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Economy in Stendhal

One thing that becomes clear after a few days of playing is that experienced characters collect lots and lots of loot, so much that all their chests start overflowing. Of course that encourages trading (or passing on items to party members) which has a role in play; but one also sees very low level players (level 4-5) with high level (shadow, black) armour.

What is the cause of the issue: With every kill value enters the Stendhal virtual economy. Killing a rat brings on average 1.4 money and 0.5 cheese into the economy. Killings of higher level monsters give lore loot. Over a day significant amounts of money, food and other items are harvested... but how does value leave the economy? There is the items that time out... whether in a corpse or not. Selling items to a merchant removes the item from the game, but brings in more money. And how can a high-level player spend his money? Yes, on a house, but that's almost it.

The game could use some economic balancing... Items and money should leave circulation at the same rate they are generated when the game is in an equilibrium state. When the number of players grows, it is fine when the economy grows, but the amount of high-level armour and weapons in the game should be restricted, so that there is just enough to go round among the high-level players. If you do that it makes sense to make trade easier by having NPC shops that both sell and buy. Such shops are great money and item sinks (the shopkeeper has his margins).

An interesting discussion: Balance in MMO Economies

Can we do any tracking of item creation and item destruction (consumption) in the game?

Sorry but you have some misconceptions which I must clear up :-
  • When you are seeing low level players with black armor these are certainly clones of the high level players. I did already tell you this in IRC but perhaps you did not understand me. I mean second accounts. Some players seem to like to sell their stuff with a low level player who stands in bank.
  • There is a lot more to spend money on than a house. If you had played long perhaps you'd know better. Anyway, such things are city scrolls and empty scrolls, which are very expensive, potions and food (many prefer to buy pies than go to the effort of making them, since they can afford it), and the cost of fixing a ring of life should you be unlucky enough to break it is also prohibitively expensive (as it is a very very useful item.)
  • There are plenty of NPC shops which sell and buy. Remember this is an open source game and as such anyone can contribute, if you wish to add more NPCs to the game please submit a patch, thank you. (See the Arianne FAQ) Kymara 04:50, 14 March 2008 (PDT)

I might have been a bit more careful with my choice of words. I think the proper word to use would be value. My issue is that the total value (which is the sum of money and objects) can grow rapidly, it is "good sport" to hunt low risk monsters that have nice drops. But how does the value of all the loot drain? Food to regain HP. Players are inclined to invest in obtaining more XP. Is there a kind of "planned progress" for players wrt. quality of equipment and amount of money in the bank? (If the value of loot/XP is a constant, one would expect that the value of a player is proportional with his XP)

I have heard some good ideas for draining value: more services like the ferry; guards to bribe, etc. Rent a house (extra chest) instead of buying or getting it for free. --MathFox 11:57, 26 March 2008 (PDT)

Implementing an Economy tracking mechanism

Basic Idea

For being able to make decisions on prices etc. you need to be aware of the current value of the whole Stendhal economy. This means there should be a mechanism that tracks what items (incl. money) are currently in the economy, which value changes happen to the economy (i.e. item loots, potion usage, ...). With that base data it should be possible to get a hint on how the economy's value is changing over time.

Technical Assets already being there

With the itemLog table most of the relevant data is already collected, so the records there need to be analysed in a clever way by looking item wise at events like item creation or destruction. The server needs some clever methods to access that data.

Open Questions

  • How to deal with assets of players stopping to play?