May 04, 2004
A world with no poverty

What defines a healthy economy? Wait, don't answer... what defines a healthy economy in a world where no one ever really dies, needs to eat or really feels pain? That's right, the topic is the SWG Economic Data, and it's a lot more interesting than real economics, I'll tell you what.

Hokay. Let me qualify that. It's more interesting to someone who plays MMORPGs a lot, but who doesn't give a hoot about economics in real life.

Raph Koster (aka Holocron) posted some interesting tidbits
about the movement of Galactic Credits (cr) in Star Wars Galaxies the other day, and it's picked up a fair amount of interest even in places generally not about gaming in general, and not about SWG in particular.

Which I think speaks to how interesting and unique SWG is beyond the fact that it's Star Wars. Actually, what makes SWG interesting has nothing to do with Star Wars at all: it's the economy, stupid.

Well, to be clear, it's not really the economy but rather the amount of direct control and options that players have in shaping their own community and economy. I've been talking with a number of players who are or are planning to use the unskilled labor (and unused real estate allottment) of other players for offloading menial manufacturing tasks. The artisan in question (be it an architect, droid engineer, etc.) will design the schematic and gather the resources necessary (steel, petrochemicals, etc.) and deliver it to the unskilled (or not-necessarily-skilled) industrialist who completes the manufacturing for them.

"Ah, how much like real life," you sneer. But wait: SWG has a built in minimum wage (the mission system), so it's pretty difficult to exploit labor--at least to the degree that we're accustomed to in the service sector, to say nothing of sweatshop labor.

What SWG lacks of course is the ability to actually get off the credit wheel unless you wish to be completely homeless (which is not the hardship it is in real life, admittedly). After some conversations with Scott, I've begun to wish more and more that a player city could opt out of credits totally, and work things out in a socialist (or if that makes you uncomfortable, kibbutz) style. All of the tools are there... instead of paying building maintenance charges (hard wired into each structure), the player could have tools and resources and tasks that they used to keep a structure going.

Am I dreaming? Would this subvert the economy of SWG? Or would it make it more robust, as such a city would demand that all players were involved in their own economic system, contributing and building instead of just sitting around and paying taxes every week with mission payouts.

I can't tell. God damned late capitalism... it always clouds my vision.

Posted by illovich at May 04, 2004 08:54 AM