Diablo 3

Discussion: Assuming stackable runes, do you believe MID RUNES will become the dominant currency of D2:R?

diablo6 - Discussion: Assuming stackable runes, do you believe MID RUNES will become the dominant currency of D2:R?
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Getting bored of the endless bickering between changing the game vs. not changing it so let me be clear. This is not a discussion over whether we SHOULD have stackable runes, but about what we might see change if they DO become stackable. Assuming it does happen, lets have an engaged dialogue over how we might expect the game to change as a result of it. It should also be noted that the above question assumes that both botting and duping are appropriately managed.

With that in mind, my answer to the above question is…. Yes. Specifically a rune within the Lem – Um range (I'll use Lem for demonstration purposes). Here's why.

When we consider what makes something a good candidate for becoming a form of currency there are a few key characteristics that stand out that I think stackable mid runes have. These are:

Portability – Is it easy to transport and physically manage the item being used a currency?

  • If runes become a stackable item within Diablo 2 this offers portability and ease of use in a way it's in game economy has never really had before. This change alone would render the use of SOJ's an obsolete form of currency. Why would the player base continue to trade using an item that clutters their inventory and storage space, when they can use an item that accomplishes the same exact purpose but is far less cumbersome in the sense that it only takes up a single tile of inventory space? Due to their stackable nature, mid runes would become a better candidate for this function.

Limited Supply – Is the item rare enough that it can retain value over time?

  • In order for an item to be a good candidate for currency it has to have some form of value to the player base. If an item is too abundant, it is no longer valuable and therefor not a good candidate to become a form of currency. However, if an item is too rare, than that also becomes a problem as there won't be an available supply through which players can engage in trade. In order for an item to become a good currency it needs to be rare enough to offer value but abundant enough that it can be accessible to the economies participants.

  • This is actually why I believe high runes are not going to be a good candidate for currency in D2:R. It's is undoubtedly true that high rune drops are rare in Diablo 2. No, I don't want to hear your story about how you found them "all the time", because we have math that proves this. One thing that we can absolutely expect to see, assuming bots and dupes are appropriately managed, is a scarcity of high runes unlike what we've seen before in Diablo 2's recent history. Simply put, high runes will be too rare to be effective trading tools. Not only is the drop rate problematic, but the best runewords in the game require the use of these already scarce items. Jah and Ber runes won't be an effective form of currency when they're hardly seen and when they are they're in an Enigma.

  • High-tier mid runes strike this balance between reasonable drop rates that keep them scarce while also being common enough to create a supply that can be used for trade.

  • Most brilliantly of all, there are already natural "sinks" to help keep the supply of mid runes in check. Since mid runes can be converted into higher tier runes through the cube, and because they can be used in runewords themselves, there are mechanisms in place that can help keep the supply manageable. I may not ever find a Jah myself, but with enough Lem's I can make one myself. The moment I do those Lem's are gone forever, keeping their value in check.

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Divisibility – Can the item be exchanged for other denominations?

  • This has always been a fundamental problem of using SOJ's as a predominant form of currency. What happens when I want to trade an item that's worth more than 2 SOJ's but isn't quite worth 3 SOJ's?

  • Because of the rune conversion table, we already know how runes can be broken down into lower denominations. I know for a fact that 3 Fal's are worth 1 Lem. Or that 1 Lem is worth 9 Ko's. So if I know that an item is worth more than 2 Lem's but isn't quite worth 3, than I know what can be offered to fill in that space in a way that gives me the most appropriate value for my item. The rune conversion table by it's nature establishes denominations for runes.

  • Once stackability is introduced this introduces denominations and currency conversion in a way that was never really attainable in Diablo 2. Mid runes would never make sense as a currency in Diablo 2. Why? Let's continue to use Lem as our example currency. If I wanted to convert my 1 Ber rune into Lem's, it would take 1536 (napkin math, someone check it) Lem's in order for me to get comparable value. That's simply not feasible in a game like D2, where each individual rune is taking up an inventory tile. Even if duping and botting never distorted the economy, mid runes can never be a viable currency when you can't trade down for them. The moment stackability is introduced this problem is immediately resolved, since I can have a stack of 10,000 Lems, take 1536 off the top, and immediately convert them into a higher denomination. Same goes for the exact opposite direction.

Acceptability – Will others accept this as a form of payment?

  • In order for something to be a candidate for currency it has to be accepted either universally or at least by a significant portion of the participants within the economy. In addition to all the other points made above, the fact of the matter is that if runes are stackable they will always be accepted as a form of payment. Specifically because they can always be converted into a higher rune. I know my Lem has value, because it gets me that much closer to a Ber, which gets me that much closer to an Enigma. Without being able to stack it that Lem loses value in this sense, because it's far too cumbersome to manage and trade entire inventories of Lem's. No one is going to deal with the hassle of that, and so no one is going to accept them as a form of payment. Once you allow stacking, there is no reason why you wouldn't want to accept it. There is virtually no difference between me giving you 1 Ber, or 1536 Lem's.

In summary, I believe that given the rarity of high runes, combined with the portability, and ease of conversion, that if stackable runes become a feature we will see mid runes, likely within the high end of the spectrum, become the dominant form of in-game currency within D2:R. Honestly, when I began this post I was more or less indifferent to the idea of making this change seeing it only as a feature which added convenience. After having written this out I actually see it a little differently, and hope that the feature is implemented as a way to offer Diablo 2 an in-game economy that's far less clunky and unmanageable. I think adding this feature could really improve the trade experience within Diablo by giving us a way to standardize value for all of the different items that we want to trade with.

Curious about your thoughts on how you see this playing out.

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