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The bull market of Norrath
February 12th 2002, 16:10 CET by m0nty

The Age newspaper in Melbourne, Australia, has an interesting story this week about a researcher who is investigating the usefulness of treating the realms of MMORPGs like real economies. The virtual worlds (quaintly abbreviated to "VWs") like Norrath in EverQuest have their own monetary and political infrastructures, which has led this egghead to wonder what might be achieved by treating platinum pieces as real currency.

For Edward Castronova, 39, an associate professor of economics at the California State University at Fullerton in the Centre for Economic Studies and Institute for Economic Research, Norrath is a ready-made model of human behaviour. In what is believed to be the first analysis of the economics of a virtual world (VW), Castronova immersed himself in Norrath over five months from April last year, keeping journal entries and conducting surveys and other primary research.

Why not? Is there real evidence to say that money in your real life bank account stored on a computer somewhere isn't the same as your store of virtual funds on servers owned by Microsoft or Sony? Is there any functional difference between buying physical furniture online and scoring that bitchin' couch from eBay for your Sims in the upcoming Sims Online? Are the MMORPG guilds just listed companies by another name? Aren't the guys from BlackSnow Interactive, the subject in the previous PlanetCrap thread, just utilising the basic economic theory of competitive advantage - as is to be expected in a healthily functioning system?

Perhaps the most insightful comment in the piece is this:

Castronova, who has played RPGs and computer games since he was eight, says game developers should look to economics "policy issues" to solve "customer service problems".

Oh right, Themis Group have it all wrong. Mythic don't need to hire more phone monkeys for their help desk, they have to set up a Reserve Bank of Camelot (with Lum as governor) to fight inflation via a series of interest rate moves! It's all so clear now!
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#1 by "JJZ"
2002-02-12 16:13:38
It's always about Lum.
#2 by "Gunp01nt"
2002-02-12 16:32:13
supersimon33@hotmail.com http://planetp01nt.tmfweb.nl
ummm... that's going a bit too far, I think. That guy has clearly been playing RPG's too much and has lost his sense of reality... he wants the MMORPG fantasy world to be turned into a real world?

If that would happen, life would be an even bigger bitch! :D
#3 by "Gunp01nt"
2002-02-12 16:33:41
supersimon33@hotmail.com http://planetp01nt.tmfweb.nl
(and server downtime would mean you're in a coma or something?)
#4 by "Bailey"
2002-02-12 16:37:49
www.ashrain.net
If I could play games on a government grant, I'd be talking out of my ass at the end of the cashflow to ensure it seemed like a good invetiture of tax dollars too.
#5 by "Post-It"
2002-02-12 16:41:19
- -
Can we just cahnge the name to PlanetMMOG now?
#6 by "Gunp01nt"
2002-02-12 16:42:41
supersimon33@hotmail.com http://planetp01nt.tmfweb.nl
and make Morn Planet Ruler?
#7 by "Cliff"
2002-02-12 17:24:06
cps46@earthlink.net
Perhaps the most insightful comment in the piece is this:

Castronova, who has played RPGs and computer games since he was eight, says game developers should look to economics "policy issues" to solve "customer service problems".

Oh right, Themis Group have it all wrong. Mythic don't need to hire more phone monkeys for their help desk, they have to set up a Reserve Bank of Camelot (with Lum as governor) to fight inflation via a series of interest rate moves! It's all so clear now!

No no, you have it all wrong.  Let classes collectively bid on 'balancing' features.  Think your elf/paladin/whatever is too weak, and want their special little strength/vulnerability given more/less emphases?  Pony up, dude.

Once you start thinking along those lines, a whole vista of possibilities opens...
#8 by "Bailey"
2002-02-12 17:31:38
www.ashrain.net
Cliff

Didn't you say the exact same thing last week?

"This robot is broken! This robot... is broken!"
#9 by "Blood_GC"
2002-02-12 18:03:08
blood@roflmao.com
The only political structures I see these games having is anarchy.
#10 by "Bailey"
2002-02-12 18:17:08
www.ashrain.net
That's like bad-mouthing a state of anarchy.
#11 by "Blood_GC"
2002-02-12 18:24:27
blood@roflmao.com
True
#12 by "The Joker"
2002-02-12 20:14:22
morn@planetcrap.com http://www.funkandgroove.com/karel
I vote for PLanetCurrey! Right morn? OOOH GOD HOLD ME AND MAKE LOVE TO ME LIKE WILD ANIMAL!

On topic: I don't really give a rats ass about MMORPGs. And why the fuck is my wang itching??!

Joker, Ph.D. Procedural Assholian Behaviour, Pedophilosopher
- All your ass are belong to my wang Jafd. Prepare to are penetration.
#13 by "Post-It"
2002-02-12 20:22:51
- -
The Joker
And why the fuck is my wang itching??!


You should keep it away from rat's asses.
#14 by "Cliff"
2002-02-12 20:39:10
cps46@earthlink.net
Bailey

Didn't you say the exact same thing last week?


Yes.  Yes, I did.  It may have been on IRC though.

In any case, even though they've had a full week, none of the MMOGs appears to have implemented it yet.  Just thought I'd give them a friendly little reminder.
#15 by "Creole Ned"
2002-02-12 20:44:09
cned@telus.net
PlanetGIP!

And can any couch truly be considered bitchin'?
#16 by "Bailey"
2002-02-12 20:44:12
www.ashrain.net
I'll be sure to e-mail Kelly Flock and get his take on your suggestion.
#17 by "Gunp01nt"
2002-02-12 21:30:43
supersimon33@hotmail.com http://planetp01nt.tmfweb.nl
Creole Ned:
PlanetGIP!

GIP= Geek Infested Pit?
#18 by "JJZ"
2002-02-12 22:22:29
Hm?  Couch?
#19 by "JMCDaveL"
2002-02-12 22:45:09
rdl@muw.edu Closet Freak
I liked video games better when they were just GAMES.

--jmc
#20 by "crash"
2002-02-12 22:52:24
39 years old, government researcher, on the grant-line, playing everquest? i guess that'd be your tax dollars hard at work. and i'll call it here first: he plays a female wood elf. bard, probably.
#21 by "JMCDaveL"
2002-02-13 00:25:29
rdl@muw.edu Closet Freak
No, our tax dollars are hard at work shooting hellfire missiles at groups of people that just might contain Osama Bin Ladin. Cause.. you know.. you need expensive rocketry to defeat the bad guys! Just like in Quake!

--jmc
#22 by "Bailey"
2002-02-13 01:05:34
www.ashrain.net
Let's use alternative technology to root out and destroy Al Qaeda, like transgendered elven bards!
#23 by "Ashiran"
2002-02-13 09:44:53
ashiran@ashrain.net www.wtfpeople.com
I'm still confused over why Game with Internet Presence is a good term.
So don't ask me about GIP ecomomics.
#24 by "flamethrower"
2002-02-13 12:23:07
nopedope thnxbro
Gaming Internet Massive Play Servers.

Bring 'em out.
#25 by "Sgt Hulka"
2002-02-13 15:31:38
sgt_hulka@yahoo.com http://www.hulka.com
Planetcrap in a nutshell

........I always give 110% +12
#26 by "Anonymous"
2002-02-13 16:09:51
#15 by Creole Ned

Only if it's a bitchin couchmaro :P
#27 by "Creole Ned"
2002-02-13 18:06:18
cned@telus.net
Anonymous, I suspect Baileytron will move you up the list for that one. If you don't know what that means, just run when you hear the whirring and the clanking and the laughing.
#28 by "Bailey"
2002-02-13 18:17:41
www.ashrain.net
Mostly the maniacal laughing. Baileytron Industries Inc. is hard at work incorporating Segue-Age technology to ensure that your slaughter at the cold, unfeeling jagged clamps of liberation will be swift, silent, and run on $0.05 worth of electricity* a day!!




* And kittens. Mostly kittens.
#29 by "Gunp01nt"
2002-02-13 19:08:13
supersimon33@hotmail.com http://planetp01nt.tmfweb.nl
And developed by this company, no doubt
#30 by "Eris"
2002-02-13 19:10:05
#28 by Bailey

Are you stating for the record that Baileytron runs on the laughter and cuteness of kittens sublimated into pill-form?
#31 by "Eris"
2002-02-13 19:16:08
My new

Mistaken

Baileytron

Proposals
#32 by "Eris"
2002-02-13 19:18:40
tr [Proposals] [Prototypes]
#33 by "Bailey"
2002-02-13 19:26:28
www.ashrain.net
Eris

Are you stating for the record that Baileytron runs on the laughter and cuteness of kittens sublimated into pill-form?

Laughter, of the evil, maniacal variety, is brought on by Baileytron's "work". Mainly rending, destroying, and of course, killing all humans.

The kittens just happen to fit nicely in the fission reactor in natural, unprocessed small feline format.
#34 by "Gunp01nt"
2002-02-13 19:46:53
supersimon33@hotmail.com http://planetp01nt.tmfweb.nl
Bailey:
The kittens just happen to fit nicely in the fission reactor in natural, unprocessed small feline format.

I bet the mad.. I mean ANGRY scientist developed that for you huh?

Fits nicely in line with his sheep-driven lasergun and his bunny-driven blender.
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