TenTonHammer speculates on the LotRO economy...
Ever log into your favorite MMOG only to find that the Lightforged Bastard Sword of Leetness has suddenly become, in the time you've been saving up for it, out of your financial reach? Welcome to the virtual world, baby. (Not so different from the real one, is it?) Shayalyn takes a look at the issues plaguing game economies, and the probability of Turbine rendering a stable economy in their upcoming Lord of the Rings Online: Shadows of Angmar.
How do carefully designed MMOG economies go to hell in a hand basket? It’s really pretty simple--too much money floods the game’s market without actually leaving the game, creating a “rich get richer/poor get poorer” dichotomy. When a game launches, its economy is generally stable, but as players progress and new players join the game, more and more money enters the economy as coin loot is dropped and item loot is traded. Eventually, the game’s monetary unit (usually platinum or gold) decreases in value, causing item prices to rise. When that happens, new or “young” players find it more and more difficult to afford the low- to mid-level items they require to advance (like that Lightforged Bastard Sword of Leetness), while higher level players grow fat from the profits on the elite items they’re both high enough level to attain, and able to sell for much more than what they should be worth.
Read Money Makes the (Virtual) World Go 'Round at LotRO - TenTonHammer!