Daily Archives: November 15, 2007

The Black Hole of Vendor Trash

What happens to all of those things that you sell back to the vendor?

Where does it all go?

Yes, I know.  It is all virtual, entries in a database.  It doesn’t “go” anywhere, it just ceases to be.

Once upon a time, years back, vendor trash used to stick around.  It still does today, if you know where to look.

Back in the heyday of Diku MUDs, the vendors in my own favorite derivative, Toril, used to allow you to list out and buy all of the stuff that people sold to them.

This was a tradition carried forward into EverQuest, and one I miss.

There were always lots of interesting things for sale at a popular vendor.  Often very useful things.  I still always look at what the vendors have in stock when I go back to EQ.

Of course, with just a few low level characters in EQ these days, my tastes are pretty modest.

Still there are things of use, things of value, things for trade skills, and things that are just downright odd in those vendor inventories.

But perhaps this points to something else about EQ, that even vendor trash had some use.  There were spells that required those beetle eyes.  I could always sharpen those rusted weapons to work on my trade skills.  And I always operate under the theory that bad equipment in an slot is better than no equipment at all.

So I pick through the vendor trash in EQ and have a good time doing it.

But I end up wondering why I cannot buy the items other people sold to vendors in other games.

Would it kill the economies of these other worlds?  Would the market go flat in EverQuest II if I could purchase from the vendor in the trade skill instance all of the items people made just to level up their skills?  Or does the fact that people grind up trade skill levels just to sell most of the stuff to an NPC point out some more fundamental flaw in the economy?

And how about grey drops in World of Warcraft or the general crap drops in other games?  Why can’t anything be done with them?

Do these games need inventory filling items that are only there to be sold for minor amounts of cash and disappear?

I think I am going down the opposite road from the “I want to loot what the mob is shown wearing/wielding” crowd.

I don’t really want to loot anything that does not have some value in the game.  And I don’t just mean value to me at that very moment. Value to somebody besides an NPC vendor would be fine.  Just say “no” to vendor trash.

Of course, at the far end of the vendor trash spectrum is EVE Online.  I like the fact that there isn’t a convenient NPC vendor around every corner to buy the crap drops from some asteroid belt rat.

And not only that, but everything has some value.  Even if nobody wants to buy it on the market, you can always refine it down to some minerals.  The mineral market is quite active.

So, in a way, EVE Online is the ultimate anti-vendor trash game.  Almost nothing goes into the NPC vendor black hole.  Everything has some viability, in some fashion, in the vast economy of EVE.

But when you have a game that puts out a .pdf quarterly economic report with charts and graphs, I suppose that is to be expected.