Of Hammers and Scales: Crafting and Economics in MMO’s

Of Hammers and Scales

Economics and Crafting in MMO’s


Note: This article is a companion piece to my similarly titled article at MMORPG.Com.    There is a second companion piece, here, dealing with the commoditization and saturation problem.

As I indicated over at MMORPG, MMO’s are currently in a reflective period.  We have had enough trial and failures that we are beginning to see established ideas questioned, old ideas revisited and new ideas attempted.  In general, this is a good thing and a sign that the market segment is out of its post-WoW rut.  However, during these periods of reflection we sometimes through out the good and bring in the bad.  This Eorzea Reborn entry is a discussion of one area where some odd thinking is starting to manifest: the player driven economy and what makes it tick.

It’s no surprise that gear is a key part of the MMO.  Fabled and exotic gear is as much a fundamental element of the hero saga as is the nemesis.  What, for instance, would Arthur be without Excalibur?

The question in MMO’s is where should gear come from: crafting or adventuring.  If we look at Tolkien’s work, we see both paths exemplified.  Aragorn receives his sword, Anduril, after having it reforged from the shards of Narsil by elves at Rivendell.  Similarly the rings of power were straight off a crafter’s forge.  By contrast, “loot drops” also appear in Tolkien’s work, be it Gandalf’s sword Glamdring or Bilbo/Frodo’s Sting or Mithril Shirt.  The point here is that the crafting and adventuring paths for gear acquisition are deeply seeded traditions for fantasy.

In MMO’s, we have seen the pendulum swing in each direction.  Crafted favoring games predominated early on (UO) but were largely been replaced by loot drop systems with EQ.  In recent times we’re seeing a bit more emphasis on putting the crafter on equal standing with the adventurer.  Final Fantasy: A Realm Reborn is one such game, with crafting classes standing as separate paths for development alongside adventuring or gathering crafts.  However, we always see a tension in MMO’s: should crafters make the best gear (Anduril) or should adventuring bring us the best gear (Excalibur)?

Player run economies are also back on the bandwagon, recognizing that some players simply like playing MMO merchanting and that games become more immersive when players are empowered to influence the transformation elements of the game system.  I want to talk a bit about economic models and then return to the crafting vs. adventuring tension.

A Wonk-like word or two on Economics

So, a wonk-like discussion is one where a subject is studied extensively or thoroughly.  I will note, up front, that I am not an economist.  I do, however, work and am educated in a field derived from economics and I spend a good bit of my professional life dealing with vagaries of market efficiency.  I mention this because, as I move forward, economists will undoubtedly find elements to quibble about.  Rightly so, I’m going to paint with a broad brush here.  The basics are fundamentally sound, but there are some details where I can certainly be picked at here.

First, lets talk about requirements for an efficient market.  A market has potential for efficiency when you achieve three things:

  1. Competition wherein standardized, highly similar goods (commodities) are supplied by numerous suppliers, none of whom control so much of the market as to be able to distort it.
  2. A lack of information asymmetry.  Information should be equally accessible and accurate.  Both buyers and sellers should know who is in the market, with how much, for how much.
  3. Rational economic actors – people who engage in economic exchange with profit maximization in mind.  Behavioral economists, finance and marketing types will note there are problems with this idea, but lets accept that people are at least profit seeking (as inBounded Rationality theory).

When these things happen, markets are incredibly efficient.  Supply and Demand regulate Price and Quantity, achieving equilibrium.  At equilibrium, transactions are processed efficiently with no extra economic baggage (externalities).

So, how often does this occur in the real world?  Not very, in actuality.  In highly commoditized markets (where all goods are more or less the same), we get pretty close to purely efficient markets.  In most other markets (and market segments) we either have differentiated competition or small numbers of suppliers.  That turns out to be not that big of a deal, though, most of the time.  As long as we do a reasonably good job of avoiding information asymmetry, markets remain a reasonably powerful regulator of supply and demand even when the markets themselves are, at best, only semi-efficient.

The key is, it’s a very important thing for markets to approach efficiency even if they can’t reach full efficiency.  In more efficient markets you are less likely to have unmet demand, you are less likely to see wasteful supply and you are better able to navigate peoples differing liquidity needs.  The key with liquidity is that we all have different levels of cash and different time-driven needs for that cash.  Some of us need money right now, so we dump goods at a lower price.  That lower price can be picked up either by first order demand (someone who needs the product) or liquidity rich speculators (those who buy and hold waiting for a price fluctuation).

OK, you put me to sleep, can you talk about MMO’s again?

For the most part, MMO’s have done a horrid job of building efficiency useful tools into their economic model.  I would say that, in large part, most early MMO’s didn’t have an economic model, so the lack of efficiency aiding tools is not all that surprising.  What are efficiency aiding tools?  They are the tools that help reduce information asymmetry.  In the old days, this was achieved by having a common place to hawk goods (the East Commons Tunnel in EQ1) or the various Buy/Sell/Trade boards that used to be regular staples of MMO community forums.  In some cases, these player created tools were amazingly complex as exemplified by the FFXI Auction House website. Seriously, this is a very impressive piece of work, if you haven’t seen it you should browse it.

More recently, these various tools have been mostly superseded with in-game auction houses.  Even the least efficient AH systems give the buyer and seller some indication of who is currently in the market (the spot market).  Better systems, like those in FFXI and GW2 give purchase history, helping both buyers and sellers estimate the volume and price points for demand.  Optimal systems, like those in EVE and GW2 allow both buy orders and sell orders.  Players can escrow some cash to automatically acquire items when they reach specific price points.

While I don’t really like GW2 game play, I’m a huge fan of the work they have done on their auction house.  By taking the system cross-server, adding in buy orders and providing price history, they have created the most information rich economic system in a major MMO.  There are very few opportunities for arbitrage and those that arise tend to be depleted very quickly.  It’s a great system and it really should be the standard for MMO’s going forwards.

But that’s not what we’re hearing.  Instead we’re hearing things like auction houses remove player interaction, player vendors are simply a better way to do things, and the price reducing aspect of information richness causes auction houses only benefit buyers.

To be blunt, these are all wrong conclusions.  Either they over-generalize or they simply miss what’s happening in an economic exchange.  In the “good old days” we did have to talk to other players to buy things, true.  However, the vast majority of those social exchanges were nothing more than “I’ll take it.”  Only on a specific type of exchange did you really see negotiation and haggling occur.  That’s actually still happening in the auction house model.  That FOOBLE OF CERTAIN DOOM listed for 10,000,000 platinum isn’t going to sell for that amount.  That’s a seller listing a good with a “call me, maybe?” statement.  That good is going to be part of a negotiated swap, and it should, it’s a non commodity rare item.  Business don’t take time to get to know the manufacturers of their staples and paper clips and neither should players.  When we need a commodity good, we buy it for whatever the best price available.

Player vendors on their own are a terrible idea.  They increase information asymmetry leaving players to wonder who is selling what, where and for how much?  Further, while there are a few people out there who really like browsing store to store looking for deals, many people on many types of exchange simply want one and done. That said, most people will look… for some items.  The problem isn’t the auction house, once again the problem is the items.  Redundant, standardized items land in the quick search bin.  Specialized important items are worth shopping for.  Actually, an auction house and player vendor system can easily coexist (see EQ2 as a starting point).  An auction house can help buyers and sellers find the information they need while player vendors and housing can add a location impact to exchange.  You accomplish this through speed of delivery and taxation, not by eliminating the means of identifying trade partners.

Information rich, efficient markets help buyers and sellers.  While it is true that commoditized products (highly standardized, non differentiated, non substitutable goods) tend towards price only competition, information rich markets open the door to small, specialized, makers of differentiated goods.  Sometimes its because large volume players miss market opportunities (e.g. Rovio or Spanx) and sometimes its because a market segment is just too small for a big player to focus on (e.g. the entire point of the Camelot Unchained pre-Kickstarter campaign).  The point is, small and large suppliers can thrive in an information rich system.

MMO economies have a problem, unquestionably.  Player driven economies are an admirable goal, certainly.  However, the auction house is part of the solution, not the problem.   MMO developers have two economic problems, a commoditization problem (too many, too similar items) and an oversaturation problem (just too damned many items altogether).  Removing auction houses actually exacerbates these problems.  In the next piece, I’m going to talk about these problems at length and offer some thoughts along the way on building an itemization system that complements a player driven economy without turning it into Crafters-R-Us.

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32 Responses to Of Hammers and Scales: Crafting and Economics in MMO’s

  1. Pai says:

    GW2 also has an actual economist on-staff, which I’m sure contributed greatly to their Trading Post design. If more MMOs hired a consultant who actually knew proper economic principles, it would be a big step forward toward stronger game economies.

    • Ryahl says:

      This is very true. I recall watching a podcast put together by their Economist (I forget the name, sadly) and was deeply happy to see the level of thought and detail into their entire item lifespan system.

  2. Raph Koster says:

    “Information rich, efficient markets help buyers and sellers”

    They help buyers, unquestionably.

    They help sellers MAKE MONEY.

    But that isn’t the psychological motivation why many crafters and merchants play that profession. They are in it because of personal gameplay reasons. We can think of them as lifestyle businesses. And as we can see in the real world, lifestyle businesses (mom and pop shops, indie bookstores, etc) lose out to efficient corporate actors (WalMarts, Amazons). Efficient markets produce corporate actors because the most efficient operators win and grow. In a commercial landscape with no ability to innovate on goods and services, the result is monopoly.

    The fantasy milieux that people play these games in tend to be ones with mom-and-pop shops, small inns, the amazing blacksmith. That isn’t what thrives in modern economies, but it is what most of the players of that sort want.

    It is worth pointing out that in loot drop games (which is virtually all of them at this point) just about ALL goods are commoditized because they are spawned from templates and do not have any variation based on the crafter.

    FYI, you are very wrong about the degree of player interaction around crafting that successfully happened in both UO and SWG, and that happens in environments with truly customizable goods outside of the gamey world realm, such as what was present on There.com and is present in Second Life. It was, and is, a very powerful social bonding tool.

    • Ryahl says:

      Thank you for the comment!

      Fair enough on the part about the efficacy of auction houses. I would counter that information rich markets help sellers figure out what to make (what’s being sold and where are there gaps in the market). It’s not just about making money, there’s a research component of merit in auction records.

      I agree with you on the interaction element as it pertains to “truly customized goods outside of the gamey world.” The difference is I keep using the term commoditization for gamey goods.

      You find similar results in research on business. Commodity products and services lend themselves to arm’s length economic exchange. But that’s not true of all goods. My point is, blaming the auction house for the characteristics of the item in the transaction is a mistake.

      Your SWG system had all the tools needed to have a robust crafting and economic system. An AH doesn’t threaten that at all. The goods and services that are really specialized are still going to elicit the kind of deeper connection you list as a crafting motivation. In those cases, though, the AH simply becomes part of the advertising process. For deeply specialized goods, you don’t pre-produce them (at least not in bulk).

      • Raph Koster says:

        “Your SWG system had all the tools needed to have a robust crafting and economic system. An AH doesn’t threaten that at all.”

        Actually, when the patch instituing a more efficient auction house went in, it resulted in

        - mass cancellation of subscriptions as smaller merchants were forced out of the market.
        - a reduction in participation in the merchants system from 50% to single-digits.

        It was one of the largest dips in userbase the game ever had.

        So we have evidence to the contrary. :)

        • Ryahl says:

          Thank you for bringing this point up, it reflects an area where you have some pretty spot-on knowledge and I have very fuzzy recollection.

          I recall (quite possibly incorrectly) that there was some form of a Galactic Trade Network available at launch. I remember (possibly quite erroneously) being able to get waypoints and getting information like distance along with goods and prices. Meaning no disrespect, I didn’t play SWG after about the first three months (but my departure had nothing to do with the crafting system, it always struck me as a very good system). So, whatever I’m remember is either really wrong (and a decade will do that) or something that was around in some form from the get-go.

          If I’m right and a system with stuff like that was around at launch and a change in that system produced pretty precipitous drops in participation, then the problem isn’t that “auction houses suck,” but that “some auction house designs are really bad ideas.”

          To that end, I concede that this exposes a flaw in my adoration of the GW2 auction house. By going cross-server they actually had to drop identity from the system. You don’t know (and it doesn’t matter) who owns the 18 items for sale at 22 copper. You just know quantity and demand. It could very well be that the incremental gain of efficiency by going cross server comes at a loss of complete identity, introducing an unfavorable tradeoff to the system as a whole. Now, realistically it probably doesn’t matter much in GW2 since the items are pretty transient. But in a system with more enduring goods, that loss of identity might be bad. Even so, there are forms of auction houses that offer both.

          • Raph Koster says:

            There was a Commodities Market available from the get-go, but it had price caps so that it was limited to low-end goods only.

            The Merchant skill tree allowed stuff like advertising on the commodities market even for higher-end goods. It was skill-gated, so as you advanced as a merchant you got more perks like that. There was also a “go pick it up” factor in the mix.

            This was changed so that it became like the WoW auction house, I believe (I wasn’t on the project by this point). So everything got listed, and the result was a perfect information economy.

          • Ryahl says:

            OK, so my memory is fuzzy but sort of in range (the story of my life in one sentence). I remembered that I could (and did) list stims and I remembered that I got information on bigger stuff from a kiosk someplace (near a bank on Correlia rings a bell for some reason). I don’t think a system like this harms merchants, rather I think it helps them specifically because it keeps the economy information rich. That’s why I was a bit confused by the idea that an auction house only benefits the buyer.

            I can see how the WoW drive-through model (get it from anywhere, get it now) removes a lot of the player added things that add value. That’s kind of where we were going with the Amazon discussion. Amazon didn’t exclusively hurt small business, it has helped a number of small businesses (and hurt others). Amazon + Star Trek Teleporters… yeah that would be bad. There would be no point in letting the smaller merchant intermediaries exist.

            I think to me it’s that information richness is nearly always worth it. I have a hard time picturing exceptions to that statement without getting into really esoteric, unrealistic situations. Information richness isn’t the same as instant gratification, though and I think we’re actually talking pretty close together here. Even in a perfect information economy, if I have time and resource constraints, things other than price matter – meaning there’s room for all sorts of economic activity.

    • Ryahl says:

      “And as we can see in the real world, lifestyle businesses (mom and pop shops, indie bookstores, etc) lose out to efficient corporate actors (WalMarts, Amazons). Efficient markets produce corporate actors because the most efficient operators win and grow. In a commercial landscape with no ability to innovate on goods and services, the result is monopoly.”

      Note how many mom and pop shops are thriving because of Amazon. Yes, bulk goods give way to mass producers. That’s why the big boxes killed off a lot of small businesses in the 80′s and 90′s.

      We are actually seeing some of them come back entirely because of the degree of information quality we have today. They can occupy niches that the bulk producers can’t. That’s why the big boxes are hurting and being replaced by the online portals (Amazon is a great example). Along the way, Amazon, Google and Apple have opened the door to micro businesses that couldn’t exist (or would subsist) a decade ago.

      Heck, the entire Kickstarter thing is a function of this information economy. There are a lot of duds on it, but there are some absolutely wonderful business ideas (not just games) that would have never been funded in a pre crowdsourcing world. They are firms that are too small with too little growth potential to get a VC excited and entrepreneurs who lack the personal savings (or family savings) that characterize small business startups.

      Technology advances undoubtedly cause pains to small businesses. But, they also provide opportunities. Innovation is a fickle mistress!

      • Raph Koster says:

        Yes, if there are such niches for producers to occupy. In the real world, the mom and pops focus on completely non-commoditized goods: autographed rare books, collectibles, homemade crafts, etc.

        These are a class of good that is by and large not available in the virtual world at all. In fact, it is also a class of good that doesn’t play well with digital objects (which often disallow resale — cf soulbound items, or Amazon’s patent filing on “used ebooks”).

        I think we could make a case that in the real world the secondary market has been the savior of many a mom-and-pop shop, but it would be hard to argue that Amazon as a whole has helped the independent seller.

        • Ryahl says:

          I definitely agree. Technology change virtually always produces two-way cuts.

          I’m less certain that merchants in MMO’s can’t occupy market niches. Primarily, it seems to me that a merchant in an MMO is never up against Wal-Mart, they are up against other merchants. At best you may be up against a loose coalition of merchants (but isn’t that a goal of a social system).

          We don’t really allow co-production in MMO’s (guild harvesting in EQ2 being an example of an exception to the norm). So most crafters are inherently constrained by their time invested and they are competing against other crafters on time investment and efficiency of their focus. Market segments certainly get saturated, but AH’s should help that out.

          I’m also less certain that we can’t build in systems that allow some unique good capabilities. I would say that the people who made buildings and harvesters in SWG were making far less commoditized items than a schleb like me kicking out med stims!

          • Raph Koster says:

            Well, what we’ve seen in MMOs with robust economic systems has been guilds operating as companies. I don’t think it’s right to say “soloers versus loose coalitions” — my sense of these corporations in games like SWG and EVE is that they are highly organized and coordinated entities, with carefully managed supply chains.

            SWG did allow co-production via factories, of course. This was a huge scalar on time invested. And EVE allows offline production, does it not?

          • Ryahl says:

            Right, co-production is rare. Now adding co-production creates real economy of scale issues. I’d venture that those are bigger and nastier than an auction house on stifling the lifestyle crafter (pending degree of customization in the crafting system). The other side, the coalition of traders (even with tight supply chains) seems to be a desired outcome of a player economy?

            Time to complete, I think, is something that has to be a part of production if the production is to be meaningful. I do like the core idea of EVE offline play here, much like I do in the leveling aspect.

    • Brian says:

      Thank you for mentioning UO, I was going to bring it up myself I hadn’t seen it show up in the comments. The crafting economy in UO on some shards was more lucrative even than the monster hunting economy. I think a lot of this came from the abilities of crafters to create unique items, or to enhance existing items in ways that made them practically a requirement. It was more than simply shopping around for the best prices; in some cases you needed to develop a real customer relationship with a shopkeeper if you wanted to stay well stocked for an affordable price.

      Unfortunately, UO was my first and last experience with playing a dedicated crafter; every other game since then has failed to produce the same sort of dynamic when it came to building an in-game business.

      • Ryahl says:

        Thanks, Brian!

        I think the reason UO gets skipped here is that UO and SWG come from philosophically the same place (and a few of the same people). So there’s a tendency to shorthand one for the other. Both games (and EVE) are great examples of some of the neat things you can do with economic systems in an MMO. I’m not too familiar with WURM Online, but my limited understanding suggests that it is kind of in the same ballpark.

        That’s what is really interesting about the upcoming (or currently happening) MMO revolution, we’re seeing some of those old styles become feasible again. I’d love to see a smaller, niche MMO that pulled some of the great old ideas and integrated them with some of the great newer ideas.

      • Brian says:

        I read through my response and perhaps I worded that last bit poorly. While I’m sure there are MMOs that have done a decent job delivering crafting and merchant systems, I’ve had a more difficult time getting involved with those games. So while not every game has necessarily failed to deliver a quality crafting system, it’s probably better for me to say that I have failed to find a game that has had the same level of crafting system that I learned to love with UO.

  3. kruunchKruunch says:

    My thoughts on the article:

    Pros:

    1) Equatable and easily available economic tools make the game “easier” to play from an end user experience.

    2) Some might say less in-game “maintenance” is better.

    Cons:

    1) Automatic economic tools provides a loss of player interaction (I think Ryahl tends to brush by this too quickly)

    2) AH’s and their interfaces provides less immersion as currently implemented.

    3) Since the primary purpose of an MMO is as a reality-escape, why enforce contemporary notions of economic fair play on them? A certain portion of the player base will enjoy the economic avenue of an MMO … why limit them if they’re creative with it?

    4) The issue you eluded to with respect to bulk-items in the marketplace being too numerous (a fair point) could be (and should be) accommodated by NPC vendors and world itemization. I never saw the allure of having to create a 1,000 widgets (which brings on a whole rant about crafting in MMOs in general but that’s a different conversation).

    5) You lose an alternative mode of long term play in your MMO.

    6) You lose a valuable community building aspect.

    So in the end, I’d say I agree more with Raph than Ryahl on this particular issue. However, I think any MMO that releases today without some form of Auction House, might be looked at askance by the player base initially.

    My alternative to the current trend with Auction Houses in today’s MMO is to have an AH that “opens” and “closes” during a portion of the day-cycle of the game in question (and/or to allow only bulk good items to be sold). This allows player based merchantmen, player controlled vendors and an AH system to coexist, while receiving the benefits of all three.

    • Ryahl says:

      For what it’s worth, the commoditization and saturation post is up now!

      Cons:

      1. The thing is, you can build identity in an auction house system. Aela does all of our merchanting (Kruunch knows this, but others reading it don’t). Back in EQ2, she had a pretty well established reputation as the go-to person for master spells. Our group did dungeon delves daily and we pooled items to her. She would list all of them at a pretty healthy markup. Occasionally one would sell, but usually we’d get offers for trades (which was really the point). At some point people start realizing “Hmm, Aela always has 6+ pages of Masters up for sale, I might want to contact her about…” She spent most dungeon runs carrying on side conversations brokering trade deals. Auction House + Reputation = All Sorts of Awesome.

      2. Admittedly and I conceded where I had a flaw in reasoning about the GW2 model in one of the comments to Raph. Just having an auction house isn’t inherently good or bad. What you do with it undoubtedly critical and it could be critically good or critically bad.

      3. I don’t see the AH as limiting creativity, I see the problems as itemization limiting creativity. But I don’t think we’re as far apart on that thought.

      • kruunchKruunch says:

        Almost every MMO since DAoC has had some form of AH and/or crafter recognition functionality (this item made by …, or this item listed by …, etc …).

        The recognition factor is more a nod to player vanity than any real social building block. It’s better than nothing, but doesn’t remotely replace the social interaction that is derived from player actuated marketplaces.

        • Ryahl says:

          OK?

          That’s not what my example is about though. Aela was selling pages worth of dungeon dropped goods. People got to know she regularly had a stock of such goods. People began to negotiate with her on those goods. It’s exactly what your EQ1 experience was, but with an auction house.

          Cosmetic stamps don’t really do anything of substance, I suspect. I would think, though, that in a system where players could build some pretty big things (buildings, ships, etc.) the “built by” might be part of the advertising process. But in a “here’s a sword” system, I doubt built by does more than a trifle for the buyer (but certainly is a nice thing for the maker).

          • kruunchKruunch says:

            My point was that Aela’s experience doesn’t happen at nearly the frequency it would without an AH (assuming she’s known for hawking her wares … much like in EQ1 :) ).

          • Ryahl says:

            Perhaps.

            However, the point that’s being argued is that the auction house removes socialization in its entirety and makes it impossible to succeed in developing a merchant reputation. In this case, the example suggests that the initial position is the over sweeping one.

            My point all along has been that there are specific types of transactions which create reputation on an AH. Rather than just punt on the system, it bears paying attention to where those reputation actions occur.

  4. Ryahl says:

    Just a side note to both Raph and Kruunch. Thank you for the disagreement. Too often post comments (not just here) boil down to “great post” or “your blog sucks.” Both could be true, but neither really extend the ideas.

    So, my appreciation for your thoughts, particularly the ones I disagree with!

  5. RaveniaDarkfae says:

    i commented heavily on this in another artical here. But simple version.

    Idislike auction houses systems in mmorpg. I never found them great ar buying or selling items. Supply and demand is a non existent mindset when AH come up. It typically its what the players can get away with. Like ff11 had 200 cystal stacks selling at the same price never going up or down. Or items selling at 100K-12mil reguardless of how many was on the market. And there is the buy out illusion that ff11 had. (which was a pain) in most cases i spent a good 10 min buying 1 item cuz the seller places it more then the “last sold” Also just because the “last sold” was say 12mil. doesn’t mean the item in reality is worth that much. Reselling also was a pain and i ended up having to sell at a lower price then i bought it for or it never sell.

    Inh ff14 i had a lil easier time outside jaded crafters. PPl have no real proper concept of supply and demand, they go by get rich quick with less effort. Which leads to complaining when under cut.

  6. RaveniaDarkfae says:

    as for AH being record holders of “must needs” thays a fallacy due to how easy it is to manipulate. Take example of ff11, it went by blind bids, which featured a last told. sometimes players will sell and item for 1 gil to sell it faster. other items a rich person might buy up the items and slowly sell them to increase their value (i’ve seen it happen). Just to become richer. Market wards or how SE had them at launch wasn’t as easy to maniplate. BUT ppl used it like an auction house. (which was the big skrew up of the players) This was due to lack of supply and demand understanding, and need of get rich quick. I played 30 mmos in 7-8 years, i also took a small business management course for a year. if u wanna se the bad truth of this, play dcuo for the ps3, and look at the auction house. ppl sell items for 28mil which take no time to get, and 99% of your gear is loot drops no buying needed.

  7. Benedikt says:

    I think that AH is the “most comfortable” was to buy/sell for a player, but doesn’t contribute much to the community part of the game. I would personally go with a system of AH’like “boards” which would instead of “Buy” button would have “Talk” (if seller is online) or “Mail” button and you would have to arrange sale itself in person.

  8. Benedikt says:

    edit: first sentence ofc should have been ….. “most comfortable” WAY …. :)

  9. tupo says:

    Thing is there’s an efficient market on the one hand and gameplay niches on the other. The question is – given that the players who just want to buy and sell loot fast in between monster hunting are probably a large majority – is it worth catering to niche play-styles. I think it is if it can be achieved – especially if it adds to immersion somehow.

    Personally what i’d like to see is the desire for trader gameplay being leveraged to create an organic AH somehow i.e. traders physically taking wagons between cities connecting cities into a grid for a certain time and the traders having some advantage in that grid i.e. traders as the middle-men.

  10. RaveniaDarkfae says:

    Sorry for the rant, just A LOT of bad memories when it comes to “auction house”. Personally i say get rid of them. Auction houses are only places where people place auctions which are bidded on. No such auction house exist where you walk up to the auctioneer and buy the item outright. I think what players want is really a community board, if anyone in touched mabinogi they had something like this. Pretty much the community board would “act” like an “auction house” (only using it for term purposes) Pretty much it will list people sell stuff through their house shops. You would search an ite click the seller and you would be teleported to their house/shop to buy it.

    Again personally, i think gamers need to get away from the Auction house mindset, and get back into a merchent mindset. They need to get out of the mindset of putting stiff up for whatever price they wish and just because 10-30 ppl are able to buy it at that price, means everyone can. Take example of final fantasy 11, everytime an item was added

  11. RaveniaDarkfae says:

    selling* item*
    Anyway every time a item was added, players would try to price gouge it trying to sell it for 1mil+. But I digress, I, in my honest opinion, feel players are too used to the term auction house, when they really want is a community board. These are boards some “market ward” mmo use to list items players are selling through their shops. You would do an item search get a list of items you would then click on one get teleported and you buy it.

    I think one of the issues with ff14 isn’t so much lack of an auction house, it was lack of communication. Players expect the game to do it for them (aka having an auction house) When the players could have marketed themselves, and net work with others. Such as using the lodestone and forums to list their goods and shop location and retainer name. I did this and sold stuff pretty fast. Shouting also helps, as well as telling ur linkshell about your retainer.

    I personally feel auction houses just give illusions to players on stablized market due to the

  12. RaveniaDarkfae says:

    Nature of house an auction house is typically run. A great example of why i have a dislike of an auction house as a market/ economy tool is e-bay. Anyone can place an item for 1 cent, say on a rare item like elvis presley concert ticket, is that item really worth a penny? So you bid on it and then the price goes from a penny to 2mil highest in seconds due to all the bidding that took place. Now that old ticket is worth 2mil due to bidding.

    A good look is look at pawn shops, they go by blue book which is a retail estimete on item worth based on seller agreement. Auction prices are never disclosed as part of that due to the instability of auction pricing. Just because that ticket is priced at 2mil, don’t mean its worth that 2mil.

    Just like most mmo aution pricing. Like last i played ff11 low level gear was nearly 10K. Bard songs shot up in price too 100K each.

    I personally rather see a community base shop pricing rather then auction bids setting the price.

  13. RaveniaDarkfae says:

    Just a comment here quickly. It is hard to really based Auction house experience with game s as old as everquest one and two. These games are 10+ years old going on their 10th+ expack. The communities are more or less set in a old school mmo/mud mindset. Were communication and contracting happens. Where as today mmo, people do not understand what an Auction house is. They see it as a super market online. You go to the window and buy your stuff, no talking or running around (adverage experience). I never really saw networking in ff11, world of warcraft, or even Aion. Infact when i played Aion i was told to avoid the AH same in WoW, due to people price gouging on items. I think this more people are used to the term “Auction house” as it meant “quick and easy” buying. (see wow and ff11)

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