Welcome to the real world. If you have a lot of money, you have to
protect it. You hire guards, or you buy into a merchant's collective,
or you build your shop in a walled city. If there's a limited market
for an item, and someone beats you to it, that's life. You missed
your sale. Now you have to unload this stuff at a reduced price, or find
Back when a certain individual who shall remain nameless broke with the
hallowed Olympia tradition and started forcibly parting players from their
money and lives, everybody got very excited about adding all kinds of
mechanisms to Olympia to protect everyone from such anti-social behavior.
None of that was ever implemented, and surprise, Olympia didn't collapse.
Turned out that people had to start spending some of their Skrenta-given
lucre protecting themselves, was all.
Then the Great Skrenta turned of the endless Entertainment tap, and
there was a similar outcry. Why, Olympia was virtually unplayable
without Entertainment! But nothing was changed, and suprise, Olympia
didn't collapse. Turned out that people just had to be a little more
realistic, thoughtful and competitive with their units.
If and when a market economy gets implemented, there's going to be a
similar hue and cry. It'll have a big impact on the game, that's for
sure. I for one and going to be upset not to have limitless weapons
and armors available. But I can't see how it won't improve the game.
The things you cite above as "problems" with a market economy are
precisely the things that appeal to me.
Personally, though, I think that there should in effect be two market
economies side-by-side. One market economy will include the kinds of
things that players commonly buy and can make themselves: weapons,
horses, wood, iron, and so on. The second economy would be "trade
goods". Each trade good would be made in limited numbers in a limited
number of areas and desired in a limited number of areas. Trading
would involve buying trade goods where they are made and carrying them
to where they are desired, hopefully in time to make a good profit.
Being a successful trader would require knowledge (about what is made
where, desired where, etc.), the ability to respond quickly to trade
opportunities, and the cash to float trade expeditions. Different
levels of Trade might reveal different trading opportunities. (Hmm, I
wonder why Jathar the Trader keeps making trips from W. Argyle to
Soxneck?) This is a model that has a fair amount of realism and has
been proven a playable system in games like "Merchant of Venus",
"Railroad Tycoon" and so on. What's more, I think it is easy to
implement in the Olympia framework. And decoupling trade goods from
common goods prevents too much player manipulation of the economy,
which I think most of the players agree would be a bad thing.
-- Scott T.