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For Lack of an Auction House

WxCougar of KOTC
I like Tyncale's suggestion of using the Trading Post Holding to fulfill that low level need to sell raw materials.
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We wouldn't want to mess with the need for resources to move around the map, or with the need to check different Auction Houses when looking for specific items or for better deals. Getting to the point where there's a robust, dynamic economy that incentivizes buying low, selling high, and making risky trips to and from different Auction Houses is essential to making the looting, gathering, refining and crafting of items both interesting and rewarding. That's particularly true for those players most interested in focusing on the economic aspects of acquiring power. In that regard, we do have some concerns about providing a full Auction House at every settlement, which potentially makes the economics a little too similar between settlements.

On the other hand, we've always had the goal of letting individual players largely focus on their own preferred style of gameplay, be that adventuring, crafting, trading, PvP, and then using larger game systems to push interactions between those different styles. Auction Houses are an extremely important part of that system, because that's where players who earned rewards from one style of gameplay trade those rewards away for things they need that were rewarded to other players for different styles of gameplay. Adventurers sell recipes they've looted, then buy equipment sold by crafters, who buy refined goods sold by refiners, who buy resources sold by gatherers, and on and on. Admittedly some of that transfer can be done by in-game trades or within company vaults, but the Auction Houses are the intended mechanism for handling things better while offline.

Our particular concern here is for adventurers, including both gatherers and looters. We want them to care a bit about global economics, choosing targets in part because the rewards for those targets are more valuable. However, if they have to travel long distances in order to sell their loot/mats, then we're incentivizing them to play in ways they may not find as interesting. We never wanted to push players who like gathering resources and killing mobs to spend a lot of their time running past nodes and mobs to avoid getting overloaded or risking their mules. Instead, our intention was always for them to sell their stuff to players with more of a trading bent, who would gladly take on the task of moving goods from a settlement with low prices to a settlement with high prices.

So, the trick is deciding just how much auction capability is needed for each role, and how dependable those capabilities need to be. Our thinking when coming up with the Auction House upgrades was that adventurers should at least be able to sell everything looted/gathered at any Auction House, which they're acquiring constantly and have limited control over what they get. However, they'd be willing to travel greater distances for equipment, which they don't buy as regularly, so we put the tier/upgrade restrictions on that. On the other hand, we felt like crafters and refiners are a lot more invested in the economic side of the game and have lots of control over what they producer. They'd be able to restrict their production to match the available Auction House, or would be more willing to transport things to another Auction House.

Maybe just adding more options (like auctions at holdings) with at-least-minimal auction capabilities would be enough to meet that need for adventurers. Arguably, that could mean that settlements without an Auction House or an auction-capable holding in their core 6 wouldn't be very popular destinations for adventurers, and perhaps that would be sufficient incentive that most would provide it while still being an interesting choice not to. It's certainly not as dependable as saying that every settlement has some level of auction capability, or can have some auction capability at almost no cost. Then again settlements can block unaffiliated players from using the Auction House, so it's never completely dependable anyway.

On a related note, we admit the Auction Houses aren't very fire-and-forget. You currently need to return to the hex at some point to get your money, or to put items that didn't sell back up for sale. Long-term, we're looking at sweeping earnings back into your Abadar Credits during Daily Maintenance, and we'd like to eventually make it possible to use Auction Houses from a distance, at the very least to put something that didn't sell back up for sale. Not saying these capabilities would be added soon, just that they should be kept in mind when thinking about how Auction Houses should ultimately work.
meaningful choice… the phrase is what the monks at the airport.. or the guy with the end if the world sign reminds me of…
Hehe. smile I use that phrase a lot too and my way of not turning it into a hollow phrase is to thoroughly check whether the options I am providing for a choice are actually all viable. As in, some people would choose this, others would choose that. For instance, if it would turn out in the end that *all* settlements would consider it a no-brainer to put down at least one Auction-enabled Holding in their 6 core hexes, then you might as well add standard Auction functionality to all Settlements. Hard to look into the future, but I try to use the phrase with proper thought. smile

Don't want to be parrotting Ryan too much! I still think he (and GW ) had a lot of the right ideas.
Regalo Harnoncourt, Leader of the River Kingdoms Trading Company, High Council of Callambea.
This is the character that I am playing almost 100% of the time. (Tyncale is my Sage/Mage)
Stilachio Thrax
I may be in the minority, but I'd not give even limited auction house functionality to settlements without an AH. Having an AH is a choice that currently means you can't do other things- let's not reduce the benefit of making that choice by giving some of that functionality to everyone for free.

I could perhaps support the idea of a small structure (Consignment Shop) that allowed players to sell limited quantities T1 unrefined mats and salvage, but it should be inferior to an AH.
Virtus et Honor

Steward of Ozem's Vigil, Lord Commander of the Argyraspides Iomedais
@ Bob

1. The current wide spread of same resource locations kind of kills some of your goals for the type of economy, it seems to me, that you are shooting for here dead. The only real reason that you ever find raw resources on an AH, "centralish" like TK, is because A. sparse new players drop tid-bits for sale close to home and B. hard headed wanna be traders just won't give up on The Dream.

2. Having 100+ locations to have to look at to search for items to buy will be nothing but frustrating for all sides. That sort of thing is covered well enough with player housing shops.

3. Your best bet is a few locations that players make the decision to either build up and be an economic power, go low gear or just leave the expense to others. Your first proposal is your best one. That and tighten up what can be dug up into smaller areas. No wonder bandits can never find anyone…
Even if every settlement would choose to place either an Auction House or a nearby auction-enabled holding, we'd be offering an acceptably-meaningful choice as long as the exact choice was interesting and fun in some way compared to us simply guaranteeing minimal auction functionality in every settlement. For example, is it helpful to place such a holding between the settlement and a nearby monster hex? Does that greatly increase that monster hex's desirability to adventurers as a destination, while only slightly lowering the desirability of the settlement as a destination? That would make exact placement an interesting choice, even if everyone chose to at least place something.

On the other hand, if the holding is just a generally less useful choice that everyone feels compelled to fall back to, and mostly added a layer of annoyance in having to leave the settlement for such basic functionality, then that might add more annoyance than fun to the game. Technically it's meaningful, but possibly not the right kind of meaningful.
Here is part of where I am coming from: Easily in one of the top 5 negative feedback comments from new players is that there is no form of fast travel and this land is pretty vast. They have a valid point here.

Having a great many places to buy and sell things spread out all over this vast land, of which some may have what you are looking for but most will not, the frustration that Joe down by Greystone Keep will feel because no one ever goes there to check his tiny stocks, and The Endless Running will be a misguided idea gone wrong with very little pay off.

It takes the value from the idea of more painfully built player AH's and the actual resources ARE EVERYWHERE so they will be for sale EVERYWHERE. Just never where you look, when you look.
Currently you need to be standing at an AH to see what bids and sales are on offer. People get around this by advertising in the forums but its a clumsy workaround.

In other games (EVE is a classic example) there are "trader" skills you can learn that let you see sells and bids progressively further away then your current location.

WITHOUT such a system in the game, introducing even more locations to check for potential sales will be detrimental.
There are definitely lots of issues with the lack of information about distant Auction Houses, and it's a good point that some of the frustrations that causes could get worse if there were even more Auction Houses out there. Of course, that's mostly a point in favor of fixing the information problem first, which is something we'd eventually like to look into anyway. That's probably a pretty complex task though, so not something we could just squeeze into the schedule at an opportune moment.
Why though build a system to try and concentrate economic activity in areas that players will endeavor to build up, only to turn around and diffuse it back to even more scattered than it is now?

And are you not concerned that this will lessen the value of your Player Housing?
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