Transportation Economics in World of Warcraft
I came across this line in William Sims Bainbridge’s new book, The Warcraft Civilization, on the social sciences of the virtual World of Warcraft:
Some long-distance travel is free, using the public ship, zeppelin, or teleportation systems. But much flight from point to point has moderate costs. Maxrohn found that a nonstop flight from Light’s Hope Chapel in Eastern Plaguelands to Nethergarde Keep in the Blasted Lands costs thirty-one silvers and fifty nine coppers. However, it is possible to fly from Light’s Hope to Stormwind for nine silvers and sixty-three coppers, and from Stormwind to Nethergarde for seven silvers and forty-seven coppers. Thus, stopping at Stormwind saves fourteen silvers and forty-nine coppers, or slightly over 45 percent.
It’s intriguing that this rather echoes the market for using frequent-flier points — i.e., it will cost you less for a flight with stops. This raises all kinds of interesting questions: What dynamics account for the pricing (e.g., does greater network traffic increase the cost of travel) and the network disequilibrium? Why would anyone pay to travel if one can teleport for free (a question for Patricia Mokhtarian)? Is there a Kayak-type application for analyzing the costs of travel, or is it all trial and error? Do people interact on the public ships and zeppelins? Is private flight much faster than the public options (presumably teleportation is instantaneous), and is there a “last mile” or connectivity problem with the public options (so to speak)? And lastly: Are there any travel externalities in World of Warcraft?
This entry was posted on Wednesday, March 24th, 2010 at 12:34 pm and is filed under Commuting, Traffic Wonkery. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.