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The Diablo 3 Economy: An Agent Based Approach

Designers of MMOs such as Diablo 3 face economic problems much like policy makers in the real world, e.g. inflation and distributional issues. Solving economic problems through regular updates (patches) became as important to those games as traditional gameplay issues. In this paper we provide an agent framework inspired by the economic features of Diablo 3 and analyze the effect of monetary policy in the game. Our model reproduces a number of features known from the Diablo 3 economy such as a heterogeneous price development, driven almost exclusively by goods of high quality, a highly unequal wealth distribution and strongly decreasing economic mobility. The basic framework presented in this paper is meant as a stepping stone to further research, where our evidence is used to deepen our understanding of the real-world counterparts of such problems. The advantage of our model is that it combines simplicity that is inherent to model economies with a similarly simple observable counterpart (namely the game environment where real agents interact). By matching the dynamics of the game economy we can thus easily verify that our behavioral assumptions are good approximations to reality.

01. February 2016

Authors Makram El-Shagi Gregor von Schweinitz

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