Forums » Suggestions

Economic proposal / discussion

Mar 08, 2009 PaKettle link
While the economy has progressed from the simple original one enacted when the game was merely a demo program, in spite of the developers best efforts it still leaves a lot to be desired. Many of the things proposed here are intended to create a dynamic and balanced approach to the economy. Some of these proposals will have unpleasant results but when considered as opportunities, player creativity can turn these results into major game play advantages. Many of the possible situations that may arise will create a great deal of friction between guilds and players leading to wars that may be fought with both weapons and credits. Strategy will become more important and may greatly change the course of game history. One theory holds that every war ever fought has ultimately been about resources.... It is the economy....

This is by no means a complete setup but rather a framework for continued discussion.

Lack of purpose in overall economy
Lack of purpose for many commodities
Lack of a defined life cycle for commodities
Lack of monetary value
Lack of consequences
No logical purpose for missions
Maintenance of current economy too time consuming

Limit available quantities
Track supplies - Station inventories
Limit production location of supplies
Commodities only made at one or two locations
Commodities only available if shipped to other bases.
Base production on actual demand
Track demand for supplies
Collect demand data for commodities
A fading average needed.
Manufacture commodities based on demand and available supply
Determine prices based on manufacture and transport cost of supplies
Update prices with built in delays (unknown factor)
Create missions based on demand for commodity and risk factors
Create missions to re-balance economy
Create missions to increase supply for scarce commodities
Consume excess by increasing manufacturing
Destroy excess through risk management
Determine mission risk factors
Track ship destruction.(ship demand)
Determine Consequences for large shortages
increase prices for scarce commodities
reduce or Cut off sales of all commodities
restrict missions to acquisition of shortage commodities
Base consequences on degree of shortages
Lost data handling - lossy method?
Ignore Items not in station inventory (unknown factor)

Roll out of features.
Incremental on separate server
Move current system to server
create default values when communication fails
Replace values with last known values
Track ores
Track ore demand
Create player procurement missions for needed ores
Track destruction of supplies
Create player mining missions for needed ores
Create ore npc mining missions to re-balance system
Redistribute ore to stations low on ore
create a virtual market to determine who gets ore from whom

Determine ore prices based on rarity and demand
Global supply and demand
Recalculate every 119 minutes
System supply and demand
Recalculate every 59 minutes
faction demand and control
Recalculate every 29 minutes
Station demand and control
Recalculate every sale/purchase

Create life cycles for each ore
Track supplies
Create life cycles for commodities
Determine price based on manufacture/ purchase cost
Determine transport costs
Cost of escort
Loss of supplies
Loss of ships
Method of pricing
sum of all purchases
sum of all losses
sum of all sales
Sum of quantity delivered less sales
Price (cost divided by quantity)
Lesser of global price or local price minus 20 percent.
Add a profit margin to purchases

Tax all sales depending on government, (maybe)
Expand player procurement missions for high demand items
Create npc procurement missions for supply shortages
Create Player escorts for high risk npc procurement
Create Player mining missions
Create life cycle for ships and weapons
Designate locations for weapon manufacture
Create a way for players to move multiple ships
Designate shipyard for each nation
Construct base model ships
Designate a shipyard for each faction
Construct faction ship variants from base models


Situation 1: Basic life cycle
A miner gathers 140 cu of aquean and returns to station. The system looks up the global base price and adjusts it for system, local and faction to determine base local price. Local price is compared to global price and to local cost of supply. then lesser of the three is offered minus 20 percent. After the miner makes several trips, a neighboring system buys the ore and the station creates a convoy to move the ore there. The receiving station is charged with the cost of the ore and any ships destroyed during transport which is charged to the local cost of supply.

Each hour the local station processes aquean into water and then uses a few cu per day for life support per player homed or in station . It also uses water to grow food and make steel. Water is also sold back to the first station which uses the water for life support and makes coolant from the rest. Each commodity in the game must be found, mined or made from a simpler commodity. All commodities must also be destroyed by becoming a weapon, ship, or other commodity that is consumed. Destruction of the commodity during shipping must also be considered.

Situation 2: shortages
A player arrives at a new station and due to a shortage is unable to purchase a new ship or supplies. The player may not even be able to obtain repairs unless they obtain more aquean. The only missions available are to procure the aquean or mine it directly.When the player returns with enough aquean he receives both a large credit reward and large amount of standing with the faction/station. If the player is homed at the station and refuses to help then he may be forced to re-home and everything in storage confiscated.

The system determines a shortage of aquean and buys more ore, creates a procurement mission and creates a mineral mission. The selling station creates an escort mission and if no takers adds a few npc escorts and launches

Situation 3: excesses
The local station has excess inventory of aquean. The excess may be sold at reduced rates and the production of water may be increased. This would reduce the cost of water while returning the price of aquean to normal. Items made from water would also become cheaper.

If the system determine an excess exists then ore may be shipped without escort through dangerous areas or routes. If the excess continues NPC pirates are also dispatched to destroy any ship carrying aquean ore.

Situation 4: Determination of local costs: (pool method)
Each station starts with a balance of aquean ore and a medium price. As the mined ore is brought in and sold the amount of ore on hand is added to the station supply and the amount paid to the miner is added to the value of the station supply. As the ore is used by the station for life support the amount of ore on hand becomes reduced by the amount used. Each sale of ore removes the amount of ore from the amount on hand and the value of the supply is reduced by the sale price. The sale price of the ore is based on its total value divided by the amount on hand.The final sale price is the greater of its local real value and its calculated market value. Locally the ore on hand may be worth only 10 credits per cu but a global shortage may value it at 30 credits per cu. If a sales tax is invoked then an additional charge is added to the sale price and transferred to the taxing authority. Purchase price of the ore is based on the lesser value off the local supply or the global value of the ore minus a 20 percent profit. If the value of the local supply is 10 credits and the global market value is 20 credits then the purchase price would be 10 credits minus 2 credits or a final price of 8 credits per cu.

Situation 5: loss and delay of data
Some uncertainty needs to exist in the system. Player inventories should not be tracked nor should any commodity in transit. While in-transit or in player hands they should simply cease to exist and become unknown to the system. This simulates part of a real world system. At times data may be lost due to circumstance such as a broken server or communication loss. This only further adds uncertainty to the system and can easily be tolerated. Some data can also be recovered by comparing data and adjusting amounts as needed.
Further adding uncertainty to the system, there should be a delay added to global updates which represent the normal delays in business communications across a world wide market. The higher up in the system the longer the delay of updated information.

Situation 6: Generation of dynamic missions
At each level of the reserve different actions may occur.
(Assuming each station has a set reserve amount)

400% - dispatch of npc pirates to destroy supplies.
200% - purchases halted - just don't want more
150% - Shipping to other stations begins
125% - production increased to consume excess
120% - purchase and sale prices begins to fall

100% - normal production, no missions generated

90% - purchase price rises for commodity
80% - player procurement missions generated
60% - NPC procurement missions generated
50% - sale of commodity halted
40% - repair and other costs rise
30% - Other missions suspended
20% - repairs halted
10% - all homed players ejected
Mar 08, 2009 Professor Chaos link
Whew! I thought I was long-winded.

I didn't read your post. I might later.

I used to suggest things like this, but I realized something. They're working on much more fundamental stuff than this right now, in order to make things actually work when they do remake the economy. From what I've seen, for the most part it seems they know where the problems are and what to do about them, it's just a long road to visible progress. Every time they make a major leap, though, it seems to be in a good direction. When they get to the point where they do rework the economy completely, I may go back to my long-winded suggestions. That would be the best time for a post like this, I think.

Also, this totally goes in the suggestions forum for serious.

[EDIT] I'm not trying to be rude, just so you know, just helpful. Looks like you put lots of thought into that post. Just scrolling past it I saw the word "taxes". I've thought before that it would be cool to have elected or appointed governments of actual players, and they can pass tax laws. That would be a very cool addition to the game.... eventually.
Mar 08, 2009 Dr. Lecter link
Too pointless; didn't bother.
Mar 08, 2009 Whistler link
Er, we haven't even begun to see "the developers best efforts" in building the economy. They're building the infrastructure upon which they will build a more complex economy.

Mar 08, 2009 Rejected link
Well, i took the time to read the entire thread. It was well worth it, and im sure the devs will really appreciate the input. This is exactly what Inc has been telling us: we complain about the economy but dont suggest any viable ways to fix it. This is a very detailed post, outlining major flaws, and feasible fixes, and you'd be doing yourself a favor to actually read it, if, at least, only the different scenarios.
Mar 08, 2009 peytros link
Mar 08, 2009 genka link
Woo stupid micromanaging suggestions from people who have no idea how these things work!
And in the wrong section too! The best kind of thread!
Mar 08, 2009 Whistler link
It's true, it does belong in Suggestions. Fair warning: I'll move it later.
Mar 08, 2009 FistOfRage link
Gah! Aren't there enough friggin economy threads already?
Mar 08, 2009 PaKettle link
Plenty of threads complaining about it... few with any real input on what it is we want.

Any areas I missed or need to clarify?
Mar 08, 2009 missioncreek2 link
A true dynamic economy which depends on the citizens of the VO universe to work will fail with the low populations we have. I'd much prefer to see the economy used simply as a tool to drive trade to grey space.
Mar 08, 2009 Daare link
I believe, and I could be wrong, that the direction Incarnate has in mind for the economy is one that is self-sustaining with no input from players but into which players can insert themselves and affect through their activities (mining, trading, blockades, etc.).

While I think this direction is the best way to go in the long run, I also believe that while we wait there are some interim solutions to move trade in the direction of Grey space other than just manipulating station sell/buy prices. I outlined one such solution here (a proposal that, I believe, could work in tandem with the economy both now and in the future):

There have been other proposals as well. However, the question of whether working on these alternatives is cost-effective with current resources is something only the devs can answer. It might be that the proposed dynamic economy is the fastest way to solve a number of problems all at once in which case all we can do is wait while the devs keep plugging away at it.
Mar 09, 2009 PaKettle link
Your absolutly correct. The economy should rebalance itself to a neutral state when there is no player participation. It also has to be able to scale itself to the player population by demand based production and feedback.

There are also parts of the economy that players really are not going to have a strong interest in. Who wants to be stuck mining thousands of crates of aquean. This is where the economy has to either fake it (static) or generate dynamic bot missions to collect the aquean.

Driving trade to grey space is only one goal of the economy but as an example... assuming production is limited, almost all the material needed for corvus would have to be shipped in. Because corvus and the other stations in grey will be running at a shortage most of the time prices will be higher in general for all commodities. The station will also be purchasing a higher then normal amount of goods requiring convoys,escorts and delivery missions. In short large regular shipments will be passing from nation space and into grey space.

Allow me to point out some of the possible side effects as well. Because corvus will be supplied for almost everything Pirates destroying the shipments will generate additional traffic to corvus. However destroying corvus shipments will also raise the prices on the station. Pirates could in fact simply supply themselves to get around this or perhaps make arrangements with certain parties to bring in thier own goods to be sold at the station.
Mar 09, 2009 missioncreek2 link
Pirates are only interested in destroying traders. To think that they will enjoy having higher prices as a reward for their success is asinine. I sincerely hope the devs won't rely on the citizens of grey to grind trade routes.
Mar 09, 2009 Tseng Toumoku link
I'm a pirate, and yes, as it stands-- I just enjoy blowing things up. However, in a dynamic economy you would have nationalist pirates who would be keenly interested in hampering the trade to certain factions while bettering their own. There would be plenty of rebel groups as well that would act to make a certain station "there own" and pirate to increase the wealth of that station while damning all the rest out there. To assume the pirate mind to be so simple is a gross understandment missioncreek2. When this game grows more where the players can actually influence the game in which they play, territory, money, politics, and power will hold FAR more value to everyone, including many pirates.
Mar 09, 2009 Dr. Lecter link
Pirates are interested in destroying traders because traders have this asinine "never pay the scumrats" mentality.

Act like a twit, and we'll kill you instead of anything else every time. Some civility, and a prompt payment communsurate with the value of your ship and cargo, will almost always result in your survival.
Mar 09, 2009 toshiro link

I rather regard the opinion, which seems to be commonly held amongst pirates, that they (pirates) are in some way entitled to their (the traders') money/widgets/first-born child, as asinine, especially given the current penalty attached to death (i.e. virtually none).

Just shoot and be done with it.
Mar 09, 2009 Dr. Lecter link
Tosh: I have zero problem shooting for my credits, and I don't believe that pirates feel entitled to anything more than we can force our prey to yeild.

I'm merely commenting on the paradoxical statement seen above: 'I'd never pay a pirate; all they do is shoot to kill!'

This is akin to the oft heard gripe about VO: I'll never play VO; there's never enough people!
Mar 09, 2009 ryan reign link
On the subject of pirates/never pay them...I have had pirates demand 100k when I was in a Hog II, naturally it made more sense to run. On the other hand I recently had a pirate from CLM ask for 50k when I was in a fully loaded Moth XC on a run that would have gotten me PoS standing. He pointed out that 50k is less than the value of the ship. So I balanced the loss of ship/200cu of cargo/the pain in the ass of redoing a 7 WH proc mission and surprise made sense to pay. I lived, got my PoS the pirate got his cash and every one was happy.
Mar 09, 2009 Dr. Lecter link
What asshat pirates (or tries to pirate) a Hog II?!