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Virtual Economies Discussion

Posted Mon, Mar 13, 2006 by Ethec

An intro to virtual economics, no tuition required.

The player market has long been considered an MMORPG staple. But recent MMOs like Guild Wars and Dungeons and Dragons Online: Stormreach have marginalized the MMO meta-market. Ethec takes a glimpse at what makes a virtual economy tick, why inflation is a bad thing (despite what some devs think), and why, all things considered, an interactive economy is an important part of a virtual community.

Though some developers have shrugged off inflation, saying that “everything scales” and “spend all you want, we'll 'print' more” (I can’t recall the exact source, but I’ve heard it more than once), if nothing else, inflation is a significant barrier to re-entry for players who would like to return to the game. More often in games with significant problems with inflation (Final Fantasy XI for one), casual players are locked out of the player market for high-end goods, simply because they can’t or won’t do what it takes (e.g. farm lucrative loot, or buy virtual currency with real-life money) to gain some venture capital to buy and sell with the big boys.

Ethec's thoughts on virtual economics right here at TenTonHammer main site.

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