A talk about economy, caravans and monopoly in towns

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    • A talk about economy, caravans and monopoly in towns

      I kept an eye on this issue for a few months now and honestly I reached the conclusion that city plot auctions are quite badly designed. What's worse is that the devs' effort on adding content around caravans transporting resources from one city to another is completely wasted because it's not worth crafting anywhere else other than Caerleon (due to the considerably high taxes, travel time / crafting bonus too low and the low but existent chance of being ambushed and loosing your stuff).
      My suggestion would be to
      1) increase the resource return rate bonus in those towns from 15/25 to 25/40 without focus and to 50/75 with focus. This way people will have a reason to transport mats from one town to another in order to craft and this will also create profitable opportunities for gankers in red zones
      2) combat city plots monopoly by heavily restricting the ownership in royal towns to only 2 per account, only to premium characters, only 2-3 characters per each guild. Right now the plots in each city are owned by 3-4 people (in Thetford for example, quite a few plots are empty, but the owners won't let them go even for a few milions*). I believe that such a regulation would force plot owners in those towns to bring prices to competitive levels. If you pair this with the 1st suggestion, you get a better economy and more small scale pvp in red zones.


      * imgur.com/a/aVC20nA

      PS: I don't think "but sandbox" is a good counter-argument for #2. You can't come to my island and pillage my chest, burn my crops or rape my sex slave laborer. You can't go to one of those magnate's properties and destroy them when they are away. Why shouldn't there be mechanics aimed at making the economy as fluid and competitive as possible? Roleplay-wise, of course that markets would be regulated on the royal continent.
    • Unfortunately, most of the active players in the game have brought these issues up countless times.

      The Devs simply don't seem to want to listen, and/or are too lazy to change the game in ways to improve the overall QOL and economy.


      The centralization of Caerleon is the biggest problem. It's a problem with the Blackzone. It's a problem with castles (Squad able to front 100 men at any castle to get rewards at any time). It's a problem with the Royal continent and Royal cities.

      Almost every player who played in Beta preferred the Beta-world style. Caravans were worthwhile. It was worth the trip to deliver low tier goods and resources. There were countless adventures to be had. Traveling zone to zone was important. All that was destroyed when Albion was released last year, with the Caerleon realmgate.

      The Devs simply don't care.
    • letwolf wrote:

      Current plot auction system is hugely in favor of current owners. I'll talk about that in round table.
      This isn't quite accurate. I have no love for plot owners, but it's not all flowers and pretty faces for them either. The real problems only start to pop up when plots aren't available for purchase to the general public at prices that reflect their value.

      Which only seems to end up happening when all, or many, of the plot owners start to work in conjunction with each other or a small group of players gains control of all or most of a city.

      Even when that happens players still have options. If you are just starting out in AO. Just leave the city and move to another, like Bridgewatch or Martlock, where taxes are low and plots are generally available. Almost everything you do in a city is going to put some silver into the pockets of plot owners, and if what you want is them to go broke and leave, you should do things that incentivize them to do just that. Don't sell in those cities, don't buy or craft in those cities, don't let them have any more silver than they can gouge out of the players who don't care like you do.

      If you have a little silver saved up and don't mind people thinking poorly of you, just bid on their plots during the auction. For the low cost of locking your silver up for 48 hours or less, the actual worst case scenario is that you actually win the plot. Otherwise, you just get your money back. This is the stick you have.

      If taxes are reasonable and trade is reasonably fair. You give them your silver. If taxes are unreasonable and the jokers make people walk to the edges of the map to pay 23%+ taxes. You hit them with the stick.
      Discord: Piddle#7413
    • Piddle wrote:

      letwolf wrote:

      Current plot auction system is hugely in favor of current owners. I'll talk about that in round table.
      This isn't quite accurate. I have no love for plot owners, but it's not all flowers and pretty faces for them either. The real problems only start to pop up when plots aren't available for purchase to the general public at prices that reflect their value.
      1. Owners have doubled their bid value.
      2. Owners have extra 24 hours to overbid any placed bids on all their plots with their 50% bid discount.

      That means, if someone accumulated a critical amount of wealth (read: Bananapudding and his minions, owning entirely Lymhurst and Fort sterling, setting over-greedy taxes like 120%), there comes the moment, that you, or even small group of people, cant do anything about it.
      You cant place bid high enough, as you simply dont have *that* much and 50% discount.
      You cant catch owner on last 5 minutes before auction ends, because he has extra 24 hours to overbid all bidders.

      I think extra 24h rule must be removed. Let owners take only that number of plots, that they can maintain during auction.
    • letwolf wrote:

      1. Owners have doubled their bid value.2. Owners have extra 24 hours to overbid any placed bids on all their plots with their 50% bid discount.

      That means, if someone accumulated a critical amount of wealth (read: Bananapudding and his minions, owning entirely Lymhurst and Fort sterling, setting over-greedy taxes like 120%), there comes the moment, that you, or even small group of people, cant do anything about it.
      You cant place bid high enough, as you simply dont have *that* much and 50% discount.
      You cant catch owner on last 5 minutes before auction ends, because he has extra 24 hours to overbid all bidders.

      I think extra 24h rule must be removed. Let owners take only that number of plots, that they can maintain during auction.
      None of this matters to me, since I can certainly bid more than the entire income of the city if I want to. I don't care if I win the plots. I just want to make it so that all of their time and effort doing little plot owner things gets them as little actual income as I can.
      Discord: Piddle#7413
    • Dacunetc wrote:

      2) combat city plots monopoly by heavily restricting the ownership in royal towns to only 2 per account, only to premium characters, only 2-3 characters per each guild. Right now the plots in each city are owned by 3-4 people (in Thetford for example, quite a few plots are empty, but the owners won't let them go even for a few milions*). I believe that such a regulation would force plot owners in those towns to bring prices to competitive levels. If you pair this with the 1st suggestion, you get a better economy and more small scale pvp in red zones.

      * imgur.com/a/aVC20nA

      PS: I don't think "but sandbox" is a good counter-argument for #2. You can't come to my island and pillage my chest, burn my crops or rape my sex slave laborer. You can't go to one of those magnate's properties and destroy them when they are away. Why shouldn't there be mechanics aimed at making the economy as fluid and competitive as possible? Roleplay-wise, of course that markets would be regulated on the royal continent.

      a city monopoly is simply a concentration of wealth which is inevitable after a certain period of time... even if you implement the above restrictions, owners will continue to collaborate to fix taxes and close out new owners... the current auction system is entirely dependent on silver, which obviously means that older and richer players will inevitably dominate plot ownership...

      islands are intended to be 100% safe but their buildings suffer several critical disadvantages compared to city plots, which are better in every way but are vulnerable to economic attack...

      also the empty plots you see are due to broken crafting capacity mechanics and cost-saving rather than anything sinister...

      letwolf wrote:

      Current plot auction system is hugely in favor of current owners. I'll talk about that in round table.

      actually the opposite is true, which will become clear if you take my advice in the above post...

      Piddle wrote:

      The real problems only start to pop up when plots aren't available for purchase to the general public at prices that reflect their value.

      Which only seems to end up happening when all, or many, of the plot owners start to work in conjunction with each other or a small group of players gains control of all or most of a city.

      there are still many opportunities to win plots during the auction, it is simply harder to achieve in cities with a cartel or monopoly structure... this situation is entirely player-created, and to ask SBI to change that would not be in the interest of a sandbox game...

      letwolf wrote:

      That means, if someone accumulated a critical amount of wealth (read: Bananapudding and his minions, owning entirely Lymhurst and Fort sterling, setting over-greedy taxes like 120%), there comes the moment, that you, or even small group of people, cant do anything about it.
      You cant place bid high enough, as you simply dont have *that* much and 50% discount.
      You cant catch owner on last 5 minutes before auction ends, because he has extra 24 hours to overbid all bidders.

      I think extra 24h rule must be removed. Let owners take only that number of plots, that they can maintain during auction.

      with an auction system entirely dependent on silver, is it any surprise that old money will always beat new money? but if new money makes friends with old money, then even the richest person in the game can be taken down...
      Bank of Albion
      Investments & Third-Party Services (ROFLMAO)
      Contact me via the Forums or Discord: Saya#4434

      The post was edited 1 time, last by Saya ().

    • MEATCUP wrote:

      Dacunetc wrote:

      anywhere else other than Caerleon (due to the considerably high taxes, travel time / crafting bonus too low
      Flat crafting bonus in royal cities for specific items and resources is quite high though - what are your thoughts on how city specific crafting influences potential trade routes?
      I know, but I think that if you amount the time spent traveling, the considerably higher taxes and the small risk involved, it's really not worth it compared to Caerleon. That's why I suggested that the bonus should be higher.

      Piddle wrote:

      How many bids did you place in Thetford?
      As you can see in the screenshots, two (1mil and 2.05mil) on empty spots (which remain empty). I don't mind that I don't own the land, but that a person is allowed to lock plots of land and create monopoly (that person owns 25% of Thetford; 13.5m was the total bid of those 5 plots I checked, but she/he has a lot more plots).

      Piddle wrote:

      letwolf wrote:

      Current plot auction system is hugely in favor of current owners. I'll talk about that in round table.
      This isn't quite accurate. I have no love for plot owners, but it's not all flowers and pretty faces for them either. The real problems only start to pop up when plots aren't available for purchase to the general public at prices that reflect their value.
      Which only seems to end up happening when all, or many, of the plot owners start to work in conjunction with each other or a small group of players gains control of all or most of a city.

      Even when that happens players still have options. If you are just starting out in AO. Just leave the city and move to another, like Bridgewatch or Martlock, where taxes are low and plots are generally available. Almost everything you do in a city is going to put some silver into the pockets of plot owners, and if what you want is them to go broke and leave, you should do things that incentivize them to do just that. Don't sell in those cities, don't buy or craft in those cities, don't let them have any more silver than they can gouge out of the players who don't care like you do.

      If you have a little silver saved up and don't mind people thinking poorly of you, just bid on their plots during the auction. For the low cost of locking your silver up for 48 hours or less, the actual worst case scenario is that you actually win the plot. Otherwise, you just get your money back. This is the stick you have.

      If taxes are reasonable and trade is reasonably fair. You give them your silver. If taxes are unreasonable and the jokers make people walk to the edges of the map to pay 23%+ taxes. You hit them with the stick.
      You are right, if the devs won't do anything, maybe we can. I'll try to start an event next month.



      my reply is with green

      Saya wrote:

      Dacunetc wrote:

      2) combat city plots monopoly by heavily restricting the ownership in royal towns to only 2 per account, only to premium characters, only 2-3 characters per each guild. Right now the plots in each city are owned by 3-4 people (in Thetford for example, quite a few plots are empty, but the owners won't let them go even for a few milions*). I believe that such a regulation would force plot owners in those towns to bring prices to competitive levels. If you pair this with the 1st suggestion, you get a better economy and more small scale pvp in red zones.

      * imgur.com/a/aVC20nA

      PS: I don't think "but sandbox" is a good counter-argument for #2. You can't come to my island and pillage my chest, burn my crops or rape my sex slave laborer. You can't go to one of those magnate's properties and destroy them when they are away. Why shouldn't there be mechanics aimed at making the economy as fluid and competitive as possible? Roleplay-wise, of course that markets would be regulated on the royal continent.
      a city monopoly is simply a concentration of wealth which is inevitable after a certain period of time... even if you implement the above restrictions, owners will continue to collaborate to fix taxes and close out new owners... the current auction system is entirely dependent on silver, which obviously means that older and richer players will inevitably dominate plot ownership...

      islands are intended to be 100% safe but their buildings suffer several critical disadvantages compared to city plots, which are better in every way but are vulnerable to economic attack...

      also the empty plots you see are due to broken crafting capacity mechanics and cost-saving rather than anything sinister...
      --------------
      It is inevitable because it's not regulated in any way. You can see the effects very easily, just by looking at each town: Caerleon, Martlock - lots of owners, reasonable taxes; Thetford, Fort Sterling - 3/4 owners, horrible taxes. I'm not saying that older and richer players should not be able to buy plots, I'm saying that they shouldn't be able to buy 25% of a town, and worse, lock the plots to create monopoly. I believe that my suggestions will increase the number of unique plot owners, which will inevitably come with better competition in the problematic towns and will decrease the taxes.

      "also the empty plots you see are due to broken crafting capacity mechanics and cost-saving rather than anything sinister.." how?

      letwolf wrote:

      Current plot auction system is hugely in favor of current owners. I'll talk about that in round table.
      actually the opposite is true, which will become clear if you take my advice in the above post...
      ----
      If this was the case, owners would have changed every month.

      Piddle wrote:

      The real problems only start to pop up when plots aren't available for purchase to the general public at prices that reflect their value.

      Which only seems to end up happening when all, or many, of the plot owners start to work in conjunction with each other or a small group of players gains control of all or most of a city.
      there are still many opportunities to win plots during the auction, it is simply harder to achieve in cities with a cartel or monopoly structure... this situation is entirely player-created, and to ask SBI to change that would not be in the interest of a sandbox game...
      ----
      Welp, it's very easy to notice that, surprise-surprise, players did not go against the human nature and the situation currently sucks. I don't want a plot in Thetford, I want reasonable taxes and good enough resource return rate in all the towns, This way moving resources from one royal town to another would make sense. And I'd argue that having caravans in red zones and people trying loot them would be in the interest of a sandbox game, and also would create new activities and would improve economy. The only people who will suffer from this are the ones who hold monopoly in a city.

      The post was edited 3 times, last by Dacunetc ().

    • Saya wrote:

      there are still many opportunities to win plots during the auction, it is simply harder to achieve in cities with a cartel or monopoly structure... this situation is entirely player-created, and to ask SBI to change that would not be in the interest of a sandbox game...
      The game is better with more content for more players. Reaping the advantages of a broken system and then using the wealth you got from it being broken to maintain it indefinitely, isn't in the interests of the game. That is what is going on right now.

      A sandbox doesn't mean the players who want to abuse other players just get to do it because they want to. It means that people are on equal footing to accomplish whatever goals they can imagine. Right now people are actively denying players content in 3 entire cities.

      The OP just wants to buy a plot and run his little plot scheme in AO. Like lots of players want to do. They can't though, because players who made millions or billions of silver, don't want to let them play in the kiddie pool with them. It's not clever and it's not fun. You didn't sneak into town and hoodwink someone to get the plots. You just started the game knowing how it all worked already, harvested silver from all the players who joined on launch, harvested silver from all the players who joined during stream release.

      Now, you think that having a bunch of silver makes you smart and that sitting in rim cities gouging the players left in those areas is just the pinnacle of genius. It's slimy. The people that own Thetford, Fort Sterling and Lymhurst are slimy. Price fixing and freezing players out of markets is slimy.

      letwolf wrote:

      started the topic on round table
      Yeah, I am sure we can expect a wide range of well thought out opinions on there. Certainly not just the people who are gaining all the advantage from things being bad telling everyone that it's fine and good because changing things, "would not be in the interest of a sandbox game."

      I am sure all of those players who started in the last year and just want to buy a plot and make their soups and planks will be well represented on the Round Table. You know, since it is made up of such a representational cross section of the player base. Not almost entirely beta or earlier players, and almost every single plot owner in the game.

      I for one completely trust that no one on the Round Table would ever abuse their position to actively promote or rebut things that personally gain or lose them silver.

      Dacunetc wrote:

      You are right, if the devs won't do anything, maybe we can. I'll try to start an event next month.
      The event is already in progress. It just needs more attendees and better communication.
      Discord: Piddle#7413