The In-game Economics of Ultima Online - Zachary Booth Simpson, Origin Research Fellow - 7 Apr 1999
Originally presented at Computer Game Developer's Conference, San Jose, CA; Mar 2000
In many ways, the in-game economy is similar to a real world economy – goods and services are traded to mutual advantage and are mediated in currency or barter. In other ways, the economy is very alien; for example, some commodity prices are determined by a robotic simulation of business profit motivation. These quirky rules will be described in Chapters 3 to ensure that the reader appreciates the entire economic environment of the game.
The economy is highly planned by the game designers; this includes everything from the possible items which can be manufactuered to the rules which govern supply and demand. However, the economy did not behave as expected in many ways. It is these failures and the resulting redesigns which are most interesting and which we will examine in detail in Chapter 5.
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