Banking and losing money upon death

Discussion in 'Game Mechanics Design' started by Jaide, Aug 14, 2012.

?

Would you like a banking system, like Earthbound, where your money is stored? If you died, you'd los

  1. Yes, I enjoy games with additional systems like this.

    26 vote(s)
    76.5%
  2. No, that's unnecessary and harsh.

    8 vote(s)
    23.5%
  1. Solistra

    Solistra Veteran Veteran

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    That's more or less my point in a nutshell, just put much more coherently than I seemed to be able to get across. The way I see it, I like this system, and I would use it when playing the game -- but a lot of what could make this an interesting dynamic hinges on whether or not it actually works as intended and is thought-out reasonably well.

    By the way, I support the JP idea (or something similar) -- that seems like a decent incentive not to reset for many to me. I can't speak for anyone else or how they play games, but personally, I like not doing the same thing more than once, so unless I make some gargantuan mistake, I don't reload saves.

    Actually, that also makes me wonder about something else... how are you handling enemy encounters in this game? Are they on-map enemies, based on steps and encounter rates, or something else entirely? I'm only asking because if enemies are placed on the map, that could also provide further incentive not to reset.
     
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  2. Jaide

    Jaide "This guy are sick." Veteran

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    Enemies are placed on the map. You can physically see any enemies you'll encounter on a given map. I actually wasn't too sure how to implement the not-standard-game-over system with random encounters, so it's a good thing I wasn't planning on using them anyway. XD

    With some exceptions, I was planning on having enemies respawn when you re-enter an area though, so encounters aren't limited once you clear a map.
     
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  3. Solistra

    Solistra Veteran Veteran

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    Still, it sounds like they can be avoided in that case, which provides incentive. If I had to walk back through an area with random encounters after recently dying and losing half of the money that I was carrying, I think that the desire to simply reset would rise pretty quickly.
     
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  4. Ocedic

    Ocedic Dog Veteran

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    Some suggestions if you do decide to go for the banking/money system:

    - Make battles somewhat hard and death often. If your game is balanced so you pretty much don't die except to the occasional hard boss here and there, people are more likely to reset because dying is so rare anyways. However, if you die a lot and the game is based on a lot of trial and error, people will find it not worthwhile to reset every time.

    - Try to balance out the amount of money lost to not be so harsh. Play around with the number and see what works.

    - Perhaps allow players to gain back part or all of the money they lose somehow, such as defeating the enemy that killed them. This may be hard with random battles, though there may be other ways around that.

    - Make enemies give lots of experience/items/gold/JP. This goes well with the first point, since if you make fights hard they should be rewarding anyways. As you mentioned, the player has to choose between losing their XP/Items/JP and the gold they lost. The more of the former they lose, the less likely they will be to reset.

    - Like I mentioned above, use a checkpoint system in dungeons. Have few savepoints, but have checkpoints where you respawn if you die. This gives another incentive not to reset, as you will be further in the dungeon and closer to where you left off via the checkpoint than if you reset and go back to the save point.

    I think the mechanic is interesting and worth exploring. Best of luck to you with it.
     
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  5. Espon

    Espon Lazy Creator Veteran

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    Players are more likely to die to a difficult boss instead of regular battles. If every boss is preceded by a save point then there's absolutely no reason to continue instead of reload if you fail since you're ultimately losing gold and items and probably didn't get much if anything worth keeping between the save point and the boss. If regular battles were incredibly difficult then the player might be more inclined to grind levels and money in a previous dungeon or at a save point until they're strong enough to handle what's ahead...either that or just bank your money then go suicidal and try to reach the next boss with fighting as few battles as possible.

    Losing gold on death seems to only really work when there's less save points (particularly in dungeons) or the game is constantly auto-saving and doesn't really give you the option to reload. Almost any game I can think of which had loss on death usually had no save points in dungeons or only had auto-saving.

    Personally I feel it's just an outdated mechanic that has been phased out over the years. Even in MMORPGs where in the past death could mean losing almost everything you were carrying have pretty much shifted to far less harsh death penalties these days (usually just a small repair bill), and there's no reloading in these games.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 16, 2012
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  6. Lunarea

    Lunarea Artist Global Mod

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    In my opinion, a good way to go about it is to offer an incentive for the player to keep the money in the bank. You could try to implement some sort of tiered account system where the player receives a reward when they reach n$. You can start out small (maybe extra potions) and work up to some pretty nice rewards (super duper strong equipment, etc). If you feel up to it, you can also add an element of realism by having the money that's in the bank slowly increase (low % every XYZ steps, or minutes of play). That way, the more money's in the bank, the more player gains.

    As for the death part ... I like how Torchlight handled it. If you die, you have a choice: a- lose X gold, b- lose X experience, or c- go back to the town, which negates all the progress you'd done so far in the dungeon. Maybe giving the player a choice between losing a few things will make it less likely that they'll just re-load a save. And it also gives the player a little more control. Depending on what they're focusing on, sacrificing money or gold might not be that big of a deal. :)
     
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  7. Solistra

    Solistra Veteran Veteran

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    This is a fantastically good point, and I agree completely. Having ample opportunities to save the game will absolutely work against the system that you're describing. I also agree with Ocedic's post above, and they have some remarkably good ideas to make the system work... and work well.

    Lunarea's suggestions are good, too, although I would like to see some more strategy placed into it than a choice given immediately upon death. What I mean by that is that I think that the player could potentially be given a choice as to what they lose whenever they activate a checkpoint (which should be a user-controlled event in any case, in my opinion), making them think about it before they actually enter a potentially hostile environment. Honestly, that could also be a bit foreboding with the right atmosphere around the checkpoint....
     
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  8. Jaide

    Jaide "This guy are sick." Veteran

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    Since the point that ample save points could actually be detrimental has been raised, what about the idea of only being able to save at hospitals/inns---basically, specific towns and other populated areas---and therefore having no means to save at all inside of a dungeon? I like the idea that the player might feel a very real sense of foreboding when they're in a hostile environment, and conversely, they'd feel at ease when within the confines of a town.

    Initially I was going to utilize save points a lot like classic SNES-era RPGs such as Chrono Trigger where there's saves in dungeons and before bosses (but you can also save on the world map, something that I don't feel really works in my game).

    I like the idea of checkpoints. I can't really recall seeing that done before for a frame of reference, but I can see certain criteria having to be met to activate a checkpoint. Clearing all enemies in a particular room, for example.
     
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  9. Lunarea

    Lunarea Artist Global Mod

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    I, personally, would keep the same choice at all times to make it a fairly simple mechanic - especially if there's enough challenge in battles for death to occur more than once in a dozen maps. It's something the player would expect and they could take steps to prepare for it.

    However, I would also make it worth the risk to carry larger amounts into dangerous areas with:

    - Special vendors that have stock you can't buy anywhere else

    - The ability to bribe enemies instead of fighting them

    - A way to use X gold to skip a puzzle

    - Donations to religious statues that yield rewards like + stats, recovery/healing, or something useful down the line

    - A way to pay for shortcuts or services that teleport you back to town

    - etc.

    But regardless of the approach, I find the idea of money management very appealing. Money sometimes feels like an afterthought in games (my own included - though I'm working on it!), so anything that gives the player more choice and more reason to think about their gold is a plus. :)
     
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  10. Jaide

    Jaide "This guy are sick." Veteran

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    I love the idea of having a reason to try and remember to carry money with you instead of throwing it all in the bank. Earthbound, which inspired me to do this in the first place (that and your ATM tiles, Lunarea) sort of had this. There were sometimes vendors in random places, usually selling good items for Jeff, who could use bombs and such from his inventory in combat for major damage, and if you didn't have any money on you, you were out of luck as far as that particular vendor was concerned. That's really the only time it was an issue, but my point is that I can definitely see that being an attractive feature. :3
     
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  11. Lunarea

    Lunarea Artist Global Mod

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    It's especially useful if the -gold option takes away a percentage of the gold you're currently holding. Knowing that a rare vendor is in a dangerous area will probably encourage people to carry more gold in the inventory. However, carrying large amounts will also make them more cautious - maybe they'll try to avoid battles, or they'll be more careful in their strategies. It's a pretty cool way to add a bit more risk without forcing it on the player. After all, they always have a choice not to buy at the special vendor and to keep their money safely in the bank. :)
     
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  12. amerk

    amerk Veteran Member

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    I don't like the idea of saving only in a hospital or inn. Never cared for it on the NES, and I've been playing rpg's since Final Fantasy 1.

    However, my idea is this:

    1. Save anywhere on the world map and in villages.

    2. Sell high-priced camping items (2000 Gold?) that when used will restore the whole party and pull up a save screen.

    3. In dungeons, players can decide where it's appropriate to save using the camping item.

    If you choose to add save points, though, allow unlimited saves on the world map, and do one save point in the dungeons at around the 1/3rd to 1/2 point.
     
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  13. Jaide

    Jaide "This guy are sick." Veteran

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    The problem with being able to save just about anywhere is that it might be a little harder to grab the player's last location so as to dump them there when they die in a battle. But, I'm sure it's doable somehow.

    Now, I think I mentioned before that my original plan was to not have the player's party gain EXP or levels, and therefore no stat gains through combat. Instead, you'd purchase stat upgrade items either with cash or something else, like JP. The problem is that I'm not sure that this would help a system with a penalty for dying that doesn't just make you lose progress, since you therefore wouldn't have valuable EXP to save, though the JP would be a greater factor, I think.
     
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  14. Andynator

    Andynator Veteran Veteran

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    I really hate concepts like "bank” or “money lost". And I think most of the "casual"-fractions think in a similar way.

    First: In fact, while you are playing, time is - obviously - not money. But money is time. Playtime. If you lost money after dying, than you probably losing game time, because it is really sure, that you - later in game - want to buy one or three expensive items, which costs more money, than you actually possess. In such cases, the player has to farm money. And this is one of these points, were a player maybe could decide to close the game, until he forgot about it.

    Second: Implement NEVER-NEVER-NEVER any mechanic in your game, which has the only idea behind it, to punish your player for mistakes. Nobody likes to be punished for no reason. Nobody WANTS to be punished. And - if you are a good designer - YOU don't want all the things, your players don't want. And at last, but not least: You are (probably) not the Mother, of your player. That means you simply did not have the authority, to punish your player.

    If the player dies, he has to accept the consequences. There are maybe four or three monster-Battles; he has to fight once again. That makes the player angry and hates himself, because he did a mistake. But if you besides punish him without any reasons, he might - instead of hating himself - hate you and your game.

    Third: I played World of Warcraft for a long while. And be sure, all the moments - in which I realized, that I need a specific item, and this item is on my bank - are the moments, in which I quit the game. And you - as a designer - DON'T WANT your player to quit the game.

    Maybe, you don't plan an item-Bank. Well, a Money-Bank is exactly the same. If your player meets a vendor with rare items somewhere between here and there, and realized, that he possess not enough money, to buy, it's more likely, that he will quit the game, instead of run back to the bank an pick up money, only to buy the a few items and then bring the money back to the bank.

    Hold in mind:

    Your player’s primary goal is NOT being “the best”. His primary goal is, “having fun” or “being entertained”.

    He wants to proceed in the game. He wants to go straight forward. Do things, which lead him to the End of the game. He NEVER wants to go back a whole step, simply to pick up money on the bank or farm once again for money he had possessed in the past until you punished him.

    The modern player is everything apart from being a freak. In the past, game design, which hampers the player’s progress, may be misinterpreted as a "challenge" or as "required skill". But today, in a world, where Video-Games are money-free all over the internet, it will be a big failure.

    For a modern game, there is no maximum at "user-friendlessness". There should be a save-point direct in front of every boss. A death should your player throw back only as far, as absolute necessary. No step further!

    "User-Friendliness" is the one and only Element in game design, which you can use, as much, as you had in mind.

    And “punish” your player is everything – but not user-friendly.
     
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  15. Lunarea

    Lunarea Artist Global Mod

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    I think you underestimate players. There's quite a lot a player will accept and get used to in a game, as long as there's consistency.

    Losing a battle is frustrating to players, but that doesn't mean that all battles should now be laughably easy and impossible to lose. A game should offer some challenge, after all, or it becomes boring. How the developer handles introducing this challenge depends on the game.

    The key to a banking system that Jaide is looking into is that the punishment of losing gold isn't too severe and that a player would have some control. Losing money could be an extra reason to avoid death, but not something that would completely break the game. And there are subtle ways to encourage players to carry larger amounts at certain points. An NPC could hint at a special vendor being in the area or the vendor could have an item that teleports the player to a bank and back.

    Personally, I think that we should encourage people to use different concepts and to trouble-shoot them creatively instead of just telling them to drop things because they have a potential to be frustrating. :)
     
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  16. Andynator

    Andynator Veteran Veteran

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    Is "quite a lot" a sufficent amount, if ALL players would accept a system with no money loss?

    Losing a battle is a part of a game which results in consequences, the player has to live with. If my party dies, i don't reach my goal, and i have to try it again. That is an integral part of every game. But if the player dies, this consequences are obvious. There is NO need, to generate additional consequences only to punish the player for his fail. To not reach the goal is already an unavoidable - and total sufficient - punishment.

    There are Types of games, which makes a mechanic like this necessary ... multi-player-games. Games, were player can interact an trade with each other, need to have a so called "money sink", to limit the inflation. But in a single-Player game, there is no inflation.

    Sure. But "being punished by the game" is a very, very, very frustrating an unfair sort of a "challenge".

    No one, who plays a game, wanted to die. No one searches death. If the player dies, he is drawn back in the games progress and has to play things twice. If a player wants to defeat a Boss, and had to watch his "I'm big bad and evil' - speech twice, because he died the first time, I'm sure he did NOT want to die again. As designer go after your player an tell him "Look my friend, I'm very angry, if you die, an then i will punish you!" is really unnecessary, because the player himself don't want to die.

    The only fair reason for a "Money loss" - or better - "a fair trade", is the offer, to let the player pay money in exchange for a restart DIRECT before the battle, in which he dies. Give the player the choice, whether he will go back to the last save game, or pay money an try the battle again immediately.

    But for "go back to the last save AND give us your money" is an absurd mechanism, because it forced the player to reload. I know very well, that this is NOT exactly, what the Thread-Opener means and had in mind. But there are other Problems, because he don't uses Save-Points.

    Games without Savepoints got a very big problem: Sometimes the player will simply forgot to safe. That is very stupid an silly. But it happend.

    Did you really want something like this?

    "You silly dumbo did not save? Bwuahahahaha! Give me ten percent of your Money, and i set you back to the last town. Or Play the last 5 Hours once again."

    "But why? I had so much fun with your game!"

    "Why? Because i say it! Give me money, or have once again, "fun" with may game!"

    "Ok, by."

    "Eh ... but ..."

    *shutdown*

    Nevertheless is the "walk to the bank" an unnecessary time-loss.

    Oh, i never told him, that he is not allowed, to do things like this. ;) Besides, i never got the authority, to tell him things like this ;)

    But i think, the importance of "user-friendliness" should never be underestimated. He could do to his game, what he want. But to confuse "user-unfriendliness" with "difficulty" is not a really good way to make a game challenging ;)

    That is - at least - my opinion.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 18, 2012
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  17. Lunarea

    Lunarea Artist Global Mod

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    I don't want to take Jaide's thread over with bickering, so I won't quote you. But I will say that perhaps you're misunderstanding what I mean.

    I agree that you should make your game approachable (or "user-friendly" as you put it), but you also need to give your players some credit. There's a lot players tolerate or accept when it's presented well and when it makes sense. Limited inventory, for example, can be really frustrating. But that doesn't mean that it should automatically be avoided. Eventually, players accept it as a part of the game and adapt. Things like selling all items when you get into town or choosing to only pick up valuable items become second nature. I think this can extend to other game mechanics, too.

    I can accept that you would find banking and losing money frustrating. It's not a mechanic everyone will enjoy. However, I don't think it's fair to say that every single casual player will feel the same way you do. There's no way for us to predict how the players will react to a particular mechanic. It will all depend on the players and how Jaide handles her game.
     
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  18. Andynator

    Andynator Veteran Veteran

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    I never did that.

    "I think" is not "i say"

    "most" is not "every single casual"

    and "similar" is not "the same"

    Maybe my posts are sometimes expressed a bit to "strong". But i never said, that my opinion is the one and only truth.

    sure. But the best way, we have, to plan our games, are "experience". And i think my "experiences" are worth to spoken out, exactly like all others, if they are related to the topic.
     
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  19. Jaide

    Jaide "This guy are sick." Veteran

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    I appreciate your input on the subject, Andynator. That is what I asked for, after all. But I do feel as if you're saying a developer should keep their game within a certain window of familiarity or players will be inherently turned off by the game. I'm sure there will always be some players who feel this way, but I think the majority of players enjoy clever differences in a game, or little challenges and features that show the developer took some extra time in developing a system for their game.

    Of course the system I implement could have flaws, but that's what I'm trying to avoid. I'm trying to work out the kinks to make this a system that a majority of players will at least tolerate, instead of be angered and immediately turned off by. Yes you're losing money, but that can be avoided by putting your money in the bank. And if you die, you're not losing all the EXP and items and other things you acquired prior to your death, so the punishment of having to do EVERYTHING over again is somewhat circumvented. Also, I've added a system that rewards the player for reaching a certain amount of money stored in their bank, which is yet more incentive to do so, if you're receiving powerful items as a reward for storing your money.

    Anyway, I do appreciate your feedback on the subject, even if it's entirely against the idea of custom systems like a bank and losing money upon death. I truly wanted to know people's opinions on the topic, both positive and negative.
     
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  20. NicoB

    NicoB Forever's End Veteran

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    I think that the banking system is a nice addition to save you from losing half of your money. It forces players to strategize how much they should be carrying around at all times. However, being able to save anywhere would definitely destroy any challenge from this system. If you really want to be hardcore, you may even forgo save points altogether in dungeons OR have save points be a rare type of consumable item (this would allow people to save anywhere, but it would be something that would be done frugally).
     
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