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Career Officer
Join Date: Jun 2012
Posts: 994
# 28
04-30-2013, 10:17 AM
The problem with the Need/Greed mechanic is because of a psychology concept known as the Public Goods Game. Basically, when a system depends on everyone behaving fairly it only takes one person acting selfishly to collapse the entire system. Two examples:

1. (a parable): You and two other families live out in the wilderness near a lake. The lake provides very good fishing, enough to support all three of you. You all agree to only take what you need for your family, and the lake will remain well stocked and everybody will be happy. After a while, you notice one of the other people is taking some extra fish from the lake and selling them in town for extra money. If you just allow this one person to do this, the lake will still be fine and able to supply you all. However, because it's "not fair", you are heavily inclined to start taking as much as he is. If you don't, the third person will. So pretty soon, you're all taking more than you need, the lake gets overfished, and now nobody has anything.

2a. (a lab experiment): Researchers give each member of a group $20. Each round, they have the option to contribute $1 to a communal pot. The researchers will then double the money in the pot and give each participant an equal cut back. Participants can not tell who is contributing and who is not. At first, everybody contributes and the maximum amount of money comes back. After a couple rounds, somebody realizes they can personally do better if they stop chipping in, but still get a cut of the proceeds regardless. The others soon notice, and more people stop chipping in. Before long, nobody chips in, and nobody gets anything. Rationally you should always contribute regardless of other people's behavior, because getting less is better than getting nothing. That's not how people will respond though, because it's "not fair", and with anonymity preventing any sort of personal reprisal against the cheater people just start to respond in kind.

2b. Same as above, except now you do it out in the open around a table where everybody can see whether you contribute or not. Everybody contributes, every time, due to social pressure. Nobody wants to be the guy who isn't chipping in.

The lab experiment basically demonstrates what the difference is between a PUG and a group of fleeties. In a PUG, your behavior has no consequence. So why not abuse the system? With your fleet mates, you are no longer anonymous, and may face reprisal by the fleet for needing unnecessarily. The takeaway here is that you will never get PUGs to use Need/Greed properly. Even if you can convince 99% of players to obey the rule, it only takes 1 miscreant in a match to collapse the entire thing. You might as well just accept it as the way it is and Need everything in PUGs.

Last edited by shockwave85; 04-30-2013 at 10:20 AM.