Crafter's Roundtable: Limits on selling items

Nephele

Administrator
Staff member
Now that the holidays are over and we've all (hopefully) recovered, let's get back into some serious topics! This time, let's dive into how we think the economy of Terminus should work.

The question:

We don't know how buying and selling will work in Pantheon yet, but the team has said that they are leaning towards the concept of regional markets, as well as allowing players a method to sell while offline. Today's question is around what limits should be in place in the eventual system. Limits are potentially important to help insure that people with extreme amounts of time to spend in game aren't able to monopolize the market and drive out other players who might want to participate. Should sellers be limited in the number of items they can put up for sale at one time, or should the price of those items be capped in some way? Should sellers be able to travel and post items for sale in different regions, or should they be restricted to just one? What limits make sense and what would feel too restrictive?


Autherial has been MIA since Christmas Eve - we're pretty sure he got on the naughty list somehow. Hopefully he finds his way home from the North Pole soon. In the meantime however, we rounded up the rest of our staff to get their thoughts on the question. Check out their opinions, and then post your own below!

From Khaleesi:

I like the regional concept of selling, certainly this will make market opportunities in different regions for more folks, but it has the downside of limiting buyer base (unless you could buy from anywhere, but that takes away from some of the immersion).
As for limits, probably just a limit on number of items for sale will be sufficient. I think that in particular limiting the crafting professions to one will help this situation.

It would certainly be nice to be able to have the quality of items be the drawing factor for buyers - for the folks who are able to adapt to the skill required, travel, and learning needed to make special items, those items may be of high enough prestige that those items (hopefully emblazoned with the maker's mark, and maybe.. city?) will attract players who would be willing to travel across Terminis with the hopes of buying their wares.

Another potential boon to selling is the previously discussed job board idea from which any player with sufficient skill could take a contract and would be required to fill it within a certain amount of time.

From Trasak:

I guess I am in the camp of no hard coded limit on a players ability to sell. The exact vendor mechanics will have some form of space limitation due to inventory management and likely that will be the prime limiter that will prevent true hording of items. I guess I am even not against players being able to rent true warehouses to store 100 character inventories worth of items if there is an appropriate capital and continual cost. This would just encourage a different way to play the game.

From personal experience it is fairly hard to manipulate the market in a meaningful way over a longer period of time so I would not really worry about it. Additionally any item that has extremely inordinate values like the Fungi tunic did should be nerfed to be more comparable to other items of similar difficulty to obtain and that developers item creation rights restricted.

From Tragic:

I like the idea of traveling to each region to buy and sell. I think the best way to curb the flooding of the market would be to limit the amount that can be posted at a time per region. This would allow the ambitious salesman the opportunity to tour the world selling goods. I am not a fan of making things too restrictive; however, I am also not a fan of a globalized auction house.

From Nephele:

There's a lot of stuff we don't know yet about how buying and selling will work, although VR has said a few times now they want to see regional markets, rather than a single global market. So, it stands to reason that when you put something up for sale, it will only be visible and purchasable (at least in-game) in the market where you're selling it.

With that in mind, I'm conflicted. I'm the sort of crafter who *likes* to build up a virtual storefront - so I want to be able to list a fair amount of goods for sale. I don't mind paying a listing fee or a tax on the sale to support that. However, I think that if I could list an unlimited number of items, even it if was only in one region, it would probably be too much. Knowing myself, over time I'd just keep adding more and more until eventually I didn't even remember everything I had listed - although it would take a while to get to that point. So for that reason, I think I'd like to see some limits on how many items someone can put up.

Another thing I'd like to see is a limit on the maximum price of an item. In several games now I've seen people use their market board listings as storage, where they put stuff up "for sale" at prices of something like 9999999999999 gold. Obviously, no one's going to buy that item for that price, so they're essentially just getting extra storage by doing that. I'd prefer not to see that happen in Pantheon, so I feel like reasonable limits on the maximum value that you can list an item for would help. How much of a limit that should be though, I don't know. Though, I suppose a scaling listing fee could fix that too - if you put something up for a million gold, expect to pay a fair amount just to list the item for that much.

Finally, I am really *not* a fan of a "time-out" on item listings. I loved my vendors in SWG, and kept them stocked with all manner of goodies. But when they would decide to delist a bunch of their stuff every 30 days it was a severe pain in the butt - especially because most of the time, I was just going to put that stuff back up for the same price it was at before. So what I think I'd rather see with regards to time is that stuff stays listed indefinitely, as long as the player who listed it is still logging in regularly. If they stop logging in, eventually their stuff de-lists.

I could probably write a lot more but I'll try to wrap it up. I'd like to see things set up so that people don't feel like they need to make alts to get additional selling space, yet also with enough limits so that you don't see a very small number of sellers flooding segments of the market, whether that's globally or within a region. There's a balancing act involved to be sure.

That's enough from us, now let's hear from everyone else! What limits do you think make sense in a game like Pantheon?
 
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Barin999

Journeyman
Crafting is not related to selling. As adventurers can flood markets just as easily. Quality of items is not only based on player made items in my context.
The inventory space of those vendor crates might indeed do the trick when it comes to preventing local markets being flooded with the same items.

@Tragic / @Khaleesi
Although I like the idea of a local restriction of total items on a market at one time. This choice in design could actually push away more player from the market then you potentially have available within that region. There might be more players in that region that want to sell things, but can’t because the market is saturated. I would rather see an opportunity for all players to sell items, but the amount of items might be restricted. (again inventory slots in your salesman crates would be a subtle way of accomplishing that). Players with more time than others, and perhaps more things to sell then others, could be stimulated to travel to other regions to sell there.

@Trasak Warehouses
I like the idea of warehouses, but only in a scale of a Guild warehouse. Guildhalls might be located around or within major cities. And therefore it makes sense that there are more commercial opportunities in that area. Selling through such warehouses should have its cost as other amenities would have for guildhalls. Perhaps the cost would increase with the amount of items that guild has for sale in its warehouse. As long as the personal vendor is cheaper than the guildhall warehouse. After all, you stimulate a lot more players with personal sales then you do with a guildhall sale option. I would not go for warehouses in every town or available to every player. Selling items on the market (be it locally or globally) is something active. It could very quickly turn into an item ‘dumpage’ when returning from adventure and it becomes a way for extra storage.

@Tragic
I hear you when you’re not too big of a fan on global auctioning. Allow me to give this a twist. Let’s say you’re able to sell in different regions. But overall you’re restricted to your amount of items on sale. Example: you have 20 slots available. You put up shop at Thronefast with 10 items. You venture to Wild’s End and sell another 5 items. As you move on to Faerthale, you find another 10 good items to sell. But you’re not able to. You’ll have to adjust your items on the broker if you want to sell them quicker or take them off the market to allow your elvish items to hit the market. You can remove items from all places, but you can only add items onto a market where you currently are located. So these items will hit the regional markets. The items you’ve taken off, might get handed back to you through a delivery system/mailbox system within a certain timeframe (depending on the distance from your current location?)

@Nephele
I’ld like to add to your max price suggestion. Instead of max price…a taxing fee linked to the price you’re asking from the item. Similar to the actual world. The more cash is flowing through a broker/3th party sale..the more cash disappears into that other party’s hands. So unless you’re selling directly, you’ll “lose” more money as you’re selling items that are very expensive. I get the point you’re making for the impossible prices, but there is very little harm to other players with that action. If you want to prevent that from happening, perhaps install a taxing design so that you get taxed based on the value of that item and need to upkeep those taxes if you want items listed on the broker. Players that are still doing this impossible price-post will either stop doing it as it will start to cost them more money than it’s worth, or they’ll have so much cash flow that it really doesn’t matter. And there would be no way to prevent that. Again, this would be a marginal portion of players in the game, and it would only affect themselves, not the market or other players as no one would be buying their overpriced items.
Limiting the max price, is actually dropping the free-market. If people want to spent ridiculous amounts of cash, that’s a good thing. It’s nice cash sink and it still is community stimulation. When more of the same items hit the market, the item value will sort itself out by plain supply and demand reasoning.
 

Barin999

Journeyman
Broker fee
Selling items, if not directly to players, should come at a cost. Let players think before they use this system. It makes sense, that selling offline for example will cost you extra. This extra factor might increase the quality of items that make it onto the offline markets. And that’s beneficial for everyone. Items that don’t make it on the market, will get salvaged, destroyed or sold to npcs and thereby vanish from the world, making it an indirect item/trash sink. Which is again a positive thing. Allow players the opportunity to go for direct sales, without the use of npcs. Stimulating pc to pc sales will increase community interaction and a true connection to players. This could be a very strong pillar for this game. You’ll get to know players that are selling to you locally. You might encounter them later on in other regions and they might play the markets in a similar fashion. Pc to pc sales allow for solo players to sell out and cash in directly without too much fuss. If those players just drop it all into a vendor box, they will lose that small window to interact with other players. Which is ok if they choose to and are willing to pay that little fee to “upkeep” npc-services.

Allowing items on local markets might have a lower fee than putting items on a global market. When interacting with the broker system, there might be two options. Place locally or globally. The local markets will tax less, downside it that other players in other regions will not be able to view and buy it. It’s cheaper for you and thus safer choice to place that item here, but there is less chance of selling it as you’ll reach fewer players. Or put it on global market with higher taxes. Your personal upkeep is higher, you might lose more money but at least more players can view your stock. However, if items do not sell on a timely manner, the benefit of placing it on global markets will be gone since you’re paying more on upkeep fees then you’d eventually have gained from selling the item.

Regional item value
Local items = local prices… foreign items have a lowered price value…mainly because the npc’s of that region are less interested in it, it might also be less useful. You don’t need woollen mitts in the Khäga Sands. Or perhaps npc- dwarves just favour items relating to them or their native origin and are not willing to spend more when buying other items from players. Not every npc on Terminus is willing to pay the same amount of money for a certain item.

Reuse timer on item placement
A timer on items on the broker would feel a bit off. Just make sure you let players pay taxes on using this 3th party /npc sales design and that should be sufficient.

Scaled taxation
Something I’ld like to add.. How about as the level of items goes up. The taxes go up in a sensible manner. So the taxes on level 10 items are lower than on level 40 items. The reasons are obvious (and I already have a wall of text). If needed I’ll explain in a reply.

Meaningful broker use: a lot of time vs less time
Region markets could be flooded by a farming player, decreasing the value of the item or the value of the experience of trying to sell items. When a new/low level player found some nice and they decide they want to sell it, a farming player flooding the market with this item, could ruin the experience for this new player. To prevent that from happening, one could restrict the amount of items being placed correlating to the item ID. So that farming player might have 20 legendary swords, but the broker system only allows him to sell 1 at a time. The farming player could bypass this by going to other regionally markets and selling that same legendary sword over there as well. (The tax on distance suggestion could already solve this issue.) So now the farmer is flooding all markets with his farmed items. Prices drop, people lose interest or find the broker system less valuable to spend time using it themselves. If the item ID restriction is globally, you’ll find that farmers will lose interest in this playstyle all together as most of their loot becomes trash. (mind you, they could still work the market through direct sales to players.)

Item ID restriction
How about a time restriction based on the item ID. So a player is able to put that Legendary sword on broker, but ones it’s sold, they can place that same item ID on the broker again, after a certain time has passed. So low quality items can get back on sale quicker in comparison to high quality or even rare items. That could solve some of the flooding actors. But could ruin it for farming as a playstyle.

Taxing and benefits based on items sold
That brings me to flooding the markets with low quality trash. In a sense the prices will work that out themselves. But perhaps the restriction could come from a different angle here. Based on the number of total items sold by a player, the taxes would increase. So one player might sell a lot of items but as time goes on, the taxes might become too much for him and will motivate him to work a different market or create another style that does not impact the broker system. (perhaps he’ll decide to auction using direct contact with players. Which is a good thing.) This tax system might not seem positively stimulating, but it could go hand in hand with faction bonuses/boosts. So that player who’s selling a lot, paying an increasing amount of taxes (based on his high amount of items sold), could gain other in game economic benefits or fluffy content. Some benefits that are reserved for indeed those devoted salesmen. By doing so, you’re rewarding them to be so active in the game, but at the same time you’re allowing a money sink at that player.
 
I don't think there should be any restrictions on player-to-player trading other than carrying capacity. If monetization takes some direction other than a sub-based pay-to-play model, then player-to-player trading should be restricted to subscribers/premium members.

I think anyone should be able to buy from a regional NPC auctioneer (offline sellers), but access to sell thru auctioneers should be earned, either through a quest line or reputation. The number of items a player can list per auctioneer should be limited, a very low limit (like 3 to 5 items/stacks). The number of NPC auctioneers a player has access to, across all regions, should be limited to a character attribute, such as Charisma or Leadership or something like that.
 

Barin999

Journeyman
I very much agree and you added some nice extra's there @Bitter_Clinger .
Perhaps if the player has managed to achieve certain faction, they could have access to some but not all auctioneers across Terminus? So that it would not be able for them to use regional markets on a global scale? If you see what I mean?

The idea behind access based charisma or leadership sounds nice, perhaps it could blend in with diplomacy?
 
Exactly right on both points. Rather than NPC auctioneers simply being in-game versions of eBay, we breathe some life into them. Players can't just ride into town and expect merchants to commit to selling items for them. The merchants are risking their reputations on the goods they sell, so they're not going to take that risk for just anyone. The merchant will need to either owe the player a favor (quest) or the player could achieve some fame/reputation in the area. Players with the right stats could perhaps even bully, threaten, or blackmail the merchant into working for them, but even that would require some questing/exploring to set up.

Assuming a player character has met the requirements (quest, reputation, exploration) in a region, they would be able to hire some number of NPC auctioneers limited by their Diplomacy score. If a player unlocks offline selling in all regions (if it's even possible), they would still be limited to that finite number of NPC auctioneers. So, they would have to choose between having more than one auctioneer in some regions or having one auctioneer in every region.

Adventurers and casual traders would likely be happy with one NPC auctioneer in a particular region to sell those few loot items or crafting items they acquire through the course of gameplay. Players who wanted to be global traders would have to work every bit as hard as raiders or top craftsmen. They would have to do the regional work required to unlock the auctioneers, and spec their characters to hire enough auctioneers in each region to give them the selling bandwidth needed.
 

Autherial

Apprentice
Staff member
Staff Writer
Broker fee
Selling items, if not directly to players, should come at a cost. Let players think before they use this system. It makes sense, that selling offline for example will cost you extra. This extra factor might increase the quality of items that make it onto the offline markets. And that’s beneficial for everyone. Items that don’t make it on the market, will get salvaged, destroyed or sold to npcs and thereby vanish from the world, making it an indirect item/trash sink. Which is again a positive thing. Allow players the opportunity to go for direct sales, without the use of npcs. Stimulating pc to pc sales will increase community interaction and a true connection to players. This could be a very strong pillar for this game. You’ll get to know players that are selling to you locally. You might encounter them later on in other regions and they might play the markets in a similar fashion. Pc to pc sales allow for solo players to sell out and cash in directly without too much fuss. If those players just drop it all into a vendor box, they will lose that small window to interact with other players. Which is ok if they choose to and are willing to pay that little fee to “upkeep” npc-services.

Allowing items on local markets might have a lower fee than putting items on a global market. When interacting with the broker system, there might be two options. Place locally or globally. The local markets will tax less, downside it that other players in other regions will not be able to view and buy it. It’s cheaper for you and thus safer choice to place that item here, but there is less chance of selling it as you’ll reach fewer players. Or put it on global market with higher taxes. Your personal upkeep is higher, you might lose more money but at least more players can view your stock. However, if items do not sell on a timely manner, the benefit of placing it on global markets will be gone since you’re paying more on upkeep fees then you’d eventually have gained from selling the item.

Regional item value
Local items = local prices… foreign items have a lowered price value…mainly because the npc’s of that region are less interested in it, it might also be less useful. You don’t need woollen mitts in the Khäga Sands. Or perhaps npc- dwarves just favour items relating to them or their native origin and are not willing to spend more when buying other items from players. Not every npc on Terminus is willing to pay the same amount of money for a certain item.

Reuse timer on item placement
A timer on items on the broker would feel a bit off. Just make sure you let players pay taxes on using this 3th party /npc sales design and that should be sufficient.

Scaled taxation
Something I’ld like to add.. How about as the level of items goes up. The taxes go up in a sensible manner. So the taxes on level 10 items are lower than on level 40 items. The reasons are obvious (and I already have a wall of text). If needed I’ll explain in a reply.

Meaningful broker use: a lot of time vs less time
Region markets could be flooded by a farming player, decreasing the value of the item or the value of the experience of trying to sell items. When a new/low level player found some nice and they decide they want to sell it, a farming player flooding the market with this item, could ruin the experience for this new player. To prevent that from happening, one could restrict the amount of items being placed correlating to the item ID. So that farming player might have 20 legendary swords, but the broker system only allows him to sell 1 at a time. The farming player could bypass this by going to other regionally markets and selling that same legendary sword over there as well. (The tax on distance suggestion could already solve this issue.) So now the farmer is flooding all markets with his farmed items. Prices drop, people lose interest or find the broker system less valuable to spend time using it themselves. If the item ID restriction is globally, you’ll find that farmers will lose interest in this playstyle all together as most of their loot becomes trash. (mind you, they could still work the market through direct sales to players.)

Item ID restriction
How about a time restriction based on the item ID. So a player is able to put that Legendary sword on broker, but ones it’s sold, they can place that same item ID on the broker again, after a certain time has passed. So low quality items can get back on sale quicker in comparison to high quality or even rare items. That could solve some of the flooding actors. But could ruin it for farming as a playstyle.

Taxing and benefits based on items sold
That brings me to flooding the markets with low quality trash. In a sense the prices will work that out themselves. But perhaps the restriction could come from a different angle here. Based on the number of total items sold by a player, the taxes would increase. So one player might sell a lot of items but as time goes on, the taxes might become too much for him and will motivate him to work a different market or create another style that does not impact the broker system. (perhaps he’ll decide to auction using direct contact with players. Which is a good thing.) This tax system might not seem positively stimulating, but it could go hand in hand with faction bonuses/boosts. So that player who’s selling a lot, paying an increasing amount of taxes (based on his high amount of items sold), could gain other in game economic benefits or fluffy content. Some benefits that are reserved for indeed those devoted salesmen. By doing so, you’re rewarding them to be so active in the game, but at the same time you’re allowing a money sink at that player.
I really like what you put here, the in game market system can make or break a game. I have seen in numerous games where players have figured out how to rig the market and pretty much dominate it and preventing others from having a successful experience. Then you have the problem with bots etc. So I would like to see a system where the player is in more control and it is more personalized. We will have to give up some convenience for more market security. A more personalized approach falls in line with the true social aspect that Pantheon is trying to develop.
 
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