Auction Houses: Pandering to those who hate crafting

This. Elder Game’s The Case Against Auction Houses.

But I mean, what are you gonna do, not have an auction house in a modern MMO?

Sure! There’s no reason every MMO should have an auction house. Lots of MMOs implement it unthinkingly, because they believe it’s a mandatory back-of-the-box feature. Few MMO developers take the time to think about the ramifications of the feature.

I’ve got a lot to say on the subject myself, as a self-professed crafter before anything else in MMOs, but having ignored most of my work over the weekend I’m now forced to actually do some in order to pay the bills. Bah humbug.

Also: I miss SWG. The whole crafter/merchant/harvester thing did sort of turn into a second (and sometimes third) job, but it was the most fulfilling crafting and selling in any MMO, evar.

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6 thoughts on “Auction Houses: Pandering to those who hate crafting

  1. Pandering to those who hate crafting? Couldn’t come up with a title more emotionally charged than that? That seems like taking things to an extreme point of view, not to mention pretty much distorting what was written. At worst we are talking about an ill-considered attempt to create an accessible economy. Hate, as far as I can tell, doesn’t enter into it.

    But if you want to talk about people who “hate crafting” how about the dev team that makes up a series of recipes with obvious optimum path for advancement so that every crafter is making the same blue silk hood because that requires the least materials to get to the next tier.

  2. It’s Monday morning and I was feeling contentious. Sue me! :D

    OK more seriously, the subtitle was drawn from stuff bloggers have been saying in the past week (e.g. Tobold) where it’s usually “I hate crafting and I can’t even make a killing on the AH” or something similar.

    • But even some of that is not so much auction house related as it is a wider systemic issue. If you give out adventure experience for crafting, is it really the auction house that is the issue at that point?

      There are a lot of things you can do to create an environment for crafters where they can make money and still have an auction house. And that people have competed to the point of selling for below cost when cranking out the easiest to create items isn’t an automatic auction house fail. “Real” crafters will seek out the uncommon recipes in their area, the things with tough ingredients that do not lend themselves to the optimum path to exp and advancement. There is money to be made in those, even in WoW or GW2.

      I like the article up on Elder Game, as it does point out some flaws to AH implementation, but it does seem to take a black and white view to the issue. Badly implemented AHs are bad for crafters in a general sense. But AHs are not universally bad.

      EVE, if I may dip into that domain, has an auction house. But it also has an economy that requires you use it, it is divided up into regions, so there is no universal price list, and there is no instant delivery, so suddenly purchasing decisions have to factor in price vs. location. The trade hub may have your item for cheap, but if you are 10 jumps out, you will likely pay a lot more for the same item for sale in the system you are in. I, and a lot of other people, have played the convenience card and made some serious money out of it.

      • Eric’s stuff often seems to cause polemical discussions when I link them here. :D I don’t slavishly agree with everything he says, but I like the points he brings up for discussion – especially the idea that “all MMOs should have an auction house because it’s what everyone does”. To me, that’s similar to the idea of implementing crafting simply because it’s “expected”, no matter how crap the system ends up being.

        I’m not commenting on GW2 crafting with that remark – I haven’t done more than a few minutes of crafting, which isn’t enough to form anything other than a first impression.

  3. I think it’s ‘pandering to people who hate dealing with crafters’ :) But I liked Eric’s take on the auction house too, and on how sometimes optimising for the short term cycle means players miss out on something that might have been more fun. He’s like the first game designer I’ve seen who seems to really get why crafters (as opposed to industrialists) like crafting.

  4. As I said over at Eric’s, I think the real issue is that somehow soloable crafting systems as an extra progress bar became a mandatory back-of-box feature for MMO’s. You wouldn’t have so much oversupply if you weren’t encouraging everyone to max crafting.

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