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  1. The economy of a game is, in my opinion, one of the least discussed and thought, but in many ways perhaps the most important element of maintaining the fludiity and enjoyment of early, mid, and late gameplay. This is for a number of reasons, but it really boils down to the fact the economy of any RPG is dependent on two factors: 1. The player and his current state in the game 2. The world and how dynamic or static it is I'm no economist, and I do not have a formal education in economics, so I base my ideas and concepts on my experience of playing many games and RPGS, MMOs, etc. with good / bad economies and my understanding of how economics should work to maintain the most important factor: An enjoyable game. First, let's make something clear. Gameplay in an RPG is exponential, so the economy must be respectively exponential to ensure a fun experience. Many games fail to realize that not only item stats need to be exponential, but the opportunities, costs, and circumstance of an economy must be equally exponential to keep the game's economy exciting and interesting for those who get involved within it. Second, the economy must remain in a good balance between fluidity and static "constants". This means that the economy should be flexible and dependent on what players (or even NPCs) do, but needs to have a baseline - think a floor and a ceiling, but with plenty of room for excitement along the way. In the long run, the game's overall economic pulse will be going up, but should keep some proportional floor and ceiling to ensure things remain enjoyable. Lastly, the player should actually have an influence on the economy. It is so depressing when the majority of games ignore the player's input. If he spends two straight days selling gold on the national exchange, the price is going to go down. If he buys every last turtle beak for his strength potions, the prices will go up. In retrospect, NPC agents should have similar influences to make the game exciting. A lot of fun "Space-esque" freelancer games (Evochron Mercenary to name one) that were popular in the late 90s and recently have gained hype focus on the idea of utilizing and manipulating an economy in your favor. I'm not asking for insane dynamics, just a fair balance between exciting economic events (floods raising prices, etc) that will make the player feel like they are in a real, more dynamic, and enjoyable universe that is actually effected by their actions more distinctly. To recap - Make an economy that is dynamic, fluid, and ever-changing within a proportional ceiling. Let the player figure out, if he really wants beets, that buying them in a desert will cost more (or sell better) than in the farmlands. Let the economy be unique to every play experience and let the player get as much or as little involved as they want. Most of all, the economy needs to grow with the player. Money should have real value, and I should be constantly deciding if an item is worth selling, keeping, or even looting, beyond the simple fact that money becomes an irrelevant element in many late-game experiences. I'd like to hear other people's input and thoughts on how the economy should operate at this fundamental level. There are more in-depth and concrete ways of approaching this, but I'm trying to stay mostly theoretical with respect to how the game should operate its currency and process of handling funds in a very complex, but rewarding way. If the player feels they are really engaged with the economy there is a lot to be gained in playability. Skyrim sucks in a way because it's got a low ceiling, and no dynamic economy. Sorry this is a bit of a brain-fart and thus poorly structured and organized, but there are a few truths within it worth reading.
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