Economy thoughts

PoetPoet Member Posts: 120 ✭✭✭
edited April 29 in Feedback
--Yes, I recognize this post is all over the place. And I don't have hard numbers, cause I really don't like math. I quit Eve when it became a resource management simulator, and Starmourn is headed the same way.--

Without further ado, some thought on the economy in Starmourn. See also, my thread on the mining specialization- 
https://forums.starmourn.com/discussion/1029/mining-spec/p1

Separate systems:

  1. Physical shops.  (more please) most owned by NPCs  Accessible in specific locations
  2. Trade terminals x4 systems.  Accessible only in specific places, except via artifact
  3. Ship brokerage.  Accessible anywhere
  4. Starforge.  Accessible in dock area or from ship in dock (and it's confusing as to where you need to be)(Also, new artifact lets you get supplies anywhere)
  5. Market (space) accessible from stations, can be modified remotely with artifact
  6. Refinery/Autofactory.   Accessible in specific locations, some things can be modified remotely with artifact (not sure what the utility of this is in practice)
  7. Junk shops.  Accessible in specific locations, or remotely with artifact
  8. Repair shops.  Accessible in specific locations, or remotely with artifact
  9. Collectibles market. Accessible anywhere
  10. Promo market.  Accessible anywhere
  11. Rejuvenation (is this part of the economy? It's certainly a mark sink)
  12. Cosmpiercer. Powers purchasable in faction territory, generally from a station
  13. Token Equipment. (are the tokens listable anywhere?)  Redeemable in specific locations.
  14. Love shop.  One location, with its own currency.

 

Currencies:

  1. Marks
  2. Credits
  3. Love tokens
  4. Gear tokens
  5. Cosmpiercer vouchers
  6. Ta-deth crystals

 

I can buy a starship from anywhere, but if I want a t-shirt, I have to be in a specific place.


Some of these are split up- can take market orders from station, but have to complete on ship with goods in ship cargo


Autofactory can be started from ship, but goods have to be in station/planet cargo


Trade skills- high entry cost, low/no ongoing cost. Goods appear magically and have no material requirements.


Unlike some people, I find plenty of mark sinks. Between promo items, ships, rejuv and etc, Poet is almost always broke.


There is a huge disparity in marks generation. Incursions are number one, once you can do the hard ones. There is, at least, a marks cost involved in purchasing ammo and repair kits. As compared with the second best method, ground bashing. Essentially costs you nothing, and nets you 10's of thousands of marks/hour.


Both these activities are reasonably fun (for me). I know some people hate bashing, but I don't mind. Incursions are better, in that there is more effort involved in getting to range and lining up the targets.


Hacking I don't care for, and know little about. Seems mark generation is fairly low, considering the consequences (bounties).


The 'actual' economic activities are all a loss. Having done them all, none of them make money. There is a ton of effort involved, and the upfront costs in getting set up are high.  I have another thread on this, and my thoughts haven't changed.

-I will also note that there are Honors available for those who own 10 factories/refineries and that no one can do that anymore, as the cap is 9.

 

Materials need to be required for everything. I hate saying that, cause I like being able to make clothes out of thin air, but seriously. There should be crates of fabric that need to be bought and shipped about. Gems and metal for jewelry, etc. Right now, ship supplies exist in their own little world, and given the existence of the ship forge, there can never be a shortage of anything. You might pay more, but things are available if people put in the work, or not. The only reason to engage with the economy is to be nice to the new players, or to use the comms for guards and station stuff, that most people probably don't know exists. I would not recommend using comms for more of this kind of thing as a stop-gap, and in fact having to track it to keep the guards paid is really quite annoying. I can see using them to buy station upgrades, but just dumping them into ongoing maintenance is also annoying.


The other problem with this economy set up, is that only the fighting tasks generate any reasonable pay, and XP gains. The thought being, apparently, that things that involve 'risk' are the only valid ways to make money. The economy cannot work this way. There has to be a way to make money doing 'economy' things. Like hauling in rocks and gas. And it needs to earn reasonable XP. Maybe not quite as much of each as incursions, but enough that people are willing to invest time and effort into it.

 

Materials also need rarity adjustments. There need to be cheap, commonly used materials that are super easy to find in large quantity. Rare stuff that's expensive, and hard to find- but which you don't need much of in the recipes.  Right now, as Holgorath pointed out, this is backwards. Iriil, which is supposedly rare, is required in huge quantities, and it appears to spawn at exactly the same rate as every other material. Everyone wants it, and everyone needs it, and no one can find enough. Everyone is paying 100 marks/unit or more trying to get some, without any luck cause even at that rate, people aren't interested in mining it. Also, at that rate, all the batteries on the market are sold at a loss, cause that price was set based on Iriil being worth about 40/unit.

 

Yields are also far too small. As it stands you cannot refine enough material to be able to sell large quantities of things cheaply and make it worth your time and effort. Holgorath indicated mining for 8-12 hours and making 80k marks, and I think that number is wildly optimistic. Even if correct, you can do the same thing in an hour in an incursion. Also, the quantity limits mean you can't refine enough stuff to be able to sell at a price that makes the finished goods affordable. If we paid what materials were reasonably worth given time and effort invested, batteries would go for 2500 marks apiece, and incursions would stop being profitable (and Ship Forge exists, so you can't ever charge more than 450/per)

 

People need to be able to move cargo from place to place for others. Give the freighters and haulers reason to exist. (And shrink the cargo bay on the Battleship, cause it's bigger than a freighter).

 

The cargo boost modules are much, much too small.

Drone bay module is good, but dedicated mining ships would be better.

 

Specializations probably also need to go. I know why the limits on ownership were put in, but we can't keep a full complement of refineries and factories, cause not enough people are interested, and then they freeze and we are short facilities again.

Refining straight up needs to go. Charging miners for bringing in materials is a slap in the face. Scoop the gas into the hold, and then just sell it. Yet another reason to upgrade to a bigger ship with a bigger hold.

It would also be nice if there were a way to easily see how much space in the hold a material was going to take.


Tl;dr Too many economic systems that are not connected to each other in any fashion. If I can walk in a circle and spam freeze and make 10k an hour, I should be able to make at least half that amount scooping gas.


[Cassandra]: Poet will be unsurprised to learn that she has unread news.
eel

Comments

  • GrekGrek Member Posts: 63 ✭✭✭
    Also, at that rate, all the batteries on the market are sold at a loss, cause that price was set based on Iriil being worth about 40/unit.

    This is specifically untrue, and I don't know why people keep repeating it.

    A batch of thermal batteries requires a grand total of 4 titanium, 2 duramine, 4 diamene, 10 iriil, 2 astrium and 1 stesium as well as 874 marks for autofactory costs, including the intermediaries of paristeel, disheets and HDS. CA currently pays 100 marks per unit of iriil, 80 for titanium, 70 for duramine and diamene, 50 for astrium and 40 for stesium, so that comes out to a grand total of 2754 marks for one batch of batteries. Assuming that you're willing to fly out to Kholod Station for the final autofactory job (but don't give enough of a shit to do it for the HDS/disheets/paristeel, even though you probably should) that rounds up to 207 marks per battery. Current market offers are all 250 per, so they are (or at least should be, if they're using economy bonuses at all) making 43 marks per battery sold, which I feel is a perfectly acceptable level of profit. If you're willing to chase economy bonuses for the intemediaries or even the raw materials (looking at you, Iriil), you can nearly double the profits while maintaining the same standard price of 250 marks per battery.

    Poeteel
  • PoetPoet Member Posts: 120 ✭✭✭
    Well at 120 marks/unit I can't get any. So we haven't hit the actual price yet. I hate math. I don't want to have to spreadsheet to play a game. Now, you could say that's what the economy is about, and some people like that, and you'd be right. But they all seem to have left, because the gains were insufficient.

    It just feels like when I'm paying more than twice the base cost of the material with the largest requirement in the process, that'd throw the final cost off. But apparently not as much as I thought.

    And, given I can't buy any of the material, it's mostly just me doing the mining, and refining and factory work. And paying all the costs. And investing all the time.  And, for time invested, it's definitely a loss.  Even if I pay Crazy Jerry to deliver me thermal batteries in space, I'm way ahead doing incursions over doing anything economy-related.
    [Cassandra]: Poet will be unsurprised to learn that she has unread news.
  • PoetPoet Member Posts: 120 ✭✭✭
    I left a couple of systems out. Performance.  You can make a few marks doing the practice thing, and pretty good money doing concerts, but I feel like that's ok. I've not made all that much at it to date (though I've yet to make the top of the charts) and I think the return on time invested is fair.  I suppose you could do one crappy concert and just repeat it over and over, but nobody would buy tickets after a couple of runs. If you work at it, it's fairly time-consuming to do well. Set up for my last show took me about 8 hours of work, on and off, not counting the time spent writing the song originally.

    Daily credits.  So this is huge at getting people to do things obviously. And once again, the thing to do is incursions. In fact, it's the only reasonable way to max daily credits. Kill 5 targets. Repeatable. Compare this with scooping gas. It's the same 5 scoops of gas or rocks delivered, but the time investment is just so much higher. Even if you 'cheat' at it and bring in scoops with 1 mat in them, it's still more time-consuming than blasting 5 things.

    Ground bashing is also repeatable, but you have to kill 100 things instead of 5. For me that's, I dunno, about once an hour, give or take.

    Daily xeno bounty. Not repeatable, which is fine since you can only do the bounty once, and it's a nice bonus to the other rewards from that.

    Two practice performances, not repeatable. I mean, fair enough. Other than waiting on the cooldown, there's no investment other than walking to a bar somewhere.

    The economic related ones are odd. So craft 10 items, not repeatable. Easy enough. In fact I do it every day. And then put those items in the incinerator cause I don't need them for anything. My shops are all set up with autocrafters, so there's no need for actual inventory. Which I will say is extremely convenient, one less thing to have to track. But incinerating items does nothing for the economy either, other than the pittance it costs me to craft those things.  Submit a design. Only worth one credit, and doesn't repeat.... not a great incentive for designing things, which adds to the game, if not the economy. I'd say, bump this to 2 credits, make it repeatable, but tie it to accepted designs. Yes, you miss out on instant gratification, but you can jump start some credits in a day or three when your designs are approved.

    Hack 10 terminals, not repeatable. I hate hacking. I've no idea how this compares to the rest, but it certainly seems like the time investment is fairly large.

    Harvest a crystal. Easy enough, but opens you up to PvP. Probably fine as is.

    Win a duel. Normally traded between willing victims, but it still gets people involved in PvP and serves it's purpose. Not repeatable, so you can't just kill Bob over and over all day for free creds.

    So, I'd say look at the tasks tied to economic stuff, and up the rewards/lower the time investment. Add in something for people who are doing the autofactory thing, not just mining.


    [Cassandra]: Poet will be unsurprised to learn that she has unread news.
    eel
  • PicramPicram Member Posts: 1
    The hacking task can be done in about 20 min, or whatever amount of time it takes you to hack four level 15 terminals. Back to the topic at hand though...

    I agree that what you call "economy things" are generally neither too entertaining nor profitable to really make them tempting to do over an incursion, which right now is the prime way to make money and daily credits. Hard devourer incursions with a targetwarp being used for both getting there and back again, we're talking about 20 minutes of "work" tops, with a reward of about 70-80k marks and 10 credits (I am certain leviathan incursions are 50 enemies, devourers might as well). I burn through about 20 batteries per organic incursion, could be less if I cared more for staying in optimal range. Using the 250 marks per battery as standard, we're talking about an "entry fee" of 5k marks per incursion, assuming you do all repairs at a station of your choice, so at the lower end we're talking 65k profit per incursion. I think an incursion takes me about 15-20 minutes (I've never looked at the exact times, sorry), so with targetwarps you're able to do three incursions an hour rather comfortably, meaning potential net profit of 195k marks per hour, paid whenever you feel you're done with incursioning and dock at a station. During the incursion itself, enemies will generally spawn around your ship, so if you don't fly around at full speed all the time you won't even have to look for them too hard, and once you've gained enough captaincy to use a skip drive, lining up shots becomes easy, especially because interceptors and corvettes can turn on a dime and give you nine cents change. There is no need for any artefacts, either.

    Contrary to that you have mining, which requires you to find your desired resource to begin with. Without artefacts, you would have to either get lucky or comb sectors manually for resources, assuming nobody told you the location of one you were interested in. With hyperscan 3 (900 creds!), you can scan for a resource every 15 minutes. Average yield for one asteroid/gas cloud feels like 20 units, with wild deviations both ways being possible - I've had my hyperscan lead me to what can only be described as traces of iriil being left by another miner quite a few times. Granted, you can get lucky and sometimes find multiple resources in a sector, but it's far from guaranteed, and many people seem to only mine in their starting interceptor, so even finding a second titanium asteroid means you get to do a second trip to haul it. If memory serves, it used to not be possible to have a specific asteroid refined in the refinery, so one would either have to only pick up asteroids of the same resource with a freighter or superhauler, or forego the bonuses on refining completely. On top of that, remembering what my tethered and probed asteroids contain is apparently below my shipsim, so even if it were possible I'd either have to write it down or hope there's already a handy nexus script to do that as I can't code my way out of a paper bag. Either way, let's assume the worst case - all four resources found per hour are there by themselves, and you don't find anything during the cooldown, netting you roughly 80 of the resource you wanted... in some hours, unless you queued them up at different refineries. The best profit can currently be made with iriil, which costs about 15 marks per unit to refine at Danica for no bonus, and can be sold for 100 marks and more, so if we ignore the costs for tethers/scoops/probes, we end up with a profit of 85 marks per unit, so my 80 units from an hour of mining earn me 6800 marks. While captaincy xp for large market orders is generally decent, we're talking several hundreds or even thousands of resources shifted here - far more than my one hour of mining can get me.

    Talking credits... In our example, I would stand at zero for my hour of mining as I'd only brought in four scoops/tethers. This can obviously be better with a freighter or a superhauler, as I could simply bring in all the asteroids I can find, but you're still talking about a very slow gain. I'm picking up pretty much everything with my superhauler, but positioning this spaceworthy monstrosity only becomes somewhat bearable once you get the 180 and overload maneuvers. We're still far from calling it "fun" though, and I dread to imagine how the turning rate of a superhauler with eight asteroids strapped to it would be without the mining specialisation. My suggestion would be to change the credit task to "queue up x batches of resources", with x being 25 or more. That way, credit gains might become comparable to incursioning, although still somewhat slower if we're using 25 or more (which would slightly more than one average asteroid, and about one good sized gas cloud). On that note, increase resource yields as well. No more single digit yield asteroids at least, and maybe a slightly better conversion rate of scooped gas to refined gas wouldn't go amiss either. I think 4:1 instead of the 5:1 we currently have could work. Maybe even tweak that on a per-gas base.

    The thing with the economy right now is that nobody wins. Resources are produced to be destroyed again, mainly in the form of upkeep or spent batteries (which, talking from the perspective of an RL environmental engineer, you might want to probably save for some degree of recycling, especially if so much of a valuable resource went into them...). Refineries have to be cheap, or go unused, meaning the owners sit on the costs for the foreseeable future - refineries at Danica cost a little more than 50k marks, and people either set the price to be exactly the cost, or make one or two marks profit per unit, meaning we're talking of 50k units of resources going through just to break even! It's the same with autofactories, to a slightly lesser extent.

    Economy things are not just ironically unprofitable, but also intangible in Starmourn. There is no impact on anything whether a market order is fulfilled or not. Starships are conjured from thin air, as are most other things. If it neither makes a profit nor a direct difference for the player, why do it? People have only so much time at their disposal, and will naturally gravitate towards what is most "profitable" or "fun", and right now economy is only fun if you either really hate yourself, are extremely altruistic or an unhealthy combination thereof.

    How to solve that is a different question, and a difficult one as well. I say make economy more visibly impact other systems as well, but not in the "you need x of this and y of that, or you can't do z" way, but perhaps more in a "we define certain criteria, and if so many are met, the faction gains access to certain perks". Those criteria could be something like "x amount of things refined/produced in the faction territory", or "x amount of materials stored", "x denizen orders fulfilled in the faction territory"... the resulting bonuses could be fancy shops in the capital opening up, or other perks like better prices at the existing shops, or new denizens perhaps with new quests, maybe even given only to those who have contributed in some way to the economic success. You could also try to slap them with an honors line or a fancy new title, but that will likely not motivate people for long. Of course, in lieu of other options, there's also always jacking up mark and xp rewards for doing them, but that alone might also not be a feasible long term solution, as there will always be a "better" option. So in order to avoid the arms race for more marks, the purpose of the economy could be more focused towards giving people a common goal to work towards.

    P.S. Sorry if people said those things before I posted, I've been writing on this for a rather long time and should probably go to sleep.
    P.P.S. Also sorry for text wall.



    Poeteel
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