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Economic Failures of Ultima Online

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  • Economic Failures of Ultima Online

    Economic Failures of Ultima Online

    The original design that Ultima Online used was the macro-economy. All of the gold drain paths lead back up to the top, forming a closed loop. The reason for this design was to prevent resource inflation; the theory being that a fixed quantity of resources would simply circulate from abstract to concrete and back again thus preventing the inflation that had plagued many similar on-line worlds. While this sounded good in theory, it was a failure in practice.

    What the designers had not counted on was the deflationary effects of hoarding.

    Quote from Koster:
    "Players are incurable hoarders, which means a large amount of resources in the game will just sit around in someone’s bank (or a shopkeep’s bloated inventory) rather than keep moving through the world"

    ...the designers attempted to solve the deflation problem by pumping more resources into the world – they simply increased the total quantity of resources in the bank. But, no matter how much they added, the resources always flowed into inventory and just sat there. The problem, they concluded, was the lack of drains – not enough stuff was flowing out.

    New drains were proposed: taxes, maintenance fees on housing, etc. Unfortunately, many of these drains feel too much like real world "work" and are therefore politically unacceptable changes to hoarding rules, such as limits on the number of objects which can be practically kept inside of a house
    UO Evolution "The Game Has Evolved"