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.

5 thoughts on “The Black Hole of Vendor Trash

  1. yunk

    In WoW i used to auction that Troll cookbook To Serve Man. I could auction it for a gold (before BC). It was a silly vendor trash item but funny enough that people would pay money for it.

    In our LOTRO guild we try to get everyone [Brimmed Hat] or [Feathered Cap] which looks the same. These are just vendor trash items that are hard to find but are great.

    Especially now that in the next release they’re copying EQ2 and doing the “have a 2nd set of armor for looks” thing, a lot of endor trash armor that’s useless but looks good will be in demand. I used to have a set of low level armor I wore but accidentally vendored it all.

    Yunkor in his party clothes:


  2. michael, StE

    Apparently, back in the early days of EVE-O, there was a “trash can” hanger in each station, which you could pull things back out of (for free, I assume).

    Think I read about it in E-ON.


  3. wizardling

    I too enjoy EQ1’s loot remaining on vendor system much more than newer MMOs.

    I’m always checking out popular vendors, those close by loot drops I need, and nearby to origin points and zone ins. It’s great being able to buy loot others didn’t need, and we both win. They made a quick and easy profit, I got what I wanted, and plat is still removed from the economy due to buy prices being higher than sell prices on vendors.

    It always stinks logging on to find the server reset recently, and vendors have lost all their player-sold loot. I’ve always wished EQ1 would save at least the last hundred player sold item stacks on vendors, each time servers go down.


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