Dirty markets

Dirty markets

Gold, gold, gold! 💛🖤💙

Right now our finance macaquiños can play their money game on two markets: dirty/shiny and liquid/shiny. In future, when we’ll add mines and resources, many more will open… one for each resource! 🏦

A common currency

Currently all the markets are designed to be based on SG, that is, in every one of them you will trade SG with “something else”.

This is to make it simpler to exchange goods: with a single common currency, you’ll have at most two steps to trade your [Thugsten] for some [Hardened meat]: sell your [Thugsten] for some SG, then use the SG to buy the [Hardened meat]. Simple! 👌

An unstable currency

However, we might wonder: is the SG a stable currency? Well… no, it isn’t. As of now, there’s some noticeable inflation: look at the auction prices denominated in SG, getting higher over time, and look at the price of the DG, also constantly going up 📈

The reasons for this are interesting and complex, worth to be discussed in another, dedicated, post. We’ll eventually be able to fix that, if we decide to, but that’s beside the point we have now.

Problems caused by an unstable currency

Value history [A]

If the base currency we picked is unstable, we incur into an annoying problem: the price of the goods being traded appears to go up, so people might think the goods are becoming more valuable over time… but maybe it isn’t 🤦‍♀️

Maybe it’s just the currency that is losing purchasing power, so you need more of that in order to buy anything. This isn’t a huge deal, but it’s unsettling, since it makes quite difficult to easily find out whether the goods’ value is going up or down 🤔

Fire and forget [B]

Another related problem is that of the stale offers: I post an offer to buy some [Ancient wombat feathers] when the value of SG is a certain amount, and I’m happy to leave that offer there in the market, waiting to be eventually filled 👀

However, if the value of the SG decreases, it suddenly becomes more convenient for other people to buy my feathers if I didn’t bother to change their price!

This means that if the base currency isn’t stable, everyone should remember to update all of their market offers every time there is a shift, and that is annoying and definitely neither fun nor interesting 😪

Another currency

But… we do have a stable currency! It’s the DG! 😲

You can always buy 1’800 DG for about £3, and while there might occasionally be slight variations, that price isn’t going to change significantly 💶

Since the real‑world currencies are supposedly quite stable (at least, compared to the SG), the DG is basically as stable as well.

A stable currency

If we thus used a stable currency to base all markets on, we would have an easier time to determine if the value of a class of goods is actually going up or down, since all of the fluctuations would be expected to reflect its value, not the currency it’s traded on… 👍

Difficult to digest

The main problem with using the DG as a base currency would be social. That is, finding a way to explain to the Users that it would be a change aimed solely at having an easier market, and not some sort of strange ploy to sell more DG 🙄

That’s because, for all intents and purposes, nothing would have changed: you can buy DG even if the markets are based on SG, and you can trade those DG for SG 🤷‍♀️

And that’s fine, because those DG are only traded with items that already exist in the world: you can never “create” anything by paying money, you can only acquire things that were already there anyway. The price is decided by the seller, and the amount of goods available is limited. More on this here 👈

Fear induced by bad manners [C]

But… despite anyone who reads here knows it, despite anyone who really understands how the economy of Ork Manager works knows it… most of the people might still be unaware, and “by default” afraid of such a thing.

That’s because there are plenty of games who behave differently, and allow their users to just pay any amount of money to create ex‑nihilo any amount of units and stuff 😒

Alternative approaches

We might or might not decide to switch the markets to be based on DG, that’s still to be decided, as there are pros and cons.

There are also alternatives worth analysing 💡

SG‑based, DG‑displayed

We could keep the markets as SG‑based, but optionally display their history on DG, using the exchange rate they had at the time the trade occurred.

This would solve the “value history [A]” problem, but would not solve the “fire and forget [B]” problem. It would not be affected by the “fear [C]” problem.

2 problems out of 3 of the would be solved by this alternative.

DG‑based, SG‑displayed

We could do the other way around: switch the markets to be DG‑based, but by default display them in the equivalent SG value.

While this would solve all 3 of the aforementioned problems, it would introduce a new one: “confusion [D]. Because if markets are based on DG, you need to have DG to trade, even if an SG based market is shown. If you do not have DG, you have to acquire them before trading, and this may be quite counter‑intuitive.

Since the market is already perceived as complicated, we don’t want to alienate more Users by making it even more so 🙅‍♀️


We could also base the markets on LG instead. As always, there are pros and cons.

LG are much more stable than SG, but not as much as DG because they aren’t half‑pegged to a real world currency. Still, their influx in the game is usually constant, although there might be a sudden spike in case a large bug is discovered.

So, compared to the DG, they are slightly less stable, but they do not suffer from the “fear [C]” problem.

Social solution

We might just go on and switch the markets to DG, and… advertise them as if they were a premium‑like feature.

They aren’t: anyone can use them… but it might be much easier for the Users to accept that there is a premium feature which they might more or less use anyway even if they don’t pay, rather than telling them that that feature is open to everyone, only to discover that there’s a paid currency somewhat involved (despite they would still not be required to buy it… see? It’s confusing!) 😱

Another thing to consider is that Free Trial Users won’t have any gold to trade with in any case, while Pro Users will all have some DG in their treasury: DG are sold in increments of 1’800, and signing up a single Team costs only 1’500 DG, so the remaining 300 DG are available for any kind of transaction; be them Auctions, the Market or, well, hoarding them for a greater good 💰

What and when?

We’ll decide what to do about this during step 3 of the alpha, when we’ll also implement the mines and the resources.

Meanwhile, you deserve a small treat for reading this… [9078‑3008‑1888] 💚

May your Clockwork Otters always be posh! 😎

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