Wait a minute, what do you mean I can’t sell my loot????

    Just picture this scene… you’re done with a hard day of adventuring, causing genocide on a mass scale… There isn’t a fluffy bunny, rabid wolf, or orc for miles around. You have a full bag of potential coins, just enough for your repairs, a night at the in, a hearty meal and a couple pints before calling it a night. You walk into the general store, dump your sack on his counter and say “How much for all this?”. The shopkeeper looks confused.”How much for all what?” he asks, a bit bewildered

“For all what?!?! For all THIS!!!” As you point to your mound of stuff that has taken you hours of hacking, stabbing, bleeding and dying to attain.

“What am I supposed to do with it?!?” the shopkeeper asks, starting to get annoyed.

“You’re supposed to buy it, you dumb NPC. Haven’t you ever played an MMO before??? Don’t you know how this works? You buy the shit I get from stuff out there, and then I go and get stuff I need with the money you give me.”

The shopkeeper really looks pissed now and motions for the guard to escort his “patron” none too gently out. “First off” he says, through grated teeth, “What in the Nine Hells am I going to do with fifty bloody rabbit paws, 10 chunks of rotting boar meat, and 20 dented swords and shredded armor?? Secondly, even if I *did* have a use for them, why the hell would I be paying you for it when I could go get it myself? And finally, the dumbest thing you ever could have done was to call me a “dumb NPC”. And with that, the guard screams for help, and the guards come from all around and beat you into paste. Just before you pass out from the blood loss and pain of broken bones, you hear the shopkeeper mutter “fucking n00b PC’s…”

Amusing as this scenario might be, it does raise a very valid point: Why would an NPC want to buy all that garbage from us PC’s? Honestly, what use would they possibly have for all this shit? And since when does any merchant have an unlimited amount of funds to buy it all? You’d think after the 10 millionth rat ear, they would refuse to buy it, saying “Look behind me, asshole… I’ve got a mound of rat ears 40 feet high and 200 feet around… what in the hell would I do with THIS one??” I understand that we’re supposed to suspend some belief as this is a virtual world, and as such a virtual economy, but when you look at it from even a slightly rational point of view it does begin to unravel pretty quickly.

    This topic was raised by some conversations I had after our roundtable discussion with Brendan, who makes a very valid point, completely separate from my current issues with game economies as a whole and how they could be adjusted: Why have economies at all? Other than serving as another way for us to waste time in our already limited playing schedules, what benefit do they truly have?

From my perspective, they are a place where people try and screw others, be it the asshole who puts the stack of cheap items on the Auction House/Broker for an insanely inflated price in the hopes that you mistakenly click on his item, or a source of continual frustration for many as they either can’t find what they need, or can’t afford whatever it is. All the economy does it waste time, increase aggravation, and ultimately serves more negatives than positives to the gaming experience. So why not do away with it? Have no currency, have every item be either 1 lifetime trade, or be nodrop/notrade. Depending on the virtual world the game will be taking place in, have all materials go to your faction to help fuel the war effort, or have resources be so scarce they have to be turned in for reprocessing. There are tons of possibilities to this type of systems. Players will have to think, be creative, and find alternative ways of getting what they need to progress.

    But in the end the idea of vendors having unlimited currency and unlimited appetites for truly useless items is one of tradition.   “But Adam” they’d say, “every MMO has done it, we have to do it if we’re going to compete with all the other MMO’s out there!!!”. My question to game developers is…. “Why should you?”  Do you want to be a cow, following everyone else, or do you have the cojones to try something new and actually be evolutionary versus conformist?  It’s up to you, but personally I’m done selling rat tails… I’m holding on to enough of them to braid me some rat-nunchucks and a rat whip.  Who said that shit’s useless?



~ by trollonfire on November 12, 2007.

One Response to “Wait a minute, what do you mean I can’t sell my loot????”

  1. LOL! I loved this post! Seriously, this is something I’ve thought about time and time again. Recently, while playing Oblivion, I had a shopkeeper I constantly visited to sell my stuff…well at one point I started wondering how this woman actually stayed in buisness with all the junk I was constantly selling. True, it’s just an NPC in a game, but the point is the same.
    Why have all the junk and clutter? Anyone who played EQ remembers the shopkeepers list of random junk that you had to scroll past just to get to the real wares. I say figure out a better way to add the junk to the crafting. Asheron’s Call 2 (bless its heart) had a great system for breaking down items and creating new ones. I think it’s time for MMO economies to break out of the little box.
    Major kudos on this post! 🙂

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