# Economics help wanted!

I have now a statistics file which counts the blocks in the map. I want to make a pricing guideline according to this statistics. I need someone to sit down and think about a mechanism how we can price blocks according to the rarity and the complication to harvest them and assign a price. The more scientific this is, the better.

ONe can start with the rarity of a block, then add a modifier if you need a diamond pickaxe and one for the durability of the block (from the wiki). Stuff that can be automated such as reeds should be cheaper etc. The whole thing would go into a table and make a price recommendation.

Any takers? Here is a sample file.

## 25 thoughts on “Economics help wanted!”

1. I could give a go at it Uncovery. Should I try doing this in Xcel?

• Yes please. It should be as transparent as possible. So please no endless formulas. Parameters should be changeable, so no figures in the formulas also please.

2. I’m not the person to figure out the equation, but working with the logic would be more my game. I instantly started thinking of the complexities that would need to be factored in (e.g. blocks in protected vs. public lots, time to grow, space required to grow, seeds vs. wheat since seeds don’t last in an automated system, which levels spawn blocks, etc.)

So, henry, if you want someone who isn’t great with equations to help out with any of the logical arguments, or to toss ideas past, let me know.

3. Actually, I was hoping I could do some more of the logical arguments, value, durability, etc. Rather than doing the math and equations which would make this much more complex. Maybe our two minds together could do this lva?

• I’d love to help. Just give me a shout if u need to decide on certain things.

4. Just an idea, but if you don’t want to do price fixing, you could let supply and demand work the prices out eventually. The only problem is that by accruing uncs over time online leads to price inflation. That means that over time, money becomes worth less because everyone has it because they have simply been online a long time. Since people will have large amounts of money relative to what they need to buy, they will be willing to spend more uncs per item and prices will go up. I would think it may be simpler to give each member X uncs as a one time thing rather than have them add up over time. This would help prevent prices from rising and making uncs less valuable and also having to come up with a pricing scheme. Once determined, locked in prices will eventually be understated as uncs continue to accrue anyway. Just a thought…

• Good points, Solrend! So while player A is willing to pay player B to buy a chest worth of cobble to finish his new castle, that money is going to sit in player B’s pocket, until there is something that player B wants to spend money on to recirculate it back into the system. And more importantly, back into the hands of player A.

UNFORTUNATELY, for those of us from capitalist cultures, myself included, I think the instinctive playing method is to create an Unc-Mart, and bunker down with frequent checks to “/money top”. I think besides price fixing, or base lining, we also need incentives for player B to keep the money flowing. As well as a meaningful way for money to be distributed to the have-nots. Almost sounds like we need a tax/welfare system! (Or maybe that’s just my Canadian mentality… LOL) Or, like I posted in a previous thread, if there were some big-ticket items they could buy from the SERVER that would effectively remove those Uncs from the game… that would balance things a little more, too.

• I think it’s a tricky balance having the public area and automated harvesting and let people sell whatever they have and at the same time making sure that everyone can buy the rarest goods. I somehow am of the opinion that you should be able to be creative with cobble too. If we make it easy for anyone to get a chest full of lapis lazuli we could just give everyone the /give command.

• So true, so true. I think giving people the /give command would be a disaster for the game- yes, there would be some beautiful things to see at first- but there wouldn’t be as much real effort, challenge, or as much worth in the creation. Everything would get boring, quickly.

5. Lets just say 2 stacks of cob go for 1 unc.(this is just an example) We could determine the price for lets say, 1 diamond by dividing the amount of cobblestone on the map by 128(2 stacks) and then dividing that number by the amount of diamonds on the map.
So 483116099/128=3774344.5234375. Then we divide that by the amount of diamonds. 3774344.5234375/113511=roughly 33. Since diamonds can only be mined with iron picks or higher we could add the value of 1 iron onto the 33. just as an example lets say 1 iron= 1 unc. So there you have it 1 diamond=34 uncs.

This of course is only an example.

6. I already asked to do this ^.^ I’ll give it a go, But what about current stock. If theres none left, then the price for one skyrockets. But I’ll try it out

7. I’m pretty sure Unc wanted to get a price recommendation for people who aren’t on all the time, or aren’t good at working figures in their heads or calculating the value of random pixels in a beta game! :D

Fortunately, this could perhaps lead to a pricing algorithm for future NPC vendors, or for selling those items to NPCs (and thus, effectively removing them from the world stock).

The problem I encountered, though, is not inflation because that will occur as people rotate onto and off of the server anywho… but that there is a finite amt of material with no regular interval of replacement. If 1/4 of the pub area was replenished once a month (of course it would be farmed within hours) it would bring a renewed lot of material to replace that which has gone the way of the creeper (or broken against redstone / obsidian / cobbies).

There has to be a renewable source to fuel any sort of static pricing, otherwise supply-demand will continually elevate prices on a non-linear curve (approaching exponential).

• I agree. Of course the long-time members will be very rich. But its ok are a reward for loyalty. And it might also tempt people to stick around since wealth might be hard to get on a different server once acquired here. A possibility to reset lots if someone grew tired of their stuff will help.

But finally there are regular updates to the game which give new ores and will lead me to reset the public area. So I do not see the inflation spiraling too far.

The NPCs are however something I do not like. I am afraid of someone simply mining his plot down to sell cobble to an indefinite demand.

• They wouldn’t have to go so far as mining down their plot- with two buckets -1 water, 1 lava- they can make infinite cobble.

Time is ultimately the source of all things with value; and (other than when lots are reset and bank accounts deleted as players quit playing), its just a matter of time before there are sprawling palaces every 100×100. And I guess its only fitting there are sprawling bank accounts to go with those palaces. :)

• I agree. NPCs don’t have to give value to all items. We’re not building a World of Warcraft type economy where everything can be vendored to make every kill have some sort of value. Thankfully there is no skill leveling aside from the inherent ability to place blocks in more and more appealing or efficient manners.

As for economy, if we were to progress to a slightly more advanced civilization we would need to take a small step past the trade-barter system, as we have with unc coins. And since there isn’t a feasible way to have individuals setup shops around a centralized town area, we have the mall with a simple layout and structure. Unfortunately, we’re seriously restricted on space just because of game limitations, but it’s a great first step.

So, it would seem that to include any sort of pricing system to recommend or gauge value aside from strict supply/demand, we’d need to either constantly update those prices with the ever-changing (mostly diminishing) supply (e.g. diamond, lapis, sand) or balance the use of resources to a replenishable source (i.e. regular resets, a vast, incalculable public area, or limited item creation).

8. Unc, I sent a preliminary spreadsheet to minecraft@uncovery.net. I’m not sure if/how often you check that email, but if there is somewhere else you would prefer, let me know.

I tried to use cobblestone (being one of the most basic and numerous traded / crafted / used blocks) as the baseline for my calculations. I chose 3 factors of demand and 2 factors for supply to gauge, albeit roughly, the inherent worth of base items. I was then creating a list of crafted items that uses the information from the base items (and the amt used) to determine their cost (e.g. Dispenser = Bow(3 string + 3 sticks) + 1 redstoneore + 7 cobblestone).

I tried to make everything as transparent and recalculating as possible. The only thing I have hard-coded is the adjustment of all the prices based off the cobblestone price. If we chose another method, I could adjust that. The only complex looking formulas I had to dev were for looking up the prices for other items when determining the crafted items’ values.

Let me know what you think. As I said in the email, I can probably also get a PhP/MySQL version working if I had a site with which to work on that. It has been a while since I did it, but I have references to help me, unless someone else is more fluent with that.

• Got it. Looks great. The spread is a bit big. I think the max price is a bit too high. But that’s detail. The chart looks basically perfect.

• Yeah, I was going to find a way to limit the high and low ends and then do a spread between them according to the values i came up with.

I didn’t want to get too into it before getting some feedback. I can also combine a lot of the calculations now. I wanted my work to be a bit more transparent so I could troubleshoot easier.

I wish I had some sort of visible platform to work from so I could get some real numbers together and make it usable in-game. I don’t think I could do the java stuff myself and although i’ve heard talk of it, I don’t know that they’ll include a Lua scripting interface to the client anytime soon.

9. I’ve often wondered why people write free plugins like that. Is it a sort of resume builder?

• I would imagine it’s somewhat the same reason why we build stuff in minecraft, another creative outlet, and a way for them to make something they like, even better..
And as a fellow code monkey, i can say that a lot of people find coding fun, it can be a pain the ass but it can also be very zen to dive into a world of variables, loops and conditional statements..