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Money Grinding

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So there's an item you want or there's many supplies you need. Unfortunately you don't have enough money (or whatever) to afford anything.

So what do you do? You go grinding for money. Basically you go around killing various Money Spiders and Piñata Enemies, as well as searching many places in the world for money. Or perhaps go item farming to sell certain items.

Doing too much of this may lead to Money for Nothing.

Sister trope of Level Grinding and Item Farming. Cash Gate is a subtrope, where getting the requisite funds is mandatory for progression.


  • Tales of Xillia 2 slams the player with a twenty million gald debt early on in the game. In order to progress through the main story, the player has to pay off part of this debt every so often. Don't have enough money to continue onward? Better get back out into the field and grind for more money! The good news is that the job boards have plenty of elite monsters that give out big paydays if you can kill them.
  • The Legend of Zelda:
    • The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past has the cave just outside the desert which contains 50 rupees total under some jars. You can enter, grab them, leave, and repeat as many times as you like.
    • Finding money in The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time is so trivial that the sidequest reward of infinite money was seen as a Power Up Letdown. You can infinitely sell bugs with two bottles to sell to the buyer for 50 rupees each, Wallmasters are a trivial threat at best and drop 5 blue or red rupees upon defeat, any enemy killed with a light arrow drops 50 rupees, killing a Skull Kid as Adult Link drops 200 rupees, and you can quickly make a profit by playing the diving game in Zora's Domain.
    • In The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask, since all chests respawn each time cycle, you can easily fill the bank by just grabbing the 100 rupees in East Clock Town, depositing it, and resetting time. If that's too repetitive for you, you can quickly grind several hundred rupees just by grabbing the few chests in Termina Field, stealing the part-timer's red rupees, and visiting a few grottos.
    • The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass and The Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks has plenty of Shop Fodder to sell for easy rupees.
    • It's even worse in some games, because in those, if you kill an enemy with a Light Arrow, said enemy will reward you with 50 rupees (not a fortune, but still a lot of rupees).
  • Running out of resources in Age of Empires leads to sending all your villagers to farm/chop wood/mine/ etc.
  • This might happen in Alter A.I.L.A. if you aren't careful with your item management. The "item" command practically takes the place of the "ability" command, so you'll be using items a lot, and for many uses. If you're out of healing items or some such, you will probably need to do this in order to survive.
    • Averted in Genesis — items are still important, but characters have more skills, reducing the need for damage items, and you're granted an ally with a powerful healing skill early in the game. You'll still want to have a decent stock on hand, but you probably won't have to grind for them.
  • Many Final Fantasy games. Especially the early ones, though Final Fantasy XII is a pretty bad offender as well.
    • In the prequel to Dissidia Final Fantasy, Duodecim, sweet fancy Moses will you be doing this. In Quickbattle, the maximum amount of gil you can get from an opponent—fighting a lvl100 opponent (worth base 1100 gil) on a gil bonus day (doubles that, so 2200 gil) while wearing a specific set of lvl30 gear (worn as a set, Gold equipment will increase gil earned by 50%, so 3300 gil) and taking up one accessory slot with a non-combat accessory (the Beckoning Cat, which cannot help you in a fight but will, among other things, increase gil earned by 20%) will yield 3990 gil per encounter. To put this in perspective: A lvl30 sword will cost between 40K-60K gil. Level 60 swords? 130K+ gil. Level 90? 150K+. Level 100? 180K+ gil. And that's just one of your four equipment slots. For that one character. You have 31 to outfit. Even doing that game's equivalent of exploiting Shop Fodder and Money Spiders, which will if done right yield roughly 125K gil per encounter, it still takes hours upon hours upon hours of grinding to get enough gil.
  • Frequent in Dragon Quest games, you often have to buy new equipment as well as leveling up just to survive.
    • Dragon Quest IV gets special mention given its multiple parties up until the final chapter when they all converge into one team. For every chapter except the final, you play as a different group of the playable cast and they each have their own inventory and gold reserves. When the chapter ends, the party's gold in that chapter will not carry over into the next one, which means that the start of each new chapter must be spent grinding gold as well as levels for the new party.
      • The common workaround is to either buy expensive equipment and hang onto them to sell later or spend all of the gold on Tokens at the Endor Casino before ending the chapter, both of which will carry over into the last chapter.
  • Get in the Car, Loser!: Due to the equipment-based power progression, it's important to farm a lot of gas points and devil points to constantly upgrade equipment and increase the party's average rank. Additionally, higher-ranked gacha can only be unlocked after all party members reach a certain rank, and putting this off for too long will make later battles difficult.
  • Sometimes necessary at low levels in Kingdom of Loathing, and many players keep doing it at higher levels in order to earn money for expensive items (often Mr. Store items).
  • Common activity in Guild Wars, often using unusual character builds in particular areas to kill enemies with unusually small parties.
  • Common in Runescape.
  • In Pokémon, you will end doing this to get casino prizes if you suck at the slot machines, or simply because it's faster. Unless it's Platinum and you're European.
  • In Plants vs. Zombies, this may be done in minigames or sometimes survival mode to get money for upgrades. Often uses marigolds and upgraded magnet-shrooms.
  • Mass Effect 2 had an infinite source of money on Tuchanka, where you could bet money on Urz in the varren fights and he would win most of the time. That grind is extremely slow and boring, but before enough DLC have been released, it was the only way if you wanted to purchase all available upgrades.
  • This is basically the entire point of the multiplayer mode of Mass Effect 3. You need money to buy packs which contain the games gear. Said packs come in four tiers: Recruit, Veteran, Spectre, and Premium Spectre. Each pack will give you weapons/classes/weapon modifications/armor modifications (non-consumable reusable upgrades that go in the gear slot) and random consumables like weapon amps, ammo types, shield upgrades of the appropriate tier. Beating one game (usually takes about 20 minutes) will give you enough money to buy a pack of the equivalent difficulty: one Bronze game will get you 5000, enough for a Recruit Pack, one Silver game will get you 20000, enough for a Veteran Pack, one Gold game will get you 60000, enough for a Spectre Pack, and one Platinum game will give you 100000, enough for a Premium Spectre Pack. After all the (free) DLC is installed, there are 55 guns, 52 classes, 36 weapon mods, and 34 'gears', as well as various other, miscellaneous upgrades for all characters. Since each and every one of those items has upgrades that drop with the same frequency the items themselves donote , you'll have to do a lot of grinding indeed.
    • With the Citadel DLC, it is now possible in single player as well, since there is both a casino (where you can reload as much as possible), and a Holodeck arena, where victory grants tokens which can be exchanged for credits.
  • Farmville and Happy Farm are games entirely about grinding.
  • You have to do this in Alundra 2 to get the best upgrades, either by killing monsters, cutting grass or playing the minigames at Gamar Isle.
  • Has to be done in Samurai Warriors 2 to buy skills.
  • In Chrono Trigger, you need an alternate currency (Fangs, Petals, Horns, Feathers) to buy useful equipment from the prehistoric village. Cue beating up that one elusive Nu over and over again to deck out your entire team in what's best.
  • You'll need to do this in Castlevania for certain items and weapons. There are many ways of doing this, like killing the same enemy to get 9 of some really good weapon and sell for lots of money, using the Mimic Soul in Castlevania: Dawn of Sorrow which gives you money when you take damage, or upping your luck and destroying a lot of candles/lanterns/lights.
  • No More Heroes and No More Heroes III: The filler play between bosses, since challenging the next ranked assassin requires paying a certain amount of money, which will be steeper the higher the rank is; it's lampshaded as well. In the first game, this requires playing the Side Jobs and Assassination Gigs repeatedly, in particular if you're also investing in clothes, katana blades and upgrades; it's more tolerable in the third game thanks to the variety of activities. The second game averts it altogether.
  • The Fable series has this in the form of the properties, which also class as Money Sinks. Prepare to spend hours and hours working. It gets easier once you have a large number of properties all giving you rent admittedly.
  • The entire point of Recettear, since it's a Perspective Flip on the Adam Smith Hates Your Guts trope.
  • Required if you want to have all the weapons before the end of the game in Ratchet & Clank. There's usually one weapon that costs far too much and will take a ton of grinding to get.
  • If you want to get all A ranks in both Sonic Adventure 1 & 2, you'll need to replay the levels constantly. Just so you can afford to buy all the items required to upgrade your Chao.
  • Not only popular on World of Warcraft, but it also has some huge Money Sink items as well (mostly mounts, which are essentially cosmetic). A new name might be "Harvesting Those Money Spiders".
    • The single biggest motivation for grinding gold in World of Warcraft is learning higher riding skills and getting faster or more versatile mounts, though. These provide a level of convenience that frankly is insane. Additionally, money grinding becomes much simpler when you reach the level cap, because quests give higher monetary rewards in lieu of experience points.
  • In Animal Crossing, one major goal of the game is to get enough money to pay off your house. Inevitably, you will end up growing and selling fruit, as that's the fastest way to earn money.
  • Secret of Evermore does this. Lampshaded in one case, where a shady character is offering the amulet you need to get a ride across the desert and charging an outrageous price for it. (You're expected to give up and walk across instead.) To come up with the money in the local currency, you'll most likely have to do a lot of this. When you actually do return with the money, the shady character says something like "You must have been out fighting lots of bad guys to get it!"
  • In EarthBound, you can do this when you first play as Jeff to get items that you're not meant to buy until later. This is made extraordinarily difficult by the fact that money drops in this game go into Ness's bank account, which is inaccessible in this part of the game, because Ness isn't in your party — so the only way to actually earn the cash is by selling randomly dropped items.
  • In the Grand Theft Auto games, the more powerful later game weapons (your first real reason to hoard money) have prices well within the four-digits, with some of the heavy-hitters reaching the five-digits. Also, in later games, you have to buy certain assets to advance the plot. Missions will typically NOT cover your expenses, so odd jobs will often be necessary to proceed. It doesn't hurt that completing most of these grants bonuses akin to Level Grinding, but the difficulty, on the other hand...
    • The final mission in Grand Theft Auto III requires you to have $500,000 to start it since you're paying a ransom to get Maria back. You'll likely have to grind for a bit of money to be able to start the mission unless you haven't been spending your money at all.
  • Air Force Delta Strike has optional Stand By missions available for the player to take on as necessary to increase the characters' bank accounts so they can buy new aircraft.
  • In Escape Velocity, you start off as a simple trader, so much of the early game will be spent doing the randomly-generated delivery missions for credits.
  • Actively encouraged in Marvel: Avengers Alliance, where the player sends up to eight heroes on Remote Operations to earn Silver (the main currency of the game). Remote Op durations range from three minutes to 24 hours of real time, but twenty 3-minute missions earn more Silver than one 1-hour mission.
  • In Infinite Space, keeping your ships and equipment up to date is essential to surviving the game, and ships cost tens or hundreds of thousands of the local currency to build and outfit. Even carrying over a large fortune via New Game Plus may not prevent the party from going nearly broke when the fleet needs an overhaul.
  • In Eternal Sonata, you're likely to always have enough money to upgrade your equipment and buy important items for the entire main game. However, in the Mysterious Unison bonus dungeon, you need to spend 99,999,999 gold to get one of the pieces of Claves' soul.
  • In MS Saga: A New Dawn, your party fights in Mobile Suits, which require weapons and stat upgrades to be competitive, and can also be customized with parts from other mechs. All of this takes money, especially when upgrading one of the more powerful Mobile Suits to bring out its full potential, so the party will probably spend a great deal of time grinding cash.
  • When Vyse get his own pirate base in Skies of Arcadia, there's a one-hundred thousand gold building fee you need to pay in order to progress, as Vyse needs a base for his crew and the ship upgrade to get to the next area. It's not quite as bad as it sounds, as a previous dungeon has an item you can sell for thirty-thousand gold and you might have a good chunk of change already if you had some frugality and didn't waste your cash.
  • Generally more useful than Level Grinding in the Shin Megami Tensei series. EXP rewards diminish as the party levels up, but Macca rewards do not, meaning if you want a high-level demon, summoning costly demons from the Compendium for use in fusion (especially high-experience ones for Sacrificial Fusion) is much more time-effective than grinding the levels manually.
  • In Pharaoh, you can pay yourself a salary every month which transfers to the next level, which you can give back to the city or use to bribe your way to a higher standing in the Kingdom. Unfortunately, even if your city has a dozen gold mines the amount is fixed (and at best, gets you 100 per month), meaning grinding money is something best kept for endgame (and even then, you aren't drawing a salary if you choose to keep governing after you've won). Oh, and giving yourself a higher salary than you're allowed makes you a pariah to be attacked consequence-free, and you're forbidden from transferring money from city funds to yourself (again, no matter how rich the city is). The developers went to a lot of effort to discourage grinding.
  • In Keith Courage in Alpha Zones, you need to spend considerable amounts of money to buy sword upgrades for Keith's Nova Suit. However, there are many places in the overworld where Keith will be attacked by an endless procession of enemies that sometimes drop coins when killed with one stroke, which makes obtaining any sum of money required simple if tedious.
  • Participants in Second Life did this a lot in the MMORPG's early years as the simulated world included many places where one could take their avatar and collect a modest amount of in-game currency by simply parking it somewhere for several hours. And savvy players also located "honey pots" where regenerating treasure troves of currency were left.
  • In Borderlands 2 and Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel! this crosses over with Item Farming, since a lot of currency is dropped in the form of procedurally generated guns to be swiftly resold to a vending machine, but there is a straighter example in eridium/moonstones, which can be exchanged for more ammunition and carrying capacity at the Black Market. 2 Vault Hunters tend to favour farming either the end boss or BNK-3R for eridium and twice their body weight in guns, while Pre-Sequel Vault Hunters are more likely to run along a volcanic corridor in Serenity's Waste to pick a fight with Superboss Iwajira.
  • Shantae: Half-Genie Hero has a well-publicized money farming exploit where, once you get to Level 2 and get the Gem Jug transformation, you can take it back to the Bath House. Staying in the water replenishes your magic faster than you can use it, and the Gem Jug turns magic into gems. In under an hour you will easily earn enough money to buy every upgrade in the game and utterly steamroll every level save for the last.
  • Endless Ocean: Blue World gives you plenty of things to buy from Nancy, your chief supplier, and you're afforded many varieties of jobs to earn the funds for them. The entire post-game gives you the mission of raising a million pelagos to excavate a cavernous ruin, although the game halves the amount you're actually charged once you actually raise the full million.
  • Owing to the option to replay levels in Resident Evil 5, all semblance of difficulty vanishes as soon as you reach Level 3-1. It's a sprawling area of islands loaded with treasure and ammo pickups (including a rocket launcher) and there are no enemies unless you trigger one of several Event Flags that spawn them. It's very easy to memorize where the trigger points are and avoid them and if you save and quit you keep the items you found, meaning you can keep loading your save and gathering as much money and as many rocket launchers as you like, giving you around 10,000 gold per play without having to fight a single enemy. Within the hour you'll have accumulated enough money to buy every upgrade in the game and enough rocket launchers to level a city.
  • The Elder Scrolls:
    • Daggerfall allows you to take out loans from banks at the tidy sum of 50,000 gold per player level. There are 43 provinces in the game, each with their own bank, and you are only required to visit 3 as part of the main quest. Making an early game trip to a couple of rural provinces and taking a loan will ensure you won't be needing for money for the rest of the game. You'll never feel the repercussions, making it almost literally Money for Nothing.
    • Morrowind:
      • The Alchemy systems allows you to turn raw ingredients into potions. Find a merchant with an unlimited supply of a few ingredients with the same effect, buy them, brew them into a potion, and then sell it for greater than the price of the ingredients. The only thing keeping it from being an unlimited source of money is that merchants only have a set amount of gold to barter with which resets each day, but a few sessions of grinding money in this way will set you up for a long time.
      • Most outdoor crates and urns in cities can be looted without issue. Most contain low end vendor trash, but considering many towns have dozens of these containers (including the second town you are likely to visit, Balmora,) taking the time to dig through every one can really add up for a new player.
      • Filled soul gems regularly sell for 20-30 times the cost of the unfilled gem. One common way of grinding money is to buy up all of the unfilled gems you can find, acquire or craft a weapon with Soul Trap on strike, then travel though the country side killing every creature you come across. This will fill the gems that you can then sell for a huge profit.
    • Skyrim:
      • Skyrim has the same Alchemy example from Morrowind, while also adding Smithing as another viable option. In the same way, you can purchase raw materials (metal ingots, leather, etc.) then forge them into weapons which sell for more than the cost of the materials. Again, the only limitation is merchant gold.
      • After a certain point in the main quest, dragons will be swarming all over Skyrim. In addition to absorbing their souls, you can loot their corpses for 1-3 Dragons Bones and Dragon Scales each. Given that you'll be slaying lots of dragons, these valuable parts add up and can be sold to keep you swimming in gold.
  • Xenoblade Chronicles 2 has salvaging, which gets you a lot of Shop Fodder that can then be traded to certain NPCs for a lot of money. Money is rarely in short supply in the game, but a couple of Cash Gate Blades (mostly Sheba) make this almost necessary if you want to build them up before the endgame.
  • Mega Man X8 introduces a currency system to the Mega Man X series with Metals, which can be used to purchase upgrades for the heroes (some of which must be found hidden in stages first), but some items in the game such as the Shock Absorber and Double Barrier can cost upwards of 15,000-20,000 Metals without the Metal Discount. The game has Intermission stages, which are essentially mini-games that provide ways to grind Metals without the punishment of losing Retry Chips, however, many players found a more profitable way of raising Metals is to repeatedly shoot the giant rampaging Mechaniloid when chasing it to make it drop red Metals (each are worth 50 Metals). A dedicated session of Axl constantly shooting it (especially with his Ray Gun) will have players earning thousands of Metals in a couple hours, even moreso on Easy and Normal mode due to providing infinite Retry Chips or being allowed to have up to 5 of them with each trip, respectively.
  • In LEGO Star Wars II: The Original Trilogy, taking Greedo and a custom-made Sith-type character into the Mos Eisley stage allows for plenty of easy money-grinding as these two allow both boss battles to be skipped. The AT-ST can be skipped by using Greedo's thermal detonators to blow open the gate rather than building the AT-ST, while taking a Bounty Hunter path and then blasting open the black LEGO bricks to get to the area with the theatre (for some reason) prevents the battle against the hoard of Stormtroopers around the Millenium Falcon from happening. Since the level has three separate Double Score Zones, even without any stud multiplying cheats you'll easily make over 150,000 studs per trip.
  • In The Binding of Isaac there is no reliable way to grind money due to the random nature of the game, but getting lucky enough to get Wooden Nickel and 9 Volt in a run, and then finding a room with a trapped or passive enemy, is the closest you'll get. You can activate it every 15 seconds, each time having a 50% chance of generating a coin, and eventually you'll have 99 coins.
  • Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night:
    • Augment Gold ground up to Level 9, and doubled-down as both a Skill Shard ad Passive Shard, guarantees that the smallest gold denomination from torches will be 100G. Also, 500G, 1000G, and even 2000G will be common. With this, all you need to do to basically have unlimited gold is run back and forth between Dominique and Johannes' room striking the two torches over and over.
    • Once you get the Accelerator Shard from Harrier, there is a narrow hallway full of torches that you can just dash back and forth in. Even with tiny money drops, you'll be getting so many so quickly that your money will fill out in no time. Combined with the tactic above, it's actually easy to fully max out your gold in about an hour.
  • Naval battles are this in War Thunder thanks to certain rank III premium destroyers like the USS Moffett which have insane rewards and laughably low repair costs. If you own one, you will never worry anymore about earning enough silver lions (the in-game virtual currency) to purchase new vehicles, as just a few games will net you tons of cash. It works too even with premium cruisers like the USS Helena which has the same reward multiplier and a reasonable repair cost, but it usually gets uptiered against battleships so the profit chances are not as easy.
  • Minecraft uses emeralds for currency when trading with villagers, and thus there are a number of ways to grind it. Only the most efficient examples:
    • Selling sticks to Fletchers. Sticks are incredibly renewable and easy to obtain, as a tree will yield between 50 and 100 sticks each, and bamboo is a quick and renewable source of sticks. A Fletcher, at default rates, will trade an emerald for 32 sticks.
    • Selling whole melons to farmers. For only 4 whole melons you get an emerald, so with a Silk Touch tool and even a small melon farm you can get entire stacks of emeralds per day.
    • Selling gold to clerics becomes this if you get a decent gold farm going in The Nether. Getting stacks of gold is no problem, and they trade an emerald for only 3 gold ingots.
    • Librarians can be put into a loop since they buy books but sell bookshelves, and breaking a bookshelf yields 3 books. By curing them of zombification, you can get their price low enough that you are making a profit by buying bookshelves, breaking them, and selling the books back.
    • By the by though, the best money grinding system is the Raid Farm. It takes a ton of work to get going, but when it's done a good Raid Farm will yield thousands of emeralds and Totems of Undying per hour.