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Acharis

Currency (fractions)

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[u]Medieval game with increased focus on realism and immersion.[/u]

In the whole game players use gold coins to buy stuff and it works perfect. But there is this one place, the production and sale of a large quality of low price goods with the price fluctuating by a small degree. In short, I need something lower than 1 gold coin.

If this was a SF game I would just add fraction to the money display, like 4,99. But it does not look too well in a medieval game... So, I thought about adding silver coins, the interface would show then Gold: 1500 Silver: 74.
I also hate that the silver is used only by a mechanic, it does not add fun nor have any gameplay meaning, it just is forced on by the wares sale price part of the game.
Of course I could avoid all this by inflating all the prices (x100), but these big numbers are not looking too good either...

What you think?

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[quote name='Acharis' timestamp='1317292737' post='4867121']
[u]Medieval game with increased focus on realism and immersion.[/u]

(...)

Gold: 1500 Silver: 74.

(...)

Of course I could avoid all this by inflating all the prices (x100), but these big numbers are not looking too good either...[/quote]

You know that realism implies sticking to what is real, right? You know gold was the most expensive stuff way back when (and still is), right? So I think that if you don't implement copper and silver, you might as well throw out the underlined sentence.

What's wrong with silver and copper? People are used to that, and it doesn't hinder anything.

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[quote name='Zethariel' timestamp='1317295046' post='4867133']
You know that realism implies sticking to what is real, right? You know gold was the most expensive stuff way back when (and still is), right? So I think that if you don't implement copper and silver, you might as well throw out the underlined sentence.

What's wrong with silver and copper? People are used to that, and it doesn't hinder anything.
[/quote]So, you say to make two currencies and just name them silver and copper?

[quote name='TechnoGoth' timestamp='1317295228' post='4867134']
Why not do what they did in medieval England and have half pennies and quarter pennies? They used to cut pennies into halves and quarters and use those for small value transactions.
[/quote]The game is about multiple kingdoms of many european cultures ([url="http://www.gamedev.net/topic/610162-medieval-mmo-stuck-in-design/"]http://www.gamedev.n...tuck-in-design/[/url]), cutting pennies into smaller ones was not universal everywhere. Anyway, I definitely need a decimal system since it is the only one that is recognized by all players.

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The way I have seen in the past and liked was using shillings and that was the only currency. Sure you had some things cost 20 shillings and others 100k shillings but there was a time when all we had was the shilling if I remember correctly (thinking way back to history classes now)

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" They used to cut pennies into halves and quarters"

Only up until the early 1200s. Clipping had become such a problem by that time that cutting coins was outlawed in order to make it easier to prosecute clippers. It became an offence to utter coinage which was not "round" and so hapennies and farthings (1/4 pennies) were minted (both in silver).

For many centuries, the silver penny was the only widely used English currency. There were transient introductions of "groat" (4d), "half-groat" (2d), florins (6s) and nobles (6s 8d) but they were withdrawn, re-valued, re-minted and generally mucked about with to the extent that people stuck to the penny. It was sufficient for the general population, and when the few richer men needed money in larger denominations would use foreign coins.

The gold "sovereign" (20s) first appeared in the late 1400s and was the first reliably used and reasonably available large currency unit.

The big problem that the coinages of this era had was that whenever their value as bullion exceeded their face, they got melted down or exported. English money, in particular, apparently was wont to do this because the silver fineness was higher; so they could be swapped for face value with European coins, then reminted at a lower purity into more money...

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"You know gold was the most expensive stuff way back when (and still is), right?"

There were and are much more precious metals in reasonable supply.

For a long time people would forge gold coins (usually British sovereigns because of their near universal acceptance) in gilded platinum because until the early 20th century, it was cheaper than gold and heavy enough to pass off as it.

The Russian Tsar bought a dinner service made of aluminium at one point -- aluminium was a rare and precious metal until new refining methods suddenly made it cheap in the mid-1800s.

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[quote name='Acharis' timestamp='1317292737' post='4867121']
[u]Medieval game with increased focus on realism and immersion.[/u]

In the whole game players use gold coins to buy stuff and it works perfect. But there is this one place, the production and sale of a large quality of low price goods with the price fluctuating by a small degree. In short, I need something lower than 1 gold coin.

If this was a SF game I would just add fraction to the money display, like 4,99. But it does not look too well in a medieval game... So, I thought about adding silver coins, the interface would show then Gold: 1500 Silver: 74.
I also hate that the silver is used only by a mechanic, it does not add fun nor have any gameplay meaning, it just is forced on by the wares sale price part of the game.
Of course I could avoid all this by inflating all the prices (x100), but these big numbers are not looking too good either...

What you think?
[/quote]
Having centralized exchange-like system does not fit well into medieval setting anyways. Thus you can use fractions anyways IMHO. (And say, that this place is managed by Venetian merchants, who use their own, much more precise system of money :wink:)

Another, more realistic way is to list products in larger quantities. If prices are constantly changing, it is probably more like wholesale exchange anyways. So instead of barrel of grain costing 2.37 gold coins, list the price as 237 gold coins for 100 barrels. You can also add some extra charge for buying less than listed quantity, for example rounding up to nearest full gold coin.

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I too don't see a problem with introducing the whole copper -> silver -> gold paradigm. I wouldn't add in platinum pieces though (like Everquest does), that doesn't make any sense historically as far as I know.

Furthermore, recognize that a gold coin was extremely valuable in the eyes of non nobles. From what I understand, many peasants may have never owned one. Adventurers might be more wealthy than that, but if you're really going for realism, don't start with gold coins as the "dollar" and silver / copper as change. Most commodities would be a few copper, things like furniture would probably be a piece of silver or so, and only when you bought things like a carriage or a full suit of armor would gold pieces really be reasonable.

Anyway, that gives you some flexibility in fractional charges for large costs. For low costs, perhaps you could just have half pieces of copper or something, along the lines of the suggestions above.

Lastly, just because you've got 2 or 3 types of coins to keep track of doesn't mean things have to be complicated. You could automatically consolidate coin types when making transactions or looting money, for example. Under the hood you could just keep track of how many pieces of copper (or half pieces) a player had, and do all transactions from that pool. Just display the calculated amounts of copper, silver and gold on their character sheets and for merchant prices.

Doing something like the way Everquest used to would introduce more realism, but might not appeal to everyone. In old EQ, coins did not consolidate and they had weight associated with them. Carrying around your entire fortune would weigh you down and made travel risky if you got killed and couldn't get back to your body. Thus people would actually go to the bank to have their coins exchanged for more valuable types, or to store them for safe transfer. Selling at merchants would still automatically consolidate coins though.

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IRL every now and they they talk about getting rid of the penny. If you were to buy something that was 2 cents, you'd give the merchant a nickel and he gives you nothing. If you bought 5 of those 2 cent items, you give the merchant a dime and you're even. How about something like that? If you're buying a lot of low priced items, do you really need a fraction of your base currency?

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[quote name='Lauris Kaplinski' timestamp='1317301874' post='4867180']Another, more realistic way is to list products in larger quantities. If prices are constantly changing, it is probably more like wholesale exchange anyways. So instead of barrel of grain costing 2.37 gold coins, list the price as 237 gold coins for 100 barrels. You can also add some extra charge for buying less than listed quantity, for example rounding up to nearest full gold coin.
[/quote]Yes... it would work.

[quote name='Telgin' timestamp='1317306848' post='4867206']
I too don't see a problem with introducing the whole copper -> silver -> gold paradigm. I wouldn't add in platinum pieces though (like Everquest does), that doesn't make any sense historically as far as I know.

Furthermore, recognize that a gold coin was extremely valuable in the eyes of non nobles. From what I understand, many peasants may have never owned one.
[/quote]Hisorical notes: platinum was cheaper than gold (actually, they used platinium as fake gold since it weight similar), only around XX century they found larger deposits of gold and the price changed. Another funny fact, in Poland the parliament made an edict that peasants are not allowed to wear gold jewelery :D Althrough, I think it was a very rare "problem" that applied to Poland of that period only :)

[quote name='TechnoGoth' timestamp='1317295228' post='4867134']
Why not do what they did in medieval England and have half pennies and quarter pennies? They used to cut pennies into halves and quarters and use those for small value transactions.
[/quote]No... I need 1/100 of something, half or quarter would not solve anything since I could just make all prices x4 and avoid it. I need much lower denominations.

[quote name='Telgin' timestamp='1317306848' post='4867206']
Lastly, just because you've got 2 or 3 types of coins to keep track of doesn't mean things have to be complicated. You could automatically consolidate coin types when making transactions or looting money, for example. Under the hood you could just keep track of how many pieces of copper (or half pieces) a player had, and do all transactions from that pool. Just display the calculated amounts of copper, silver and gold on their character sheets and for merchant prices.

Doing something like the way Everquest used to would introduce more realism, but might not appeal to everyone. In old EQ, coins did not consolidate and they had weight associated with them. Carrying around your entire fortune would weigh you down and made travel risky if you got killed and couldn't get back to your body. Thus people would actually go to the bank to have their coins exchanged for more valuable types, or to store them for safe transfer. Selling at merchants would still automatically consolidate coins though.
[/quote]Well, I can't make coins weight for that game, you don't also lose money by being robbed. I simply don't need the second coin type in that game for any reason except for the small wares trade (any probably mood).


OK, maybe let's ask about it from another side since many people mentioned it. Assuming there is no need for the second coin type at all (there are no these small wares), would you, as a player, still want it for the immersion purpose (the game is advertised the way it indicates increased level or realism/immersion)?

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Have some type of coins that have a small enough value and then something that is worth more than 1000 coins, so that youre fine with just coins on basic stuff but if youre a millionaire you dont get overly long numbers.

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[quote name='Acharis' timestamp='1317320731' post='4867286']
OK, maybe let's ask about it from another side since many people mentioned it. Assuming there is no need for the second coin type at all (there are no these small wares), would you, as a player, still want it for the immersion purpose (the game is advertised the way it indicates increased level or realism/immersion)?
[/quote]

To me it wouldn't be a big deal, unless money comes up a lot. For example, if I'm frequently buying and selling things as part of the game, and throwing around a lot of gold as a lower class person, it would feel strange to me. I would probably dismiss it in the end, but I would certainly chalk it up as the game lacking accuracy / detail by devaluing gold so much. A nitpick, nothing more. If economics are rarely encountered, I probably wouldn't really care. If you're high class and buying expensive things, then this is of course completely reversed.

If silver and copper coins are only there to... just be there... then they are a needless distraction. If you're only buying things that are on the scale of gold pieces, then sure, drop the smaller denominations.


The more I think about it though, the more I realize it's not such a big deal to me if something costs 5.25 gold. If it's clear that it's an abstraction it's not a big deal really.

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[quote]OK, maybe let's ask about it from another side since many people mentioned it. Assuming there is no need for the second coin type at all (there are no these small wares), would you, as a player, still want it for the immersion purpose (the game is advertised the way it indicates increased level or realism/immersion)?[/quote]

I'm not sure exactly why but I have always preferred games with more than one currency. Theres something satisfying about moving from say copper to silver and finally gold. I don't really get the same sense of achievement from having yet another 100 gold in my bank. As for immersion? I do find it more believable (thats is having at least a secondary coin) because its what I'm used to when handling money in real life.




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Any multi-precious-metal-coinage currency system must include Electrum or it's dead to me.

Anyway, if you wanted to be simple, you really could have an undivided currency. Japan uses the Yen, and that's its only currency (at least in common usage. I don't think they have a wonky, esoteric subdivision lurking anywhere). 80-ish Yen is about a dollar, so it's really not that bad a way to do a currency. This would not be wholly accurate in a medieval European setting, but it would be simpler.

Conversely, you could do currency by weight. Determine the price for an ounce of gold, and base the currency around that. Then you could have your characters carry around gold via its weight rather than discrete pieces, allowing for fractional quantities without breaking immersion. Just rationalize that you're splitting gold pieces as needed, and merchants are re-smelting them back into coins behind the scenes. Graphically represent things as piles of gold coins or little piles of gold dust/chips when the wallet starts getting bare.

Other thoughts are to have bank notes without automatic conversions. You go to a bank, you plunk down 10k gold pieces, they give you a note for 10k gold pieces. That could be traded for goods directly, assuming something cost 10k, or you could go to a bank and claim 10k gold pieces from them. This would be a far more realistic approach if you didn't have a magic heavy world to accomodate for instant transmission of knowledge (and thus banking networks with unified account balances like we now have).

Of course, this can all get very annoying for the player if money is too cumbersome to handle. Potentially. It could also be an interesting part of the game (I thought, in some way, currency having weight in EQ was interesting). However, you probably want to avoid goofy shit like players dumping mountains of gold on the ground because they'd become too overencumbered to act if they actually picked up money off of mobs.

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[quote name='PropheticEdge' timestamp='1317342742' post='4867409']
Any multi-precious-metal-coinage currency system must include Electrum or it's dead to me.

Anyway, if you wanted to be simple, you really could have an undivided currency. Japan uses the Yen, and that's its only currency (at least in common usage. I don't think they have a wonky, esoteric subdivision lurking anywhere). 80-ish Yen is about a dollar, so it's really not that bad a way to do a currency. This would not be wholly accurate in a medieval European setting, but it would be simpler.

Conversely, you could do currency by weight. Determine the price for an ounce of gold, and base the currency around that. Then you could have your characters carry around gold via its weight rather than discrete pieces, allowing for fractional quantities without breaking immersion. Just rationalize that you're splitting gold pieces as needed, and merchants are re-smelting them back into coins behind the scenes. Graphically represent things as piles of gold coins or little piles of gold dust/chips when the wallet starts getting bare.

Other thoughts are to have bank notes without automatic conversions. You go to a bank, you plunk down 10k gold pieces, they give you a note for 10k gold pieces. That could be traded for goods directly, assuming something cost 10k, or you could go to a bank and claim 10k gold pieces from them. This would be a far more realistic approach if you didn't have a magic heavy world to accomodate for instant transmission of knowledge (and thus banking networks with unified account balances like we now have).

Of course, this can all get very annoying for the player if money is too cumbersome to handle. Potentially. It could also be an interesting part of the game (I thought, in some way, currency having weight in EQ was interesting). However, you probably want to avoid goofy shit like players dumping mountains of gold on the ground because they'd become too overencumbered to act if they actually picked up money off of mobs.
[/quote]

Ultima Online had gold with weight determining how much you could carry. They eventually added checks. "Check 100000" and if you had 100,000 gold coins(the only currency type) a check for 100,000 would be placed in your inventory/bank. These checks weighed the least amount of typical items so you could easily carry large amounts of gold in check form.

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[quote name='Caldenfor' timestamp='1317343421' post='4867413']
[quote name='PropheticEdge' timestamp='1317342742' post='4867409']
Any multi-precious-metal-coinage currency system must include Electrum or it's dead to me.

Anyway, if you wanted to be simple, you really could have an undivided currency. Japan uses the Yen, and that's its only currency (at least in common usage. I don't think they have a wonky, esoteric subdivision lurking anywhere). 80-ish Yen is about a dollar, so it's really not that bad a way to do a currency. This would not be wholly accurate in a medieval European setting, but it would be simpler.

Conversely, you could do currency by weight. Determine the price for an ounce of gold, and base the currency around that. Then you could have your characters carry around gold via its weight rather than discrete pieces, allowing for fractional quantities without breaking immersion. Just rationalize that you're splitting gold pieces as needed, and merchants are re-smelting them back into coins behind the scenes. Graphically represent things as piles of gold coins or little piles of gold dust/chips when the wallet starts getting bare.

Other thoughts are to have bank notes without automatic conversions. You go to a bank, you plunk down 10k gold pieces, they give you a note for 10k gold pieces. That could be traded for goods directly, assuming something cost 10k, or you could go to a bank and claim 10k gold pieces from them. This would be a far more realistic approach if you didn't have a magic heavy world to accomodate for instant transmission of knowledge (and thus banking networks with unified account balances like we now have).

Of course, this can all get very annoying for the player if money is too cumbersome to handle. Potentially. It could also be an interesting part of the game (I thought, in some way, currency having weight in EQ was interesting). However, you probably want to avoid goofy shit like players dumping mountains of gold on the ground because they'd become too overencumbered to act if they actually picked up money off of mobs.
[/quote]

Ultima Online had gold with weight determining how much you could carry. They eventually added checks. "Check 100000" and if you had 100,000 gold coins(the only currency type) a check for 100,000 would be placed in your inventory/bank. These checks weighed the least amount of typical items so you could easily carry large amounts of gold in check form.
[/quote]

Ahhhhh, cool! I didn't play much of UO, never saw the checks thing. Could you cash them back into gold?

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2 quick examples -- World of Warcraft and Diablo (be it I or II)

* In WoW you had 3 types of money, that being gold, silver and copper. It didn't give much apart from easilly allowing to determine how much money you have without counting the zeroes. The interface was clean, you could at a glance tell how much something costs and how much money you had. It felt rewarding to gradually change from copper to silver and then to gold.

* In Diablo, you have gold coins. In end-game you gain tons of that shiat, and it isn't worth anything (mainly due to the fact that it wasn't used in anythign apart from item repairs). You saw large numbers frequently and it wasn't easy to tell how much you really head without counting the number of digits. Gaining money wasn't a big deal.

Now, this whole thing with money, as important of a feature it may be, is being paid too much attention. It may hinder the game if done wrongly (being too cumbersome for the players to deal with, if money is involved frequently) and cripple the experience. It may be just personal preference, but having the gold-silver-copper system seems the most natural to me now. You should also tell us about all the stuff that will be related with money (how important will NPC trade be? Are players compelled to use money instead of a particular item, such as runes or gems as currency?).

In the end, it is your decision, and you should go with your (and your teams') gut feeling. You know the setting better, know the details of the game, and can determine the best what works for it :)

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My main realistic suggestions is to avoid generic names ("silver pieces", "gold pieces" etc.), not only because multiple coins can share the same metal, and even the same value, but to implement a [i]system [/i]of actual coins and conventional units that have proper names, practical roles, precise relations and interesting stories.

For example, medieval England had silver pennies, silver halfpennies and silver farthings, not "silver coins". Shillings worth 12 pennies and pounds worth 20 shillings were natural and meaningful accounting multiples (pounds were one pound of silver); farthings worth 1/4 of a penny were the smallest subdivision normally needed; foreign gold florins worth 6 shillings were the right size for gold coins, and suitable for hoarding and large-scale trade.

Later English coins show typical flavorful complications:
[list][*]inflation, causing the appearance of silver shillings and a number of 5, 10, 20, 30... shilling gold coins;[*]gold value fluctuations, leading to varying exchange rates between silver and gold coins and, particularly, gold guineas settling at 21 shillings rather than 20 as originally intended and surviving actual coinage as a traditional accounting unit;[*]novel coin denominations, often short-lived, worth strange multiples of a penny, or with the same value as existing ones.[/list]

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[quote name='LorenzoGatti' timestamp='1317372758' post='4867507']
My main realistic suggestions is to avoid generic names ("silver pieces", "gold pieces" etc.), not only because multiple coins can share the same metal, and even the same value, but to implement a [i]system [/i]of actual coins and conventional units that have proper names, practical roles, precise relations and interesting stories.

For example, medieval England had silver pennies, silver halfpennies and silver farthings, not "silver coins". Shillings worth 12 pennies and pounds worth 20 shillings were natural and meaningful accounting multiples (pounds were one pound of silver); farthings worth 1/4 of a penny were the smallest subdivision normally needed; foreign gold florins worth 6 shillings were the right size for gold coins, and suitable for hoarding and large-scale trade.

Later English coins show typical flavorful complications:
[list][*]inflation, causing the appearance of silver shillings and a number of 5, 10, 20, 30... shilling gold coins;[*]gold value fluctuations, leading to varying exchange rates between silver and gold coins and, particularly, gold guineas settling at 21 shillings rather than 20 as originally intended and surviving actual coinage as a traditional accounting unit;[*]novel coin denominations, often short-lived, worth strange multiples of a penny, or with the same value as existing ones.[/list]
[/quote]

You know what would be interesting? Letting players mint their own money.

Select the material, select the mass, make a coin out of it. Name it when you make it, too, and see what happens. Eventually you might see popular coinage types (crowns contain 8 ounces of gold, which is worth 60 silver doubloons, each containing 2 ounces of silver, etc) bubble to the top.

Assuming this is an MMO, of course. If not, yeah, just make up coin names, or base them on historical names. Honestly, this naming business is just flavor anyway and the real meat is designing an economy that doesn't explode.

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Yeah not having a built in currency mechanism would work, you could buy something with any item(s) as long as the seller accepts it.

For normal players this is easy, but for NPC's you would propably need a big table of products with either fixed values, or values calculated from following the players trades and estimating the value of something.
Best would be if the NPC's actually needed something, but that would require a closed system where the NPC's trade the stuff they got by selling to other NPC's or normal players. (Every NPC could sell anything + its primary product if they sell them to players)


Of course you should include some options for currency, like different kind of rare stuff that is hard to get, and if you do get it, you can only get a small amount no matter what level you are. Also it must not have an use other than for appereance.

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[quote name='Waterlimon' timestamp='1317381351' post='4867527']
Yeah not having a built in currency mechanism would work, you could buy something with any item(s) as long as the seller accepts it.

For normal players this is easy, but for NPC's you would propably need a big table of products with either fixed values, or values calculated from following the players trades and estimating the value of something.
Best would be if the NPC's actually needed something, but that would require a closed system where the NPC's trade the stuff they got by selling to other NPC's or normal players. (Every NPC could sell anything + its primary product if they sell them to players)


Of course you should include some options for currency, like different kind of rare stuff that is hard to get, and if you do get it, you can only get a small amount no matter what level you are. Also it must not have an use other than for appereance.
[/quote]

Whoops, forgot about NPC's. Those are kind of a big thing for me to forget about, too!

Not sure what you'd do in that instance. I've only seen one MMO with a barter/self printing currency driven economy, but it didn't have NPC's.

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