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Reader Comments (6)

Posted: Apr 20th 2008 10:58PM Letrange said

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Actually EvE-Online is the only game I now with real player run banks. http://www.eve-bank.net/ is an example.

Posted: Apr 20th 2008 11:00PM Anatidae said

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Uh...

I am sorry. I think your way wrong in this regard.

We don't save up for houses and cars, "mounts" in real life because, quite often, it is simply not reasonable to do so.

Take a home. The average home in the San Francisco area costs $400,000. So even if you had a slightly above average salary and you bought nothing, not even food, no rent, or anything, it would still take you over 6 years of saving. Since that is just not a realistic situation, we can assume that if you saved every last dime you could - keeping your good job - you could probably buy that $400,000 home maybe as short at 12 years but more likely 15-18 years out.

I can, without fail, earn $5000 gold in WoW in less than a month of casual play. I simply do quests, farm items I know sell well, and don't spend my gold on anything but repairs. In fact, I bought my epic mount the day they were available. I rarely buy anything in WoW unless I have pretty much a piece of gear I consider my end game (meaning I won't replace it any time soon) upon which I pay for enchantments. So for me, gold is abundant.


But really, save up for the "car of your dreams?" Lets call this car an "Epic Car", not just your standard Honda Civic. Heck, even a Honda civic could take someone with an average US Salary, rent, etc... to pocket aside all their spending money for probably a year or more before they can get it. But an "Epic Car" for me is going to have a $200,000 or so price tag. I feel I have a pretty good salary, but I would not even bother saving up for an "Epic Car" as it would take me a few years of saving every last dime I did not spend on bills. Which is also just not possible while providing for my family who also needs some of that income.

So, for me, we got a new Prius, but that is a loan. Not because I don't want to save for it, but because it is simply not realistic. We needed a new car to tote around our 12 month old, and we wanted something safe and environmentally friendly. If we put aside our car payment as savings instead of financing it, then we would have had to wait almost 4 years. Quite frankly, the extra cost of financing to have the vehicle now is worth it.



In any case, if it were possible to save up for a new car in a matter of a couple months or a new home in a matter of a year or so, I think everyone would and fewer people would take out loans. In the game world, if an epic mount cost 500k gold, then I bet people would figure out a way to open up loan systems or at least make huge requests to the game developers to implement them.

And last, in the games you don't NEED an epic mount or player house. So even if they were priced super high, you can still play. Most people do need a home. So your going to have rent/mortgage. Living in some areas might even require you have a car to arrive at work on time so you can pay that rent. So now you have a car payment if you want something new and shiny, or you save up for a used car and your happy.


Yea... self selection bias... that seems weak. And the only reason there is not much lending in games like WoW is because players have no way to hold collateral in the game. If you don't play back another player, there is nothing they can do to you. At least in UO if you did not pay up you could be ganked in a big way, loosing all the items on you. I know quite a few people who were fooled into carrying large amounts of gold on them outside of the city where they were ambushed for revenge. In a game like WoW, well, the worst you can do is report me and put me on ignore.

Posted: Apr 21st 2008 6:51AM Askgar said

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Your point is relevant to a certain degree but things are priced according to what people can "afford", in a game such as WoW if things were priced to levels which would take 2 years to obtain then people either wouldn't be able to have them (unlikely), demand for lower prices (likely) or require borrowing facilities (also likely).

In real life if there was no such thing as a loan, or a mortgage, then money would be valued higher and either prices of items would be lower, or people would be paid more, so that they could afford to live.

If you look at the current economic climate what is causing problems, mainly it is people being lent money that they can't pay back and thus the banks "running out" of money. This is making it harder to get a Mortgage (at least in the UK), and making house prices drop to levels that people can afford (still with mortgages but often smaller ones).

If there were never loans, mortgages, credit cards, etc, then there would be a lot less cash available and things would have to be priced at levels people could afford in a reasonable timescale.
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Posted: Apr 22nd 2008 9:28PM (Unverified) said

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Animal Crossing, though not an MMO per se, worked on a mortgage based incentive to gain money.

Posted: Apr 23rd 2008 4:01PM (Unverified) said

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While your article works to a certain extent, you seem to forget one very simple fact: in the real world, you have to spend money merely to survive. On WoW, you can run around all day and not spend a single copper. At the end of the day, you log off in an inn which costs no money. It is the same in every other MMO I have ever played.

In the real world, you need to buy food, water, and shelter before you do anything else.

Posted: Apr 29th 2008 6:55AM (Unverified) said

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I definitely feel that the primary reason that financial institutions don't exist in MMO's is what Brian! said, you just can't hold people accountable. But, in the hypothetical world in which you can reasonably assure repayment I still feel like there would need to be a profound shift in an MMO's economic setup.

For the most part, as mentioned before loans are taken out for someone to buy something now. They value the immediacy of purchase more than the interest payments they make. For the most part, there isn't anything in an MMO that would require that kind of investment.

Anything you can buy is essentially worth the sum of its parts including labor and time sinks and all that good stuff. The price of an epicly big item wouldn't drop to meet people's cash in hand, if the producer couldn't gain a profit from making it then it just wouldn't be made. If WoW pumped out a house that could be built with 38,000 thorium bars but no one had the money to buy it, no one would make it (except possibly for themselves). If it was sold at below cost it would be simply that poor crafter trying to get an inkling of his investment back.

Overall though, I think Alexis is more or less right. I remember my old SWG days logging on to make enough money to keep my harvesters running. At that point, I quit because it was a job instead of a game. Nobody finds bills fun, monthly payments suck. Its a liability, something you have to take care of instead of going and killing uber red dragon number 3. And for those reasons I feel like loans aren't, happily so, part of MMO economies.

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