[Suggestion for next entry] Trade Routes and Thieves

Post » Thu Dec 15, 2016 6:29 am

Dedicated fans may remember the Mudcrab Merchant in Morrowind and Skyrim's incarnation with the Investor Perk.

The maximum amount of gold traders have is exceptionally crucial in Bethesda's open-world titles due to the sheer amount of Looting (a gameplay pillar) that is allowed while adventuring or otherwise . . .

I propose that the maximum allowable gold that is given to traders become variable and modifiable to a degree by Players (gamified):

-To increase gold, a Trade Network needs to be established. The larger the network, is the larger the amount of (potential) gold made available to traders that are part of the network.

-The rationale for this is that the more collaborating sellers there are, is the more likely it would be to find demand for the various items the Player sells. [The store NPC could figuratively contact another vendor in order to find out if they have a market willing and capable of buying an "Ebony Greatsword". The more contacts the seller has, is the more likely one of them will positively reply that they have someone willing to buy an Ebony Greatsword.]

*The actual Network is already pre-mapped. The Player only has the ability to "turn on" the connections between hubs/traders.

-The larger the network the Player establishes by investing, the higher the connected trader will be in Tiers (aesthetic). With the 3rd being the highest. A Tier is defined by the range of gold they will have available which is indicated by a visual difference in the store: The Building + Items displayed inside. (Trader may reach the highest Tier but later decrease, leaving the building the same but decreasing with the other visual cue of their indoor appearance = cobwebs) [There should also be some kind of external visual cue to immediately indicate to the Player how prosperous the trader is.]

-The highest Tier will be able to purchase the most expensive in-game item. With the Highest Tier + Connected to Province, the store owner will sequential increase in gold the more the Player sells to them (instead of renewing the next Cycle with relatively the same amount).

-Stores decrease in Tiers when the number of robbed caravans prevents them from maintaining the range of Available Gold for the Tier.

-Between the Trade Hubs will be caravans. During travel, the caravan will contain tangible items and a list of those items. However, on arrival, the items will be transformed into money. (Simulates a preordering customer immediately receiving their item) Caravans do not carry money.

-The items caravans carry are excess items that the trader would normally not have. The items prioritized to be taken are those that were in the store inventory the longest.

-Once the items are converted into cash they enter a new type of Leveled Loot List for random circulation among citizenry containers. Only the Thieves Guild have relative clues for specific items that have entered the List.

-Items stolen during caravan voyage also enter the Leveled Loot List but they are randomly circulated among banditry with the only clues for retrieval being in the optional, time-dependent Side Quest given after an attack.

-Items that are part of the Leveled Loot List, but are given during a quest, will be removed from Leveled Loot List.

-During transit, the Player may purchase items from a caravan just as they would from any vendor however, they won't be able to sell items due to the lack of gold.

-Caravans can be attacked causing the Available Gold for the next Cycle to drastically decrease. [Cycle - time it takes for a Caravan to make a roundtrip.]

-Players can invest in caravan Guards to protect a Route from bandits.

-Players will also get minor notifications and timed Quests to Protect a caravan from being attacked or if too late, Retrieve stolen items (now marked as Quest Items): Dynamic but Fair fetch quest. The result of completing such quests won't directly yield gold, but will instead give, experience and timed shop perks that Stacks to a certain limit such as Discounts or higher Buying Rates.

-Merchants that have reached the highest Tier will be able to afford the strongest level of mercenaries for protection.

-If the Player has high Charisma, they can negotiate with the lords or the ruling persons between a network in order to assign city guards to caravans which replace the comparatively expensive mercenaries [Opportunity to add unique quests for each City Guard Captain or Lord]. In this way, no matter what Tier the Merchants are, they will have the same level of protection. The degree of Charisma will affect how large a "cut" the city takes which slightly decreases the Available Gold of merchants permanently but not as much as mercenaries would.

-Traders with stable networks will at least maintain their level of Available Gold each cycle regardless of decreased items or quantity of items the Player sells to them. The rationale for this is that traders will give their items a markup that allows them to gain enough profit to maintain their gold in times of any Player induced "droughts". Selling = Prosperity [Drought - consecutive Cycles when the Player doesn't sell to any traders]

-The largest networks will see the invested construction of a Hub at borders to other Provinces.

-Players can attack the caravans them self, however, they would be mechanically decentivized to do so for it is assumed that it is worth more for traders to be able to give them more gold for the loot they have than to collect pointless loot that cannot be sold.

-It is much easier to steal gold than for merchants to build it back up. Meaning, it will take many cycles to build back enough profit/gold for the Player to be able to sell their more expensive items.

Temporary Trade Routes:

-Players with a high enough reputation with vendors (not caught stealing from caravans), will be allowed the usage of their caravanner by gaining a perk to create temporary Collection Boxes anywhere outside that can be connected to a preexisting route by land. These Boxes are marked with a Tier level of 0 on any routing map and act as a sort of mailbox for items. The Player will then need to visit a trader to assign a caravan route for this Collection Box which includes a destination Trader.

[For instance, the Player can set up a Collection box outside of a mine. Go to the nearest Trader to set up and pay for a route including the Collection Box. Before the caravan arrives the Player places as much ore as they can into the Box. The caravanner takes all the ore that is in the box and sells as much of it on arrival.]

-The Player can either pay for a set number of Trips by the caravan and keep 100% of the sold amount or order a single trip while the Trader keeps a certain percentage of the total sale. [These caravans can be looted before they reach their destination without any consequence to Available Gold]

-While carrying items from a collection box, the Player can retake the item directly from the caravan without penalty if they paid for the caravan Trip. Otherwise, the Player will have to buy back the item for an extremely small percent of the original cost.

-Items sold by the caravanner will not be converted into cash on the caravan's arrival. Instead, the items will be directly sold to the destination trader at its normal selling rate (Trader now owns these sold items).

-Extra items that couldn't be sold to the destination trader will be placed in a Companioning Collection Box located at the destination store. Items stored in the Companioning Collection Box becomes "consigned" to the store's owner with the consignee being either the Player or the caravanner. The Player can retrieve the item at any time before it is sold as long as the caravanner does not own it. If the caravan driver does own it, the Player will have to pay the standard percentage for that item or collection of items removed unless they will be marked as stolen. [Consigned - items shown in the trader's selling inventory but doesn't belong to the trader; Consignee - true owner of the Consigned item]

-After some time once sold, the profit of the sold item will be automatically divided and delivered to the involved parties: Store Owner, Caravanner, Player.

Player Banditry:

-The result of being discovered stealing from a caravan will result in timed shop debuffs such as higher Selling Prices or lower Buying Rates as well as the usual Wanted Level.

Thieves Guild Involvement:

-Any item the Player sells and is transformed by caravan into gold will enter a Leveled Loot List. This List is organized and displayed in-game by The Guild Book.

-The Guild Book is owned by the Thieves Guild and contains the item name, relative location (randomly generated) and Reputation Points (item value and difficulty of lock) for retrieving it. [It is assumed that the Thieves Guild's intelligence network efficiently collects this information.]

-Outside the Guild, the Player can select and hire the Guild to steal an item and any quantity of it limited by the Leveled Loot List, for a commission much higher than the original cost.

-As a member of the Thieves Guild, the Player can order specific members to retrieve items in The Guild Book at the cost of Reputation Points.

-On successful retrieval, the successful member will receive experience points dependent on the listed Reputation Points and quantity of the item.

-On unsuccessful retrieval, the member will be in the respective location's jail for a period.

-As a member of the Thieves Guild and with full access to The Guild Book, the Player can select any item of a single quantity to be added to the quest log. The selected quest item will be generated at the location as well as several of it if there were multiple in the Leveled Loot List, as well as other items in The Guild Book that were listed to be at the same location. [Simulates a Thief/Dishonored level.]

-The quest log will only give the general location of the item. Once in the area, the pointer will deactivate and the Player will have to search for the item.

-Upon retrieval, the items will be removed from the Leveled Loot List and subsequently The Guild Book. By returning to the Guild Appraiser, the Guild will formerly recognize the Player's gained Reputation Points.

-Thieves Guild Treasury. The current top 3 valued items of every in-game category (Weapon, Armor Piece, Consumable, Gem, . . .) will have a display case.

-The Player may choose to have a qualifying item displayed by speaking to the Appraiser.

-Displaying an item will net bonus Reputation Points.

-Qualifying items are rerolled at the end of each week. Displayed items that are no longer the most valued—qualified will remain displayed unless the Player manually activates the display case to reset it in preparation of the new item.

In Summary, Player Interactions:

-Invest in creating a route. This takes the form of a map presented to the Player by any vendor. The map shows all the available routes that can be connected to the current store.

-Invest in creating a trade hub to a Province. Takes the form of an activatable sign in front of a plot of land denoted by a rope fence. Allows a new route to be created.

-Trade directly from caravan.

-Rob a caravan.

-Invest in caravan protection.

-Protect caravan themself or return stolen items.

-Negotiate with city to protect caravans with city guards.

-Create a temporary trade hub = collection box. Assign a temporary route to that box.

-Consign items to a trader.

-Access Thieves Guild, Guild Book.

-Hire/Command thieves to obtain a quantity of items by writing their names, Player name and quantity in the Guild Book next to the desired item.

-On demand quest from Guild Book.

-Display qualified item in Guild treasury by talking to the Appraiser.

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Chantel Hopkin
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Post » Thu Dec 15, 2016 5:28 am

Welcome to the Forums! http://i2.kym-cdn.com/photos/images/newsfeed/000/050/177/DarkFishyStick.jpg

We have an ongoing series of threats pertaining to ideas and features in future games http://www.gamesas.com/topic/1613350-official-beyond-skyrim-tes-vi-90/page-7. This particular one is rounding down (threads ahve a 200 post limit) so i'd probably recommend saving this for the next one, but i think the idea of a semi-functional trade dynamic and fluctuating Merchant Gold and Prices is one that has a lot of meat to it, and could move the games forward by a considerably margin... So i for one am looking forward to that future conversation.

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jess hughes
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Post » Thu Dec 15, 2016 12:32 am

I second this. Can we get a new Beyond Skyrim thread going so we can start this discussion?

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Rachel Hall
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Post » Wed Dec 14, 2016 7:26 pm

Not that i normally encourage it, but if people want to burn through the last 15 posts in the thread with wishlisting, we probably could...

uuugh,,, Wishlisting... Even saying the word makes me feel dirty...

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RAww DInsaww
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Post » Thu Dec 15, 2016 12:17 am

Personally, I'd consider the OP's ideas to be the backward approach to the problem. Rather than have it revolve around the player, like so many of the other "phony" game mechanics, wouldn't it make more sense to tie the merchants' gold to the overall state of an economy? Do tasks for traders or trade guilds, and they become more successful, with the result that associated traders get wealthier. Buy and sell enough with a trader, and their own personal fortune improves over time. Invest in a business, and that aspect of the economy gets busier and more productive. Protect trade caravans, or loot them, and the cost of doing business between those points goes either down, or up. Items made in a town should be cheaper than ones imported from the next town. Craft 1000 iron daggers and try selling them, and the price of iron daggers should plummet, with the resulting change of fortunes of any merchant unfortunate enough to have 50 of them in stock. Your actions should affect the economy, but the economy should not revolve around your stats or level.

Each merchant could have a "total value" of all their merchandise and inventory. That value goes up when they sell at a profit, and down a little when they buy replacement merchandise, as well as a deduction for daily living. There could be some limited number of transactions between merchants and other NPCs over the course of a day, so they have a small but fluctuating income even if you're not around, but generally won't get rich or poor unless you do something that affects them. It should be ridiculously difficult but possible to drive the merchants into bankruptcy, or make them all rich, and easy enough to make any individual merchant wealthy if you deal with them almost exclusively. Prices of items should reflect availability, primarily local but also affected by global supply, so if you sell 5 of the same item to a merchant (other than high-volume items like arrows), they'll pay substantially less for yet another, and if you sell 1 to every merchant in the game, the price will drop slightly everywhere due to high global supply.

I loved Morrowind's ability to buy and sell more expensive items via barter, where you could take (or offer) both cash and other merchandise in trade for an item that was beyond a merchant's cash limit, then sell the lesser bartered item later for at least part of its worth. Example: sell a 5000 Septim value item for 2000 cash plus a 1000 Septim item and a 500 value item (getting 3500 in value for it, but only 2000 of that in cash). You could then sell the 1000 value item to another merchant (or the same merchant a day later) for 700, and the 500 value item for 350, so you'd eventually get a total of 3050 in cash for the 5000 Septim item, not have to "give it away" for the merchant's 2000 maximum. Not having any way of selling anything for more than some artificial hard limit in Oblivion was inexcusable.

The "exploit" with the Mudcrab Merchant was two-fold: not only did he (or rather "it") have 10,000 in cash to spend, but "it" made all barter transactions at 100% of value*, so you could unload a 50,000 Septim item for 10,000 in cash plus 40,000 in merchandise (assuming that you previously sold 40,000 worth of items), then sell the 40,000 in merchandise back to "it" over the next 4 days, eventually ending up with the entire 50,000 Septims in hand. Having to wait for the merchant to sell off some inventory to replenish his or her gold supply would remove the overnight gold reset part of the exploit, so you'd have to go back again several days later or else go to a different merchant.

I want my actions to affect the economy. I DON'T want to have to manage the country's economy myself in order to be paid a fair price for stuff.

[ * Technically anything less than 101% of value, so you could actually get 5049 for a 5000 Septim value item. Talk about "exploits", that's "broken". ]

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Post » Thu Dec 15, 2016 3:08 am


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James Potter
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