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The problem of being rich as Croesus present in most RPGs


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Now that our hearts are "literally" crushed over the discovery that we won't be having romances, which I was appaled to learn today (despite of having followed the game for three years, I swear guys! ;) ), this gave me an opportunity to think about actual shortcomings of most RPGs I've played, if not all.

 

My point is simple, crude, and insensitive, like the courting attempts of a bearded Gray Warden - in the beginning of most RPGs I've played I've usually been struggling for money, actually taking quests for the rewards, and actually role-playing when asking npcs for money if I'm to preform some service for them. And I've always liked this impediment of being short on cash.

 

As most of you know, but I'll describe it anyway, by the mid-game you are usually swimming in gold to the point that one wonders why not just load it all on a caravan and retire somewhere in the country, spending the rest of your days as a rich aristocrat with a recently bought title, surrounded in your mansion by all sorts of "romanceable" or otherwise "interact"-able female characters. Or male characters, or whatever it is you go for, doesn't matter.

 

This phenomenon of getting illogically rich with respect to the plot and your actions is a problem which I wonder if and how it is approached in PoE. Discussion is welcome, as is developer feedback.

 

Seriously, not even bulls...?

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Well... It's usually problem of gaining money versus spending money and balance between the two.

 

There needs to be a mechanic creating incentive for meaningful "money sink". Are you wounded? Buy bandages. Are you sick? Buy medicine. Are you out of arrows? Buy arrows. Are you out of supplies? Buy supplies. In addition you should be able to spend "extra coin" on upgrades, like better weapons and armor. If costs of keeping yourself operational are too low, then you'll amass gold rather quickly. If costs are too high, then you run into risk of running out of gold. Given that it's desired to have more gold income than expenses (because you want to upgrade your equipment at some point) it's no surprise people can get very rich by selling all enemy equipment and spending as few coins as possible.

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(being a storyfag I would not mind being rich by mid-game, would make the rest of the game smoother)

 

Achieving wealth would not be weird. In this game the hero is not your everyday pleb in that he owns a stronghold; you could be a lord/duke/baron/etc.

The hero is no couch potato either. He has adventure in his blood; just sitting on a pile of money in a mansion with female characters would quickly bore him to death. It would make sense for him to go on with the adventure.

 

Just like in real life if you were to get rich, after fooling around for a certain amount of time depending on your personality, you'd probably go back to doing business or whatever your main occupation was.

 

Cows guys, cows.   ...guys?

Edited by Rumsteak
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I can't really agree enough, except that being an avid RPG player, I've learned to instinctually metagame, which means that while you ask for money, I just know that eh, it'll work out, making me roleplay the most happy-go-lucky good guys whenever I roleplay a good guy, like a non-atypical-autism Sterling Archer. Because 99 times out of 100, it'll work itself out.

 

I can't even think of a CRPG where I've felt poor once I've learned the ropes (Is that your painting, Sir? Would you mind talking to my colleague here while I admire the painting in private? Don't mind the barrel.).
 

 

D:OS players knows what's up

 

 

I'm really not sure how you'd fix it, and striking that balance between utterly destitute and swimming in gold is near-impossible in a world where you live like a murderhobo and life is without maintenance.

 

And while I wouldn't mind if a game let you become filthily rich, these types of "down to earth"-games often leaves you without options to buy things you'd probably buy if you were part of the 1%. Bribe officials, buy a gilded cart, hire peasantry to carry your wine around, etc.

 

Still nothing about otters, I mean.. D:

Edited by Luckmann
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There's an even more important question that also include this one, which is the relevance of shops selling goods, armors, weapons, magic stuff etc. A ton of recent rpgs made money damn dispensable simply because the stuff you can buy doesn't reach, at all, the level of efficiency/rarity of the stuff you can found or be rewarded of.
Something I loved about BG or IWD was discovering these dudes who would sell some crazy magic stuff for an impressive cost, making the player even more envious about it and making big amounts of money relevant. Although hate it when shops have randomized stuff to sell, making magic items the most banal thing ever.

 

So I totally agree, but I'd also add the need for making the money not only useful, but also relevant and rewarding the accumulation of big amounts of gold by something else than knowing you'd never run short of it.

 

Though I'm aware that, especially in BG, you'd still be rich as hell at the end of the game, but I'm confident you see what I mean.

Edited by CaptainMace
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Qu'avez-vous fait de l'honneur de la patrie ?

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Also there is quite the gold sink in this game considering the cost of upgrading equipment, brewing potions and such. You do not only have to get rare and hard to find ingredients but also have to pay cash on top. Without decent coin income players would not be able to make use of the crafting options.

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There needs to be a mechanic creating incentive for meaningful "money sink". Are you wounded? Buy bandages. Are you sick? Buy medicine. Are you out of arrows? Buy arrows. Are you out of supplies? Buy supplies. In addition you should be able to spend "extra coin" on upgrades, like better weapons and armor.

I like the idea of spending money on healing/buffing consumables. For now there is little more than inns/camping supplies that present examples of such consumables though, and I'm not sure if this would be enough to keep the cash reserves of my party within reasonable limits.

 

 

Achieving wealth would not be weird. In this game the hero is not your everyday pleb in that he owns a stronghold; you could be a lord/duke/baron/etc.

The hero is no couch potato either. He has adventure in his blood; just sitting on a pile of money in a mansion with female characters would quickly bore him to death. It would make sense for him to go on with the adventure.

 I agree that if the player gets possession of a stronghold, it's only reasonable he should be well off, but I don't know enough about the circumstances to judge. He could be poor at the time he is awarded the stronghold, and the stronghold could be coming with some sort of fief/domain which itself could be a source of income, as well as present opportunities to expend money.

 

I can't really agree enough, except that being an avid RPG player, I've learned to instinctually metagame, which means that while you ask for money, I just know that eh, it'll work out, making me roleplay the most happy-go-lucky good guys whenever I roleplay a good guy, like a non-atypical-autism Sterling Archer. Because 99 times out of 100, it'll work itself out.

 

I can't even think of a CRPG where I've felt poor once I've learned the ropes (Is that your painting, Sir? Would you mind talking to my colleague here while I admire the painting in private? Don't mind the barrel.).

 

 

D:OS players knows what's up

 

 

I'm really not sure how you'd fix it, and striking that balance between utterly destitute and swimming in gold is near-impossible in a world where you live like a murderhobo and life is without maintenance.

 

And while I wouldn't mind if a game let you become filthily rich, these types of "down to earth"-games often leaves you without options to buy things you'd probably buy if you were part of the 1%. Bribe officials, buy a gilded cart, hire peasantry to carry your wine around, etc.

Oh, it's not like I'm not metagaming. I loved the moment when, after I had liberated Nalia's mother from the De'Arnise keep (BG2) she said something in the lines of "I suppose you will now ask for some sort of reward? You won't be getting anything from me, you've probably already plundered most of the keep anyway!". I laughed hard at that.

 

I like to be able to play rather egoistic characters whose actions are more motivated by personal gain. I don't like being railroaded into a heroic cliche by story elements, and I'm hopeful from what I've seen on the question in PoE, that this game will give me more freedom to roleplay than what's usually available. The problem I'm describing is especially acute when trying to roleplay a profit-oriented character, who is swimming in cash but still haggles over 200/300cp awards with quest givers.

 

 

Eh.  Its a genre staple in a game deliberately designed to be copying the roots of the genre.  It seems... unavoidable.  

 

When you kill people and take their stuff, you naturally accumulate stuff.

My main concern is that if enemies drop all their equipment (which I'm in favor of) and I'm able to sell it, I'll get rich too quick. That's one of the reasons for me to be against the Stash concept. I considered the option for enemy equipment to be damaged/cost significantly less, but this would be going against the IE games' practice, where equipment didn't degrade.

 

There's an even more important question that also include this one, which is the relevance of shops selling goods, armors, weapons, magic stuff etc. A ton of recent rpgs made money damn dispensable simply because the stuff you can buy doesn't reach, at all, the level of efficiency/rarity of the stuff you can found or be rewarded of.

Something I loved about BG or IWD was discovering these dudes who would sell some crazy magic stuff for an impressive cost, making the player even more envious about it and making big amounts of money relevant. Although hate it when shops have randomized stuff to sell, making magic items the most banal thing ever.

 

So I totally agree, but I'd also add the need for making the money not only useful, but also relevant and rewarding the accumulation of big amounts of gold by something else than knowing you'd never run short of it.

 

Though I'm aware that, especially in BG, you'd still be rich as hell at the end of the game, but I'm confident you see what I mean.

I also liked shops like the Adventurer's Mart or Sorcerous Sundries, and the Adventurer's Mart was restocked at some point in the game, and I was often raising money during play in order to be able to afford some item from there. Such shops are a good means to relieve the player of some cash. So what's really important is coming up with uses for all the money that the party accumulates.

 

 

Also there is quite the gold sink in this game considering the cost of upgrading equipment, brewing potions and such. You do not only have to get rare and hard to find ingredients but also have to pay cash on top. Without decent coin income players would not be able to make use of the crafting options.

I hope this is balanced so I don't find myself too rich.

 

Thinking about this problem further, I could identify a few solutions that I've seen in various games.

 

First, have more than one currency (like Underrail or New Vegas), and charge serious commission for exchanging between them (I haven't seen that but it's my sugesstion).

 

Second, shops with expensive gear, like in the IE games.

 

Third, shops could be limited in the number of items per item class they are willing to buy, like in Underrail (for example, a shop wouldn't buy more than 3 armors, 4 crafting items, 2 swords until it restocks after a set amount of real time)

 

Fourth, the game could have story progression blocked by a monetary requirement - like the 20000 gold you had to collect in BG2.

 

Fifth, in addition to customizing his party's gear, the player could be given a stronghold which would also be customized and upgraded with money.

 

Sixth, the shops could barter all types of items instead of always trading them for money. In that case the player may begin dumping/"destroying" items which take up inventory space if he can't barter them for anything useful and this would limit the cash flowing into his pockets.

 

That's all I can come up with for now.

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Second, shops with expensive gear, like in the IE games.

 

 

This please! It makes those magic trinkets appear very exotic, wondrous and desirable in a way that is ruined when cheap magic items is sold all over village squares. In addition to being a potential money sink it creates some depth to the world, making it feel a little bit less gamey.

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If you get the stronghold and build it back up you have a story/lore reason to be getting mad ducats, because you have your serfs or whatever and taxes are coming in, people come to give you gifts for making the road safer, etc etc.

 

There's also lots of mechanics to prevent pointless gold hoarding. If you want to enchant your gear, they have a gold cost as well as a material cost. If you want to learn a spell from another wizards spellbook, your wizard needs to spend money to learn it (research costs etc.) and theres also the standard stuff like shelling out for expensive inn rooms for the resting bonus, camping supplies and potions, general shopping.

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I agree;

http://forums.obsidian.net/topic/70187-merchant-gold/

 

The tl;dr version if you don't want to read that entire topic:

* I don't think goldsinks or 'upkeep' are a good way to counter. Resources (like mentioned potions, bandages etc.) would be a good thing to spend money on.

* The sollution doesn't only need to be in how the player *spends* his cash, but also how they *accumulate* that cash.

* For money to have worth, shops need to sell something that you want to spend money on. Compare KOTOR1 (money = good) to KOTOR2 (money = very useless) for example. Unique items in shops always help.

* Allow money roleplaying at times (bribes, compensate people for accidentily burning their homes while killing opponents etc.)

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^

 

 

I agree that that is such a stupid idiotic pathetic garbage hateful retarded scumbag evil satanic nazi like term ever created. At least top 5.

 

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* The sollution doesn't only need to be in how the player *spends* his cash, but also how they *accumulate* that cash.

 

Well obviously the problem resides in accumulating a lot without being able to spend enough on relevant stuff. So mechanically you either make sure the player doesn't accumulate much, or is able to spend important sums.

 

Hence :

 

shops need to sell something that you want to spend money on. Compare KOTOR1 (money = good) to KOTOR2 (money = very useless) for example. Unique items in shops always help.

 

But you somehow call that "goldsinks" ? (Or I don't really get what a goldsink represent to begin with, this is about these very very expensive magical items right ?)

 

Although, potions and bandages as the main good to buy... meeeeh. Though if these are somehow either expensive or limited I guess. Because that obviously doesn't just concern the money situation when it comes to healing items.

Edited by CaptainMace

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Strangely enough I found an answer to this problem in an ARPG which I didn't find all that great, Torchlight 2. I was never actually poor in that game, but I could enchant all of my equipment, remove enchantments, and reenchant for massive amounts of money. The enchantments weren't usually all that sizable, but sizable enough to make a small difference at the price of obscene amounts of money. And why not? I didn't have anything better to do with the money. In Oblivion you could waste tons of money on trainers, which also wasn't so bad. Again if you trained intelligently you could get a fairly minor gameplay bonus for massive amounts of money. The problem with most RPGS is they don't offer a really worthwhile way for one to spend their money. I like the idea of paying someone massive amounts for a kind of magic service that is rare and hard to come by. 

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I think part of the problem is that the sale of gear in general is too profitable. Selling a looted set of armor should be like selling to a fence (or a used game to Gamestop to use a more modern example). You only get a fraction of what the item is worth as the merchant bears the brunt of the risk.

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Strangely enough I found an answer to this problem in an ARPG which I didn't find all that great, Torchlight 2. I was never actually poor in that game, but I could enchant all of my equipment, remove enchantments, and reenchant for massive amounts of money. The enchantments weren't usually all that sizable, but sizable enough to make a small difference at the price of obscene amounts of money. And why not? I didn't have anything better to do with the money. In Oblivion you could waste tons of money on trainers, which also wasn't so bad. Again if you trained intelligently you could get a fairly minor gameplay bonus for massive amounts of money. The problem with most RPGS is they don't offer a really worthwhile way for one to spend their money. I like the idea of paying someone massive amounts for a kind of magic service that is rare and hard to come by. 

 

Isn't Torchlight in a slightly different category though ? I haven't played it but I picture it as one of those endless diablo-like that feature insane costs for high level craft for the sake of kicking the player's butt to go venturing forth again and again in order to collect money to be more powerful to be able to collect more money and my brain is melting.

I don't think such a logic fits a game like PoE. I still believe the best, and most lore-friendly, solution is to feature the same kind of shops/dudes selling some noteworthy, mighty and magical stuff. With the nice item description that goes with it where you actually realize you've been fooled and it's a damn painted wooden stick you just bought for 12000gc.

Edited by CaptainMace

Qu'avez-vous fait de l'honneur de la patrie ?

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To be clear, nothing is gained by preventing the player from being stingy. If you want to hoard your gold, you should be able to. However, if you can very easily spend gold on all the things in the game that would be useful to you, AND still have amasses hoards of gold, then something's wrong. At that point, why even have gold?

 

"I found 10,000 gold in the first chest I came to, and I bought every single weapon and armor off the first arms merchant for a total of 6,000 gold." That sort of thing.

 

I know gold "sinks" are a thing when you're talking about the game's economy in any regard, but I hate that term, because there shouldn't be anything in the game expressly designed to dispose of gold. If something exists and is able to be obtained, it should be for its own reasons. If it costs gold, that should be for a reason also. Being a gold sink should just be a side effect.

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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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To be clear, nothing is gained by preventing the player from being stingy. If you want to hoard your gold, you should be able to. However, if you can very easily spend gold on all the things in the game that would be useful to you, AND still have amasses hoards of gold, then something's wrong. At that point, why even have gold?

 

"I found 10,000 gold in the first chest I came to, and I bought every single weapon and armor off the first arms merchant for a total of 6,000 gold." That sort of thing.

 

I know gold "sinks" are a thing when you're talking about the game's economy in any regard, but I hate that term, because there shouldn't be anything in the game expressly designed to dispose of gold. If something exists and is able to be obtained, it should be for its own reasons. If it costs gold, that should be for a reason also. Being a gold sink should just be a side effect.

The only way I want to use my gold is to sink it in a golden sink.

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This topic has been discussed a lot in the past and there have been tons of different suggestions on how there could be other ways to use money.

 

Like using money to

  • manipulate a region's economy
  • influence a region's politics
  • buy intangible things like respect, secrets, and silence
  • frame/incriminate/trick enemies that you don't want to confront directly

There's also the idea of merchants and shops being treated more like real characters with their own social and political connections. So for example, if you buy and sell a lot from a specific merchant, they'll become more prosperous, stock better wares, expand their influence, maybe buy up more property, and start offering you quest. Similarly, merchants will support certain people or factions. So if a merchant is a really good friend with a wizard guild, and you buy and sell a lot of stuff to them, they'll help make the wizard guild more powerful. That way, you'd have additional incentive to buy from certain merchants.

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for a crpg that provides optional side-quests, excess 1007 is a given... period.  the developers necessarily needs provide the critical path player enough 1007 to make the acquisition of 1007 worthwhile.  the player who explores the game more fully will acquire proportional more 1007 than the critical path player.  if the critical path player has enough, then the completionist will have more than enough.  this ain't rocket science.  

 

*shrug*

 

most o' us want the developers to provide additional side quests, yes? is any number o' gold sinks the developers can add to a game, but that ain't gonna change the fact that the more optional content the developers provide, the greater the player's surplus o' currency will be.  the developers can come up with dozens o' gold sinks, but they must needs be careful as the completionist can quickly find themselves buying themselves outta a challenging experience.  buy better gear is appealing but ultimately self-defeating.  the developers need find ways to satisfy the player with largely cosmetic benefits.  pay 100,000 gold for an ultimately meaningless title?  pay $50,000 to custom create a coat o' arms that will be displayed on the player's shield and w/i his keep?  is it worth developer effort to come up with such stuff?  perhaps.  regardless, the "problem," if it is a problem, is ultimately unavoidable and practically insurmountable.  

 

we want more side quests.

 

we want rewards for doing side-quests.

 

we complain that the game is too easy once we find/purchase/craft the best gear in the game, which were only possible 'cause we did all those optional side-quests?

 

gold sinks is fine, but they should be mostly empty ego stokes... which will inevitably disappoint folks. 

 

*shrug*

 

if Gromnir were an obsidnate,  we wouldn't lose too much sleep over this, 'cause it is not a problem with a solution.

 

HA! Good Fun!

Edited by Gromnir
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^Solution: Toll bridge towards every side-quest :lol: (calculated at 90% of the gold from your last side-quest :p )

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Gromnir is right.

 

If you design the game in a way that you can finish it by taking only the critical path, then somebody who does all side quests will have tons of money.

There is no way to solve this unless you add optional money sinks (like buying furniture made of massive gold to make your stronghold look better).

 

 

During the developers test play week, only one of them finished the game and I don´t think he spend time looting everything that wasn´t nailed to the ground.

We should ask him if he was swimming in money at the end of the game. Only when he says yes, then this whole topic could be a problem.

 

Right now I play NWN2 OC again. I am short before kicking Garius out of my soon to be stronghold, I am lv 15 and I have over 400K gold.

Why?

I do all side quest.

This means I get lots of exp and loot.

Most loot is junk so I have lots of money.

Shops sell expensive gear, but I don´t need it because I have a high level, good quest gear and I craft my own equipment. Crafting material were the only thing I bought so far.

 

If this whole topic is a problem at all, then maby one of the better options is expensive crafting. Crafting is not neccessary to beat the game, but it can make a game much easier. Spending lots of money for it would be a better money sink then creating something that is a money sink just for the sake of being a money sink. In that case you could just allow the player to throw away money as he can throw away items.

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You find that the only acceptable system is one where you never run too short on money yet never hoard too much ? That's purely delusional, unless some very automatic game design is featured. I don't mind having too much money at the end of BG as much as I'd HATE a game designed to artificially tax me everynow and then on stupid BS.
 

Like using money to

  • manipulate a region's economy
  • influence a region's politics
  • buy intangible things like respect, secrets, and silence
  • frame/incriminate/trick enemies that you don't want to confront directly

 

Beside buying secrets (which both never cost much nor matter much), the rest goes far above the simple balance of the currency system.

I understand that it's obviously more interesting to explore gameplay mechanics instead of basic/overused tweaks. But the point of moneysinks and such is that it's easy to implement, it doesn't alter the gameplay in any other way than giving money hoarding purpose.

Really, the only problem as being filthy rich is being unable to profit. The only problem would be that there's actually no difference in being extremely rich and not being at all.

All we need is magic lore-friendly stuff really. Who cares if there's tons of money left in our pockets again by the end, why would that matter at the end of the game ?

Qu'avez-vous fait de l'honneur de la patrie ?

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Gromnir is right.

If you design the game in a way that you can finish it by taking only the critical path, then somebody who does all side quests will have tons of money.

If somebody does all the sidequests, he should have more opportunities to spend in addition to more opportunities to loot.

 

There is no way to solve this unless you add optional money sinks (like buying furniture made of massive gold to make your stronghold look better).

I don't agree there is no solution, and I've actually proposed a few.

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