How I learned to stop worrying and write a lot of words about Trade and commodities

SelthisSelthis Member Posts: 524 ✭✭✭✭✭
edited January 2013 in General Discussion
This is probably going to be long so I apologize in advance.  Thanks to the folks who read over it and offered their ideas/input.

I'm going to assume a few things in this discussion of trade.


  1. Refining costs are meant to be a gold sink, but have not been adjusted since the gold changes.
  2. Decay times have not been significantly altered for most crafted goods, except for a slight increase in decay times from researching efficiency in the shard trees. . Crafting changes will address this somewhat with the 25% reduction in decay times but that may not be far reaching enough.
  3. City expansions and now sect temple expansions (gh expansions too maybe?) were meant to be more frequent and thus eat up more commodities.
  4. We have a lot of commodities that are very infrequently used outside very niche cases.

The commodity situation in Imperian is desperately out of whack.  Most cities have huge stockpiles of most of the commodities (except for those depleted in the Horde invasion event).  In fact, most cities have so many they have had to take steps to impair the output of the townes or cut out caravans altogether in order to prevent serious damage to the gold stock of the city.

Issue 1: Need for commodities   

Only a small number of commodities have non-negligible use:

Food for guards
Iron for cannonballs and various engineering stuff
Wood for bolts
Rope for nets
Stone for treb ammo
Silver/gold for hazewards and some alchemy
Diamond for mending
Sinn, Isan, Cuhpfehr for smithing


When it comes down to it, there just isn’t that huge a need for commodities.  Crafting eats up some commodities but most crafted items last a pretty absurdly long time, especially with the plethora of ways to extend decay times (repairing in the craft skill, I believe there is a shard power that works similarly).

A similar issue exists with smithing and its related commodities. While there is the occasional person who outlays a bunch of commodities to smith up a superb weapon or armor, for the most part there is very little need for smithing more than once every 4-6 months, unless you are a class that uses a weapon for bashing.  Weapon/armor damage was in a way to combat that, but even with the damage it takes a fair amount of time for a weapon to be unusable and beyond the point of repair.

The simple fact is there is not enough drain on the commodity system for the money it eats up in refining cost.  The cities have to struggle to find a market for the commodities they just spent a lot of money refining.

Issue 2:  The cost to convert Materials to commodities

    1. Announce 1317 on 8/19/2009 Garryn introduces gold for refining of materials.
    2. Announce 1779 on 4/29/2011 Garryn introduces workers, assigns guards a food comm upkeep cost.
    3. Announce 1789 on 6/9/2011 Garryn speeds up refining   and guard maintenance now prioritizes most stockpiled food commodity.
    4. Announce 2055 on 5/30/2012 Garryn changes bashing gold drop formula and says some costs may be adjusted  but that specifics had yet to be determined.

Based upon the announce posts above, refining should have seen a change to costs. Despite the changes to gold drops, refinery costs have not seen a change.

This issue ties back into the issue of not enough uses for commodities.  There is the fairly large initial cost involved in this setup to even get the commodities.  All so they can be used, except they aren’t used that much at all due to issues mentioned previously. I feel like the answer isn’t more arbitrary commodity sinks, but instead lies in lowering either the cost to produce commodities and raising the churn on the crafting system at the same time.  Equalizing out the input and output of commodities in a manner that doesn’t punish the people who want to do crafting with exorbitant prices but also doesn’t punish the cities who don’t want to take a loss on material conversion/commodity sales.

Issue 3: Commodity spread

We have several crafting specific commodities that are generated infrequently but over time have still built up. It crowds the comm shop and to the best of my knowledge they rarely sell.  In particular: Platinum, Emerald, and Ruby.  Rather than have a huge list of possible commodities, why not make broad categories.  Rather than specific precious stones (except for diamond, because we still need it for diamond dust), why not just use gemstones?  Rather than specific precious metals (Platinum, Gold, Silver) we instead have a precious metals commodity.

This could be managed on the crafting side via the crafting guidelines that are going to be implemented.  You would just present a priority system of cost which increases the amount of the Gemstones/Precious metals needed for that particular thing.  For example, the value of the Precious metal is rated as follows: Silver>Gold>Plat.  Someone wants a simple silver ring: 2 precious metals.  Another person wants a blinged out platinum and gold monstrosity, a total of 7 precious metals plus whatever the bling fee is that crafting approvers/head decide on (I am not totally clear on how approvals work).

This would mean that it would eliminate some of our commodity choices, but I think it might streamline some of the crafting as well.  The system is already used since we only have one type of lumber and one type of stone for example.



Issue 4: Time Sink

I write this as a person who has the 100k lots achievement: Running caravans is more of a chore than an adventure. There is very little interaction with the game while my script walks the cavern from the city to the towne, I fill it up at the towne and then map the path back to the city and walk back.  The most I get is generally if there are some bandits and if that is the case I just slam my attack macro until they are dead and then start moving again.

The idea behind the caravan system is sound in that it gets people out and working to get materials for conversion into commodities.  And I really like that it requires an element of danger to get commodities.   I’m not sure how to make it livelier, for lack of a better term. Some of the ideas mentioned below cover aspects of it though.

Conclusion

Ideally, in the end we’d see some pretty sweeping changes to trade and commodity generation and use. The overall goal would be to make the system slightly more interesting and slightly more interactive without being a massive time sink or gold pit.   I feel like decay rates and smithing/crafting are the main bone of contention to this in addition to refinery costs.  This is partially being hit by the Tradeskill rework, but a well thought out plan  that involved a larger overall change in trade would be very welcome to shake up the system.

General ideas
  1. Scale refinery costs back in a similar percentage that gold drops were.
  2. Lower decay times across the board for all crafting and smithed items by 25% (I believe the crafting change will go live once the crafting changes go in).
  3. Change the amount of commodities required to repair an item from a craftskill.  Currently it  is broken into two amounts, with engineering tools has x commodities required, and without engineering tools has roughly 2x commodities required to repair. I would suggest doubling both those numbers to ensure a choice in how badly you want to keep an item around forever.
  4. Change repair in  smithing to take some commodities each time it’s used. The more you repair it, the more commodities it takes to get it back to usable condition.
  5. Consolidate niche commodities like expensive gems and metals into more general commodity groups (precious metals and gemstones) and assign that commodity increasing costs in patterns depending on how much it uses.
  6. More quests that need commodities (like the quest in Northern Breach for the orc invasion) to complete.

City related ideas
  1. City built (using commodities to lower stock of current commodities + gold) buildings that reduce refine cost for specific materials.
  2. A system that allows you to adjust refine rates per commodity. Each city starts out with a certain number of refinery points. Each commodity is assigned a certain level of rarity. The rate at which any given commodity is refined (its chance to be refined from a single raw material) would be a function of its rarity and the refinement points assigned to it. Through assigning points you can improve the ability to refine rarer commodities more frequently. The greater the rarity, the higher the point cost to improve the refine rate. Only commodities with at least one point assigned would be produced, allowing you to sacrifice the production of common commodities to slightly improve the production of rare ones. There should be a cap on the max you can raise the refine rate based upon the assigned rarity. Maybe make refinery points purchasable with shards or through shard research?
  3. An NPC who is hirable who increases speed/reduces cost of refining at the cost of a constant stream of commodities per month.

Outlandish ideas that will probably never see fruition
  1. Some sort of City announce board that will occasionally spawn random deliver quests quests like “Annona needs leather to repair all their leather pants.  Deliver it to Annonadude and the city will be appreciative.”  Then basically the person buys some leather and delivers it to Annonadude, gets some quest xp and maybe slightly buffs material production in the towne for a time. Think of something akin to the old package delivery quests but city/towne focused.
  2. As above but expand this to include certain NPCs or villages, maybe when they reach certain milestones the village “improves” via slightly fancier room descriptions or more goods for sale or a few quests added.
  3. Totally redo the trade system so that the townes automatically provide commodities to the city at a certain rate.  But through player action/quests that rate could increase or decrease.  I’m not even sure how make this work.  Most of it would just be simple kill dynamic quests like ‘Man, these bandits have been terrorizing Annona for like 5 minutes and it is making us afraid to go to work, kill them and we’d be super happy.” Stuff like that.  It would let towne fear sort of be more of a factor as well, and encourage some conflict over townes.
  4. Add hunger back into the game post 80, and make Cooking be able to produce  two types of food.  Simple foods that simply satisfy hunger and complex foods that offer short term buffs (that don’t stack with artifacts) in addition to satisfying hunger more effectively.  Band of Fasting would actually be relevant now.

KatarshIluvSarriusLionasOlanreBathanMercerDelrayneCaelyaAhkan

Comments

  • JuranJuran OhioMember Posts: 909 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Selthis said:
    1. Scale refinery costs back in a similar percentage that gold drops were.
    Reducing the cost to produce commodities without first increasing the demand for commodities is just going to depreciate the value of existing stock and make the situation worse.
  • SelthisSelthis Member Posts: 524 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Juran said:
    Reducing the cost to produce commodities without first increasing the demand for commodities is just going to depreciate the value of existing stock and make the situation worse.
    I agree.  The solutions are meant to be a part of a serious look at Trade and commodities as a whole,  but clearly something needs to be  done.
  • LionasLionas Member, Historian Posts: 765 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited January 2013
    Juran said:
    Selthis said:
    1. Scale refinery costs back in a similar percentage that gold drops were.
    Reducing the cost to produce commodities without first increasing the demand for commodities is just going to depreciate the value of existing stock and make the situation worse.
    A reduction in the price of production of commodities in the future does not necessitate lowering prices of current stock. See also: Futures market.
    I am the righteous one... 
    the claims are stated - it's the world I've created 
  • JuranJuran OhioMember Posts: 909 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Lionas said:
    Juran said:
    Selthis said:
    1. Scale refinery costs back in a similar percentage that gold drops were.
    Reducing the cost to produce commodities without first increasing the demand for commodities is just going to depreciate the value of existing stock and make the situation worse.
    A reduction in the price of production of commodities in the future does not necessitate lowering prices of current stock. See also: Futures market.


    If steel is produced at 200 gold per commodity, and then suddenly becomes producable at 100 gold per commodity, the 'value' of all steel immediately moves from 200 gold to 100 gold.

    We're talking about instant creation, not July delivery. Thinking otherwise is the sunk cost fallacy.

  • LionasLionas Member, Historian Posts: 765 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited January 2013
    Luckily, we control the means of production and the means of distribution. If the rate of production does not change, and the global price of the commodity shifts at the same rate, the value can adjust at a rate equal to the distribution of existing stock.

    EDIT: Of course, the odds of all the cities deciding to do this simultaneously is pretty slim.
    EDIT2: And, of course, it is intended as a part of a larger set of changes. Taking it in a vacuum is silly.
    I am the righteous one... 
    the claims are stated - it's the world I've created 
    Juran
  • SelthisSelthis Member Posts: 524 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Oh, I also forgot Nerf or change duplicate.
    Ahkan
  • AhkanAhkan TexasMember Posts: 2,375 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited January 2013
    I felt this quote was pertinent: 

    The risk you run being detailed is losing your audience to bluhbluhbluhbluh or incessant bickering about "that's not what I see." 

    Any changes are going to have to be closely monitored by players and administrators alike, sort of like a real economy.
    image
  • LionasLionas Member, Historian Posts: 765 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Selthis said:
    Oh, I also forgot Nerf or change duplicate.
    You leave my precious out of this!
    But really, it needs looked at.
    I am the righteous one... 
    the claims are stated - it's the world I've created 
  • KeldoranKeldoran Member Posts: 7
    edited January 2013
    There are a couple of other issues that I see to also go along with that.

    The sheer number of commodities that are out there, they would need to be massively decreased before a  overhall would adjust itself to normal amounts.  As well, if things are left at alone with any system eventually players will learn ways to cope with it.  Kinsarmar for example went from losing massive amounts of gold on a daily basis to now we make money, but it's nowhere near what it was like when I was MoT in Khandava.

    I think there needs to be random fluctuation in production as well, a multiplier to the production of materials so that it could be reduced or increased depending on various factors.  Right now reserves are used rarely and only when things change.  Where it'd be better if they were the reserves, because production is unstable, this would make it much harder to game the system, as well allowing for manual correction of materials when items get too high.

    Edit: The refining rates aren't too bad by themselves, the problem is you get so much garbage materials, which just don't sell.  If sales were more normalized, the refining rates would be okay, but should be more public as to prices, as opposed to having to calculate it.

  • JuranJuran OhioMember Posts: 909 ✭✭✭✭✭

     

    Selthis said:
    Oh, I also forgot Nerf or change duplicate.


    Duplicate is the wildcard, because it changes the entire dynamic. When it comes to commodity production, you ideally want your costs to be as consistant as possible. You don't want too much variability, because you don't want the 'when' part of the question to matter very much.

    Duplicate is untied from production, because it only takes time and a little bashing to produce commodities out of thin air. This means that no matter what your production cost is for commodities, duplicate can potentially sell for cheaper. So you don't need to make production cheaper to compete with duplicate, you need to burn duplicate to the ground.

  • JuranJuran OhioMember Posts: 909 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited January 2013

     

    Keldoran said:
    Edit: The refining rates aren't too bad by themselves, the problem is you get so much garbage materials, which just don't sell.  If sales were more normalized, the refining rates would be okay, but should be more public as to prices, as opposed to having to calculate it.


    Yeah. Refining rates are fine, the just set the price of the resulting commodities. If we're not competing with anyone but other cities all using the same structure, there's nothing wrong with production rates.

    Lowering comm costs causes more headaches than it fixes, there are better ways to get people to buy commodities.

  • KhizanKhizan Member Posts: 2,648 ✭✭✭✭✭
    The idea behind caravans, I assume was that economic warfare and such would start to be possible. Hijack all Kinsarmar's caravans and starve their guards out! Steal from their townes to bulk up your own supplies!

    And that might be good in theory if the game had started like that. Now, though, it's just not really feasible without resetting things to square one and implementing a more detailed system to handle such things.

    And that's really the problem with any sort of sweeping changes to the economy or the commodity system. We've been driven by an infinite money machine since day one. Plants and elixirs went from "There's only so much quince in the world and it's possible to overharvest it all down to nothing" to "There's essentially infinite plants in the world because every harvester can harvest a full limit of absolutely everything."

    Everything created with commodities either lasts for such a long duration that it puts no long term pressure on resource availability, is partially counteracted by NPC-produced items in infinite stock, or it's a thing that would be a luxury good in a world of scarce resources. In Imperian, however, there is absolutely no scarcity, and so a gown of silk and pearls sells for the same price as a pair of cotton pants.

    For every possible resource in Imperian, the supply vastly outweighs the demand. Economics is, essentially, the study of scarcity. Without scarce resources, you can't have a functional economy, because nothing has value. This ain't a problem that you can fix with a band-aid.

    "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."

  • JuranJuran OhioMember Posts: 909 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Crystehl -was- a good partial solution to Imperian's money problems before they auctioned off a way to make it out of thin air.
  • KhizanKhizan Member Posts: 2,648 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Yep. Now it doesn't even sink gold.

    "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."

  • KeldoranKeldoran Member Posts: 7
    And the drain on food resources for guards, has worked fairly decent at bringing down the quantity of food resources, slowly but there seem to be more leaving then entering at least.
  • DelrayneDelrayne Member Posts: 457 ✭✭✭
    Khizan said:
    In Imperian, however, there is absolutely no scarcity, and so a gown of silk and pearls sells for the same price as a pair of cotton pants.
    I agree that some things should cost more than others, but I don't agree with making things so scarce that it costs me 20k just to get fully clothed. Especially since decay rates are going to be reduced.

    Just saying, now continue on with your economics discussion.

  • JuranJuran OhioMember Posts: 909 ✭✭✭✭✭
    For a while I was making all of my vials out of glass, because they looked better and the cost difference didn't matter to me. In theory, fine clothes would cost more than the clothes you give newbies - but practically nothing like that exists outside of the pattern approval cost.
  • LionasLionas Member, Historian Posts: 765 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited January 2013
    Tailoring is a weird inconsistency to crafting. Tailoring, woodcrafting and masonry have the same required commodities for all designs of the same type. The other trade skills can have the requirements set to more expensive materials by the crafting guild.
    I am the righteous one... 
    the claims are stated - it's the world I've created 
  • AhkanAhkan TexasMember Posts: 2,375 ✭✭✭✭✭
    One on hand, people will say "We need luxury items to drain commodities." On the other hand, they will post, "Why do our luxury items cost so many commodities." I guess they could post it on behalf of their friends...hmm.
    image
  • AulaniAulani Member Posts: 199 ✭✭✭
    So now that the cost of duplicate has been increase by 20x (Judging by my quick test.) Can we get the trade and commodities fixed, please?

    Or at least can you let us know if any changes to the trade system is on the radar?
    IluvAhkan
  • GarrynGarryn Member, Administrator Posts: 527 admin
    Yes, this is absolutely something that we want to address, I don't have any specifics to share at this time, though.
    Caelya
  • KeldoranKeldoran Member Posts: 7
    Garryn said:
    Yes, this is absolutely something that we want to address, I don't have any specifics to share at this time, though.
    Are you able to provide more on an insight as to when it should be addressed in a larger fashion?
  • GarrynGarryn Member, Administrator Posts: 527 admin
    Sorry, but I don't really have anything beyond "yes, we know that this needs doing" at this time.
  • LionasLionas Member, Historian Posts: 765 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited February 2013
    Since it's now less relevant, here are the OLD (NOT CURRENT) prices for duplication.
    EDIT: Ok, the formatting died a messy death. Give me a minute.
    EDIT2: Ok, still a mess, but it's what you'll get since I'm too lazy to make a clean table
    EDIT3: I lied, cleaner table

    Commodity     | Cost
    --------------------
    Cloth         |  100
    Coal          |  100
    Cuhpfehr      |  100
    Dairy         |  100
    Diamond Dust  |  100
    Fruit         |  100
    ginger        |  100
    glass         |  100
    Gold          |  100
    Grain         |  100
    Hyssop        |  100
    Iron          |  100
    Isan          |  100
    Juniper       |  100
    Kelp          |  100
    Leather       |  100
    Linseed       |  100
    Maidenhair    |  100
    Mandrake      |  100
    Meat          |  100
    Myrrh         |  100
    Nightshade    |  100
    Obsidian      |  100
    Orphine       |  100
    Pear          |  100
    Primrose      |  100
    Quince        |  100
    Rahnse        |  100
    Rope          |  100
    Silver        |  100
    Sinn          |  100
    Steel         |  100
    Toadstool     |  100
    Vegetable     |  100
    Violet        |  100
    Wormwood      |  100
    Galingale     |  200
    Stehl         |  200
    Wood          |  200
    Ice           |  300
    Platinum      |  300
    Stone         |  300
    Bonecommodity |  500
    Orichalcum    |  500
    Veritum       |  500
    Emerald       | 1000
    Gemstone      | 1000
    Ruby          | 1000
    Sapphire      | 1000



    Can't be Duped
    Alcohol
    Bone dust
    Bone ingot
    corojo
    Diamond
    Fenugreek
    hornpiece
    Ink (any color)
    Paper
    Saltpetre
    Shards
    shot
    Sidewinder Skins
    Spirits (libations)
    Sugar
    Venom sacs
    weed
    Worts (all three)
    Yeast
    Blueberry
    Dandelion
    Endive
    Laurel
    Lovage
    Olive
    Feather
    Blackpowder
    Charcoal
    Pellet
    Shrimp Bait
    Sulphur
    Grub Bait
    Crystehl
    I am the righteous one... 
    the claims are stated - it's the world I've created 
  • AulaniAulani Member Posts: 199 ✭✭✭
    Diamonds could be duplicated. It was 1 for 1000 like the other gemstones.
  • LionasLionas Member, Historian Posts: 765 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited February 2013
    Aulani said:
    Diamonds could be duplicated. It was 1 for 1000 like the other gemstones.

    Couldn't when I initially tested, might have been added. Or I broke something.
    ETA: still bitter Ori and Veri could be, but not boneingot.
    I am the righteous one... 
    the claims are stated - it's the world I've created 
    SarciossisAhkan
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