Home » How to deal with “Scrooge McDucks” in my fixed-currency-amount game?

How to deal with “Scrooge McDucks” in my fixed-currency-amount game?

Solutons:


Fees & Taxes

One common way to deal with this in real economies is to add a periodic fee that redistributes hoarded wealth back into the community. A few forms this can take:

  • Wear on gear items that requires they be repaired periodically, so even a player who’s hit a steady state and buys no new items still needs to pay NPCs (or other players) for repairs / repair materials

  • Luxury/property taxes or ownership fees for items like real estate, stabling & food for mounts, etc.

  • Banking fees or wealth taxes charged when carrying a large balance.

(These last two can continue to ding a miser’s in-game gold account at a slow trickle even while they’re offline, so a player who abandons the character can’t keep the wealth tied up indefinitely)

Theft

Allow players some means to steal from each other. Cap the amount that can be stolen to a fixed percentage of current wealth in any given timeframe, so a player cannot be completely ruined by a group of players ganging up on them.

A percentage based cap makes it more profitable to go after misers since they have more loose money to steal. Now your player characters have a financial incentive to help you with your miser problem by sniffing out who has excess cash (make sure they have some gameplay means to do this) and targeting them.

If you can steal from a player’s sleeping character / camp / land even while they’re offline, then again this gives money a route out of dormant character accounts.

You can also offer players means to defend against stealing, giving rich player characters something valuable to spend their money on: security. This could include paying NPCs / other players as guards or to install & maintain security devices, or storing their money in a bank, which charges fees (see above).

Logistics

Make it impractical to store that much wealth at once.

  • Make a limited size purse for spending money held at any one time (giving players cause to invest in buying/crafting/maintaining upgraded capacity)

  • Add a weight to each gold piece so you sacrifice mobility or carrying capacity to hoard lots on you at a time.

  • Have stacks of coins in your inventory take up inventory slots. The more coin you carry, the less room you have for gear.

This can create additional gameplay around acquiring & trading higher-density stores of value, like gemstones or valuable items, so player characters can “compress” their wealth (and in doing so, release coinage back into the market)

It can also create demand for long-term storage in a bank or investments like real estate. (Where the above rules can erode it)

Other Options

You could also consider allowing your currency supply to expand gradually over time, which can introduce a little inflation. Inflation at a controlled rate can be a good thing: it means it’s more valuable to spend money now than to hold onto it and spend it later, disincentivising hoarding (especially in the absence of interest) and ensuring that there’s always at least some more coin entering the system.

If you keep the currency supply absolutely fixed, then the inverse can happen: your currency area (the set of things you can buy with gold) grows as players join and quest for/craft desirable items and updates release new goodies. If the currency supply available to spend on all these valuables stays fixed, then the currency deflates, gaining value per gold piece over time, making it more sensible to save this valuable & appreciating commodity than to spend it, worsening your miser problem.

For some more ideas of how to make money tougher to hoard or have other interesting game mechanical characteristics, check out Vili Lehdonvirta’s GDC talk on currency design.

There is a critical flaw in your system. You assume players will play forever. In the real world, this is the case. “Players” keep “playing” the game until they die, and then their remaining wealth gets redistributed to their heirs.

Not so in an MMO.

Players play until they get bored. Then they find a new game and forget about yours. Then their wealth stays on their unplayed character, which effectively removes it from the system. This is the natural lifecycle of an MMO character. Nobody needs to intentionally play “Scrooge McDuck” for this to happen.

This constant drain of rich players quitting the game is why MMOs usually do not use closed money systems.

But there is a solution: negative interest. In regular intervals, remove a small percentage from all ingame accounts and move them to the bank. This gradually diminishes any dead wealth in the game. It also motivates people to spend their wealth, which will lead to a more active ingame economy.

It might seem like players could escape this system by investing their cash into items and hoard these instead. This, however, is an illusion. While cash is constant, items are constantly being created in your game. More items in the game means the items which exist constantly lose value. So no matter if you hoard items or cash, the value of your hoard will decrease over the long term.

You’re going to need some kind of forced, “hard” sink to return the money to circulation. Without it, as painful as it might be to implement one, you will only be postponing the inevitable.

Character death can act as a hard sink, returning a portion of the character’s wealth to the pool available to NPCs. Gameplay incentives revolving around upkeep can push players towards spending their money.

For example, perhaps characters need to pay a monthly (real time) fee to their house guards while the player is logged out to maintain their security. Otherwise there is a chance the character will be “killed by an assassin” or whatever while offline.

Obviously, as you note, this can be frustrating so the death should not be permanent and you should probably have a pressure relief valve for characters that end up completely penniless so they can bootstrap themselves back when they return to play after a year. It’s better than deleting the character wholesale, though.

You may also want to consider modelling the economy around, rather than an absolute fixed amount, a relative amount (based on the number of players). If you have 9000 gold and your game is a hit and you have 9001 players…

Related Solutions

How to explain Heartbleed without technical terms?

The analogy of the bank and bank employee You call the bank to request a new bank account, to make an appointment - whatever. Somehow you and the bank make sure that you are who you are, and the bank is actually the bank. This is the TLS process that secures...

Why shouldn’t we roll our own?

You can roll your own, but you probably will make a major security mistake if you are not an expert in security/cryptography or have had your scheme analyzed by multiple experts. I'm more willing to bet on an open-source publicly known encryption scheme that's...

How did “tech-supportcenter” phishers trick Google?

If displaying the wrong URL in the tooltip requires Javascript, how did tech-supportcenter get their Javascript onto the Google search results page? The scammers did not manage to inject JS into the search results. That would be a cross-site scripting attack...

“Diffie-Hellman Key Exchange” in plain English

Diffie-Hellman is a way of generating a shared secret between two people in such a way that the secret can't be seen by observing the communication. That's an important distinction: You're not sharing information during the key exchange, you're creating a key...

What is the right way to close apps in Android?

If you exit the app using the BACK button then it will call onDestroy() on the current Activity, If you press HOME it only calls onPause() Don't be too worried about it though, Activities won't drain battery they are just left in memory so they can be opened...

Disable Screenshot Security

Why apps prevent screen capturing, and how to disable the restriction Some apps present sensitive data (e.g. banking apps) or copyright-protected content (e.g. video streaming apps). App developers can opt to use the Android platform’s FLAG_SECURE setting to...

How can I export the list of open Chrome tabs?

You can use the Remote Devices feature in the Chrome debugger to connect to Chrome on the device and access the tabs. Just expand the list of tabs visible to get the full list and then highlight & copy everything shown (including the URLs) to the clipboard:...

How to backup an Android device?

The requirement being that you must be ROOTED, you could get Titanium Backup and back up your phone using that. The reason for using Titanium Backup is so that you can selectively restore parts of your data if you were to install a different version and/or...

How to start root shell with Android Studio?

Android Studio does not contain ADB, you need Android SDK for it (it is installed on first run of Android Studio 0.9.x and newer). ADB is located in sdkplatform-tools. It's possible to add to PATH in Windows and use Terminal inside Android Studio only by...

How to disable battery full notification sound?

From what I can find, there is no way to turn it off: no solution in the samsung galaxy s forum no solution in the vodafone forum Tasker can't suppress it However, one commenter notes Some custom ROMs rebuild the framework and rip the notification out entirely....

Change Gmail account to make in-app purchase?

To do so, you must install the app from the same google account from which you want to make the in-app purchase. Follow these steps, Uninstall the app on the phone. Go to the Play Store site in your web browser and find the app. Make sure you're logged into the...

How can I verify the authenticity of an APK file I downloaded?

Sidestepping the debate over the legitimacy of installing that app on your phone, the question of verification is one that I've been meaning to understand for a while, and you've prompted me to try to figure out a possible way of verifying who signed an apk....

How to use GPS/Maps without an Internet connection?

Note: many of these applications use map data from a really cool free map project called OSM (OpenStreetMap), which anyone can contribute to. OSM is constantly improving, but in many areas it may lack information like house/building numbers. Free: Google Maps...

Why do Android phones have more cores than computers?

As you've already noted, the big.LITTLE combination strategy (technically, HMP, Heterogeneous Multi-Processing clusters) is the primary reason for so many (and sometimes overwhelmingly many) cores. A mobile device often runs into multiple scenarios, both heavy...

How can I download an APK file from the Play Store?

There is no easy way to download an APK file. However, redphoenix89 has found a way to download the APK with a Chrome extension. bexton did some cleanups and the result including a guide is available: http://forum.xda-developers.com/showthread.php?t=1809458 The...

Android browser’s about:debug, what do those settings do?

Javascript Console is this thing: For some reason, the "Show JavaScript console" bar will only show up in android.com website. Not sure whether the Syntax Error triggers the console or if there is another reason why it shows in android.com and none of the other...

Can not unlock my Android device as have no internet connection?

There are several ways even in this stage. I'll try to sum up as many of them as I remember/find. Also, I don't keep it restricted to a single device -- but try to cover as many as possible, so it will be helpful to as many readers as possible. As you kept the...

How to use Windows’ internet on Android phone through USB cable

Actually, Method 1 is quite easy to do. As implied by this answer, you need more that one network connection for the sharing tab to appear. Short Answer: First, ignore the instruction of your android device and try to connect to the USB-Internet anyway. This...