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January 29, 2009 / Abe Pralle

Creating balanced in-game economies (Gamasutra)

Interesting piece:

An excerpt:

…the early days of Ultima Online were infamous for the game’s wild and chaotic economy. Zachary Booth Simpson wrote a classic analysis of UO in 1999, detailing some of the more notable problems experienced at launch:

– the crafting system encouraged massive over-production by rewarding players for each item produced
– this over-production led to hyper-inflation as NPC shopkeepers printed money on demand to buy the worthless items
– players used vendors as unlimited safety deposit boxes by setting the prices for their own goods far above market value
– item hoarding by players forced the team to abandon the closed-loop economy as the world began to empty out of goods
– player cartels (including one from a rival game company!) cornered the market on magical Reagents, preventing average users from casting spells


One Comment

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  1. joeedh / Mar 23 2009 8:31 pm

    lol, that’s awesome.

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