22
Jun
08

Budgeting for Dungeons

I play a completely free, text-based online RPG called The Kingdom of Loathing. If the previous sentence is gobbeltygook, just ignore it. Seriously, it’ll hurt your head if I try to explain it.

KoL, being free, does have to drum up donations to keep the servers running. They manage this by offering an in-game item, called a Mr. Accessory. You give them $10, you get a Mr. A, which you can then trade for an Item of the Month, something offered for one month only that will help your game play. There’s also an in-game mall, where you can sell items, including Mr. As. The price for a Mr. A is pretty stable at 4.5 million meat.

Yes, the game’s financial system is not called coins or gold, but meat. It’s funny if you get the joke, and if I try to explain why it’s funny, again with the head hurting.

Back to the important bit: this game has an economy that can be described in real-world dollars. I, myself, if I sold everything I’d collected over a year’s worth of serious but casual playing (about two hours a day, five days a week), would have about 12 million meat, or about $22USD. It is easy for someone who cares to meat-farm, or collect as much meat as possible by fighting the same monsters over and over, to make 125,000 meat a day.

Within the game, you can join a clan, which up until last week gave you certain small advantages (an easy system to trade items, extra turns per day, more meat, and camraderie). Last week the game runners implemented new content specifically for folks who have played a lot and aren’t interested in just repeating the same quests over and over. It costs 10 million meat for a clan to install a basement dungeon, and one million meat to start a dungeon dive.

O, the hue and cry! O, the woe! Woe, damnit, WOE!

People are demanding the price on dungeons be dropped. People are decrying the neccessity to move from smaller clans to larger ones that can afford the fee. People are demanding the price of dungeons is unfair, and that the individuals who put in many, many hours of their own, free time to create the game are attempting to line their pockets. People are demanding that the untapped oil reserves in Alaska be drilled to lower the prices…

…wait, I think I got off topic.

The problem, as I see it, is that the people complaining are not thinking like personal finance bloggers. When one of us wants something, we find a way to do it, or do without.

Translated to real-world dollars, 11 million meat is about $22, with reoccuring expense of $2 every time you wanted to start a run. Three Mr. As would cover it.

But I am a PF blogger. I give up my money only after a fight. So, let’s say I don’t want to go clan-hopping. Let’s say my clan is me, my brother Larry, and my other brother Larry. We’re all over level 25, so the dungeon won’t kill us instantly dead. Since we’re also over level 25, we have some nice items in our possession that can up our meat count. Between the three of us, if we straight up meatfarm, imagining a lowball take of 100k meat a day, it would take four days to scrape up enough meat to install a basement. If we decide to finally clean out our display cases and inventories of stuff, even just autoselling all those amulets of extreme plot significance that seem to collect up real fast, we could get there faster.

Sounds familiar to the PF folks, right? That’s because it all boils down to maximizing your income sources: switching clans to one that has a higher ‘income’, taking on second jobs meat-farming, or sell excess stuff.

As for me and my characters, well, I enjoy speed-ascending (for my own quantities of ‘speed’). So my main character, LoverPrimeNumbah, is going to stay in the clan I created (which consists of LPN and my friend’s characters, which I am babysitting while he spends a couple months in Europe and Africa). My multi, though, has hopped clans and can be frequently found after rollover diving into the dungeon with the rest of the KoLAddicts.

Die, Hobos, Die!
(It’s German for “the hobos, the.”)

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