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As a gamer that spends most of his leisure time playing RPGs, there’s a game mechanic that I run into so very often, but it irks me every time I realize that it happens.
I hate getting currency from killing monsters.
I’m not talking about picking up items from beasts that I slay, and then selling them for profit. That makes complete sense to me. I’m sure someone needed that eggbear claw for some necklace. I’m sure that owlkin feathers would be wonderfully luxurious inside of a pillow. And a Cactaur should be able to provide a whole sweatshop’s worth of sewing needles.
I can’t, however, understand why all of these monsters are carrying around cash. Like there’s somewhere that they can use it for. Or as if they actually knew of their value, and took to robbing people for it.
I understand that there’s supposed to be a suspension of disbelief regarding this game mechanic. I need cash to progress through the game, and I am going to be fighting monsters for the majority of the game. Therefore, the solution is to give cash to the monsters to drop for us to pick up. It’s simple and convenient. It just doesn’t make sense.
Playing Tales of Vesperia, killing random beasts to get money was normal, just like most JRPGs. And then they go and give you a figurine that gives you more money when you kill enemies. As if waving this little doll in front of the wolf I am fighting will make him go home, pick up double the cash he was carrying, then drop it when I cut him up. It just doesn’t make sense.
Back when I played World of Warcraft, I liked that killing humanoid enemies got me cash, while the beasts mostly gave me organs and nick-nacks that I had to bring back and sell to townsfolk. And then I fight Onyxia, and she drops gold coins for me. Thanks. I’m sorry I interrupted your trip to the armory. You could have used better gear when you fought me.
I enjoyed how you got money in Etrian Odyssey. My guild had to venture down into the depths of these mysterious ruins and bring back supplies that the town merchant could use. He’d give me good cash for these items, and I would use this to buy better equipment from him to get him more materials. I also got the opportunity to do assignments for people in town for money as well. This gave me a clear picture on how I was acquiring this money. It wasn’t magic monster money. It was money I was working for. However, I know that getting money this way is frustrating for many people (especially with limited inventory slots).
That’s why my favorite currency distribution method is from EarthBound. Being a JRPG that bucked many of the trends that defined JRPGs, it was set in a modern world in 199X. Clearly, killing dogs and crows to get money wouldn’t make sense considering that this was a world based on ours. So all they did was create a middle-man between you, and the money that you got for killing random monsters. Ness’ dad would deposit money into his bank account each time he defeated a foe. To access this money, you had to find an ATM to withdraw your cash (or deposit some too, if you so chose). It even had the occasional banking fee when you took out some money!
It was one of the greatest things I had ever seen in a role playing game. The money that I got wasn’t difficult and inconvenient to obtain, but at the same time, how I got this money made sense. And that’s something that I truly appreciate when I play an RPG. It’s these little touches that pull me into the game’s world.
I love role playing games to death, but there are just some things that just bug me about the genre. Yeah, I get that I need some yen, but how did these shadow-monsters from inside of a television come across it?