Created By: PrincessPandaTrope on April 18, 2017 Last Edited By: PrincessPandaTrope on June 13, 2018

Premium Currency

Along with regular game currency, there's another currency which is a lot harder to earn and can unlock cool things.

Name Space:
Main
Page Type:
trope
In some video games, there's a regular currency which can be earned easily though out the currency. Along with that, there's another currency which are difficult to earn and will often require real money to be paid in order to earn them quickly. Obviously, effective gear and cool-looking items will be bought with such currency, leaving the players to save their money for several weeks.

This trope is subverted in some video games, in which the main currency is hard to grab onto, leaving the players to use whatever they can without anything in their pockets. This is usually done with Money for Nothing.

Sister trope of (and may overlap with) Global Currency Exception. Sometimes sub-trope of Bribing Your Way to Victory or Freemium. May result in Allegedly Free Game.


Examples:

MMORPGs
  • In Animal Jam, diamonds serve as a sister currency to gems. Diamonds are earned by buying real world items, getting lucky on the Daily Spin (or using the members-only spin), going on each week (for members only), and getting certain gifts on Jamaalidays. Diamonds can be used to buy exclusive clothing, furniture, music, dens, and gems.
  • The Elder Scrolls Online has gold earned in-game, and two types of premium currency:
    • One is "Crowns", the currency used in the cash shop, obtained by spending real money (including subscribing to the game); these let you buy cosmetic items, shortcut items (e.g. merchant assistant that has limited functionality compared to in-game bankers), and DLC.
    • The rarer type of premium currency is Crown Gems. These are obtained only by purchasing Crown Crates (a box that gives you 4 random items), and either trading your consumable prizes from them for 1 gem per card, or getting a duplicate costume/pet/etc (in which case the amount of gems is based on the item's rarity). These gems can then be used to buy an item from the Crown Crates outright, for 16-400 gems depending on which rarity tier it's in.

Mobile Phone Game
  • Sonic Dash uses red-star rings as premium currency; they can be only earned by catching them on daily first runs, completing missions, or buying them with real money. Red-star rings can be used to buy new characters or revive after dying.
  • Sonic Runners (now defunct), like the above game, also uses red-star rings as such currency. Players can use them to play roluette (used to earn new characters, Chao, and buddies) or exchange for rings, which are regular currency. Red-star rings can be earned by completing daily challenges, episodes, participating in events, or rarely during runs and boss fights.
  • Subverted with Pokémon Go. The main currency in the game is Pokecoins, which can be only obtained by getting to the top of a gym and, of course, with real money.

Sandbox
  • Used to be inverted in Roblox. In the past, while Robux, the main currency, couldn't be obtained easily without Builder's Club, there were tickets which could be earned daily and be used by "non-builder's-club" (NBCs) to buy certain objects. Now Roblox subverts this trope with the removal of tickets, leaving NBCs to mainly buy free items.

Tower Defense
  • Plants Vs Zombies 2 has Gems. It can be purchased with real money, but also rarely dropped by zombies or rewards from Pinata Party. It's used to buy costumes, some premium plants, and open slots in the Zen Garden. In gameplay, it can also be used to boost plants.

Other
  • Subverted with DeviantArt. The main currency is DeviantPoints, which can be only obtained by either buying them with real money or being given by generous users. DeviantPoints can be used to buy commissions, prints, and core membership.
  • Habitica: Everybody can earn Gold (coins) by crossing off tasks, and the Gold can be spent on weapons. Subscribers (those who make a small monthly donation to the site in Real Life) however, have access to Jems, which can buy a lot of additional outfits and weapons; plus, these are the only way to buy most of the Quests you can go in with your group.

Community Feedback Replies: 28
  • April 18, 2017
    PrincessPandaTrope
    This is my third attempt to suggest a trope. I've thought enough, read the YTTW guide a lot, and learned from my past mistakes. It will not be surprising if I have to discard this.
  • April 18, 2017
    Chabal2
    • Idle games almost universally have a currency that can only be obtained in limited quantities or purchased for real money, that doesn't reset with a New Game Plus and is used for permanent upgrades. Clicker Heroes uses souls, Zombidle uses gems...
    • Dragon Quest and Pokemon have casino tokens that can be bought for ridiculously inflated prices, forming a Cash Gate for some very high-end gear/Mons.
  • April 19, 2017
    Getta
    Global Currency Exception sounds close to this.
  • April 19, 2017
    Ronyo
    As above, I personally find this to be very similar to GlobalCurrencyException, would this be a more specific example for currencies that are only useful to high-level players?
  • April 19, 2017
    intastiel
    You've got two basic concepts here: a separate currency that's relevant to high-level play and an in-game currency that can only be practically obtained by spending real money. While they can certainly be related, you might get more mileage out of the idea by looking at some of the other reasons for implementing this.
    • If low-level currency can't be exchanged for high, it could be a way to keep things fresh for high-level players by presenting them with goals and challenges that they can't just throw their mountains of low-level gold at.
    • It could be a Global Currency Exemption for a high-level City Of Adventure or the like, to build up its atmosphere (or its sense of danger, if you arrive with just your skills and have to earn your way up from square one again).
    • If use of the currency isn't restricted by game area, it could be a way to stabilize the game economy by maintaining a parallel high-level market that doesn't just have a lot more zeroes on the price tags.
    • Of course, if it is a Freemium game, bringing this in at higher levels could be a way to sink the hook on players and slip in the microtransaction model once they're good and invested.
    Anyway, just some thoughts.
  • April 19, 2017
    shimaspawn
    Honestly, I think the better trope here would be Cash Purchased Currency since we already have the idea of a second currency already has it's own trope.
  • April 19, 2017
    Getta
    In freemium games parlance, in-game currency that uses real money to obtain is often called "Premium Cash" or "Premium Money".
  • April 20, 2017
    PrincessPandaTrope
    Removed "game" from title.
  • April 20, 2017
    intastiel
    Perhaps "Exclusive Currency" or the like? Seems that this is leaning towards a high-end currency that can't be exchanged with regular currency, which would differentiate this from tropes like the Gold Silver Copper Standard, where the only difference between high- and low-end currencies is how valuable a single coin is.
  • April 20, 2017
    PrincessPandaTrope
    Renamed trope as "Premium Currency".
  • April 21, 2017
    TrueShadow1
    I think every single Freemium game has this. This is going to be a huge list.

    • Plants Vs Zombies 2 has Gems. It can be purchased with real money, but also rarely dropped by zombies or rewards from Pinata Party. It's used to buy costumes, some premium plants, and open slots in the Zen Garden. In gameplay, it can also be used to Boost plants.
    • Terra Battle has Energy as the purchasable currency. Other than that, it's only obtainable as Daily Login rewards, scoring in Weekly Challenge mode, event rewards, or clearing the "Sweet Temptation" quest which only appears about once in two week. It's mainly used to obtain Adventurers or high tier Companions, but can also refill the Stamina gauge or retry stages after Game Over.
  • April 21, 2017
    MazeMaker
    Clash Of Clans has two: 1) Dark elixir, which can only be obtained by players of a high enough level and is used for its own assortment of troops and spells that regular elixir can't buy. 2) Gems, which can only be gotten through achievements or (rare) random drops (Or paying real money). They don't unlock any special features, but they can be used to speed up upgrades, boost collection of other forms of loot, and replace other forms of loot if not enough is available to buy something.
  • April 22, 2017
    Malady
  • April 22, 2017
    PrincessPandaTrope
    Alledgely Free Game is associated with Fremium.
  • May 8, 2017
    PrincessPandaTrope
    C'mon guys, add some stuff. I don't mind.
  • May 8, 2017
    Bisected8
    Rolling Updates are probably your best bet.
  • May 8, 2017
    Getta
    • Get Amped: there are 2 kinds of currency, one that you gain from playing it and one you get with real money (the exact name varies from server to server). The latter lets you buy more powerful accessories and play gamble in the gacha for even more powerful gears. You can exchange between the two, but the exchange rate isn't symmetrical.
  • June 19, 2017
    PrincessPandaTrope
    Bump.
  • June 20, 2017
    Dawnwing
    • The Elder Scrolls Online has gold earned in-game, and two types of premium currency:
      • One is "Crowns", the currency used in the cash shop, obtained by spending real money (including subscribing to the game); these let you buy cosmetic items, shortcut items (e.g. merchant assistant that has limited functionality compared to in-game bankers), and DLC.
      • The rarer type of premium currency is Crown Gems. These are obtained only by purchasing Crown Crates (a box that gives you 4 random items), and either trading your consumable prizes from them for 1 gem per card, or getting a duplicate costume/pet/etc (in which case the amount of gems is based on the item's rarity). These gems can then be used to buy an item from the Crown Crates outright, for 16-400 gems depending on which rarity tier it's in.
  • June 20, 2017
    Skylite
    • All the mobile games created by Godzi Lab have the same premium currency. Pink Gems emblazoned with the letter F called Flooz. You can pay to speed things up and to get better items. They are not interchangeable between games, and Godzi makes it possible to get at least the occasional bit of Flooz every day or so just by the normal day-to-day playing of the game.
  • June 20, 2017
    Getta
    • Kantai Collection: the game doesn't have any "currency" (although what it has is raw materials I.E fuel, steel, bauxite etc), but it has "premium" money in form of DMM Points, which let's you purchase things that you wouldn't get otherwise, like ship slots expansion or dock slot expansion.
  • June 20, 2017
    LunarNavigator
    • World Of Tanks: Silver is used to maintain tanks, buy most mainline tanks, and generally handles the majority of game progression in conjunction with XP. Gold is used to purchase premium tanks specially balanced to make it much easier to grind out Silver, can free up XP from premium and fully researched tanks to use elsewhere, buys Premium time with multiple benefits, buys premium ammo and consumables (also available for silver at decidedly uneconomical rates) and can buy silver directly.
  • June 21, 2017
    LB7979
    Can go under Role Playing Game or Website heading:

    • Habitica: Everybody can earn Gold (coins) by crossing off tasks, and the Gold can be spent on weapons. Subscribers (those who make a small monthly donation to the site in Real Life) however, have access to Jems, which can buy a lot of additional outfits and weapons; plus, these are the only way to buy most of the Quests you can go in with your group.
  • February 4, 2018
    FGHIK
    • Hungry Shark Evolution and Hungry Shark World have this in gems. They can be obtained though eating certain creatures, but only one at a time when many items cost hundreds of gems. They're easier obtained in World, as contests often reward an amount based on your performance at a certain goal.
  • April 30, 2018
    4tell0life4
    • Elsword has both in-gane monet (usually referred as EC) and the one purchased with real money (its name varies between countries). The premium money is used to buy costumes (which acts as extra "socketing" slots, on top of making you look pretty), some special accessories and consumables, and the Ice Burners.
  • April 30, 2018
    Theriocephalus
    Web Games
    • Farm Ville has two types of currency: Farm Coins and Farm Cash. Farm Coins are used to purchase most of the more mundane in-game items, animals, trees and crops, and are earned through routine farm work — harvesting crops, collecting the various animals' produce and selling items will all yield enough farm coins to afford whatever a player might wind up needing. Farm Cash, which can be used to buy the nicer decorations and very high-quality trees and animals, usually ones only available during the various in-game events, can only be earned in small amounts by leveling up or performing in-game quests — or by shelling out real-world cash.
  • April 30, 2018
    WarJay77
    • Neopets has two forms of currency. The first is Neopoints, which act as regular currency you can get by playing games and selling items, used to purchase the majority of items in the game. The second is Neocash, which requires real world money and was reserved for purchasing special items at the Neo-Cash mall. Seemingly subverted, however; many users on the site felt Neocash, and the mall by extension, were poor and unnecessary additions and never bothered to purchase any, settling just for the free Neopoints.
  • June 13, 2018
    4tell0life4
    • Honkai Impact3rd has the Crystals. Although there are many ways in game to get crystals, if you want to accumulate them quickly, you can purchase them with real money. Crystals here are used for many things, from purchasing stuff (weapons, materials, etc), getting exchanged for coins (the regular money), or reviving your character when they die in the levels.
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