Valve Hired an Economist

Discussion in 'Off Topic' started by tyler, Jun 16, 2012.

  1. tyler

    aa tyler snail prince, master of a ruined tower

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    Not sure if any of you care, but apparently there's going to be a weekly blog post about all of Valve's virtual economies and whatever.

    http://blogs.valvesoftware.com/economics/it-all-began-with-a-strange-email/

    This is just an introduction of sorts, but I really look forward to what comes out of this in the future.
     
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  2. grazr

    aa grazr Old Man Mutant Ninja Turtle

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    I like to look at it as "common sense".

    http://www.ted.com/talks/jason_fried_why_work_doesn_t_happen_at_work.html

    As companies start to understand a more liberal approach to a working environment actually increases not only productivity rate, but quality, we see companies like Google and FaceBook adopt similar approaches to running a creative business.
     
  3. Fr0Z3nR

    aa Fr0Z3nR Creator of blackholes & memes. Destroyer of forums

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    Fun fact: The only other game to do this is EVE online.

    I find this really interesting, and a bit of a nod to how far video games, its developers and the industry have come in the past 10-15 years.
     
  4. Trotim

    aa Trotim

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  5. tyler

    aa tyler snail prince, master of a ruined tower

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    It's not just TF2, though. It's that and CSGO and Dota 2 and trading games on Steam and what makes players buy things at various costs. It's far, far more than TF2.
     
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  6. Micnax

    aa Micnax I maek map

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    Can they hire a timekeeper too?
     
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  7. Prestige

    aa Prestige im not gay anymore

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    invest in items in games other than tf2 i guess? seems like they are gonna nerf tf2 items' value somehow. how on earth are they going to make portal hats valuable at all when no one plays that game anymore.
     
  8. Trotim

    aa Trotim

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    Meh, CS:GO and Dota 2 and TF2 all use the same system I thought. Steam sales and pricing may be interesting I guess.

    And how is cross-game trading even supposed to work? Like when someone has a rare Spiral Knights item, and trades it for a Dota 2 item, and then gets a TF2 item... don't they all have different currencies? Does every dev team just need to do to their item system whatever some "lead of virtual items" person tells them next, or be excluded from Steam Trading? Or some team screws up and their items have some exploit, do the connected games' economies just have to deal with it or is the dev team penalized etc.

    Sure it's interesting. I still don't want to be part of it or have to deal with it, even indirectly. Still think games aren't there for farming, hoarding and primarily making money but whatever.

    Some people won't buy Torchlight 2 because it won't have serious trading because of the moddability and no "always online DRM" and think the game is awful because of that. I'll never understand that I guess.

    edit: I think the main... issue I see is that the value of virtual items is always based on how difficult they are to obtain. That can be rarity and thus chance and what I think equates to gambling, or it is a long amount of time (i.e. grinding) needed to get it - usually both. At least the latter shouldn't be a big part of games in the first place, is just filler content, a time sink. And the former reinforces that and leads to addiction, or at least obsession. Not to mention there is no real scarcity, it's all arbitrary - there's an infinite supply and none of the items have any production cost.

    Unusual hats and strange weapons in TF2 both don't improve gameplay one single bit, are both just there for, well, the money in the end.

    "But it's still fun", a lot of people say. Yeah, well... it seems to be a very fine line to tread. Board games are fun, you can play them whenever, you can stop whenever. Games with persistent collecting though, like CCGs... I used to say I played CCGs but I never actually have - that is I did play them, but with all cards unlocked via online suites, none bought.

    It's just still creepy to me I guess. People become so dependent... well, that happens sometimes. What's creepy is that the studios design the games specifically to make you dependent and keep playing past the point it "should" still be fun.

    Not trying to start some war again, this is just the best way I can currently describe it. There are some games that try to do it "normally", and I guess TF2 or Spiral Knights or LoL or Tribes:Ascend aren't thaaat bad, but some games are super predatory and I'm afraid of it getting even worse in the future.
     
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    Last edited: Jun 16, 2012
  9. tyler

    aa tyler snail prince, master of a ruined tower

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    what are you talking about

    I don't think they are trying to enforce any kind of standard. And I don't think that an exploit will really destroy the entire Steam-wide economy. Everything has a perceived USD amount attached to it that people think about (at least indirectly).

    If you can do a 1:1 trade for something from TF2 to SK, and then SK gets some item duping bug, I don't think it'll stay 1:1 and ruin TF2. It just doesn't make sense. It'll go to 1:4 or 1:6 or something. I mean, look at the old D2 economy and the way the D3 one is shaping up. As gold and item farming techniques are refined, and the prices for buying gold online change, the items players trade also fluctuate in value.

    Grinding for items vs getting them via luck doesn't really matter, because in both cases the item is rare and therefore valuable. How you get the item is irrelevant unless players stop farming them or they stop dropping. What matters is how many exist and how quickly they enter or exit the economy, not how they are obtained.
     
  10. Prestige

    aa Prestige im not gay anymore

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    i thought i read something about the economy being too focused on tf2 but i guess i made it up
     
  11. grazr

    aa grazr Old Man Mutant Ninja Turtle

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    Personally i think systems like WoW should just be banned anyway. Whilst few people are able to play such games without issue, i myself played it for 3 months and enjoyed the role playing (although incidently no one would quest with me because i actually bothered to read the quests). But then i have a strong, non-addictive personality.

    Both of my brothers dropped 2 grades during school because they got into WoW and 3 of my friends lost their jobs to it, and another lost their relationship. The mechanics are nothing short of evil and Yahtzee's zero-punctuation review of cataclysm was pretty accurate in describing what a game like that does to you.

    I've seen how the Dota 2 thread over at the PS forums is going and there's a large discussion on the Dota Auction House and how best to undercut the Dota economy. I just kinda end up face palming at the serious aura these things develop as someone complains how a couple undercutting players dropped the value of several items by several factors for over a week and it was a travesty.

    I've also noted discussions on the Star Trek Online forums regarding the "Dilithium" (gold) economy and how the economy is skewed because the dilithium acquisition is capped per day since F2P in January, but old gold members from 2 years before the game went F2P can just corner entire areas of any market since they have almost limitless Dilithium, and this shit sells on Ebay on a near 10:1 with USD.
     
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  12. Trotim

    aa Trotim

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    I guess it doesn't influence the "worth", what I meant is that I just feel those things shouldn't be parts of games in the first place. Or at least minimized. Some grinding for pacing purposes, well fine. Endless grinding and gambling for virtual items? Nnnneeeeh. Just feels like a giant... "scam", or "con", or whatever to me.
     
  13. tyler

    aa tyler snail prince, master of a ruined tower

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    It infuriates me when someone gets addicted to something and the thing is blamed, rather than the person. People make choices, and if someone made a choice to play WoW 18 hours a day, every day, and lose everything, that isn't WoW's fault. WoW is a scapegoat. WoW doesn't inject drugs into their veins. I don't like WoW either, and I think it's a shitty game, but I don't blame it for giving people that want to fall into addiction an outlet; they'd find that somewhere else anyway, be it with narcotics or alcohol or Counter-Strike or baking cakes or whatever.

    I've known people that have completely succumbed to WoW and lost everything, too. Some bounced back and some are still in a perpetual state of shit. They all know, though, that what happened was their own fault.
     
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  14. Sel

    Sel Banned

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    I hope he's a free market capitalist and he just tells valve not to do anything since that would be like regulation man!!
     
  15. tyler

    aa tyler snail prince, master of a ruined tower

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    Yeah, me too. That's why I like in game economies. I can get what I want eventually, somehow, without bothering to do all the stupid shit.
     
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  16. Trotim

    aa Trotim

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    Well see... and I don't agree with that. It seems obvious to me the games are specifically designed to foster addiction and thus at least half to blame as well. I don't see the games trying to do anything to help addicted people or keep it in check which I don't see as ignorance or laziness but as exploitation.
     
  17. grazr

    aa grazr Old Man Mutant Ninja Turtle

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    I suppose you're also the type of person who thinks that women who wear slutty clothes deserve to be raped because they should have known wearing such clothes makes them a target for sexual predators; and vulnerable elderly people deserve to be ripped off by cold callers because they shouldn't have left themselves so vulnerable by living alone when they're so weak and feable minded.

    Many people don't realise they're vulnerability until it's too late and that's not the persons fault at all. A helping hand of warning from a friend or parent would go a long way but then you can't always count on everyone to be aware of the affects of a computer game with unique mechanics.

    There's no need for a game like WoW to have mechanics that reward players for playing more than they should. WoW can still be a completely reasonable game without these mechanics. Nobodies blaming the game, it's just WoW is synonimous with these mechanics.

    It's also often not a conscious decision at all. Nobody just starts playing wow 18 hours a day the same way noone just takes herion everyday from the first time they shoot up. You're over simplifying the situation completely.
     
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  18. Sel

    Sel Banned

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    While no drug, game or what-have-you is by itself addictive, they can still affect a person's susceptibility to addiction.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=36HquPzdxf4

    Have fun~

    You're giving people far too many points under free will than they deserve.
     
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  19. Fr0Z3nR

    aa Fr0Z3nR Creator of blackholes & memes. Destroyer of forums

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    You put too much trust into human will.

    (Oh god, I agreed with Sel)
     
  20. tyler

    aa tyler snail prince, master of a ruined tower

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    Don't give me this strawman bullshit, grazr, you are better than that. I'm not even going to explain my views to you because you know you're wrong. Please don't clutter this thread with twice-removed discussions; this one is bad enough.

    "Unique mechanics" have nothing to do with it. You do shit over and over and a habit loop is exploited. You know what else exploits habit loops? Corporations. I don't see anyone saying they're addicted to shopping at Target. The idea that a video game can control your actions through a screen, as though it's some kind of diabolically engineered mind trap, is fucking absurd.

    I do think people make choices. Everyone has free will. But some people are too stupid to actually use it. I know that a game that exploits habit loops will probably get some people addicted. But when that person is losing loved ones and losing jobs and letting their hygiene or appearance suffer, when that person is playing non-stop--which is what you described yourself grazr, not me, as an example of what this does--that is purely the choice of that person, whether it be conscious or subconscious, and I don't believe it has anything to do with how susceptible they are to addiction. Don't tell me I oversimplified when you did that to begin with.

    There are how many millions of WoW players? And how many have never even raided? When is the last time X number of players with active subscriptions even logged in? Do I need to dig up all these numbers for you or can you stop trying to place your shitty argument on me, like it was mine?

    Addendum: Trotim makes a valid point that Blizzard or any other company doesn't take steps to limit how much players play, or whatever. They don't make steps to stop addiction. And you know what? I think that is fine. It would never work, and anyway, it isn't Blizzard's job to be someone's brain, to be someone's dad.

    Limiting play time is pointless anyway. Look at Kingdom of Loathing--run out of actions? Log into your other account. No matter what you do, people will find a way around it. One of the signs of true addiction is doing whatever it takes to get your fix, and placing arbitrary limits on time or actions won't do a thing to stop that.
     
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