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#102 Jun 22 2009 at 9:16 PM Rating: Good
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66 posts
HocusP wrote:
Lol ok Mr. Know it all, just cause players have an different opinion then you doesn't mean they know "nothing about economics". I didn't say monopolization only occurs on "needs" but it is easier to monopolize a need because it will always sell. This will never happen so the point we are even having the discussion is meaningless in itself. Basically all of this is opinions of what would happen, because it has never been done in an SE mmo (I dont know if it has been done on other mmos or not). If something cannot be proven (sense it has never been done in an SE mmo, with a FF community of people), then it is an opinion or speculation of what would happen. The fact remains, this would make rmt less "annoying" to some people, but an linked server AH would also annoy some people in itself. Also this would in no way stop rmt, so just knowing that they are still doing great, without having to monopolize anything is annoying in itself. Start policing from day one and not years after release, and that would make it less annoying also.


Yes, just because people have different opinions than me doesn't mean that they don't know anything about economics. But that doesn't mean that they do know anything about economics, either, and you have obviously demonstrated that you fit in that second category.

And as far as Litie's comments go, I think kiworrior says most things fine fine.

kiworrior wrote:
Basically all you are saying (through the entire post) is that the real world is different from game worlds. But as far as economics goes, in game worlds they are much more like classical economic theory because they are far less complex. Game worlds are really the only "free" markets (imo anyway).

NOTE: I'm not disagreeing with you, I entirely agree that video games economies are different from real world economies, but only insofar as the complexity and access to resources that each individual has.


Mm, it's kind of funny how economic principles apply in videogames even more than they do in the real world. Woo free markets!



edit: i gotta start reading other peoples' posts more throroughly ha

Edited, Jun 23rd 2009 1:24am by Morsmorde
#103 Jun 22 2009 at 9:32 PM Rating: Decent
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I don't really see your point with this. Unless your point is basically that prices will fluctuate with supply and demand and as newer (and better) items are introduced, the prices for the older (and obsolete) items will fall. The reason why prices will rise on the same item is because of two things, one being inflation, and two being an increase in demand/decrease in supply (or both) and that occurs in both real life and in game.


Only in real life there is not such a sudden fall off. 2008 car models still maintain a lot of their value even after 2009 car models are released. Of course it's also a matter of how easy it is to access in the game, but if they both had relatively the same difficulty in acquiring the less item would decrease extremely quickly.
Quote:

The first part of this is correct, the game can indeed produce a limitless amount of money. But that is meaningless, more money entering an economy only causes inflation.

The second part of this is wrong though. In real life there is no cap on how much money is in the economy. Governments can print/make as much money as they want, although that will lead to inflation (see Post WWI Germany).


What I ment to get across was a game can technically satisfy the needs for every player at one time. Real life government economics can not do this.



Edited, Jun 23rd 2009 1:35am by Litie
#104 Jun 22 2009 at 9:39 PM Rating: Good
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Quote:
What I ment to get across was a game can technically satisfy the needs for every player at one time. Real life government economics can not do this.

Oh, yes that is correct, but I think the cause of this is that resouces are virtual and thus can be instantaneously transferred in games, while in real life it can take considerable time.

Edit: grammar mistake

Edited, Jun 23rd 2009 1:40am by kiworrior
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#105 Jun 22 2009 at 10:06 PM Rating: Good
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Litie wrote:
What I ment to get across was a game can technically satisfy the needs for every player at one time. Real life government economics can not do this.


Sure, all these things that you're talking about are possible, but that doesn't mean that they're relevant, either. For example, items in videogames will stay scarce regardless of whether or not it is technically necessary for them to be so. The point is this: your posts have identified no real differences between virtual- and real-world economies that need to be considered when designing FFXIV's market system.

edit: also grammar mistakes...

Edited, Jun 23rd 2009 2:07am by Morsmorde
#106 Jun 23 2009 at 4:51 AM Rating: Decent
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It was fine really that was not an issue really but one thing some one stated it should show who Listed it no thank's

Endless tells at HNM camp can i give u x amount of gil and so forth so thats onething i hope they dont put in
#107 Jun 23 2009 at 5:10 AM Rating: Decent
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139 posts
i love reading how ridiculously absurd some of these "opinions" are and then watching morsmorde try to reverse their school of thought. he's more knowledgable than anyone posting in this thread, yet he gets berated and challenged after every post.

nevertheless, it is highly entertaining to me, though. carry on.
#108 Jun 23 2009 at 11:46 AM Rating: Good
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My only problem with a pan-server AH system is that markets would move and change too quickly for 99% of players. Granted there will be more niche markets, but the speed at which popular item transactions would happen would be absurd.



Edited, Jun 23rd 2009 1:47pm by baelnic
#109 Jun 23 2009 at 11:56 AM Rating: Good
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Quote:
but the speed at which popular item transactions would happen would be absurd.


what's wrong with that?
#110 Jun 23 2009 at 12:02 PM Rating: Good
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Quote:
what's wrong with that?


Well, if the item is popular... and the mean time between transactions becomes super quick... then by the time you click on an item to purchase it, it won't exist any more because someone bought it in that time. That could be a problem.
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#111 Jun 23 2009 at 12:04 PM Rating: Good
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Players won't have time to take advantage of shortages or oversupplies as well. You'll need to spend more time at the AH in order to capitalize on those advantages.

In FFXI terms, there will be 500,000 players on the AH. Think of what happens to Fire Crystals when a few crafters on your server start going nuts. They very often sell out at all of the AH's. With only 5,000 people supplying the AH there is a lag period when FC's will sell at a small premium. With 500,000 users suppling there will be a shorter period of time for anyone to capitalize on that.



Edited, Jun 23rd 2009 2:08pm by baelnic
#112 Jun 23 2009 at 12:09 PM Rating: Good
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Quote:
Well, if the item is popular... and the mean time between transactions becomes super quick... then by the time you click on an item to purchase it, it won't exist any more because someone bought it in that time. That could be a problem.


from a logistical standpoint, this may be true. but who said it would be a click-and-buy type system and not another blind auction type system where you can't see the queue of listed items? you can speculate all you want on what type of system they're going to use - i'm not going to touch that one.

from an economical standpoint, the general rule is - the faster an item sells, the better. 100% of the time when you ask a salesman if they would like to sell their product today or tomorrow, they will respond "today".
#113 Jun 23 2009 at 12:12 PM Rating: Good
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Quote:
Players won't have time to take advantage of shortages or oversupplies as well. You'll need to spend more time at the AH in order to capitalize on those advantages.

In FFXI terms, there will be 500,000 players on the AH. Think of what happens to Fire Crystals when a few crafters on your server start going nuts. They very often sell out at all of the AH's. With only 5,000 people supplying the AH there is a lag period when FC's will sell at a small premium. With 500,000 users suppling there will be a shorter period of time for anyone to capitalize on that.


so you're upset the price of fire crystals will go down because of a supply surplus?
#114 Jun 23 2009 at 12:18 PM Rating: Good
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I don't care if the price is high or low, I care about the flux in prices over the course of any given day. If prices are high you sell, if prices are low you buy. What I'm saying is it's harder for players to supply shortages (and gain financially) when they corrected 8x's faster.


Edited, Jun 23rd 2009 2:19pm by baelnic
#115 Jun 23 2009 at 12:29 PM Rating: Good
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Quote:
I don't care if the price is high or low, I care about the flux in prices over the course of any given day. If prices are high you sell, if prices are low you buy. What I'm saying is it's harder for players to supply shortages (and gain financially) when they corrected 8x's faster.


ok, so basically you're worried about your ability to make gil and you like your ability to marginally control or take advantage of the market. you will most certainly lose that ability in a pan server AH.

on the other side of it though, the things that you need to buy are going to be competitively priced, so you'll need less gil to buy whatever you need. competition is good for you - the consumer.

the best money making methods will be what they always have been - farm or craft items that are hard to find.

does that help any?

Edited, Jun 23rd 2009 3:31pm by Eliminex
#116 Jun 23 2009 at 12:40 PM Rating: Good
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Quote:
does that help any?


I'm not daft.

Quote:
the best money making methods will be what they always have been - farm or craft items that are hard to find.


Not at all. The 7 AH limited "penny stocks" in FFXI but in other games where that isn't a limitation you could make a fortune off the daily variance in items. All at a fraction of the time spent farming.
#117 Jun 23 2009 at 12:56 PM Rating: Decent
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Not at all. The 7 AH limited "penny stocks" in FFXI but in other games where that isn't a limitation you could make a fortune off the daily variance in items. All at a fraction of the time spent farming.


i don't understand your reference to penny stocks because i think you're using the term incorrectly, so i'll move on by restating that you will most certainly lose that ability to take advantage of brief shortage in the market under the pan AH system. you don't seem to understand that everything is going to be relatively cheaper. i don't want to spend a ton of gil on some item that should be cheap because its common - like fire crystals. i want a huge supply so my fire crystals are cheap and when i sell them, i'll accept that i might not make as much, but also at the same time, i'll also accept that the sword i want to buy will be cheaper, too, because there will be more available.

if you don't mind doing paying more for everything, than that is your opinion. this is the main gripe with alot of people who play FFXI - the price of items skyrocketing and then having to make tons and tons of gil to keep up. that will most certainly continue in a system similar to what we have now.
#118 Jun 23 2009 at 1:03 PM Rating: Good
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Absolute price is irrelevant to investing. I don't care what an item is priced, I'm not arguing about the relative buying power of the games currency. Why do you keep trying to frame my point by brining up the buying power of the currency?

EDIT - The market is going to move at such speed the tools that SE provides will be inadequate. This will ruin a large portion of the game for players that enjoy working the AH, because they will need to spend more time at the AH.

Edited, Jun 23rd 2009 3:07pm by baelnic
#119 Jun 23 2009 at 1:14 PM Rating: Decent
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An all server linked AH with millions of people (im assuming they will reach a million or millions of players), is never going to happen, period.

Edited, Jun 23rd 2009 5:14pm by HocusP
#120 Jun 23 2009 at 1:18 PM Rating: Good
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Quote:
Absolute price is irrelevant to investing. I don't care what an item is priced, I'm not arguing about the relative buying power of the games currency. Why do you keep trying to frame my point by brining up the buying power of the currency?


the relative buying power is relevent because you're making gil to spend it, aren't you? i'm telling you that you're going to hate it when you're spending 10x as much as you think you should on some piece of equipment because you want a small market system that allows you to work over the AH and RMTs are controlling the supply of rare high end gear - working over the AH on you.
#121 Jun 23 2009 at 1:39 PM Rating: Decent
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Maybe its just me, or just my server but, other then that one christmas, I didn't see any problems at all with anything economical. I didn't have everything I wanted (buyable gear wise), but I was well decked out and I didn't see or hear many people complaining about inflation or rmt at all, like yall make it seem. I had many 75 jobs, (blm, war, brd, smn, and sch), all greatly geared, with hard work. Everything that was really "monopolized" you could just go camp yourself, and SE helped out with making the items rare/ex and adding them to bcnms. Maybe my server had less rmt problems, then other peoples servers, but other then that one christmas, monopolizations really wasn't an big deal. Maybe some people should, post up what items they felt was controlled, so heavily that they should just link all the servers AH up, so I can decide was it even that bad on my server. Items that was monopolizaed so bad (after the update that made alky and a lot on Nms forced pop, or made the item rare/ex), so I can think and see was it that bad.
#122 Jun 23 2009 at 1:45 PM Rating: Good
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Quote:
the relative buying power is relevent because you're making gil to spend it, aren't you? i'm telling you that you're going to hate it when you're spending 10x as much as you think you should on some piece of equipment because you want a small market system that allows you to work over the AH and RMTs are controlling the supply of rare high end gear - working over the AH on you.


You're mixing different arguments here. There are other ways to fix the supply side of items in the new game, many of them have nothing to do with the AH at all and more to do with changing the way equipment and high-end crafting items are obtained. My whole point is that it's unlikely that SE will be able to provide us with tools to manage a system where 500k+ users will be buying and selling thousands of items at the same time. This is of course they implement a pan-server AH system.

Edited, Jun 23rd 2009 3:47pm by baelnic
#123 Jun 23 2009 at 2:43 PM Rating: Decent
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Ok, let me clarify a couple of important things. First of all, let's assume that cross server AH would substantially impact RMT.

It won't negatively impact RMT as much as single-server transparent auctions. If you can see who is selling and for what price, eventually players figure out who is RMT. They tell other players and it's easy to boycott them. And you can also see who is buying from RMT.

I wouldn't even mind a seller rating system where people can essentially rate sellers like on eBay (or posters here), specifically to give low scores to RMT and ******** so that people would be less likely to buy from them.
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#124 Jun 23 2009 at 4:36 PM Rating: Excellent
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baelnic, yes, this system would definitely undermine your ability to make money on the AH.

There's a tradeoff, though: everyone else will be better off because you won't be playing the market to make gil.

There are winners and losers in a pan-server system; overall, though, welfare will be increased. Sorry, but you would be a loser; if it's any consolation, though, the winners' welfare will be increased more than your welfare will be decreased. That's what market efficiency is all about--eliminating dead weight loss and increasing the overall level of welfare (at the expense of some welfare-displacement).

I hope you have a strong sense of philanthropy!
#125 Jun 23 2009 at 4:41 PM Rating: Excellent
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And Kachi, yes, those things would help with RMT even more than this idea, but you have to keep in mind that the benefits of a pan-server AH go much further than the RMT thing. I just brought that up as an example of one good effect that would be realized so I wouldn't have to explain more economics that I had to--the other examples are far more complicated.

The main effect of a pan-server AH system would actually be the move towards markets with higher levels of competition. This would benefit the overall level of player welfare; hurting some, helping others, but doing a lot more helping than hurting and thus leaving the playerbase better off.
#126 Jun 23 2009 at 4:54 PM Rating: Default
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taru walking around with black market weapons and items hidden in there trench coat.=o
#127 Jun 23 2009 at 5:28 PM Rating: Good
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I really wonder if a combined AH system is technically feasible. That would be a huge database with a ton of transactions per second...

Although, I like the idea.

Edited, Jun 23rd 2009 9:32pm by Pickins
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#128 Jun 23 2009 at 6:53 PM Rating: Excellent
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I don't know why it wouldn't be possible. Ebay, Amazon.com, and a plethora of other online marketplaces function with high-volumes of transactions just fine.

Anyone who understands the limitations of servers and whatnot want to weigh in on this?
#129 Jun 24 2009 at 10:42 AM Rating: Decent
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I'm intrigued by the idea of a cross server auction house. I haven't read all of the back and forth that's gone on in this thread, so I apologize if the issue below was already addressed. I think there could be some problems with the cross server AH, and it's not quite as simple as "more competition = always better for everyone"

The way FFXI is set up there's a fixed amount of gil in circulation at any instant of time. Gil enters the economy when you sell an item to a vendor, or get it as a reward for a quest or mission. Conversely, when you buy an item from an NPC vendor or pay AH taxes in Jeuno that gil is removed from circulation. Transactions between players, on the other hand, don't change the total amount of gil in the economy.

When the inflation was really bad in FFXI, the root cause was that there was a lot of gil entering the economy. Lots of it from RMT players, surely, but also from a lot of regular players with fishing bots, and everyone who abused the Rusty Cap exploit. Even at its worst, the inflation was not consistent across all servers. Some servers were hit much worse than others.

Now, if we add a cross-server Auction House into the mix, the situation becomes more complex. For example, say Server A has twice as many fishing bots as Server B. Server A is then going to be adding gil to the economy at nearly twice the rate of Server B. Players from Server A are going to have more gil, on average than players from Server B. As a consequence, the price that players from Server A are willing to pay for, say, a stack of fire crystals might be one that would be considered exorbitant by players from Server B.

Now what happens? Players from Server A can't sell their fire crystals at a price they consider fair, because they'll be undercut by players from Server B. Players from Server B can't buy fire crystals because they'll be outbid by players from Server A. Now, multiply this across 15-20 servers and thousands of items, things can get confusing. I'm not saying it's automatically going to be bad, just that it's complex enough to be unpredictable.

Eventually, enough gil will flow from the servers with a high supply of gil to the servers with a low supply of gil that things will even out and all the servers should have more or less the same amount of gil. Maybe. On the other hand, if the imbalance in the gil production between the servers remains, then there will be a constant flow from the high producing servers to the low producing servers, and there will be a permanent "trade imbalance" between them. A lot also depends on what happens to the gil after it flows from Server A to Server B. Does the player on Server B who received the gil use it to buy something from another player on Server B, or does he use it to buy something from an NPC vendor, and remove that gil from the economy?

Of course, maybe if the Auction Houses are linked from the beginning it will help to prevent any serious imbalance from arising in the first place, but I can't really say for sure. It's a bit like pouring water from several different buckets into one big trough. It will all settle to one level when it comes to rest, but in the short term there will be turbulence.

#130 Jun 24 2009 at 10:49 AM Rating: Good
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I don't know why it wouldn't be possible. Ebay, Amazon.com, and a plethora of other online marketplaces function with high-volumes of transactions just fine.

Anyone who understands the limitations of servers and whatnot want to weigh in on this?


Because you'd need a large server cluster to handle peak times. When you only have to have a database that only needs to account for 5,000 simultaneous is a lot different than one that needs to handle 500,000 connections at the same time. (I'm talking about AH only functions)

As far as tools, the hope may lie in a third-party program or aggregation website. I just don't think it's a big enough priority for any developer to work on at this point in MMO





Edited, Jun 24th 2009 1:58pm by baelnic
#131 Jun 24 2009 at 11:09 AM Rating: Decent
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Something I'd really like is the ability to manage auction house/bazaar items for sale and make purchases through an internet channel without being logged in to the game (ie from work!)
#132 Jun 24 2009 at 12:08 PM Rating: Good
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Quote:
Something I'd really like is the ability to manage auction house/bazaar items for sale and make purchases through an internet channel without being logged in to the game (ie from work!)


Haha, that'd do wonders for my in-game bank account and do awful things to my real world account. I'm in!
#133 Jun 24 2009 at 6:59 PM Rating: Excellent
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katmandu wrote:
I'm intrigued by the idea of a cross server auction house. I haven't read all of the back and forth that's gone on in this thread, so I apologize if the issue below was already addressed. I think there could be some problems with the cross server AH, and it's not quite as simple as "more competition = always better for everyone"

The way FFXI is set up there's a fixed amount of gil in circulation at any instant of time. Gil enters the economy when you sell an item to a vendor, or get it as a reward for a quest or mission. Conversely, when you buy an item from an NPC vendor or pay AH taxes in Jeuno that gil is removed from circulation. Transactions between players, on the other hand, don't change the total amount of gil in the economy.

When the inflation was really bad in FFXI, the root cause was that there was a lot of gil entering the economy. Lots of it from RMT players, surely, but also from a lot of regular players with fishing bots, and everyone who abused the Rusty Cap exploit. Even at its worst, the inflation was not consistent across all servers. Some servers were hit much worse than others.

Now, if we add a cross-server Auction House into the mix, the situation becomes more complex. For example, say Server A has twice as many fishing bots as Server B. Server A is then going to be adding gil to the economy at nearly twice the rate of Server B. Players from Server A are going to have more gil, on average than players from Server B. As a consequence, the price that players from Server A are willing to pay for, say, a stack of fire crystals might be one that would be considered exorbitant by players from Server B.

Now what happens? Players from Server A can't sell their fire crystals at a price they consider fair, because they'll be undercut by players from Server B. Players from Server B can't buy fire crystals because they'll be outbid by players from Server A. Now, multiply this across 15-20 servers and thousands of items, things can get confusing. I'm not saying it's automatically going to be bad, just that it's complex enough to be unpredictable.


Mmm, in a way this is similar to a problem that was brought up by Litie. In fact, though, it's not a problem at all; let me explain why:

The key here is to focus not on the servers, but rather on the players. As you said, the inflation that ran rampant on some servers was spearheaded by fishing bots and Rusty Cappers (and all the other "gil-makers"). It was very unfortunate for everyone else on those servers--the people who didn't exploit (or semi-exploit). Because of the excess gil in their economies, which, as it happens, was created by people other then themselves, inflation happened and their buying power suffered as a result.

What you have to realize is that, even on individual servers, it isn't a collective movement that triggers inflation, it's the aggregate of many individual movements, led by individual players (well, you probably do realize that, but it's relevant so I'll say it anyway). On some servers the people who used exploits (and semi-exploits) had much stronger presences than on other servers. The people who didn't use exploits, then, were "punished" at varying degrees even though they were all doing (or, in this case, not doing) the exact same thing. Those on some servers would have to deal with lots of inflation, while those on others didn't have it nearly as bad.

The smallness of each server's economy in the single-server AH system actually led to more turbulence--it takes a much smaller number of players to move the economy when its small. The pan-server AH spreads out the bumps that individual groups of players might cause inadvertently on some servers and, in fact, makes things much more stable.

katmandu wrote:
Eventually, enough gil will flow from the servers with a high supply of gil to the servers with a low supply of gil that things will even out and all the servers should have more or less the same amount of gil. Maybe. On the other hand, if the imbalance in the gil production between the servers remains, then there will be a constant flow from the high producing servers to the low producing servers, and there will be a permanent "trade imbalance" between them. A lot also depends on what happens to the gil after it flows from Server A to Server B. Does the player on Server B who received the gil use it to buy something from another player on Server B, or does he use it to buy something from an NPC vendor, and remove that gil from the economy?

Of course, maybe if the Auction Houses are linked from the beginning it will help to prevent any serious imbalance from arising in the first place, but I can't really say for sure. It's a bit like pouring water from several different buckets into one big trough. It will all settle to one level when it comes to rest, but in the short term there will be turbulence.


The beauty of videogame economies is that there can be no "trade imbalance." The goods market is the only market; the financial market does not exist. Hooray for the nonexistence of organized debt!

Anyway, yeah; you can't look at it as if there are imbalances between servers--one server can never "owe" another server anything. You have to just see players. The best way to imagine the pan-server system is to start by imagining the economy as one big thing with 500,000 people, and then say to those people "now here's your world where you can live and produce goods."

Sure, some servers might contribute to inflation more than other servers, but that's not the "server" doing it, it's the higher proportion of "gil-makers" that exist on that server (versus on other servers). Under the pan-server system you can't get screwed by randomly being placed in a server with an excess of "gil-makers"--everyone shares the burden of exploiters (and semi-exploiters) all the same.

Of course, you can't get lucky by being placed in a server without many "gil-makers" either, but your whole post was about the added complexity inherent with a pan-server system, when in fact the system would make things much more consistent--you don't have to worry about luck when you're assigned to a server (at least with respect to the economy, anyway).


edit: my paragraphs were too long and looked daunting so i broke them up.

Also i edited again to say this: I think that you still had a very good post, katmandu. I would've probably said the exact same thing that you did a few years ago.





Edited, Jun 24th 2009 11:17pm by Morsmorde
#134 Jun 25 2009 at 3:43 AM Rating: Decent
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A single AH shared between all towns would be great.

Another change I wouldn't mind seeing is replacing the current AH charges with the AH taking any gil payed over the asking price of the item. So if the going rate for an item is 1000 gil and one person offers it for 1000 gil, another for 990 gil and the third for 750, the AH sells the 750 item first because that can make them the most profit and the seller only gets 750 for the item. Next the AH sells the 990 item, then the 1000 item since that isn't going to make the AH any money. Its a logical system and should also stop people from drastically undercutting other people because they won't get the full payed price any more. The AH could still list the price of the most expensive item so buyers aren't playing a guessing game to get the right price but people can sacrifice some of their profit to the AH for a faster sale.
#135 Jun 25 2009 at 8:22 AM Rating: Decent
45 posts
So the top problems I've seen announced with a global AH are:
  1. How to make it reasonable (Limitations on the number of items you can sell, potential cluster lag, prices, etc.)
  2. Cash flow. (Servers with a lot of money are "at an advantage".)
  3. The RMT.


I want to tackle the RMT first. So:
#3 - RMT
Firstly, they will still have avatars on every server, for the very simple reason that the more pawns they have around, the harder it is for all their pawns to get shut down.
Aside from that, let's be clear on why RMT exists: The challenges of earning in-game money. The equation is not "profitability of play vs. cash cost", because it also includes that third factor: the risks of getting caught.

Players who utilize RMT ask themselves:
Is "need for gil" > "fear of punishment" + "desire to keep cash"

If it's easy to pick up a million gil in an hour of playing, the "need for gil" gets much closer to the "desire to keep cash", and the "fear of punishment" drives them straight toward "I'm not going to risk my 2000 hours of playing to save me a couple hours." Thus, if we can prove that the global AH will make it easier for more players to earn money from allowed activities, the demand for RMT decreases, and so does the presence of RMT.

Answer: #3 hinges entirely on whether a global AH makes it easier for players to earn money


#2 - Cash Flow
Servers can be thought of as countries with limited border passes. What makes a country have more cash than another? More production and less spending. If

Country A makes 10 hats, but needs 100
Country B makes 100 hats, but needs 10

Then one of two things will happen: Country A had better have enough money to buy 90 hats, because they're going to be paying country B for the hats they need. So you ask, "doesn't that mean country B will have all the money?"

The answer is yes, but think about why. Because country B is making ten times as many hats! If you assume equal skill, that means there are ten times as many hatmakers in country B, but ten times as many hat wearers in country A.

Now, imagine there was no trade across borders. What you have then is:

Country A makes 10 hats, which sell for exorbitant prices because 100 people are bidding on them;
Country B makes 100 hats, and the price plummets because only 10 sell and the rest use up shelf space.

The theory the game makers have is that supply and demand will shift the crafters to produce the items that are in demand. Let me ask you: If you just spent a year and every gil you ever earned levelling your woodcrafting, are you going to spend a week studying the AH to see if you should actually switch to blacksmithing?

What ends up happening is that you roll the dice, and HOPE that the server you're about to spend your next 2 years on will have enough hatmakers when you reach level 57 and want that amazing hat. If not, good luck!

A global AH balances this out. If you end up on a server with no crafters, you don't have to change your play style to focus on crafting instead of battling, because there's still plenty of crafters on other servers to supply your need. Likewise, if you end up on a server where everyone crafts, and you really want to spend all your time crafting, you'll still have plenty of supply of raw materials without ever leaving town. The fighter-heavy servers supply the raw materials, the craft-heavy servers buy them and respond with crafter materials, and everybody benefits. This also has the side-effect of encouraging MMO play over solo play: you don't need to farm or craft everything yourself.

Answer: Everyone can get what they need without depending on server balance. The added benefit of people interacting MORE.

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Okay, so far we've determined that the economy balance will actually work out better for everyone, which if we jump back to #3, means that (indirectly) players will be less likely to use RMT, when those lizard boots that have only been sold by one player in the last year are finally there and you really need 300k RIGHT NOW before somebody else snaps them up.

I'm going to toss out an item #2.5 here: The gil has to come from somewhere. Square, that's up to you. Quest rewards, farming, vendor sales: These will need to be balanced to get the right amount of money in the world to begin with. But that's out-of-scope for this discussion, so on to

#1 - How to make it work.
There've been a lot of great ideas tossed out, which I'll defer to, but let me reiterate some of my favorites:
- Allow more items to sell at once.
- Merge the AHs (if it's global, why would you have to go to a different city?)
- Offer better price histories.
- Allow bidding vs. buy-it-now.

I'm going to start with the main problem (how do you manage such a large inventory) first. This should be simple: Make it a marketplace.

I'll explain. If I'm posting 500 Fire Crystals, why would I post them for different prices? Unless my goal is to ***** the consumer by blinding them with a cloud of numbers, the only reason I can think of is that I post them at different times, with different market values. So if we can make that work better, we won't need more than one price per person.

Let's start by keeping auctions at a week fixed. You post it today, it ends one week from today (we don't need to bother with the time - if you're willing to wait a week to win that item, don't quibble over a few hours.) Then, the real kicker: We limit people to a small number (we'll say 10 for the example) of items... But as many of that item as they want, though only one posting per item at a time.

Shocking? That's where the concept of a marketplace comes in. If you have 500 Fire Crystals, the only thing making you post them separately is a hope for higher profit on individual items, or limitations of the forum. Doing it my way has the benefits of allowing more focused farming, while decreasing the number of auctions to track for any particular item. (Instead of 1,000 fire crystals for sale, you'll have 13 auctions with varying quantities.) I'll return to this after the next point...

Now, we reduce the fixed base on an auction to... 1 gil. (Don't scream, give me a second to explain.) Any auction can be placed for either auction only, auction and immediate purchase, or immediate purchase only. The auctions start at 1 gil, and rise until they end. If you want to get a certain value, price it at that value! Or, if you're hoping for a certain amount, but will accept a much lower price, go for the composite: allow bidding, and when bidding reaches some cap (defined by Square, say 75%), the immediate purchase disappears and it drops to auction-only. You may still end up with a little less, but if they really want that item, they can now bid it as high as the demand dictates. (Should have bought it at the immediate price when you had the chance!)

Now, back to the quantity: What if I only want 1 Fire Crystal, but the lowest quantity for sale is 500? Well, let's go back again to that concept of a marketplace. Unless you're Sams Club, you're not going to sell everything in bulk. Post auctions in bulk, but let people bid on (or buy) whatever quantity they need.

Example:
Sally has an inventory of 500 Fire Crystals to sell, and uses one of her 10 AH slots to post them, with auction or immediate, priced at 100gil.
> (The auction then displays: 500 Fire Crystals, minimum bid 1gil, buyout price 100gil, ending in one week.)
John goes to the auction house looking for Fire Crystals. He's in no rush, so he bids on all 500 Fire Crystals for 10gil each. Then he goes away for the next week.
> (The auction then displays: 500 Fire Crystals, minimum bid 11gil, buyout price 100gil, ending in one week.)
Bob goes to the auction house two days later, and just needs 10 Fire Crystals. He's in a rush (crafting waits for no man), so he does an immediate buy on that same auction (500 Fire Crystals), at the stated price of 100gil each. He pays his 1000 gil and walks away, leaving the auction at 490 remaining.
> (The auction then displays: 490 Fire Crystals, minimum bid 11gil, buyout price 100gil, ending in five days.)
At the end of the week, the auction rolls due, and John was the highest bidder. He gets the remaining 490 at 10gil each, for a total of 4900gil.

The net result? John got a good price (10gil each), Bob was able to find the exact amount he needed at a price he felt reasonable, and Sally made 5900gil of a single posting.

There would be complexities: More than one bid may be tracked against the same item (say John and Bob both went for the auction, but only bid on 250 each), and if Sally picked up another 500 Fire Crystals the following day, she'd have to either wait a week to post them or cancel her auction and repost for 1,000 quantity. (Or if Square wants to be fancy, let her add them on to her existing auction.)

The net result: Anything easy to obtain would ALWAYS have a very high quantity on the AH, meaning the price would remain proportionate to the difficulty of obtaining it. Sellers could farm the crap out of something easy and make a profit without having to decide whether to sell one helm or 20 crystals first. Inventory is cleared out faster, and kept where other people can access it. And if you really wanted to create 1,000 of that master crafting item, you don't have to post them one-at-a-time, waiting two years to get rid of them all. Put them all out there, and start earning for what you did.

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Okay, summary. We said if we could solve those three items, it could be feasible.

#1 - Allow a marketplace concept, permitting larger quantities and more buyer&seller friendly postings.
...which increases cash flow for farmers and crafters, allowing...
#2 - Stable economies on all servers, regardless of the individual balance of farmers vs. crafters vs. consumers.
...which means constant supply and reasonable prices, thus making possible...
#3 - Reduced RMT activity. When you can get what you need for a price you can afford, and turn around and make good money for normal activities, why risk a ban of your account?

None of these problems can be ENTIRELY solved by anything. The hope is that game makers learn from the success and mistakes of others, and continually improve. However, my reasoned opinion is that a global AH (with the right interface) can take the MMO side of the game to an entirely new level, and make a vastly more enjoyable experience for everyone.

Except the RMT.
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d'Jang'ai'alarion
#136 Jun 25 2009 at 9:28 AM Rating: Decent
45 posts
One additional thought, to carry the concept of a marketplace even further... What if, instead of just bidding on posts, you could also post a "want item" with a specific value? Sellers could browse these "wants", and if there's an item that hasn't posted in a while (say, Snake-Skin Boots), see that a buyer posted a deposit of 1000gil for anyone who was willing to make them.

The buyer then says, "I didn't know anybody actually used that item!", and goes off to create the boots, posts them against the request, and the exchange is done.

That'd be good for those of us looking for less common items, and also nice for those looking for something to do.
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d'Jang'ai'alarion
#137 Jun 25 2009 at 11:36 AM Rating: Decent
O sweet lord!. Out of all the things in ffxi I would change if given the chance, the ability to put at LEAST 15 items up would be one of them. I mean seriously, how often do people go farming or are in a party for a long time and accumulate stacks and stacks of earth crystal's, or go mining and end up with 25 Iron ore or something. . . Come on, seriously..? With the amount of time FFXI has been out, they can't increase the # of things that can be on the ah at once.
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#138 Jun 25 2009 at 1:13 PM Rating: Excellent
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homeschoolzam: most of what you said sounds pretty good.

I agree that RMT will still exist, and exist on every server, unless SE makes some drastic changes that will negatively impact all players (which is something that I don't think most people want to see). The goals, then, are to:

A) reduce RMT's presence by decreasing their incentive to sell gil and increasing everyone else's incentive to not buy it
B) to make their existence less annoying by providing them with less tools to make the game worse for other players.

You kind of tackled A) in your post (you hit the second half up pretty good), but the first half of A) and the entirety of B) are perhaps even more relevant when analyzing the effects of a pan-server AH. Those topics are covered in many other posts on this thread, though, so I'm not going to get into that.

homeschoolzam wrote:
Servers can be thought of as countries with limited border passes.


I don't like this statement. Not because it's incorrect (it isn't) but because it will be misleading for a lot of people who don't know anything about economics and who, after reading it, will then incorrectly imagine what a pan-server economy would be like.

In the real world we have things like trade imbalances where one country owes another. This does not exist in the videogame world because there is no organized debt. One server being "richer" or "poorer" than another is also irrelevant--it's just a reflection on the individual players in that server. I could see a lot of people pointing that out as a problem with the pan-server system (a lot of people have already, even), when it's not a problem at all. Also, in the real world different countries usually have different currencies--again, not a problem in videogames.

Your section #2 - Cash Flow was still good--it shows that you personally understand the differences between countries and servers (woo for focusing on the individual players). I just hope that other people don't assume that servers are too much like countries haha.




Moving on, when analyzing other characteristics of FFXIV's AH (instead of just focusing on pan-server vs. isolated) I like your ideas:

homeschoolzam wrote:
- Allow more items to sell at once.
- Merge the AHs (if it's global, why would you have to go to a different city?)
- Offer better price histories.
- Allow bidding vs. buy-it-now.


Allowing more items to sell at once, pan-city marketplaces (i.e. no Windhurst AH vs. Jueno AH-esque distinctions), and better price histories are all good things. I think that a lot of people hope that these features will be implemented in FFXIV (several have expressed it in this thread already). There's not really a whole lot to discuss there, I don't think.

Your main idea seemed to be segmenting the AH into two types of transactions: instant & auction. I don't know how I feel about the idea.

Auctions have some downsides. You have to wait until the auction is over for the transaction to actually happen. If you need an item now and there aren't any for sale on the instant market you're out of luck, even if that item is listed in an auction.

Also you'd have to manage the gil. If I have a million gil and I bid 750,000 on an item that ends tomorrow, the AH would have to hold onto that 750k until the auction ended (otherwise what if I spent it all and ended up winning the auction?). What if, after bidding 750k, someone listed the same item in the instant market for 700k? Would I be able to cancel my bid?

I could also see people abusing their own auctions. For example, I could have my friends (or even my mules) bid up the price. If the friend or mule accidentally wins the auction, you just reverse the transaction though trade and then list the item again. Referencing the previous post, if you could cancel bids without any penalty this would be an even bigger problem--you'd never even have to worry about your friends or mules winning any auctions (they'd cancel their bids last-minute). There'd really be no reason to not manipulate your own auctions. Implementing some fee or penalty for canceling bids and still charging some kind of AH fee (so that there's a price to your friend of mule winning) would help, but I think that it would still happen.

I don't worry too much about lag or the increased complexity of designing and implementing the system (both can be dealt with), but without significant upsides, those just seem like more strikes against the idea. Why add complexity when it doesn't have serious benefits.

Of course, auctions do have benefits. They help people selling items new to the AH correctly gauge what buyers are willing to pay for them, and prevent people from selling high-priced, low-volume items at too low a price (this kind of item will have an extremely sparse existence in a pan-server AH, though).

So long as there's an easy way to sell a high quantity of items in the instant market (e.g. sell 500 fire crystals at once) I don't know if auctions would be necessary. I still haven't given it enough thought or heard enough arguments on either side, though: anyone else have any input?
#139 Jun 26 2009 at 12:55 AM Rating: Decent
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I'd like to see all items with the exception of equipment stackable, and to higher than 12 as well, 99 would be awesome. Then rather than having 2 slots for stacked and single items just have a single one and people can add as many as they want to sell. Stacks and singles always sell for the same value per item when someone uploads them to AH.
#140 Jun 26 2009 at 8:35 AM Rating: Decent
45 posts
Quote:
I could also see people abusing their own auctions. For example, I could have my friends (or even my mules) bid up the price. If the friend or mule accidentally wins the auction, you just reverse the transaction though trade and then list the item again. Referencing the previous post, if you could cancel bids without any penalty this would be an even bigger problem--you'd never even have to worry about your friends or mules winning any auctions (they'd cancel their bids last-minute). There'd really be no reason to not manipulate your own auctions. Implementing some fee or penalty for canceling bids and still charging some kind of AH fee (so that there's a price to your friend of mule winning) would help, but I think that it would still happen.


Thanks, Morsmorde. That was one topic I didn't consider in my post. I'd say it should be a low likelihood, except with extremely rare items, but still something to prepare for. I like the thought of a fee, though being a player that has a number of auctions expire every week, I know it adds a lot of complexity to the selling, where you tend to only post frequently bought items and vendor the rest. The difficulty is in balancing it so both sides feel they've been dealt with fairly, but those seeking to abuse buyers are discouraged and disadvantaged.

What if, instead of charging fees, auctions were managed entirely by the AH? Meaning, if 20 people post auctions for Fire Crystals, you don't see 20 postings. When you go to the AH, you say "I want Fire Crystals", and the Auctioneer says, "Excellent, we have Fire Crystals starting at 100gil each, or auctions currently priced at 23gil each." Players can pick their buyout price, but the Auctioneer pushes the cheapest ones for purchase/bid first. It's a little different from the model of a real-world managed marketplace (where the Auctioneer will push the item that nets THEM the most profit), but discourages mule-bidding - unless you have enough cash to bid on EVERY stack of that item, and a certainty that you'll be outbid. (Otherwise you'd end up trying to sell 500 but end up buying 50,000.)

It sounds messy, but should be fairly easy. Buyouts are the simplest part, where lowest price sells first. The auctions are the only difficult part, but not terrible. The auction house would simply ensure:

  • All bids start at 1gil.
  • Bids are not tied to any particular auction, but are part of a cycling queue.
  • When an auction ends, priority is given to highest bidder first.


  • Now, this does mean that my idea of killing the buyout when the base auction price reaches a certain amount is gone. Hopefully this would not be a problem - it just means the sellers have to be careful where they set their buyout amount, and make sure it's a reasonable price in their estimation.

    It also adds an advantage that, if a seller posts a new auction to a category, and their buyout price is lower than the bid price of a bidder, the auction can end as soon as posted, resulting in immediate win for both sides. This could even be the implementation of a posted request. (Post a bid for an item that is not currently for sale, and allow sellers to search for and post against these unanswered bids.) If the seller posts a buyout price lower than the bid price, the buyer receives the difference back along with the item; if the seller posts a buyout higher than the bid price, the bid is marked as a bid against the item, and the item can be purchased when the bid (not the auction) reaches the expiration time.

    The interface would be pretty simple. For sellers, what item, what buyout?
    For buyers, I'd think you'd have a single bid interface. What item do you want, (here are the min bid and min buyout,) how much do you want to bid per item, and how many do you want? The auctioneer would see how many he could purchase immediately for you within those limits, and then place the remainder as a bid.
    Example: Bid is placed for 500 Fire Crystals, at 20gil each. The auctioneer takes your 10,000gil, and checks the auction queue. There are 200 with a buyout of 15, so he purchases those, posts a bid of 20gil for 300 more, and returns the change to you with your crystals. Next time you check the mailbox, hey! There's 200 Fire Crystals and your change (which in this case is 1,000gil.) Then over the next week, as auctions end or low buyouts are posted, more crystals and change trickle in, until you either have your 500 Fire Crystals, or your bids (minus any AH fees.)

    A key advantage this approach offers over other MMOs is a disadvantage to those trying to manipulate the market. Sellers can see right away if their auction will be bought unfairly (if there's a posted request for a low amount) and can avoid the sale until that bid runs out; buyers who are outbid may still win, as additional auctions are posted and the higher bidders fall out; sellers who try to buy and sell the market upward will only create momentary surges, as other people add their items and the lower prices sell first.
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    d'Jang'ai'alarion
    #141 Jun 26 2009 at 8:41 AM Rating: Decent
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    I'd rather be able to buy an item instantly like in ffxi, then have to wait for bids and stuff, most of the time i'm rushing to visit the AH then go to some event or something.
    #142 Jun 26 2009 at 8:46 PM Rating: Good
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    66 posts
    I don't know homeschoolzam... it seems like a lot of effort to design for something that (as far as I can tell) doesn't have that many benefits.

    What advantages are exclusive to an auction system, really? Besides helping to price new-to-the-AH items and items that haven't been listed for a long time I don't see any perks that are specific to auctions.

    And it's not like pricing new-to-the-AH items and items that haven't been listed for a long time is a big problem--especially in a pan-server AH. It would happen so infrequently and be such a minor problem that the inefficiency caused by an extra couple seconds of navigating a more complex AH menu might be an even worse alternative--and that's considering that you can make the auction system perfect!
    #143 Jun 30 2009 at 10:18 AM Rating: Decent
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    What I would like to see in FFXIV:

    1) Auction House similar to FFXI's.
    I like the sales history as opposed to listed prices- if you can't see what other people are paying, you can't know if you're getting taken for a ride or getting a really good deal.

    2) Expanded sales records.
    ffxiah.com is the single best thing to happen to FFXI's Auction House, largely because it tracks the past 255 sales instead of the past 10.

    3) Unified Auction House server.
    My understanding, due to error messages occasionally recieved in FFXI, is that the Auction Houses are on a server separate from the world server itself. If this is the case, I see no reason it would not be possible to have a single Auction House server - and a single Auction House - for all world servers. This would eliminate the practice occuring in FFXI of buying something that's very cheap on one server and transferring to another server where that same item is very, very expensive.

    4) 'Marketplace'
    With the Wanted/Bazaared items listings on ffxiah.com in conjunction with the inventory Bazaars, we already have a marketplace of sorts in FFXI. It would not take much effort to make this into a marketplace that can function side-by-side with the Auction House.

    With both Auction House and Marketplace operating side-by-side we have the best of both worlds.
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