Feature: Currency & Trade

Discussion in 'Minecraft Frontiers News and Announcements' started by tcvs, Mar 22, 2015.

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. tcvs

    tcvs Administrator Administrator Developer

    Likes Received:
    Trading is the core of our Economical simulation. With all of our plugins being designed in-house, we have the opportunity to create systems that are tightly linked to one another. Trading is no exception, as it seamlessly weaves into everything the players (and NPCs) do.

    Our Economical simulation is inspired by our real world, so this article may be a bit too heavy for some readers. At the same time, those who love trading and business will appreciate the depth we are going for.
    Currency in other games

    In a large majority of games, coins are generated by everything the player does – you kill a monster, it drops gold. You finish a quest, it drops gold. You sell your stuff to an NPC, it drops gold. In all of these situations, the gold is generated out of nothing, increasing the total amount of gold present in the game world. In other words, when you first start the game, no one has any gold. As players progress, the overall gold in-game increases with no limit.

    When you first start playing, nobody else has gold, so you can buy a lot with it – a house, the best piece of armor, a rare pet. As more and more people generate gold, the gold you have loses value. When everyone has 1000 gold, your 10 gold coins don’t mean all that much. A house no longer costs 10 gold (everyone would have hundreds of houses if it did). It instead costs 1000 gold. Is the house 100x better than before? No. So why is it more expensive? Your gold coins lost value. This is called inflation.

    To prevent inflation, games create money-sinks. If coins get generated out of nothing by simply playing the game, a money-sink is a system where coins disappear into nothing. This tries to provide balance by removing currency on one side, while it is being generated on another. A money-sink is similar to and admin shop: someone loses gold while no one gains it. An example would be purchasing a mount-riding license, paying transportation fees, or losing gold when you die.

    There are two big flaws with this system. First, it does not feel natural to earn money out of nothing. In the real world, if I get paid by my employer, it is out of the money they have. He is not magically printing it in his basement (hopefully). Second, as more people play the game and get better at earning money, the developers are forced to create more and more money-sinks to balance that out. As this never really works out, you still see rapid inflation in most games. Leaving an online game for a year, you'll come back to find your money worth next to nothing.

    What are we doing differently?

    The system we have tries to give you the feeling of meaningfully earning and spending money. Instead of magically generating money for everything the player does, we funnel currency into Elpida through trade. Trade is the process of sending items off shore, in exchange for currency. This is where the coins are magically generated in our world. Part of the coin goes to the player, while the rest goes directly into the town treasury through taxes.

    The money then stays in Elpida for quite a while. Players trade the currency between each other, with NPCs and with the town. This means a lot of the payments you make on a daily basis aren’t gold-sinks. Money doesn’t disappear, it just gets traded to someone else. If you go to an NPC and buy 10 expensive bottles of wine, they will have the money you gave them and spend it themselves at a later point. If you buy a land permit from the town, all of the money you spend will go into the town’s treasury. Likewise, if an NPC rewards you for your help, it will be from their personal bank account. This results in a much more connected environment, an environment that makes more sense intuitively and feels alive.

    By keeping the currency in the loop for a while, the way in which you spend it suddenly matters. If you do not buy equipment from NPCs, but instead blow your money on a fancy town house, that makes a lot of impact. NPCs will have less money to spend, while the town will have more. At the same time, if you don’t pay taxes and hide your money with your friends, the town stops prospering, while players get more money overall. Banks will not just be a place to store your coins, but elaborate institutions where smart bankers can keep or release their money based on currency value predictions. There are numerous ways your spending impacts the economy.

    As much as we love keeping money in the loop, there also needs to be an equivalent to a money-sink. Inflation would skyrocket otherwise. Again, we do not place the money-sinks inside the players’ transactions, but rather apply them to the town. Each town will have to spend their earned money on upgrades, upkeep and and importing goods from afar. This is where money is removed from the cycle. By placing the money-sink in one convenient place, we do not have to artificially adjust the experience of the players, and we don't have to keep coming up with more ways to keep leeching money from someone's pocket.

    What this systems allows us to do is regulate the flow of currency from two dedicated places, while keeping the impact on the player to a minimum. This means you'll be able to invest your currency in a truly meaningful way that impacts the town and will rarely encounter artificial money-sinks on the way. We can adjust the trade income rates and the town expense rates, changing the rate at which the currency flows in and out. This keeps the playing field balanced for everyone. If you happen to be a wealthy crafter, your currency will stay relevant much longer than in the majority of other games. At the same time, the player tax rates will not be regulated by us behind the scenes, rather being left at the decision of your elected politicians. They do not serve as a money-sink, but as a method of transferring currency from the players to the towns. Towns will then manage their earned income, reinvest it into the cycle, or buy new upgrades through a money-sink. We will adjust the outflow of the town currency, which will not be directly noticeable by the player, while giving politicians an extra challenge in their little town treasury management mini-game.

    Currency will not be just means to an end, but an important asset in its own right. It will encourage many interesting interactions between the different parts of the game world, bringing yet another breath of life to our universe.
    jamestiger likes this.
Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.

Share This Page