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Mercantile Skills in Project Eternity

merchant economy skill speechcraft barter haggle persuade supply demand arbitrage

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Poll: Mercantile Skills in Project Eternity (43 member(s) have cast votes)

How do you envision effective traders in Project Eternity?

  1. Silver-tongued smooth talkers that can somehow rob others right under their noses. (3 votes [6.98%])

    Percentage of vote: 6.98%

  2. Traveling merchants who utilize solid business strategy and work hard for their money. (5 votes [11.63%])

    Percentage of vote: 11.63%

  3. Skilled craftsmen that rely on the quality of their goods more than any underhanded methods. (7 votes [16.28%])

    Percentage of vote: 16.28%

  4. Some combination of the above. (27 votes [62.79%])

    Percentage of vote: 62.79%

  5. Neither of the above (please describe). (1 votes [2.33%])

    Percentage of vote: 2.33%

What strategies for increasing profit should Project Eternity offer?

  1. Building up rapport over time with specific NPCs until they like you enough to give you discounts (favor mechanic). (31 votes [15.05%])

    Percentage of vote: 15.05%

  2. Persuading NPCs until they like you so much that they give you good prices (whether through charm, intimidation, or bribes). (20 votes [9.71%])

    Percentage of vote: 9.71%

  3. Haggling aggressively with whichever gullible NPC one can find the quickest (conventional haggle skill). (15 votes [7.28%])

    Percentage of vote: 7.28%

  4. Utilizing an appraisal skill for uncommon items to ensure competitive pricing (appraise skill, possibly merged with identify skill). (23 votes [11.17%])

    Percentage of vote: 11.17%

  5. Seeking out non-merchant NPCs who need a certain item and bartering for another item that may be more valuable (bartering options). (20 votes [9.71%])

    Percentage of vote: 9.71%

  6. Seeking out merchants who specialize in certain kinds of goods and doing business with them (different types of merchants pay more or less for certain items). (30 votes [14.56%])

    Percentage of vote: 14.56%

  7. Exploiting differences in supply and demand from place to place (which would ideally be based on geography and resource availability). (23 votes [11.17%])

    Percentage of vote: 11.17%

  8. Exploiting fluctuations in supply and demand over time (requires some semblance of a simulated economy). (12 votes [5.83%])

    Percentage of vote: 5.83%

  9. Enhancing the items via crafting and enchantments to increase their value (basic crafting). (20 votes [9.71%])

    Percentage of vote: 9.71%

  10. Reducing items to their components so they can be crafted into something else or sold individually (reverse engineering in crafting). (12 votes [5.83%])

    Percentage of vote: 5.83%

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#81
mcmanusaur

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Blargh

 

Pretty much what everybody's thinking about this discussion right now, I reckon.

 

I think there are certain people whose opinions are now known, and there are still plenty of people who didn't voice theirs, so maybe give them some room instead of filling the thread with endless bickering.

 

TBH, macnasaur is a well known troll, who escaped the banhammer for his previous threads by some miraculous occurrence. His threads are not to be taken seriously and are best left ignored - he gets bored, goes silent for some time and then comes back with a new load of BS.

 

 

It is true that I have occasionally posted in a facetious manner akin to "trolling", but in the long run such instances comprise a small minority of my posts here. That said, "trolling" for its own sake has rarely been my goal in doing so; rather, I have often intended to explore game design in a more satirical manner or parody other threads on the forum, and I consider it just another way for me to communicate my point about Project Eternity, RPGs in general, or the community here.

 

However, given that many posters in this forum- such as yourself, quite evidently- demonstrate the knee-jerk reaction of discrediting everything someone says as soon as they exhibit deadpan humor, which is my opinion a bit absurd, the frequency of me posting in that manner has dropped off significantly, since at the end of the day my main objective in being here is intelligent discussion (which I believe can happen facetiously or seriously, but others may disagree).

 

Thus I beseech you to not bring such irrelevant ad hominem arguments into the discussion, and I assure you that if you continue to do so I will simply not acknowledge you, for at that point you will have become the "troll".


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#82
jamoecw

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the same extreme could be applied to enemies.  you had 2 fighters in your party, but without a 3rd some critical battle at some point in the 3rd level of a dungeon means that you can't win and thus have to abandon it in hopes that at a higher level you can complete it with only 2 fighters.


This would indubitably be very bad design, and I don't think anyone would defend it. Regional pricing is bad in games, and it is being defended ITT.
 

if regional pricing varied by 5% in either direction of a standard price, then at most you will be only 10% down from knowing the optimal places.  balance wise you should be only 5% off at most.  this also means that if you know the optimal place you can only get a 5% boost to your gear.


You have a lot of factors there. In your example, occasional purchases/ sales might be alright. But if the game allows for a lot of loot hoarding, 10% could be a lot, enough to "compel". Which the OP wants to blame entirely on people being OCD about stuff, while I say that if the game is challenging (as it arguably should be), all players will (have to) submit to this.
 

throw in report with merchants on top of that and the benefit/loss becomes even smaller.  as the mining town still needs to feed its blacksmith, pay rent, etc. so the cost of a sword has a fairly set production cost, gaining better that shouldn't happen.  as you 'waste' money to a merchant, he will give better deals for both buying and selling, so you should make up any losses in the long run.  if you spread out your money then you don't get 'penalized' for spending every penny at the expensive merchant, and end up with average pricing.


As I have already said, you could simulate economy for the sake of simulating economy, without it affecting the player much. This would however, arguably, be a waste of ressources.
 

as it is a single player game, i don't see the highs being too high an issue, and if they throw in a mechanic to balance the lows, then it could work.


"single player games don't need balance/ power cap", I've seen that before, and it never makes sense. It's an opinion you can subscribe to if you think games should fellate the player, but me and the OP seem to actually, in theory, be in agreement that this shouldn't be the case.
 
I'm not going to hold two of these ludicrous conversations at the same time BTW

 

the first point you hit on is if the situation is taken to the extreme, like your arguments about regional pricing.

 

the second point has to do with the value of 10% better (than someone who is unlucky, not average mind you) being a lot, which in previous IE games wasn't.  the difference between grades of equipment was pretty steep, so saving 10% wouldn't actually gain you much if anything.

 

third point is all about perception, the difficulty of implementation might be trivial, and thus the small benefit helps to make the world feel believable (like birds or weather in IE games, bottles and other trash in FPS games, it is the little things that do this).

 

fourth point i'd just have to refer you to BG, BG2, darklands, etc.  those games were beatable when played without using every little thing to your advantage, but would allow great benefit if you did (soloing BG, BG2, accelerating through early phases of darklands, etc.).  the problems usually come into play in SP games when you are penalized for not taking advantage of every little thing, which is different than MP games in that if a player gains an advantage he then operates at a higher level than others (doing everything if co op, making the game more difficult if VS).  i am not saying it is never a problem, just that it tends to be far less of an issue than in MP games.


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#83
Lephys

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So players who keep lengthy lists with the prices of all items in all locations and who then seek out particular locations whenever physically possible will accumulate more gold/ better items and have an easier time throughout the game.

Absolutely. I personally think that's horrible though, but calm your **** guys, I won't repeat myself!


Negative. In a given segment of a game, in which you make your way from one merchant-dwelling settlement to another, the person who sold all his spare weapons in Settlement A might get 100 gold. The person who sold all his stuff once he got to settlement B might get 110 gold for that same stuff.

Since selling random pick-up-ables to merchants is not the only way in which to obtain funds in the game, you're going to have income outside of this, regardless of when you sold those weapons, from all the other stuff you did in and around both settlements, in this example segment of the playthrough. So, let's say that, just doing the other general stuff, you get another 100 gold (off of dead bandits or something, who knows). Well, person #1, upon reaching settlement B, has 200 gold, while person #2 has 210 gold. Person #1 can buy 10 more gold worth of stuff than person #1. Maybe that's a single thing that cost between 200 and 210 gold, or maybe it's an extra stay at the inn, or some potions, etc. You're not even necessarily going to spend anywhere close to 200 gold every time you arrive in a settlement.

PLUS, there are other opportunities to go get gold. If you sold your stuff for 10% less, and you want to buy something that you need 10% more gold for, then you have to first go get some more gold. If you got 10% more, then you don't have to do anything else before buying what you wanted.

Not to mention, the buying prices would be different, as well, for various goods. There might even be better/worse deals within the same settlement, as settlements can have more than 1 vendor. Also, prices might fluctuate every in-game week or so, making that whole "player who makes lists of everything in great detail" scenario quite moot.

And finally... even if one player COULD make elaborate lists and backtrack everywhere and get everything in the universe, how would this be any different from oodles of systems in any other game? Fallout. Hey, a door that requires Master lockpicking! Welp, I'll have to make a note of this, and come back to it later when I get 100 lockpicking. The player who doesn't do that doesn't get what's in there. Does that mean the game sucks for the player who doesn't open that door, and the game's therefore COMPELLING him to both make elaborate notes of all the 100-lockpicking doors AND get his character to 100 lockpicking? Is there no one in the world who ever DIDN'T max out lockpicking and who just went through the game not-caring about those doors? The players that DID open all the doors in the game: did they get 700% more stuff than the players who didn't? Or did they simply end up with more accumulated wealth and extra ammo and such, at the end of the game, than the players who didn't lockpick all the things?

A player who puts more effort into efficiency is ALWAYS going to be better off, at any given point in the game, than a player who doesn't. Should we remove all systems that allow for varying degrees of efficiency?
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#84
Sacred_Path

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Negative. In a given segment of a game, in which you make your way from one merchant-dwelling settlement to another, the person who sold all his spare weapons in Settlement A might get 100 gold. The person who sold all his stuff once he got to settlement B might get 110 gold for that same stuff.


I assume you're talking not about an open world? That's a specific case, and in a game where you have no choice of what merchants to frequent the effect of regional pricing would be different (largely diminished).

Since selling random pick-up-ables to merchants is not the only way in which to obtain funds in the game, you're going to have income outside of this, regardless of when you sold those weapons, from all the other stuff you did in and around both settlements, in this example segment of the playthrough. So, let's say that, just doing the other general stuff, you get another 100 gold (off of dead bandits or something, who knows). Well, person #1, upon reaching settlement B, has 200 gold, while person #2 has 210 gold. Person #1 can buy 10 more gold worth of stuff than person #1. Maybe that's a single thing that cost between 200 and 210 gold, or maybe it's an extra stay at the inn, or some potions, etc. You're not even necessarily going to spend anywhere close to 200 gold every time you arrive in a settlement.

PLUS, there are other opportunities to go get gold. If you sold your stuff for 10% less, and you want to buy something that you need 10% more gold for, then you have to first go get some more gold. If you got 10% more, then you don't have to do anything else before buying what you wanted.


Let me rephrase: between two players who play the same way - kill the same monsters, do the same quests - the one who goes for the better deals will have more gold and/ or better equipment.

You're making a similar argument to macman here - players can breeze through, and taking advantage of better deals may just save you time. So it is clearly a balance issue, but one about which you may choose not to make a big fuzz; you're using relativism by saying "if the player could fill his material needs by cutting better deals, they just have to grind less".
You're assuming that players aren't trying to game the mechanics. You're talking i.e. of a story-driven game that people play only for the narrative and as long as they can progress along the main path - either by grinding more or making better deals - they will be content. But for this we'd have to imagine a game with a very strong narrative, and even then it would only apply to a segment of the RPG player crowd.

Right now there is only one case in which I'd sort of agree with you on that point; and that's if the goods/ services you can buy for gold are actually sorely limited. IOW, you can make better deals all you want, and you can grind for gold all you want, but you won't be able to actually put that gold to use. Of course this is objectively speaking a design flaw, and one that would get/ gets quite a lot of RPGers raging.

Not to mention, the buying prices would be different, as well, for various goods. There might even be better/worse deals within the same settlement, as settlements can have more than 1 vendor. Also, prices might fluctuate every in-game week or so, making that whole "player who makes lists of everything in great detail" scenario quite moot.


Wildly adding even more variables to your proposed mechanic doesn't help your case, I think. Rather, the less reliably you can plan your expenses, the less positively challenging the process actually is for the player, and the more dumb luck comes into play. We agree that it's nice for the player to have to make some decisions; "do I buy/ repair this sword for the locally charged price, or do I seek out a better deal?" If you're shaking up the numbers wildly, with fluctuating prices across several merchants in one city with several cities on the map, you're just forcing the player to make a stab in the dark. Stated goal of the mechanic not achieved.

BTW, to repeat myself, it's not as if the trading process in CRPGs traditionally doesn't involve decision making. That's not true. As far as I can see, regional pricing/ fluctuating prices add one more layer of decision making, but at the cost of jeopardizing a lot of other aspects of the game.

And finally... even if one player COULD make elaborate lists and backtrack everywhere and get everything in the universe, how would this be any different from oodles of systems in any other game? Fallout. Hey, a door that requires Master lockpicking! Welp, I'll have to make a note of this, and come back to it later when I get 100 lockpicking. The player who doesn't do that doesn't get what's in there. Does that mean the game sucks for the player who doesn't open that door, and the game's therefore COMPELLING him to both make elaborate notes of all the 100-lockpicking doors AND get his character to 100 lockpicking? Is there no one in the world who ever DIDN'T max out lockpicking and who just went through the game not-caring about those doors? The players that DID open all the doors in the game: did they get 700% more stuff than the players who didn't? Or did they simply end up with more accumulated wealth and extra ammo and such, at the end of the game, than the players who didn't lockpick all the things?


I doubt that in any RPG, the number of locked doors comes close to the number of all purchasable items. This is accepting that you can gauge how much lockpicking you're going to need, which a lot of (most?) RPGs are actually silent about. I accept that RPGs sometimes reward making manual notes, but not to the degree you're implying.

A player who puts more effort into efficiency is ALWAYS going to be better off, at any given point in the game, than a player who doesn't. Should we remove all systems that allow for varying degrees of efficiency?


A game can only be faulted for a system that rewards players if the system itself is accepted as being not central to the kind of game it's supposed to be, or if it's accepted as being not fun by the majority of the target group.
It's accepted that players who are good at building characters may have an easier time than those who aren't. I don't think the same is true about obsessing over store prices.

#85
jamoecw

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includes BG 'regional' pricing guide:  http://www.forgotten.../miscellany.htm

discussion on BG2 'regional' pricing:  http://www.sorcerers...ead.php?t=44971

discussion on IWD 'regional' pricing:  http://www.gamefaqs....d-dale/63966399

 

so there is a good chance it will be in P:E (it is supposed to be based on the IE games anyway), so far most arguments have been for regional pricing that is more flavorful and realistic (less exploitable).



#86
Sacred_Path

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includes BG 'regional' pricing guide:  http://www.forgotten.../miscellany.htm
discussion on BG2 'regional' pricing:  http://www.sorcerers...ead.php?t=44971
discussion on IWD 'regional' pricing:  http://www.gamefaqs....d-dale/63966399
 
so there is a good chance it will be in P:E (it is supposed to be based on the IE games anyway), so far most arguments have been for regional pricing that is more flavorful and realistic (less exploitable).


Interesting. I didn't even know the IE games had regional pricing. I've played all of them on core difficulty without reloads and never had a need for more money, which proves my point I think.

#87
Lephys

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Interesting. I didn't even know the IE games had regional pricing. I've played all of them on core difficulty without reloads and never had a need for more money, which proves my point I think.


So your point just a moment ago wasn't "if prices differed, you'd obviously be COMPELLED to go out of your way to take maximum advantage of all the pricing differences?" I guess we just imagined those direct quotes from you. And MacManusaur and myself clearly never said anything about regional pricing not single-handedly depriving the player of sufficient amounts of money unless they rabidly scour the land for optimal prices.

Your argument still seems to be "See, IF a player does everything he can possibly do (out of a list including lots of optional things) in the game that possibly earns him money, then the price differences are insignificant! Therefore, the price differences are, inherently, under all circumstances, insignificant and pointless! MUAHAHAHA!"

Okay, maybe the evil laugh wasn't actually part of your argument. I just thought it was a nice touch. Sorry about that.

But, yes, your argument, seems to be, fundamentally, "since certain circumstances negate the significance of this setup, I have deduced that all other circumstances that DON'T negate it are irrelevant, u_u"

Correct me if I'm wrong, please.
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#88
jamoecw

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includes BG 'regional' pricing guide:  http://www.forgotten.../miscellany.htm
discussion on BG2 'regional' pricing:  http://www.sorcerers...ead.php?t=44971
discussion on IWD 'regional' pricing:  http://www.gamefaqs....d-dale/63966399
 
so there is a good chance it will be in P:E (it is supposed to be based on the IE games anyway), so far most arguments have been for regional pricing that is more flavorful and realistic (less exploitable).


Interesting. I didn't even know the IE games had regional pricing. I've played all of them on core difficulty without reloads and never had a need for more money, which proves my point I think.

 

that is my point of high highs, you didn't even know that you could game the system for even more money, and because you don't have to put up with someone doing such and forcing you to do such you probably don't even care now that you do.  that is the difference between MP and SP games, sure they could have made some super item (or a full set for your party) that requires you to do such things to get, then it might be an issue.  so there is a right way of doing high highs in SP and a wrong way of doing high highs.

 

supply and demand in BG2:

http://strategywiki....mn/Shop_Details

 

an even smaller fluctuation that BG2 would have been better.  if he has a demand he will probably be getting some from his supplier soon anyway, if not he won't turn away more of a hard to get item by stiffing you on the price (30% to 20% is a 33% drop in price which is far too big to be realistic from just one factor).


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#89
Sacred_Path

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So your point just a moment ago wasn't "if prices differed, you'd obviously be COMPELLED to go out of your way to take maximum advantage of all the pricing differences?" I guess we just imagined those direct quotes from you.


If you go to the trouble of reading my posts, you will see two points:

1. "if money is an issue in the game, the game is tough, and money can make it easier, you will be compelled to do what you can to get more money"

2. "if money is not an issue, your regional pricing will simply be lost on the player."

Obviously, since I have said I have played the IE games on a higher than normal difficulty, and I didn't notice the difference in pricing at all*, we're talking about #2 here.



* it's possible I actually noticed the difference, but just didn't adjust my playstyle (as there was no need). It's been some time.

#90
Giantevilhead

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Regional pricing can, perhaps should, be used to serve a greater purpose of expanding merchants into more developed characters.

 

If you treat merchants like real characters, then they would have goals and motivations of their own. They would use the money you spend in their shops or the items you sell to them for their own ends. For example, a merchant might be working for a necromancer, so they're willing to pay extra gold for magical items that are related to necromancy. Any time you sell necromantic items to that merchant, the necromancer they work for becomes more powerful. Any time you buy items from that merchant, they give a part of their profits to support the necromancer.

 

So there may be disadvantages to getting the best price on stuff you sell.


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#91
jethro

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So your point just a moment ago wasn't "if prices differed, you'd obviously be COMPELLED to go out of your way to take maximum advantage of all the pricing differences?" I guess we just imagined those direct quotes from you.


If you go to the trouble of reading my posts, you will see two points:

1. "if money is an issue in the game, the game is tough, and money can make it easier, you will be compelled to do what you can to get more money"

2. "if money is not an issue, your regional pricing will simply be lost on the player."

Obviously, since I have said I have played the IE games on a higher than normal difficulty, and I didn't notice the difference in pricing at all*, we're talking about #2 here.



* it's possible I actually noticed the difference, but just didn't adjust my playstyle (as there was no need). It's been some time.

 

 

Your point (I'm tempted to say "obviously" too) doesn't take into account that different players have different tastes and play styles. You are a statistical basis of one. All we can glean from your experience is that at least one person was not adversely affected by regional pricing in IE games.

 

If we now find someone who has noticed regional pricing and liked this attention to detail or even used it at least once we could make a good case that this can be a nice feature. One could argue that we have already found them because the wiki/forum links above show at least some interest.

 

Your insistence that a good compromise between insignificant and too significant can't be found would only work if

1) money could be as closely balanced as the healing potions in a linear shooter

and

2) the game was balanced on a player using the regional pricing instead of balanced on a player ignoring regional pricing

and

3) that there wasn't any fine tuned (and in-game changeable) difficulty settings with which players can tune the difficulty to their play style anyway.


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#92
Sacred_Path

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Your point (I'm tempted to say "obviously" too) doesn't take into account that different players have different tastes and play styles. You are a statistical basis of one. All we can glean from your experience is that at least one person was not adversely affected by regional pricing in IE games.


Your point (that no two players of BG play the same way is just as speculative, *obviously*. ;)
 

If we now find someone who has noticed regional pricing and liked this attention to detail or even used it at least once we could make a good case that this can be a nice feature. One could argue that we have already found them because the wiki/forum links above show at least some interest.


I would never be so foolish as to say that something cannot be liked by at least one person on the planet. This can be true for bugs, glitches, Bioware romances etc.
 

Your insistence that a good compromise between insignificant and too significant can't be found would only work if
1) money could be as closely balanced as the healing potions in a linear shooter
and
2) the game was balanced on a player using the regional pricing instead of balanced on a player ignoring regional pricing
and
3) that there wasn't any fine tuned (and in-game changeable) difficulty settings with which players can tune the difficulty to their play style anyway.


The question is what you find to be a "good compromise"; and no I'm not convinced by people using it like some mythical reference.

As I've already said, but I will repeat myself, there are only two possible cases: Either getting better deals doesn't count (i.e. because you can buy everything you need on all difficulty levels with the money you'll get naturally), or it does count (because i.e. you'll want to use magical ammunition against every single enemy in the game; maybe on Insane difficulty with no reloads in BG1?). I find the latter to be very likely to kill fun for me, and yes, I speculate, for others too. As an example, in that link for Icewind Dale you posted (the only one I read), the poster who said that the best deals can be gotten in the Severed Hand also said "if you want to go down there". And THAT is exactly the point.

#93
mcmanusaur

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includes BG 'regional' pricing guide:  http://www.forgotten.../miscellany.htm
discussion on BG2 'regional' pricing:  http://www.sorcerers...ead.php?t=44971
discussion on IWD 'regional' pricing:  http://www.gamefaqs....d-dale/63966399
 
so there is a good chance it will be in P:E (it is supposed to be based on the IE games anyway), so far most arguments have been for regional pricing that is more flavorful and realistic (less exploitable).

Correct me if I'm wrong, but this is a bit different in that you just have some stores that are "better" than others, no matter what you're selling, right? I think having certain kinds of items being at better prices, and certain items at worse prices, depending on resource availability would be more interesting, as well as less "compelling" in the manner Sacred_Path argues. This is also something that could be more subtly hinted to the player (so that they'd notice its existence) than "if you're looking for good deals, visit X", which takes all of the complexity away from the mechanic.



#94
Sacred_Path

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includes BG 'regional' pricing guide:  http://www.forgotten.../miscellany.htm
discussion on BG2 'regional' pricing:  http://www.sorcerers...ead.php?t=44971
discussion on IWD 'regional' pricing:  http://www.gamefaqs....d-dale/63966399
 
so there is a good chance it will be in P:E (it is supposed to be based on the IE games anyway), so far most arguments have been for regional pricing that is more flavorful and realistic (less exploitable).

Correct me if I'm wrong, but this is a bit different in that you just have some stores that are "better" than others, no matter what you're selling, right? I think having certain kinds of items being at better prices, and certain items at worse prices, depending on resource availability would be more interesting, as well as less "compelling" in the manner Sacred_Path argues. This is also something that could be more subtly hinted to the player (so that they'd notice its existence) than "if you're looking for good deals, visit X", which takes all of the complexity away from the mechanic.


Also, if the fewer items the mechanic extends to, the better (= less of a balance issue). If you get better deals on weapons, ok, there are only so many weapons you'll want to have. Strictly talking about buying, though... speaking of which, the whole thing would be much more amenable/ less gameable if it only extended to buying.

#95
mcmanusaur

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As I've already said, but I will repeat myself, there are only two possible cases: Either getting better deals doesn't count (i.e. because you can buy everything you need on all difficulty levels with the money you'll get naturally), or it does count (because i.e. you'll want to use magical ammunition against every single enemy in the game; maybe on Insane difficulty with no reloads in BG1?).

 

You really need to let go of this logically flawed argument already. You're creating a false dichotomy for all mechanics by calling them either "insignificant" or "compulsory". This doesn't take into account that different players get different experiences out of the game. One player might be for all intents and purposes "bad" at the game, and thus they may require a bunch of health potions and the like, meaning that they have to optimize even the things you find insignificant. Another player might be pretty good at the game skill-wise, and they might not need many potions at all, which means that they find things insignificant that you might have found compulsory. Yes, there are different difficulties, but this doesn't mean that everyone who plays each difficulty will necessarily be at the same level. Thus, it's crucial that within difficulties players are allowed more or less efficient, and more or less comprehensive styles of play (to a certain point), and the reward for maximizing both should be significantly rewarding but not necessary for the core experience. Rather, the reward should be related to side objectives and things like strongholds, of which PE will hopefully include enough.

 

Thus in invoking the insignificant/compulsory dichotomy, you're assuming that everyone will have the same ultimate objectives as you in playing the game, and thus will adopt the same playstyle, while ignoring the fact that there are optional parts of the game. In reality, someone who wants an optimal stronghold might consider gaming this mechanic compulsory, whereas someone who simply wants to play through the main quest might consider it insignificant to their ends, and that's how it works with any such mechanic. Out of all the mechanics in an RPG like PE that can be gamed more or less efficiently, adding one more in the form of regional pricing isn't going to have a huge effect on the balance of money. Personally I think the game should be designed such that there should always be something to buy with your gold, but obviously it's not guaranteed that this something will appeal to all players. While the game should probably be designed for a player who optimally games a medium number of mechanics, it's good for him to have more options so that he can choose one in line with his character, rather than simply deciding how to play based on what he/she the player wants to get out of the game.


Edited by mcmanusaur, 13 July 2013 - 08:46 AM.

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#96
jethro

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Your point (I'm tempted to say "obviously" too) doesn't take into account that different players have different tastes and play styles. You are a statistical basis of one. All we can glean from your experience is that at least one person was not adversely affected by regional pricing in IE games.

Your point (that no two players of BG play the same way is just as speculative, *obviously*. ;)

 

I didn't say that no two players play the same way. I said that there are players that have different styles.

 

 

If we now find someone who has noticed regional pricing and liked this attention to detail or even used it at least once we could make a good case that thisAs I've already said, but I will repeat myself, there are only two possible cases: Either getting better deals doesn't count (i.e. because you can buy everything you need on all difficulty levels with the money you'll get naturally), or it does count (because i.e. you'll want to use magical ammunition against every single enemy in the game; maybe on Insane difficulty with no reloads in BG1?). I find the latter to be very likely to kill fun for me, and yes, I speculate, for others too. As an example, in that link for Icewind Dale you posted (the only one I read), the poster who said that the best deals can be gotten in the Severed Hand also said "if you want to go down there". And THAT is exactly the point.

 

I didn't post any links, but anyway: If someone "wants to go down there", why not? It is a single player game. That is his play style. And it is distinct from yours who didn't even notice the feature. And what you didn't even notice was important or interesting *to him*.

 

Now concerning the hypothetical situation of you playing on insane and those x% more money compelling you to adjust your play style because they might just make the difference. By the same argument this will lead you to save scumming and sleeping after every tiny encounter. What I really don't understand is how you have the willpower to set and follow the rule to use only magical ammunition but not the rule to ignore price differences ?


Edited by jethro, 13 July 2013 - 08:49 AM.


#97
Sacred_Path

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Did you read my post above? Ah, anyway.


You really need to let go of this logically flawed argument already. You're creating a false dichotomy for all mechanics by calling them either "insignificant" or "compulsory".


Because it's true.

If strength has, as you put it, a "small but significant" advantage over all other stats (maybe the bonus to melee damage is both bigger and more useful than everything else), players will feel compelled to create a party with many strength-based characters. Of course, players can simply choose not to give into this compulsion; maybe they've played the game already that way, and want a change. Or maybe they just find melee too cheesy and exploitable in this game. Still, it seems to be an obvious flaw in the system, doesn't it?
Anyways, there are reasons not to abuse this balance issue. The same can't really be said for gaming the trading system. I can't imagine many good character-based reasons not to frequent the "best" merchants or cut the best deals. I simply don't have the same motivation to decrease my own performance by intentionally making worse deals as I would have running a 6 ranger party in a melee heavy game. I hope I got my point across.


This doesn't take into account that different players get different experiences out of the game.


There are different players and different playstyles. A balance issue is a balance issue.

#98
Sacred_Path

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By the same argument this will lead you to save scumming and sleeping after every tiny encounter.


YES

Or rather, I have an issue with save scumming, rest abuse, and unbalanced trade. I hope the latter two will be removed by the devs. The first you can avoid by yourself, a critical difference - simply don't save the game apart from when you stop playing.

#99
Lephys

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Just because you don't NEED to take advantage of pricing differences doesn't mean that you can't potentially gain something from taking advantage of pricing differences. Please un-narrow your mind for a minute. Please. Actuall -- read -- this. And even think about it. I'm asking you.

What you're saying is the same thing as "If one outcome of this quest can have you end up with a set of Mithril Chain, but you don't NEED that quest outcome to obtain Mithril chain, then there's absolutely no point in the option of that quest providing you with Mithril Chain; it's completely insignificant. The only two options are that its insignificant, or that that quest is the only way to get Mithril Chain, in which case you're COMPELLED to make sure you get Mithril Chain out of that quest."

If you CAN get something at a certain point, at a certain quest, then cool. You got that, and you spend your money on something else. That's one unique experience for that point in the game. Otherwise, you don't get Mithril Chain, and if you still want Mithril chain, then you easily have the ability to obtain it later, with money. Even if you can go buy it, right then, after the quest, the differences are still there between getting it for free, as part of a quest resolution, or having to buy it. It changes what else you can afford at that point in time, and the order in which you decide to go tackle other optional things, in order to do things such as raise enough money to get some Mithril Chain.

I don't know how else to point this out... If one character has 10% more hitpoints than another character, the game doesn't have to REQUIRE someone to have those extra hitpoints to stay alive in battle. If your characters have 10 HP, and that one guy has 11 HP, the game doesn't have to have enemies that deal 10 dmamage for that extra HP to be significant. Why? Because at any given point in time, you MIGHT take 10 damage and remain alive, because of that extra 10% "insignificant" HP. So it's not insignificant, because it is potentially significant.

Things aren't just absolutely necessary, or absolutely meaningless. That's now how it works.

An umbrella on a day it's not raining. Pretty pointless... under those given circumstances. But, much like an entire playthrough of a game, life consists of multiple days, with completely varying sets of circumstances. So if I have an umbrella (a metaphorical extra 10% money), then when it DOES rain, it becomes significant. Doesn't mean you HAVE to have an umbrella. But the umbrella isn't pointless. When rain is falling, it stops it from falling on you, and keeps things dry. You get that benefit, when the circumstances are right.

Just like taking advantage of some price differences throughout the realm. If you do it, then you'll benefit, at some point. But you don't NEED the benefit. It just changes the rhythm of that playthrough.

It's no different from efficient party management in combat. One person might play on Normal difficulty, and use 5 potions in one battle to stay alive (purely for example... I know this isn't necessarily how P:E combat will work). Another person might just make super-efficient use of their party (totally optional, as the first person obviously proved by getting through that battle with those potions) and only use 1 potion. Boom. They made better use of their resources than the other person. They now don't have to make another trip back to town for more potions, and/or can spend their money on other things, and/or can continue farther on because they avoided so much damage.

Does that mean it's insignificant, and we should somehow remove the dynamic effect of party management efficiency from the game? Of course not. Pricing dynamics are no different.

I really don't understand why you think something is either mandatory, or meaningless, and there's no in-between.
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#100
jethro

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If strength has, as you put it, a "small but significant" advantage over all other stats (maybe the bonus to melee damage is both bigger and more useful than everything else), players will feel compelled to create a party with many strength-based characters.
 

 

We all know that in AD&D mages are low-level whimps but high-level overpowered. Definitely imbalanced. So why do people still have a ranger in their group instead of a second mage?







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