The cookie monster economy in Pirates of the Burning Sea

Michael Zenke
M. Zenke|05.08.08

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The cookie monster economy in Pirates of the Burning Sea
The Terra Nova site views virtual worlds and massively multiplayer gaming through the lens of academia. Don't hold that against them, though; the insights of commentators like Richard Bartle, Ren Reynolds, Edward Castronova, and Timothy Burke make for some darned interesting reading. This week Mr. Burke writes about the player-driven economy in Pirates of the Burning Sea. Plagued with problems from even before launch, the developers are working hard to correct some economic inequalities.

Burke examines those economic problems, discussing the issue of perceived player wealth, and the system's input/output issues. "In Pirates of the Burning Sea, the faucet-sink relationship is skewed in an odd way. The faucet is as it is in many virtual worlds: players run missions and sink NPCs to earn money. The sink, however, is player-produced commodities ... The economy is a kind of Potemkin Village: on the surface, it looks like the economy of an economic-sim game like Port Royale with many primary and secondary goods being produced and listed that evoke the setting and mood of the game. But it doesn't function very well, though a few players are fooled by the surface into imagining its depths."
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