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Ketchaval

Hoarding Money / Items

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How often in a game do you hoard money because you don''t know what to spend it on? Becuase there is too much choice - shall I get the red cloak of Agahnim? or the green beret of Segal? And because you think that you will need the money for something really expensive later on? Or keep powerful magic potions of shapeshifting / lightning / indigestion-relief because you are scared that a difficult situation will come along which you will need these potions to survive in. So you are denied the entertainment value of shapeshifting, or belching lightning at lowly sewer rat enemies.

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often, but not as often as i used too.... too many times have i beaten the final boss just to realize that i still have a fortune left over and potions to supply a whole army of addicts....

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I have always been a pack rat when it comes to RPG and other games that use potions or money. Even in FF7 I never use the stat enhancers...

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Make the player believe in themself instead of trusting in their potions. I would remove health potions almost altogether. Only VERY RARE is a health potion that will save you, because that will make the player treasure health.

I would prefer to see players not worry about what it might be used specifically for. Maybe have an expiry on an item so that after a certain amount of time the item ''goes off/bad'' so to speak. The player would need to be thoroughly informed of this, and there would need to be reminders that the expiry is approaching.

As to what I think about the hoarding of potions? It is all bad IMO

-Chris Bennett of Dwarfsoft - The future of RPGs
Thanks to all the goblins over in our little Game Design Corner niche

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I could go both ways with dwarfsoft on this one. While I do agree that health potions are far too common in modern games (Diablo, Final Fantasy), this is a design flaw in the combat system, not the economy. I thought HeroQuest (yes, the board game) did quite well in its distribution of restorative items. They were rare and extemely useful. Players were actually excited to find a Potion of Healing, probably because it wasn''t a Wandering Monster.

Regarding Ketchaval and his Monty Haul problem, players will only end up with too much stuff if you give them too much stuff. In most games, 99 percent of my best equipment is found rather than bought. The only reason I have money is because there''s nothing on which to spend it. (Except maybe potions. ) Games generally lack the "faucet drain" aspect of a functional economy, those mandatory expenditures that keep people from becoming inordinately wealthy in a short time.

Money should have a chance to build up, particularly when you''ve been playing for a while, but I do believe constant expenditures are necessary to police the flow of cash. It doesn''t make much sense in a game like Asheron''s Call that 90 percent of your income is generated by selling crappy equipment you looted from dead monsters. Why the hell are shopkeepers buying an endless supply of rusty short swords? Must be a mercantile thing.

I collect a lot of items in Diablo II specifically for the reason Ketchaval stated: they might prove useful someday. There''s nothing you can do to avoid this, and I don''t see why you''d want to. What''s the problem with players carrying around a bunch of junk? It''s not your problem when they run out of room and can''t carry the next shiny magical broadsword they happen across.

Some games don''t really have this problem because there''s a high threshold between power levels of items. You find one best item and stick with it. In Chrono Trigger, each character only used one type of weapon, and every weapon you found was better than the last, so there was never any question of which one you used. I always sold off my old crap to clean my inventory, but this wasn''t necessary since you could carry an infinite amount of stuff. In an encumberance-based system, you''d obviously want to dump your obsolete equipment.

Variety is what causes players to horde things, but we certainly don''t want to strip our games of variety. I say don''t worry about it. Of course, the potion scenario is another matter entirely.

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I think that one major problem is that people don''t know what the items are worth, (or how frequently they will occur in the "world"). They are going to be unwilling to use a powerful weapon on a bunch of low level creatures because they think that they will need to keep it for higher challenge posing creatures, and they aren''t sure if they will get a replacement wand of +7 instant death if they use it know.

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"Hello. My name is Nikkana, the Chosen One, and I''m a packrat. I have a Strength of 10, carry around 275 pounds of equipment, and have collectively stored over 500 rounds of 10mm jacketed hollow-point, 250 rounds of .223, several energy weapons, rocket launchers, and 50 stimpacks in chests throughout the wasteland. *sniff* And now because I hoard so much, none of the merchants will sell to me..."

Yes, tragic but true.

I hoard to manage difficultly level. In my view, most games don''t bother to provide a way for players to deal with difficult situations. Mostly it''s either repeat & die gameplay, or save & restore hell.

I know, for instance in playing Fallout 2, that there''s some *really* bad muthas out there. By being conservative, I know that later I''ll have the option to overwhelm my foe with extravagent force. For instance, the game has already suddenly and completely unexpectedly dropped me into an area with infinitely respawning, extremely tough monsters. I was able to *barely* get through it by wasting TONS of ammo, and option I wouldn''t have had if I hadn''t had conserved.

The only way around this is to give players sufficient means of intelligence gathering. When I play an RTS, for example, often I have the means of scouting and assessing my enemy''s strengths and weaknesses, rather than (as most RPGs do in the name of story & surprise) being dropped into situation after situation who''s difficulty level is unknown.

--------------------
Just waiting for the mothership...

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So why not improve the encounter system?

1) At the beginning of the battle, give the player a chance to use whatever temporary powerups he has. This is the bit where the hero and the villain engage in witty dialog.

It gives the player a chance to assess his opponent and make a strategic choice about what expendables to use.


2) Also at this point, give the player a chance to run away. there should be some minor penalty for this, and perhaps an option for the opponent to pursue. There may be places where, for dramatic necessity, the player canot run away.


3) An alternative to death would be nice here too. You are beaten and must retreat.


Some games have these, but they''re almost never easy. Click open inventory. Click item. Click use. click target character. Repeat.

Likewise, the recon is done by avoiding activation of the AI/triggers, not a solid design.

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Regarding Wavinator''s post:

I can relate. The first time I played Half-life, I was in constant danger of running out of ammo because I just wasn''t very conservative with it. But the second time I played, I was ready for this problem. You wouldn''t believe how many headshots I scored just to keep my bullets stocked. Incidentally, I was nowhere near running out of ammo by the time I got mugged and stripped of equipment.

Sometimes hoarding certain types of items can provide a relief from regular gameplay. I still place Daggerfall on the highest altar of role-playing games. Despite its bugs and short-comings, it remains the greatest and most ambitious RPG of all time. I collected all sorts of things in that game: books, gems, roses, souls. I even gathered a full suit of Daedric armor once just for the sake of doing it. I bought a house and a boat. Why? Because I could.

That''s all the reason you need.

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I like the expendature thing... Players don''t earn a helluva lot of money, so make them more likely to find what they are looking for out doing what they do... And don''t let them get extremely wealthy. If they start to stockpile, get some theive to go and rob some of their stuff (Maybe I am just vindictive and twisted sometimes )

But I would like to reiterate my perishables idea... What if most things had an expiry date? Well... potions and food are obvious... but what if keeping metallic items (weapons and armour) caused them to rust slowly over time... Hoarding things would become an expense...

?

-Chris Bennett of Dwarfsoft - The future of RPGs
Thanks to all the goblins over in our little Game Design Corner niche

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Hoarding isnt bad... at least not if done in a right way. Every adventurer comes across hundreds of interesting items along his journey, why not keep some of them, if only for memory.

And yes, why not buy a house? with a big cellar to stash all your look; or maybe get a cave?

I think it might actually improve an RPG if players had a place to return to, a base camp of sorts... especially in those puzzle-heavy rpgs where you carry around a thousand broken keys and whatnot.
Then people wouldnt have to carry everything on them... the inventory system could be reworked to something a bit more realistic (weight AND dimension constraints, dimension is allocated according to the containers one has: a backpack, various pockets, belts....)

you might actually choose your eqipment carefully for whatever youre going to do next, cause you cant bring everything you might possibly need..

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To be fair, I dont think hoarding is entirely a design problem. Its a player choice. You can use up your potion of invulnerability to fight the big bad guy, or you can die, reload, die, reload, die reload until you eventually get lucky, and finish the game with three million unused potions. Perhaps if you couldnt reload the game then you might use your potions a bit more, but thats a different topic...

Edited by - Sandman on April 24, 2001 1:10:11 PM

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I think that one of the biggest problems here (stated earlier) is that players don''t know how valuable certain items are. They don''t know when is a good time to use them, or if it will be their only one.


To solve this, we could simply tell our players when to use certain items. Think of Final Fantasy...up against a fairly large boss...you could Throw one of your old swords at it doing a lot of damage, but you think that you might want to save all of your swords for the very final boss (where the character with the throwing ability might not even be present!). So a dialogue window pops up at the begining of the fight and says, "Try using Amarants''s throw ability." or "The Big Nasty Dragon fears Alexandrite. (Don''t you have and extra Alexandrite sword laying about?).


Some may think that this is to straight forward. You could have a character in the game supply to info... or have Amarant himself say, "Hey, I should throw that sword!"


There are lots of items in RPG''s that aren''t used properly or at all because of hording. Informing the player will allow them to use more of these and even add more value to character abilities (like throw).


Players need to know that by the time they use up that wand of magic missles, they''ll have a new wand of fireballs.


Information is key here.


-Jason

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quote:
Original post by dwarfsoft

If they start to stockpile, get some theive to go and rob some of their stuff (Maybe I am just vindictive and twisted sometimes )


I encountered a situation like this handled in a mildly humorous fashion in Nethack, playing as a RICH tourist character (hawaiin shirt, LOTS OF MONEY, food, and camera for blinding monsters).

MINOR NETHACK SPOILER

There was lots of money dotted around the dungeon too, but when I got to the first shop there was a message written outside the door "Shop temporarily closed for stock taking.". Needless to say I kicked the door down, and on entry the shopowner charged $400 for breaking the door!

END OF SPOILERS.


To get Nethack go to http://www.nethack.org. Check it out!

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One sure way to get around the problem of hoarding money is to give them lots, and lots, and lots of ways to spend it. Buy a house. Buy several, and rent them out to NPCs. Buy a town election , purchase a trading barge, purchase a war galleon to protect their trading barge, buy a rather large catapult to sit of the maindeck of their trading bargge to surprise the NPC pirates who come in for an easy kill .

Of course, that just adds to item hoarding. On the flip side, however, if the player owns a lot of visible assets, they must have a lot of money. Thus they get more attention from NPC thieves and assassins...



Virtual Worldlets(link now fixed ), the home of online worlds

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