As mentioned in the first part, which can be found in @Alexian 's Alliance thread, I will be breaking my compendium of suggestions into different groupings of talking points. Last time we looked at Guilds and Alliances. This time we will change gears a bit and look at Logistics and Economies in Sandboxes and how I feel they should play out in Fractured. Please note that I'm not an expert in economics and as such I will be attacking this topic from a more... perhaps ideal lens. Feel free to contradict me, but I ask that the discussion be lively and productive.
(As usual, you can find the whole document here: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1qrD2MwlirFeuFF3U88XVUcvPa3yVbbslkbImYow0XJk/edit?usp=sharing)
Logistics in a Sandbox MMO
What is logistics in a sandbox?
This is another area of a sandbox that is far more unique than most games. While most themeparks require logistics in the form of raid prep, pvp practice, and gearing, the sandbox goes a step further by requiring the movement of items and gear and the creation of said gear usually being a part played by the player.
The movement of these items are often done via tedious, though rewarding, activities such as hauling them across the world, or by organizing them within storage areas akin to warehouses. Some games choose to make this process less tedious by allowing fast travel, carry limits that are absurdly high, or by linking auction houses so that you can obtain the same resources without the opportunity cost of moving them. I think these are the wrong way to go about logistics in a sandbox.
What should logistics look like in Fractured:
Logistics in Fractured needs to exploit the large mass of land provided in game. Since the worlds are so big, consideration should be taken when having to move goods across it. Whether it be through hiring third party groups who specialize in caravans, or through moving your own goods across the world, it should take time, effort, and be open to exploitation by people who are looking to disrupt your logistical flow.
Logistics, therefore, should be a niche that someone with acuity for organization should be able to fill while having a fulfilling time playing the game running these networks, much like fighting appeals to some people and governing to others.
Trade caravans should be necessary for the movement of mass amounts of resources across the continents/planets. They should be able to be intra-guild or hopefully niches will exist for people to carry out these caravans and be paid for doing so, taking the place of auction houses by actually BEING in game, rather than magicked away.
When passing through friendly territory, perhaps there should be some way to hire NPC guards (as well as players), who will be paid upon completion of a contract automatically (similar to quests in other games and beacons in something like Star Citizen).
Moving resources to attack another power should also thusly be difficult. If you need to siege a town, you should either have to carry the tools to do so, or scavenge them from the area.
Trade should NOT be conducive to fast travel, with the exception of moving between planets.
The point of having almost everything exist in the game and be exploited by groups in the game is to allow for complex interactions to take place between players who want to fill niches other than the ones provided by standard games. Someone should want to be a caravaneer and should be encouraged to set up contracts and quests. People who want to protect these guys should want to go along and escort in order to receive a bit of money through, hopefully, little effort. Ultimately what this does is encourages different niches for players of different abilities to fill. Not everyone wants to play the no-nonsense warrior out to kill every foe. Some people might want to be tradesmen, merchants, or mail carriers. This would help them live their dreams and could also spawn guilds that aren’t focused on being land-owning empires so much as merchant republics, artisan guilds, or even mercenaries for hire.
Logistics should be difficult and should be thought out and properly organized by the people wishing to take advantage of the game mechanics. It doesn’t have to be 1:1 real life, but there should be an incentive for people to play these roles too.
Part 5: The Economy in a Sandbox
What does the economy of a sandbox mmo look like?
The hallmark of sandbox games are their dynamic economies. Items and gold go into the economy mostly via the player and they also leave the economy via the player through taxes, item degradation and destruction, and costs associated with utilizing NPC features of the game. The difference between a sandbox and a themepark in regards to economy usually stems from the removal of items from the game, thereby hopefully limiting inflation. Themeparks usually utilize higher commodity fees and taxes to stem inflation, but over time it still usually happens as quests give higher rewards and there are fewer penalties for making certain mistakes (WoW being a good example of inflation).
What should the economy look like in Fractured?
I won't depart from most hardcore sandbox games in this regard as there is no perfect solution and often these things must be adjust over time.
I personally think the economy of Fractured should consist of money coming in via various tasks (or by giving dynamic value to goods that can then be bartered in lieu of coinage) as normal. As more money enters the economy, there will need to be outlets that make money leave the economy.
On top of this, I agree with most hardcore games that markets should spring up around the player as much as possible, so banks, markets, and player markets should all be local to the area they are in.
Purchases can contain small fees that delete a small percentage of currency from the game per transaction. These should be done via player stores AND npc stores, however trading and the like would be exempt as normal.
Auction houses should be player ran as much as possible and tied to local towns only. This gives incentive for there to be a niche that can be filled and these players must also carry and move stock and inventory.
If that isn't feasible, then local auction houses should be built and paid for by the town with an upkeep that deletes money from the economy.
Towns should have job boards that can be posted on that hold money in escrow until tasks are accepted and (within a time limit) completed at which time the person who completes it will be paid.
Job boards should also allow people to post buy orders for quantities of resources and goods and keep these separated from the auction house (see quests).
Items should have a chance to be permanently lost on death or after too many repairs.
Item degradation should slowly deteriorate a weapon's maximum durability over time (with horizontal gear, this shouldn't be too awful). This will also play into crafting later.
Economies in games are one of the signs of the health of the game itself and this is doubly so regarding hardcore sandboxes where the economy of the game stems directly from player input and output, far more so than themeparks, where npc content often adds more to the economy outside of cash flow and resources they can be obtained elsewhere.
It is a precarious balance that always has to be maintained. When new items enter the game, when new cash flows are introduced, something has to become a cash sink or item sink so that inflation isn't out of hand.
There’s probably a lot more that I could say on economy, but I am no expert here for sure.