Monday, February 1, 2010

GDKP: free market spending with Marxist labor

I've developed a theoretical love for GDKP recently. In short form, this is a raid in which items are bid on and the pot is split up at the end. The specifics vary, but in general the result is you walk out with loot or a lot of gold.

They're a sort of free-market raid. You are rewarded based on how much you're willing to invest. Or spend. Those who have a lot of gold have earned a great deal of purchasing power through their wise investments outside the raid.

It creates an interesting exchange in that the loot effectively starts out collectively owned. That means of course that no one owns it or can use it except at the permission of the dictator/loot master. Then comes the free market in which capitalists assert property rights. Whoever values the item most and can back up his greed gets the item.

This is actually a rather socialist system if you think about it some more.

Whose loot is it?
When the loot drops, everyone owns it. Then the capitalists bid and the gold goes to those who did not bid. The effective result is that the capitalists are conducting an exchange only with those who did not bid. The poor effectively have control over the item. This exposes the great lie of socialism: equality. It's not equality, it's giving the poor, the non-investors control over what was claimed to be collectively owned.

Oh sure, argue that the capitalists already had partial ownership. They merely had to buy out the ownership of the others. Fine. But who is thinking this way? I doubt anyone. If this was the case, then prices would be 4% (25-man) to 10% (10-man) lower, to reflect not needing to but out their own share. But no, people bid as if they don't have any initial shares at all; meaning that this collective system is encouraging people to overpay by a non-trivial amount. It is actively interfering with the free hand of the market.

As an alternative, maybe the loot is controlled by no one. But in that case, why does the bidder need to pay for anything more than the time it takes the master looter to send the item over? Obviously this could trigger a bidding war, but the expecting starting price would be much lower, creating different value perceptions, and driving down the end price as well. Clearly socialism is driving much more than 10% deflection from the market price.

Marxist labor
"From each according to his ability".
That's Marx for you. And that's the raid. Unless someone is blatantly holding back the raid, they are carried along. I won't be an idiot and assume that they are leeches, at least not yet. They do enough. That's fine. But when the payment comes, the bottom DPS and the top DPS have the same share of the loot to buy out. Everyone works, but some pay better attention or are more skilled, and yet where is their advantage? I have never heard of a loot master declaring "if you're 10% below the average DPS, you must pay 10% more to compensate", or the reverse. High achievers are not rewarded within the raid. There does remain the gold component, but there is only a very tangential link between that gold and raid success; that link of course being their market activities raising all boats and enabling the raid to have consumables and gems and crafted gear. But that's a tenuous link and hardly comparable to the difference between a high and low DPS.

Told you so
My blog description says there's socialism everywhere. This is true. This is a perfect example: a supposedly free-market exchange in which reward matches contribution, but in the most significant way: skill and contribution within the raid, there is no link. I really am quite surprised at the ingenuity of it; the lazy leeches have convinced the investors that it's a free market which rewards them, while instead it rewards most those who invest nothing except a bit of unskilled labor.


  1. I've been interested in gdkp this week. I see it as promoting capitalist values.

    Are people being carried? Yeah, although most runs posted do seem to have minimum standards similar to /random raids. In fact, in a /random raid, everyone has an equal shot at any loot regardless of what they contribute. For some reason you seem to imply otherwise.

    Under /random, the high achievers (those who overgear the instance) have absolutely no incentive to run the raid, or are forced to run it for say the small chance of a rare trinket. GDKP now allows them to be rewarded for their superior ability/gear by those they carry. Really it's a more fluid version of a gold run, with more guarantees built into the system for those who are paying the gold.

    The item buyers are essentially using their profits from (capitalist) activities in other areas of the game to pay hardcore raiders for items. This might be against the spirit of the game, but it doesn't get more capitalist than that.

  2. Overgeared and high achieving are not the same thing. Those with the most gold walk away with the most gear while the with the most gear walk away with the most gold. And the best players are irrelevant.