Today I want to talk about everyone’s least favorite thing: taxes. I snagged the idea from a Reddit thread a while back that was complaining about the tax system in Albion Online. The way it works is that guilds with built-up islands and territories and players who rent and outfit crafting stations in base-game cities are able to charge taxes of players for what they loot and craft. “They need to come up with a different way of rewarding players for owning cities that doesn’t involve making everyone who visits it to be a source of profit,” the thread poster argues. “Even if the guild spends their own money to build up the city or crafting stations I find the relationship agitating to be paying taxes to them like they are some kind of ruler over other players.”
I’ve seen lots of tax systems in MMOs over the years, including in my favorite MMOs, like Star Wars Galaxies, which allows mayors to charge taxes on goods and transport in their owns. But I also remember back to Ultima Online, when guilds imposed their own taxes on members. To get into my first MMO guild, I had to go out and cut down trees and mine ore and buy huge stacks of reagents for the guild’s coffers, which I only later learned was just the leader’s personal bank account and was never actually used in the service of the members. I’ve also played several months of Albion Online now and yeah, I’m pretty over the excessive taxes for crafters. The abuse is rampant, and I don’t see how it benefits the overall game economy the way, say, an auction hall fee that is actually a proper gold sink would. It just exacerbates the founder effect already present in a sandbox.
What do you think about taxes in MMORPGs? Is this a mechanic you like? Have you seen it done well in a certain MMO?