You say to Snoseniffer the Schemer, “Tell me about the blacksmith.”
Snoseniffer the Schemer says, “The blacksmith’s assignment is to make us coins. We needs lots and lots of gold coins. The more coins the better.”
You say, “Why?”
Snoseniffer the Schemer says, “Why? Because everyone needs lots and lots of coins… We puts them in chests and counts them and the more we have the better we are.”
You say, “But why? What’s the point? Are you trying to buy something?”
Snoseniffer the Schemer says, “Huh?”
— extracted from a dialogue in EverQuest II between a player and a goblin.
Gaming life is very easy. You kill monsters, you get money, you buy cool stuff with your money, all without breaking a sweat. (Well, gaming can be stressful if you choose to make it so, especially if you’ve played Star Wars Galaxies, but we’ll leave it at that.)
When I’m broke in the real world, or when there is something I desperately want to buy but can’t afford to, I would wish I could just go out in the streets, bash up some monsters and earn some money.
In the real world, you could, of course, go out and get a job to earn money. But real world jobs don’t spawn all over the place like monsters do in game worlds.
In the real world, you have to go through an interview for a chance to get a job. In EverQuest II, you don’t need to be interviewed by the monster to get its loot. You just take it by force.
These days, the economic system in games is getting more complicated, though. You can make money in so many ways. You can be a businessperson. You can be an entrepreneur. And you always make money. You never lose (unless you’re a hopeless moron). So, if you’re someone with half a brain, you could make a fortune in a game world if you wanted to.
For instance, you might start a business selling potato pies. You invest a small sum of money (which you got from killing monsters) to make a first batch of 200 pies.
Most of the time, if it’s in the game, you will have customers and your pies will sell for a tidy profit.
But let’s say, for discussion’s sake, your pies are extremely unpopular, you’re extremely unpopular and everyone hates you and hates your pies and they don’t sell.
Your potato pies sit there for three weeks and they are still untouched.
IT DOESN’T MATTER BECAUSE GAME WORLD PIES DO NOT SPOIL.
You can keep them in your backpack for five years and they’ll still be as fresh as the day you made them.
And, one day, you decide that enough is enough and you’re sick of staring at your 200 unsold pies, so you make your way to a non-player merchant (that is, a computer-controlled one).
THE MERCHANT WILL BUY YOUR PIES!
Giving you a tiny profit, even!
If you’re a business savvy person, you could make unbelievable amounts of money in the game. If you’re not, you make a small amount. But you still make money and you never starve.
Isn’t that grand?
Killing crabs for dinner.