Monday, January 29, 2007

Taking another stab at caravanning

I guess I wasn't too surprised when my almost departure from Harshlands did not lead to any renewed interest amongst the administrators in putting in the few hours of work necessary to make caravanning a possibility, and thus make my character playable again.

At some level I guess I was hoping they might say, "oops, I guess he wasn't bluffing" (since so often people "quit" MUDs "forever" on a regular basis) or even "oops, I guess more people were affected by him than we thought". Maybe I hoped they'd say "hey, some of these criticisms have some substance to them." I was even hoping they'd say "hey, the way we sometimes react to criticism by shutting down instead of addressing it needs to change". Most of all I hoped that they'd take my claim that they could have caravanning at a "good enough" stage in a few hours and just do it already, if only to set the stage for the improvements that'd make it better (and which I as a coder might facilitate).

Instead I think they mostly concluded, "good riddance, one less problem to worry about".

Independently, however, I had brought to my attention by another player a fan-written, but very professionally done, exhaustive, and complete, book on Mercantyling, a supplement I long thought was needed since there's very little about mercantyling in the existing materials. In addition to a plethora of other subjects, it covers the economics of mercantyling in detail, providing a step-by-step system to cover buying, selling, capacity, and profit, along with overhead costs, financial risks, and material risks.

I've posted a detailed analysis of this system's implications on the Harshlands forums. In addition to the wagon capacity being restored to earlier estimates, it corroborates a few things I had previously claimed should be the case: that profit margins should have a high enough average to justify all the investment and risk, and that profits should be very variable. It also helps calibrate precisely where those profits should be.

What I now hope most of all is that this, in addition to reminding them about the caravanning issue, convinces them that their fears that a level of profit sufficient to cover operating costs and justify the risk will not be game-imbalancing, inappropriate, or recommended solely based on selfishness, are unfounded. And maybe then they'll finally be willing to do those few hours of work necessary, no longer limited by the fear that this will break the game the minute some less-scrupulous mercantyler comes along.

I wonder if I'm being just as rosey-eyed as I was a few paragraphs ago?

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