Aug 31, 2011

Posted by in Blue Milk & Cereal | 21 Comments

Blue Milk & Cereal: What Do You Think Of Alternate Currency?

No day would be complete without the breakfast of Jedi: Blue Milk & Cereal.  Every morning, the team at Ask A Jedi will get Force-induced thoughts coursing through your head with delicious issues from around the galaxy! Join in the discussion below to make your voice heard!

In this weekend’s reveal of Open World PvP at PAX, Lead End-game designer Gabe Amatangelo discussed that both Warzone Commendations (from Warzones) and Mercenary Commendations (from Open World PvP) are both required to acquire the best PvP gear in the game. He also revealed that the two types of badges could be exchanged for each other, however at less than a 1-to-1 exchange rate.

This brings to light an even bigger discussion, however – the concept of alternate currency in general.

Badges, commendations or tokens – different terminology for the same thing – are sometimes given as rewards for completion of certain tasks. They could be given exclusively, or along side other rewards such as items or regular currency (gold, credits, and so on.) Requiring badges instead of gold/credits to purchase an item guarantees that the player is actually doing the content (since the badges are not tradable to/from other players).

A good idea in concept, but the badge system can get out of control. Already, just in PvP, we see two kinds of badges – Warzone and Mercenary Commendations. We also know that there are Valor Points you earn from PvP that will act as another type of currency. And that doesn’t even count anything on the PvE side of the fence! Blizzard went through a period with many, many types of special currency and in the end both the players and Blizzard themselves decided¬†it had gotten out of control.

I for one would like to see standard currency (credits in TOR) make a comeback. In order to curtail buying/selling however, perhaps credits could be made non-tradeable between players, unless it goes through the auction house. It won’t stop everything but will put a huge dent in it. I just feel that it makes sense to use the in-game currency, since otherwise, it really makes little sense to even be in the game if developers constantly have to dance around using it.

If that isn’t the answer, then perhaps just one “type” of badge should be rewarded for ANY type of content you do, with no need for exchanging them. Simply do whatever content you like. Requiring different badges for different rewards would seem to foster somewhat of a grind mentality, which works against BioWare’s mantra of “no grinding.”

What do you think about alternate currency? What are the pros and cons from your point of view?

Do you like the idea of alternate currency in game, such as as badges, tokens or commendations?

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  1. Now that I think about it, it is really pretty stupid. The gold sellers and farmers have forced a change upon the games for the worse.

  2. It gives those that may not have as much money as someone else the opportunity to get nearly as good or as good of gear.

    • Well, what I’m saying is I’d like to see money BE that reward to simplify things. It’s up to the player to not blow it on silly things at that point though. :)

      • See I’m in total disagreement with credits over badges. I have never been one to farm/craft/use auction houses/etc for gold and have been poor in most mmo’s I’ve played. Casuals would have a bigger problem with credits being spent for gear more than I as well.

        I can agree that they are being overdone. Why do you even need tokens/badges/emblems in pve? Mobs drop the loot. It was so people could gear faster/to get them to stop whining about drops, which is pretty shoddy imo. Credits shouldn’t be spent on gear unless its player crafted.

        In pvp they make more sense as there is no equipment to loot.

  3. I dislike the variety of tokens that devs make. I’d rather they stick with one type of badge and just increase the number it costs to buy higher level items.

  4. I like alternate currency if there’s only a few. Star Trek Online had way too many when I played.

  5. The concept of badges is a good one in my opinion.
    I wouldn’t really like the idea to buy Gear for Credits. There will be even more temptation to buy credits from shady goldsellers.
    PVE Tokens are also a plus. If you are permanently unlucky with drops you get at least something out of your time in FPs/Ops

  6. Credits should be the basis of the player economy / used for low level npc stuff (basic skills, repair cost, feul whathaveyou) and then have a *few* alternate currencies for aquasition of more high end items / abilities. Maybe a minimum reputation/rank instead of spending something else.

    My primary concern is that if you use credits for end game npc trading, you will end up with inflation, fast.

  7. I like what i have seen so far. Bioware just needs to make sure that these different types of currency are properly explained in game. This avoids confusion and ensures everyone knows what is going on, which many MMOs tend to skip and players just end up asking each other everything.

    The real issue will come about when we get expansions that add content. This is where WoW lost its marbles and got out of control with the badges and such. Bioware just needs to figure out how to upscale content without making things unnecessarily complicated.

    I’m ok with badges and similar types of currency, assuming Bioware knows how to handle them all properly. The system i’ve seen seems to allow people to play their own way, while providing the greatest benefit for those who try out everything in the game. If you just prefer Warzones, you can get the best PvP gear through them, but doing both Warzones and Mercenary activity might make it a li’l easier.

  8. I think alternate currency is a necessary part of the game. The key is to make it reasonable. I think Blizzard did a nice job of simplifying it in Cataclysm.

    The benefits to me are this,

    1. It can help curb some of the gold farming.

    2. If all the PvP and PvE items can be acquired with credits, that means you could get all of that gear without having to participate in PvE or PvP.

    3. Making credits tradeable only through the AH doesn’t really work either as there are a lot of player transactions that occur outside the AH. I should be able to go to a crafter, have him make something, and pay him for it without having to use the AH. Also transferring funds between alts. is important too.

    The key is to have a system that is simple and manageable.

  9. If you have only one currency, people will figure out what the best way to get it is, and do pretty much only that, even they get bored. The only way to “fix” that, is by trying to balance the rewards very well – so that say, on average doing open world pvp and battlegrounds give the same amount of rewards. But that’s hard to do – you can look at WAR, where BGs was more effective in increasing rank, and people did BGs much more then open world pvp.

    This is the real reason why you want different activities to lead to different badges. Other then that, you can just collapse them into one, i.e. there’s no need for there to be 5 different badges for open world pvp…

  10. ScytheNoire says:

    Yes, because it allows people to work towards gaining rewards, especially when luck isn’t on their side.

    No if it’s handled like WoW used to and Rift currently does and has WAY too many different currencies. Keep it simple, and don’t waste our bag space.

  11. I think applying different currencies to different activities in a game is a way for developers to try and reward specific activities.

    People tend to choose “the path of least resistance”. If all activities offer the same reward – yet one activity is fractionally easier, or faster, than another – people will naturally gravitate towards that activity. Different currencies reward players for trying different things and varying their playstyle.

    In theory. Doesn’t always work in practice. :)

  12. Starshaker says:

    I don’t know if any one remembers that game X-Wing in that game everytime that you completed a mission you got a new medal on your uniform… Even though back then you didn’t get to wear that uniform that idea was AWESOME!! I think they should do the same in TOR except let you wear your uniform with all of your achievements… That would be the only addition of medals I think they should use. No alternate currency though it is just a hassle…

  13. Badges can be nice if you are one of those people who seem to only have the numbers 1-10 on your dice! The problem with credits for gear is that then you basically can pay to win. So many pros and cons that I basically just go with the flow and not worry about it too much. It is what it is.

  14. The good thing about other forms of currencies, is that it deters the gold farmers and it also gives players goals to try and achieve…I need only X more “tokens” and I can unlock or get fill-in the blank item etc.

    The bad side of things is that you can get too many forms of money/currency in the game. This can get confusing and frustrating to some. One form of token might unlock a certain helmet, but the player may only be into another currency form so they are shutout from getting it.

    Why not use all the commendations redeemable for credits? The player can redeem them at any time for whatever the set exchange rate is for certain currencies. The player then can take the credits and go and purchase whatever item they can afford. By using the exchange rate, you can also have special event weekends etc., where certain tokens were worth more for a limited time.

    The bottom line is all purchases would be made with credits. Now how to prevent the gold/credit farmers? It was mentioned above that you do not allow credits to be traded or exchanged in game. The only way to get items is by redeeming tokens for credits, using credits in AH or using credits to purchase from vendors.

    This is just my thoughts on the subject. This is a great topic and well written article.

  15. Yes… and No… I like having one type of “badge” for PvE and one type for PvP, with a limitation on maximum amount of badges a character can have at one time… similar to how WOW started to limit the amount of honor a player could have.

  16. Micksterzone says:

    One thign i want to mention about what you saids about the end of ‘no grinding’
    With PvP, at least, most people that strive for the best PvP gear find the ‘grind’ of pvp fun… like me :)
    Reason being that it is always different, not always the same old same old where you could set up your hotkeys so you just go to sleep and press 123456789, like another very popular game i know…..

  17. I would rather have a npc reward players with their items at the vender, then offer the optional rewards as almost a quest turn in. I really didn’t like the way these badges and commendations ended up in some other game i played. I feel it just made the game a grind for badges, and i hate that.

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