WOKF is a small world and it has an economy. The economy is similar to that one of the Soviet Union in its beginning.
The economy is closed – there are no other countries that deal with SU. Some lucky citizens have rich aunts who send them gold from abroad.
The government lets the citizens work (grinding, quests, events)
The government pays the citizens in different ways: in currencies and in natural goods.
There are many currencies in: coins, gold, different kinds of reputation (arch, craft, collection and so on), ration cards (quest reward tokens, event reward tokens, daily quest…). Coins and gold are convertible currencies; the other ones aren’t or are convertible in a limited way.
Most of the natural goods a citizen gets from the government (mob drops like hides, silk, furs, snail’s meat, steel hilts and so on) are useless and can be sold back to the government via NPC’s who are real bloodsuckers.
Goods are produced only by government owned factories and sold by NPC’s and in the Item Mall at fixed prices.
Common goods can be bought with coins; some luxury goods can be bought with reputation; most luxury goods can be bought with gold. So gold is the most desired currency.
Private business isn’t forbidden but there is not much that could be produced and nothing that would be worth to be produced.
Shops aren’t forbidden, but there are no goods worth to be traded. Cats mostly sell natural not processed goods (collected by killing mobs) that other lazy (but rich) citizens use to make quests without grinding. There are some currency exchange offices ran by cats (making coins and gold convertible).
Sometimes the government tries to control the exchange rates and makes emergency purchase of gold (transferred by rich aunts from abroad) at prices that are distant from the current (black) market balance. It usually causes some panic and makes somebody richer (seldom) and somebody poorer (usually). After such purchase finishes some time is needed till the market finds his balance and citizens find the courage to buy/sell their treasury.
Some people grind, some farm with pets. Some do quests, most do the Dungeon quest.
The government cuts the salaries (lowers the drop). High rank citizens don’t even notice it and learn about it from newspapers. But low rank citizens have problems to develop quickly. The government looks for a way to help them to earn money faster, but without changing the salaries. That means a redistribution of wealth.
The world forgot Karl Marx who said that the real measure of worth of goods is the toil and trouble (work) needed to create them. Money is just helpful while comparing and exchanging goods.
The high level citizens are rich. The low level citizens need more money. Let us help the poor ones. Is it possible without robbery, taxes and community order?
How to help the poor ones ?
Wouldn’t it be nice to allow citizens to run their private business? To process natural goods to advanced goods, sell them to others and increase the Gross Domestic Product (funny, it’s equal to GNP here, as no citizens work abroad)? I remember I saw some WOKF worlds with remarkably more production and trade, dozens of cats in Liuhe dealing with a lot of goods. Even advanced shops were fully utilized and a customer could choose where to buy and at which price (some cats were real leeches).
But there is some place for private business here. Goods can be produced. Citizens can show their enterprising spirit.
But only in theory.
Citizens can produce simple weapons and gear using wood, cotton, imperial clothes and so on. But there is no profit in such business because everybody can buy such weapons and gear cheaply in government owned gun shops. Even if it wasn’t so, the market for weapons and gear is very small. They are long lasting goods. It wouldn’t improve the economy significantly.
Citizens can cook (general store). But the dishes aren’t edible (mostly nearly useless) or impossible to cook because of lack of raw materials.
Citizens can produce useful medicine. But they don’t. Why?
Because of no profit possible.
I made a small research and collected herbs in Sulin Garden to find out, how long it would take to produce medicine. Here are the results of herb collection per hour (rounded; approximated, as that job was not very exciting and I made it just for 30 minutes; I didn’t buy anything for collection reputation, I had +20% moving speed; I collected herbs only; I used a lvl 50+ character which is immortal compared to mobs in Sulin, a lvl 20 collector would have probably 10-20% less productivity):
crane grass 4
crystal grass 28
dragon's beard 4
night shade 4
red date 24
sage moss 4
total collected 306
And here are the calculated times needed to produce some selected medicine (time needed to collect the full number of the hardest-to-get component):
medicine time to collect raw mats
30 dragon balms 320 HP/2s (160 HP/s) 0,5 hour
30 greater phoenix balms 450 HP/3s (150 HP/s) 4 hours
30 greater dragon balms 600 HP/3s (200 HP/s) 6,5 hours
30 lesser healing pills 900 HP/4s (225 HP/s) 4,4 hours
30 greater healing pills 1200 HP/4s (300 HP/s) 5 hours
30 lifeforce pills 1200 HP/8s (150 HP/s) 6,7 hours
Can you imagine 5-6 hours of collecting? I can’t.
Let’s assume a lvl 25-35 citizen can earn 30,000 coins per hour by making quests and selling loot to NPC’s. So one hour of collecting herbs costs 30,000 coins alternatively. Now let’s imagine he tries to be entrepreneurial and instead of grinding he spends his time collecting herbs and producing medicine. How high is his alternative production cost of these processed goods?
medicine alternative cost of 1 piece
30 dragon balms 320 HP/2s (160 HP/s) 500 coins *)
30 greater phoenix balms 450 HP/3s (150 HP/s) 4,000 coins
30 greater dragon balms 600 HP/3s (200 HP/s) 6,500 coins
30 lesser healing pills 900 HP/4s (225 HP/s) 4,400 coins
30 greater healing pills 1200 HP/4s (300 HP/s) 5,000 coins
30 lifeforce pills 1200 HP/8s (150 HP/s) 6,700 coins
*) half an hour grinding would give him 15,000 coins, he wants to earn the same with collecting and playing pharmacist; after that time he produces 30 balms; 15,000 coins divided by 30 pieces that he produces gives an alternative cost of 500 coins per piece; cost of tools ignored
There is a huge market for dragon balms, but it costs 500 coins to produce one piece and the government sells them at 12 coins only. No business here (or: let us be happy to have such generous government).
On the other hand advanced medicine (not produced by the government) is very hard to produce, it takes very long to get the raw materials which makes the alternative cost pretty high. Too high.
I doubt if there was a big market for greater dragon balms sold at 7000 coins per piece (6500 plus a really small entrepreneurial bonus). There is probably no market at all for greater phoenix balms and lifeforce pills as they restore less HP per second than the cheap dragon balms.
Lesser and greater healing pills don’t look so badly as they could be needed by high level killers (+225 and +300 HP/s; significantly better than the common medicine). I haven’t seen them on the market though. Has anybody tried to produce them? I guess citizens simply didn’t expect to make profit with them.
So, what can the government do?
Let citizens produce processed goods. And trade them.
What kind of goods?
The processed goods should be needed by all (at least most) players in a big number, therefore they should be consumable, destructible or temporary (or simple: not permanent like gear is).
Big changes to SU’s constitution (game’s code) wouldn’t be accepted by the government. So let’s change easy things: items and their availability.
Medicine restoring HP should be adjusted so that better (and more expensive) medicine restores more HP per second. I haven’t checked MP restoring medicine and other stuff, maybe they need some change too.
The time needed to collect raw mats needed to produce medicine should be lower.
If the market price of a balm restoring 180 or 200 HP/s would be 500 coins, a player about lvl 55 who earns about 100,000 coins per hour while grinding intensively, could afford max 200 balms for that. Expensive but affordable and (hopefully) worth that price.
In order to make the market price about 500 coins per piece, the time needed to collect the raw mats should be lower than half an hour. So the number of ingredients or collect rates should be adjusted accordingly.
If the government finds this idea interesting, I am open to discuss the times (the alternative cost of production) in detail (an example: see “E. Gear” hereafter).
PROS: Low level players collect herbs. High level lazy players buy better medicine and concentrate on more important matters. Cats deal with herbs and advanced medicine (and earn money without grinding LOL).
CONS: Introducing better medicine causes that bosses are easier to kill (probably their HP should be adjusted).
The power gap between low level (poor) players and high level (rich) players using better medicine increases.
The easier access to better medicine probably changes the power balance between the classes.
B. Blessing of the Gods
This postulate won’t be liked by citizens. The free Blessing of the Gods should be cancelled.
It would be produced instead. The raw materials needed could be a mix of collected materials and loot dropped by low level mobs (or loot only).
In order to get such loot low level players would have to grind hardly, high level players would kill easy but with a very low drop rate.
I wouldn’t mind to pay 10,000 coins per hour to get a satisfying blessing.
One Blessing lasts 45 minutes in average.
I need 10 tries in average to get a blessing that satisfies me.
That means I wouldn’t mind to pay 750 coins for one blessing.
The time needed to collect raw mats for one blessing should be 1/40 of an hour (like 750 coins/30000 coins).
PROS: A lot of trade with an advantage for low level players
CONS: Low level players’ access to the Blessing would be lower than now (solution: maybe some free bound Blessings for low level players?
C. Event items
Lollipops, cinnamon balls and other prices from Halloween event could be produced too. They don’t last as long as Blessing of the Gods, but the effect is known in advance. They could cost similar to the Blessing and the collection time of raw mats could be similar.
I suggest to make a referendum about dishes needed. Then it can be evaluated how much these dishes would be worth and how long it should take to produce them.
There is one empty slot in the equipment for glasses. I suggest a new item: temporary glasses (not permanent like they used to be).
It could be discussed if they will degenerate while receiving damage or if they should last a limited time. What’s important, they should be relatively easy to produce (relatively cheap) which improves trade and collecting of raw mats.
It is to be discussed which attributes would be improved by such glasses. The improvement should be higher than the Blessing of the Gods.
There could be many kinds of them produced with different raw mats. But one way use.
Just an example:
glasses giving critical hit + 30% (maybe it’s too high)
lasting 30 minutes
market price 10,000 coins
time needed to collect raw mats: 1/3 hour (like 10,000 coins / 30,000 coins)
raw mats needed (assumption: 300 pieces collected per hour (I checked the collection rate of ores)):
quartz (assumpt. 35 pcs/h) 12 pcs
cat’s eye (assumpt. 6 pcs/h) 2 pcs
copper ore (assumpt. 37 pcs/h) 12 pcs
iron ore (assumpt. 38 pcs/h) 12 pcs
gold ore (assumpt. 40 pcs/h) 12 pcs
steel hilt (from Highwaymen) 50 pcs (some additional minutes needed, I omit them)
Other glasses could have other buff and other raw mats needed, preferably fully different.
In my oppinion these relatively easy steps incease trade, allow low level players to earn more doing not only grinding and talking to NPC's, make more fun to all players, WON'T DECREASE THE SERVER'S INCOME.
Wujek, MS in Economics
P.S. or DISCLAIMER
Please excuse my low (maybe mid) level English. If something sounds offending or restitutionary, please believe it was not meant this way.
I have played WOKF for about 10 years on several servers (they usually closed annihilating fortune). I really like the game because it has this very simple but unique feature: the shop. I simply like to run a shop, buy cheap and sell high. Yes, I am a leech.
However the way I counted the alternative costs of production is (hopefully) correct, the input data is variable and just a presupposition. So the results are fraught with error. Anyway it’s an attempt to interlock the production cost with market value and to boost trade in that strange, planned, SU-like economy.
If the government doesn’t like that suggestions, I don’t mind. It’s a game and I enjoyed to try to analyse it’s economy with my limited abilities. If the government likes them, I am open to any discussion. I am sure there are many small items that we could try to invent and evaluate their worth. As a consultant I want a salary of 1 gold monthly + insurance.
I will need an office in Liuhe with view at GM-spot, where I will watch GS-Sakura and GM-Natrix wearing their nice dresses.