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Brainstorming session: money sinks
Topic Rating: +1 (1 votes) 
July 18, 2016
4:27 pm
summertree
Texas
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I've been thinking about this lately, trying to come up with ideas on how to drain shillings out of the economy permanently, or redistribute them in a way that feels like a win to everyone, without unbalancing everything.

And before anyone gets the urge to make the usual suggestion: just lowering the number of shillings awarded is the wrong answer, because it feels like punishment, and because changing it back might be needed later, which becomes a pain for staff.

First, a few reasons why I think this important:

1 - This server has been around a long time (and hopefully will continue to be so for years to come.) It's very simple to see how many shillings supporters get each month, and it's simple to see what levels of supporters are playing. It's just as simple to see how long some people have been around by reading the forums, and then do a bit of math.

For potential members investigating servers to see where they might want to play, understanding that there are horftillionaires on the server could be a stumbling block, especially if they can't easily see how shillings can be spent, and what on. (Yes, I am aware that most people don't do this, but I do, and even if I'm rare I'm not the only one.)

It might feel like they're coming into an economy in which they're already behind, and can never catch up.

2 - During times when the server is in a downswing on population, there are fewer people to put things up for sale in their shops. As this is basically all we can use shillings on, getting them as a support reward is of less value. I have limited playtime, so I like to buy things from other people that will let me spend that time on things I enjoy, and minimize drudgery. When almost everyone is out of stock on almost everything, that becomes impossible.

If there are ways to use shillings other than for buying things from players, population matters less.

3 - We're just trusting people like me to understand that wrecking the economy by overloading stores with products that I can produce cheaply, because I have advantages, isn't good for my ability to have fun in the game. A few ways to offset that risk can't hurt.

Ok, some suggestions.

Since I've never run a server and don't have any proper data, I don't know whether any of this is feasible, so please take with as many grains of salt as are required. :-)

1. What if players could buy/rent the ability to have more item frames allowed in their claims, permanently or on a monthly basis? (Maybe the cap goes up on the claim as a whole, or just on specific chunks; research will be required. And extra thought will be needed for shop towns where one person owns the whole thing and sublets to shopkeepers.)

In addition to taxing the server, it could cause unreasonable amounts of extra work for mods, so this would need careful consideration, and possibly limitations on how many players can buy this feature at once. (And that will require planning for what happens when a month of this ability ends and the player is inactive, or active and can't pay for an additional month, etc.) But it sure would be great to label some of my storage chests with their actual contents.

2. Along similar lines, players could permanently or temporarily get more /home points. This could be anywhere, or restricted to just certain worlds. Like, X shillings per months gets you Y additional points in just the Nether, or the End, or in OR/SR. And X+Z shillings per month gets you that same additional Y count usable anywhere.

But not too many new ones, or that would be unbalancing.

3. Anything that would result in new items shouldn't be too direct or easy to create. They should require multiple steps, as long as such a thing makes sense within the game, doesn't trigger too much work for frelling in creation or maintenance, and doesn't end up with long-term negative side effects.

For example, what if certain items were enhanced with new abilities if you combined enough of them? Especially items that have limited use now (looking directly at you, records.). This would remove items from the world (also known as the database) and transfer money from players who buy these things, or the materials to make them, to other players.

Consider, if you will, one of the most useful items on the server - the jump-compass. What if records could be combined and then enchanted (or something) to make an item that works the same way, but has a limited number of charges? Basically along the lines of an ender pearl, but enhanced.

As there are many kinds of records, there could be many variations on what you could create (if frelling likes the idea enough to put so much programming time in.)

Different combinations could change how far you could jump, or how many times before it's used up. There could be one particularly expensive one that can be recharged, where all the others would just vanish when charges run out. Maybe ender pearls are what provide charges, but only up to a point. Too many would be... Yes, unbalancing. :-)

It could also be very simple, with only a single option. X number of records combined makes 1 foo. Each enchanted foo has Y number of jump charges.

So, what do you guys think? Do you have any ideas for draining the wealthy of their cash in a way that lines your pocket, or at least doesn't put you at a disadvantage?

Let's discuss! If we come up with something that works, and hammer out enough of the details, perhaps it'll get implemented.

Please also poke as many holes as possible in the ideas I listed above, so they can be discarded or polished into workability.

July 18, 2016
7:27 pm
tedisvet
The Netherlands
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I love the idea! We've already been thinking about it in the chat.

What I really do want is that the items rented or sold should only be convenience items. Or maybe cosmetics? I'd pay to have a wolf 24/7 following me like a pet (that can't die or fight). Kind of like the Guild Wars 1 and 2 "Mini's". They do not serve a purpose except for showing off your awesomeness. Maybe something like particle effects? A login animation? I've seen some bats explosion, or thunderstrikes when you login. I believe quite a bit is possible with plugins, not sure where the limit is though.

For convenience items it'd be cool to maybe get acces to some commands? An X amount of shillings for a portable workbench via something like: "/workbench" or somehting like "/enderchest". Some might break the legitimacy more than others but that's something we could think about what does fit in with the server guidelines!

I'll keep cracking my brain over this and I hope others will do so aswell!

"Pants? You mean leg prisons."

July 21, 2016
5:23 pm
WallyBean
Salida, Colorado
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Just going to share my thoughts on this point by point.

"It might feel like they're coming into an economy in which they're already behind, and can never catch up."

Barring joining a server with no currency or that is brand new, possibly pay to win, this will always be the case, not a deterrent.

 

"2 - During times when the server is in a downswing on population, there are fewer people to put things up for sale in their shops. As this is basically all we can use shillings on, getting them as a support reward is of less value."

 

This is the part that really puzzles me.  Each claim block a person can buy costs 7 shillings.  Monthly fee for a portal ship at spawn/to spawn is something around 5k, possibly more, can't find the costs at the moment on the forums or wiki plus your initial fee of 40 or 50k.   So assuming you are a new player, in order to claim a relatively modest section of land, say 200x200 to build a small home or settlement, plus make a portal from spawn to it, you are going to need 280k in shillings and an additional lets say 50k for the portal setup.  So 330k shillings, roughly to get established.  I don't think older players on the server grasp that this is a lot because when there was a cross over from vetronia to Arda, they all received claim blocks based on the old systems claims and could purchase for a period claim blocks for much cheaper.  

Lets forget the portal from spawn and just assume the person buys bishop, in a effort to be cost effective and support the server, kudos to them.  Lets break down how they can get their 200x200 claim to build on.  Their money from bishop is 15k shillings for the month.  If they sell gold ingots from mining, they receive 13s per.  If they play for an hour they get roughly 100 claim blocks per hour.  Currently 2 sites for voting work and pay funds from the most recent post about that, so you can earn 100 shillings a day from voting.  

Claim blocks needed for 200 x 200: 40,000 (B)locks

Bishop salary: 2,143 (B) rounded up

Voting rewards: 14 (B) rounded down

4 hours of play time for the day: 400 (B)

Leaving the player with a deficit of 37,442 blocks they still need.  Hey that's just one day though, no one should be able to be fully setup in one day.  Lets assume then they vote and play 4 hours every day for their 29 days left of bishop.  That would net them after a month of playing here another 12006 claim blocks.  Now they are 25,436 claimblocks shy of having their dream 200x200 claim.  So in that month, they need to have found a way to earn 178k more shillings in order claim a modest 200x200 claim to live and build on.  How can they make that money?  A low population means few if any are buying goods they could sell, although they can sell gold ingots they have from mining etc, but they would need 13697 ingots to make up that amount.  

My stats, claim blocks, shillings, etc were all reset, so I have had a chance to think about this more than most older members.  Not having something to spend your shillings on is only relevant to older players, and even then not to a large degree in my opinion.  For new players the overwhelming thing will be trying to figure out how they are going to get the funds together to claim enough blocks to build anything of a real size. 

 

TLDR: The real issue is new or newish players making enough shillings to claim land, not a lack of money sinks, the current money sinks are to deep.

"The road to hell is paved with good intentions." -unknown
July 22, 2016
7:04 pm
summertree
Texas
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Wally - maybe I've misunderstood, but it sounds like you're discussing a different topic than I am.

  • I said (paraphrasing) that long-time players/sponsors can have a potentially economy-wrecking number of shillings, and a limited number of ways to spend them.
  • To paraphrase you, and please clarify if I've gotten this wrong, it takes new or returning players too long to gather the shillings required to claim an example of about 12.5 x 12.5 chunks of land.

What are you asking for, in your analysis of "the real issue"? (And there's never only one, when it comes to running a stable server for a long time.)

One reason I've been thinking about money sinks is that running a server takes actual money, month in and month out, and sponsors as a whole aren't all that reliable at the small end (unlike giant MMOs.)  Frelling has to pay to keep VeteranCraft up and running for all of us, and it's in all of our best interest that sponsorship stays as attractive and worthwhile as possible so those costs are covered.

The people most likely to pay for sponsorship are the ones who already are doing so, those folks you mentioned who care about not having something to spend shillings on.  

If we want people who aren't sponsoring now to start doing so, and for people who are currently doing so to continue, then the perks available should be easily understood, and have as few gotchas as possible.

A jump-compass is useful 24/7/365, even if you're the only one who logs in to play, for a solid month.  Extra home points or /heal or superpick are equally so.  Very few gotchas around those perks.  But getting a salary that eventually you can't spend much of makes shillings a significantly less attractive/useful option. 

Since they're already on the server, we can come up with ways to make them more usable.  If we can find ways that those shillings can find their way to the pockets of new folks, then that works toward solving more than one problem.  

Did I just talk myself into thinking we are discussing the same issue after all?  LOL

The other reason I've been thinking about it is the rework of the shop plugin that's coming.  I don't know anything about new features, but I can come up with multiple ways that long-time players could put even more distance between the haves and have-nots on the server.

Let's use Viceroy ExamplePants to illustrate.

He's been on the server and getting $100k/month for 2 years.  That alone gives him $2.4 million shillings, and he'll have gotten block conversion with the move to Arda.  If he likes to build machines, by now he could have systems in place to make creating rare things a snap, without even breaking server rules.  

We haven't been able to sell enchanted items in the shops up to now, but let's consider what might happen if the new plugin makes that possible.

Through his time on the server and vast resources, VEP can rapidly turn out sets of armor perfect for adventuring in the Nether (Prot 4/Fire Prot/Blast Prot, Un 3, Thorns,) and so he puts loads of them for sale in his shop.  He knows that other long-time players have cash burning holes in their pockets, and prices this stuff fairly high, because why not?  There isn't much else to spend shillings on, especially if the population is low.

The server upgrades to 1.10, the Nether resets, and now a bunch of rarer materials are back out there and easier to get than right now.

Those "rich" players buy piles of VEP's gear, charge into the Nether, and start gathering up the easiest quartz to reach in every direction.  They have jump-compasses, so not only do they have little to no risk, they're doing this significantly faster than those who have cobbled together what they can and are taking careful steps into what's really a dangerous environment.

This kind of thing can be discouraging to newer players.  There's no way they can afford his gear, and they can't make it very quickly or in anywhere near the quantity (if at all.)  

If there were more money sinks available, or additional methods to move money between players, then even if the above situation occurs, the prices of gear won't be sky-high, because there aren't players with millions of shillings just lying around.  

I want VeteranCraft to continue - this server has so much in place already to make it a great playing experience for people who want to build and craft and explore, rather than grief what other people have worked so hard for, or have everything handed to them.  

Frelling is only one person, with limited time.  If we can help come up with ideas to make the experience better for everyone - new, finely aged, and everything in between - then it benefits all of us.

July 23, 2016
3:27 am
WallyBean
Salida, Colorado
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I get what you are saying but like a church or small business you have to have some new customers coming in to become your new subscribers and the current setup in a choke point.  The biggest selling point the server has is stability and permanent map.  People like a permanent map so that they can build large projects without fear the map is reset a month later.  However being unable to purchase the land required for a build without many months of top sub status is kinda the gotcha thing you were afraid of.  

 

Recently I have been playing occasionally on a server that has 1.10 to see what changes and impact patch 1.9 and 1.10 have had.  The mending book you can get from trading villagers makes diamond gear and tools, even fishing poles last forever if you care for them with a bit of xp farming from fishing or mobs hunting/breaking blocks that have xp.  That creates a back log of diamonds and gear in general, players with god mode will have one set of tools and armor last them indefinitely.  Traditionally on the server the rich players/subscribers have paid non donors to do jobs, I myself have done many.  They also get to just pay for all the materials to build nice things rather than bother farming themselves in the nether or resource maps.

 

I wouldn't worry on the nether map part either because if you look at the dynamap, arda's nether is so big it hasn't even been fully explored in all the time arda has been around, that tells me there is still an immense amount of quartz etc out there and when it resets you will be swimming in plentiful quartz filled nether for possibly a couple years.  

 

Right now the only thing really crushing the economy is just a lack of people, I believe when the server updates they will return along with some fresh blood.  If there is not enough subs to cover costs than I imagine frelling will let us know and we can figure out things to help, until then I assume that is a moot point for now since I haven't seen any mention of that being a concern.

"The road to hell is paved with good intentions." -unknown
July 23, 2016
12:07 pm
LightWarriorK
Aelfheim, Arda
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Great discussion, all of you!  Naturally there are some things I can't talk about, especially since I don't have all the information in some cases and don't want to mislead.  But I'll go through and see what I can help with.

1. What if players could buy/rent the ability to have more item frames allowed in their claims, permanently or on a monthly basis? (Maybe the cap goes up on the claim as a whole, or just on specific chunks; research will be required. And extra thought will be needed for shop towns where one person owns the whole thing and sublets to shopkeepers.)

We don't have a hard limit on item frames (well, entities in general), and thus no way to code for increases in the cap.  There's no plugin to prevent placement or spawning once the limit is hit...we just rely on players.  If we did start allowing purchase of a larger cap, we'd have to hard code it in so that those who haven't paid aren't in violation.  Either way, the cap is there because too many drastically affects server performance, so it'd be self-defeating to increase it for some people.

Consider, if you will, one of the most useful items on the server - the jump-compass. What if records could be combined and then enchanted (or something) to make an item that works the same way, but has a limited number of charges? Basically along the lines of an ender pearl, but enhanced.

This is an interesting idea, but if we're talking about shilling-sinks then it wouldn't be as effective.  Knights would beneffit most, since they have the shillings but not the compass.  Those who would wish to purchase it most would be the Graylings who need it, but couldn't afford it.

As for new items like the enchanted compass (as opposed to a player ability), my understanding is that those would require Client-side mods, which VC has always resisted.  I'm not saying it couldn't happen, but it would be a change to the nature of VC.  I think this is a great idea though.

I would say here that a LOT of these issues will be helped, if not solved, with the new Shoppe plugin.  I'll not spoil it, as frelling has been working hard on it, but I think everyone will be pretty pleased.

The biggest sink we have right now for shillings is Claim Blocks.  To be a shilling sink IS one of the reasons the price is as high as it is.   Even with as much as I play, and Sponsoring at Viceroy level, the most I've ever been able to get in a month is around 25k blocks.

Portal ships are another sink, which haven't been fully utilized on the server.  The reason for the monthly Exodus payment (2k) is because space is limited.  But 50k for portal establishment isn't exactly small change, and trust me, we have every intention of increasing that fee if demand goes up.  To give an example of how this could be a sink that currently isn't used, when I was making Highmoor, I was building a road around the perimeter of the Res, outside the walls.  When I came to my harbor inlet, I didn't want to make a tall bridge, or tunnel under, so instead I built a FERRY.  Two small portal ships.  They only went about 40 blocks. You can see the request here.  Players with large claims who may want to have faster means of transportation from one point to the other can drop 50k shillings and develop a shortcut.

Draining the money out of the economy will only do so much, and the limitations of Minecraft means that there will naturally only be few ways to do so.  The ability to mass farm materials keeps most of the shops worthless.  Only enchanted items, hard-to-earn items (mob heads and non-cat/13 disks) and limited items like Horse Armor can command a high price.  Heck, with 1.9 even Dragon Eggs will eventually lose their value.

But that DOES lead into Wally's point.  I would agree that the most difficult hurdle for new players isn't the amount of wealth the long-time players have, but how little they themselves have.  New players want one thing: space to build.  The initial chest claim gets them started, but they are HEAVILY constrained unless they vote a LOT and are patient.  Most aren't.

I WILL confirm without giving details that Shoppe will help with this.  Again, specific will have to wait on frelling.  But I will say that the biggest potential sink for shillings coming up will rely on altruism of the long-time and rich players helping to give the newbies a head start.  Granted, this can be done now.  There's NOTHING stopping the multi-millionaires on the server from tossing a couple hundred thousand shillings towards new players, except not wanting to waste it on players who won't be around for long.  But Shoppe will help make it easier.

Another point....while not revealing who they are, there are only 5 players with accounts over 1.2 million shillings, and only ONE of them actively plays.  Most sponsors ARE using their shillings for Claims.  "Land-rich and cash-poor," is the term.  I myself only have about 5k shillings in my account, and would need over 4.2 million shillings to "complete" the area I wish to claim.  Even with earning as I play, I'm still looking at over 2 years of sinking of my shillings into Aelfheim's claim alone.

Still, summer, your point is well taken.  Again, Shoppe will help, but suggestions are always good.  I think Wally does have a good point that the issues are more than the need to drain the rich....we need to equally look to improve the wealth of the newbies and the perpetually poor.  frelling and I have had conversations on this, and we'll definitely be having more, and it's great to have conversations like this on the forums so that we can refer to them.

I'm sorry if I poo-poo'd on the suggestions or just said "wait for Shoppe."  One of our biggest problems right now is automation with regard to payments, which keeps a LOT of these things from happening.  Shoppe WILL address that, and nicely.  Things like...

2. Along similar lines, players could permanently or temporarily get more /home points. This could be anywhere, or restricted to just certain worlds. Like, X shillings per months gets you Y additional points in just the Nether, or the End, or in OR/SR. And X+Z shillings per month gets you that same additional Y count usable anywhere.

...this would be handled by Shoppe, if it's something that we did.  As an example.  There are many things this could work for.  To follow up on another of summer's examples, rather than having an enchanted compass, ALL compasses could be Jumpto Compasses.  However for Graylings and Knights, the number of charges would be limited.  You would use a command similar to GP's /buyclaimblocks and do something like /buycompassjumps or /buyhome, and that would be handled by Shoppe.  But again, that's just an example of how things could potentially run.

I'm sure there's a lot I haven't touched on, but I wanted to chime in.  Keep up the good conversation! Laugh

"Awake, oh man, and be wise." -Thoth
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