Minor wall of text ahead... The primary problem I think, in regards to a majority of MMOs, is related to Sirlins key points about competition: that they have no decision-making and no valuation required. Decision-making is often done in the first few months of the release of new content where players experiment more than not with any new classes, races, or skills that have come out in order to determine the best one and start min-maxing it. Valuation is non-existent as the players have all the data in front of them and simply translate it into what would win and what would not. Low-level equipment is always worse than high-level equipment, and picking the right gear doesn't go beyond knowing what everyone else thinks is the best. The primary reason for the lack of decision-making and valuation in the micro-management of gear and skills is that there is not enough factors to consider that might be ambiguous enough that two different players will have differing viewpoints. The current decision involves determining the equipment with the better and more helpful stat bonuses, but nothing else. Gold price doesn't often come into play because it's a one time investment where the bonuses are always worth the cost (and even if they aren't it's assumed that if you have the gold and you're keeping the item for a while you ought to take it, as over time it will justify the investment). I don't know about skills, but simple economics can help solve the gear problem. The idea for an ideal economy is that the people keep paying each other for services rendered and goods purchased so that the money cycles around. One problem with MMOs is that money is constantly being injected into the economy through monster drops (which increases inflation), and rarely being taken out of the economy through NPC services or goods payment. Another problem is that the money often doesn't cycle well between players thanks to the fact that goods are obtained from suppliers (monsters) by accident and sold as one-shot instances to consumers (players). My proposed solution might help turn the MMOs artificial economy into a free market-esque one, but the primary goal of it is to increase the level of valuation and decision-making. My idea is to create degrading goods and services to FORCE more exchanges of goods. As it stands the way to succeed in terms of Gear is to buy the best and most expensive ones. But what about the idea of weapons, armor, and other gear that have extremely limited life-spans and can't be repaired? This would force players to make active economical decisions rather than encouraging pile-on play. It also helps to reduce inflation as all items are not as useful as they once were. By adding in the concept of degrading gear, you're creating a solid link between gold and gear stats that force people to make active decisions: should I pick the best gear knowing that it will give me a minor boost but cost twice as much over the long run? It becomes difficult to determine which gear is the most important and why given a players economical status. This also gives them a greater reason in investing in the economy, in order to maintain their economic worth. Some players might be of the opinion that it isn't worth the money, while others will pay the difficult price and gain enough of an edge to kill them (my assumption is that this is a largely PvP world). Of course, you might be able to burn a bit of cash into fixing old weapons, but the idea is that the extent to which you can repair them degrades as you repair them (suppose the maximum repair value shrinks by 10% of the value you repaired). This can create even more decision-making and valuation: should I pay an exorbitant rate simply to gain another days worth of life out of it? The concept of degrading can be applied to almost everything and anything: -Imagine a map-making 'job' that allows players to fast-travel and where the maps themselves become useless (takes longer to fast travel) over time. This ensures that the map-maker's products become useful while simultaneously creating decision-making and valuation. This can be applied to any 'job'. -What about skills and abilities that degrade over time, requiring maintenance? Maybe not, but even better; what about skills and abilities that don't have a hard cap, or a soft cap, but a cap that follows a mathematical asymptote: you can increase them forever and ever, and they will get closer and closer to a target point, but never actually reach it. What if that asymptote was 100% efficiency and players had to make a decision on whether to waste months to get a minor effect? What if the skills degraded over time too, requiring constant effort, maintenance, and decision-making? If everything degraded like so, it would not only encourage better micro-management, decision-making, and valuation, but encourage the cycling of money as in a free-market system and force the exchange of goods. The next problem, as I see it, is to get rid of the accidental economy, where the idea is to get rid of what you don't want rather than sell what people do want. Accidental economies, in the real world, have the tendency to fail regularly in comparison to profit-inspired economies, so why would it be different for a simulated reality? I'm thinking of something like no monster drops at all whatsoever, and giving the tools to make weapons to the player, but I'll get back to you guys on that.