think of to an in-game currency sink that would scale with amount of play is having some missions cost a net loss in currency to get through them. And I'm sure you can see where this might be unpopular with players if it's obvious. (Now, having these missions have really special/rare/cool drops could make it worthwhile anyway, but THAT would have to be something worth farming to keep people coming back to them.) Missions that cost in-game currency as a net loss to the player for playing them will obviously NOT be selected by those who are motivated by gathering currency. Which means the grind still will outweigh the drain.

The latter is more interesting and straight-forward in how it fights inflation: think of Legend of Zelda, and the amount of rupees Link can carry at any given point in time. Eventually, his wallet fills, and he can't get more until he spends them. This incentivizes spending rather than saving, but at the same time keeps him hungry for rupees because spending them puts him near broke if he's buying certain kinds of things.

Applying a cap to the currency a given character can carry would be a start. Unfortunately, it would have to be an annoyingly low cap to keep people from using mules to hold their currency. Whether these mules are alts on the same account or (if we instituted an account-wide cap) additional "free" accounts with totally separate log-ins, it would be a work-around. "Annoyingly low" caps would make it so impractical that few would do it, but have their own inherent problems.

However, there might be a way to combine these. It's 11:22 pm and I have to be up early in the morning, though, so I will give only a brief highlight, and try to explain tomorrow in more detail. (We are, again, as well, into "Segev's wild ideas that are not yet near ready for approval, let alone implementation," however.

So. If you institute a currency cap per-character, and have characters on "free" accounts have a hefty "tax" on any in-game currency they gain from other characters, it becomes a currency sink just to feed your money to your mules, and they have that annoyingly low cap to begin with. A microtransaction or microsubscription perk could be to lift that "tax." It sounds like just a way for MWM to grub real money, but it isn't: by making people spend real money to alleviate that "tax" - to avoid that currency sink - it makes it so that people can't just create unlimited mules. (Perhaps it's a micro-subscription to cover it on any given account for all characters, but beyond a baseline number, it's also a microsubscription per alt slot. We'd want to be careful with this, though, since alt-itis is a well-known phenomenon amongst our core target audience. Like I said, this is in the "come up with ideas and see what works and what doesn't" stage.)

But, in addition to the road blocks to gaming your way around the currency cap-per-character, we create in-game ways to raise that cap for a given character.

Membership in a supergroup, the power and prestige of that group (possibly represented by their base, possibly by other things), certain items in YOUR base (I call them "vault" items, but they could be things like a Death Ray that gives your villain so much threatening credit that he can stockpile more 'currency' in the form of influence and terror, or things of that nature...or literal vaults for storing valuables), certain level-up perks, and maybe other things... these would be things that cost in-game currency to maintain (e.g. your base items might require more rent on your base, or your supergroup might rely on its members spending in-game currency on its reputation-building and -maintenance), and the more and better of them you have, the higher your character's cap.

But the higher your cap, the MORE currency you have to spend to maintain it. So we combine currency sinking with the cap to try to keep in-game currency from inflating beyond a certain point.

All of this would be tricky to balance, but I hope the gamism in developing your character's particular method of maintaining his in-game currency cap will be an enjoyable challenge as well as a mechanism for keeping inflation down. The cap itself keeps it down by simply limiting what players can have, so currency above it is never generated.

This, of course, creates a problem where new players are actually physically limited from how much in-game currency they can even HAVE to buy things on the AH. So a work-around for that might be needed. Or maybe it'll be desirable, as it would mean players have to play the "build my cap" game to be able to play the "marketeer" game.

Obviously, requires more thought. For now...'night!

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jag40
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Segev wrote:
Segev wrote:

I suspect the reason that Inf-prices rose and stayed high at those "new normals" was, literally, textbook inflation. That is a problem that all in-game currencies tend to have, because they "drop" as the single most abundant reward that is created ex nihilo by the game. In CoX, when you beat an enemy, inf dropped. When you completed a mission, you got inf. When you sold stuff to vendors to clean up your inventory, you got inf. Inf fell every which place.
While those who did NOT play the market had a bit more difficulty getting "ludicrously rich" in inf, the fact is that inf entered the game far, far faster than it left. And many people only ever spent inf in the market, giving it to other players. Thus, it never was drained out (or, rather, the rate at which it drained was much slower than that at which it was gathered). The AH actually exacerbated the issue with its high-wealth marketeers making prices very high: others ran out and farmed like mad to earn inf to be able to play the market, themselves. This created more inf, which leads to more inflation.
Thus, I don't think it's that the market-manipulators caused individual items to inflate to a "new normal" by cornering them. It was, rather, the collective set of problems that surround an in-game currency and its creation method that led to the inflation, and the fact that - as you guys have noted - many players just posted prices at the "current normal" without really thinking about it is what made it look like the prices were caused by market manipulation.
If anybody who used dollars could actually create new ones when they work for them, the number of dollars out there goes up, and each individual one loses value. Supply and demand work on currencies as much as on less liquid goods. That loaf of bread may well rise to $50 or $100 or even $1000 if dollars just kept materializing.
I'm not discounting the hazards, mind, but rather trying to analyze what I think the real source of it is.
Assuming we kept it to just two currencies - in-game and Stars - then we have two things to concern ourselves with inflation on. Stars are actually self-limiting: they are created only when somebody spends money - gives it to MWM - to create them (i.e. buys them from MWM). Dollars have a limited supply and genuine value beyond their ability to buy Stars, so Stars should avoid inflating past a certain point by that virtue alone: they're tied at least in some extent to the value of the real-world currencies used to buy them (I presume we'll be taking payment from international customers in their native coinage).
In-game currency - what inf was to CoX - is another matter. I had, at one point, proposed simply not having it, and just letting Stars be the currency of the AH. But that has its own problems, and the lack of an in-game currency limits or eliminates the potential for NPC vendors to just sell things to players. But if it's going to drop based on how hard people play, it will inflate. There are simply too few things to buy - generally speaking - if it's just "better gear" you're buying. There are two things that can combat this inflationary trend on in-game currency:
Currency sinks
"maximum wallet capacity"
The former is something that is hard to do, because you have to calibrate it to the rate at which in-game currency drops. And that rate is one of the single most player-controlled things in the game: the more players, the more in-game currency is generated as they all play in parallel. The more a player plays, the more currency HE creates in the drops for his playing. Currency sinks generally are optional, so they don't cripple players less involved in grinding out in-game currency, and are almost always fixed in maximum drain by virtue of having fixed (if recurring) costs. The closest thing I can think of to an in-game currency sink that would scale with amount of play is having some missions cost a net loss in currency to get through them. And I'm sure you can see where this might be unpopular with players if it's obvious. (Now, having these missions have really special/rare/cool drops could make it worthwhile anyway, but THAT would have to be something worth farming to keep people coming back to them.) Missions that cost in-game currency as a net loss to the player for playing them will obviously NOT be selected by those who are motivated by gathering currency. Which means the grind still will outweigh the drain.
The latter is more interesting and straight-forward in how it fights inflation: think of Legend of Zelda, and the amount of rupees Link can carry at any given point in time. Eventually, his wallet fills, and he can't get more until he spends them. This incentivizes spending rather than saving, but at the same time keeps him hungry for rupees because spending them puts him near broke if he's buying certain kinds of things.
Applying a cap to the currency a given character can carry would be a start. Unfortunately, it would have to be an annoyingly low cap to keep people from using mules to hold their currency. Whether these mules are alts on the same account or (if we instituted an account-wide cap) additional "free" accounts with totally separate log-ins, it would be a work-around. "Annoyingly low" caps would make it so impractical that few would do it, but have their own inherent problems.
However, there might be a way to combine these. It's 11:22 pm and I have to be up early in the morning, though, so I will give only a brief highlight, and try to explain tomorrow in more detail. (We are, again, as well, into "Segev's wild ideas that are not yet near ready for approval, let alone implementation," however.
So. If you institute a currency cap per-character, and have characters on "free" accounts have a hefty "tax" on any in-game currency they gain from other characters, it becomes a currency sink just to feed your money to your mules, and they have that annoyingly low cap to begin with. A microtransaction or microsubscription perk could be to lift that "tax." It sounds like just a way for MWM to grub real money, but it isn't: by making people spend real money to alleviate that "tax" - to avoid that currency sink - it makes it so that people can't just create unlimited mules. (Perhaps it's a micro-subscription to cover it on any given account for all characters, but beyond a baseline number, it's also a microsubscription per alt slot. We'd want to be careful with this, though, since alt-itis is a well-known phenomenon amongst our core target audience. Like I said, this is in the "come up with ideas and see what works and what doesn't" stage.)
But, in addition to the road blocks to gaming your way around the currency cap-per-character, we create in-game ways to raise that cap for a given character.
Membership in a supergroup, the power and prestige of that group (possibly represented by their base, possibly by other things), certain items in YOUR base (I call them "vault" items, but they could be things like a Death Ray that gives your villain so much threatening credit that he can stockpile more 'currency' in the form of influence and terror, or things of that nature...or literal vaults for storing valuables), certain level-up perks, and maybe other things... these would be things that cost in-game currency to maintain (e.g. your base items might require more rent on your base, or your supergroup might rely on its members spending in-game currency on its reputation-building and -maintenance), and the more and better of them you have, the higher your character's cap.
But the higher your cap, the MORE currency you have to spend to maintain it. So we combine currency sinking with the cap to try to keep in-game currency from inflating beyond a certain point.
All of this would be tricky to balance, but I hope the gamism in developing your character's particular method of maintaining his in-game currency cap will be an enjoyable challenge as well as a mechanism for keeping inflation down. The cap itself keeps it down by simply limiting what players can have, so currency above it is never generated.
This, of course, creates a problem where new players are actually physically limited from how much in-game currency they can even HAVE to buy things on the AH. So a work-around for that might be needed. Or maybe it'll be desirable, as it would mean players have to play the "build my cap" game to be able to play the "marketeer" game.
Obviously, requires more thought. For now...'night!

Hmmm. Why not make the market, since it's the sole monopoly basically on buying desirable items with in game currency, be an actual inf sink? Instead of some near ignorable pennies to post items. How about like a graduated cost. More expensive an item is posted for more it cost to handle such a "large" transaction. Kind of like how their is simply tax on low price food items, but tax, agent fee, document fees, transfer of deed fee, closing cost, and in some cases legal and notary fees when selling large items like real estate.

As I said a couple of time a more simple way to control inflation is simply add another out. AKA, AH no longer being sole monopoly of products. Set prices for stuff. and the stuff do not have to be AH tradable so people cant dump them. But someone find market people price too high they have another place to go. Granted it may take some research and balancing, just like powers, costumes, price sets for real money items mob behavior, rewards, well hell, just about any other feature in the game. Make it real competition. Simply balance price of stuff with rate of reward. Kind of like how they did with TO, DOs and SOs. Except add a few notches for higher stuff. That way if players decide to play highway robbery bandit again, players can scoff and go buy somewhere else. Instead of groaning and still having no choice to either buy at high prices or making due without as inflation go out of control. I remember in COX when 25-30 million was big stuff. By the end, and note the rate of inf didn't change much, but 25-30 million was considered pauper money. Hell in many cases even 100 million didn't go far. Thus for many players the reality was no longer simply playing the game but now to even have a decent amount they had to farm grind and or play the market unless they were sitting on a rabbit foot. But for every rabbit foot sitter, there were some that simply seemed cursed.

But then again, with multiple currencies assuming one is not hamstringed and half butt placed in there while AH gets the full first class treatment., it might control it. Assuming especially with real money the stuff are set priced. That may keep things in check. Price too high on the market, they simply buy with cash or stars. Now, though that still wont take inf out of the equation. But I think coupled with at least some actual real fees for AH in the form of in game currency and stop this playing favorites with AH, could be a real good inf sink.

I think more information about history would help. Part of controlling inflation is also informing the buyers. COX failed dearly in this department.

Also, every thought about a bid or buy system? One reason I do like CO market system better is it takes all this nonsense guessing out. People say "Oh I put high priced stuff on the market all the time for 1 inf" Yeah but a buyer under COX system would have never knew that and in fact, it was apparent when that statement has been usually followed up with "...and I still made lot." I bet they did because not many people know when an item is placed on there for 1 inf or any inf. Just the last purchase price. Now would these same people knowing, that if they place an item for 1 inf, people can see it for 1 inf and buy it for 1 inf. Some would, but I suspect many were merely taking advantage of the situation while in text trying to look charitable. I propose a bid option or ability to set a buy price that is visible.

Another idea, which may be crazy and not yet time for yet is setting a max price per item. Like commons cannot be sold over this set price, uncommon no more than this price, and so on. Of course implemented with some thought not in some useless half butt way. An actual common sense way of doing it. Again that may require some balancing around the normal game play reward rate.

In an nutshell, make it so the AH isn't the only place to spend inf for desirable stuff. Which is another COX mistake pre AH especially. There wasn't many places for Inf to go. While AH gave a spot, it created a void of haves and have nots. With new players or players that didn't have a deep inf pocket find themselves even more left behind than before. While those that have and loved the market found themselves in heaven. But what about the rest of the players? Are only marketeers the only player that are important? From the start, there should be places to spend some inf. places with desirable stuff not bullcrap off to the side crap while AH again get the golden first class treatment catering. That is another way to control inflation. The game should not focus on Market. Market can be a side thing, but for all the fear of other groups having control over game from pay to win to farmers to gold farmers, why is it that marketeers are allowed to have control over the rate inf inflation of currency while other player groups having a smidge of any control is unthinkable?

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Absolutely, having places to

Absolutely, having places to spend in-game currency (I am really trying not to use "inf," because we are NOT CoH and we do NOT own the rights to use their terms) is critical. That's the definition of a currency-sink.

The reason we can't just have a "fixed cap" on any sort of items in the AH is the same as why that doesn't work anywhere else: scarcity is scarcity, and if the scarce item is not rationed by high prices, it is rationed by "first come, first serve." Price caps are why we had long, long lines at gas stations in the late 70s: more people wanted and could pay for the gas than there was gas to buy. (There are other factors there, such as there being no INCENTIVE to put your less-common common item up for sale, despite the dice gods making it rarer than normal right now, because you can't get more for it than the cap.)

As far as having an alternative place to buy things... that works to a degree, but you get to a point where you ask: are we putting up so much for sale at vendors that there's no reason to do anything but farm in-game currency to buy whatever you want?

Consider, again, that part of CoH's problem was that there just wasn't "enough" to spend currency on compared to the rate at which its players (overall) earned it. If we set vendor-prices for everything, that does effectively create a price cap for what people can sell on the AH. And now there really isn't anything to do with all that wealth.

The inflation-based market game at least kept the interest of its serious players because earning more was essential to staying ahead of the inflation curve and maintaining a certain level of real wealth. (Not to step too far into politico-economics here, but that's also why we're currently seeing a trend of the "rich getting richer" and the "poor getting poorer" in America; in reality, the rich are merely maintaining their uber-wealth as their bank accounts and investments keep up with inflation, while the poor are becoming poorer because inflation is destroying the value of their savings. This is in no small part due to the massive not-quite-money-printing the Fed is doing with its electronic creation of dollars to "loan" at very low interest rates, which winds up mainly in the real-estate and stock markets. If you disagree with this assessment, that's fine, and I'll retract the example. For those who do agree with it, it's mainly meant to illustrate my point in this context.)

So, we need to avoid solutions for the symptoms that exacerbate the core problem: inflation.

Having not just the "pennies" worth of a placement-fee when you put an item up for sale on the AH, but also a flat "sales tax" on the price for which it sells, would probably help. We could even have the flat posting fee be based on the "rarity" value of the item. This is a known quantity, and represents the AH's estimation of how much they'll have to spend to store and secure it properly for showing. It would also serve the standard purpose of preventing people from (over-)using the AH as "extra storage." The fee could also rise based on just how MANY items a given PC (or player account) has stored in it.

The "sales tax" - say, for current argument's sake, 10% - would just be added to the minimum sell-price, and lopped off the final transaction price. So the more in-game currency changes hands in a transaction, the more is sunk out of the economy. Also makes using the AH as a currency-transfer between accounts or characters less attractive than whatever "official" means we might set up.

I was going to question the benefit of setting up "competition" through vendors, and mention my thoughts on using CI algorithms to design vendors who can play the market, but I've written at length about that elsewhere and am more interested in exploring something you made me think of:

What if we have multiple auction houses/player markets, at different locales in the city and with varying, competing costs and services? One might be particularly inexpensive to post items to, or have more available AH slots, but have a higher "sales tax," while another might do the opposite. A third might specialize in lower-priced items, either charging far more for posting very rare ones or simply refusing to post them at all. Yet another might do the same, but only accepting very rares (or using high post-costs but low commissions to keep "the riff-raff" out). Some might be "members-only," charging in-game currency just to be allowed in but granting a flat number of free storage-and-auction slots. Some may allow for in-game currency or Stars to be put up for sale directly while others might not, and we might even have banks which will allow nothing BUT currency-for-Stars exchanges in their AH.

We could tweak individual AH's "rules" as knobs on the economy, and, if we design it right, we could have the "noob AH" for new players and new PCs who don't have lots of wealth yet, and the "expensive" one(s) for the super-high-powered marketeers. I'm not sure it would help or hurt, though; it might encourage "exclusivity" rather than discouraging "bullying." Though if our 'noob-friendly' one kept its overall prices low by using a progressive sales tax, it might protect the lowbies from having their market manipulated by high-powered guys just for the sheer unattractiveness of making high-ticket transactions. Nothing discourages high-end commerce like progressive taxation.

Add back in vendors (NPCs) who play the markets with CI algorithms designed to "turn a profit" in in-game currency, and they can help act as valves between the various AHs, as well as providing a place for inflated currency to gather. If we find it's just too much, we can behind-the-scenes simply destroy the currency the vendors have stockpiled. They're NPCs, so we wouldn't be attacking any players' accumulated wealth.

Finally, we could even create "store fronts." Let players bid for monthly rentals in the malls or on the streets of the city to open their own "vendor stalls." They come with storage space of varying amounts, and you can put sale prices on them, and they can be either pre-built or you can start using base-building tools to design your store. (Enterprising heroes and villains might even install a door to their secret base in it, or use part of its space as a secret lair.) Put items on display for sale or just to show them off. Presumably, if you're doing this for sales purposes, these will be rather high-priced boutiques, given that bidding for physical real-estate, I expect, would be very pricey, so expecting to turn a profit on it would require huge volume or large profits per sale.

Other than that, yeah, we need lots of enticing, on-going expenses in in-game currency for people to buy. Increased wallet size, increased base-size, perhaps certain in-game-currency-purchasable one-off powers or even "rented" "temporary" powers...

Having missions that are known for their particular rare drops actually cost in-game currency over the course of it, too, might help. It'd have to be very enticing - perhaps the only way to GET certain items would be through that kind of mission - but it could work. (You pay for information, you pay for special one-off equipment...I'm sure we can think of things. A lot of money is spent in the background in many super-heroic and super-villainous activities; just exploit that where we need to.) Heck, if we did something like CoH's "exp debt" but let people buy it off with in-game currency instead of exp, if they wanted, or allowed in-game currency to reduce respawn timers or to let them respawn at a more convenient locale...

Stars should be useful for QoL stuff before currency is, but having some QoL be relatively pricey but available in currency may well help. (Just have to be careful not to let currency be able to completely substitute for Stars on QoL stuff. Currency should always be one-off purchases of anything that Stars could subscribe to, I think.)

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jag40 wrote:
jag40 wrote:

While AH gave a spot, it created a void of haves and have nots. With new players or players that didn't have a deep inf pocket find themselves even more left behind than before. While those that have and loved the market found themselves in heaven. But what about the rest of the players? Are only marketeers the only player that are important? From the start, there should be places to spend some inf. places with desirable stuff not bullcrap off to the side crap while AH again get the golden first class treatment catering. That is another way to control inflation. The game should not focus on Market. Market can be a side thing, but for all the fear of other groups having control over game from pay to win to farmers to gold farmers, why is it that marketeers are allowed to have control over the rate inf inflation of currency while other player groups having a smidge of any control is unthinkable?

I still think you're missing the mark, here. The marketeers didn't control inflation rates. They merely exploited them.

The game focus isn't the market, but the market is crucial to having an in-game economy that is meaningful. And it is likely key to our monetization scheme being feasible, and certainly is key to my hopes to make this game allow free-to-players to access everything...with enough effort.

But what would it take, to your mind, to make "places with desirable stuff [to buy without going to other players] not bullcrap off to the side crap while AH again get the golden first class treatment catering?" This could be valuable advice for me to hear, to gauge what should and should not be vendor-available. (Recalling, again, that CoH's problem is that many vendor-sold items contribute to inflation when the vendor's price becomes a price ceiling. And the stuff that is "bullcrap off to the side" might have been defined by the fact that spending in-game currency in flat amounts - which became trivial to the marketeers - just create new ones.)

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Other than maybe increasing

Other than maybe increasing the amount of past transactions shown at the Auction House, I say leave it alone. It was fine in CoH. At first I hated the thing too. Then once I saw everybody running around with kitted out characters soloing ITF's at +4/x8, I got jealous and wanted to be able to do it too. The only way for me to be able to do that was to figure out the AH so I could make the money to buy all the stuff I needed to do that. It really wasn't all that hard to do. Just had to figure out what everybody was after, find the stuff needed for it, craft it, and/or sell it.

Run missions in AE to get tickets to sell for some of the salvage or recipes, do missions and get random salvage or recipe drops, use the AH and buy them as cheaply as you could and then turn around and sell them for a profit, etc. Just keep the ability to acquire things the same as CoH did and everything will be fine. I found the CoH system way more enjoyable than the way WoW and NW did theirs.

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Segev, I'm going to toss you

Segev, I'm going to toss you some homework to look at before Lin Chiao Feng shows up to give you this recommendation.

M.U.L.E.

Yes, a game that is now more than 30 years old has some very important lessons that could be learned with regards to how to balance the economics of a game like City of Titans. There's even an online version of the game that you can play in order to see a lot of the principles and concepts in action. I do believe that the experience will be well worth the investment of your time.


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Segev wrote:
Segev wrote:

jag40 wrote:
While AH gave a spot, it created a void of haves and have nots. With new players or players that didn't have a deep inf pocket find themselves even more left behind than before. While those that have and loved the market found themselves in heaven. But what about the rest of the players? Are only marketeers the only player that are important? From the start, there should be places to spend some inf. places with desirable stuff not bullcrap off to the side crap while AH again get the golden first class treatment catering. That is another way to control inflation. The game should not focus on Market. Market can be a side thing, but for all the fear of other groups having control over game from pay to win to farmers to gold farmers, why is it that marketeers are allowed to have control over the rate inf inflation of currency while other player groups having a smidge of any control is unthinkable?
I still think you're missing the mark, here. The marketeers didn't control inflation rates. They merely exploited them.
The game focus isn't the market, but the market is crucial to having an in-game economy that is meaningful. And it is likely key to our monetization scheme being feasible, and certainly is key to my hopes to make this game allow free-to-players to access everything...with enough effort.
But what would it take, to your mind, to make "places with desirable stuff [to buy without going to other players] not bullcrap off to the side crap while AH again get the golden first class treatment catering?" This could be valuable advice for me to hear, to gauge what should and should not be vendor-available. (Recalling, again, that CoH's problem is that many vendor-sold items contribute to inflation when the vendor's price becomes a price ceiling. And the stuff that is "bullcrap off to the side" might have been defined by the fact that spending in-game currency in flat amounts - which became trivial to the marketeers - just create new ones.)

As hated as the term is "Bind on Pickup" (and to a lesser degree "Bind on Equip") stuff that can only be bought stuff from certain stores, that are only in certain area's/Zones. Make the items *good* but not necessarily the best. Hell, you could even make those items unsellable to the AH.

This would give people an avenue to go down to get items that can help them out... are they the best? Probably not, but they are also NOT the worst available either. You want people to buy them.

I know that people (here at least) hate that, but it *does* have an effect on the overall "inflation" levels as well. Also another thing to consider are the overall "money sinks" in the game.

City of Heroes had not all that many on going inf sinks. Infact, you could actually (in theory) go through the whole game from 1-50 and not actually spend a single piece of currency, just relying on drops.

So, you could have costs that are associated with going into "hot zones" (you must spend X amount of currency to enter the zone... view it as a bribe to the people on the door/gate/whatever you want to call it), repair costs (I am not bothered by this as long as they manageable), crafting costs (either in terms of materials, or learning schematics), levelling up costs (ie to buy abilities), costs to change your appearance (WoW/CoX/most other games), dyes, AH Listing costs...

There is a lot out there that can be done to at least help try to manage the inflation of a game that will undoubtedly happen as more people play a game...

There are several other things that you can do to limit items as well... if crafted, but a timer on how often it can be made (ie 24 hour cooldown, or a cooldown on the materials required to make them... ie you need 5 Spingle Sprockets, but they can only be made at a rate of 2 a day from a single person)

There are other ways to constrain stuff as well.

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So many walls of text...

So many walls of text...

I have not read any of them but formatting your posts would help me see each point you're making. Yes line breaks help but it's still daunting.

I read Sergev's intent and do generally support what he intends to do.

- -

I want to add to the "game economy" debate to say that I do think the PLAYER exchange is self correcting and rather quickly so. I do wish that the GAME exchange had the ability to correct itself.. If selling things back to the game vendor I don't want to receive pennies on the dollar.

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Segev wrote:
Segev wrote:

What if we have multiple auction houses/player markets, at different locales in the city and with varying, competing costs and services? One might be particularly inexpensive to post items to, or have more available AH slots, but have a higher "sales tax," while another might do the opposite. A third might specialize in lower-priced items, either charging far more for posting very rare ones or simply refusing to post them at all. Yet another might do the same, but only accepting very rares (or using high post-costs but low commissions to keep "the riff-raff" out). Some might be "members-only," charging in-game currency just to be allowed in but granting a flat number of free storage-and-auction slots. Some may allow for in-game currency or Stars to be put up for sale directly while others might not, and we might even have banks which will allow nothing BUT currency-for-Stars exchanges in their AH.
We could tweak individual AH's "rules" as knobs on the economy, and, if we design it right, we could have the "noob AH" for new players and new PCs who don't have lots of wealth yet, and the "expensive" one(s) for the super-high-powered marketeers. I'm not sure it would help or hurt, though; it might encourage "exclusivity" rather than discouraging "bullying." Though if our 'noob-friendly' one kept its overall prices low by using a progressive sales tax, it might protect the lowbies from having their market manipulated by high-powered guys just for the sheer unattractiveness of making high-ticket transactions. Nothing discourages high-end commerce like progressive taxation.

Segey wrote:

Having missions that are known for their particular rare drops actually cost in-game currency over the course of it, too, might help. It'd have to be very enticing - perhaps the only way to GET certain items would be through that kind of mission - but it could work. (You pay for information, you pay for special one-off equipment...I'm sure we can think of things. A lot of money is spent in the background in many super-heroic and super-villainous activities; just exploit that where we need to.)

I like the ideas here of using multiple Auction Platforms and wanted to spend my "Two Cents" on the issue. A potential Price Stabilizing method could be via your proposed "Currency-Absorbing Mission Arcs".

Allow me to paint the picture:

Sunni and Beaker Financial, a Lore NPC Faction, owns and operates one of the "High Roller" Auction House formats. It is something of an open secret among the Heroic and Villainous communities that their upper echelons have ties to a faction of the Aether Pirates, seeing as how many of their competitors get raided at peak times. You hear from one of your contacts/informants in the financial sector that S&B are planning to run an investors-only auction, and you suspect that some of the goodies recently purloined in an Aether Pirate Museum Raid will be up for "resale". Under an appropriate suedonym you (the player) invest a calculated sum and manage (through another mission or two) to get yourself on the guest list.

--Heroes: If you can manage to tie some of the items at the auction back to the Museum Heist, you can get S&B on stolen merchandise and damage their credibility in the public's eye. You may even be able to prove the connection to the pirates and get higher authorities to weigh in. The least you can do is bust up the auction and retrieve the stolen items and return them to the museum.

--Villains: If the sheer amount of wealth walking around at this auction wasn't enough to draw your attention, maybe you had your eye on one of those "Pretty Baubles" the Aether Pirates made off with in the museum heist. This may be your last chance at the item before it disappears into some unknown private collection, making retrieval twice as difficult. Or maybe one of the wealthy socialites there foreclosed on your friend's home some time ago and you are just itching for revenge.

The above is only a "in-Lore" device but the idea would be to use such a mission structure, (that is a mission arc requiring in-game currency investment) to set a "Mean Price" for some of the very rare drops. Using COH Terminiology it would be the equivalent of paying X Influence and 6 missions worth of time&effort for the equivalent of a guaranteed random purple drop, setting X as "more or less" the center of the purple enh price curve. Sometimes the result is worth more than you invested, other times not, but it provides a chance at the rare item based on a set application of in-game currency and time/effort.

Some controls would need to be placed to make the Story Arc either untenable for farmers or with some sort of cool-down restricting its repetition. And of course the final drop could be a menu, such as a random drop from 1 of several different categories or possibly just an amount of in-game currency in excess of your initial investment.

I could see a number of NPC Factions and story arcs focused around the firms that operate the different Auction Houses (I imagine a Charitable Organization operating the newbie friendly AH and providing some early detective / simple fraud mission content) that would not only provide In-Lore opportunities for currency sinks but also provide fertile ground for Financial/Detective focused story arcs.

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Segev wrote:
Segev wrote:

As far as having an alternative place to buy things... that works to a degree, but you get to a point where you ask: are we putting up so much for sale at vendors that there's no reason to do anything but farm in-game currency to buy whatever you want?
p>

Well with the player ran market that is exactly what happened with AH market anyways. So why should one, that caused this too, be ok, but a no go for another alternative?

If you wanted to be actually fair with that assessment then maybe not all items should be able to be placed on the player ran market either. If it would be an issue for vendor say, rare items, and it would as you say cause people to simply farm. Because the only difference is one money is going to vendor and out of the game while the other money is simply being transferred among the player. The high prices and the availability still created a thing where people had to farm currency to get what they want, especially for the rare and purps.

Although that mission idea is interesting. Of course I assume it's not simply an expensive gamble to make it not worth it and another nudge to get players into the AH market whether they truly like it or not.

Basically what I mean by "places with desirable stuff [to buy without going to other players] not bullcrap off to the side crap while AH again get the golden first class treatment catering?" Is simply remember marketeers are not the ONLY type of players. Like I said, some people find it enjoyable, and the best thing in the world. Others not so much. Even some people that used it in AH didn't mean they liked it. It was that in reality there was not many other ways to get what they want or needed. AKA, for once, throw other player groups a decent bone instead of giving marketeers all the grade A meat and everyone maybe a bone with a sliver of reject meat on it. It was a great addition indeed, but in the process it seems like other type of players got nothing while marketeers got catered to as far as enhancements went.

I don't think vendor items will contribute to inflation. Don't forget the suggestion of maybe making vendor sold items not able to be placed on the market. In the days prior to AH in COX, inflation didn't happen much. Inflation happened AFTER AH came about. And there was no vendors to buy all the stuff that was available on the AH. Basically oen had to buy from the marketeers or get extremely lucky with the good stuff. I'm saying why make it easy for markteers to get everything they want need and basically AH was in a way a self contained inf farm. While throwing every hudle in the book at the other groups outside marketeers. If inflation is an issue, then maybe AH should have a lot more inflation control, if it's a worry. Especially since inflation would be a disqualifying factor in some eyes for a vendor that sold the items too. If it would be a disqualifying thing for other things, then it should also been a disqualifying thing for player ran markets. That is what I'm getting at with playing favorites. It's like the problems of the market in favor of marketeers is being downsized and under estimated, while any form or suggestion of alternative outside the market issues ate magnified and considered disqualifying even when the player ran market created the exact same problems that is considered disqualifying for other options.

And again, comparing the AH to real world market while ignoring one very important piece of real world market. Competition. There should be other places to go besides player on player controlled market if it's supposed to emulate a real market. Now and days even, there hundreds of places if not millions of places to go to say buy say flowers. Don't want to use Amazon, then there is other sites. Suppose one do not want to use the internet, then they can go to brick and mortar places. Don't like the ones in the areas, they can call most places and have them shipped. Don't like any flower shops in America, people can even order flowers straight in from Europe. The way COX AH was set up. It's like must do transactions through google and no where else. And with no competition it is not and will not function like a true real world market.

And many items and market do have price caps or price regulation on them. There is called price gouging that is used in real world market and is highly frowned upon in most markets. The 1970s oil embargo effect was due to a number of effects and not simply just the price.

And yes, the entire inflation based mini game of player ran market may keep some "serious" players interested, not all, because some rather serious play the game killing stuff earning xp and not spending a bunch of time playing marketeer. Even so, what about the rest of the players? Are they not important? Wasn't a large part of the spirit of COX was "it was a game for CASUAL players?"

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I'm not trying to argue, but

I'm not trying to argue, but I see a few holes in your points, and I hope you can address them. If you can, it will help me better frame a design for solving the problems you perceive.

The thing about "catering to the mareketeers" is that...there is no way to "cater" to them, that I can see. You can't "give" them items for the market. The "other play styles" - the PRIMARY play style - is what gets "market-only" items into the market. That is, those items have to drop from mission rewards or from beating enemies. That's normal play (or grinding for it, if it's so uber-rare that you have to to have a shot at it). So it's not treating marketeers like golden children to have drop-only rares; it's treating "normal players" that way.

Market caps, price caps, all of that? They are idiotic maneuvers that create shortages. The 1970s gas price caps resulted in long lines at gas stations and nobody being able to get gasoline; the gas just wasn't there to be gotten at that price.

"Price gouging" is also a myth. It is a myth created by that same strange concept of "fairness" that is rooted in "I need and want it so you should provide it to me." Remember: a thing is worth EXACTLY how much somebody else will pay for it. Is it price gouging to be a guy living in Missouri who hears about a huricane in Alabama, realizes that it will displace a lot of people into non-air-conditioned temporary housing, and thus buy up a lot of portable/windowbox A/Cs and drive them down there and sell them for 5x the price?

There was a guy who tried that in Louisiana after Katrina, and was accused of gouging. But think about it: if he couldn't charge those prices for the A/C units, would he even have bothered to gather them and come down? Is it not better that they were available to those who wanted them badly enough, than to have nobody have them at all? "Fairness" would say no, it's not better, because it's not fair that some people would get them and others wouldn't. The only "fair" thing would be for all to be miserable. But the conception of what is fair is that, somehow, this man owes those A/C units to those who want them. After all, they're suffering, and his demanding a high price means some who get there first to ask will be turned away. Never mind that, if he charges too little, he'll still be out of them before he gives one to everybody; first come, first serve, and then he's out.

...enough of that rant, sorry.

Competition, too, happens even with "just one" AH. Remember that every player is competing against every other player to sell their goods. Yes, they will tend to operate around a known going rate...unless they're trying to be aggressive and turn a profit somehow. But they will only manage to turn that profit if they correctly read that the going rate is lower than actual demand would support. Scrooge, from our earlier example, couldn't maintain an artificially high price because Huey would compete. Worse, Glomgold would come in and start buying up Huey, Dewie, and Lewie's drops if they weren't going to compete directly with Scrooge, and then Glomgold would sell for cheaper, thus leaving Scrooge stuck with his inventory. Unless Scrooge's prices were low enough that he could sell as fast as new stock "dropped," that is. (In which case, again, Scrooge is selling at the genuine market rate.)

The actual purpose of the "costs money to play them" missions, if they have cool drops in them, would be to drain currency from the economy. If those cool drops are rare enough that they sell for more on the AH than you spend to get into the mission, it still combats inflation: the currency you get from selling it on the AH came from other players; it wasn't created out of nowhere the way currency you get by selling things to vendors or by beating up foes is. And the currency you spent to GET the item is destroyed, removed from the game, because it was a currency sink.

Amazon, eBay, Wal*Mart.com... these are not Auction Houses. They are individual PLAYERS in the AH that is the internet. Well, okay, eBay is an AH, but if you look at it, the people ON eBay are competing with each other whenever they sell the same item.

Still, I like the idea of multiple AHs with different "rules" surrounding how many slots you can have, how much it costs to post an item, how much of a cut of the sale they take, and the like.

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Effectively, the various

Effectively, the various problems such as "price gouging" and other methods for artificially inflating prices require that you have a genuine monopoly. You must - absolutely must - control the supply. Because this is a game, and the "costs" of entry into the market are "go out and get items as drops from enemies," there really isn't a way to pull it off for any length of time, unless what you're really doing is noticing that items are selling for far less than people will pay for them.

So yeah, focusing on making sure there is plenty of constant currency-sinking will help significantly. Ideally, the currency sinks will be fun things people want to buy with in-game currency. I also think we can probably make a lot of things that were "weird, new currencies" in CoH just use in-game currency. I would like to keep us to just two currencies in this game: in-game currency, and Stars. In-game currency is sunk through just about anything you can buy in-game, from vendor items to base rent to ... well, anything that isn't "behind the pay wall" that you can buy with some mechanism. I'd even like to see it, instead of "tickets," as the primary reward behind player-made content. (I am open to being persuaded otherwise, though.)

Stars, of course, are sunk at the c-store and in microsubscriptions and anywhere you want something behind the "pay wall."

Both are usable on the AH. ...actually, that would be another way to differentiate multiple AHs - maybe there's one that does business only in in-game currency, and another that does business only in Stars.

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Segev wrote:
Segev wrote:

Effectively, the various problems such as "price gouging" and other methods for artificially inflating prices require that you have a genuine monopoly. You must - absolutely must - control the supply. Because this is a game, and the "costs" of entry into the market are "go out and get items as drops from enemies," there really isn't a way to pull it off for any length of time, unless what you're really doing is noticing that items are selling for far less than people will pay for them.

This is demonstrably false ... both in the real world and within game economies. Specifically, the point that market manipulation requires control of the supply completely discounts the "herd mentality" that we so often see in markets, both real and virtual. As for the point that market manipulations cannot be successful for ANY length of time is also demonstrably false, since all that is really necessary is a manipulation that is successful for a short enough span of time in which the manipulator makes a profit (quickly) and then gets out, jumping from commodity to commodity to commodity, circulating their way around with short term turn arounds that stay one step ahead of the market corrective forces that you (Segev) are adequate to combat the problem.

Being able to move and manipulate a market does not require absolute control over supplies, merely a significant ENOUGH portion of them. City of Heroes, with its piss-poor Last 5 Transactions reporting, was simplicity itself to manipulate for short term gain. Yes, the market "corrected" itself, but only after people not a part of the Ebil Marketeering Scheme™ either got burned or inconvenienced (sometimes severely). There's a reason why this was (and still is) considered Market PvP. How LONG the scheme would remain effective for depended on the flow rate of the supplies, but in some ways that wasn't the point of such manipulations. Short term gain was the name of the game. Get in, get out, end with more currency than you started with. The very structure of the auction house in City of Heroes aided, abetted and facilitated such moves, creating and in some ways supporting the long term inflationary pressures you've cited.

For what it's worth, the Exchange in Star Trek Online is perhaps even worse in the respect that there are no listing fees for putting items up for auction ... although it is better than City of Heroes in that you can at least see (and sort by) the prices Sellers are willing to sell at so that you aren't just bidding blindly like City of Heroes forced you to do, making the system more like World of Warcraft in that aspect.

The way to fight market manipulators is to "arm" both buyers and sellers with information, making it harder to market manipulators to successfully scam other people in either the high or low price point directions. Better information and reporting of what's on the market at any given time, and the prices for those items, makes it harder for price gouging to occur. Blind bidding and auctioning like City of Heroes had is probably the WORST system imaginable (and definitely the worst out of all the game I played). It's a lot harder for market manipulators to be successful when there's plenty of "disinfecting sunlight" shining on the market, making there moves more obvious and transparent to other Players.

Segev wrote:

I would like to keep us to just two currencies in this game: in-game currency, and Stars.

Laudable, Segev, but I think you might want to PLAN for having Stars and more.

Specifically, I'm wondering if the old INF based system of City of Heroes could be "divided" into the Alignment Axes that City of Titans will be using ... Law, Integrity and Violence. In practice, this would mean that you'd functionally wind up with 6 "INF based" currency types ... Low/High Law, Low/High Integrity, Low/High Violence ... and what you get awarded in your Mission Rewards and your Drops depends on where your character is on the respective axis of alignment. People who are in the (exact) middle of an alignment axis get an even split of both currencies on that axis.

This then comes into play for buying and selling of items, either to other Players or to NPC vendors. Some vendors will only deal in Low Law INF, because they're running a black market. Some vendors will only deal in High Integrity INF, because they're reputable and they want to keep that reputation. Some vendors are "halvesies" and will require equal amounts of Low and High INF on one (or more) alignment axes.

The interesting thing that this would do, effectively, is a sort of Market Sorting for where Players would go to buy, sell and trade their commodities, wares, items and drops. You'd have a concurrency of markets, and through diversification make it more difficult for market manipulations to be sustained over the very long haul. You could also set up multiple auction houses, with slightly different "rules" for each and put them in different neighborhoods around the city. The way things will tend to fall out is that the Heroes will gravitate towards "their" vendors and services, while the Villains will gravitate towards "their" vendors and services in different parts of the city. Furthermore, different characters will accumulate "wealth" in different ways, which can further help differentiate characters across the spectrum of gameplay (leading to replay value for "economic" reasons).

And that's before you even start thinking in terms of using Supergroups as a way to pool alignment keyed INF together across multiple characters and accounts, or making Costume and Base Editing one of many possible sinks for alignment keyed INF (rather than using Prestige).


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Redlynne wrote:
Redlynne wrote:

This is demonstrably false ... both in the real world and within game economies.

(...)

As for the point that market manipulations cannot be successful for ANY length of time is also demonstrably false, since all that is really necessary is a manipulation that is successful for a short enough span of time ... with short term turn arounds that stay one step ahead of the market corrective forces that you (Segev) are adequate to combat the problem.
Being able to move and manipulate a market does not require absolute control over supplies, merely a significant ENOUGH portion of them. City of Heroes, with its piss-poor Last 5 Transactions reporting, was simplicity itself to manipulate for short term gain. Yes, the market "corrected" itself, but only after people not a part of the Ebil Marketeering Scheme™ either got burned or inconvenienced (sometimes severely). There's a reason why this was (and still is) considered Market PvP. How LONG the scheme would remain effective for depended on the flow rate of the supplies, but in some ways that wasn't the point of such manipulations. Short term gain was the name of the game. Get in, get out, end with more currency than you started with. The very structure of the auction house in City of Heroes aided, abetted and facilitated such moves, creating and in some ways supporting the long term inflationary pressures you've cited.

Again, long-term inflationary effects would only happen if there was an ever-increasing, inflation-causing supply of currency.

That said, however, you're right that market manipulation requires only a "sufficient" portion of the supply. But for it to turn a profit short-term, you must be able to not only scarf up most of the supply (such that the rest "dries up" naturally), but THEN must be able to turn it all around. You need to have something in demand enough that, even at a slower rate-of-sale than before when prices were lower, there are enough buyers to buy you out of enough stock to make a profit BEFORE more supply shows up.

So we're talking relatively slow-rate-of-arrival things, here.

Redlynne wrote:

The way to fight market manipulators is to "arm" both buyers and sellers with information, making it harder to market manipulators to successfully scam other people in either the high or low price point directions. Better information and reporting of what's on the market at any given time, and the prices for those items, makes it harder for price gouging to occur. Blind bidding and auctioning like City of Heroes had is probably the WORST system imaginable (and definitely the worst out of all the game I played). It's a lot harder for market manipulators to be successful when there's plenty of "disinfecting sunlight" shining on the market, making there moves more obvious and transparent to other Players.

This is really solid information and advice, and is helpful. I agree: more information is better. An informed clientele is key to a healthy economy.
Segev wrote:
I would like to keep us to just two currencies in this game: in-game currency, and Stars.
Laudable, Segev, but I think you might want to PLAN for having Stars and more.
Specifically, I'm wondering if the old INF based system of City of Heroes could be "divided" into the Alignment Axes that City of Titans will be using ... Law, Integrity and Violence. In practice, this would mean that you'd functionally wind up with 6 "INF based" currency types ... Low/High Law, Low/High Integrity, Low/High Violence ... and what you get awarded in your Mission Rewards and your Drops depends on where your character is on the respective axis of alignment. People who are in the (exact) middle of an alignment axis get an even split of both currencies on that axis.
This then comes into play for buying and selling of items, either to other Players or to NPC vendors. Some vendors will only deal in Low Law INF, because they're running a black market. Some vendors will only deal in High Integrity INF, because they're reputable and they want to keep that reputation. Some vendors are "halvesies" and will require equal amounts of Low and High INF on one (or more) alignment axes.
The interesting thing that this would do, effectively, is a sort of Market Sorting for where Players would go to buy, sell and trade their commodities, wares, items and drops. You'd have a concurrency of markets, and through diversification make it more difficult for market manipulations to be sustained over the very long haul. You could also set up multiple auction houses, with slightly different "rules" for each and put them in different neighborhoods around the city. The way things will tend to fall out is that the Heroes will gravitate towards "their" vendors and services, while the Villains will gravitate towards "their" vendors and services in different parts of the city. Furthermore, different characters will accumulate "wealth" in different ways, which can further help differentiate characters across the spectrum of gameplay (leading to replay value for "economic" reasons).
And that's before you even start thinking in terms of using Supergroups as a way to pool alignment keyed INF together across multiple characters and accounts, or making Costume and Base Editing one of many possible sinks for alignment keyed INF (rather than using Prestige).

This is...interesting...though I see a flavor-problem:

Let's say the "violence" currency is "Fear." Joe Heroic is as negative as he can get on the "violence" rating, because he exerts force only in proportion to and as absolutly necessary against various threats. He finds, in the course of his Heroism, a super-rare "Flight Gel" that increases flying speed.

Joe Heroic doesn't fly, so he puts it up on the AH. Sam Sinistrous, perpetrator of left-hand themed crimes, is extremely violent, and thus accumulates lots of "Fear" when he does his missions. He goes to the AH and sees this stuff that will make his Far-Left Flyer even faster, and decides to buy it.

Now, Joe Heroic has Fear to spend. This doesn't make a lot of sense.

Or, if Joe didn't put it up for sale for Fear, Sam just can't buy it. But Joe's player may have wanted Fear to go shopping on the Violence AH. It seems odd that Joe would have to go sell to villains to buy cool stuff from their AH.

This seems like ti would segregate role players, and would have only an odd effect of distorted markets as those who care less about RP and more about gameplay visit the markets to get different currencies.

It's still an interesting idea, but I'm having conceptual trouble with how it would "look" and how what it theoretically represents would actually be reflected in actual gameplay.

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Actually I'd have to agree

Actually I'd have to agree with Segev that, as an avid auctioneer myself, "Price Gouging" does indeed truly need a genuine monopoly on the goods being sold. The only way to quickly make a profit would be to buy up all the stock, and sell it for marginally more expensive, and HOPE that people still need to buy it. Otherwise, people will quickly get wise to what you're doing, and keep selling lower in hopes that you will just buy it because of the fact you need that monopoly.
Probably the only way to effectively control a monopoly on virtual goods, would be to have say, a supergroup, entirely dedicated to marketing and can take 24 hour control of it. Even then, the profit would eventually fall off as everyone ends up selling for the same amount.

Something else that needs to be said, there needs to be a cap on the amount of currency that an item can go for, something like half the total currency one can carry, unlike CoH which had a cap the same size as your entire wallet could hold, leaving many players empty and poor after buying just one item, and leaving gold farmers to prosper. (And no one wants gold farmers spamming chat)

Splitting currency just makes the game that much more complicated and as far as I know, this game isn't supposed to be harder to understand than CoH. I believe the 2 different currency systems are enough, and the fact that it is this way in MOST MMO's to date, is because it's just what works for most people, a type of "herd mentality" as you say. Like how people are used to the menu being on the bottom of the screen or the controls being WASD.
You also have to take into account, the more currencies being put into the game, the longer it takes to write items and pricing scale, nevermind the HORROR it would be to balance such a system logically. I mean, do we want this game to be out before 2020 or not?

EDIT: This forum needs a 'wait! someone just replied!' feature. :P

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I think "price caps" are,

I think "price caps" are, generally, a bad idea. If people are willing to beggar themselves from "maximum wallet" to nothing for one item, that's what the item is worth (actually, it's probably LESS than that item is worth). This does mean, however, that there are one or more problems; I suspect the biggest one in CoH was simply inflation, which we've discussed at length in this thread.

Now, if we go with a variable wallet size based on increasingly expensive-to-"rent" base and other items, this could be a problem for some players and not one for others. But as long as it costs more and more to increase your wallet size, this will, itself, serve to combat inflation by sinking currency from the wealthiest individuals directly.

That said, perhaps if we do go for multiple AHs with differing rules, some might have price caps...it's a way to experiment with what works and what doesn't, at the very least.

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Segev wrote:
Segev wrote:

I'm not trying to argue, but I see a few holes in your points, and I hope you can address them. If you can, it will help me better frame a design for solving the problems you perceive.
The thing about "catering to the mareketeers" is that...there is no way to "cater" to them, that I can see. You can't "give" them items for the market. The "other play styles" - the PRIMARY play style - is what gets "market-only" items into the market. That is, those items have to drop from mission rewards or from beating enemies. That's normal play (or grinding for it, if it's so uber-rare that you have to to have a shot at it). So it's not treating marketeers like golden children to have drop-only rares; it's treating "normal players" that way.
Market caps, price caps, all of that? They are idiotic maneuvers that create shortages. The 1970s gas price caps resulted in long lines at gas stations and nobody being able to get gasoline; the gas just wasn't there to be gotten at that price.
"Price gouging" is also a myth. It is a myth created by that same strange concept of "fairness" that is rooted in "I need and want it so you should provide it to me." Remember: a thing is worth EXACTLY how much somebody else will pay for it. Is it price gouging to be a guy living in Missouri who hears about a huricane in Alabama, realizes that it will displace a lot of people into non-air-conditioned temporary housing, and thus buy up a lot of portable/windowbox A/Cs and drive them down there and sell them for 5x the price?
There was a guy who tried that in Louisiana after Katrina, and was accused of gouging. But think about it: if he couldn't charge those prices for the A/C units, would he even have bothered to gather them and come down? Is it not better that they were available to those who wanted them badly enough, than to have nobody have them at all? "Fairness" would say no, it's not better, because it's not fair that some people would get them and others wouldn't. The only "fair" thing would be for all to be miserable. But the conception of what is fair is that, somehow, this man owes those A/C units to those who want them. After all, they're suffering, and his demanding a high price means some who get there first to ask will be turned away. Never mind that, if he charges too little, he'll still be out of them before he gives one to everybody; first come, first serve, and then he's out.
...enough of that rant, sorry.
Competition, too, happens even with "just one" AH. Remember that every player is competing against every other player to sell their goods. Yes, they will tend to operate around a known going rate...unless they're trying to be aggressive and turn a profit somehow. But they will only manage to turn that profit if they correctly read that the going rate is lower than actual demand would support. Scrooge, from our earlier example, couldn't maintain an artificially high price because Huey would compete. Worse, Glomgold would come in and start buying up Huey, Dewie, and Lewie's drops if they weren't going to compete directly with Scrooge, and then Glomgold would sell for cheaper, thus leaving Scrooge stuck with his inventory. Unless Scrooge's prices were low enough that he could sell as fast as new stock "dropped," that is. (In which case, again, Scrooge is selling at the genuine market rate.)
The actual purpose of the "costs money to play them" missions, if they have cool drops in them, would be to drain currency from the economy. If those cool drops are rare enough that they sell for more on the AH than you spend to get into the mission, it still combats inflation: the currency you get from selling it on the AH came from other players; it wasn't created out of nowhere the way currency you get by selling things to vendors or by beating up foes is. And the currency you spent to GET the item is destroyed, removed from the game, because it was a currency sink.
Amazon, eBay, Wal*Mart.com... these are not Auction Houses. They are individual PLAYERS in the AH that is the internet. Well, okay, eBay is an AH, but if you look at it, the people ON eBay are competing with each other whenever they sell the same item.
Still, I like the idea of multiple AHs with different "rules" surrounding how many slots you can have, how much it costs to post an item, how much of a cut of the sale they take, and the like.

Yes but Ebay isn't the only source for items. That is what I'm getting at.

And what I mean by catering to market people. Is by having that be the only source and "easy" way to get items, whether players put the itemes on there or not, while outside the market there is no other "easy" way to buy items. Sure everything maybe cannot be straight down the middle equal, but there should be some sort of attempt.

And ever thought why the "normal" playstyle is what get items on the market? Of course thaty is how itmes get on the market because there is no other equal way to sell or buy items. Now that point would be extremely valid and good abservation if there were other ways, real competetion. But when there isn't, like the AC example. There is no other choice and thus one can raise prices to what ever they want to without anything to compare it to. Which is it's hard to say if the price was "fair" or actually not price gouging because people bought it. When what kind of hinders that logic is that there was no other choice. If there was other ways to get AC outside the high price people, then would those people buy the high priced AC? Maybe, maybe not, but cant say because what other choice. But ok so he runs out. In game, though a vendor with items can solve that running out problem. Granted one may not be able to sell on the market if they buy it from a vendor.

Look, basically, having ONLY AH market as the only option is not the ONLY way. Supply is an issue then get a vendor where supply isn't an issue. Inflation, then make items sold from vendors not tradable on the AH. Those issues would be solved while supplying other players outside marketeers another option. That is why I said it catering to marketeers. It's like marketeers fun play is the only option that is feasible or allowed. That is text book catering to one set of players. Like I asked, what about the other players outside the market? You said the game did not and CoT will not revolve around playing or using the market. So then, if that is true then why not other equally effective options and why should AH be the only option? To me it looks like the fear of true competition and fear of revealing that many players only did market because there was no equal effective choice. Unlike real life, in game it's easier to change stuff.

The main point is with the catering thing, give the other group of players non-market people a choice and somewhere equal in quality to the market. Or else, yes it's catering to the marketer player base. It doesn't have to be well one side gets all the attention or no one do and every be miserable. That is not the definition of fair. Simply put as much effort that goes into pleasing and easing the game play of marketeers into the game play and ease of game play into the other player groups. Because is it fair other player groups get charged the same box and subscription fee, but marketer people get the good stuff and other players get nothing simply because they no enjoy the market thing as much?

Why do people use the market? Is it because that many people find it fun and enjoyable? Maybe. Or maybe it's simply because it's the only option.

The cost money to play thing is cool idea, if it's a effective way to get drops without having to play the market if one chooses to.

Also so is that different auction house thing, but again still catering to people who is interested in the market in the first place. Again, remember the players that do not simply want to deal with being a marketer to get by in the game without the option being either play the market or in that idea's case, play the markets or else face a bunch of hurdles and traps and slogging. That do not seem like a fair choice and is catering to one part of the player base without thinking about the other parts of the player base. In fact it may look like even more catering to marketeers than having one market. Because then that would be three or four different markets, yet what has been built economics wise, for the other players? Would they too get three or four items that make their game QoL easier? Like I said, fairness do not equal cater to one group and leave everyone else out or everyone gets nothing. Fairness to me in this context means, simply what you give to ease one group give something of ease of the same quality and or quantity to the other groups to also. AKA let the player have a true choice. Then it could be seen whether or not the market is "hot" as it seems. Because when it's the only one of that quality and quantity then going by how many people use it is artificial.

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jag40 wrote:
jag40 wrote:

And what I mean by catering to market people. Is by having that be the only source and "easy" way to get items, whether players put the itemes on there or not, while outside the market there is no other "easy" way to buy items. Sure everything maybe cannot be straight down the middle equal, but there should be some sort of attempt.
And ever thought why the "normal" playstyle is what get items on the market? Of course thaty is how itmes get on the market because there is no other equal way to sell or buy items.

I'm afraid I don't follow you, here. The market is not "catered to" by having items drop exclusively from missions/defeating enemies.

Vendors DID buy stuff off of you for INF in CoH. Just often not as much as you could sell it for on the AH.

The market just gave you a SECOND choice of where to go to get an item. You could go out and play the "old fashioned way," or you could go to the market and buy it from somebody who HAD played "the old fashioned way" to get it and decided to sell it to you.

What it seems you're suggesting is that everything that can drop in a mission, etc., should also be sold at a fixed price at a vendor. This actively caters AGAINST the "normal" play style: why go seek these rare items when you can just street sweep until you can afford it at the vendor? (And before you say that you can just street sweep to afford it at the AH, remember that you're complaining that the prices at the AH are "too high." So all your gripes about that apply to the vendors' wares, unless they're grossly under-priced.)

jag40 wrote:

Now that point would be extremely valid and good abservation if there were other ways, real competetion. But when there isn't, like the AC example. There is no other choice and thus one can raise prices to what ever they want to without anything to compare it to. Which is it's hard to say if the price was "fair" or actually not price gouging because people bought it.

There is no competition because nobody else did it, or because too few others did it. If the one person hadn't done it, there wouldn't BE the A/Cs for people to buy at ANY price. It is "fair" because people bought it. The supply was extremely limited.

Even if 10 other people had A/C units to sell, the sheer demand was much higher than their supply could meet at anything below the prices they were charging. If anything, seeing the killing Mr. A/C was making, others might copy him in hopes of making a similar amount...and thus increase the supply to the beleaguered region.

jag40 wrote:

When what kind of hinders that logic is that there was no other choice. If there was other ways to get AC outside the high price people, then would those people buy the high priced AC? Maybe, maybe not, but cant say because what other choice.

If there are "non-high-priced" ways to get them, of COURSE people will buy them from those sources first. A thing's value is both what somebody will pay for it and what somebody will sell it for.

But you know what happens when somebody else offers them cheaper? Either he sells out and there's still loads of demand (which his competitors take advantage of to sell their high-priced wares), or he undercuts his competition and they have to lower their prices or be stuck with unsold inventory.

Why didn't anybody provide cheaper ones? They didn't want to spend the time and money on building the inventory and bringing it in. It was not worth what he was selling those for to them to do that labor and make that investment. He WAS the lowest-price source because HE was the one who was willing to do it for that amount. If others just hadn't thought of it, they probably would have moved in to compete when they saw it working...if he had been allowed to do it.

jag40 wrote:

But ok so he runs out. In game, though a vendor with items can solve that running out problem. Granted one may not be able to sell on the market if they buy it from a vendor.

At which point you destroy the entire concept behind "rare" items. This fundamentally breaks the entire "item drop" aspect of game play.

The AH has competition internally between everybody selling the items, and externally with the fact that you can go out and win the drop yourself if you play long enough and grind for it. The expense and difficulty of getting certain things from the AH is a direct result of the rarity of the item dropping. Any vendor's fixed price would be hard-pressed to match exactly what the AH prices are. If it's too high, then it may as well not be there. If it's too low, then it contributes to the "I have nothing to spend my currency on" problem by keeping higher-wealth people from, well, having anything they can buy.

jag40 wrote:

Look, basically, having ONLY AH market as the only option is not the ONLY way. Supply is an issue then get a vendor where supply isn't an issue. Inflation, then make items sold from vendors not tradable on the AH. Those issues would be solved while supplying other players outside marketeers another option. That is why I said it catering to marketeers. It's like marketeers fun play is the only option that is feasible or allowed. That is text book catering to one set of players. Like I asked, what about the other players outside the market? You said the game did not and CoT will not revolve around playing or using the market. So then, if that is true then why not other equally effective options and why should AH be the only option? To me it looks like the fear of true competition and fear of revealing that many players only did market because there was no equal effective choice. Unlike real life, in game it's easier to change stuff.
The main point is with the catering thing, give the other group of players non-market people a choice and somewhere equal in quality to the market. Or else, yes it's catering to the marketer player base. It doesn't have to be well one side gets all the attention or no one do and every be miserable. That is not the definition of fair. Simply put as much effort that goes into pleasing and easing the game play of marketeers into the game play and ease of game play into the other player groups. Because is it fair other player groups get charged the same box and subscription fee, but marketer people get the good stuff and other players get nothing simply because they no enjoy the market thing as much?
Why do people use the market? Is it because that many people find it fun and enjoyable? Maybe. Or maybe it's simply because it's the only option.

So far, the only suggestion I'm seeing out of this is "have vendors also sell stuff."

That really isn't an option. It doesn't "cater to" non-marketeers to do that; it devalues the play style that is the most "normal" to an MMO: that of the guy who goes out and adventures and does missions to get the stuff he wants.

There will, I hope, be items that are available from crafting, from drops, AND from vendors. There will also, I hope, be items that are exclusively available from drops (even drops from specific monsters or missions), and other items exclusively available from crafting. I don't know if there will be vendor-exclusive items; if our faction system does tie strongly to vendor access, there might be vendors who only sell to those in good with their faction or something.

Note that all three of these sources are valid places to get things to put on the AH. Vendors are perhaps a poor choice for most, since anybody can go and buy the stuff for the same price you did, but it's an option. Maybe you can sell it at less of a loss than you'd take selling it back to a vendor.

This isn't catering to the AH. This is simply allowing players a place to interact and trade for what they want.

The perception that these things "cater" to the AH ignores the source of the items. In order to "solve" the problem described, it would require fundamentally breaking the entire economy of the game.

jag40 wrote:

The cost money to play thing is cool idea, if it's a effective way to get drops without having to play the market if one chooses to.
Also so is that different auction house thing, but again still catering to people who is interested in the market in the first place. Again, remember the players that do not simply want to deal with being a marketer to get by in the game without the option being either play the market or in that idea's case, play the markets or else face a bunch of hurdles and traps and slogging. That do not seem like a fair choice and is catering to one part of the player base without thinking about the other parts of the player base.

See, if they don't want to play the market, and they don't want to play the game itself, why are they here? What do they want?

Should they simply be able to walk in, drop $1000, and buy a max-level character with all the gear they want?

I sound facetious here, but I'm genuinely not sure where you draw the line. You describe the process of getting things through any means other than "from a vendor" or "from the AH" as "a bunch of hurdles and traps and slogging." The AH exists (in part) to let those who enjoy one aspect of the game play for that aspect, and sell the surplus results of their focus on one area, and use the proceeds from those sales to purchase the stuff they need to enjoy the game without having to play the parts they don't like.

If every aspect of the game is a hurdle, trap, slog, or the AH, and you don't like any of those four things...maybe you should find another game to play.

Note: I am not trying to be snobbish or dismissive, here. I am just wondering...what about the game DO you enjoy? This isn't "City of Vendors." It's "City of Titans." It's a game about being super-powered and using those powers to do cool stuff. If you view that primary gameplay focus as a hurdle, trap, or slog, then what do you want to be doing?

The AH is "catered to" only peripherally by the things you say cater to it. Everything you seem to suggest is catering to it is more directly catering to players of a different stripe, who would be harmed by its destruction in the crusade to not "cater to" marketeers.

I dunno. Maybe I'm repeating myself. But I get feeling that one of us is missing something fundamental, here.

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Segev wrote:

Segev

Ya missed the point there.

I never said it wouldn't apply to vendor wares. And Vendor is just one suggestion. Not saying it's the only way. And who said vendor prices must be based on player made AH prices? DOs, SOs, TOs in COX wasn't based on AH prices from vendors. Yet, those items could also be found on the AH, if, the point, If a player chose to go buy it there. The point is to offer an option for the other stuff. And no I'm not suggesting that every item that drops should be available from the vendor. I'm suggesting that every item available to be placed on the market should be available elsewhere.

Yes the market is a second option. A second option FOR people that like to m=lay the market. As you said it's not City of Vendors. And it shouldn't be City of AH Market either. That is what I'm getting at. And again, you say vendors or other options besides the market degrades the normal playstyle "that of the guy who goes out and adventures and does missions to get the stuff he wants." But the AH market already does that too. yet it's allowed.
And again you are suggesting things in various other places being exclusive to said places, yet for the AH there is no exclusive and it's everything.
I do not get how you do not see this or the other stuff as catering to market people.

Unless like those other places would have exlcusive items and stuff that can be bought and sold there or crafted, then so should the market. If that was the case then it wouldn't be part of catering to the market players.

"The AH exists (in part) to let those who enjoy one aspect of the game play for that aspect, and sell the surplus results of their focus on one area, and use the proceeds from those sales to purchase the stuff they need to enjoy the game without having to play the parts they don't like."

Yes and again, I'm suggesting something like this for players who do not enjoy playing the market. Just like the market, as you said, exist to allow people to purchase stuff they need to enjoy the game without having to play the parts they do not like. Yet, besides the market, you seem to be suggesting that any player outside marketeers should not be extended that same type of courtesy. Again, textbook catering to AH market players.

The fundamental you seem to be missing is that all the problem you are suggested that having any other option besides the market would create, having a AH market have created already. I'm asking why is the market get a free pass for creating those sort of issues but any other options that may favor players outside the realm of "enjoy the market" should not be allowed, even if it creates the same problems or not as the AH market created. I mean if those issues are a big deal then maybe AH should not be allowed? But seeing how it is, and I think it should be, there should also be other options without throwing up those issues that the AH market also creates as disqualifying any other ideas that do not focus on or is not AH market based.

And no, having a vendor isn't the only way. Just as having only the AH should be the only way and any other option does not require breaking the entire economy of the game. Again, AH, already did that and still was allowed. So while valid point shouldn't be used to discount any other idea. The economy prior to AH in COX was totally different than economy afterwards meaning even inside a game inflation is no myth, a problem you disqualify other suggestions for potentially creating. Yet AH was allowed, and in fact being rebuilt into the new game even after causing the same problem.

And what is wrong with a third choice that do not involve going to or being tied to the AH? Because in that it seems marketeers really have two choices there. Either go out and play the old fashioned way or buy from the AH. Everyone else have one choice. Do it the old fashioned way. That's catering to one. And note, I'm not saying it's a bad thing or what not but it is what it is. Giving one group a second choice but no alternative for others. All I'm suggesting is giving others a equal quality or quantity choice that do not involve the player based AH market. If the market is inclusive where every single item can be bought, then there should be a choice for the others true choice, to have the same right. If other choices must be limited in what could be bought there, then so should the AH market. AKA equality. If not and one get more favorable treatment and access, then it is catering to one group. Like I said even with the vendor idea, it should be non tradable. Which would be no different than having a game store that have all the items used with "points" or stars. The difference is a choice with spending in game currency.

Also many of your suggestions against other options also talk about balance, usually against the AH market. Ok, then, why not balance in game rewards against market prices? It seems you think AH should not be bound to the same rules and problems that you apply to other suggestions. That's catering to AH market. If other stuff must be balanced then AH should be required to have balancing mechanisms.

Another suggestion is having all items that can be traded on the market in a store and even if the store like uses a different currency like, stars, inf. should be able to be translated into the other currency so players can buy what they want and or need without even having to touch the market. And again these items could be non tradable on the AH market.

Just because I don't care for how much attention in catering that the AH market and people who love it doesn't mean I didn't like the game. All I'm asking is equality, the same treatment that market people and the AH market people received, should be extended to other type of players. As you said it's not City of Vendors. It isn't City of AH Market either. And as you said it "It's a game about being super-powered and using those powers to do cool stuff." So then why so dead set on against any other option for players to receive the same treatment as market lovers besides the market? If you say that the game is about being super-powered and using those powers to do cool stuff, then why the assumption that just because do not wish or want the AH to be the only option or be the only player set to be catered to, must not enjoy the game?

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Segev wrote:
Segev wrote:

This is...interesting...though I see a flavor-problem:
Let's say the "violence" currency is "Fear." Joe Heroic is as negative as he can get on the "violence" rating, because he exerts force only in proportion to and as absolutly necessary against various threats. He finds, in the course of his Heroism, a super-rare "Flight Gel" that increases flying speed.
Joe Heroic doesn't fly, so he puts it up on the AH. Sam Sinistrous, perpetrator of left-hand themed crimes, is extremely violent, and thus accumulates lots of "Fear" when he does his missions. He goes to the AH and sees this stuff that will make his Far-Left Flyer even faster, and decides to buy it.
Now, Joe Heroic has Fear to spend. This doesn't make a lot of sense.

Correct, that doesn't make a lot of sense ... assuming that Joe Heroic listed this item on the Violence AH and specifying he wanted to be paid in "Fear" rather than in "Calm" (like a "hero" ought to be paid). In that case, it's Joe Heroic's fault for going to the wrong market and listing his price for the item in the wrong currency (ie. a currency he isn't going to have much use for).

My point is that this item wouldn't necessarily have to be sold on ONLY the Violence exchange, and Joe Heroic didn't necessarily have to set his selling price for it to be in a currency he has little use for. Instead, he could have listed the item on a different exchange and for a different currency ... one that Joe Heroic could have found useful, rather than useless (to him personally). Sam Sinistrous therefore could have paid in "Fear" or in any of the other 4 currencies for the item if it had been listed on the other exchanges.

Segev wrote:

Or, if Joe didn't put it up for sale for Fear, Sam just can't buy it. But Joe's player may have wanted Fear to go shopping on the Violence AH. It seems odd that Joe would have to go sell to villains to buy cool stuff from their AH.

If Sam Sinistrous doesn't buy Joe Heroic's item, then someone else will (assuming it's priced "reasonably" to begin with), since there are more than two Players in the game world. As for the point of the Hero going to the Villains market to buy and sell stuff from Villains ... how is doing that *NOT* appropriate, when you've got Heroes AND Villains all living in the same city, playing on the same maps? City of Heroes segregated the zones by alignments, due to a limitation in the fundamentals of the game engine, with the co-op zones being a LATE development.

Or to put it another way, I'd rather not have just ONE vendor serving the ENTIRE CITY because all other vendors are functionally redundant due to the fact that the city is just one big zone.

Segev wrote:

This seems like ti would segregate role players, and would have only an odd effect of distorted markets as those who care less about RP and more about gameplay visit the markets to get different currencies.
It's still an interesting idea, but I'm having conceptual trouble with how it would "look" and how what it theoretically represents would actually be reflected in actual gameplay.

The "advantage" that I can think of is that while it might be possible to manipulate 1 or possibly even 2 markets to personal advantage for short term exploits, I'm thinking it would be harder to do so for 3. This brings in the three-legged stool structural arrangement in which transfers from "non-aligned" markets can be used to counter market manipulations in an exchange that is under attack. It's basically a way to NOT put all your eggs into one basket ... while still allowing the eggs to be moved around between the baskets, making them more resilient and resistant to both supply AND demand shocks. It's a structural decision that relies on the notion that Diversity Is Strength and is one that would reward altoholics who accumulate a variety of currencies rather than just a single kind. That strength in diversity then encourages Players to play more than "just Heroes" or "just Villains" ... even if their individual characters are as polar optimized towards the heroic and villainous ends of the spectrum as possible.

The way it would "look" in actual gameplay could be something as simple as dividing the city up into areas of influence. For purposes of brute force simplicity of illustration:

  • High Law neighborhoods tend to be towards the north end of town, where police protection is strongest.
  • Low Law neighborhoods tend to be towards the south end of town, where lawlessness tends to be the norm.
  • High Violence neighborhoods with gang warfare in the streets tend to be on west side of the city.
  • Low Violence neighborhoods with peaceful streets tend to be on the east side of the city.
  • High Integrity locations tend to be found at street level, among the "decent folk" in the mom & pop storefronts.
  • Low Integrity locations tend to be found at high altitudes in the penthouses and skyscrapers of the city ... or underground in "secret" lairs.

Basically, a 3D cubic formulation of ye ancient Lawful Good to Chaotic Evil going on.

So if you wanted to go to a Low Law, High Violence, High Integrity "place" in the city, you'd want to go to the southwest corner of town at street level. You'd probably find a cozy little "italian" restaurant there run by an old Sicilian family who has ... connections. Whether those connections mean an NPC vendor or an auction house ... that's up to the Content Team deciding what they want to put there.

If you wanted to go to the offices of a Corporate Raider, you'd want High Law, Low Violence and Low Integrity. That would mean going to a northeastern neighborhood and taking a ride up in an elevator to the top floors.

Basically, you could use this sort of thing as a sort of ... guideline ... for what types of NPC vendors and markets ought to be placed where ... and that's assuming you don't combine the vendors and the markets together, such that you can either "sell" to the NPC right there as a vendor, or "list" your item(s) on an exchange run by the same NPC, or "buy" item(s) off an exchange run by that same NPC. So ideally you'd have 27 different exchanges and NPC vendors/markets ... but just like an unsolved Sudoku puzzle, there's no need to have "all" of them so long as the six currencies get covered somehow. So ... minimum 2 exchanges, with the option for there to be up to 27(!), and the expectation that there will probably only be up to 6 at game launch if using this system.

Hope that's helpful.


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Segev wrote:
Segev wrote:

Redlynn wrote:Segev wrote:
I would like to keep us to just two currencies in this game: in-game currency, and Stars.

Laudable, Segev, but I think you might want to PLAN for having Stars and more.
Specifically, I'm wondering if the old INF based system of City of Heroes could be "divided" into the Alignment Axes that City of Titans will be using ... Law, Integrity and Violence. In practice, this would mean that you'd functionally wind up with 6 "INF based" currency types ... Low/High Law, Low/High Integrity, Low/High Violence ... and what you get awarded in your Mission Rewards and your Drops depends on where your character is on the respective axis of alignment. People who are in the (exact) middle of an alignment axis get an even split of both currencies on that axis.
This then comes into play for buying and selling of items, either to other Players or to NPC vendors. Some vendors will only deal in Low Law INF, because they're running a black market. Some vendors will only deal in High Integrity INF, because they're reputable and they want to keep that reputation. Some vendors are "halvesies" and will require equal amounts of Low and High INF on one (or more) alignment axes.
The interesting thing that this would do, effectively, is a sort of Market Sorting for where Players would go to buy, sell and trade their commodities, wares, items and drops. You'd have a concurrency of markets, and through diversification make it more difficult for market manipulations to be sustained over the very long haul. You could also set up multiple auction houses, with slightly different "rules" for each and put them in different neighborhoods around the city. The way things will tend to fall out is that the Heroes will gravitate towards "their" vendors and services, while the Villains will gravitate towards "their" vendors and services in different parts of the city. Furthermore, different characters will accumulate "wealth" in different ways, which can further help differentiate characters across the spectrum of gameplay (leading to replay value for "economic" reasons).
And that's before you even start thinking in terms of using Supergroups as a way to pool alignment keyed INF together across multiple characters and accounts, or making Costume and Base Editing one of many possible sinks for alignment keyed INF (rather than using Prestige).

This is...interesting...though I see a flavor-problem:
Let's say the "violence" currency is "Fear." Joe Heroic is as negative as he can get on the "violence" rating, because he exerts force only in proportion to and as absolutely necessary against various threats. He finds, in the course of his Heroism, a super-rare "Flight Gel" that increases flying speed.
Joe Heroic doesn't fly, so he puts it up on the AH. Sam Sinistrous, perpetrator of left-hand themed crimes, is extremely violent, and thus accumulates lots of "Fear" when he does his missions. He goes to the AH and sees this stuff that will make his Far-Left Flyer even faster, and decides to buy it.
Now, Joe Heroic has Fear to spend. This doesn't make a lot of sense.
Or, if Joe didn't put it up for sale for Fear, Sam just can't buy it. But Joe's player may have wanted Fear to go shopping on the Violence AH. It seems odd that Joe would have to go sell to villains to buy cool stuff from their AH.
This seems like ti would segregate role players, and would have only an odd effect of distorted markets as those who care less about RP and more about gameplay visit the markets to get different currencies.
It's still an interesting idea, but I'm having conceptual trouble with how it would "look" and how what it theoretically represents would actually be reflected in actual gameplay.

One way to streamline the use of different currencies in-world would be through “Brokers” or the GUI median of the Auction House. So Sam Sinistrous would "pay" the Broker a significant quantity of Fear (by threatening the poor man with the removal of his left hand or something equally intimidating) to go on the Marketplace and purchase the item in question with Titan City coinage rather than a nebulous value like "Fear". This would also support the blind auction feature; Sam's name wouldn't be on the item anyways if it were done through a frightened broker.

From the other side, when Sam Sinistrous picks up the rare item “Right Hand of Poseidon” he can have the Broker put it up on Auction (paying him a few small threats for the task) and when it is sold, word spreads that Sam Sinistrous blew in with Poseidon's literal Right Hand and therefore Sam Sinistrous must really be a seriously violent contender and his Fear supply is increased by the Sell Cost, regardless of the sell cost’s “alignment” because in-world it is bought and sold with cash and not “Fear”. The Fear Currency tag and whatever else enters via the method of the individual Player’s interaction with the Auction House Transaction.

Wright Handyman, a hero big on being helpful and who has a significant amount of Trust (positive Integrity Currency) could have a Broker paid in Trust ("Sure, Handyman, I'll get that for you, no questions asked!") pick up Poseidon's Right Hand off the AH for him for an equivalent numerical quantity of Trust. (Handyman is hoping that, his right hand reattached, Poseidon would be willing to protect Titan city from Hurricanes in future)

This way, the particular type of currency being spent/received from AH transactions is based on the type of Broker you chose to process the transaction through so each player always has control over what “aligned currency” they will be receiving, regardless of who posted the item for sale.

Superficially similar to how City of Heroes/Villians had Origin Based Vendors and the Villanous/Heroic Merit trading system, City of Titans could have Aligned Vendors who respond preferentially to some aligned currencies over others, even having some of their higher purchases requiring specific mixtures of aligned currency types. For example, Purchasing a Death Ray Turret might require Sam to put some significant Fear into the supplier in addition to some “Notoriety” (Negative Law Currency: for the supplier to believe that you aren’t an undercover Cop) and some “Trust” (Positive Integrity Currency: for the supplier to believe that you won’t immediately use the turret on him).

This "aligned currency system" might require that most missions, especially arcs, be aligned to one end or the other of 1, 2 or all 3 of the Alignment Axes and distribute earned currency in a similarly aligned spectrum. Player initiated "tip" missions would probably just mirror the player's alignment levels rather than be calculated externally but providing the ability for Sam Sinistrous to gain some "Calm" (Negative Violence currency) would be important (even if he is only low Violence when it suits him). But I expect that is probably a question/discussion that could start its own Topic.

This Aligned Currency Vendor Structure and Mission by Mission Alignment could also supply fertile ground for Alignment Change content.

"Anyone who would act up to a perfect standard of goodness in everything must be ruined among so many who do not. It is essential therefore to have learnt how to be other than good and to use, or not use, goodness as necessity requires." - Machiavelli

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I say we basically use the

I say we basically use the same formula CoH used in regards to influence/infamy, drops, tickets, etc. and just give more "Last transactions" spots for the AH. This is beginning to sound WAY too complicated and the best advice I've ever been given is, "Keep it simple, stupid."

I got chills! They're multiplyin'. And I'm losin' control. Cuz the power, I'm supplyin'. Why it's ELECTRIFYIN'!!

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The other point is that

The other point is that (presumably) you'd be able to buy (and sell) Stars using any of the 6 alignment currencies, although the conversion rate for each would not march in lockstep with all the others ... again, offering a route to "smooth" any attempts at market manipulation. So values for currencies and for commodities would "ripple" around the system as a whole and add additional correctives against manipulation and monopolization.


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i don't know how popular this

i don't know how popular this idea would be. It does assume we have fairly sophisticated data mining on the AH. We could adjust drop rates on the items that are getting out of whack. Not that I am saying how to judge that, except maybe to look at the relative sale values of things in the AH. But if we can respond to a (perceived) shortage by increasing the supply...

Just my $0.02.

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jag40, I don't think I'm

jag40, I don't think I'm going to be able to follow you. The best I can tell, having an AH at all makes everything "cater to the marketeers," in your world view. I can literally see nothing except making everything have a flat value at vendors that would avoid it.

And even THAT would "cater to the marketeers" in that it would empower them to have another source of material to jigger with the market: if at any point people start using the AH to dump "vendor trash" more conveniently than going to the vendor (for whatever reason), the marketeers have a surefire way of snapping up items even more cheaply than they could resell them to the vendors.

Let me try to explain it another way:

There is literally no way for the market to create goods or currency. The market is never a "source" for stuff. It is a medium of transferring that stuff from some other player who acquired it from some actual source.

So ANYTHING that can create an item - any source players can go to to get them - is, by the logic you've used, "catering to the marketeers."

Turning it around: There is literally nothing you can only get from the market. Literally, positively, nothing. There is a way to get anything and everything that is in the AH in some other fashion. It is impossible for it to be otherwise, else the AH would be a vendor.

Now, one other thing I would love to do is have vendors have an actual finite supply of in-game currency, and have honest-to-goodness finite inventories. Maybe they'll have certain things that are always there, but other things, I want them to have limited supplies of, either because they get only so much per time period or because they have to send PCs on missions to create more supply for themselves to sell.

I also want them to track inventory on anything they buy from PCs.

And then, I want them to play the market, with computational intelligence algorithms designed to optimize their market behavior to maximize their in-game currency profits.

Assuming they're trained well, CI-based decision-makers are highly robust against complex human behaviors. Having these rational actors in the field actively trying to maximize their personal profits will act as a stabilizing effect on the market. It will also mean that jag40 will have the option of going to a vendor to see if the vendor picked up something off of the market and is selling it retail.

If we go with giving players the option to buy and open storefronts...they could also act as their own vendors, selling their wares direct to the public. I don't know how that will compete with the market (well, not at all, or what), but it would be another way to go. And again, those who hate market-playing would have more vendors to go shop from and get items.

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Segev wrote:
Segev wrote:

jag40, I don't think I'm going to be able to follow you. The best I can tell, having an AH at all makes everything "cater to the marketeers," in your world view. I can literally see nothing except making everything have a flat value at vendors that would avoid it.
And even THAT would "cater to the marketeers" in that it would empower them to have another source of material to jigger with the market: if at any point people start using the AH to dump "vendor trash" more conveniently than going to the vendor (for whatever reason), the marketeers have a surefire way of snapping up items even more cheaply than they could resell them to the vendors.
Let me try to explain it another way:
There is literally no way for the market to create goods or currency. The market is never a "source" for stuff. It is a medium of transferring that stuff from some other player who acquired it from some actual source.
So ANYTHING that can create an item - any source players can go to to get them - is, by the logic you've used, "catering to the marketeers."
Turning it around: There is literally nothing you can only get from the market. Literally, positively, nothing. There is a way to get anything and everything that is in the AH in some other fashion. It is impossible for it to be otherwise, else the AH would be a vendor.
Now, one other thing I would love to do is have vendors have an actual finite supply of in-game currency, and have honest-to-goodness finite inventories. Maybe they'll have certain things that are always there, but other things, I want them to have limited supplies of, either because they get only so much per time period or because they have to send PCs on missions to create more supply for themselves to sell.
I also want them to track inventory on anything they buy from PCs.
And then, I want them to play the market, with computational intelligence algorithms designed to optimize their market behavior to maximize their in-game currency profits.
Assuming they're trained well, CI-based decision-makers are highly robust against complex human behaviors. Having these rational actors in the field actively trying to maximize their personal profits will act as a stabilizing effect on the market. It will also mean that jag40 will have the option of going to a vendor to see if the vendor picked up something off of the market and is selling it retail.
If we go with giving players the option to buy and open storefronts...they could also act as their own vendors, selling their wares direct to the public. I don't know how that will compete with the market (well, not at all, or what), but it would be another way to go. And again, those who hate market-playing would have more vendors to go shop from and get items.

No, I never said that everything nor implying everything besides the vendor idea is catering to the marketeers. So that is not my logic. You got it wrong and or simply misunderstanding. And you keep overlooking, think I said it about three times now and a few times in the pats vendor post. My idea entails items being sold from the vendor not being tradable on the AH. Meaning there is no buying from the vendor and running back to the AH market with it. And if I didn't say anything that means I'm not saying anything. Thus your statement of me saying anything by my logic is catering to the marketeers is not. Because if you want to go that route, it could be said that any other player besides marketeers you don't give a crap about and are not part of the equation and thus should not bother playing the game at all as they are not considered part of the COX community. So how about we do not delve in the it's either black or white statements or rather you think this so you must think this about everything logic.

I'm trying to figure out the shades of gray here. I'm talking about equality. Maybe the point isn't getting through and it's keep being missed. Probably my fault on that.

So lets try to approach it this way.

Lets start by seeing what the market is.

It's a place one could go to buy items, placed there by other players, as an option instead of "playing part of the game they do not like", also a way to amass a great amount of in-game currency way faster than farming if, as quoted by many market players "if one learned how to play it." Thus anything in the game that can be dropped, from playing the game can go on the market and sold for influence IN ONE LOCATION, by bidding usually. Ease of access, just about anyone can access it, look up the items for sale, and buy it, from DOs to the very rare items. And as you also said it's a tool for player interaction. Now feel free t add stuff about the market I missed.

Now, what other tool, dev created, is available that do that too or in some other equal manner that is available to the other players that may not enjoy the market game or without having it tied to the market. Nothing.

Alright. That is what I'm trying to figure out. How to give the other players a tool, dev created, also to buy items, where everything in the game can be sold and bought? There have been many ideas, but you keep shooting them down any thing that isn't tied to the market.

Vendors, a game store where one could convert in game currency to buy items they need. Ability to buy items with cash. Increase of drop rates with the trade off being non-tradable on the market. guaranteed rewards for completing certain things and etc. Price cap on how much items can be sold, more control on supply and demand, adjusting rewards to keep up with inflation that the AH market creates. All shot down and or given a spin that it must be tied to the AH market by you.

So what are you ideas, that have nothing to do with the AH market not tied to it, not depended on it or anything, that is equally as efficient and effective for the other type of players? I mean the other players are deserving of equal treatment as the marketeers, right? Marketeers have the market. Now how about something for the others? Because if other players are not deserving of equal treatment and access to equal stuff, dev made, as the marketer people, then there might be a reason for it, and wouldn't mind a reason. Because while you are focused on only the vendor idea, out of all that I have suggested through the post (odd), you're missing the bigger picture about equality the meaning of creating a game for the community by the community. That community is not only marketer people. There are more than that out there. And the AH market is not some flawless infallible mechanism of trade and economy. It has many flaws, many flaws you attribute to other ideas, the AH market had them created them and in some cases had them worse than some of the ideas you dismiss.

So I'm trying to figure out how to cater to as many as possible, not only to marketeers, and no not everything done for marketeers is overly catering to them. Although you never did explain who that stuff for the market and about the market have been offered in an equally manner to non market people. But maybe later. While maybe helping to bring in more income and keeping the economy in check from super inflation. And in real life economic, super and hyper inflation is usually not a good sign of healthy economy and should not be one to aim to recreate if one is trying to emulate a real life healthy economy. So, I made many suggestions, that do not involve the AH market. Each may have their ups and downs, and whether you believe it or not, so did the AH market. Yet if the market is allowed but the others are not allowed even though they may have issues, but the market get a free pas, then that IS catering to marketeers. Again, that doesn't mean I'm saying, EVERYTHING cater to marketeers.

Or if marketeers are not being catered to, and it's all equal and fair, then maybe there is a mechanism, that have the same quality of the market and ease, you are building for the others, non market people, that is not tied to the market in one way or another that you wish to share?

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A lot of this really sounds

A lot of this really sounds like people saying they can't handle there being an item that may be to expensive for them to ever get, because they don't want to put the effort in to obtain it (one of the things we had to do in CoH btw).

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jag40 wrote:
jag40 wrote:

No, I never said that everything nor implying everything besides the vendor idea is catering to the marketeers. So that is not my logic. You got it wrong and or simply misunderstanding. And you keep overlooking, think I said it about three times now and a few times in the pats vendor post.

Okay, let me then try to explain where I see your logic being "anything not sold from a vendor is catering to the market." And I do apologize for having trouble understanding you; I have a very hard time parsing your sentences for some reason.

Items are created in one of three ways:

1) Mission/combat drops
2) Bought at vendors
3) Crafted by players

Since the market is where players take stuff they acquire from one of these methods, but don't want, and since the market is NOT where things are created, I cannot fathom how we are "catering to the market" by these methods except that this is where stuff comes from. You've repeatedly talked about how the market is "the only" place to get stuff, which makes it a monopoly. But you overlook that the market isn't monolithic. Every person on it is competing with everybody else who wants to buy or sell the same item.

But, okay. Let me try to take you point by point and see if I can understand where you're coming from.

jag40 wrote:

My idea entails items being sold from the vendor not being tradable on the AH. Meaning there is no buying from the vendor and running back to the AH market with it.

I don't see what this would accomplish.

Are you suggesting everything in the game should be buyable from a vendor, but the "trade-off" is that they can't sell it on the market?

If so, this devalues methods 1 and 3 of creating items - why go out and adventure if you can just street sweep until you have the currency to buy from the vendor?

Possible answer: "Because it's so expensive at the vendor. Besides, isn't that how the market makes things, anyway?"

The counter to that is that inflation means that the vendor's price will eventually be miniscule compared to the player-driven price based on the legitimate rarity of the item. Vendors become the cheapest and easiest place to get them. "Well, change vendor prices!" I hear somebody suggest. But that doesn't work, either: either we are accused of monkeying around for no reason, or we're tying it to the market in order to find the "true" price for it. At best, that's going to effectively "cater to the marketeers," as far as I can tell. At worst, it will be easily manipulated so marketeers would control the vendor prices.

Assuming we don't monkey with vendor prices under this model, the market gets stifled when its prices exceed those of vendors. It puts a price control on the market value, and the items just become not worth the effort to hunt at all. Just grind for the currency. Even if you can't sell vendor items on the market, it doesn't change that you can get the same thing at a vendor cheaper than on the market.

It kills options, rather than opening them up.

jag40 wrote:

And if I didn't say anything that means I'm not saying anything. Thus your statement of me saying anything by my logic is catering to the marketeers is not. Because if you want to go that route, it could be said that any other player besides marketeers you don't give a crap about and are not part of the equation and thus should not bother playing the game at all as they are not considered part of the COX community. So how about we do not delve in the it's either black or white statements or rather you think this so you must think this about everything logic.

I'm sorry, but I have to try to read between the lines to even begin to parse what you're saying, because I'm either utterly misparsing your comments, or you seem to be starting from an assumption that the market creates things ex nihilo.

There is no way in which the market can be focused on and tell other players to screw off. The market is not a complete game by itself. It is utterly, completely dependent on people who play the main MMO-style game and get drops, and on crafters. Without them, there is no market.

jag40 wrote:

I'm trying to figure out the shades of gray here. I'm talking about equality. Maybe the point isn't getting through and it's keep being missed. Probably my fault on that.

"Equality," like "fairness," is a funny word. People often use it to mean, "I deserve special treatment because I am not getting equal results to what I perceive others getting."

Equality of outcomes can never be guaranteed, otherwise we'd have the guy who just logged in once in the last year for 20 min. have the same results as the guy who's played for 10 hours a week every week for the last year have the same results as the guy who plays 20 hours every weekend except holidays. And surely you can see how that's not feasible.

jag40 wrote:

So lets try to approach it this way.
Lets start by seeing what the market is.

Okay.

jag40 wrote:

It's a place one could go to buy items, placed there by other players, as an option instead of "playing part of the game they do not like", also a way to amass a great amount of in-game currency way faster than farming if, as quoted by many market players "if one learned how to play it." Thus anything in the game that can be dropped, from playing the game can go on the market and sold for influence

With you so far...

jag40 wrote:

IN ONE LOCATION, by bidding usually. Ease of access, just about anyone can access it, look up the items for sale, and buy it, from DOs to the very rare items. And as you also said it's a tool for player interaction. Now feel free t add stuff about the market I missed.

"In one location" seems, if I'm predicting and post-parsing your later comments about lack-of-competition right, to mean "with no competition," to you.

I disagree. "The market" is not this monolithic entity that has all power and control for itself with a unified goal and plan to screw everybody else. "The market" is a collection of many individual players, all competing with each other for items or to sell items. There is absolutely competition here.

jag40 wrote:

Now, what other tool, dev created, is available that do that too or in some other equal manner that is available to the other players that may not enjoy the market game or without having it tied to the market. Nothing.

Short of creating a "pay to win" part of the c-store, I don't see what we could do, here.

The point of having the market serve this purpose is to not devalue any part of the game. Instead, if you don't like an aspect of the game but want the goods therefrom, you can specialize in the parts you like and take the surplus to the market to sell to those who don't like the parts you do. They, meanwhile, bring the surplus from their "over-focus" on the parts of the game they like and sell them to you at the market, enabling you to get the stuff without having to play that part of the game.

It is critical that these things be balanced out by the "work" that goes in to creating them. A "vendor" or "c-store" option to just buy those things would be ludicrously hard to balance currency/Stars-vs-real-value-of-goods. It is critical to building a sense of community that all these things that are designed for a player to play every part of should still require player activity to generate. Not merely "player money" (whether generated by spending real money or generated by generic currency-earning activities).

This means that the transfer mechanism of items that are not created by the player who ultimately uses them engaging in the play style that generate them MUST transfer them from a player who DOES engage in that play style. We can't simply say, "oh, that play style isn't necessary for anybody to do, so screw those who do it because they aren't needed by anybody else."

At best, doing so would segregate the game world into a bunch of disparate, separate mini-games that don't mean anything.

jag40 wrote:

Alright. That is what I'm trying to figure out. How to give the other players a tool, dev created, also to buy items, where everything in the game can be sold and bought? There have been many ideas, but you keep shooting them down any thing that isn't tied to the market.

I'm shooting down anything that says "nobody actually has to play this part of the game for you to be able to ignore that part of the game." Any solution that says that severs the balance of the game's interactivity. It destroys the "massively multiplayer" part of "MMORPG." And it can seriously damage the "RP" and "G" parts, as well, because the simulated-by-NPC behavior will never be as robust and interesting as the actual RP choices and gaming decisions made by real people.

jag40 wrote:

Vendors, a game store where one could convert in game currency to buy items they need.

Devalues doing anything but grinding for currency, AND kills the market, thus robbing people of the ability to choose to play on it at all.

jag40 wrote:

Ability to buy items with cash.

Pay to win of the worst sort.

jag40 wrote:

Increase of drop rates with the trade off being non-tradable on the market.

"Wait, so this item is already rare to the point that I can't find it, but if my buddy finds an extra one, now he can't give it to me?" Players won't see this as "increased drop rate in exchange for not being able to trade it," they'll see it as "it's even RARER to find ones that you can trade."

jag40 wrote:

guaranteed rewards for completing certain things and etc.

I've already suggested this sort of thing. Specifically, I want to use the vendors as quest-givers: when they run out of inventory on an item their CI algorithm says they want due to its profitability, or their heuristics say they want due to it being one of their specialty items, they start handing out Missions to players that reward with that item AND increase the vendor's supply thereof.

jag40 wrote:

Price cap on how much items can be sold,

I have, indeed, shot this idea down. Multiple times. It is a terrible idea as a blanket thing. Maybe if we have multiple AHs, it could be something one or more of them do, though.

jag40 wrote:

More control on supply and demand, adjusting rewards to keep up with inflation that the AH market creates.

The AH/market never creates inflation. Thinking that it does is actually what caused a lot of games to have had truly bad results from their efforts to combat inflation's effects. Inflation is the result of the supply of currency increasing disproportionately with the supply of "goods" and services.

The only way to combat inflation is through greater currency sinks. I'm hoping some of our vendors-play-the-market CI algorithm will enable us to have vendors siphon up marketplace currency. When NPC vendors control it, we can quietly delete it from the system without anybody complaining. The other thing I hope to do has been mentioned a bit in this thread: create many more places people can have ongoing sinking of their in-game currency.

jag40 wrote:

All shot down and or given a spin that it must be tied to the AH market by you.

Having it "shot down" doesn't mean I'm not listening. It means I see problems with it. Problems you've not addressed.

I've explained why the market is so crucial, and why it needs to not be excluded nor harmed. But I'll try again: The market is where we actually see the true value of items and currency in the game. Any medium of player-to-player exchange will, ultimately, be lumped in as "the market," even if we have multiple AHs, allow players to open their own vendor stalls, and create ways for players to trade "off the books" of any other medium of exchange (such as "mailing" gifts to each other). This is all "the market."

And we can't have it excluded without destroying the "massive multiplayer" aspect of the game and risking devaluing parts of the game that ARE excluded from it - whether by being forbidden from entering it or from having the goods and services those parts of the game generate be replaced by non-player-controlled sources.

jag40 wrote:

So what are you ideas, that have nothing to do with the AH market not tied to it, not depended on it or anything, that is equally as efficient and effective for the other type of players?

Limited to none, given that the market is just players interacting with each other to trade goods.

Though there is at least one answer: Somebody who plays every aspect of the game to get everything they want without going to the market...can. They absolutely can. They will have to play the game to get the drops they want. They will have to go to the missions and areas that have what they want, whether this is "the part of the game they like" or not. They will have to craft, and hunt for craftable bits, and build their base to be able to craft (or pay out the nose for access to craft stations of the sort the need).

But a player who truly exploits everything about the game except the market need never go to it. As can players who are content without things produced by certain aspects of the game, though what they're content without may limit their enjoyment of the parts of the game they DO like, depending.

jag40 wrote:

I mean the other players are deserving of equal treatment as the marketeers, right? Marketeers have the market. Now how about something for the others?

Here is your mistake. You seem to think the market is the central part of the game, and there have to be alternatives. What you're missing is that the market is the alternative to other parts of the game. It IS the second choice. It IS the option to avoid something else you don't like.

Every single thing you can get on the market, you can get somewhere else. If you don't like the market, go do that other activity. Often, there will be several choices of activity, as something might be craftable AND drop from certain missions, or a vendor might sell it or give out a mission if he is out of stock. Going to the market is what you do if you don't like any of the other means of getting what you want, or if you really do like the market.

It is NOT the first and primary source of ANYTHING.

Even Stars are something you can go to the market to buy...but you can get them from buying them directly with real money, or you can even participate in sponsored activities that give small amounts as rewards (assuming we manage to pull that aspect of things off).

jag40 wrote:

Because if other players are not deserving of equal treatment and access to equal stuff, dev made, as the marketer people, then there might be a reason for it, and wouldn't mind a reason.

The reason is that there already are "dev-made" "equal" ways to get stuff.

The difficulty of getting something amounts to part of its scarcity. If it's hard to get, fewer will succeed in it. If it's a rarer drop, it will take more tries to get it. All of this is possibly cited as part of the reason to skip the effort and go buy it on the market. But the converse of this is that these items are more expensive on the market because they're harder to come by, and people want to skip the effort more, so they'll offer more currency or Stars for it, which raises its price.

But everything on the market? It was gotten by somebody who went out and did the gameplay activities needed to create it. So the "equal" way of getting that stuff is to go out and do that gameplay activity. The price on the market is reflective of what you and the person selling it can agree the effort they put into acquiring it is worth. It is the way to equalize the efforts you put in to earning your currency compared to the efforts he put in to earning the item. If you want an "equal" way that isn't part of the market, go play that part of the game and get it for yourself.

jag40 wrote:

Because while you are focused on only the vendor idea, out of all that I have suggested through the post (odd), you're missing the bigger picture about equality the meaning of creating a game for the community by the community. That community is not only marketer people.

The community is everybody who plays the game. The market is a key point of interaction, and the place where they can trade their various efforts with each other so they can focus on the parts of the game they like.

If the market - the alternative to doing other parts of the game - is so repugnant, they can go and do those other parts of the game. That is actually the "first" method of getting items. The market is secondary.

jag40 wrote:

There are more than that out there. And the AH market is not some flawless infallible mechanism of trade and economy. It has many flaws, many flaws you attribute to other ideas, the AH market had them created them and in some cases had them worse than some of the ideas you dismiss.

Oh, nobody's denying that the AH as CoH implemented it has flaws. One thing I have taken away here is that we should seroiusly consider mechanisms other than "blind auction" and should have much longer histories on item prices.

jag40 wrote:

So I'm trying to figure out how to cater to as many as possible, not only to marketeers, and no not everything done for marketeers is overly catering to them. Although you never did explain who that stuff for the market and about the market have been offered in an equally manner to non market people.

I am truly not sure what you're saying here, but my best guess is that you're asking me to explain how people who don't play the market can have "equal access" to things that are on the market.

The answer is one I've given earlier in this post, at the least, but I'll repeat it here for you: Because everything on the market is created by some other aspect of gameplay (crafting, mission-performance, foe-defeating, etc.), anybody can get anything without touching the market. They just have to go and play those other parts of the game. The market is there so they don't have to if they don't want to. But they still have to give something that those who did it feel is worth their efforts. That's the nature of player-to-player trade.

If they really, really don't want anything to do with it and only want stuff from the market but find the market too expensive, they can always try buying Stars and using those, either to buy enough in-game currency from those who have it, or to directly buy the goods from other players. I am not saying you should or have to pay to win, but it IS an option, and critically, it's an option that, if taken, rewards people who have played to win at least as much as it does the payer.

jag40 wrote:

But maybe later. While maybe helping to bring in more income and keeping the economy in check from super inflation. And in real life economic, super and hyper inflation is usually not a good sign of healthy economy and should not be one to aim to recreate if one is trying to emulate a real life healthy economy.

No, it's a sign that far, far too much currency is being generated. Usually it's done by a government to try to hide that they're bankrupt. In the case of MMOs, it happens because in-game currency is simply generated when players do activities that win "currency" as a drop. (i.e. almost anything traditional to MMOs)

The solution to this is currency sinks. We need a lot of them.

jag40 wrote:

So, I made many suggestions, that do not involve the AH market. Each may have their ups and downs, and whether you believe it or not, so did the AH market. Yet if the market is allowed but the others are not allowed even though they may have issues, but the market get a free pas, then that IS catering to marketeers. Again, that doesn't mean I'm saying, EVERYTHING cater to marketeers.

Nobody said the market gets a free pass. We're examining it closely in this very thread, trying to identify the problems various implementations have had in various games so we can design a more robust one.

jag40 wrote:

Or if marketeers are not being catered to, and it's all equal and fair, then maybe there is a mechanism, that have the same quality of the market and ease, you are building for the others, non market people, that is not tied to the market in one way or another that you wish to share?

Did so several times in this post already. Nutshell: Go play the game and get the stuff you want from the same place those who put it on the market got it.

If we come up with other methods, cool, but they have to not devalue that FIRST option of playing the game for the stuff. The market, recall, is a SECOND option.

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You can have too few

You can have too few currencies, and this can play into the hands of the marketeers. Say I wanted a "Gazebo's magnificent widget" enhancement and they were 500M on the AH and I didn't have that, and thought it was only worth 200M anyway. What would I do in CoH ? I'd run some TFs or alignment missions and buy it with merits. Being able to do that put a dampener on the maximum price the AH would support.

You didn't need control of the whole supply in CoH, you just needed control of the last 5 sales because 90%+ of the game population didn't know what stuff should cost, and would believe the last 5 sales. Better information would fix some of that problem.

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Alright now we are we getting

Alright now we are we getting somewhere.

No, I do not mean equality in the term of "I deserve special treatment" or anything of the likes. Sometimes when people ask for equality, it may actually mean something is not equal.

As you believe the other options kill the market option. In reality it seems the market is killing the other options, not the other way around, or else other options shouldn't be a problem to implement. Not saying that in itself is good or bad, just saying it is what it. A side effect of having an AH market.
I have addressed those problems. Those problems you pointed out are no different than the problems the market have created. And you added that the other options may devalue the AH market, but the AH market is allowed to have those same problems as the other ideas and still get implemented, it's allowed to devalue the other options and be considered THE second option. Thus it's catering to marketeers. Like I said that is not a bad thing. It is what it is. Catering to the market.

Because as you even you even said, anyone outside the market have only one option instead of two. Go play the game and get the items. While those that enjoy playing with the market, do not have to go and get the items themselves. They can simply buy it. The market already devalues the first option you said, when it was implemented as the second option for market people.

And sometimes it doesn't take simply tries. If there was certain amount of tries, then yeah that would be totally valid point there. But there are some people that been trying for years and never get the drop. While someone else waltz in and get four in one try. So while in theory someone could get anything by playing. In reality that is not always true. Again if it was guaranteed whether after a certain amount of tries or certain tasks, you do this this and that and get the drop, then yeah it would be true one could simply get anything or anybody could get what they aim to get by simply playing the game. But as implemented in COX, it was very possible and have happened that some never got the items they aimed for simply by playing the game. So even if they did forgo the market and simply play the game, your stated first option, it has happened they never get the item at all. The market gave people that enjoyed the market a second option and eased it to where if they didn't happen to be lucky, or didn't want to put in the work, they could simply buy it. But for everyone else, they are stuck with the possibility of never seeing the item they need or want to get. And while you use effort a lot in reality it was less about effort and more about luck. Because many people that get the great drops actually put in less effort than people that never gotten a great drop or the likes in their entire game play time. I get what you mean I think but you are using the wrong terms there. Because if it was about effort then it would be simply be someone put this much time and or killed this many, they got this or that. In reality someone have and could do one mission and get great drop while other people did 100 missions that supposedly give out the great drop and still walked away without the great drops. AKA the latter person put in more effort but yet got rewarded less than the person that by definition of effort put in less effort.

Unless you are insinuating that CoT drops will be less about luck and more about the actual effort, then yeah, your point is valid, going out and getting the item is sound strategy and the market would be a secondary option for those that do not want put in the effort. But if it's lucked based, then effort do not have much to do with it in the manner that you are speaking of effort as being the primary option.

I do not think the market is the primary central part of the game as you think I think. Although I might be wrong, it is you who think the market is the central part of the game or as you said, the key point of interaction,

"It IS the option to avoid something else you don't like."

And this I think is where I think you are missing the main point I'm trying to make and or ask.

I'm asking why is the market, which you claim and I believe is NOT the primary central part of the game, is the only allowed idea of avoiding parts of the game that one may not like? You said so yourself. *If one does not like the market, (THE secondary option), they can go do the primary option.* I'm simply asking why not add an option that does that for people that do not wish to partake in the market, so they also too have a secondary option, to again as you said the market does, "option to avoid something else you don't like"? Simply stating that then they should only rely on the primary option is not a qualifier for providing another option. It's the primary option for all players alike even market people. But in this case the market people have a secondary option. I'm simply asking, since the market, as you seem to agree with me on, is not the central part of the game, it is an option,"The market is secondary", why not provide a second option for the other set of players? Maybe it's simply not feasible to do such a thing. Maybe the reason that the marketeers is catered to is that, even with all the flaws, is that it was simply and less work to maintain in theory, or maybe by it's nature leaves no other room for any other option. Who knows. But denying that there is not in equality and saying having either the second choice or no second choice is equal choice is straight out flat. It's like one saying a employees at a company have policy that those that eat a loaf of bread earns a guaranteed raise on top of the normal process to get raises and those that are allergic to bread or do not find bread to taste good have equal options in they can simply not partake, thus no chance at getting a raise in that manner and other only option is the normal way is equal (which you are suggesting).. Which it's not equal. They could maybe come up with ways that those allergic could partake and get a raise too for partaking in a similar activity (which I'm trying to do).

The Stars idea, sounds good, but it haven't been fleshed out yet as in how this would be a second option to the market. The way you described it or more likely how I interpreted it, it's another off shoot tie in to the player market.

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You do realize that the

You do realize that the market doesn't require you to "play" it if you don't want to, right? You can just treat it like you would a vendor where you say "I will pay this much for the item I want," and wait for it to be available at that price.

We likely will be looking at mechanisms other than double-blind bidding for the way transactions happen, and certainly will be looking to have a much longer history available to view the prices of items in the market so people can make informed decisions.

And I completely disagree about the market devaluing the other parts of the game. Specifically, the price of something in the market - with sufficient history and other information available that it's non-trivial to distort the perception thereon - will tend to reflect the agreed-upon value of that thing and the work that went into acquiring it.

All of the other methods you have suggested require a fiat declaration by the devs that X item is worth Y. This is never, ever going to be an accurate guess. We, the devs, CANNOT adequately guess just how hard something will be to get. I know we can't, because if it were possible, it would not be the difficult thing it is in every MMO ever. But even if that calculation were possible, we cannot know how players will value that relative to other things in the game. Particularly volatile-valued things like in-game currency. Therefore, when we, the devs, make this "dev created equally accessible tool" you keep talking about, we would set the price. And that price would be either grossly too high or grossly too low very quickly. If the former, we're back to the same complaint you're making about the market. Now we're "catering to the players who like that tool" by making it "only" affordable/accessible to those who play it PVP-style. If it's the latter, then we've completely devalued the "normal" primary avenue to earn the item in question. Why bother when you can just walk over there and get it for comparatively little effort?

The market, being player-controlled and player-priced, never suffers this guessing-game problem. Things are always valued as they should be. Or, at least, provided enough information, players can tell when they're NOT and wait for them to stabilize.

No matter what "equal" tool we provide, you'll have room to complain that we're "catering" to them.

You're ignoring that the market IS a secondary, simple place to go. You say we're catering to "those who like it." But seriously, are you going to tell me that somebody who doesn't want to play the market can't still just go there and buy something?

The problems with CoH's AH stemmed from how high prices got on it, which were a combination of inflation (making it newbie-unfriendly) and too little information making it too easy to manipulate perceived values. Fight those problems, and the guys who don't want to be bothered will find it easy to just treat it like a variable-cost vendor.

(I do have hopes to have NPC vendors who play the markets, buying and selling goods players put up on it and putting some of those goods on their store shelves to sell retail. This should help both stabilize the market AND provide people who find some loathing for having to even look at recent prices a place to go and simply see what the vendor is charging. This, again, plays in the market because it is crucial as a tool for gauging price, and for ensuring that these items are not created ex nihilo by the vendor. The act of buying it never creates it, only the act of winning it through gameplay.)

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Segev wrote:
Segev wrote:

You do realize that the market doesn't require you to "play" it if you don't want to, right? You can just treat it like you would a vendor where you say "I will pay this much for the item I want," and wait for it to be available at that price.
We likely will be looking at mechanisms other than double-blind bidding for the way transactions happen, and certainly will be looking to have a much longer history available to view the prices of items in the market so people can make informed decisions.
And I completely disagree about the market devaluing the other parts of the game. Specifically, the price of something in the market - with sufficient history and other information available that it's non-trivial to distort the perception thereon - will tend to reflect the agreed-upon value of that thing and the work that went into acquiring it.
All of the other methods you have suggested require a fiat declaration by the devs that X item is worth Y. This is never, ever going to be an accurate guess. We, the devs, CANNOT adequately guess just how hard something will be to get. I know we can't, because if it were possible, it would not be the difficult thing it is in every MMO ever. But even if that calculation were possible, we cannot know how players will value that relative to other things in the game. Particularly volatile-valued things like in-game currency. Therefore, when we, the devs, make this "dev created equally accessible tool" you keep talking about, we would set the price. And that price would be either grossly too high or grossly too low very quickly. If the former, we're back to the same complaint you're making about the market. Now we're "catering to the players who like that tool" by making it "only" affordable/accessible to those who play it PVP-style. If it's the latter, then we've completely devalued the "normal" primary avenue to earn the item in question. Why bother when you can just walk over there and get it for comparatively little effort?
The market, being player-controlled and player-priced, never suffers this guessing-game problem. Things are always valued as they should be. Or, at least, provided enough information, players can tell when they're NOT and wait for them to stabilize.
No matter what "equal" tool we provide, you'll have room to complain that we're "catering" to them.
You're ignoring that the market IS a secondary, simple place to go. You say we're catering to "those who like it." But seriously, are you going to tell me that somebody who doesn't want to play the market can't still just go there and buy something?
The problems with CoH's AH stemmed from how high prices got on it, which were a combination of inflation (making it newbie-unfriendly) and too little information making it too easy to manipulate perceived values. Fight those problems, and the guys who don't want to be bothered will find it easy to just treat it like a variable-cost vendor.
(I do have hopes to have NPC vendors who play the markets, buying and selling goods players put up on it and putting some of those goods on their store shelves to sell retail. This should help both stabilize the market AND provide people who find some loathing for having to even look at recent prices a place to go and simply see what the vendor is charging. This, again, plays in the market because it is crucial as a tool for gauging price, and for ensuring that these items are not created ex nihilo by the vendor. The act of buying it never creates it, only the act of winning it through gameplay.)

Well I do disagree that devs cant place value on items, because they have especially before the market. Like DOs, SOs, and TOs. So it's possible.

And maybe controlling inflation may solve some stuff including adding information, and the way COX set up the market.

And yes I'm saying that. Because if one play from 1-50, the path you said they should take if they do not want to play the market, many times they will still not have enough to buy stuff they want thus requiring to play the market to get the stuff they want. So while in yes in theory they can waltz in there and buy stuff. But no, if they do not play the market they probably wont have enough for the items they want especially stuff that is in the 150 million and up range. Even by your own admission it was newbie-unfriendly due to the inflation it caused. So yes I'm seriously telling you that just as you seriously telling me that having no other option besides the one option is equal to marketeers having the choice between the market, to get around parts of the game they don't like to play on top of having the same option as the only other option for everyone in playing the game normally is equality.

They might be able to afford the garbage stuff but those usually drop often. Unlike other stuff that is good and useful that someone can play the game straight up, do all the TFs and still walk away without one single item good item they wish to use on their level 50 toon, the possibility that is very real for a non-marketer. Compared to those that do play the market can go in there and make millions and in some cases billions in a single day and buy everything they ever wanted. To reach that level the "primary way" takes how long? a few months to a year? I do not see your logic where that is anywhere near equal.

But then again, I think one thing that seems like the nudge is towards the market unless one is lucky is the drop rate. Like I said, the primary way is no guarantee to get the good stuff as you suggest. Because there have been many times many cases where two people do the exact same thing. One comes out with 100s of millions worth of stuff, and the other barely breaks a thousand. Maybe the primary way should be "buffed". There shouldn't be any way that two people,* the primary option as you put it, the only other option a non marketer person have as you put it, and supposedly equal option as you put it*, should spend hours doing the same task same missions with one walking away with 100s of millions worth of stuff while the other nothing much to show for their trouble and effort. Maybe effort in the primary choice, the only other option that non-marketeers have, should be a factor and should be looked at if it's intended to be the equal option besides playing the market to get by.

And it's funny you suggest a vendor at the end of your statement. I never said that there must be a flat price for stuff. I said things should be available at a vendor as one of the suggestions I made. You assumed that meant a flat price for everything. I did suggest one that isn't tied to the market. But never said there must be a flat price for everything.

Plus try to not judge what I will complain about in the future. I'm talking about the issues at hand. You do not know if I will complain still or not, because you never provided nor seem interesting in even trying to come up with other option or another tool. Since there is no other tool, or seemingly no desire to try and make another tool, nor have you tried anything else besides the market, then you cant really say whether or not I will complain or not. That is your own baseless assumption. And like most assumption based on misinterpreted information and lack of knowledge on the person they are judging and trying to predict, it's usually off base. A person reaction is more unpredictable than in game currency, yet that doesn't seem to stop you from trying to predict it. Kind of like you forgot the old days. When the idea for a market to be placed in COX was tossed around. Early one, there was a lot of complaints about the idea, "it would make it a farm fest like WoW." It will kill the game. It will becomes a grind game. Some of those complaints were made by the same people that wholly praise it. In i4 even suggesting a play controlled market got people flamed for it. And some of those problems you described to many other ideas was placed on the market. Many people even threatened to leave if they released a player controlled market. Now, here we are, you are saying it's an integral part of the economy and should not be touched and should be the only "second" option. Now supposed they decided to never have tried it? There would have been no market and the idea of a player controlled market probably still would have been considered a no no for a casual super hero game. But they did, and it worked. I think you are dismissing the idea that there are other ways and things that can work that is not tied directly to the market a bit too prematurely. Hell even at one point the idea of a super hero game was said to not going to work and a game for casual players is a bad idea because no one would play because everyone would get bored with it and leave. Yet here we are, with a super hero themed MMO being made and two other in the same vien on the way. If they took on your attitude and simply dismissed them, then we probably wouldn't be here at all. All I'm saying, give it an open mind instead of this closed mind that the player controlled market is the only way and should be the only thing offered. I'm not saying nor saying get rid of the market. In fact I hoping it would stay, unlike you seem to be coming off, even though I think the market is "meh", I want it to stay because it seems people like it. But on the same token I'm also aware that some despised it some loved it, and those outside the like it group should be considered and kept in mind instead of telling them basically they do not deserve any other option as you did with the suggestion that the basic option is equal to the others having another option that ease their game play "by allowing them to skip the parts of the game they did not want to play." That last part were your words. While basically telling everyone else outside the market group "they are not important enough to even consider having any other option." See you give marketer people a way to skip parts of the game they do not like, as you described the market of being there for. Yet, say someone do not like the market. You said the yare stuck playing the primary way, without thinking about there may be parts of the game they wish to skip too. And knowing full well there is not enough money given out in the game reward to keep up with the price of the market during normal game play. Also knowing that it's not the effort that is even much of a factor and more on luck which usually the needed drops never drop. Most of the time the stuff that drop in the IO stuff may not even be useful to said toon, of course marketeers are given a way around this issue, but the others are not that do your suggested thing and simply do the primary option. Which also means mostly they will not make anywhere near enough by playing the normal game to afford stuff on the market even if they wanted to. And yet call it equal. But then luckily, another option did kind of befall those other people. Third gold sellers. Now they could buy the inf they need, and go buy the stuff they need, although only through the market, but there is no other choice to get it. And thus adding to the inflation problem. There was hardly a gold farmer around prior to the market. Maybe a few PL services but hardly third party gold sellers.

"Why bother when you can just walk over there and get it for comparatively little effort?" I suppose the same reason people that like the market buy from the market instead of going out there themselves and trying their luck at getting said item.

But tell me this, if you cannot judge, by your own admission, the value of something as volatile as in game currency then how do you plan on creating the other currencies such as stars? Which from what I gather, can be purchased with real money. And since it can be purchased with real money, and that (the stars) can be used to purchase items off the market, then how can you figure out the price per dollar a star will go for if you cant predict the volatile nature of the price in a player controlled market, which these stars are supposedly will be used for? So it going to be like, 10 stars equal $10 dollars one day then next day $10 only gets you 2 stars and the next $10 gets you 20 stars. Because what you are saying is if you put a set price on it, it will quickly become either over valued or under valued. Because if you are planning on creating any other currency based off the market and purchasing off the market, but the prices are too volatile to judge then is buying stars is going to be like playing a stock market on top of the AH market where one must know how to figure out and judge upticks and swings, and sell high and buy low or whether to hold onto the stars or sell?

And you said the prices on a player controlled market is always at where they should be, then later say that one of the problem is it was too easy manipulate perceived values? Well which is it? Were the prices as they should be at all times, or was there some value manipulation going on due to lack of information provided? Because if you believe that the prices were always where they should be at, then how was price manipulation even an issue if no matter what the price, as you stated a few times, it was the proper price and true value of the item?

And there you go again saying "the work" to require it. There was no set work requirement. It was mostly luck. Like I said, there have been many cases where two people do the exact same thing same effort (work) and yet one come out instant rich with enough stuff to sell to not have to worry about money while another come out with maybe a few beans, both did the same work and effort, except one got rewarded well for it the other got basically ripped off. Maybe that is something that should be changed and that may cause a ripple effect where the primary option would be a valid and sound alternative to playing the market and make the market as you said it was supposedly, truly and optional device.

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The reason we can predict the

The reason we can predict the value of a Star in dollars is that we will establish a price for the c-store items we wish to sell people for money. Those items will be priced in Stars. The value of those items, relative to the items they can get in game (such as in-game currency), will determine the exchange rate on Stars for items and currency in the various markets.

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I'm gonna be honest here and

I'm gonna be honest here and just say that I did not even attempt to read most of the last few posts, because simply they were TOO HUGE and used a lot of really big words. Hurts Hulk's head. Seriously I think some of these ideas are way too complex and convoluted. Let's just dial it back a bit and keep it simple. That's one of the things that CoH really did right. Made things simple. I like simple. Simple is good. Simple is wise. Let's stick with simple. I don't want to have to go back to college and re-take Calculus, Business 101, Economics, and Statistics to figure out how to play this game. Seriously.

I got chills! They're multiplyin'. And I'm losin' control. Cuz the power, I'm supplyin'. Why it's ELECTRIFYIN'!!

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Segev wrote:
Segev wrote:

The reason we can predict the value of a Star in dollars is that we will establish a price for the c-store items we wish to sell people for money. Those items will be priced in Stars. The value of those items, relative to the items they can get in game (such as in-game currency), will determine the exchange rate on Stars for items and currency in the various markets.

I see. So you pay for stars with dollars and then buy the items at a set price.

Then you take said item in game, and sell it, and by proxy, it will determine how much in-game currency one could get for their star purchase but the price of the stars themselves will be a set price?

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The way store purchases were

The way store purchases were moderated in COX was locking them to account. I could see a similar defense placed on certain star purchases serving in COT; restricting at least some of the purchases from entry to the market. That would keep certain classes of rare drops pegged to Standard Play.

"Anyone who would act up to a perfect standard of goodness in everything must be ruined among so many who do not. It is essential therefore to have learnt how to be other than good and to use, or not use, goodness as necessity requires." - Machiavelli

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Felix wrote:
Felix wrote:

i don't know how popular this idea would be. It does assume we have fairly sophisticated data mining on the AH. We could adjust drop rates on the items that are getting out of whack. Not that I am saying how to judge that, except maybe to look at the relative sale values of things in the AH. But if we can respond to a (perceived) shortage by increasing the supply...
Just my $0.02.
Felix

This is an interesting idea. Doesn't the power of the devs in a virtual world mean there are options like this to adjust "reality" to fix problems in ways you can't in the real world? Even though it may annoy some players, it wouldn't be the first time an MMO adjusted things to counter player actions and keep the virtual world aligned with the vision the devs want for the game.

Spurn all ye kindle.

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Cinnder wrote:
Cinnder wrote:

Felix wrote:
i don't know how popular this idea would be. It does assume we have fairly sophisticated data mining on the AH. We could adjust drop rates on the items that are getting out of whack. Not that I am saying how to judge that, except maybe to look at the relative sale values of things in the AH. But if we can respond to a (perceived) shortage by increasing the supply...
Just my $0.02.
Felix

This is an interesting idea. Doesn't the power of the devs in a virtual world mean there are options like this to adjust "reality" to fix problems in ways you can't in the real world? Even though it may annoy some players, it wouldn't be the first time an MMO adjusted things to counter player actions and keep the virtual world aligned with the vision the devs want for the game.

I thought devs had that power.

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jag40 wrote:
jag40 wrote:

Segev wrote:
The reason we can predict the value of a Star in dollars is that we will establish a price for the c-store items we wish to sell people for money. Those items will be priced in Stars. The value of those items, relative to the items they can get in game (such as in-game currency), will determine the exchange rate on Stars for items and currency in the various markets.

I see. So you pay for stars with dollars and then buy the items at a set price.
Then you take said item in game, and sell it, and by proxy, it will determine how much in-game currency one could get for their star purchase but the price of the stars themselves will be a set price?

No. Or rather, that's not what I was getting at. I am unsure if there will be c-store items (things you buy with Stars) that would make sense to have be sell-able on the market. If so, then that could happen, yes.

But what I'm picturing is:

  • You buy Stars at a given price with real money.
  • Anything you want to buy with those Stars in the c-store is at a fixed price in said c-store. This includes any microsubscription perks, any costume pieces, whatever.
  • You can instead take those Stars and go to the market. There, you can spend those Stars on items with game-mechanical effects that others have obtained and put up on the market for sale.
  • This can include simply looking for somebody selling amounts of in-game currency in return for Stars.
  • The value of player-sold items and currency-for-Stars would directly and indirectly determine the value of Stars in in-game currency. The value of Stars in real money remains fixed by the price MWM charges for buying them.

So the real money value of Stars is fixed, or, if variable, is variable in the sense that we might give discounts for various reasons (including bulk purchases, among other possibilities).

The value of Stars compared to in-game currency is determined solely by the players making the exchanges. (Well, and their rational analysis of the difficulty of getting the currency and its utility to the person buying it.)

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Segev
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Resplendent Terminus wrote:
Resplendent Terminus wrote:

The way store purchases were moderated in COX was locking them to account. I could see a similar defense placed on certain star purchases serving in COT; restricting at least some of the purchases from entry to the market. That would keep certain classes of rare drops pegged to Standard Play.

If I have my druthers, there won't be "rare items" that you can obtain in play which can be bought at the c-store. If you are using Stars to buy such "rare items," you're doing it on the market, and those Stars are going to a player who obtained said "rare items" before he could put them up for sale. Whether he got the drops, crafted them, or was given them as a gift, the use of Stars did not create the item in the same way that buying the item at the c-store would. And we're not allowing that to happen precisely so that c-store purchases don't distort the rarity of in-game-useful (as opposed to cosmetic or QoL) items. That is, items which effect game mechanics, such as CoH's enhancements.

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Well that other game had

Well that other game had things that were obtainable in-game AND on the shop. Purples for instance were account bound from the store, tradeable when dropped from mobs or gained via merits. I don't think the store needs to supplement what is in-game or even out-do it somehow by being better due to the fact you spent money on it. I had stashes of purples, tons for sale and bids on more and I still picked up sets of purples with cash from the store.

I don't think you need to come up with two sets of items in all cases, the store should carry exclusives such as costumes and provide a convenient way to get boosts but some stuff could be available in both places.

Back to retirement.

If people won't pay enough to finance its creation, it is not worth creating.
/Segev

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Yeah, my general design

Yeah, my general design paradigm is that, if it's something you use to make your character more effective in a game-mechanical sense, it should be earned in play and not bought in the c-store. If it's something related to customization, vanity, or (possibly, in an exception to the game mechanics thing) certain classifications, it should be in the c-store. Quality-of-Life items are a bit harder to quantify as c-store or in-game, and would likely really depend on whether it's something 4th-wall-breaking or not. It doesn't make much sense, for instance, for extra character slots to be "purchased" in game.

However. My goal is that, if you wish to, you can still spend real money to buy Stars, the c-store currency, and then go spend those Stars for those in-game useful items (e.g. "stashes of purples"). You just can't do so in the c-store. You take those Stars and go buy them in the market from players who are selling them. Or you buy in-game currency in the market, and use THAT to do so.

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Segev wrote:
Segev wrote:

Yeah, my general design paradigm is that, if it's something you use to make your character more effective in a game-mechanical sense, it should be earned in play and not bought in the c-store. If it's something related to customization, vanity, or (possibly, in an exception to the game mechanics thing) certain classifications, it should be in the c-store. Quality-of-Life items are a bit harder to quantify as c-store or in-game, and would likely really depend on whether it's something 4th-wall-breaking or not. It doesn't make much sense, for instance, for extra character slots to be "purchased" in game.
However. My goal is that, if you wish to, you can still spend real money to buy Stars, the c-store currency, and then go spend those Stars for those in-game useful items (e.g. "stashes of purples"). You just can't do so in the c-store. You take those Stars and go buy them in the market from players who are selling them. Or you buy in-game currency in the market, and use THAT to do so.

100% agree with the statements expressed here.

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Segev wrote:
Segev wrote:

Yeah, my general design paradigm is that, if it's something you use to make your character more effective in a game-mechanical sense, it should be earned in play and not bought in the c-store. If it's something related to customization, vanity, or (possibly, in an exception to the game mechanics thing) certain classifications, it should be in the c-store. Quality-of-Life items are a bit harder to quantify as c-store or in-game, and would likely really depend on whether it's something 4th-wall-breaking or not. It doesn't make much sense, for instance, for extra character slots to be "purchased" in game.
However. My goal is that, if you wish to, you can still spend real money to buy Stars, the c-store currency, and then go spend those Stars for those in-game useful items (e.g. "stashes of purples"). You just can't do so in the c-store. You take those Stars and go buy them in the market from players who are selling them. Or you buy in-game currency in the market, and use THAT to do so.

Sounds like an excellent plan. And, as you say, that usage of Stars ensures that someone has earned everything bought that way, so it's not flat out pay to win -- more like when you xfer inf from one of your characters to another.

Spurn all ye kindle.

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Segev wrote:
Segev wrote:

Or you buy in-game currency in the market, and use THAT to do so.

-- well.. looking at the exchange rates in CO and NW and thinking back to CoX..
There is no way in hell I'm spending the money needed to buy that purple from the market with rl cash.

That purple I want, the really rare one, is a bagzillion in-game currency on the market.
There's a second one for a bagzillion -1
In both cases a bagzillion is the cap (where one exists) or may as well be as it's not a number obtainable yet just through playing.

So that will be $100 via MWM or $9.99 via RMT then...

Back to retirement.

If people won't pay enough to finance its creation, it is not worth creating.
/Segev

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GH wrote:
GH wrote:

Segev wrote:
Or you buy in-game currency in the market, and use THAT to do so.
-- well.. looking at the exchange rates in CO and NW and thinking back to CoX..
There is no way in hell I'm spending the money needed to buy that purple from the market with rl cash.
That purple I want, the really rare one, is a bagzillion in-game currency on the market.
There's a second one for a bagzillion -1
In both cases a bagzillion is the cap (where one exists) or may as well be as it's not a number obtainable yet just through playing.
So that will be $100 via MWM or $9.99 via RMT then...

This is a problem where there can be a direct real life "cash" comparison made to "in game" currencies.

I am sure now that people are aware that CCP has the "PLEX", and over the years, the price for 30 days game time has increased from 300million ISK to 550million ISK (ingame currency). This is the *market* value for one (if you decide to sell on the In Game market). However, the value for the PLEX is actually 0. CCP actually put no direct ingame currency value onto it. I could sell one to a player for 10 ISK or 1billion ISK if I so desired. And its actually very easy to do so (just set up a contract, or trade directly with the player)

And yes, you can get ISK cheaper from ISK farmers in Eve Online as well.

Side note: Over the past weekend, in Eve Online in just *ONE* battle, 75 Titan class ships were destroyed. That breaks down to roughly (doing the ISK to Plex to Real Life $ value) $300,000 of ship was destroyed.

Sure, it wasn't really that much cash down the drain... every single Titan also takes roughly 2 months to build, and requires a lot of ingame resources to build (raw materials, blue prints etc etc). And to even *fly one* takes a considerable amount of time to train up.

Quote:

1) I reject your reality.... and substitute my own
2) Not to be used when upset... will void warranty
3) Stoke me a clipper i will be back for dinner
4) I have seen more intelligence from an NPC AI in TR beta, than from most MMO players.

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This will be one of those

This will be one of those things that we cannot actually make definite statements on until we see it in action. We know that third-party gold sellers are a thing that happens in most if not all games. We know that somebody has the kind of in-game currency it takes to buy certain items on the market, or those items are not really for sale (which may be the case if somebody is just trying to loophole their way into an extra storage slot).

I am hopeful that we will be able to develop enough in-game currency sinks that we will combat inflation on that direct front. That would keep the amount of in-game currency for which things sell down a bit. However, if the item is truly that rare, then it's unlikely that many people are "affording" it regardless of their currency-of-choice (whether Stars bought at the c-store or in-game currency won in gameplay).

But I do contend that gold sellers wouldn't be able to ply their trade in other games if the cost of "those purple rares" was so ludicrously high in converted dollars' worth of "gold." Nobody would be willing to spend money on gold if it couldn't buy anything of interest.

One thing this planned system DOES do, however, is limit the effectiveness of third-party gold sellers who do it for a real-world profit: Since "gold selling" can be done in the in-game market in exchange for Stars bought by those who wish to patronize gold-selling services, and it's known that this is a safe and trustworthy place to give your credit card information, it will be unlikely that anybody would trust a gold seller who was offering in-game currency for much cheaper than could be obtained legally in-game from fellow players on the market.

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The problem I see with some

The problem I see with some items is :
It costs a neglible amount to list them but the listing sets an expectation.
The listing is, more often than not in my mind, not a real sale but a way to RMT by buying an item to hide the origin of that money
Why else is there a million star item on the market when I've got 100 stars or the equivalent across all my toons.

I'd almost be tempted to not have "those purple rares" be in-game at the start.
NOTHING kills a game for me more than day / week 1 ultra rare items. Effectively $100. Available now along with the gold seller to let you buy it.
As there is (let's face it) no bloody point whatsoever in this thing in week 1.. why not leave it for the expansion?

Not getting you with the last bit tho.
RMT traders are pretty trustworthy. Millions of RMT trades into games with currency exchanges show that players will happily choose them over the developers. With pre-paid credit cards now there's not even really any risk. So if egpal offers me either 1 million gold or 100 stars for 1/10th of what the game will offer me, why aren't I using RMT?

I'll add.. I'm not interested in in-game currency. Except that it gets me that rare purple.
You could put that rare purple in the shop for $1.99 and I'd buy it there.
I'd be tempted to have it in the shop and not the game.. you want it, you pay cash for it. Clearly that will offend a bunch of people but I can live with that.

Back to retirement.

If people won't pay enough to finance its creation, it is not worth creating.
/Segev

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"Put that purple rare in the

"Put that purple rare in the shop for $1.99" is the very definition of the kind of pay-to-win marketing that tends to kill games. "Optional" pay-to-win swiftly becomes "mandatory" pay-to-win, and the gameplay becomes merely a measure of how much real money you spent on it. That's why I want to restrict these things to being something that must be won in-game.

Now, you have made a rather interesting claim, here, that RMTs will sell in-game currency for less than the market exchanges would set them at. Why might that be? (This is not a sarcastic nor rhetorical question; I really want to know what causes this.) Why would players refuse to put in-game currency or other items up for numbers of Stars that are competitive with the prices RMTs offer them in dollars?

Let's say $2.00 buys *200. Why would an RMT sell you 2000 in-game currency for your $2.00 when another player would only sell you 1500 in-game currency for your *200?

No small part of my hopes behind allowing Stars to be used on the market to buy in-game items or even in-game currency is to combat third-party RMTs. I am thus interested in any insight as to why RMTs might not be undercut by players selling things for Stars.

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Segev wrote:
Segev wrote:

"Put that purple rare in the shop for $1.99" is the very definition of the kind of pay-to-win marketing that tends to kill games. "Optional" pay-to-win swiftly becomes "mandatory" pay-to-win, and the gameplay becomes merely a measure of how much real money you spent on it. That's why I want to restrict these things to being something that must be won in-game.
Now, you have made a rather interesting claim, here, that RMTs will sell in-game currency for less than the market exchanges would set them at. Why might that be? (This is not a sarcastic nor rhetorical question; I really want to know what causes this.) Why would players refuse to put in-game currency or other items up for numbers of Stars that are competitive with the prices RMTs offer them in dollars?
Let's say $2.00 buys *200. Why would an RMT sell you 2000 in-game currency for your $2.00 when another player would only sell you 1500 in-game currency for your *200?
No small part of my hopes behind allowing Stars to be used on the market to buy in-game items or even in-game currency is to combat third-party RMTs. I am thus interested in any insight as to why RMTs might not be undercut by players selling things for Stars.

Generally speaking (and this is coming from the Eve Online perspective, where PLEX's are the "Official RMT currency"), they can generally beat these prices because they have found exploits/dupes/best farming area's to gather stuff for the local currency. There is also the competition between the RMT companies to offer better value deals compared to other RMT companies.

Infact, you notice it over time with RMT'ers in that as time progresses, the amount of currency per $ increases as well.

What the "intermediate" currency from developers offers though (especially if it can be traded between players directly) is for players themselves to set the going rate (always handy as a way of saying "you scratch my back, I can help you out" kinda thing).

Browing and ISK buying site right now, you can buy 500million ISK for $12, 800million for $18.69. A PLEX (30 days gametime code/tradeable ingame) sells for $20 or 560million ISK roughly.

If you want ISK quickly, the ISK seller is "better value for money"...

ShatteredCrystal (trusted retailer for Eve gametime codes) sells 60 day GTC for $35... (which yes, can be redeemed for 2 PLEX's).

All comes down to how much you want to spend though.... especially if you want to buy less than a months sub worth...

Quote:

1) I reject your reality.... and substitute my own
2) Not to be used when upset... will void warranty
3) Stoke me a clipper i will be back for dinner
4) I have seen more intelligence from an NPC AI in TR beta, than from most MMO players.

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Isn't this because RMT

Isn't this because RMT organisations can discount based on the fact that they have more volume than the average individual player can ever hope to accumulate? Or am I missing something here? Same reason international corporations can undercut the mom n pop shop on the corner?

Spurn all ye kindle.

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Well, part of the reason RMT

Well, part of the reason RMT rates for in-game currency will get more currency-per-dollar is in-game inflation. When you have a currency that is spontaneously generated for certain farmable activities, you'll see that currency generate faster than it's destroyed (by spending it on vendors and other things that remove it from circulation permanently).

This would be true of Stars-to-currency rates, as well, I would expect.

I suppose if you really are trying to make a real-world living at it, it would be more incentive to actively farm for currency and then sell for less than anybody who is "merely" playing for Stars would be willing to sell. But still, something seems off to me, here.

Is it simply a matter of having too few people who are not selling for real dollars who offer large chunks of in-game change?

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Cinnder wrote:
Cinnder wrote:

Isn't this because RMT organisations can discount based on the fact that they have more volume than the average individual player can ever hope to accumulate? Or am I missing something here? Same reason international corporations can undercut the mom n pop shop on the corner?

Maybe. The only thing that might drive that, that I can think of, over players doing the same for Stars, though, is the desire to actively make a real-world living off of it rather than to merely support game-play.

It does introduce an interesting wrinkle into the situation.

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Segev wrote:
Segev wrote:

Well, part of the reason RMT rates for in-game currency will get more currency-per-dollar is in-game inflation. When you have a currency that is spontaneously generated for certain farmable activities, you'll see that currency generate faster than it's destroyed (by spending it on vendors and other things that remove it from circulation permanently).

Whilst that is true, in some games the rates at which they decreased (from say Day 1 of launch to just one week later) can be truly astonishing... If i remember correctly, when Aion launched EU side, it was something like 10 the currency for the same price just one week later.

Hell, even in CoH you could buy Inf... I believe that 1billion inf was roughly $10-$15 (if I remember correctly) towards the end of the game life.

Quote:

1) I reject your reality.... and substitute my own
2) Not to be used when upset... will void warranty
3) Stoke me a clipper i will be back for dinner
4) I have seen more intelligence from an NPC AI in TR beta, than from most MMO players.

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Segev wrote:
Segev wrote:

Now, you have made a rather interesting claim, here, that RMTs will sell in-game currency for less than the market exchanges would set them at. Why might that be? (This is not a sarcastic nor rhetorical question; I really want to know what causes this.) Why would players refuse to put in-game currency or other items up for numbers of Stars that are competitive with the prices RMTs offer them in dollars?

I'm not quite sure, but I think the RMT scam works something like this ...

^_~


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CoH got round the 4BN shinies

CoH got round the 4BN shinies (I sold 4 of the PvP 3% defs for that) with enhancement converters. That reduced all the purples and PvP IOs to much more reasonable prices. I think it's quite important to design lots of desirable shinies (or methods for converting), while limiting how many any one character can use so that there isn't one "must have 5" item for all builds. The value of inf to RMTs seemed to drop after that.

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So the usual competitive

So the usual competitive tools of various ways to "earn" things in game, basically reducing the rarity from "stupid lucky" to "merely play long and hard enough in the right way?"

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I've seen a few calls for

I've seen a few calls for "play long enough and you get it", especially in reference to lockbox type drops. That rare (may not be worth anything.. it's just rare) doodah will fall after 20 lockboxes, not just 5/100.

I don't see that really as viable. If you choose to spend money on keys then that's who you are / what you do. Just like a PvPer PvP's. It's meant to be random.
Sure you disappoint a bunch of peoplebut that is what it is.

I've always felt that earning that rare drop (farming the ITF, farming LRSF.. whatever it is..) makes it worthwhile.
HAVING SAID THAT.. if it's also on the store.. I do not have a problem with that.

Back to retirement.

If people won't pay enough to finance its creation, it is not worth creating.
/Segev

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Segev wrote:
Segev wrote:

"Put that purple rare in the shop for $1.99" is the very definition of the kind of pay-to-win marketing that tends to kill games.

did it kill CoX? That's my reference point in this.

Back to retirement.

If people won't pay enough to finance its creation, it is not worth creating.
/Segev

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I won't say it killed CoX,

I won't say it killed CoX, but it is something I would like to avoid. (I won't make any comments at this time on what did kill CoX; I think that's not a useful conversation to have here or now.) I think more good comes of having that "purple rare" be won in-game and sold on the AH for whatever it goes for there, in Stars or in currency.

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Yes this wasn't an attempt to

Yes this wasn't an attempt to start a what killed CoX conversation.
Well, initially, those rare purples were not available in-game at all. That's where I'd like to start CoT.
Don't need 'em yet. Just think it's a missed revenue stream, we've got zero figures for what made money in the shop but I personally picked up two sets of hecatombs, they supplemented two purpled out toons who'd got all their other purples the hard way. Don't think you need everything in-game to also be in the shop, I do think cherry picking and revolving offers makes sense.

But you know, if it's not in the shop I wont be tempted to buy it so maybe it's best there's not anything I might buy in there.

Back to retirement.

If people won't pay enough to finance its creation, it is not worth creating.
/Segev

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Now, why would you be tempted

Now, why would you be tempted to buy it if it was available as a generated-when-you-pay-for-it-in-the-shop item, but not if it was available on the market as something for which another player is charging Stars? Or, if it's from a player or retail vendor (who somehow got it from the market or other players) selling it for in-game currency, why would you be less tempted to buy in-game currency with Stars in order to get it than you would be to buy it with Stars from the c-store?

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Why not?

Why not?
Every game I've played I've spent money on the developer provided store.
I believe (rightly or wrongly) it's supporting the game. Sometimes it's a cash call, sometimes that limited offer you just have to have or a discounted price that just makes sense. Sometimes it's just picking what to choose your stipend on and topping up with real cash if you're short.
I'm not suspicious of that store.

So I've bought a bunch of stars or got them from a stipend or something. I can spend those on the store. I can also give them to a player.
Why would I? They represent real cash and I don't give that away either. It's not going to support the game (pay the developers) and I strongly suspect it's making its way to the RMT coffers which I absolutely refuse to support. I wouldn't buy in-game items from Ebay. Ebay (to me) is just a player who is choosing to sell outside the game.

I might save those stars even if I can buy a purple or three from the store with them. I'd choose to spend cash on those purples.
Why? Dunno.. who knows what those stars might end up being worth, saving them up may seem sensible for a future purchase when I'm poorer.

I don't have a problem spending my money on a game. But it goes to the game, not the players.

Back to retirement.

If people won't pay enough to finance its creation, it is not worth creating.
/Segev

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GH wrote:
GH wrote:

Why not?
Every game I've played I've spent money on the developer provided store.
I believe (rightly or wrongly) it's supporting the game. Sometimes it's a cash call, sometimes that limited offer you just have to have or a discounted price that just makes sense. Sometimes it's just picking what to choose your stipend on and topping up with real cash if you're short.
I'm not suspicious of that store.

Okay, I can sort-of see it up to this point.

I'm not trying to argue with you here, but this next part seems to be rooted in some posstible misconceptions. I invite you to correct me if my reply seems not to address what you were really saying, however.

GH wrote:

So I've bought a bunch of stars or got them from a stipend or something. I can spend those on the store. I can also give them to a player.
Why would I? They represent real cash and I don't give that away either.

Okay, still with you, sort-of, except that you are getting something for your "real cash" value in Stars: you're getting whatever item he put up for sale on the market. Perhaps you would never buy from the c-store an item that is a "pay 2 win" item, perhaps you would. But this mechanism is designed for the "pay 2 win" crowd to be able to do so, without flooding the game with c-store generated stuff that is hard to earn in-game.

GH wrote:

[Spending Stars on things other players put on the market is] not going to support the game (pay the developers)

Here, I have to disagree with you.

You've already paid the developers by the time you have those Stars. You've paid real money for them, and MWM now has that money. We're grateful for your business! If you want to spend them in the c-store, you may do so and with our thanks. But if you choose to spend them on something another player is selling, it is no skin off our nose. We've already gotten the money for the Stars, no matter what you choose to do with them after that point.

GH wrote:

I strongly suspect it's making its way to the RMT coffers which I absolutely refuse to support.

Could you elaborate on how this would happen? Are you imagining that RMTs would collect Stars and then sell them for real money? Recall that MWM has already obtained real money for those Stars, when they were bought by you (or when you paid for your subscription and thus got the stipend). And anybody else who wants to spend real money to get Stars can simply buy them directly from MWM. So the RMTs would have to sell Stars for less than MWM is selling them, and MWM still is making money off of this because the Stars didn't exist before somebody paid for them.

GH wrote:

I wouldn't buy in-game items from Ebay. Ebay (to me) is just a player who is choosing to sell outside the game.

That would be true. MWM wouldn't make much - if any - money off of such a sale, because nobody is buying Stars to facilitate the process. MWM makes its money from selling Stars, which can be used to buy things from the c-store. If you're buying AH items with Stars, those Stars were still paid for. If you're buying eBay items with real money, MWM doesn't see anything realized from that.

GH wrote:

I might save those stars even if I can buy a purple or three from the store with them. I'd choose to spend cash on those purples.

The mechanism for "spending cash" would be to buy Stars, then go to the c-store with those Stars.

GH wrote:

Why? Dunno.. who knows what those stars might end up being worth, saving them up may seem sensible for a future purchase when I'm poorer.

I am sure some fluctuation in value on the in-game market will occur in Stars. But unless MWM finds they need to change their prices for Stars for some reason, Stars will be worth specified dollar amounts in that MWM will sell Stars directly. As an example which may bear no resemblance to what the numbers might be when we actually finally start selling things, a Star might be worth roughly one cent, with the smallest package we sell being *500 for $5.00. (Possibly with "bonus Stars" if you buy larger packages, as incentives to bulk purchase.)

But the value of Stars in terms of real money will be a known quantity because MWM sells the Stars for specified prices.

GH wrote:

I don't have a problem spending my money on a game. But it goes to the game, not the players.

My point is that, the moment you buy Stars, your money has gone to the game. Whether you spend the Stars on the AH (giving them to other players) or in the c-store, MWM has already seen the profit from them.

Perhaps the miscommunication is that you think Stars are a currency dropped in-game? They aren't: they're the c-store currency. They're our equivalent of "Riot Points" or "Zen." And if you wind up with a Star from any source, somebody - whether you or some other person who traded it to you (or who traded it to the guy who traded it to you, etc. etc.) - paid money for it, and MWM got that money.

Now, I'm not going to fault you for not wanting to spend Stars on the player-to-player market; my concern is that your reasons for doing so seem to be rooted in a misconception of what's going on, and I didn't want you to deny yourself part of the potential use of your contribution to supporting MWM.

To reitterate: no Star will ever be created unless somebody spends real money on it. Once you have purchased a Star, it doesn't matter whether you spend it in the c-store, on the market, or sit on it forever; MWM has gotten paid for it, and you have supported the game by buying it.

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Segev wrote:
Segev wrote:

Perhaps you would never buy from the c-store an item that is a "pay 2 win" item, perhaps you would. But this mechanism is designed for the "pay 2 win" crowd to be able to do so, without flooding the game with c-store generated stuff that is hard to earn in-game.

There aren't pay to win items. There are (COX example) som eenhancements that are better than others if you have enough of them and slot them correctly. I can buy a few of these every few months for one character because this month it's hecatombs, the armageddons I want aren't on the store, maybe they are next month.

I now have to slot these in a way that works (so I need a build off the forums or via Mids), they are not making me win by themselves.

I don't win anything with my fully purpled out monster toon. Everyone I play with wins. They get faster, better runs. Probably. Chances are I'll make it and never play it again, did that with a few tanks. They lose the challenge in teams.

I'm not part of a pay 2 win crowd. That's probably the PvPers really. Or children. /shrug.

I expect my store items to be account bound, I have no intention of buying items and converting to currency and flooding any market. Altho flooding the market with stuff I've bought would be good for MwM as it would mean I've spent loads of money. This is the same as flooding the market with stars. You got paid.

Segev wrote:

You've already paid the developers by the time you have those Stars. You've paid real money for them, and MWM now has that money. We're grateful for your business! If you want to spend them in the c-store, you may do so and with our thanks. But if you choose to spend them on something another player is selling, it is no skin off our nose

Well it should be. You can be paid twice if you want.
Or I can go buy CHEAPER stars via RMT and use those stars on the store. You get paid once. No skin off your nose right? RMT stars would probably involve buying tons of cheap in-game currency and converting that to items and then items to stars or directly to stars. However it happens it will always be cheaper.

Ultimately my choice is going to be, if I have stars, not to give them to players. I may just be being stubborn and I may just end up not buying stars if the things I want are on the player market and not the stars store. That's where I am with NW. I have about $40 of Zen and a million AD. I can't buy the stuff I want with Zen as it's not on the store, they want me to convert my zen to ad and buy from the AH. I don't want to pay 1 million AD per item so I have my million AD, my $40 of Zen and pretty much don't play it any more.

What I would buy - the stuff CoX had for sale with cash - you don't want to sell me. That is fine, I was an extremely ebil marketeer who didn't need to spend any rl cash for a few years at least. Yet I still bought stuff. I'll end up saving money from the sounds of it.

BUT.. just say extrapolating backwards, I'm the only person buying stars. Me and people like me.
I decide not to because I can make so much in-game currency that I can afford to swap it for stars.
If everyone like me does this you'll end up with no star sales and people like me sat on massive amounts of in-game currency they can't spend.

However as long as everyone else isn't an asshole like me who really values their cash purchases then you're fine. At this point my conscience should kick in, this is the game I am supposed to love, right? Well, there's always that one guy who will buy that one thing he wants, once, right. You told me he is supporting the game (and extrapolating outwards, enough people like him spend enough with you) so I don't need to be concerned about that.

Back to retirement.

If people won't pay enough to finance its creation, it is not worth creating.
/Segev

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I've realised, of course,

I've realised, of course, what I need to do which is stop reading and posting on the free to play forums as this is probably where I disagree with most of what is being said.
IMHO this should be a pretty empty place as we've all subbed and supported the kickstarter but instead it seems to be where everyone wants to figure out how little they can pay compared to how much they get in concessions, even get paid to play.

If this is the route we're going down as a game and this becomes the most desirable route then I'll see how much my sub gets devalued by the time we go live.
I must say I hate the f2p route that NW went down, I'd be so much happier there (and still play) if you could sub. I'm so much happier in CO with my sub.
I'm a bit iffy with GW2, I might have to go back see if I can still play it at some point or at least decide what I'm doing with account there. It has rl and in-game cash sat on it, be a shame to waste it.
I was hoping that CoT would be backing it's subscribers making the sub not only my personal choice but also everyone else's but if it's not, no point flogging a dead horse. Unless you could sub and get extra dead horses.

Back to retirement.

If people won't pay enough to finance its creation, it is not worth creating.
/Segev

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I am now tempted to have a

I am now tempted to have a taxidermy horse be a potential base decoration item. One that you must buy in the c-store. Clicking on it opens the forums.

More seriously, I am not going to fault you for not spending your Stars on the player-to-player market; that's your choice. I'll remind you, however, that Stars don't get created if people don't buy them, so if "everybody" decides they're going to go farm up billions of currency and trade them for Stars, and there are only a few people with a handful of Stars to trade for it, the rate will be closer to *1 per billion currency, rather than *500 per billion. Because "everybody" who is selling currency for Stars will be competing with each other and (if they're still around) the RMTs, while there are a tiny number of people with Stars. I can also all but guarantee that people will buy Stars to get currency at those rates, and that RMTs likely won't find it cost effective uses of their time (unless we have grotesquely broken currency-drop places in place).

Every time somebody does finally spend a Star in the c-store, the number of Stars is reduced.

Now, you make an interesting comment here:

GH wrote:

You can be paid twice if you want.
Or I can go buy CHEAPER stars via RMT and use those stars on the store. You get paid once. No skin off your nose right? RMT stars would probably involve buying tons of cheap in-game currency and converting that to items and then items to stars or directly to stars. However it happens it will always be cheaper.

Let me try to analyze each scenario, and you tell me if I'm missing anything, please:

  • If I'm understanding the "You can be paid twice" scenario, what you propose is that you buy the Stars, then use them to buy equipment for your character ("purple rares") on the c-store. The Stars are bought and sunk by the same person; MWM is paid once by you. There are two possible follow-up scenarios:
    • The hypothetical person on the market from whom you might have bought the "purple rare" is now going to go and buy Stars to get what he wanted from the c-store, since he couldn't sell his purple rare for your Stars. MWM is paid twice - once by you, and once by him. Both players are (hopefully) satisfied with their purchases.
    • The hypothetical person on the market from whom you might have bought the "purple rare" doesn't buy the item he wanted on the c-store because he couldn't get the Stars to do so, and he's unwilling or unable to spend real money for them. One player is (we hope) satisfied, but the other sighs wistfully at the c-store window and doesn't get his shiny.
  • The second scenario is ... actually not contrasting. You hypothesize that RMTs will sell Stars cheaper than MWM does. They will buy "tons of currency" on the market. I have to ask: in your mind, what are they using to buy this currency? The only two things I can think of that have been suggested as things to trade for currency on the market are items dropped in-game (the usual gold farmer methodology, but hardly "buying" currency), or Stars, which they'd have to buy from MWM if they aren't selling items on the market for them. The next step in your hypothetical RMT scheme is to buy items with that currency, and then sell those items directly for Stars.

So, somebody bought each one of those Stars from MWM. MWM is paid once, as you note.

Next, the RMT sells items on the market directly for those Stars, like any player can. The people who bought the Stars get the items they wanted, and are satisfied customers. MWM has still been paid once.

The RMTs turn around and sell these Stars for less than MWM sells them, in real money. MWM has still been paid once, and the RMTs have effectively re-sold these Stars ti make money for themselves.

Let's take this to the extreme and see if it reduces to absurdity: The RMTs, underselling MWM, become the go-to people for Stars. Eventually, nobody is buying from MWM. As long as the Stars only circulate on the market, in theory, the RMTs could harvest items in-game and sell them on the market for Stars, then sell those Stars to players who use them to buy more items on the market from RMTs.

However, eventually, somebody is going to spend those Stars at the c-store. The number of Stars circulating in the market is reduced. Demand for Stars remains the same, but supply is smaller. Either the RMTs raise their prices, or they find they can't keep the Stars in inventory fast enough to keep up with demand, so they lose their reputation for reliability. People want Stars but can't get them from the RMTs because the RMTs just don't have them. Or, the RMTs raise their prices for Stars. But the moment they match MWM's prices for Stars, everybody will probably buy from MWM, as it's easier than going to a third-party web site and arranging the in-game transaction indirectly.

I'm sorry, I just don't see much in the "you could be paid twice" scenario. Maybe we could, but I doubt it. I suspect that it will always be more "work" to get a minimum wage-in-dollar's worth of Stars from selling things on the market than it would be to just do your job. Now, as long as this "work" is fun gameplay, that will mean more people do it. But I suspect that the natural human-driven market forces will keep the exchange rate on Stars to currency (and relative prices of items on the market in Stars) at a level commensurate with the difficulty of obtaining that much currency and that many items.

Add in the effect of whetting people's appetites, and the guy who wouldn't have bought anything without the "free" Stars he got from selling things on the market might decide he is "so close" to something and just throw the extra $5 at buying the last few hundred stars he needs. (And if he wouldn't, then he wasn't going to spend money in the first place. But the fact that he sold stuff on the market that enticed OTHERS to buy Stars to pay for them means MWM did get paid money we might not have, otherwise.)

In the end, I am not sure what the difference is, to you, between buying a "purple rare" from the c-store or buying it from the market, if you're spending real money to do it either way. But, like I said, it's your prerogative, and we're just grateful for your support when you buy Stars for whatever reason you choose to do so.

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Brand X
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GH wrote:
GH wrote:

I've realised, of course, what I need to do which is stop reading and posting on the free to play forums as this is probably where I disagree with most of what is being said.
IMHO this should be a pretty empty place as we've all subbed and supported the kickstarter but instead it seems to be where everyone wants to figure out how little they can pay compared to how much they get in concessions, even get paid to play.
If this is the route we're going down as a game and this becomes the most desirable route then I'll see how much my sub gets devalued by the time we go live.
I must say I hate the f2p route that NW went down, I'd be so much happier there (and still play) if you could sub. I'm so much happier in CO with my sub.
I'm a bit iffy with GW2, I might have to go back see if I can still play it at some point or at least decide what I'm doing with account there. It has rl and in-game cash sat on it, be a shame to waste it.
I was hoping that CoT would be backing it's subscribers making the sub not only my personal choice but also everyone else's but if it's not, no point flogging a dead horse. Unless you could sub and get extra dead horses.

I agree! I'd much rather just have it set up as 15/month sub, pay it, get regular updates. You know, like CoH was, which everyone likes to bring up as the spiritual successor, for almost it's own time.

Going cash shop right away seems to just say "We're not going to be good enough with just the sub model". At the same time, I'd hate to be sub only, and then never see an update because the game isn't making enough (which we have no idea what enough is that will warrant constant updates).

oOStaticOo
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I agree with GH and Brand-X.

I agree with GH and Brand-X. I'd much rather do a model similar to CoH as far as sub w/stipend model. I'm very much not a F2P player. When CoH first came out I bought the boxes to install the game and paid the monthly sub. The only time I ever cancelled my sub was due to my wife, now my ex-wife, yelling that I paid more attention to that "stupid game" than I did her. Hindsight on that is that I had every right to pay more attention to the game than her, but we won't get into that. I liked how they did the Paragon Points system and that is how I envisioned the Star System to be when it was first mentioned. That's exactly how I'd like to see it implemented as well. I'm not too fond of this idea that we can buy all items either with in-game currency or with stars. I just somehow feel like it's a recipe for disaster. And before you ask, no I can't really explain how or why I feel this way. I just do.

I got chills! They're multiplyin'. And I'm losin' control. Cuz the power, I'm supplyin'. Why it's ELECTRIFYIN'!!

Gangrel
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Brand X wrote:
Brand X wrote:

GH wrote:
I've realised, of course, what I need to do which is stop reading and posting on the free to play forums as this is probably where I disagree with most of what is being said.
IMHO this should be a pretty empty place as we've all subbed and supported the kickstarter but instead it seems to be where everyone wants to figure out how little they can pay compared to how much they get in concessions, even get paid to play.
If this is the route we're going down as a game and this becomes the most desirable route then I'll see how much my sub gets devalued by the time we go live.
I must say I hate the f2p route that NW went down, I'd be so much happier there (and still play) if you could sub. I'm so much happier in CO with my sub.
I'm a bit iffy with GW2, I might have to go back see if I can still play it at some point or at least decide what I'm doing with account there. It has rl and in-game cash sat on it, be a shame to waste it.
I was hoping that CoT would be backing it's subscribers making the sub not only my personal choice but also everyone else's but if it's not, no point flogging a dead horse. Unless you could sub and get extra dead horses.

I agree! I'd much rather just have it set up as 15/month sub, pay it, get regular updates. You know, like CoH was, which everyone likes to bring up as the spiritual successor, for almost it's own time.
Going cash shop right away seems to just say "We're not going to be good enough with just the sub model". At the same time, I'd hate to be sub only, and then never see an update because the game isn't making enough (which we have no idea what enough is that will warrant constant updates).

Well seeing as MWM have mentioned that the subscription would be *optional* I think that having stuff in a store would be a sensible idea. Even if its just cosmetic items (and not "content arcs"), QOL items (more storage/costume slots etc), then there will be people who will buy it.

You have to buy the game (remember that $50 tier in the Kickstarter... that was the *cheapest* that you could donate and get the game at). And it comes with one month free subscription.

Does that mean that *everything* has to be included in the subscription? Well... for a long time in CoX... it wasn't. Sure subscribers got a *lot* of stuff for free, but even before freedom there were the Booster Packs (Science, Mutation, Origins etc) that you had to pay for on top of your subscription.

I don't think that even after freedom they were "free" to subscribers.

Quote:

1) I reject your reality.... and substitute my own
2) Not to be used when upset... will void warranty
3) Stoke me a clipper i will be back for dinner
4) I have seen more intelligence from an NPC AI in TR beta, than from most MMO players.

Segev
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Hm. I think I'm seeing

Hm. I think I'm seeing another misunderstanding here.

The c-store will sell things for Stars. Things in the c-store will not drop in game. They will also typically not be the sorts of things that you buy if you want to "pay 2 win," but will focus on cosmetic, vanity, quality-of-life, and the like.

The sorts of things you found on the AH in CoH and in other equivalent markets in other MMOs will be available on the player-to-player market. Or, at least, players will be able to sell them to each other, there. (I suppose if nobody ever puts an item on the market, it won't actually be there.)

Now, the items on the player-to-player market are the sorts of things that the "pay to win" player might be interested in shelling out real money to buy. If we sold them in the c-store, it would be rightful to accuse us of enabling "pay to win" at the expense of those who play the game to get those items. If we do not, and allow people to only get them by playing the game or buying them in in-game currency off of the player-to-player market, then the "pay to win" sort of player is encouraged to go to RMT gold-sellers to buy, for real money, the currency he needs to buy the items he wants off of the market.

If, on the other hand, the market allows you to post items with prices in Stars or in in-game currency, the "pay to win" sort of player can spend his real money to get Stars, and he can then go to the market and buy items put up for sale for Stars. Alternatively, if he can't find it for sale for Stars, he can buy somebody else's in-game currency with his Stars, then use that currency on the market to buy the "win" items he wants.

There are things that will never drop as rewards in the game. These things are in the c-store. These things will possibly never wind up on the market. If they do, it is because somebody bought them from the c-store with Stars and then decided that they didn't want it, after all, and are selling it.

But you won't really be able to get EVERYTHING for in-game currency. Not without using the ability to sell currency for Stars to players who wish to buy currency rather than having to go play the market or grind for it, themselves. And if you do that, then the Stars are things which were paid for by somebody, so MWM got paid.

...I'm still not sure I'm getting my point across. I hope so, though. The core of it is that the c-store will never sell items that a pay-to-win type would buy in order to win; it will, however, sell items that never, ever drop as rewards in the game, so in order to get them, you MUST have Stars. You can buy those Stars yourself, or you can use the market to trade items you have obtained through playing the game - items which help you "win" - for Stars. (Currency is such an item, and I fully expect people to be able to trade currency for Stars directly, and vice-versa.)

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Gangrel
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I understand you fully Segev.

I understand you fully Segev.

I did at the start, I did at the end... :D

Quote:

1) I reject your reality.... and substitute my own
2) Not to be used when upset... will void warranty
3) Stoke me a clipper i will be back for dinner
4) I have seen more intelligence from an NPC AI in TR beta, than from most MMO players.

Minotaur
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Segev wrote:
Segev wrote:

I am now tempted to have a taxidermy horse be a potential base decoration item. One that you must buy in the c-store. Clicking on it opens the forums.

Not clicking it, using /em flog

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