Inflation and the Imperian Credit Economy

GurnGurn Member Posts: 787 ✭✭✭✭
edited January 2014 in General Discussion
Hello, folks! I'm about to head to work, so I don't have much time to put towards making this complex and the like. However, I would like to begin discussion on markets, especially the Imperian credit market.

We're currently seeing a ridiculous inflation rate on credits-- While it used to be fairly stable at 10-12k, the recent months have caused the price to skyrocket up to 15-17k. This isn't a new thing, either-- As players know more quests and get higher levels, their gold acquisition becomes easier. Simple supply and demand dictates that the more Aspects and high leveled people we have in the game, the less gold will be worth, causing the rise in prices.

This rate doesn't go down, either, as no one is going to level down. Sure, you'll have people who drop out of the game entirely, but for the most part, high level players are also the ones who play the most, and have the most incentive to continue playing. This causes a large problem for newbies, where the purchasing power of gold decreases drastically over time, but isn't helped in any way. Increasing gold drops for smaller players won't help either, as that's just the equivalent of printing money, and won't decrease the price.

Even worse, and I know this makes IRE a boatload of money, phylacteries are killing the credit market. The supply of credits to the gold/credit market has dwindled to almost nothing, as most people who would spend money on credits have spent their allotted Imperian money on phylacteries instead of credits. The extension of the phylactery sale has further aggravated the problem, giving the game essentially two months where credits trickle in at a miserably slow rate.



So, what can we do to solve this problem? Deflationary tactics seem to be a bad idea, as lowered gold drop rates only really piss people off. Gold sinks are nice, but the incentive for gold sinks must be high enough that they can actually pull enough gold consistently out of the Imperian economy. One time fees such as monoliths and obelisks only put a few million gold down the drain every few weeks, if that. 


What I'm saying is that IRE and Imperian make their living off an active, thriving gold/credit exchange market. Free market pricing is currently failing, but market regulation also doesn't seem to be the way to go. With the kind of real money already put into phylacteries, credits are no longer exciting or beneficial to the average player. The trouble with a massive credit sale is that credits are a useable and perishable commodity as well as a form of currency. Moreover, credits need to be taken into consideration for power creep-- If the market is flooded with credits, then average power level also rises, which can also create an unfavorable environment for newbies and casual players alike.


I'll think of possible solutions and the like later from my end, but what does the playerbase think? This is especially important for the admins, @jesse @jeremy @garryn , as whatever model the next sale takes should probably address this.

Comments

  • AhkanAhkan TexasMember Posts: 2,375 ✭✭✭✭✭
    There's too much gold being generated in Imperian. There's nothing to force us to spend gold in Imperian. Gold sinks are a terrible idea because they force me to generate more gold to deal with your **** threshold that someone randomly picked. I have 0 gold upkeep as a player. Everything I do in this game is netting me positive gold. I know what areas are risk/reward efficient and I've built my character in such a way that I bash with the least amount of effort. Nothing you can do in this game is going to really put a dent in my performance without screwing every newbie on the face of the planet.

    You can't fix this problem. You will never fix this problem. Imperian's economy has sucked since the first neuron glitch that motivated someone to make this game. It's not anyone's 'fault' because there were 500 things in the five year plan before "fix game economy." Let's be honest here, no one up there is really a healthy mix of qualified, interested, and capable enough to really engineer a functioning game economy model. It's gone on for so long and gotten so far, you're never going to crack into older player's nest eggs and you're just going to surprise buttsex anyone created in the last six months.

    If you're really jonesing to make credits off the credit market, you're really limited to private sales between 'friends' or holding out for gold auctions. Gold auctions are delicious for dropping the credit market, because people are liquidating credits so they can buy veils of the obtenerate to trade in for credits. Or, I guess you could bash smarter, not harder. The warhorn is an amazing investment for gold/corpses.

    To be honest, the day of leveling a newbie of the credit market is long over. The awful system has been allowed to continue for too long and re-selling is too good of gold to really commit purchased credits to bound credits. The best way I've seen to get credits is city/guild advancement systems. I'm not sure if anyone else does it, but you can complete tasks for the Council to earn points and then turn those points in for favours, gold, credits. Show up to 15 shardfalls, get 15 credits. That's like 3 days of 'work'.

    Also, if you're buying phylacteries for credit value you're wrong. You're buying phylacteries because you like to gamble and you may win something you couldn't otherwise afford. If you're looking for credits for lessons, you're going to be better off purchasing straight credits.
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  • KhizanKhizan Member Posts: 2,648 ✭✭✭✭✭
    The problem is that Imperian directly connected "time spent bashing" to "gold generated" when it opened. This is, generally speaking, an awful method. It rewards zero-skill zero-effort zero-interaction gameplay with torrents of freshly minted gold straight from the aether, and that's the only way to really make sizable amounts of gold.

    Picture bashing as a giant crank on a machine, and the more you turn the crank the more gold you get. This is awful and terrible and bad and wrong and also awful and it is irredeemably so; there is no possible way to turn this into a functional economy because people like Tikal can spend 12 hours a day cranking the gold handle and there is absolutely no way to compete with her other than grabbing a gold handle and getting to work. This is a major problem. You cannot design a functional economy around a premise of unrestricted "turn crank -> get gold".

    That can be fixed, though. I honestly believe it could be done.  You can reduce bashing gold, introduce daily quests, balance their gold outflow against the wealth stockpiles to devalue that wealth without rendering it worthless... there's all kinds of stuff you could play around with, and I think I could honestly solve that problem.

    The problem I can't solve is that economies like WoW work because they have the basic requirements of an economy. People need things. You can go gather ore and plants and leather and sell it on the AH. You can buy raw materials on the AH, turn them into finished products, and sell those products.  And people need those end products. Flasks and pots for raiding, gear for new characters, enchants for that gear, etc, etc. There are products people need, there are people who work to get them, and so the gold flows? Need gold. Do some dailies. Need more gold? Go mine. Sell the ore. Want to become a market tycoon? Buy low, sell high, watch the AH like a hawk. Buy raw materials cheap, craft them and sell them when those things spike.

    Imperian has none of these things. Since nobody in Imperian actually needs anything, there's nothing for an economy to run on, so there's nothing you can do to fix it unless that's addressed.

    "On the battlefield I am a god. I love war. The steel, the smell, the corpses. I wish there were more. On the first day I drove the Northmen back alone at the ford. Alone! On the second I carried the bridge! Me! Yesterday I climbed the Heroes! I love war! I… I wish it wasn’t over."

    Azefel
  • GurnGurn Member Posts: 787 ✭✭✭✭
    On the contrary, people do need things. They're just so simple to get that they're practically a non-issue.

    Both of you are right, though. There is an infinite and constant influx of gold that has nowhere to gold. There is far more gold being stored in people's bank accounts and pockets that isn't being spent than we know of, just waiting to be unleashed. 

    Funnily enough, the broken window fallacy no longer becomes a fallacy at this point. The big God war that broke lots of windows bled a lot of gold out and was fun to do.


    I don't think I'm exaggerating when I'm saying that the longer things like this drag on, the worse problems get, and the more people drop out Another one of the big problems of the game, I think, is simply that there's only so much active things we can do. We might have a bunch of ideas that, on paper, would likely work to alleviate issues, but no matter what we think of, the admins have to be willing to work at it.



    If you look really closely you can see there were intended upkeep costs(decay, consumable herbs being worth a value, crafting costs, etc, etc), but they're so damn trivial that no one really cares about them. 

    Increasing them, however, would be a damn terrible decision.



    The main trouble is basically that whatever gold expenditures were designed at the beginning worked in the beginning, but as better areas/quests were introduced, gold introduction went wild and gold useage remained relatively the same.


    A few short ideas(obviously not anywhere near thought out):

    A) Currency exchange/commodity exchange between cities/councils/townes/guilds. Seriously, trade sucks. On the other hand, this also means we'd have to make commodities actually useful.

    B) Make a worldbuilding thing. Let us make fortresses with upkeep or something, and make the horde attack. Don't punish players for not doing it, but earn benefits from doing things.

    C) Give players mini-farmville or mini-neopets or something. Add some credit thing to it too. I'm sure it'll take off.

    D) Make crafting more than just cosmetic items. Crafting for trade and stuff would be cool and useful. Rather than refineries refine things, you could make something where players do something to decide on components and whatever.


    But I mean, the biggest thing is that something needs to happen. Whatever happens, there needs to be a degree of player automation, but events need to go off where players can contribute with gold, commodities, and whatever else there is. Buying an artifact with credits is cool, but using resources in a clever way to defeat big baddies or whatever is way cooler and not only keeps a playerbase, but makes people want to stay.

    Also? The more gold dropped and gold desired, the more credits are bought and exchanged for gold, and yaaaaaay IRE gets money.
  • IluvIluv Member Posts: 703 ✭✭✭✭
    You can view this as a problem or as convenient but there is no scarcity in the game. Market Stalls have created the equivalent of Big International Corporations. Once you have enough to invest in one, you no longer have to pay any taxes and at the same time your customer base increases to include everyone. Now that so many exist, the competition has driven prices to absolutely low. On top of that, concoctions and toxins have become general skillsets not restricted to professions. Then we have new shard skills like shard plants.

    There are so many bashing areas now that if you find that someone is bashing out a particular area you can just move onto a different one and never run out of areas to bash.

    Now to change these things would require massive resets and massive changes to the way the game is laid out. I'm not sure if that is viable or worth it.
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  • GurnGurn Member Posts: 787 ✭✭✭✭
    That's not necessarily true. There is scarcity in the game-- Resources can only be accumulated at a certain rate. The key to scarcity, however, is having more wants than resources, which is where our problem comes in.

    Simply, it seems like scarcity doesn't exist because everything we want(besides big ticket credit items) is generally fairly easy to access, and doesn't get used up easily.

    The market stall example is a good one, but I'd like to add something-- It's not necessarily because of customer base increases and whatnot that put prices ridiculously low, but rather because demand is simply almost non-existent for things. How many herbs do even hardcore PvP and PvE people use? Nothing close enough to put a dent in their gold pouch, I reckon.

    Concoctions and toxins being restricted, while annoying to the playerbase, acted as a good conduit for trade. I remember when the black market was thriving, and there'd be all sorts of trade from Celidon/khandava(who had the most herbs and concoctions) to Stavenn and Ithaqua(who had the toxins).


    I guess another big issue is simply that unlike real like or any other game, everyone can produce everything equally. Thus, there's no trade because there's no need for specialization, and no one has any comparative advantages whatsoever.
  • MathiausMathiaus PennsylvaniaMember, Beta Testers Posts: 1,007 ✭✭✭✭
    I wish the gladiator thing took gold. I rather enjoy gambling like that.
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    Iniar
  • ShilnShiln Member Posts: 28
    As far as credits for gold go, I tend to lean towards worsening credit sale concepts really diminishing the value of gold per credit.
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