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raeshlavik

[Mercantile] The System Of Buying And Selling

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While Crowfall is still in pre-alpha, and therefore the systems, quirks, and methods for commerce are all relative unknowns, this is my preferred method of PvP and I thought a thread for Q&A on it would be nice.

 

In this thread I will not be covering every aspect of Mercantile in an MMO, but instead hope to open the floor for discussion and experimentation, so that others may learn from each other.

 

At its core, the system of 'mercantile' is the acquisition, storage, and dispersal of product - be that raw material or finished crafted goods. The modifiers for this core system all center around the well known supply and demand... But there is an additional modifier we should always take into account: time.

 

In an MMO everyone, given time, will have access to all of the same goods - because to avoid 'pay 2 win' torches and pitchforks everything must eventually be available to everyone via a common currency that everyone has equal access to.

 

That currency is time.

 

So to properly market in an MMO, one must consider how best to utilize time currency to their advantage. This is usually done by providing goods in a quicker fashion than the average player can find them on their own, or providing goods that take time to master.

 

Everyone can make everything in an MMO, so the perceived value of items is driven purely by how much time is required to learn how to make it and the time to produce it, versus how much it costs to pay someone for that time.

 

Ideally, the best way to ensure sales in an MMO is to position yourself as the quickest, easiest method of acquiring the desired item(s) to best capitalize on the time currency. Meaning you can charge more, if your goods are quicker to get.

 

Typically this is achieved by careful manipulation of a centralized sales system such as an auction house, which acts as a sort of phone book of people selling things. Crowfall is stated to not have an auction house, preferring that players instead actually go to vendors to buy things.

 

So, given that background - my initial question for this thread is:

 

Is there a mechanism planned to allow merchants to capitalize on 'ease of acquisition'? Meaning, will I be able to position my vendors in any way that gives me a Time To Acquire (TTA) benefit over my competition? Or will sales be driven purely by word of mouth?

 

As an aside, I can work with anything - so there is nothing judgemental here, just simple questions. :)


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It's possible that along with all of the EK options discussed, there will also be flags for "vendors" and the types of vendors.  You also might be able to add a brief description of your EK, goods, services, etc.  Or, possibly, a "good search" feature where you're give a list of EKs that have the item you're looking for.  Who knows.

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I thought it would be cool if kingdoms could publish sort of a blackboard. These blackboards could then be accessed by all players to see whats for sale (and what you are trying to buy) or to hire someone, or even request "for hires".  You would still have to enter the kingdom to see the blackboard. That way you may generate more traffic between kingdoms and more interaction with people. Word of mouth will of course spread and people with the "good stuff" will be visited more often. But you could also find a rare gem at a kingdom people wouldn't go to first. Maybe random blackboards could be featured - 1 day or 1 per 6 hrs, so that everyone has a chance at being seen. 

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I like the blackboard idea.  I think it would be improved if everyone could access it from every location in the game, and it could be treated like a trade-order-request board.  Say I need 2000 gerbils to knit armor for all my friends, I place an order on the board, paying 1 gold a gerbil.  Then some gerbil collector sees that order, and fills his cart with gerbils, brings them to the local castle, and sells them to the 'board' or whatever, the npc/object where I placed my order.  I get the gerbils, he gets the money, everyone's happy.

 

I predict that all such cool systems will utterly fail for some reason or other (gerbil armor sucks!), so in order to shoehorn them into working, you could have all sorts of NPC-made orders placed for when no one wants gerbils, the gerbil collector still can have fun collecting/traveling with/selling them, maybe for a bit less profit.

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If there is no in-game system, I will probably whip up something on the guild web site to facilitate this sort of thing...

 

I wonder if there will be an API eventually we can use to access in-world data... I'd love to automate pricing based on materials on hand and things like that. :)


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