Dealing with multiple scales of player wealth

Recommended Posts

Paragon123    620

I was thinking about a game that combines RPG with a merchant trading system... the problem I am having though is how to deal with the two completely seperate levels of wealth. On the one hand, they should have a manageable amount of wealth to purchase things such as equipment/upgrades/consumables etc... on the other hand they need large amounts of wealth to do things such as purchase new transports/hire shopkeepers/transporters/farmers/buy property/buy expensive goods/etc.

It wouldn't make much sense to have two separate currencies, but it if they had the money to purchase expensive items all personal needs would be trivial, but if they only had enough to make personal belongings non-infinite they wouldn't have enough to purchase the expensive items.

Share on other sites

Payday 2 pays the player for heists in two different ways:  Some of the money goes into their pocket, to be spent on gear and upgrades, while the majority goes into an "off-shore account" which can't be spent.  If your merchant/adventurer has to buy his swords and potions out of a "petty cash" fund while keeping the bulk of his wealth invested in his business, then you could reward good market decisions and not totally devalue the "windfall" earnings that come from picking a bandit's pocket during a quest.

Share on other sites
mdamman    201

I rather like Servant's idea of the merchant guild.  The majority of the gold you earn goes straight to your guild account as "credit" towards guild related purchases.  It hides the two currency format behind meaningful in world reasoning.

Another take on this if you'd rather not put a merchant's guild in your game world.  Early in the game your adventurer is introduced to a financeer who makes what sounds like a good offer (for interest on gold gained or an initial investment) but doesn't realize right away it requires him to pay x% of his earnings, leaving him little in the way of spending money.  Later in the game the financeer opens up options for spending that money on larger purchases.  You could also introduce risky "under the table" quests you complete where you keep all the gold.

Share on other sites
LorenzoGatti    4442
Making the player wealthy isn't necessarily bad, and it doesn't imply that buying ridiculous amounts of personal gear becomes a strategy to become more powerful.
Buying redundant equipment should be indistinguishable from buying non-equipment trade goods for the warehouse.
Allowing the player to buy harmless luxuries (e.g. a clean suite at the inn instead of sharing fleas with strangers) is a reward that doesn't imbalance the game.

Most importantly, carrying capacity is limited, so if you don't shoot yourself in the foot by making available miniaturized or no-slot expensive equipment (e.g. "condensed" potions and other consumable items or D&amp;D-style flying swords) wealthy characters are simply enabled to buy anything they see fit in order to optimize equipment choices against the same weight and slot budget as poor adventurers.

For example, without extra arms the marginal utility of the third sword or the second shield is quite low: unless the player wants to bring a spare, he should carry something else instead. A wealthy character might own a great variety of weapons, but most of them will be kept at home.

Share on other sites
Talroth    3247

Does it really matter? If I rob my own business of cash to buy more and more expensive gear, then that means my business suffers. And there is only so much 'personal' stuff I can spend money on, eventually I'll run out of useful things to buy.

Share on other sites

Recreation or joy or "better stuff" could be influencing game mechanics, why not?

In many games, food can restore morale, remove dread, heal, etc. Food that "tastes better" (cookies, cakes, cooked fish) heals more in many games than food which you just pick up and swallow. Sleeping in a bed at an inn could restore your health at 3x normal rate. At a premium inn (5x as expensive) that's 4x normal.

You might want an iron sword. Iron could be 100 times more expensive than bronze (not even very unrealistic in a medieval setting). You might need a breeding bull or a stallion, and they are 50 times more expensive than a cow or a horse. Since when you don't have a particular special breeding bull, what comes out is "low quality cattle" that doesn't sell (unless you are level 200 animal handling).

You might have to hire a bouncer/bodyguard which gets more expensive the more money you have (because the bigger your purse, the bigger the thugs that will jump you).

Share on other sites
Talroth    3247

Spending money can also become a character trait that influences other parts of the game. If you are known as a penny pinching scrooge who only buys the cheapest of items that serves to meet the bare minimum of their needs, then the game world can respond to you as such. If however you throw money around, then the world will also respond as such. Money attracts money. Spending 'extra' over and above what is strictly needed can come with benefits. Attracting different classes of NPCs as followers or something.

Share on other sites
kseh    3838

I really don't see the point of "two currencies" as you've described it. If you have a ton of money then purchasing stuff to satisfy basic personal needs should be as trivial as access to services for those needs.

That's not to say you couldn't give the player incentive to not carry around millions of gold coins. First of all, it would make sense that carrying around a million gold will make you a target for thieves. But also if you simply add weight and capacity limitations to money (and other items) then that gives the player another reason to consider how much of anything needs to be on his person or transported with him. Money he doesn't carry could be in a bank account (or multiple accounts) and transactions involving large amounts could be done through drafts, contracts, agreements, or whatever. It's possible that dealing with financial institutions and their (or government) regulations opens up a few other possibilities for gameplay as well. Presumably, banks aren't going to be everywhere you go and they won't necessarily all deal with each other so some planning in that regard might be necessary.There might also be an avenue to explore if the player is to be dealing with less reputable clients and somehow needs to complete the transaction without raising suspicion.

If you're going to have more than one currency then I think it should be because you're adding international trading into your game, not because you want to constrain the player.

Share on other sites
ferrous    6137

One of the old might and magic games had two currency gold and mega credits.  Mega credits were only used upgrade your castle.  But then that was a two currency system.

You could just scale costs  accordingly.  Rare valuable items might be worth as much or more than your entire trade guild .  That would give the game a little more sense of realisim.  It might be that a single drop from the fountain of youth you could trade for a castle and its surrounding lands.

Or have a guild vault were all your business earnings go into and you can only take a percentage for yourself.

Scaling one set of items up or down seems like the easy solution.  1000 bushels of corn could cost 1 gold, while a good sword could cost 10 gold.  It's sort of realistic in the sense that a horse and fully articulated plate mail were very expensive in the medieval era, so only nobles could afford the good stuff.

Share on other sites
suliman    1652

Just a sidenote:

Bronze weapons didnt exist during meadieval times (altough often included in games), and during the age they were used (before 800 BC) they were shortswords and daggers mostly, not full sized swords as bronze is too weak for this.

Share on other sites
TechnoGoth    2937

Also as another side note.  What suilman said is also why the more advanced ancient bronze weapons were leaf shaped.  The shape of the leaf gave the flimsy weapons added strength.

Share on other sites
MatthewMorigeau    1672

Scale the responsibility of the wealthy to employ and delegate responsibilities of market. Scale up production, increasing the risk of meeting mass demand instead of smaller scale market sales.

Share on other sites

I say you've got to have plenty of short term, mid term, and long term goals.  If your players are amassing hoards of wealth, you don't have enough long term goals.  Throw in some epic construction projects or something, but there should always be something they want to spend their resources on.

Share on other sites

Just a sidenote:

Bronze weapons didnt exist during meadieval times (altough often included in games), and during the age they were used (before 800 BC) they were shortswords and daggers mostly, not full sized swords as bronze is too weak for this.

What is stunning is that bronze is much more expensive nowadays than iron. And even though it is much less durable, it is still used for some very expensive tools (garden tools, for prestige) and machinery (marine propellers, because of corrosion).

On the other hand, for nearly 1000 years after the discovery of iron, bronze was affordable to the common man and iron was not (because there were three coppersmiths in every town, and making iron was kind of "sorcery"). The tales of magic swords that kill dragons (Gram) or cut through massive stone (Durandal) made by magicians and dwarves from meteors and who knows what else testify for that. Producing iron was simply "magic", and it was only affordable for the rich.

Similar story for mirrors. Symbol for wealth until the 19th century, now there's one on every kid's bicycle.

Share on other sites
Talroth    3247

Getting rather off topic, but it isn't really till the very late medieval period that you really see all that many iron swords surpassing bronze swords in length. In the early medieval period you still saw a good amount of bronze weapons in use and production, it was merely that good iron was preferred for its quality. However, a [i]good[/i] bronze sword can generally trump a cheap iron one, and we have many examples of bronze swords being [i]longer[/i] than much of the early iron swords.

Thousands of years of history over hundreds of cultures, all producing weapons with their own take on things. Very hard to generalize too much about it without a few points popping up to contradict what someone says. (Just look at bronze swords and their riveted handles vs tangs. We can see them swing back and forth between the two methods for a few centuries, while iron swords are almost universally tanged designs of one style or another.)

Share on other sites
mipmap    1013

Just like a special adventure high protein/nutrient chocolate bar would cost you more then a standard snickers in real life, perhaps adventure gear is more advanced and also more expensive? Perhaps it's illegal or rare from some way, like traded into the game using far away trade routes. Meanwhile, the common stuff we buy every day is perhaps not cheap, but still costs a lot less.

Example: a magical plaster that heals infections is awesome for an 16th century adventurer and if such a plaster would have been available on the markets back then, it would have been worth a fortune.

Share on other sites

I was thinking about a game that combines RPG with a merchant trading system... the problem I am having though is how to deal with the two completely seperate levels of wealth. On the one hand, they should have a manageable amount of wealth to purchase things such as equipment/upgrades/consumables etc... on the other hand they need large amounts of wealth to do things such as purchase new transports/hire shopkeepers/transporters/farmers/buy property/buy expensive goods/etc.

It wouldn't make much sense to have two separate currencies, but it if they had the money to purchase expensive items all personal needs would be trivial, but if they only had enough to make personal belongings non-infinite they wouldn't have enough to purchase the expensive items.

Have you played the Fable games?

Share on other sites
powerneg    2010

I was thinking about a game that combines RPG with a merchant trading system... the problem I am having though is how to deal with the two completely seperate levels of wealth. On the one hand, they should have a manageable amount of wealth to purchase things such as equipment/upgrades/consumables etc... on the other hand they need large amounts of wealth to do things such as purchase new transports/hire shopkeepers/transporters/farmers/buy property/buy expensive goods/etc.

Why do you assume the one (equipment) costs little money and the other (warehouse) costs a lot ?
That this holds true in RL(to some extent) does not mean you need to copy that exact pricing scheme.

They can be equal.

In fact, choosing to do all the pricing yourself makes sure you can balance the game.

Share on other sites
suliman    1652

My last comment on bronze/iron swords, from wikipedia (sorry for clogging the thread:) Ancient greek (late), roman and germanic swords were iron, not bronze. Viking swords were iron/steel:

Wiki

With the spread of the La Tene culture at the 5th century BC, iron swords had completely replaced bronze all over Europe. These swords eventually evolved into, among others, the Roman gladiusand spatha, and the Greek xiphos and the Germanic sword of the Roman Iron Age, which evolved into the Viking sword in the 8th century

Bronze Age swords appear from around the 17th century BC, in the Black Sea region and the Aegean, evolving out of the dagger. They are replaced by the Iron Age sword during the early part of the 1st millennium BC.

Edited by suliman

Share on other sites
Ashaman73    13715

Use only one shared currency and view the character equipment like rare,expensive art. This way, trading mundane items is an optional way to get money for rare equipment. This already works in MMORPGs (you go into crafting/auction house to trade to get enough money for some rare,expensive equipment).

The game could look like this:

1. starting phase:

- looting and buying simple, cheap equipment

- trading with cheap, very common items

2. transition phase

- you can sell items to boost your trading wealth

- you have enough wealth to equip quite useful equipment

3. final phase

- good items for your character are really expensive and rare, you need a lot of gold

- you have your own trading empire, you have really high amounts of wealth, and you need to plan careful how much money went into really expensive,rare equipement without wrecking your business

PS:

If you like to loot lot of rare equipment, just use some kind of money-sink, e.g. you need to use a smith to fit a piece of armor to your body, a blacksmith to balance a newly found hammer etc.

Edited by Ashaman73

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account