Daily Archives: December 6, 2010

The Allure of a Booming Marketplace

I have the crafting bug.

In every MMO I play, I usually at least try to craft.

I couldn’t tell you why, but it is just something I have to do.  I have more than a few alts that were started not because I wanted to play yet another class, but because I was accumulating resources for a crafting profession I did not yet have a character plying.

This is why I have a Rune Keeper in LOTRO.  I had all these scholar items.  And since he was also a farmer, and because I was accumulating gems as well, I then rolled up a Champion in order to take up the jeweler/cook crafting combo.  That I had the Champion around when the instance group needed him was an accident.

And I generally get into crafting in pursuit of the twin delusions of wealth and self-sufficiency.

My mileage has varied on those two.

In EverQuest, for example, I became an armor smith early, a vocation that cost a lot of money and which produced items that nobody wanted.  I essentially became the vendor that sells the white named armor in WoW.  I couldn’t afford to do any other crafting after that.

In LOTRO I have had alts following several crafting paths and have obtained a certain level of self-sufficiency for myself and our kinship.  As for wealth though, that I could have had if I had just not crafted and sold all my raw materials at the auction house.  It was an either/or proposition.

In WoW things have ebbed and flowed.  I struggled to get Vikund to 450 engineering, a profession which comes with lots of fun toys, but almost no money making potential.  My characters who have tried inscription have made some money, and being able to make enchanting scrolls made my enchanter a money maker at last.  But the money flow was really dependent on the server and faction with which I was working.  In the end I could make money, if I cared to, but I could make as much just about as much just selling raws.  And self-sufficiency didn’t really enter into it, as you really have to go out and work for equipment drops to get anything decent.

Then there was EverQuest II, where I eventually came the closest to my dual goals.  My woodworker made piles of gold selling arrows and my provisioner made pretty good money making food.  And a lot of the time, I was much better off creating finished goods, since if people were harvesting a lot, and in EQII you can harvest everything independent of your trade craft, the market prices would become seriously depressed.  It was common to see dozens of stacks of some commodities selling for 1 copper per unit.  I don’t know why people even bothered to sell at that price, but it often worked to my advantage.

Self-sufficiency I also obtained, to a certain extent, though you need so many trade skills to cover all your needs (skills, armor, weapons, jewelry, food, bags, storage boxes) that you can go nuts trying to follow that path.

With that background, it was no surprise that I started harvesting right away when I hit EverQuest II Extended.  Yes, there is a trade skill quest there at the starting point in the Frostfang Sea, but that only gets you a tiny step into the process.

Self-sufficiency was what I had in mind.  I thought I was going to be playing at the bronze level, where the broker is off-limits.

I was, no surprise, a bit surly about this lack of broker access.  What bunk!  I was going to be denied access to markets.

Then I found out that, with Station Access, I had gold level access to the game.

And my tune changed a bit.

You see, when you are a Gold or Platinum player, the market is there to enrich you.  All those silver players, they can buy things, but to sell they have to purchase broker credits, which essentially means they need to spend 15 cents to sell a single item.  (Unless, of course, they scam the system, fill up a bag in their inventory, then stick it in the broker slot.  You can apparently bypass the restriction that way according to the wisdom of the auction channel.)

And the poor bronze players, they can’t even buy stuff.  (I made a bronze account to see what it was like.)

They only get this message when they try.

But I can buy as silver, right?

So I went to work selling last weekend and made quite a bit of money.

sales were brisk

Okay, two and a half plat isn’t all that much, at least not in EQII Live.  But I remember how long it took me to make that first platinum coin back when EQII launched.  And I have three characters in EQIIX now, and all of them have passed the two plat mark.

In fact, I wonder where all the money is coming from.  You cannot bring any coinage over if you copy your character from EQII Live, and EQII used to be pretty stingy about handing out cash for anything in an attempt to keep the economy from going the way of EverQuest, where it some times seems that they might as well do away with all coins less than 1 platinum.

Still, the market is pretty hot.  There must be money flowing in from somewhere.  And a some of it was flowing my way.

Enough, in fact, that I am a bit worried about the end of my Station Access subscription, which is set to run out in a little over a week.  When that happens, my characters will drop to Bronze level access and I will only be able to have 5 gold per level on a character.

To haul around more than 2 plat I need to pass level 40…. on three characters… who are all around level 20.

That’s not going to happen, but I don’t want to have SOE just take my excess cash.

Somebody on the Auction channel (again) suggested investing in trade skill fuels.  It is the one thing that you can vendor back at the same price you paid for it.

I might have to start a fuel hedge fund.

Of course, this wouldn’t be a problem at all if I could buy the Silver level option for my account before my Station Access ran out.

And then, of course, I’ll be on the “full broker access for silver!” side of the fence again.