Topping From the Bottom: Opinions on EU's Backwards Economy

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Topping From the Bottom: Opinions on EU's Backwards Economy

Postby Tyrannosapiens Rex » Tue Feb 20, 2018 3:04 am

Topping From the Bottom: Opinions on EU's Backwards Economy

I'm going on an rant about my favorite part of what makes Explorers Unlimited different from the rest of the larger PBP community. That would be it's metacurrency: the Explorer Points.

Other sites have tried shared universe gaming. Heck, metacurrency for play by post isn't an original idea to EU, either. The long-time player of Rocky on this site posited the idea during the Reboot in 2014 based on an idea he picked up from a site I helped administrate back then, and own the rights to entirely now (as my partners stopped paying for hosting). That site was livingmercenaries.net and I don't recommend you look at it right now. I'm trying to hunt down the archives of the last version of the site that was taken down while I was away, cause I suck at site building anyway and all the information was on the old forum.

Anyway, Sinder (Rocky's player, and yes he has a real name, I just hate using them) proposed an idea for limiting character submissions using 'Tokens', and I immediately jumped onboard that idea, and rambled on in length about what LM Tokens were good for. A sizable number of those suggestions ended up on the Explorer Points Menu we all use today. Other ideas have been referenced to, but never written in stone (like player created organizations). For this effort, Sinder and I were both paid rather generously for 'contributions to the reboot', as you can see in our respective ledger posts.

I am also the first person to have handed out Explorer points as a gift to others, the first (and only) Game Master to publicly receive a bribe from a Player in EP, and the first to offer items or services that can be paid for in EP.

I've been a partisan of and lobbyist for EU's metacurrency from day 0, in other words.

I never quite envisioned EP as such an awesome thing before recently though. The recent modification to the maximum compensation for Game Masters makes it almost perfect. Unlike any other economy I have seen or read about in the real world, the EP economy's currency is mostly generated directly by the lowest level participant in the economy, and will scale nearly perfectly upward if the population of users increases. Furthermore, it successfully embodies most of the goals of a cryptocurrency, but is inconvenient as a medium of exchange because it relies on whole integers. Tiree has proved both that it is a store of value, and an asset to be leveraged; as you can see from his ledger.

While Augur functions as the president of EU's central bank, as it were, his actual influence on generation of EP currency is minimal. Directly, he hands out only EP for annual patronage and arbitrary rewards based on player-driven requests. Indirectly, he also affects the pace of rewards for contests and bounties, and all of the underlying rules it is built on.

-An example of how Augur can easily influence the generation of EP, is in the early days there was a payout of 'contest submission' EP. Somewhere it's still written in ways to earn EP, but I don't think anyone's gotten the 1 EP just for submitting to a contest since 2015. Only best or top 3 count now. Irregardless of if it's simply a long-running oversite, a rule that was overturned but never clarified, or something else entirely, that change constricted something like 100 EP per year out of the economy, depending on the number of contests and participants. I can only assume more would try to participate if it was actively used again.

Dimension Masters are kind of left out of the EP economy in terms of generation potential, at least in a direct manner. Augur has authorized a bounty fund distribution for Dimension Masters; the Dimension Masters get to set the uses of Explorer Points in their setting; and every Dimension Master is a Game Master for their dimension and participate

The collective grouping of Game Masters combined generate more EP directly, compared to Augur. They are the second largest employer in the EP economy, employing Assistant Game Masters at almost the rate of 1:1. They also generate EP for their players when something the player does goes above and beyond, by submitting a request to Augur. They are also the largest beneficiaries of the economy, being the participants with the most stable income.

It's the players who generate the majority of the currency directly by supporting their Game Masters. Player Characters are the largest employer in the EP economy, determining the rate of pay for all Game Masters and the site Admins. They also can generate EP simply by participating in the site beyond a bare minimum. Contests, bounties, AGM/GM positions, supporting Augur's podcast, and simply posting more than once per week are all ways to participate in the EP economy and get more out of your experience on Explorers Unlimited, and perhaps some other ephemeral rewards in other places.

With more player characters (and more players, hopefully, but increased character slots purchased with EP are nearly as valid as a new player in the economy) there is a scaled increase in number of GM and AGM positions needing filled (one per 4-8 PCs), and an almost scaled increase in potential for post rate rewards (the top 3 doesn't scale, but would likely end up irrelevant quickly enough to not matter to anyone but the winners- a top 20 would be amazing if EU ever got to say 100 groups, in my opinion).

Contests and bounties do not automatically scale upward, but Augur could make it so if he decentralized the contest and bounty generation further. I did suggest the idea of tying the bounty EP given to the Dimension Masters to the number of PCs or groups in the dimension, but the idea was shot down, likely for it's added complexity. It would make the scaling more complete for the economy, however. Another idea that would work for scaling would be to tie the total amount distributed to the Dimension Masters to either the number of PCs (easiest count method) or active players (ledgers with active PC, AGM, or GM accounts as a tallying method), even if it is distributed to the Dimension Masters evenly. Another method could be tying the bounties to the number of patrons, but I think that would tie EP too much to the value of a dollar.

Most EP should be generated for actual work on the site (and AGMing and GMing is work, enjoyable work, but work nonetheless, and Admin-ing is work and I'm almost sure devoid of direct enjoyment.), and all EP will eventually be 'burned' by being spent on the Explorer Points menu, but that's not all there is to EP. We save them for that new account or specific expenditure, or just for a rainy day. We collectively create and issue them; then we proceed to lend and give them to each other for a variety of reasons, including in exchange for services. Augur and I have both used our ledgers to pay for services that benefit us more than the site in general, and as I stated before I have received a bribe. I have also offered them, to Augur for Jenny Jefferies, and instead ended up submitting a rule future returning players can use that was added to the EP menu.

I'd like to start a conversation on the topic of our little meta-economy, so I want to know what you think about Explorer Points? Is everything perfect? What would you like to see change? Does the idea of a currency scaled to it's economy even matter to you?
Of all the things encountered in the Megaverse, the most vile and evil are not the demons, or Alien Intelligences. No, even the Old Ones pale in vileness to the Human Tyrant King. For, only he treats his own kind, every day of his life, with the kind of careless attitude the Old Ones treated the so-called lesser races.
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Re: Topping From the Bottom: Opinions on EU's Backwards Econ

Postby Augur » Tue Feb 20, 2018 9:01 am

"Is everything perfect?"
The perfect is the enemy of the good. ;)

"What would you like to see change?"
I would like to see the ledgers automated. I believe Tiree is working on that to a limited degree.

"Does the idea of a currency scaled to it's economy even matter to you?"
If you mean a volume of currency that maintains some envisioned stable value, then no, it doesn't. I would, however, like to see deflation happen, but don't really imagine I can orchestrate such.

Edit: I also like the idea of maybe tying that GM EP pool to the number of players or something like that. That whole idea never got implemented though. Follow through never happened...not to my recollection.
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Re: Topping From the Bottom: Opinions on EU's Backwards Econ

Postby Tyrannosapiens Rex » Tue Feb 20, 2018 5:11 pm

You were discussing the idea of Dimension Masters getting a specific dole of EP to offer for bounties this year in hangouts. Given EU's general pace, I would say you've yet to implement it, rather than that follow through never happened.
Of all the things encountered in the Megaverse, the most vile and evil are not the demons, or Alien Intelligences. No, even the Old Ones pale in vileness to the Human Tyrant King. For, only he treats his own kind, every day of his life, with the kind of careless attitude the Old Ones treated the so-called lesser races.
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Re: Topping From the Bottom: Opinions on EU's Backwards Econ

Postby Augur » Wed Feb 21, 2018 7:58 am

Meh, same result. ;)
I really do rely on the community to keep me on top of things to a large degree. There's just so much to handle.
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Re: Topping From the Bottom: Opinions on EU's Backwards Econ

Postby Tyrannosapiens Rex » Wed Mar 14, 2018 3:23 am

Proof of EP as a method of payment for services not directly related to EU has been achieved!

Augur will let you post private bounties for services. Or at least he said I could, and he's an equal opportunity kinda guy.
Of all the things encountered in the Megaverse, the most vile and evil are not the demons, or Alien Intelligences. No, even the Old Ones pale in vileness to the Human Tyrant King. For, only he treats his own kind, every day of his life, with the kind of careless attitude the Old Ones treated the so-called lesser races.
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Re: Topping From the Bottom: Opinions on EU's Backwards Econ

Postby Ecks » Wed Mar 21, 2018 1:44 pm

I think it has been working very well. So well in fact that I've implemented a form of it in my home campaigns much to the liking of all the players, even referring players to the EP charts for purchases and restrictions.

The one element I think it still needs are expendalbe purchases beyond auto crit and dues ex machina. Basically a way for EP to exit the system without permanent reward. One example might look like: Vendetta: Cost: 1EP, Duration: 1 Quad, Gain +1 Attack vs. individual opponent for the remainder of the quadrimester.
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Re: Topping From the Bottom: Opinions on EU's Backwards Econ

Postby Tyrannosapiens Rex » Fri Mar 23, 2018 8:43 pm

Most thing other than slots and unlocks are expendables, really. What's Justin's EP spends on Beanpole doing right now with Bean in cold storage? Nothing right now. Tons of EP have been spent on characters not currently in play, and all of that is burn that is doing nothing now.
Of all the things encountered in the Megaverse, the most vile and evil are not the demons, or Alien Intelligences. No, even the Old Ones pale in vileness to the Human Tyrant King. For, only he treats his own kind, every day of his life, with the kind of careless attitude the Old Ones treated the so-called lesser races.
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Re: Topping From the Bottom: Opinions on EU's Backwards Econ

Postby Virtus » Mon Mar 26, 2018 4:46 am

Yes, to a degree. However at any time he can return.

If compared to a normal economy we have consumables such as food that are needed but once used cannot be reused. I think there could be a place for unique benefits that have a limited duration. Useful, but once used they are gone. The Fortune and Glory has a couple like that. But who's to say if it would be something the community would like.
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Re: Topping From the Bottom: Opinions on EU's Backwards Econ

Postby Tyrannosapiens Rex » Sun Feb 03, 2019 5:09 pm

Coming back to this after a year.

Most of my outlays of EP are for critical successes in the last year. Skills are second.

Dimensional EP were finally implemented in a simplified form.

I proposed a vast increase in GM and AGM rewards. We'll see how that turns out.
Of all the things encountered in the Megaverse, the most vile and evil are not the demons, or Alien Intelligences. No, even the Old Ones pale in vileness to the Human Tyrant King. For, only he treats his own kind, every day of his life, with the kind of careless attitude the Old Ones treated the so-called lesser races.
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Re: Topping From the Bottom: Opinions on EU's Backwards Econ

Postby Augur » Sun Feb 03, 2019 6:11 pm

Tyrannosapiens Rex wrote:I proposed a vast increase in GM and AGM rewards. We'll see how that turns out.

Expect to see price inflation across all menus if this is done.
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Re: Topping From the Bottom: Opinions on EU's Backwards Econ

Postby Tyrannosapiens Rex » Sun Feb 03, 2019 8:33 pm

Increasing pay and then devaluing currency. You're the damn government, Lloyd :P

Then I endorse the other option, the one Dark Lord suggested: reduce other rewards to make AGMing look better. The annual rewards for patronage for example. Give everyone a six month warning, then reduce them drastically.
Of all the things encountered in the Megaverse, the most vile and evil are not the demons, or Alien Intelligences. No, even the Old Ones pale in vileness to the Human Tyrant King. For, only he treats his own kind, every day of his life, with the kind of careless attitude the Old Ones treated the so-called lesser races.
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