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Money in Project Eternity: Get Rid of Adventurer-Based Economy

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If currency was made harder to acquire and therefore less common, why not include it in encumbrance calculations? Now before you shriek "God, no! This is one of those abstract mechanics we've grown to love and depend on!", what if it allowed you to be more strategic with how and when you cashed in your loot?

 

 

Say you looted a dungeon and came up with some cool items and a bag of gems. In regular RPGs, you'd trek to the nearest "Ye Olde Adventuring Shoppe" and exchange all your loot for gold, right? What if in P:E it just meant you carried that bag of gems around with you and only cashed in what you needed when you needed it? The value-to-weight ratio of a bag of gems would be far superior to a metric shed-load of gold.

 

I know where you're coming from on that, but it's moot with the inventory system they have already thrown out as an example. Where it could get interesting, however, is if there's multiple currencies that are being kept track of. We know there is going to be two big cities, so you can have two different currencies just off of that. Dungeon delving and killing stuff from a different age can produce its own currency as well. Currency in one area doesn't necessarily convert to an equivalent currency in another area, especially if the two areas are not on friendly terms, and depending on what background activity is going on in game, could cause events to happen for the party.

 

For example, if the party went to clean out an elven burial site and spent the money found there in an elven area, that could cause a bounty to be placed on the party by the elves after a couple of days to be brought in for questioning...dead or alive. Or spending money from one city at the other city when they are not on friendly terms could result in the party being contacted by the local thieves guild for possible jobs.

 

 

If they put in spending/buying caps in locations, given that the party can get a stronghold, what might be really interesting is if you can put found items to use gearing up your stronghold people instead. Found a bounty of Fortified Plate Mail that no one can afford to buy? Equip some of your stronghold soldiers with them instead, so they have a higher survivability.

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Slight off-topic, post courtesy of Spectacle from RPG Codex:

 

 

Spectacle said:

I would like to use this thread to say that I am ****ing tired of RPGs (and games in general) where your primary source of money is by finding and selling equipment. Finding treasure would be much more satisfying. Chests of gold guarded by bandidts. Fist sized gems stolen from the eyes of a demonic statue. Golden regalia from the tomb of the sorcerer-king. Way cooler treasure than the +3 sword you sell because you already have a +4.

 

It's a fair point. And it harkens back to the days of PnP AD&D.

 

And besides, what kind of store owner buys stinky goblin armour from complete strangers? :shifty:

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Me? I'm dishonest, and a dishonest man you can always trust to be dishonest. Honestly. It's the honest ones you want to watch out for.

 

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What if in P:E it just meant you carried that bag of gems around with you and only cashed in what you needed when you needed it? The value-to-weight ratio of a bag of gems would be a far superior to a metric shed-load of gold.

 

Heh, that's pretty much what I ended up doing in both Oblivion AND Skyrim. Well, and Fallout. Well, sort of. It was more bartering heavier items for lighter items (like gems), so that I was still carrying around value, but maybe not actually currency. I know currency weight wasn't an issue in those games, but, still...

 

As far as the "what to do about money and loot and the economy" bit, all you're really dealing with is balancing. A lot of factors, sure, but it's just balancing between them, nonetheless. I think most of the problems we see nowadays with RPG economies stem from the fact that about 80% of your money gain is dependent upon looting and selling. Instead of items simply being capable of providing monetary income, they are pretty much THE means of doing so. You might complete a quest and get 1,000 gold, and you might sell 7,000 gold worth of loot that you acquired whilst completing that quest. If you could only get about 1,000 gold from all your looting, and the quest gave you 7,000 gold, you wouldn't be so worried about looting everything you can get your hands on PURELY to sell for money (dealing with encumbrance or huge inventory lists is just a chore at that point).

 

So, if loot sale isn't the only viable means of getting enough money to buy new things, you can now find loot less often and be completely cool with it (because you didn't want those 17 Longswords of Minor Strength anyway, they just happened to be your means of making money).

 

That's just one factor. That's just shifting the income potential of things around, and it affects the system that much. You'd probably want to do more than that. But, you could have some optional quests (with actual, engaging story significance that you'd expect from any other quest) that were a challenge but provided more money, and other quests that, in accordance with sense, didn't provide a lot of money (but maybe provided reputation that leads to different sets of quest options or outcomes down the road, or some kind of skill training, etc... something useful to the player). It's a case like this in which variety is your friend.

 

So, sometimes you take on a specific quest for money (helping some wealthy merchants, perhaps, or doing sneaky, sneaky Rogue things to steal/cheat people out of money, etc. Again, variety), or maybe sometimes you still find some really nice gemstone, or magical weapon or armor piece that's valuable, or maybe sometimes you just kill some bandits with fat coinpurses because they've just had a good day (that you ended). *shrug*. However you get it, what really matters are two things: 1) You aren't obligated to toil away finding (and expecting to find) 500 articles of loot every 10 minutes and sell them back at town, dealing with whatever degree of encumbrance/inventory system there is, and 2) that the wealth-gaining options available to you are balanced (and paced) well in-line with the values of the useful purchasable goods available to you. You shouldn't be finding way more money than you can spend, or way less, and you shouldn't be expected to buy new equipment every minute, nor should you go 72 hours of gameplay without being expected to be able to afford new equipment. That all really just comes down to balance.

 

Another way to offset the off-balance dependence upon loot-selling is to have the loot be situationally valuable. Examples: Maybe instead of all those generic longswords being worth piddly money, they're only worth crafting materials (IF you need the materials of which they're constructed) to you, OR even worth the crafting materials to a blacksmith. However, maybe, instead of giving you 3 silver per longsword, he gives you a free equipment upgrade or offers a free single crafting service because you did him the favor of supplying him with some much needed metal to melt down for some big order he's got. Maybe that's even something that changes as time passes.

 

The same could go for all those herbs and trap parts and various "something to pick up" things that we typically grab by default simply so we can get at least 1 shilling for it when we get back to town. Maybe you don't want to craft alchemy stuff, but you're in the market for some discounts at the potion shop, so you pluck all the herbs you can find. Or, maybe they'll offer you some better wares for doing them a favor.

 

I know, to some, that sounds dangerously like piddly fetch quests. But, I'm not talking "Hey, go out to this cave and collect 10 mushrooms and come back to me." I'm just talking about having different reasons for doing things, and not just the ever-valuable coin. Money ALWAYS helps you, because everything's for sale for coin. So, think of generic swords or herbal ingredients as almost different currencies. Want certain things from the blacksmith, or feel the need to help equip that band of revolutionary peasants so they can take down a corrupt lord? Then you might have reason to grab all the swords and armor you can find (and you don't have to go any further out of your way, because everyone who wields a sword or wears armor who fights you, you just either take it or don't). But, you might not want to grab all the herbs, or the trap components, because maybe you're not a fan of using oodles of potions, or traps. Or maybe you just want the traps and not the swords.

 

The point is, you give stuff DIFFERENT values, instead of "the ability to purchase anything else" value, and you've got options, and all the little loot is suddenly a lot less of a chore. It no longer feels like everyone drops generic weaponry every 5 seconds PURELY so that you can weigh the benefits of 15 more gold against the consequences of 70 more pounds of stuff.

 

When you have a handful of options, and the only reason for all of them is the acquisition of money, things can get pretty bland.

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Should we not start with some Ipelagos, or at least some Greater Ipelagos, before tackling a named Arch Ipelago? 6_u

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What if in P:E it just meant you carried that bag of gems around with you and only cashed in what you needed when you needed it? The value-to-weight ratio of a bag of gems would be a far superior to a metric shed-load of gold.

 

Another way to offset the off-balance dependence upon loot-selling is to have the loot be situationally valuable. Examples: Maybe instead of all those generic longswords being worth piddly money, they're only worth crafting materials (IF you need the materials of which they're constructed) to you, OR even worth the crafting materials to a blacksmith. However, maybe, instead of giving you 3 silver per longsword, he gives you a free equipment upgrade or offers a free single crafting service because you did him the favor of supplying him with some much needed metal to melt down for some big order he's got. Maybe that's even something that changes as time passes.

 

What if characters received payments for certain successful skill checks (the 3E kind) that provided a small service?

 

Such as crafting goods and items for the common man (i.e. not blacksmiths or temple wards).

  • You enter a back alley to find Fergus the Pilferer has just nicked some trap ingredients, but the silly sod doesn't know how to craft traps. So you oblige, for a few coins.

  • Mrs Miggins' the local florist has a "delicate issue" so you offer to apply your herbal skills to concoct a remedy, for a fee.

  • A few rowdy "pub hounds" are milling about the local square, so you entertain the crowd with your performance skills. Punters toss a few coins at you then head back to the bar. Or you use your diplomacy skills to quell a potential bar fight, to which the landlord shows his appreciation with a few silvers.

And so on.

 

It may appear menial for not much reward, but the actual doing of the deed wouldn't take long, and the roleplay value would be there.

 

It wouldn't be limited to just cities. Other areas where unsolicited payment for skills might be available.

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Me? I'm dishonest, and a dishonest man you can always trust to be dishonest. Honestly. It's the honest ones you want to watch out for.

 

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Supply & Demand

 

Let's immerse ourselves a little bit here.

 

In-Game Demand:

6 party characters in the world of P:E is enough to warrant lots of merchants and traders for the 6 party characters pleasure? What does the general commoner public desire? Do they want swords and shields? Do they buy adventurous gear for laughs? Who needs weapons and why? Does the companions who aren't part of the party continue their Quest tree's without the main character? Do they buy gear? Does enemy adventure parties do that as well?

 

Doing a quick headcount of who or what has Demand(customers) I can think of perhaps... 1 important Blacksmith in the world. 2 Military Blacksmith Industries that pump out weapons for Faction A and Faction B. Does the Demand change if Faction A is being messed with by the Player? Does Faction B's supply in that case "grow"?

 

A rough hypothetical number on the demand, taking companions, players, AH, enemy adventurer's and stray characters in mind~ 200 people in the world of P:E demands weapons. Is that enough to warrant lots of mercantile options? As for the "Military", they have a different demand that differs greatly from the citizen's demand.

 

Out of Game Demand:

Us the players are way more than 6 characters. About 75k and probably more people who haven't even heard about P:E yet. What is our demand? Do we want a merchant around every corner who can fulfill our desires and wants for our adventures? Or are merchants scarce and they buy only stuff related to what they sell?

 

Supply: (won't cover out of game supply because it is infinite by the press of a "Create X Longswords" in a code sequence)

Supply is determined by how many "wants" stuff. Does the Blacksmith make weapons for you only or for the army? Are they interested in selling anything to you if your reputation is low? Are merchants even available at the start of the game? Would merchants haggle themselves? One time they might buy a sword for 10 gold, but later they might say "Nah, I won't buy it for more than 4 gold!" etc. etc. if the Blacksmith has 100 longswords, what makes him want to buy more?

 

Likewise, does the Blacksmith buy potions? Herbs? Scrolls? Items that are unrelated to his profession?

 

A battle between party and bandits:

You took down the band of bandits, chopped off an arm, crushed a helmet, cut through that piece of leather armor like it was butter etc. etc. will you be able to scavenge fully equip-able equipment or would you scavenge components? Is durability desirable? Back to Supply & Demand.

 

Supply & Demand:

Okay so the Blacksmith has 100 longswords, but does he have all of the components to make more? Does a broken hilt sell for as much as a fine undamaged longsword? The broken hilt should sell for even less gold, of course, because the Blacksmith is a businessman. There's a big chance he'd say something like "What do I need this broken component for?", but he probably thinks "I can use this to make my work easier".

 

The Blacksmith:

Does the inventory he carry change? Does he start off with 3 Medicine Potions that disappear after time, because he used it for his family or for himself? If the Blacksmith only has 1 Longsword in stock, then it is granted he'd buy more Longswords for a higher price.

 

Capping the Merchant Inventory:

The Blacksmith had 100 longswords, right, but let's look at those 3 Potions instead. Let's say the Blacksmith has a "Cap", he can carry 3 potions. If he has 1 potion he'd buy a potion for more than if he had 2 potions. If he has 3 he wouldn't buy any more but he could sell 1 or 2 for more than what you sell them for.

 

Unlimited Stash:

Now I've got an Unlimited Stash in P:E, and perhaps some of the solution I've provided won't remove the "Sell-scumming" of items, but it'd definitely mitigate some of it. Specially if the merchants have "caps". 100/100 Longswords, buy 1 Longsword and the merchants supply is instead 99/100. If the merchant has 100/100 I wouldn't be able to sell more to him. With a "time-based" factor which changes the supply over time, maybe the Blacksmith has 100/100 longswords when I meet him the first time, but some Quests/Days later he might have 85/100. For example's sake we aren't selling anything at this point: A couple of Days later (In-Game time) he has 100/100 again.

 

"But Sandwich!": (Strawman, in b4 anyone else argues this point)

This is basically "I leave the game unpaused in some city, go to work, live my life, party or whatever, return to the computer, play the game". I don't think this is a valid argument but nonetheless I'll try to explain what this entails. The Blacksmith has 100/100 Longswords, I hardly have any gold on my party and I want gold on my party, so I leave the game (afk) to return an hour or two later, at this point the Blacksmith might have 85/100 and I can sell some gear! To negate this I have some more thoughts:

 

* You'd have to leave the town for any change in the "Stock" so to speak, and a couple of days outside of the town would change the stock slightly. Would it be an effective method for a Player to play the game? No. Player A might get some minor petty advantages over someone who doesn't abuse this, but at the time Player A finish the game using a method like this, Player B has finished the game a couple of times already.

* Random, one game the "Stock" could be changing slightly a lot, and another game it might not.

* The Stock wouldn't change much, perhaps 1 or 2 swords more or less (does out of party characters do their Quest trees and how much do they buy?) (Demand: How many are buying longswords and what's the Trend?).

 

TL;DR: Supply & Demand! How many Merchants are there, how much do they have of what, and how much do they want the crap you throw at them? "How much does the world demand weapons versus how much does the military demand weapons?".

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I think we are getting perhaps a little convoluted here with some of these arguements, realisitcally in whatever system there was, there are 4 aspects to consider, which have precedence.

 

=1) Is it easy to understand?

=1) Is it fun?

 

3) Does it provide a reasonable level of challenge? (Optional)

 

4) Does it resemble real world economics?

 

Honestly, for me personally, getting first two right is mandatory and all efforts should be focused on that to begin with, 3) is fairly optional and 4) is completely optional and both must be done in such a way as to not damage (and for preference, enhance) 1 and 2. Which isn't to say that they shouldn't be included, but they certainly shouldn't be included if you are putting realism over fun. Weight for currency I always consider fundementally terrible, and if any of you have ever played Daggerfall you'll know why - it doesn't add realism, it adds annoyance - even in the real world if you were a fabulously wealthy merchant you wouldn't literally walk over to the guy selling houses with your pockets laden down with coins and manually hand them over yourself, and if you don't do that you are basically encumbered or forced to be constantly going to the bank, both of which are chores rather than actions of merit.

 

As for the 3 potions example, you are missing the opposite side of supply and demmand. If you go into the apothacary every day for a week and buy out his stock of potions every day, that merchant is going to go "hmm, maybe I should stock more potions if they are always selling out" and it'll basically carry on rising until either a) his supplier cannot produce them any faster or b) you stop buying all his potions out. In the latters case thats the point at which they are stabilised or in the case of the former that basically comes off as being a bit arbitary.

 

If you were really that set on stock limitation you could introduce an order based mechanic where you order in, say 100 arrows, the day before because they don't have them in stock, pay at the time and pick them up the next day. That way you allow infinite purchases without meaning the shop owner risks blowing all their money on 5000 potions of barkskin only for you to never go back and buy any more, ruining him.

 

But yes, really, I think the thing you are skipping over is that the IE loot systems were fun, and whatever you do to them, thats the thing you need to hold on to.

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=1) Is it easy to understand?

=1) Is it fun?

 

3) Does it provide a reasonable level of challenge? (Optional)

 

4) Does it resemble real world economics?

 

1. Supply & Demand

2. Supply & Demand

3. Supply & Demand

4... Supply & Demand...

 

I don't mean to sound mean or have any ill intent by the way. I think it's preference. I wouldn't want a real real life economy going on but definitely something that has something of it in it. Let me motivate Supply & Demand.

 

1. I think it is very easy to understand. You have 10 Longswords, Blacksmith has 100 Longswords. Does Blacksmith want Longswords? Probably not.

2. If balanced accordingly to P:E I think it could be more tactical economy management rather than the popular "farming gear to sell"-method. Something with a little bit more depth to it and that would fit very well into worlds such as Baldur's Gate and other IE games (which already has a little bit of the Supply & Demand apparent. A Blacksmith doesn't buy Potions and most innkeepers don't buy weapons~Beregost. Might've been mods~).

3. Yes. For both Player and Developer as it naturally presents a challenge. Maybe the Blacksmith doesn't buy Longswords because he already has a lot. In other words you wouldn't be able to farm and sell gear. And for a roleplayer it'd be too much hassle to go to 5 towns just to get rid of all the equipment and earn a progressively decreasing amount of gold*

4. Yes.

 

Adding more questions:

5. Is it easy to design? Might be. Depends on organization by Obsidian as well as preparation/direction.

 

6. Is Economy part of the Difficulty scale? e.g. Easy = Farmfest, Hardcore = More realistic/indicating realism.

 

* You have 100 longswords, selling 10 of them to a single Blacksmith with loads of longswords yields 10 gold a piece, but selling more after that gives you 7 gold, 6 gold etc. etc.

If the Blacksmith has no Longswords at all, he might buy the first 10 longswords for 20 gold a piece etc. etc.

 

EDIT: Likewise, if there's any sense of urgency or the world is changing around you as time passes, going to those 5 towns would take time and stuff could happen that you either miss or gain a disadvantage later on. The reward for you as the Player could simply be that you get more gold, but there's a chance you'd sacrifice content for it.

 

EDIT EDIT: On the 3 potions thing:

* Blacksmith specifically, he has a family and needs medicine for his family. If you buy up his stock his family might die (as a random event thing~ chances are greater if you buy all the potions/haggle your way to buy them).

* The Blacksmith wouldn't need more than 3 potions, it's more like "personal use" perhaps. What with Mortality and all. At first you might not even be able to buy them from him, but later on you get better [speech] skill and can convince him that they would be better in your hand.

* Likewise, the other way around, the Blacksmith has no potions and he needs potions or else his family dies, will you be kind and sell him some to keep his family alive and the Blacksmith's morale and motivation up (otherwise he won't make as good weapons or whatnot).

 

I wouldn't want to see some massive change to what the IE games presents. It is good as it is but there could be some updates to it accordingly to other updates/upgrades that P:E has.

 

If the IE games had had a "Stock Limit" I'd be "forced" to continue playing the game rather than going back and forth and back and forth. Many times I would have finished the challenge ahead of me instead of going back and re-stocking/upgrading my gear.

 

Of course, I am biased, I am basing my ideas in combination with my Armor Resource Management thoughts seen in the "Commoner and the Wall of Text" in my signature (specifically the Armor Management, it should be highlighted in the WoT and other posts in the thread) ;)

 

So perhaps you could upgrade your gear on the field, rather than going back to a shop.

Edited by Osvir
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If the IE games had had a "Stock Limit" I'd be "forced" to continue playing the game rather than going back and forth and back and forth. Many times I would have finished the challenge ahead of me instead of going back and re-stocking/upgrading my gear.

 

What do you mean by "going back and forth"? Almost every scenario in IE games is completable without having to go on a shopping trip except when quests lead you to town, and its certainly completable without multiple looting trips to get every single item - once outside the start of the game you are realistically at a point where you have to pick and choose what you can carry to get the greatest return for your full inventory / carrying capacity. That's entirely your perogative if you want to be constantly doing round trips to town to sell up, you are not in any way forced to do so, indeed, I'd say in most of the games you could probably get away with under 5 of so shop visits if you really wanted to.

 

Besides, at least some of the IE games do have diminishing returns on identical objects I seem to recall, so its not as if this is a new thing.

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True.

 

What I mean about "back and forth" is that many games allow you to do just that without any consequence. It took a couple of in-game hours to get out from the middle of the dungeon, then some couple of days to fast travel to a city, I get back and it's in the state I left it. I didn't lose anything in it and I can do it again and again and again until I grow bored of it. Personally I just loot everything I find in Chapter 1 to get a steady economy going and then after that I hardly loot anything except the good stuff, but I kind of boost myself up in terms of the economy (e.g. I'd be ahead 1000 gold than if I didn't pick everything up perhaps).

 

The initial roaming about in the world determines how much gold I get (I do the same thing in Diablo 2, pick up all the crap items for the first few quests to get an economy started, even if I know that later on I'm going to get thousands of gold pieces).

 

Really though, what I want to address is the specific: I cleaved a guy in half, can I even sell the broken pieces of his leather armor or is it more applicable to upgrading my own gear?

 

Josh brings up a good point of "patient players and impatient players" on Formspring. I am personally very impatient unless the game is built to be patient (I absolutely love Sins of a Solar Empire, me and a friend had a 3 month campaign). What I mean with this is that in Baldur's Gate I have the choice to be either patient or impatient, I usually go with the impatient, get as much gold as possible -> get as good gear as possible -> railroading. There's also the part of being a "completionist" in the ways of "I need to get as much gold as possible, in case that uber item appears that costs 1'000'000 gold!!" and "I need to take down everything!" or "I'm rich b--ch!"-factors.

 

A safety net, it is a comfort zone (= going back and forth). There's is no threat, not even the random encounters. All I am saying is that I hope that there are some "limitations" or some "disadvantages" that makes it less appealing to go back to town back and forth, some threats or some sort of tangible consequence to it. You'd still be able to do it but it would be more appealing (for the Player) to continue the game.

 

Likewise, if you are going to be able to have your own "business" (like mcmanusaur posted a topic about, that Feargus brought up in an interview) how will the money system work then? If that ever becomes a reality, how would you manage that Economy?

 

So we really are on the same page, you play the game without going back and forth and that's how I'd like to play. The difference between our ideologies I think is that you'd want to allow the "back and forth" (and you don't loot everything) whilst I would want it to be toned down, consequential or entirely removed (and I loot everything).

 

The point, simplified:

You say: "I don't play like that and you don't have to"

I say: "I play like that and I don't want to be allowed to"

 

I'd want the "adventurer" (your) experience to be more important than the "back and forth" (my) experience (in design).

Edited by Osvir

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True.

 

What I mean about "back and forth" is that many games allow you to do just that without any consequence. It took a couple of in-game hours to get out from the middle of the dungeon, then some couple of days to fast travel to a city, I get back and it's in the state I left it. I didn't lose anything in it and I can do it again and again and again until I grow bored of it. Personally I just loot everything I find in Chapter 1 to get a steady economy going and then after that I hardly loot anything except the good stuff, but I kind of boost myself up in terms of the economy (e.g. I'd be ahead 1000 gold than if I didn't pick everything up perhaps).

 

The initial roaming about in the world determines how much gold I get (I do the same thing in Diablo 2, pick up all the crap items for the first few quests to get an economy started, even if I know that later on I'm going to get thousands of gold pieces).

 

Really though, what I want to address is the specific: I cleaved a guy in half, can I even sell the broken pieces of his leather armor or is it more applicable to upgrading my own gear?

 

Josh brings up a good point of "patient players and impatient players" on Formspring. I am personally very impatient unless the game is built to be patient (I absolutely love Sins of a Solar Empire, me and a friend had a 3 month campaign). What I mean with this is that in Baldur's Gate I have the choice to be either patient or impatient, I usually go with the impatient, get as much gold as possible -> get as good gear as possible -> railroading. There's also the part of being a "completionist" in the ways of "I need to get as much gold as possible, in case that uber item appears that costs 1'000'000 gold!!" and "I need to take down everything!" or "I'm rich b--ch!"-factors.

 

A safety net, it is a comfort zone (= going back and forth). There's is no threat, not even the random encounters. All I am saying is that I hope that there are some "limitations" or some "disadvantages" that makes it less appealing to go back to town back and forth, some threats or some sort of tangible consequence to it. You'd still be able to do it but it would be more appealing (for the Player) to continue the game.

 

Likewise, if you are going to be able to have your own "business" (like mcmanusaur posted a topic about, that Feargus brought up in an interview) how will the money system work then? If that ever becomes a reality, how would you manage that Economy?

 

So we really are on the same page, you play the game without going back and forth and that's how I'd like to play. The difference between our ideologies I think is that you'd want to allow the "back and forth" (and you don't loot everything) whilst I would want it to be toned down, consequential or entirely removed (and I loot everything).

 

The point, simplified:

You say: "I don't play like that and you don't have to"

I say: "I play like that and I don't want to be allowed to"

 

I'd want the "adventurer" (your) experience to be more important than the "back and forth" (my) experience (in design).

 

For me it depends on context, if you don't have any pressing matters on a schedule then there is no reason why you couldn't take time to do that (see: the Mass Effect 2 End scenario) if thats how you want to play the game. I don't think theres really any point in developers trying to get into the mindset of "NO! YOU ARE PLAYING IT WRONG!" - if a player wants to take what you refer to as the inpatient route (which I actually consider the opposite - it takes more patience to strip all dungeons of everything than to just pick up the good stuff as you go) then they shouldn't be penalised for prefering that (entirely valid) playstyle.

 

If you want to keep pacing on certain events that's fine, but on average it should be up for the player to decide what is the way they want to do things.

 

EDIT: I'm all for random encounters while crossing bwteen playable maps, within moderation - perhaps even increased with encumberance as you are then a more tempting looking prize for robbers.

Edited by Alexjh
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To make it short: Having options on things to use money on is good, weight on coinage is bad (especially in a game where you can carry infinite amounts of stash anyway), the IE games did it pretty well, the NWN games didn't do it well, and limiting merchant gold as in TES is pretty irritating.

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To make it short: Having options on things to use money on is good, weight on coinage is bad (especially in a game where you can carry infinite amounts of stash anyway), the IE games did it pretty well, the NWN games didn't do it well, and limiting merchant gold as in TES is pretty irritating.

Yes, it was. If you are going to make money worthless (like in TES) then at least let the merchants have unlimited amounts of cash. ^^


Pillars of Eternity Josh Sawyer's Quest: The Quest for Quests - an isometric fantasy stealth RPG with optional combat and no pesky XP rewards for combat, skill usage or exploration.


PoE is supposed to be a spiritual successor to Baldur's GateJosh Sawyer doesn't like the Baldur's Gate series (more) - PoE is supposed to reward us for our achievements


~~~~~~~~~~~


"Josh Sawyer created an RPG where always avoiding combat and never picking locks makes you a powerful warrior and a master lockpicker." -Helm, very critcal and super awesome RPG fan


"I like XP for things other than just objectives. When there is no rewards for combat or other activities, I think it lessens the reward for being successful at them." -Feargus Urquhart, OE CEO


"Didn’t like the fact that I don’t get XP for combat [...] the lack of rewards for killing creatures [in PoE] makes me want to avoid combat (the core activity of the game)" -George Ziets, Game Dev.

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I still think that if the main source of income is completing quests, and not selling weapons and armor of your enemies, then we have no problems. The "going back and forth from dungeon to merchant" problem disappears because it's less rewarding, and you also don't get balance issues between patient and impatient players, or "story-driven" players and completionists. Both get roughly the same amount of money while the ones that do sell all the loot possible still have a small advantage.

 

The one problem that remains is a trade-off: Do you want a balanced economy that's more likely to be unforgiving to players who invest their money in useless stuff (like buying 10 extra longswords "just in case") or do you want an unbalanced economy that gives the player a lot of money and keeps him comfortable (the feeling of "gotta earn more money to progress" can be very distressing and frustrating).

 

I'd say make the economy balanced, but give the players some last resort if they run out of money. Something they can't or wouldn't do. Taking a loan, or selling one character level for gold.

 

Edit @Juneau: It's fair/realistic because usually shops don't even buy stuff from some random dude who walks into their store, so you should be happy that they give you any money at all. And really, it wasn't THAT different in the (late) middle ages.

You're selling them used ware. But I agree, if they sell the same item you sold them for full price afterwards, that's not logical. They should sell it at a lower price. That's where my whole idea with a "Used" tag for loot items comes from.

Edited by Fearabbit
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I don't really have time for a fully fledged post on economics and what I think works in games and what doesn't but I do have one pet hate.

 

I sell something second hand - I sell it for about 10% its value the shop sells it on for exactly the same amount as a brand new version of the thing at say 125% because I have no "speechcraft".

 

If we're gonna have a money system and if i'm selling the guy 10 swords then he should buy the first one for x amount then the cost for additional should drop on a graded scale and same again for buying. The price should increase the less the quantity remianing.

 

*my pet hate is that I sell something for 10g and then he wants me to buy the same thing for 400g how in the world is that fair/true?*

Edited by Juneau

Juneau & Alphecca Daley currently tearing up Tyria.

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There are two issues with RPG economy: making money and spending it. You can totally make it adventurer-based, without making it loot-based. You can also make being rich interesting by giving the player slightly more options to spend his jink on something other than a measly assortment of overpowered end-game items, eye-candy stuff and investments that do nothing, but bring more money (notably, AC2).

 

When it comes to making money it really depends on what type of game you're playing. Questing as the main source of income only makes sense when you are some sort of mercenary or monster-hunter. If you aren't then the abundance of folk, paying you all the more and more ludicrous amounts of money to do their dirty work, becomes disturbing. Looting and stealing makes sense if you're a thief or a bandit. Then again looting every corpse you come across and searching every barrel is extremely lame. To add insult to injury the kind of games that make you do that (notably, TES games for the most part) also offered laughingly small cash rewards for quests. So you ended up dividing items' selling value by their weight to get more bang for your buck, making wealthy only those adventurers who are good at math.

 

I wonder why no developer ever tried to implement treasure hunting in terms of actually letting the player find wealth in a form of coin-filled chests. Sure I've seen plenty of chests in numerous games, but they had so little money in them, they must have had a false bottom. Same goes for getting rewarded with fiefs, land or any property, which provides a steady income. I am not even talking about investing money even though it's one of the most obvious ways to gain it. Balance out risk and return on investment and there you have another way of earning income. It might not be overly exciting, but everything beats looting every corpse and prying every odd nail you come across for vendor trash.

 

Spending money is another thing devs have a hard time with. Sometimes all you get is over-priced gear, most of which costs extremely unreasonable amounts of money. Not because it's worth it, mind you, but because the game has to offer you something to buy even if it's not a fair deal. It still beats AC2's approach, where you only had more stores and landmarks to buy once you've purchased all the equipment. Why would you need to purchase property that increases your income when all you can do with it is buy more income-increasing property? It makes no sense whatsoever. The last evil is vanity items. Furniture and fancy attire costs so much that it must have been made out of pure gold, which it isn't. And the fact that the game is desperately trying to snatch the money away from you is obvious.

 

There are good ways of letting the player spend money, but they are underused. Vanity items (preferably not merely eye-candy, but increasing your in-game status), expensive and effective consumables (my personal favorite), fancy gear (that isn't outmatched by the stuff you find in the next cave you stroll through), optional upkeep for your property (expenses for training and arming guards at you castle so that they can defend it better without you immediate attention), optional expenses on quests (for instance, buy a band of mercs to soften up some bandits before you strike, or paying a thief to steal a quest item for you, so that you don't have to break in guns blazing to get it yourself). There are numerous other ways of spending money on the kind of stuff that matters. Maybe, you can solve your companion's problem of owing someone a substantial sum of money (not a hundred coins) to a blood-thirsty criminal to earn his gratitude. Companion's, I mean. Or even criminal's. Maybe both.

 

Bottom line, I really hope that money in PE is something other than simply a unit of account, demonstrating how much rusty gear you've scrapped and sold during your play.

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I wonder why no developer ever tried to implement treasure hunting in terms of actually letting the player find wealth in a form of coin-filled chests.

 

Ultima Online had awesome treasure chests like this.

In fact it had an awesome treasure hunting system overall.

Edited by jivex5k

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I wonder why no developer ever tried to implement treasure hunting in terms of actually letting the player find wealth in a form of coin-filled chests.

 

Ultima Online had awesome treasure chests like this.

In fact it had an awesome treasure hunting system overall.

 

I don't remember anything about UO anymore except the need to constantly cut down trees.

 

Could you elaborate?

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I don't remember anything about UO anymore except the need to constantly cut down trees.

It had map decoding skill and map drawing skill. You had to fish for a bottle with a map inside, decode it, then you had to bring a shovel and use some other skill to find coordinates of the chest. When you digged for chest monsters spawned, sometimes a few waves, and chest always was trapped. So to get a treasure chest you had to gather a team of players - someone who knew maps and could dig, a thief who knew traps and a bodyguard to fend off spawns.

Basically UO had entire class (although very rare) of players who were treasure hunters and were searching for "rares".

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I don't think there's something terribly wrong with players being able to accumulate a lot of wealth in a RPG; after all, going to war was a perfectly viable means of expanding your wealth during the pre-industrial period.

 

Once you've got a stronghold, perhaps you'll be able to spend you wealth to accumulate political power or else start your own spy network? I'm sure the ruler will expect his cut of the loot as well.

Edited by rjshae
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"It has just been discovered that research causes cancer in rats."

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Say you looted a dungeon and came up with some cool items and a bag of gems. In regular RPGs, you'd trek to the nearest "Ye Olde Adventuring Shoppe" and exchange all your loot for gold, right? What if in P:E it just meant you carried that bag of gems around with you and only cashed in what you needed when you needed it? The value-to-weight ratio of a bag of gems would be far superior to a metric shed-load of gold.

 

Here are some good examples of games that have this feature (2nd half of list):

 

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/WalletOfHolding

 

I think it is a good idea, especially if it is mostly automated for you when you are in a civilized area.

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The problem with the typically loot-heavy means of income is just that the enjoyment and frequency of looting isn't in balance with the necessity of the money. You obviously want to do other things in the game, like progress through the entire story (to ultimately beat the game), and develop/progress your characters, and complete interesting contextual/exploratory content. Basically, in order to accomplish some of these things, you need to improve your equipment and/or obtain consumable items. These are obtained via money. Or, even if they're obtained directly through looting, it's usually a pretty random sampling, most of which is generally exchanged for money, which is then exchanged for precisely the items/equipment you need.

 

When selling loot is 90-times better than any other provided method of making money, and you need some amount of money to acquire select items, you end up having to loot SOLELY to be able to adequately equip yourself so that you can continue doing things that aren't just killing and looting. A mutual exclusion is developed. Sure, some of your looting gets you items you need, and some of it is an expected part of the story and quests and exploration.

 

When you don't have alternatives, you run into dilemmas. "I've been killing everything in sight. I really want to try to sneak past these foes and complete this quest objective stealthily, but then I'll miss out on the money I would've gotten from looting everything I kill!" Just one example.

 

So, as I said before, there are a number of factors you can change and tweak. But, as long as money is obtained mainly through a single action in the game (namely killing/looting), and purchasable items remain important to game progress, the player has to kill and loot even when it's otherwise not necessary or even desired, specifically to get money, and therefore items, which ARE desired.


Should we not start with some Ipelagos, or at least some Greater Ipelagos, before tackling a named Arch Ipelago? 6_u

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The issue is that these are games focused on the player killing a lot of people and creatures, they're not meant to be accurate models of feudal or mercantilist economies. That's a can of worms right there, modeling economies. The idea of mercantile activity as a primary source of income is not a bad concept, it worked well enough in Uncharted Waters, but that was a game focused on somewhat realistic stories and mechanics (despite the standard 16-bit era JRPG visual presentation.)

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On the subject of where the best loot comes from, if you stick to the model of the IE games this is based on I don't see that as a problem. Rarely was the best loot found dead on generic enemies, on average I'd suggest your 3 main sources of high end loot were boss battles, treasure chests and shops - unlike Diablo games there is never really a point where you'd be getting the best stuff (read: the most valuable stuff ) in a standard fight. Probably 50% of opponents drop nothing except potions, ammunition, small amounts of gold and things like gems and non magical jewellery. So, while it is worthwhile to loot these guys its far from necessary from a loot perspective....

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I personally liked the items & side quests idea - especially regarding the items with written backgrounds. This could also be tied into factions.

 

An example

 

After completing a quest in the Dyrwood you discover a named short sword called "Orlankiller" or something like that. When you talk to one of a few NPCs at the nearby nomadic dyrwood elf village, word is spread that you have found the item and several people try to get it off you, offering gold, an item in exchange or simply trying to take it from you. You have many options to solve the quest such as simply selling the item at a store (which has a predetermined outcome based on where you sold it), giving it to one of the people that asks you for it (there might be an orlan murderer, an elven ranger captain, a weird collector guy or one of the faction leaders in the area) ... and include several options unlocked by stats/skills such as finding the bitter lore/history about the item and perhaps deciding to take it to be destroyed.

 

Mind you not every named item has to be like that, but stuff like that adds some flavour to the world.

Edited by Sensuki

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Instead, what should matter is finding commodities that actually matter to people in reality:

  • Sources of valuable resources such as furs, grapes, spices, ore.
  • Locations of and details on important landmarks, dungeons, ruins, cities.

Love concept when precise information about surrounding world is quite an expensive thing. Both selling and obtaining by player. Second part is somehow limited by consequent playthoughts, but could be based on randomized things - tips about unique monsters, creature packs migrations and habits, bandits on roads, cleared or blocked by snow mountain passages and caves, etc. And obtained such way information could be not only resold, but used in quests or in dialogues. Like - suggest a better route for a merchant, suggest another adventurer on where rare creature could be found, or simply get in time to your target if timed quests are in.

 

 

Could join the plea for questing bring more profit than looting (if it's not the treasure found by quest). As about spending wealth - extreme stashing of gold is more related to "completionist" players. And it would always be so - not-so-completionist should be able to pass through anyway (related even to highest difficulties), so completionist will have more gold than he need. So there is need in money-sinks. The bad thing is that most of money-sink implementations are quite detached from roleplay (which is often important to said completionists), like:

  • +0.01 more to your stuff, when you are already overwhelming your enemies. Mostly for powergaming (not a bad thing as it is, but boring if it's the only one available).
  • Sims-like decoration of smth, useless vanity items of ridiculous cost, etc - roleplay somehow, but not quite to my likings, and I mostly ignore such things.
  • "Color your pants in pink, make them special!" or "Name this thing to your likings!" - not sure why would anyone need that in singleplayer game, or at all. If it's really a money-sink, not a relatively free customization.
  • End-game wealth checks - could be done bad or good. "+30 End-boss-slayin sword of smth, only for 100M in gold" - is a bad design. True names in NwN:HoU were quite a fun.
  • Mid-game quest shortcuts. Skipped most of the time, because it's always better to do everything yourself (exp, loot, fun) you're adventurer after all. Much better - when you could buy yourself some additional time in timed quest (Fallout 1).
  • Money for sake of money - investments, profitable property, etc. At first glance - stupid thing, if you already have excessive gold, why would you need more? But such things add much to roleplay - your protagonist starts to be not a tumbleweed anymore, but respectable owner of smth, making profits not solely from his sword.

What I'd be happy to see in P:E is more low-gain low-impact, but story-backed investments, a possibility for doing small (to global plot) good and bad things. Like: "That was you who awakened the demon, we had to flee and now our village is turned to ashes. You're eevil!" (quite a common trope) - "Take those stashes of gold and build yourself another one, now gtfo." (quite an uncommon answer, even if pretty possible wealth-wise). Or they were just random refugees and you are philanthropic, or you are not-so-philanthropic and wish to hire assassin to get rid of some irritating noble.

Such things should not affect plot or other quests in general, one-time reaction with couple of lines of text is enough, but if later events are reactive to some of them (even couple of words, bare mentioning) - that could be great.

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