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Spenser

GTAW's Disdain for Wealth and the Deliberate Erosion of Money

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Spenser    42

Over the last few months, there has been a deliberate effort to reduce the amount of wealth circulating in the economy. I remember in the summer there was somewhat a fever going around among the staff team about how non-RP it was for a character RPing in the hood to drive a sports car. I remember many ideas were tossed around: doing auctions on very large properties based on the qualifications of someone's character rather than their wealth, in an effort to keep the IC environment cohesive and consistent, was one that I remember debating against for the imbalance it would put in the economy by enriching people easily. 

 

Since then, only more measures have come to stifle the accumulation of wealth. Vehicle taxes were added to expensive cars, lucrative do-it-yourself scripted sources of wealth have been removed and while I was staff, I was party to some chatter about furthering this erosion of wealth even more (like by stifling lease income from property, or by reducing the payout of a property's market value to prevent people from trying to game the economy).

I have always been one to RP in a business sphere and capital is a large part of that. Some had disdain for gangsters in sports cars, but I personally disdain those who portray an empty role: the "Fortune 500 CEO" who leases an executive office at low price, wears suits all day, buys a luxury sedan ranging from 100-150k in price and proceeds to hold empty meetings about business plans that will never be actioned. For a time, I was running a real estate company before I realized that this entire market was deliberately eroded: how can you sell a $600,000 property to flesh out the story of your character and engage in business RP that is not just empty talk if nobody on the server still has 600k in cash?

 

I'll jump into the meat of what I have to say now.

 

Overall, these measures have allowed rich people to stay rich and poor people to stay poor. They needlessly restrict new players from acquiring sufficient capital for person-to-person interaction and they allow that cashflow to head directly to those who were fortunate enough to put themselves in good economic standing EARLY ON.

 

I believe the outset of these changes was to move people away from interacting with the script and towards interacting with one another. An essential component of players RPing with one another in any business or service sense is the exchange of capital. If you want a lawyer, you need to pay them, and pay them decently. If you want a therapist, you need to pay them. That is the primary IC motivator for most things, and those who deny that by saying interaction is purely for the "good of RP" will be disappointed to find that the majority of players on any game with an economy seek upward mobility. The vehicle taxes were designed as a disincentive towards buying flashy cars, and that goal was achieved. Taxes were added to increase the base price of these vehicles and raise their value in the market, thereby making them harder to acquire. This worked, but as a byproduct of something else and not in the way I believe it had originally been intended. These sports cars did not become more expensive with the taxes: in actuality, they became cheaper on the market. With the addition of vehicle taxes, maintenance was such a disincentive towards buying expensive cars of any sort that demand shrunk. I saw a Raiden being sold for $250,000 recently, but when bought new from a dealership it will run you close to $430,000 to register and fully modify. 

 

To some, that still sounds fine, so long as the end goal of "fewer flashy cars" is achieved, but this is a psychological barrier that only affects people with less money. Police on this server are understanding of how exorbitant the vehicle taxes get, and though I have been pulled over, I have never actually been punished beyond being told "go pay your tax." IC issue? Maybe, but it has a deep effect on disparity of wealth. I have a car with a vehicle tax exceeding $20,000 and I do not pay it because that amount of money per week is not worth the feeling of safety. But someone with a cheaper car that has a tax of $6,000 might be more willing to part with their funds for the feeling of security. 4 weeks later, the result is that they have a cheaper car than I do and $24,000 less in liquid money, whereas I have not lost anything. 

 

Those who were fortunate or savvy enough to amass wealth prior to these changes are in a great position, because that wealth is essentially locked in by time. It is far more difficult to acquire capital, property and wealth and this system will perpetuate itself. 

 

For example, the market for homes has nearly entirely diminished. People cannot afford to buy homes outright any longer, and those who would have done so for profit are discouraged because the housing market has eroded. But people still need places to live: so instead, they are leasing, and all of that money is accumulated by the owner of the property rather than having wealth spread out healthily in the economy via multiple well-off homeowners.

 

It is very difficult to outright remove money from an economy, which is why in large part that money is simply reallocated rather than removed. Changes in the economy have indeed made some hood characters unable to buy a sports car, but it has resulted in extreme concentration of wealth. Far more money is being held by increasingly few people than before. 

 

I have money, why does this matter to me? Because in order to properly engage in business RP that is full and satisfying, there need to be people with sufficient capital to participate in the "upper echelon" of the economy. Nobody will pay $20,000 for a lawyer because $20,000, for some players, may as well be sacrificing a kidney. Nobody will build a new business, because the reduction in overall server wealth has entirely eroded the profitability of "services" (aka, player-to-player business). The capital behind this has always come from server jobs initially, because wealth does not just spontaneously come to be. It is created somewhere. People would spend $20,000 on a lawyer if they knew that they can make that $20,000 back easily, but not everyone is confident or entrepreneurial enough to make money in the player economy. Server-sided income bridged this gap. And to that end, the fact that they participated in the player-to-player economy at all is the goal. People are participating in fewer unique player-to-player transactions because they no longer consider those experiences worth the price that comes attached, or vice versa, those experiences are no longer offered to the players because those who would manage them no longer see the benefit via upward mobility. 

 

I have a company that deals in real estate sales, had plans to enter mining with a warehouse (and pay miners out-of-pocket, which would give them player-to-player interaction) and has been developing a law firm to flesh out the sphere of legal RP on the server. Every one of those things has been dismantled by the rate the market has shrunk, and the result is a removal of an upper echelon of economic RP, infinitely approaching a server where there are 5-10 magnates and then 100 cops and robbers.

 

My rant is over now. Does anyone else have opinions?

 

 

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YB    31

Woah i read everything. So. I don't quite agree with you. It doesn't make the rich richer and the poor stay poor. I haven't been around on GTAW do i don't know what's been changed, or how has it been before, but from what you wrote - i just want to say that having a house even irl in the USA isn't easy to obtain. People lease cars and rent properties alot. Also, taxes also happen irl. And reduce of flashy cars is also good because not every Dick and Harry should be able to obtain a flashy expensive car after they finished mining or whatever. And one can't just rp being able to pay a lawyer. If one isn't able to pay for a lawyer as you say, then he should earn that money via IC means. I don't know much about how its all done on GTAW like real estate etc, but there's ways of earning money. And a friend of mine just sold his business yesterday for a high amount of money. So not sure why are you saying that noone can pay 600k to buy yours. 

 

 

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Spenser    42
3 minutes ago, TeodoraMk said:

Woah i read everything. So. I don't quite agree with you. It doesn't make the rich richer and the poor stay poor. I haven't been around on GTAW do i don't know what's been changed, or how has it been before, but from what you wrote - i just want to say that having a house even irl in the USA isn't easy to obtain. People lease cars and rent properties alot. Also, taxes also happen irl. And reduce of flashy cars is also good because not every Dick and Harry should be able to obtain a flashy expensive car after they finished mining or whatever. And one can't just rp being able to pay a lawyer. If one isn't able to pay for a lawyer as you say, then he should earn that money via IC means. I don't know much about how its all done on GTAW like real estate etc, but there's ways of earning money. And a friend of mine just sold his business yesterday for a high amount of money. So not sure why are you saying that noone can pay 600k to buy yours. 

 

 

Some businesses are still sold at profit and will always be valuable, because they provide steady streams of income. Examples of this are bars, nightclubs, garages and movie theaters when run properly. I have had success in those fields as well, but what if I want to RP something that is not a nightclub and still make money? The field of opportunity has shrunk as pertains what players are willing to pay for as a service and how much they are willing to pay.

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Nervous    1156

I don't think we actually fought hard against all these, there isn't even any soft caps on mining anymore and the job wasn't changed yet. We just introduced a legit tax on vehicle to prevent having 500k vehicles everywhere.

There are lot of GOV opportunities and projects to be able to become rich in business, but it takes some time to build an empire and we do not block you from owning multiple businesses and roleplaying as a successful entrepreneur. We will just not hand it to you directly.

 

As for the "rich" players, they either mined (which I'm not happy with) or played a huge amount of time in LSPD/LSFD, which will also soon change to prevent this. And trust me, there aren't many of these players luckily.

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Slamdance    3

It's the same old story from every GTA roleplay server economy: stagnation through lack of growth. This happens for two main reasons:

  • Lack of scale — a dollar isn't worth the same when buying a house as when buying a car
  • Lack of basic market forces — mainly depreciation, but the shortage of players acting as lenders and borrowers doesn't help matters

These are two inescapable facts. Luckily, there's a simple solution. Unluckily, it's one that's usually met with cries from the wealth hoarders. That solution is loans. Welcome to the lending economy where nobody buys a car or a house outright unless they have the capital to put down and the average man or woman is indebted to the bank up to their eyeballs.

 

Embrace it.

 

Make low-end housing and vehicles more accessible to poorer players but offer it at a premium. That premium is called interest which is a percentage amount above the regular repayment cost to insure the overall cost and combat depreciation over time. You want to sell your shit-box station wagon on after only sinking a couple of grand into it? Great, now some other low-life hoodlum can pick it up for a fraction of the cost as it would cost brand new.

 

Congratulations, you've just provided RP for scores of new players, whether it be through easier access to cars and housing, the incentive to keep up with repayments, or the black market shylock gig and insured the economy for years to come. You're welcome.

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Spenser    42
13 minutes ago, Nervous said:

I don't think we actually fought hard against all these, there isn't even any soft caps on mining anymore and the job wasn't changed yet. We just introduced a legit tax on vehicle to prevent having 500k vehicles everywhere.

There are lot of GOV opportunities and projects to be able to become rich in business, but it takes some time to build an empire and we do not block you from owning multiple businesses and roleplaying as a successful entrepreneur. We will just not hand it to you directly.

 

As for the "rich" players, they either mined (which I'm not happy with) or played a huge amount of time in LSPD/LSFD, which will also soon change to prevent this. And trust me, there aren't many of these players luckily.

I agree somewhat with your last paragraph but I'm not happy with the attention you've put on the government in this process. Government RP has been my primary focus for six years and I was in this government when it was first built. I understand that Mayor Rockford has instituted programs like subsidies and etc. to provide businesses with the capital to operate, but how is that any better than the server-sided income that has been reduced? It is not hard to get a subsidy, but what is the motivation to run your business aggressively and with people when you know that you only make profit because the government pays you?

 

As pertains what you said about rich players, I would disagree in part on that point. I never joined the LSPD, nor did I mine for longer than like, 5 hours upon joining and contrary to popular belief, government income was pretty low while I was in it. The way that I made money was by participating in a service- and asset-based economy that I have seen shrink over the past three months, because there is less capital in circulation to go around to people who run these operations. Yes, fewer people have wealth from mining. But it was primarily those sorts people, the ones who accumulated wealth and had a good deal to spend comfortably, who would disseminate it throughout the rest of the player economy by using it for player-to-player interaction. There are fewer people with grind money, but as a result there are also fewer people participating in the player service and asset economy. The ones who made grind money were the customers to the people who made player-to-player money.

 

P.S., there are disincentives to owning multiple businesses or properties, and I don't disagree with them, but there are significant boundaries to owning many properties. As you exceed three properties, the taxes get bigger and bigger. But I'm not arguing against that, I'm arguing for it: I think wealth should not be so concentrated in the hands of the few.

Edited by Spenser

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Dominykas.    42
13 minutes ago, Spenser said:

The ones who made grind money were the customers to the people who made player-to-player money.

I hear this quite often, however it's not exactly true. A few months ago we had lots of people who were simply grinding money (mining, fishing, etc.). They weren't doing anything else, except for maybe going to a club and using dance animation for 20 minutes. They bought super cars, used them to rob stores and other players for money they didn't actually need, they bought expensive houses.

 

When the new taxes were implemented - a good chunk of them got really angry. I can understand why - they had to earn a whole lot more in order to keep their super cars and luxury houses, which they couldn't do. That's why all those sports cars went on sale for low prices - no miners could afford them anymore. Is that a problem? I really don't think so. Those who obtained big amounts of money in a non-realistic way were forced to either sell everything out or stop grinding and start making money by roleplaying.

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Spenser    42
9 minutes ago, Dominykas. said:

I hear this quite often, however it's not exactly true. A few months ago we had lots of people who were simply grinding money (mining, fishing, etc.). They weren't doing anything else, except for maybe going to a club and using dance animation for 20 minutes. They bought super cars, used them to rob stores and other players for money they didn't actually need, they bought expensive houses.

 

When the new taxes were implemented - a good chunk of them got really angry. I can understand why - they had to earn a whole lot more in order to keep their super cars and luxury houses, which they couldn't do. That's why all those sports cars went on sale for low prices - no miners could afford them anymore. Is that a problem? I really don't think so. Those who obtained big amounts of money in a non-realistic way were forced to either sell everything out or stop grinding and start making money by roleplaying.

If you wanted to remove sports cars from the wrong people, there was a much better way to do it than what was implemented. Remove all sports cars from in-game dealerships, period, and issue them on a case-by-case basis through the admins similar to how auctions were run. If someone wants a Raiden, instead of paying $360,000 at a dealership they could just pay $360,000 to an admin, who would also determine whether or not they considered the character fit for the asset. The changes that vehicle taxes brought to the economy have a deeper effect than just on the vehicle market. When you toy around with the economy, there are consequences. Economies have processes, rules and waves and that is true in the real world and in virtual economies.

 

As pertains what you said about people fishing and then RPing rich hedonists dancing in a club, yes, I agree that is also true. Those same people nowadays either do not play or participate in the empty role play of false wealth, which I consider equally poor. Another problem was created by the solution to the former. Again, you say to make money by role playing. Yes, the people who would grind acted like assholes often, but the bottom line is that they still were the customers. There are two types of people with money. There are the people who accumulate money and the people who spend it. The hedonists were the ones who spent it, and oftentimes that money was in player-to-player business interaction to get things done.

 

And as regards taxes, rich people aren't paying them. Risk/reward is not enough to warrant it and low law enforcement attention allows them to get away with it. The same is not true for those with lower taxes whose smaller price tag is less foreboding, but the end result is still that people in the lower economy class are hemorrhaging money while people in the upper class are not.

Edited by Spenser

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Rumbunctious    83

If you want to RP a rich businessman, with tons of script cash, you first need to RP a businessman making money. The whole "I shouldn't have to be an economy genius irl to make money in the economy" doesn't hold up. If you want to find out how to make money, how to be a businessman, research how you're going to do it. That's what the sensible people on the server do before creating a new character.

1 hour ago, Spenser said:

Some had disdain for gangsters in sports cars, but I personally disdain those who portray an empty role: the "Fortune 500 CEO" who leases an executive office at low price, wears suits all day, buys a luxury sedan ranging from 100-150k in price and proceeds to hold empty meetings about business plans that will never be actioned.

 

 

Let me introduce you the concept of The amount it shows in the upper-right corner, does not have to be the amount your character RPly has. It's a term us hood-roleplayers (most of us) are quite familiar with. We often have several hundred thousand in our bank accounts, up there in the corner. Does that mean we, partaking in crime and other small jobs here and there to afford the rent on our homes, actually have hundreds of thousands in the bank? No. Does it mean we're actually renting those places we RPly pay rent on? No.

 

I'd argue that those who swear by the amount of script cash they have to determine their wealth, are far worse RPers, than those who use their imaginaion and are creative in RPing a character. This could for example be shown in the "gangsters" with sports cars you mention. Or the countless people who have lived in the hood while driving a car worth all of their starter 200k.

 

1 hour ago, Spenser said:

For a time, I was running a real estate company before I realized that this entire market was deliberately eroded: how can you sell a $600,000 property to flesh out the story of your character and engage in business RP that is not just empty talk if nobody on the server still has 600k in cash?

 

 

Some do have that amount of money. You need to give them a reason to part with it, not complain OOCly that they value that 600k too highly.

 

1 hour ago, Spenser said:

I have a car with a vehicle tax exceeding $20,000 and I do not pay it because that amount of money per week is not worth the feeling of safety. But someone with a cheaper car that has a tax of $6,000 might be more willing to part with their funds for the feeling of security. 4 weeks later, the result is that they have a cheaper car than I do and $24,000 less in liquid money, whereas I have not lost anything. 

 

 

If I pay 20k for security for a night and am still alive the next morning, the result is also that I am 20k poorer and you haven't lost anything. 

The fact of the matter is, however, you risked losing something. The person who paid the 6k per week paid to not take that risk.

 

The bit about you getting pulled over repeatedly and always just warned, what can I say? Poor police work, maybe. 

 

 

 

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Spenser    42
10 minutes ago, Rumbunctious said:

If you want to RP a rich businessman, with tons of script cash, you first need to RP a businessman making money. The whole "I shouldn't have to be an economy genius irl to make money in the economy" doesn't hold up. If you want to find out how to make money, how to be a businessman, research how you're going to do it. That's what the sensible people on the server do before creating a new character.

Let me introduce you the concept of The amount it shows in the upper-right corner, does not have to be the amount your character RPly has. It's a term us hood-roleplayers (most of us) are quite familiar with. We often have several hundred thousand in our bank accounts, up there in the corner. Does that mean we, partaking in crime and other small jobs here and there to afford the rent on our homes, actually have hundreds of thousands in the bank? No. Does it mean we're actually renting those places we RPly pay rent on? No.

 

I'd argue that those who swear by the amount of script cash they have to determine their wealth, are far worse RPers, than those who use their imaginaion and are creative in RPing a character. This could for example be shown in the "gangsters" with sports cars you mention. Or the countless people who have lived in the hood while driving a car worth all of their starter 200k.

 

Some do have that amount of money. You need to give them a reason to part with it, not complain OOCly that they value that 600k too highly.

 

If I pay 20k for security for a night and am still alive the next morning, the result is also that I am 20k poorer and you haven't lost anything. 

The fact of the matter is, however, you risked losing something. The person who paid the 6k per week paid to not take that risk.

 

The bit about you getting pulled over repeatedly and always just warned, what can I say? Poor police work, maybe. 

 

 

 

I wholly disagree with your point on "imagination" because that is simply not how an upper economy works. That is how a lower economy works, sure. You can have $400k and pretend to have $20,000 for the sake of your experience. If I enter a business and I say, "I want to open a club" and everyone in the room says "Great, let's do it, I am a man of immense wealth and standing, my company in Germany is worth $5 million" but he has $50k in cash, then he has $50k in cash and that club is not getting made. The upper echelon of business RP has regressed from actioning plans to discussing action, ever awaiting a market to emerge (or grinding in your suit and tie to fund your own business ambitions because the service economy is so underdeveloped, which I have not had to do but I have had to watch people do).

 

When it comes to the upper economy, I am not entertained by empty talk and I don't know who is. In my view, if that sphere of RP is to work properly and have the potential to be fully explored, its participants need to be able to walk the walk. Changes in the server that were designed to prevent hood goons from being immensely and unrealistically wealthy have actually resulted in people who RP characters of high esteem being unrealistically poor for their role. This is the entire reason that the government has a subsidy program in the first place, to offset an imbalance created by this new dynamic.

Edited by Spenser
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