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Video Games!
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 Post subject: Should Adventurers have their loot redistributed?
PostPosted: Thu Aug 09, 2012 9:32 pm 
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A question that's been popping up repeatedly: what do you guys think of... a video game fantasy world... having a redistributive economy? By redistributive, we mean one in which... kings... levy astronomical taxes on the "quest giving class"- merchants, skilled craftsmen, wealthy private townsfolk- and adventurers, such as you and I (sometimes as a flat tax, sometimes on a sliding scale which penalizes higher-level adventurers with ever greater demands on their annual dungeon loot). This income goes directly to the local military establishment- the king and his herd of subordinate aristocracy- in theory to be used for "public works", and to be redistributed to less capable members of a given... settlement... such as beggars, farmers, and the sort of lazy faceless NPCs who fill up space and don't give out quests or provide us with dialogue options. Eventually, it is hoped that the aristocracy can eliminate the moneyed class altogether, and that everyone will be equally useless... either for ideological reasons, or (as the Greens would argue) so as to conserve system resources.

Now, it seems that the commonly held truism, sold to your average character by certain academic... dark-aligned mages... (who didn't get the memo that their evil empire was defeated by the Forces of Light more than a generation ago) and the... king-owned clerical schools... which exist to promote aristocratic self-interest amongst the lower classes, is that this type of redistributive economy is a good idea, that it is both just and beneficial to the individuals who constitute our society. But is it really? Why or why not?




I suppose my first question would be this: as an adventurer yourself, how would you feel if, having just returned from an especially difficult journey into the blighted wastes of modern Morrowind, you come back hauling nearly your weight limit worth of ultra-rare enchanted pants and Daedric artifacts, worth enough coin to purchase that small yet comfortable cottage you've been eying on the shores of the Padomaic Ocean. Only all of a sudden, the local jarl's revenue agents show up and seize 85% of your assets, leaving you barely enough to cover re-provisioning costs and Lydia's food bill. You'd be mighty [&@%!], wouldn't you? Might decide to rethink your career as an adventurer, mightn'd you?

It's very easy to be generous with someone else's loot. But if our loot was threatened, why, we might think twice before even playing the game.

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Last edited by DorostheConqueror on Thu Aug 09, 2012 9:36 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Should Adventurers have their loot redistributed?
PostPosted: Thu Aug 09, 2012 9:34 pm 
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I'm pretty sure taxes in real life are enough for most people. ;)

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 Post subject: Re: Should Adventurers have their loot redistributed?
PostPosted: Thu Aug 09, 2012 9:36 pm 
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I'm all for it, as long as the government subsidizes my health potions.


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 Post subject: Re: Should Adventurers have their loot redistributed?
PostPosted: Thu Aug 09, 2012 9:36 pm 
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And this, ladies and gentlemen, is why video game realism is a BAD THING.

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 Post subject: Re: Should Adventurers have their loot redistributed?
PostPosted: Thu Aug 09, 2012 9:36 pm 
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Could we not simply kill the revenue agent? If it were in a TES game i'd try to sneak into towns instead of having to give up my precious loot!

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 Post subject: Re: Should Adventurers have their loot redistributed?
PostPosted: Thu Aug 09, 2012 9:37 pm 
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I think taxes would make the game a lot more fun... :(

In any case, injustice is a lot more fun to play with in games than justice.

I mean, who wants to play a video game set in paradise unless something is threatening it or corrupting it?


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 Post subject: Re: Should Adventurers have their loot redistributed?
PostPosted: Thu Aug 09, 2012 9:42 pm 
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It depends on what the taxes were used on. Free healthcare, city improvements, military defense superiority, etc. = good.
The wealth/loot gathered is used to fund the Jarl's personal wishes, or if the wealth/loot wasn't used at all = bad.

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 Post subject: Re: Should Adventurers have their loot redistributed?
PostPosted: Thu Aug 09, 2012 9:42 pm 
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You know, I'm thinking this is the sort of thing we can look forwards to in the inevitable TES VI: Alinor.

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 Post subject: Re: Should Adventurers have their loot redistributed?
PostPosted: Thu Aug 09, 2012 9:43 pm 
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Eltee wrote:
I think taxes would make the game a lot more fun... :(

In any case, injustice is a lot more fun to play with in games than justice.

I mean, who wants to play a video game set in paradise unless something is threatening it or corrupting it?

Ulfric, Dagoth Ur, Mehrunes Dagon... :P

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 Post subject: Re: Should Adventurers have their loot redistributed?
PostPosted: Thu Aug 09, 2012 9:48 pm 
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Nevastar wrote:
It depends on what the taxes were used on. Free healthcare, city improvements, military defense superiority, etc. = good.
The wealth/loot gathered is used to fund the Jarl's personal wishes, or if the wealth/loot wasn't used at all = bad.

I'd prefer option two. Lots more fun for gameplay purposes, no?


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 Post subject: Re: Should Adventurers have their loot redistributed?
PostPosted: Thu Aug 09, 2012 9:50 pm 
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That would be excellent! Think of the RP ideas! A tax collector! A fraud! A launderer!

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 Post subject: Re: Should Adventurers have their loot redistributed?
PostPosted: Thu Aug 09, 2012 9:58 pm 
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If the loot/wealth acquired isn't used for anything at all, then all the proposed system does is reduces the value of your loot/wealth.
Example: You loot a dungeon and return to your preferred city 5000 gold richer. After you arrive, the Jarl's guards take 50% of your gained loot, leaving you with 2500 gold. If the taken gold isn't used in any way, then the system is pointless because they could have just made the amount of gold found in dungeons 50% less. All the system changes is the value of gold coins.

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 Post subject: Re: Should Adventurers have their loot redistributed?
PostPosted: Thu Aug 09, 2012 9:58 pm 
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Frost Mage wrote:
I'm pretty sure taxes in real life are enough for most people. ;)


We're not talking about real life. We're talking about... video games.

"Cyrodiil", for example, levies a tax rate upwards to 40% on high level adventurers and premium blacksmiths. "Skyrim", which for a time levied taxes of 80% or more, still demands nearly 30% of your average competent adventurer's income. Who wants to play with tax rates like that? Anyone who claims to support an ingame redistributive economy has to look that situation right in the eyes; would you be willing to give up your hard-won loot? Would you be fine with that loot being taken from you, not through voluntary charity, but by force?

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It depends on what the taxes were used on. Free healthcare, city improvements, military defense superiority, etc. = good.
The wealth/loot gathered is used to fund the Jarl's personal wishes, or if the wealth/loot wasn't used at all = bad.


The loot is inevitably going to fund the jarl's personal wishes. Proponents of a redistributive economy want all privately earned money funneled straight to the jarl; how is he NOT going to use it to give himself a big fat paycheck and bail out his preferred corporate buddies? This isn't just "theory", either; all empirical data indicates that whenever such a planned economy is implemented, this is what happens. Ever wonder why the... fast-travel cart industry... got billions of dollars in aid a few years ago, despite the fact that they ran their companies into the ground and completely alienated their plebeian consumer base? That's your real redistributive economy. From each according to his ability, to each according to how friendly he is with the Emperor.

Nor is there any such thing as "free healthcare". That healthcare is being bought with your loot. Only you don't get a say in what operations you get for your money, and quality goes south for everyone except the aforementioned beggars and faceless NPCs.


Nevastar wrote:
If the loot/wealth acquired isn't used for anything at all, then all the proposed system does is reduces the value of your loot/wealth.
Example: You loot a dungeon and return to your preferred city 5000 gold richer. After you arrive, the Jarl's guards take 50% of your gained loot, leaving you with 2500 gold. If the taken gold isn't used in any way, then the system is pointless because they could have just made the amount of gold found in dungeons 50% less. All the system changes is the value of gold coins.



But loot IS used for things. It's what we call "capital". It's what allows quest-givers to make investments and kick-start new adventures- "you look like a brave chap, eh wot? How about you go slaughter some cultists in the Swamp of Despair; I'll give you 5,000 gold and an enchanted sword to make it worth your while!" That gold, that sword, came from somewhere- it was loot, or profit, from previous quests and business transactions. It's injected back into the system by ambitious men and women of means as capital. Without it, the entire quest-giving industry falls apart; the only "work" that can be had will be controlled entirely by the local jarl (the quest industry will be "nationalized"), leading to a severe drop in quality of work, quantity of work, innovation in quest structure, and, of course, completely screwing anyone who doesn't see eye to eye with the jarl himself (wrong dialogue choice? Insulted orcs when the jarl is himself an orc lover? Hope you like never going on another quest again, chum!). Basically, you go from a system in which hundreds of quest givers, some good, some evil, compete amongst themselves to offer the best paying and most interesting quests to a staggering variety of adventurers (warriors, thieves, mages, ninjas, whomever!) all on a voluntary, mutually agreeable basis, to a system in which one and only one quest giver exists, giving the same type of (poor paying) quests to the same type of people, and if he's not evil to begin with, he will be by the end of the main story arc. For the "collective good". :roll:

Variety and competition leads to a vibrant, healthy quest economy. Centralization and regulation kills it.

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Last edited by DorostheConqueror on Thu Aug 09, 2012 10:21 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Should Adventurers have their loot redistributed?
PostPosted: Thu Aug 09, 2012 10:19 pm 
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Ohhh, okay. (I must've misunderstood somewhere, as I thought the taken money would serve no purpose.)
A changing economy would definitely make such games more enjoyable.
Also I only proposed healthcare for lulz, because I wasn't sure if this was an actual tax discussion in disguise as a game discussion :P

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 Post subject: Re: Should Adventurers have their loot redistributed?
PostPosted: Thu Aug 09, 2012 10:23 pm 
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Nevastar wrote:
Ohhh, okay. (I must've misunderstood somewhere, as I thought the taken money would serve no purpose.)
A changing economy would definitely make such games more enjoyable.
Also I only proposed healthcare for lulz, because I wasn't sure if this was an actual tax discussion in disguise as a game discussion :P


In disguise? Well, I never! Harrrumphhh! This is a "video game" website! We only discuss "video games" here!

Recant your snide insinuations, sir, or it shall be pistols at dawn.

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 Post subject: Re: Should Adventurers have their loot redistributed?
PostPosted: Thu Aug 09, 2012 10:32 pm 
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(speaking of which, Beth's 'duels' kinda sucked eggs.)

I think that it would be interesting if taxation was a variable that fluctuated sometimes, along with the in-game economy.

Perhaps, after you capture the Rift for maven, it could become a tax-free none similar to Monaco, and become a hotbed of financial crime... make for some more intricate quests, certainly.

Conversely, the Silver-Bloods might have murderous taxes, with obvious repercussions throughout markarth and in the moods of the populace.

I dunno, I'm spitballing it here! :lol:


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 Post subject: Re: Should Adventurers have their loot redistributed?
PostPosted: Thu Aug 09, 2012 10:46 pm 
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I would either be done extremely right, or extremely wrong, probably. Might make a cool gameplay mechanic in another IP, but I don't think it has a place in The Elder Scrolls at the moment.

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 Post subject: Re: Should Adventurers have their loot redistributed?
PostPosted: Thu Aug 09, 2012 10:50 pm 
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I think people play video games to leave the real world and enter a world where they can take out their anger on fictional characters where it doesn't really matter.


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 Post subject: Re: Should Adventurers have their loot redistributed?
PostPosted: Thu Aug 09, 2012 11:36 pm 
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Nah, it's my loot. I killed that mighty dragon for it. If the kingdom needs loot, they can kill their own dragon..

Try to take my loot if you tire of living.

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