Reform Public Rental Market

Now that spillover is paused I think it is wise to start considering more permanent solutions to our issues with extractors and bots alike as community bandwidth permits. To me, this starts with the public rental market as an area of low-hanging fruit.

What are some ways we can still have more-or-less permissionless systems without having to constantly worry about bots long-term? Ways to continue to facilitate lending in an open-setting that isn’t absent of information ideally…Markets behave best when they have perfect information and flexibility for all market participants and in multi-period games this is especially important for long-run value.

An example of some aspects of public rental market re-design:

  • Final rental agreement execution falls onto the hands of the lender. Allow multiple borrowers to ‘apply’ for a rental, those with better ecosystem support and productivity history would likely get chosen more frequently with time.
  • basic UI info on a user – any alchemica trading history (that updates over time), risk displays for accts with blank activity, etc.
  • Gotchi credit scoring synthesizing or lender regulation – Guilds do self-regulation because of incentives to spread out rentals amongst guild members. I think we can find similar incentive design to make a lender feel more ‘responsible’ for their activity.

Any comments, critiques, or inputs on things like dev feasibility or any implementation or ideation around this re-design are all highly welcomed. I really think we have something unique that doesn’t need tossed out altogether but can be made better with some reform.

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I do like the concepts outlined above, the “Player Profile” is interesting as it would add more info.

I was thinking, what if a simple solution was essentially implementing a “Minimum Wage” on the open market. If you wanted to list your gotchi for sale on the open market without a whitelist then there would be a minimum upfront GHST fee for a period of time… Lets call it 5 GHST per 24 hours. Meaning you could not list a Gotchi on the open market for anything less then 5 GHST per 24 hours (implemented on the back end by PC).

This should effectively build in a minimum wage for players who are working with a guild as they would be trusted and would not need to pay the upfront fee to gain access. This would be potentially exploited by bots, but it would help to serve a positive purpose, it would essentially be an arb to drive prices closer to the “Minimum Wage” If prices feel below, shrewd players (gotchi owners who have been renting for 5 ghst/day) would be incentived to buy Alch under the “Minimium Wage” floor until prices were high enough for bots to re-engage. Yes, this would not stop bots, but it would make them more costly and also be a potential benefit to the economy and help put a constant bid under ghst & alch, as well as establish a means by valuing alch.

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At 5ghst/day we’re talking negative returns unless you’re grinding over 12hrs/day. The market would shut down immediately (except for bots that can work 24/7). This would have the opposite effect of what you’re trying to achieve imo.

All player info is already available if you know where to look thanks to the great efforts of community members. It has been stated this is how PC want things to be. A collaborative effort between PC and the community to develop the tools. The idea, as I understand it, is not for all community developed tools to be officially integrated into PC’s UI.

Giving lenders the right to vet addresses before agreeing to a rental contract is for managers to arrange with their scholars and defeats the purpose of the quickplay style open market which I think we need to retain for casual players interested in trying the game out.

I still think the caartridge mechanism for entry into the gotchiverse is a more complete solution than just focussing on gating the open market.

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When the yield on land is established it’s probably going to bring in allot of investors who are just interested in owning land only.

How are they going to manage land if they don’t have a cartridge and are unable to rent a gotchi?

We could be cutting off allot of potential land only investors by implementing cartridges.

Would new land investors automatically receive a cartridge?

Yes, I believe so…

Yea stupid question probably, I was just wondering if that was open to exploitation…sell a humble to yourself get a cartridge, rinse and repeat… but I’m sure the devs are all over it.

Of course the flip side of that is can you actually deny anyone a cartridge if they are an asset holder….

So if caught botting but you own land in game… what happens then?

You loose your cartridge? So you sell your humble to another wallet get another cartridge and off you go again…

There are some issues with cartridges I think.

No, this is the main downside of the Cartridge model.

If we give everyone who purchases land a Cartridge, then bots could washtrade with themselves to earn Cartridges, undermining the entire point of the exclusivity.

It’s not possible to have an exclusive game, while also maintaining “always-on” access for NFT holders, without inviting botters to the party.

New Land owners (or even Gotchi owners) would need to acquire Cartridges just like everyone else. Which definitely adds more friction. Thus, we run the risk of making it too difficult for new participants to enter into the game.

There are benefits and downsides to all approaches. But I do believe that bots will be near impossible to defeat on a technical level. Which is why the social level is very much worth exploring at this stage.

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Its a big downside… and should not a taken lightly… You cant restrict access to the game for new asset holders. Your going to cripple its growth, especially when harvesters go live and land has a yield…

this is not a good idea…

How easy would it be to enable players with cartridges to manage land only asset holders land?

Yes I agree, it’s a significant downside.

A milder approach would be to only restrict spillover pickup (and other future game mechanics involving ground Alchemica) to those with Cartridges. Other actions like Channeling, Reservoir emptying, building, etc would not require a cartridge.

This way we could still allow new players to experience the game and harvest their yield, but if they wanted to pickup spillover (the main botted activity) they would need to acquire a Cartridge.

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Yea this is a much better solution… good thinking batman :+1:

Ive just been thinking about a possible socially engineered solution to issuing cartridges…

Ok so if we implement the above measures so that you can enter the gotchiverse but you cant pick up spillage without a cartridge…

Could we engineer an in game mechanic that issues cartridges based on a players reputation…

So say you need 5 players to vouch for you in game, you strike up a conversation with them explain your situation. A player needs a 100% reputation to vouch for you…. So lets say you get 5 players to vouch for you… all had 100% reputation and hence were able to give you a star…tick a box… vouch… something like that…. your then issued a cartridge.

Now you get to build your reputation… start off at zero and goes up over time until it gets to 100 then your able to vouch for someone else…or your reputation is linked to your your in game interaction… crafting objects etc…. Spending alch…

If you get caught botting you loose your cartridge and the 5 players that vouched for you loose reputation and hence are no longer able to vouch for other players until their reputation is rebuilt to 100% which takes time…crafting… alch spent…??

This is just the beginnings of an idea, it probably needs some work… but it might be a socially engineered solution to cartridge issuance that has penalties for anyone that vouches for bots…

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I think a reputation system is a great idea tbh. It works for Uber and eBay

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Yea you could have it so you all have to meet up in game, the 5 players that are going to vouch for you… then you do an initiation ceremony where they all co sign a transaction and you get your cartridge… could have some cool graphics for the initiation ceremony…

So basically it takes some in game co-ordination to get issued a cartridge, and it takes social skills as well because you need to find the 5 people to vouch for you in the first place… and if you bot… you loose your cartridge and your ability to pick up alch and you stop the people that vouched for you being able to issue any more cartridges.

An initiation ceremony would be easy to market too, its like an in game mission… it wont feel as restrictive to new players as saying…you cant pick up alch because you might be a bot…

There would have to be restrictions… so that the same 5 players couldn’t hand out 100’s of cartridges in one go… so maybe once a select 5 have issued cartridge… those same 5 cant issue any more for a certain number of blocks… something like that…

Like i say its the beginning of an idea… needs refining by someone smarter than me.

Not sure how easy this is to implement from a smart contract POV…

Blood in, Blood out.

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Interesting idea!

This would shift the minimum wage concept to a ‘minimum lender wage’, which is where I think you were going with the price floor concept. The idea that a potential price control would outprice bots is something that would be effective, and from my perspective probably dry up the public rental market with it…which may or may not be a bad thing depending on how you look at it.

A pro would be that it would allow the public market to remain structured the same but activity wouldn’t start until its profitable to do so (avg alchemica harvest > upfront GHST cost). So bots would be delayed, but resumed once prices are sustainable again.

A potential con to this proposal would be that markets would tilt heavily towards WL to get around the upfront GHST minimum. A bad thing? Not necessarily…it would simply tell those lenders who want their yield now to go search for borrowers. Though over time could erode the usefulness of a ‘permissionless rental market’.

Great thought as the first follow-up to this post.

I think it would still disincentivize bots fwiw. Imagine having to pay a way higher upfront fee and risk getting caught as a bot, the higher price entry deters bots via a market signal in some respect. We will lose out some market efficiency because other players would also get priced out, but it would be a boon for attracting more diverse players (away from F2P) and other aspects in my mind. Though I am ok with the caartridge idea as well, I like the proposal of mixing incentives via alchemica sharing once a recipient crafts something, the owner gets a % too.

+1 for the last sentence. I feel technically most everything will just fall into an arms race concept between bot defense and new bot sophistication.

To me, the best solutions and ideas to this market re-design should focus on how incentives can mix between lenders and borrowers better, remove information gaps, and promote good long-run behavior. If we do go the caartridge route I can just imagine my incentives as a guild leader go way up. A few social reasons:

  1. Biggest reason probably. I get a % split of whatever the (caartridge) receiver crafts on top of my normal split rate. These are higher margins than any pre-existing rental benefits, it also works the same with independent lenders who have been relying on utilization from a ‘faceless’ rental market. We all get a better player pool because of it, more sustainability in alchemica, and new player conversions start ‘seeing the light’.

  2. Replenishment of caartridges. Idk how worked out this one has gotten but having some reliable time table of when I can get more caartridges or be able to meet some lender eligibility to receive new ones would be sweet. It promotes the idea that we can still scale while being selective over who gets invited in. A win-win for the
    growth <-> sustainability paradigm

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We really don’t want to be selective about who we invite in… spillage pick up should be exclusive but why on earth would you want to restrict access for new investors… Let them come in, spend their money and then earn the right to pick up spillage.

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A solution here requires balance.

Within any online game the threat of people trying to bot, especially when a monetary incentive is present, will always exist. This will be a constant battle, and unfortunate to say, but there is no solution that will eliminate people who wish to bot and extract. Seeing this as a fact, as unfortunate as it is, is necessary for us to work towards a viable path forward.

Since turning off spillover, the fact is, while focusing on getting rid of bots and extractors, we killed the only gameplay that people could play for hours, putting the entire scholar market on pause since there is nothing for them to do in the Gotchiverse except go in, channel for a sec, then leave. This inevitably is causing people to look elsewhere to spend their time instead of spending their time in the Gotchiverse.

This is where a balance needs to be struck. A balance between setting up systems that thwarts bots and extractor behavior that does not result in no one being able to play.

Some viable paths forward that I see include:

  1. Gotchi referral program for the rental market instead of being an open market. To be able to rent, you will first have to be referred by a verified Gotchi community member. A Gotchi owner would refer their friends that want to play, guilds would refer interested scholars, and scholars would refer their friends once a cartridge is minted. If found out to be botting, referral and renting access would be revoked until resolved and the person referring would not be able to refer anyone else unless certain actions are taken.

  2. Setup onboarding/tutorial for new players entering the Gotchiverse. Upon completion of this tutorial that explains the lore of the Gotchiverse and how to play, the new wallet would be prompted to mint a free cartridge. Cartridge could cost some Alchemica so it’s not completely free, but the Alchemica needed would be achievable through the tutorial.

  3. Build in more gameplay and story line around Alchemica pickups that is not just running around picking up spillover from channeling. Could implement quests that requires the burning Alchemica to complete and upon completion the player mints an NFT, new wearables, decorations, raffle tickets, etc. The sentiment here is to create more gameplay makes people care about playing cause they care about the story line and the building up of their character through the continuation of that storyline. Right now the only people that are getting a hint of that is Gotchi owners, while scholars come in with very little knowledge about the greater ecosystem and the history, and only care about how much Alchemica they can collect.

So to recap,

  • Botting and extractors are inevitable
  • Some kind of referral program/social verification will help to bring in more credible players than the open market does
  • Creating a Gotchiverse tutorial for new users where upon completion a cartridge is crafted will help to create an initiation that will help new users better understand the game and will make them more committed cause of the time spent going through the tutorial
  • Build out more engaging gameplay like quests with storylines that will make users care about coming back everyday to play and advance their position in the game vs just coming to extract as much Alchemica as possible.

By placing are focus more on these I fully believe we will create an ecosystem that will attract the types of players we want and create the commitment needed to keep them around long term while creating barriers that thwarts botting and extractor behavior.

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Hey frens we have formulated a potential proposal for a Console / Caartridge invite system to limit access to the Gotchiverse while still providing entry points for new players or investors.

Looking forward to some feedback from the wider community!

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