Imagine an Adventure Coin and a Merchant Coin.

Adventure coins can be spent on training and equipment, at in-game shops, but cannot be transferred between players.

Merchant coins can be transferred between players, and are used for investing in land, ferries, mills, etc.

Do any existing MMORPGs have such a system?

How can this work in the face of "bad money drives out good"?

  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ Yes. There are plenty of examples of MMO games with multiple currencies. This is not rare. However, are you asking for multiple premium currencies (as in currencies you can purchase directly with real money, regardless if they can also be earned by other means)? If that is the case, I can't think of one example game right now. It would add friction to the purchase (what kind of currency do I want to buy?), and that is a bad idea. Edit: what is your goal with the design? \$\endgroup\$ – Theraot Mar 14 at 10:28
  • \$\begingroup\$ The goal is to make a free-to-play "adventure" game sharing an online world with a "merchant" game. The "merchant coin" would be purchasable, with some controls, while the "adventure coin" would only be gained by adventuring, or possibly by training other characters. The merchant coin could also be used for "vanity" purchases, such as distinctive appearance or titles. \$\endgroup\$ – fadedbee Mar 14 at 10:35

This is actually very common in MMORPGs. Lots of games use plenty of currencies which are not mutually exchangeable.

  • There is usually only one general purpose currency which can be obtained very easily through various activities. It is usually used for player-player commerce and buying basic items and services from NPCs.
  • When the game is free-to-play, then there is usually a currency which can only be obtained by investing real money and can then be used to acquire premium items which usually can not be acquired in any other way (at least not a feasible way).
  • Some free-to-play games have a 3rd currency in between these two which can be achieved slowly (usually very slowly) through gameplay, isn't transferable and serves as an alternative way to pay for premium items.
  • There are often a lot of auxiliary mechanics which reward the player with non-tradable tokens which can then be used to exchange them for unique items. These are often tied to time-limited events, rewards for PvP, faction loyalty activities or other activities in the game.

A good example to look at in this regard is the currently pretty popular Free-to-play title Genshin Impact. While it is technically not a massive multiplayer game, it borrows so many MMORPG mechanics that some people call it a "Single Player MMORPG". It has:

  • Mora, the general purpose currency
  • Crystals, the premium currency
  • Primogens, the ingame-achieveable premium currency
  • Two different flavors of Fate - tokens for the gacha system of the game which can be bought with both Crystals and Primogems. There are also some very limited ways to acquire them ingame, making them another currency.
  • Stardust and Starglitter - consolidation prices for bad rolls in the gacha system which can be saved up and then exchanged for items.
  • Sigils, reward tokens for exploration which can be exchanged for unique items at NPCs. Each region of the game world has its own sigils, and they are not interchangeable.
  • Resin - more of a resource than a currency. Replenishes over (real-) time and has to be paid for various ingame activities. Mostly a time-gate mechanic to slow down power-players and improve retention.
  • Various tokens given out in time-limited events which can be exchanged for unique and not-so-unique rewards during those events.
  • Probably a couple more I can not think of right now.

How can this work in the face of "bad money drives out good"?

It works because the currencies are usually not interchangeable (at least not bi-directionally) and are used to pay for different things. When NPC A only accepts currency A, NPC B only accepts currency B, both NPCs have very different products and the currencies A and B can not freely be converted into each other, then both currencies have value.


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