Offline Selling, Then and Now

I keep starting on an piece about the allure of playing an MMO on day one.  One of the key points for old farts like me is that we can tell people how bad it was on day one and how easy kids have it these days.  That and yelling at the neighborhood kids to stay off my lawn is all part of the training that will turn me into a world class curmudgeon some day.

In the spirit of that, I want to go revisit something I mentioned in a previous post about Nomu’s adventure play time and how I could not really use that to compare how easy or hard it was to level up a character in the old days because the mechanics of the game at the time.

Nomu’s adventure play time is somewhat inaccurate in the context of “adventuring” but completely accurate in the context of the early days of EverQuest II.

His adventure play time reflects the fact that when EQ2 first shipped, the only way you could put things up for sale on the broker was to remain online.  Yes, back in the old days, there was no such thing as off-line selling.  So, like many people, I just left my computer on and my character logged into the game 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.  Nomu would just sit in his inn room waiting for people to buy his stuff while I was at work or asleep.

What was SOE thinking?

I mean here they had a system that actively encouraged players to leave themselves logged into the EverQuest II servers at all times.   While all of these idlers are in their own little inn room instance and not doing a whole lot of anything, they are still generating network traffic.  I cannot believe that anybody thought this was a sound idea.  Off-line selling must surely have been planned but not implemented at launch.  The idea of the SOE server infrastructure team signing off on this makes me laugh.

So Nomu racked up minutes, hours, and days play time without a whole lot of play going on.

And as it worked out, I was in the right time zone to really maximize my online idle time too.

Sony would bring down the servers early every morning Pacific time for patches and maintenance. (And there was a patch every day… you kids have it so easy these days….)  The servers would be up again at least an hour before I had to head to work, so I would log Nomu back in, check to see what he sold, set him up to sell, and head off for the day.

Off-line selling just had to happen.  There was no way it could be avoided.  All these people logged in had to be a drain on SOE’s server resources.

But even when off-line selling was finally implemented not too long after launch, you could only sell from your house vault, which was a 2 slot affair no matter how big your house was.  But if you were online, you could sell from your inventory AND your vault.  I remember seeing people walking very slowly from the bank to their inn room.  They were getting the maximum number of slots by carrying boxes rather than bags to their room to setup for online selling over night.

And, of course, if you were selling expensive items, you really wanted to be online selling so people could come to you and buy them directly and avoid the broker’s fee.  Yes, off-line selling had its own little tax in that fee that encourage people to remain logged in and selling while idle.

It wasn’t until the advent of the salesman’s case (and its item specific cousins) that off-line selling became truly viable and we could all log out characters out for the night.  The salesman’s case stands in for your character and people can come to your inn room and buy things from it without paying the broker’s fee.

In addition, the salesman’s case gave carpenters another useful item to make.  While all of their furniture items are very nice, boxes and salesman’s cases are all they really have going for them in the marketplace.

Of course, after writing this up, I realize that 31 days of play time really isn’t that much at all given how many hours I kept Nomu logged in.  His grand total is 55 days including trade skill time, so I have to believe that some of that selling time got allocated to trade skill as opposed to adventure.

3 thoughts on “Offline Selling, Then and Now

  1. adele

    I remember those days. I used to love the sound too. I would leave myself selling and clean or watch tv or something and then here the ching ching ching and come running to see what I sold:)

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  2. Saylah

    I had EQ2 for a bit that long ago and did the same as the poster above. Regardless of whatever drawbacks existed along the way, between then and now, EQ2 has always had the best crafting and trade system IMO.

    I really, REALLY wish other MMOs would realize that they can capture and keep players with meaningful crafting. I realize the ZOMG I want to pawn things crowd doesn’t like crafting but someone should be able to come up with professions that satisfy both in the same game. Better output and uniqueness for full-bodied crafting effort versus the grind for comps and button click success. Maybe let the button clickers produce intermediate components as their profession and the “real” crafters make the items, and a single toon can’t do both.

    Not to hiijack your post – good stuff and fun to remember.

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  3. Wilhelm2451 Post author

    Yeah, among my many vices is nostalgia. Why I remember once….

    I do think that currently, for at least the trade skills that branch off of the Artisan path, EQ2 has really hit its stride. Sure, the market isn’t perfect, and I like to gripe about not being able to sell everything I make in 48 hours or less, but the items you can craft have a real and substantial benefit and influence on the game.

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