The Gold Problem
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Joined: 10th Oct 2017
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28th Nov 2017

As we all know, hyperinflation, and gold sinks have always been a problem in UO.

I have been giving this a lot of thought, and there are a couple of ways that I have come up with to help curb the issue. Please submit your own suggestions, and discuss the pros and cons of each of mine.

Gambling

People love gambling, and people have currency, let's make the reward for gambling something other than more of the currency people already have.
This idea works essentially like loot boxes for other games, but they don't cost real money. They cost ingame money.
Implement several levels of boxes with different price points, and rewards unique to those price points.
Some of these items would need to be only obtainable from each price point of loot box, I'm fresh out of ideas at the moment please suggest your own!
How it works:
You buy a box for 100k, inside that box is one item from a list of items that can spawn at that level. There would be a weighted chance on the items to make some more rare than others and make the gamble worth it. Perhaps a top tier reward for this level would be a +10 stat scroll at a 2.5% drop rate. That's just an idea, don't hang me for it. Help me by providing your own ideas.
This would continue up in increments until boxes cost 1mill each. A good reward here could be some of the really expensive deco items, like a basement, or a wall safe. Yes you might not get those items for 1mill, but if you did, the gamble paid off.

Placing a RL currency value on in-game gold INDIRECTLY

If we place a RL currency value on in-game gold that will make gold's value more stable. It could also bring a little bit of competition to the marketplace. In order to achieve this without going the Hybrid route, you put a vendor in-game that sells donation coins for a gold amount. Since the donation coins already have a RL currency value of $5 per 1000 then we can indirectly set the RL value of gold by setting the vendor gold price of the donation coins. I would suggest a starting value of 1mill/1k gold/coin ratio, but again this thread is for discussion.

Other Ideas

These ideas aren't all mine, and a lot are being remembered from Discord last night but I wanted to document them and open them for further discussion.

Pet dyes for gold sink. Not neon-princess-bullshit, but like ore hues.

Skin change for pets.

Skill reset for pets.

Increase the cost of the stable depending on your taming/lore/vet. The higher your skill, the more you pay because you're likely keeping more dangerous pets in there than a warrior and his beetle. Those pets require more food and special care! Perhaps instead of 200/week it's something like 500 or 1000/day. 

Something that has been brought up several times, and everyone I talk to seems to be on board with it, is changing pet leashes again. If these items were blessed, I would buy them. In their current state being unblessed AND having charges, I don't think the risk is worth the reward. That opinion seems to be popular. Either make it so that they don't have charges and are unblessed, or they have charges and are blessed. I would also be OK with a price/charges increase/reduction in order to adjust for the change. My personal opinion that 100k for a blessed leash with 200 charges is a sweet spot. I think more would sell, and I would buy 2 right away. I bought two pet brushes, blessed with charges. One for each tamer. I only use my free 500 charge leashes for emergencies, and I have already lost one of those. So I don't think the other will be leaving my bank any time soon.

Let's move on from pets, I know almost everyone has a tamer, but how about some love for melee or archers?

Bow dye tub?

Bow runic kits?

Carpentry runic kits, or staves/epic wooden shields?

Quiver that holds 5000 arrows/bolts at 10-25 weight!?

A potion bag that can hold 25 of each potion and 200 bandies for only 10-25 weight!?

A system that relied on gold sunk into a stone in a set period of time that would provide a benefit for all players, and if the gold wasn't collected in time there would be a drawback for all players. - This didn't seem to be terribly popular with the toss out suggestion of it affecting evo pet XP gain. Make suggestions of your own.

Finally - Taxes

Implement a monthly housing tax. Just put down your pitchforks and torches and listen for a minute please?

For each tile your house takes up, an amount like 100 gold is withdrawn from your account on a monthly basis. So that means someone with a castle would pay 96.1k/mo in upkeep (31*31=961), but someone with a 7x7 would only pay 4900/mo in upkeep (7x7=49). With this system implemented it would be silly to have house decay enabled though. As long as someone is paying their taxes, they should be able to keep their house. They will eventually run out of money if they are not playing, and it will make "IDOCs" more readily available to everyone regardless of their playtime. The withdrawal time could be set to a decent time for everyone on a Saturday when people typically don't work. So the first Saturday of every month is tax/IDOC day.

Just a couple more points to put things in perspective. 1mill in gold could keep a castle standing for about 10 months. While this system isn't perfect, it's also not so over-the-top that you feel you have to constantly be grinding in order to keep your house, while also providing a large passive gold sink, and encouraging people to play more often than logging in just to refresh their house. It's the best thing to a "flat tax" that I could come up with. If you have better ideas please share them!

Here is a video I would recommend watching. It's informative, yet stimulating. 

And here is the follow-up video that was released a few years later.
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Joined: 5th Jun 2017
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28th Nov 2017

Nice post, can tell a lot of thought went in to it. If I come up with anything, I'll add them here.

One thing I think everyone realizes is there isn't a silver bullet here. Will take several things catering to several playstyles (tamer, warrior, mage, crafting) to bleed off excess gold.

I think there's a house tax (of sorts) being kicked around currently. I had a similar idea, but called it a "house Butler". You pay them some amount and they keep your house refreshed for you. Good idea to have it based on footprint though
Joined: 10th Jul 2017
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28th Nov 2017

I can dig a casino spot that has UO themed slot machines or texas hold'em that sort of thing. I wouldn't mind the prizes being home deco, regs, ingots, or whatever.
Joined: 5th Jun 2017
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28th Nov 2017

I think it'd be neat if crafters could pay a fee and earn increased chance to craft exceptional items at Brit smithy, carpenter, scribe, alchemist, tinker etc. That way if you have a plate suit you want to make, can pay 50k or something and stand at the Brit smithy and your crafting chance and Exc chance goes up for an hour. Each crafter would have it's own area and own fee. Would bring crafters back to the cities perhaps, vs in thier homes.

This may be an option in the the charity stone idea- where as a server we all contribute to reach a goal.

Only I'd remove the negative or punishing aspects of that system. Either reward us for getting it, or life is just normal if not
Joined: 11th Nov 2017
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28th Nov 2017

QuoteEach crafter would have it's own area and own fee. Would bring crafters back to the cities perhaps, vs in thier homes.
Crafting needs to have some type of randomity.  Right now when everyone can craft the same thing with no difference in stats the system will always have a hard time flourishing.  It takes around 4 hours or less to GM any particular skill on a weekend and you're up to making whatever it is you need.  While I understand the "pre-aos" mentality, having all crafters being able to craft the same thing make for no economy.

Having a place where you paid for a new tool that had to used at a certain anvil and that would allow random attributes when used.  Something along those lines.  It seems it would be easier to code it that way rather than a zone, perhaps?

I give you for example the "new" spellbook crafting (thanks @hibbi) I heard last night the perceived value of a certain slayer is hundreds of thousands up to half a million.  While we could quibble over whether or not we think that's a valid price point--it's a start to an economy for slayer books.  The reason they can sell or be valued at that is it's a random game mechanic when you craft.  Thanks for the post @Packet.  

It's going to take me a bit of time to think through it and reply to each part but I felt it's important to look at this as I feel like this would be a boost to the economy.
...

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Joined: 22nd Jul 2014
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30th Nov 2017

Thanks everyone for your insights and opinions. It really does help me arrive at key decisions that will make the game better for everyone. As always you should try to understand that any changes we make should be carefully thought out, balanced, and most importantly will take time to implement, not only in design but also in effect. Just putting a gold sink in won't instantly turn the economy around, so we will need to exercise patience and continuously evaluate the results. Here are my thoughts on the topics so far.

Gambling
The grab bag/loot crate idea has been floated before. The biggest issue I have with this is coming up with the right items to make it tempting, but not overdone, and not a rip off. It’s a good idea and I will likely implement this, but I want to circle back to this after I’ve given my thoughts on some of the other things mentioned.
I may also look at tweaking some of the casino games to give out prizes instead. I thought I’d seen script for this out there at one point but couldn’t find them again when I put that together. So maybe I’ll take a stab and making my own.
 
RL Currency Value on in game gold
I watched both videos and if you think about it, much of what he said is already being done on some level somewhere. It did give me the idea that perhaps I should be building gold sinks into quests, such as the Virtue Quest, where you have to pay a little money along with the quest item. I’ve disabled this quest for the time being so I can rework it. Not specifically for this reason, but for another reason I discovered that really kinda kills it anyway. So more to come on that.
Players are already permitted to sell/trade donation coins to other players. I’ve always been hesitant to be the one to set the price for an item you can obtain through other means. That should be up to the players to decide. Beyond that, suppose I were to put up a vendor where you could spend gold to get donation coins. Two things come from that; people who have paid real hard-earned cash may feel cheated. I respect the fact that someone has decided to donate the money they earned in real life toward supporting the server. That means a lot to me and I never want to devalue that. The other eventual outcome is that people buy a ton of donation coins for gold, obtain all the available items they want, and then we’re right back to where we started, or I must continuously come up with new items to add (which is easier said than done). So a direct 1:1 vendor is not sounding like a good option. However, if we combine it with the loot crate idea above it could work. Suppose you could buy a loot crate with a chance (albeit a small one) to get a donation item, among other things. In this way you’re always going to get something, that something may be low or high quality, or might just be “epic” in the sense that it’s something that couldn’t ordinarily be purchased with gold. This would accomplish the same goal with less chance of it being short lived.
 
Pet dyes 
I really don’t think this works in reality. Any dye I come up with could be applied to a pet and potentially look hideous. Maybe I shouldn’t care so much what your pets look like, but some people really seem to take offense to a hideously dyed creature, and it somehow detracts from the immersion or quality of the game. At the very least it could look really silly.
 
Skin change deeds
I’ve already started working on this but it will take time, as there are a lot of creatures in the game. I also thought about creating one for ordinary creatures and another for “premium” skins not available otherwise.
 
Increased stable costs
I did actually think about this before. My concern was the appearance that I was somehow taxing tamers or being unfair to a particular play style. True most people have a tamer, but I don’t think it’s fair to say that all people do or will in the future. So I’d like to hear more thoughts on this before I seriously consider it.
 
Pet Leashes
I’m going to push back on this assertion just a little. I understand the concern, but I question whether it not being blessed is truly a deterrent to purchasing them. To date, since the new leashes were posted 38 have been purchased, for a whopping 3.8 million gold sunk. However, if everyone agrees that them being blessed is worth an additional…I dunno 50k? Then I think we could make a deal here. I could also add the strong pet leashes (500 charges) at a discounted rate per charge.
 
Bow Dye Tub
It has always been my intention to work on a fletching/carpentry BOD system similar to blacksmithing and tailoring. Again it is a matter of coming up with worth while rewards as well as time.  Part of that would lead to fletching and carpentry runics.

 
Quiver that holds large amounts of ammo
There is already a quiver available in game as a paragon loot drop that has a 50% weight reduction. So making something like this that could hold even more ammo not only renders that item somewhat worthless, but you have to also consider that it’s only reducing the weight inside that container but still counts towards the total amount of weight the character can carry. In other words, it wouldn’t be a set number of arrows, it’d be an amount of weight. If your character is too weak to carry it then they’re too weak to carry it.
 
Supply bag
I don’t necessarily think this is a bad idea on it’s face, but I think we do need to carefully think it through. Is the bag blessed? What about the items inside? If so doesn’t that detract from some of the risk associated with battle?
 
Gold sink events
I think this has been successfully shot down by the majority of players. See, even some of my own ideas don’t get implemented.
 
Property Taxes
This idea was already suggested in the form of a butler that would refresh someone’s house in exchange for a fee. I decided to focus on the evo pet system first which took some time to develop, implement, and polish out. So this is definitely my next priority. Although I don’t think I’d base it on square footage so to speak, but rather number of available lockdowns, since it’s already a readily available and relative number. Some people may choose not to buy this however, so it’s not a silver bullet, but I do have some other surprises that will coincide with that feature.
 

Crafting Area/Fee Membership
This is an interesting idea. I could see it more like a sort of crafter’s guild where membership fees are due regularly. I’ll think about this some more. But it can definitely play into some of the ideas expressed by Djinn.
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Joined: 10th Jul 2017
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30th Nov 2017

I hope people don't buy the property tax butler. I like houses that fall, however, it is bitter-sweet. I get loot, but the server loses a player
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Joined: 19th Aug 2017
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30th Nov 2017

Please remember that not everyone is a powergamer. I don't have a gold problem. I have like 200k in the bank. And there is not a lot I can do with it as everything is so expensive...
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Joined: 22nd Jul 2014
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30th Nov 2017

Generally speaking none of the gold sink items are essential to game play. Most are decorative or convenience items.
Joined: 14th Oct 2016
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30th Nov 2017

I don't think that the Casino implemented its potential in general, in my opinion most players don't even know it exists.
Secondly, all the list of the products you can buy at the casino are meh.... the colors are lame and you can buy everything in with regular gold, so why should I even play in the casino if I can purchase whatever I want?
The idea of investing gold, but the winnings will be paid in casino chips, for example, and not in gold, it is much better, and then buying stuff from the casino's store will be through chips instead of gold.

Plus the idea of buying an unknown mystery box is a cool idea, it's something that is popular in the real world in the last year, you can purchase on eBay a mystery box for 200$ and you don't know what you can get inside.
Maybe something like this can work at the Casino? I would definitely try it, to buy a mystery box for 50K/100K/250K/500K/1M for example.

And Yay for:
Pet dyes, Skin change deeds, Pet Leashes blessed, Bow Dye Tub.
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Joined: 5th Jun 2017
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3rd Dec 2017



Gambling
I dont gamble at Nino ’s because I dont know what can be won there. Having that info on the wiki (looking at you players that know) would help I think. Also adding in items such as 1-3 use runic hammers, powerscrolls, evo leveling vitamins, etc would entice me to go gamble for sure. This to me is essentially the same thing as the loot crate idea below. I wouldnt do both, just one or the other. Add those items as drop chances to the slot machines at Nino's- or dont do anything to Nino's and put them as loot crate purchases.
 
RL Currency Value on in game gold
It did give me the idea that perhaps I should be building gold sinks into quests, such as the Virtue Quest, where you have to pay a little money along with the quest item.
  • I think that ’s a fantastic idea!

I also agree that you shouldnt be able to directly purchase donation coins from a vendor. Let people buy the dono coins and set their own price to sell if they like. However adding in loot boxes which have a chance to drop dono items is a better option I think. Could make a funny little goblin dude that sells the boxes next to WBB or something. Could also add in powerscrolls, runic items, paragon drops (quiver, heart of the lion, etc). You dont know if you ’re going to get these items- but having the chance to makes the purchase worth it.
 
Pet dyes 
Personally- I dont like pet dyes. But thats the problem. Everyone has their own opinion on the matter. I suggest taking the line of “if I cant make everyone happy, I'll just make myself happy” (referring to Abra).  
 
Skin change deeds
We ’re talking about changing evo forms here right? We're not saying I'll be able to turn myself into an ettin are we? I wouldnt like that at all personally. I would be OK with being able to change my evo's form if something else came out or just to get to stare at something else lol.
 
Increased stable costs
Personally I wouldn t mess with the stable costs. I think the pet leashes are a much more solid gold sink.


However, I would like to put forth the suggestion that there be made a special stable where you could pay some set premium amount and as long as your pet is in this stable, it would gain skill points! Maybe it'd take a week to go from 0 skill to 100 skill. See it as stabling your pet with a master horseman instead of a toothless backwoods hillbilly that barely remembers to feed your pet.
This idea stems from my hell hound pack. I ’ve got them all trained up except for their resisting spells. I spent about 8 hours casting mana vampire( with two mages) on one of my wolves and managed to get it to 65 range. The whole time I had to feed the thing to keep it from running away and I had to put it on a boat and stand on the shore to keep it from attacking me. The whole thing was very annoying and I didnt even get close to GMing the skill.
If the custom stable that lets your pet gain skills is too hard to code or we're too afraid of messing stuff up (deleting pets, or pets get to 3000 tactics lol); maybe we could add a NPC pet master that just sells pet scrolls that insta-level your pets skills by some amount for a price. 10 points for 50k or something. That'd take 500k to raise the pets resisting spells to 100 if they started pretty low. Not something that has to be done- you could just grind it the old fashioned way- but if you got the cash it's a shortcut.
 
Pet Leashes
I believe this change has been implemented and I ’m all for it. I was always worried about losing my leash because it wasn't blessed. Good change!
 
Bow Dye Tub
No comment, other than if we ’re going to have bow dye tub we should also have spellbook dye tubs in my opinion.

 
Quiver that holds large amounts of ammo
I have one of the quivers and can put 500 arrows in to it. If I put those 500 arrows into my pouch they weigh 50 stones. If I put them into the quiver they weigh 25 stones so I can confirm the 50% weight reduction. I think it ’s a pretty fair balance. I dont think it'd be good to let archers carry 5k arrows when mages cant carry 5k regs or warriors 5k pots.
 
Supply bag
I like this idea. Neither the bag nor the items in it should be blessed however. We ’re big on risk vs reward right? You should be able to put regs, potions, and bandages, hell even gold in the supply bag and they should all get 50% weight reduction (just like the quiver above). The reward being you get to carry more or at least have less weight for supplies and more weight for loot- the risk being all your items are now conveniently located in one pouch for easy pickings in pvp or in pve when a creature loots your corpse.
 
Gold sink events
I kind of liked the idea, except for removing the negative if you dont succeed? Maybe those that contribute are the only one ’s that receive the benefit? For example- this months reward is increased evo experience. You could have different tiers. 10k gets you 1% exp gain, 50k 5%, 100k 10%, 500k 25% etc etc. That way everyone gets some benefit for participating, but you cant have any free loaders? Not sure what kind of coding nightmare that may be however.
 
Property Taxes
No comment. C ’mon Jeeves!  

Crafting Area/Fee Membership
Having a crafters guild was kind of what I was trying to get at, just didnt verbalize it well. I agree with Djinn ’s sentiments that you dont want 100% success chance to craft exc platemail by any means. However I think getting a 10% boost to your exceptional success chance for paying a 100k membership due is totally viable.
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