Posted by: mrrx | June 16, 2006

Goodbye Tradeskills

Start with some definitions.

Money supply = All coin in player hands in the game.

Economic Cost = (Coin cost) + (Value of time spent acquiring item).

And a principle I've discovered by playing both Everquests is :

  • If you tie in economic activity with experience, then items become valuable only for experience.

You can't make any profit off vendor sales.     You lose money, very clearly, because your economic cost of tradeskill items is not factored into the equation.      (It's even worse if you purchase items via the broker).    Now, you probably did under the old system too, but somehow that was palatable because you were thrown the sop of higher coin after selling your tradeskilled items, to compensate a little for your time.

Deliberately, most tradeskilled items are inferior to items available by adventuring in the game world; the concept is the risk versus reward of acquiring the item.     But what they failed to factor in is Economic Cost.    

Getting a crafter going involves substantial costs including opportunity costs (I could have been adventuring), and they're ensuring that crafting levels and experience is only valuable intrinsically with this line of thought.    That is, the crafter wants to be level 70 for no other reason than to achieve that level.      And now, my friend, you've just proven the bullet point mentioned above.

If you gather items, the choice is between using them up or selling them raw.      I can get anywhere from a fantastic profit, to nothing, by selling my gathered items.     And the things I can get nothing for are not the items I need to make things with alchemy; they are food and tailoring items.       Why would you choose to make an item you can't sell, versus selling the raw for good money, unless XP was the focus ?     In a second way I'm proving the bullet point.

Are there other considerations here ?     Are they trying to keep the money supply lower ?    Possibly.    The real-world price of plat has plummeted over the life of the station exchange, from somewhere around $12 to perhaps $3 currently, which suggests a much higher money supply per player.      And I do see prices going up on some items – tradeskill items, and collections.      If macro-ers are making tradeskill junk over and over and over they might be ruining the economy that way.

Still, the prospect of participating in the economy, and coming out a clear loser, is a non-starter for me.     The most likely scenario is nobody will buy any potions that I try to sell; health and mana potions just give a teeeny tiiiiny amount of help, why would you pay even double vendor price for that ?    And that makes me a monetary loser, and an XP gainer.      I could enjoy gaining my tradeskill XP as long as my monetary gain was at least zero (that's the old vendor-sale system).

When you can vendor-sell for a tiny profit, you can attempt to make things and sell them, and if they don't sell fast enough just dump them on the vendor.     At least you get your gathering time and fuel costs back, and the prospect of sales for higher prices than that is fun.

So Alchemy is finished for me, except as a means to make potions for personal use.    For Provisioning, I'll probably be able to sell items, but that remains to be seen.     Clearly I can sell the biggest boxes, but doubt I'll ever make it that high in Carpentry – that's a lot of money lost before you get there.      Nobody is going to buy Briarwood boxes.

This time, Sony killed tradeskills for me, with one undisclosed and surprise change.     Please, bring back vendor-sale profits.

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