Diablo III to Ditch Auction House — A Cautionary Tale about Fully Tradeable Fabled/Mythical Gear?

Written by Feldon on . Posted in Commentary

It’s a slow EQ2 news week, and an interesting article came up about Diablo III, a game whose Auction house aligns with a desire expressed by a small but vocal group of EverQuest II players: Fully tradeable Fabled/Mythical raid drops, sellable on the broker.

So what’s the verdict? Effective March 2014, Blizzard will be phasing out their Gold and Real Money Transaction Auction Houses. The video their lead designers have released (and which I have embedded below) leaves no doubt about how the Auction house was impacting Diablo III…

From Ars Technica:

The blog post and embedded video note that Diablo 3‘s Auction House was originally designed to provide a place for players to simply trade items. However, the system quickly took on a life of its own, becoming the preferred way to acquire epic and legendary items with the class-specific stats that each of the games’ classes needed to slay more demons. Diablo 3 Game Director Josh Mosqueira noted that the Auction House “short-circuited [the] core reward loop” of Diablo 3, replacing monster drops as the primary way the vast majority of players acquired new gear.

After the jump, Josh’s further thoughts, and I address why SLR is not an all-or-nothing affair…

[removing the Auction house] paves the way so that killing monsters in-game is the most rewarding, the most satisfying, the most compelling ways of getting your hands on [new] items.

I also want to say, thank you to all you guys in our community: Thank you for being patient with us, coming along with us on this journey, but at the end of the day, we at Blizzard, and specifically us on team 3, we felt that the right decision is to preserve the integrity of the gameplay experience of Diablo, and make sure that finding items in-game is the best place to find those items.

SLR is By Degree

I realize that by posting this, it will undoubtedly stir up debate and a certain amount of rage from players on both sides of the spectrum. One side being totally in favor of SLR as a way to recoup raid expenses and sell unwanted items. The other believing that every item acquired in an MMO should be earned in-person.

Personally, I don’t have a problem with SLR of fabled gear in EQ2 as it’s typically not the latest-and-greatest which is still going to gear up progressing raid forces. SLR of Mythical items is quite rare (I don’t know if anyone has SLRed the Hydra Helms — it may be impossible due to the way they are earned by completing Achievements and raw material drops). Yes, we’ve seen 6 or 12 boxed accounts running raid zones and selling all of the loot in certain raid zones, or heroic groups that form “sell runs”. But it’s one thing to periodically have a few items in the Auction channel.

A Self-Selecting Customerbase

By the very nature of SLR, customers must read the Auction channel, must place bids, must be willing to travel to the group or raid force, and must not have a lockout on their character for the zone-in-question. It requires a certain amount of faith and trust. Also, the pool of customers is limited to those players logged in at the time a monster is killed (within 15 minutes due to chest despawning). If all Fabled and Mythical items became instantly available on the Broker or a similar system, all of those barriers would come crashing down. We could see an entire shift in how the game is played and funded. Plat selling might take off again.

I also realize that EverQuest II vs. Diablo III is probably not a fair comparison. Through different producers and designers, the EQ2 team has always tried to kept a tight leash on the speed at which powerful items flow into the game. The loot chase is only a part of EQ2, and for some players, not even a part of their daily gameplay. But seeing another game publisher  backing away from a “trade it all and let the players sort it out!” stance makes for an interesting data point and perhaps the start of a meaningful conversation.

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Comments (57)

  • Necromancer

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    I’ve never had a problem with SLR. If people want to sell items that they earned by progressing through zones that’s their choice, just like it’s the choice of the player to spend the platinum they have earned buying gear.

    Auction House was an abomination because it literally was pay to win. Spend real life money and acquire the best items in the game.

    Reply

    • Dedith

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      note, they are taking away BOTH the gold and real-money auction houses. So you won’t even be able to purchase items with gold. You can only get items from drops after March 14th, but that also forces everyone to build up crafting toons as you no longer have the option to just purchase gems or crafted gear on the AH.

      Reply

  • Froak

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    D3s system is not that far off from what we have now in EQ2, you can buy in game coin for real money via krono’s – you just have to take the additional step to exchange that in game money for gear. i’m a firm believer of everything being tradeable but real money for in game money is not an ideal mechanic for long term playability.

    Reply

  • milliebii

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    On Antonia Bayle at the moment SLR is overt 25 items an hour so I personally think that is beyond the point at which ” to periodically have a few items in the Auction channel” would apply.

    But EQ2 is not at the point that D3 is, it has been in the past and may be again but not quite there at the moment. Part of the problem is that Raid items are too powerful compared to open world or heroic items. SOE need to rethink itemization a little so that while raid items are required for raiding they are not so attractive for non raiders.

    Reply

  • Mentin

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    I am firmly against selling non-trivial items in EQ2. Loot in EQ2 should be earned in person.

    The argument ‘don’t participate if you do not like it’ doesn’t really hold. We are all part of the same community. Knowing that some people have gotten gear they do not really deserve diminishes my joy in the game.

    The key term of course is ‘do not deserve’. In EQ2 obtaining plats is rather easy, and the inlux of EM raidgear is so big that they sell for just a few hundred plats. IMO that is too easy and takes much of the challenge away from the game. (Which also basically is what the Diablo III team says about D3)

    If you look at some other games they do have unrestricted gear sale. Neverwinter is an example.However money income is a lot more limited in Neverwinter, and it seems the supply of really good gear compared to demand is lower too, so prices remain high. Gear selling in Neverwinter doesn’t seem to give ‘not deserved’ gear in my perception.

    So I guess it comes down to game tuning.. item supply combined with ease of obtaining money. EQ2 has both a very high supply of items and it is fairly easy to get money = gear selling is bad.
    Anyways, a brave move by Feldon opening a discussion about this. Put on your flame-resistant armor :)

    Reply

  • Cleve

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    The current system that EQ2 has in place is working as intended. The mythical Hydra Helm was discussed above and I think it is a perfect example of how an item can progress based on the player’s achievements. I mean a player has to complete 3 hard-mode DUO dungeons, kill three hard-mode encounters before a chance to upgrade the item to the final “mythical” stage. If only more items were put into the game like this example. I think SoE devs, what is left of them after the SoE purge, are beginning to address this better for example the avatar dropped crafted items i.e. necks. It takes substantial amount of time, especially with the increased avatar competition, to gather the correct items to craft the neck.

    Just because we (raiders) have the ability to SLR for items that drop during raids doesn’t mean we do it. In my guild, we do a guild member item auction only, it is faster and less stressful than our 24-28 people waiting on a public auction to finish then on the one item then the person to find the zone and zone in, trade plat, loot item and get the hell out the raid. Screw wasting time, if no one buys the item, it gets muted. It’ll drop again and again. Simple.

    Reply

  • Kinya

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    Personally I hate when farmers are selling gear from x4 raid zones only because they 6 or even 12-boxing. And then they sell plats for rl cash…
    It is a problem in EQ2 atm and something should be done with it imo. Lots of ppl are leaving game beacuse of that. What’s the point to raid if you can buy better items via SLR?
    How come 4 ppl can kill Drinal 4 runes or clearing PoW? SOE shouldn’t allow players to use 3rd party programs for boxing imo. Planetside 2 is banning for using 3rd party programs why we can;t do the same in EQ2?
    Maybe changing how loot drops would help a bit as well? 6 ppl in a x4 zone names should not drop loot, less than 12 ppl – only chest with some plats, 12-18 – 1 item in chest, above 18 – full loot. Or maybe – the less ppl in raid the harder mobs are? No idea, but I am sure something should be done about it atm.

    Reply

    • Feldon

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      Personally I hate when farmers are selling gear from x4 raid zones only because they 6 or even 12-boxing. And then they sell plats for rl cash…
      It is a problem in EQ2 atm and something should be done with it imo. Lots of ppl are leaving game because of that. What’s the point to raid if you can buy better items via SLR?

      So… there are x4 raid encounters in EQ2 that are so easy, so streamlined, so “turn-and-burn”, that a single person can box 12 characters and be successful, and your response is: Lots of people are leaving the game because of this.

      If someone told me that a single player running computer-controlled characters* was succeeding in an EQ2 raid zone, I think I’d be insulted, find 11 other friends, and try a little harder. If someone told me that raid zones were so easy a computer could do them, I’d be lining up and running that raid zone as often as the lockouts were over! And if people kept screwing up the script, and words of encouragement didn’t work, I’d remind them that I can always replace them with a bot. ;)

      With all that said, I do think we should be feedbacking SOE so that raid zones require a level of coordination that makes 12-boxing harder. Remember all the gimmicks in Kunark raiding? I know not everyone loved that content, but all the statue clicking and other stuff like going inside Leviathan’s mouth would have made boxing quite difficult.

      *isboxer provides a number of sophisticated scripts based on character class, which can be further customized, such that specific buff and casting chains can be triggered by single keystrokes.

      How come 4 ppl can kill Drinal 4 runes or clearing PoW? SOE shouldn’t allow players to use 3rd party programs for boxing imo. Planetside 2 is banning for using 3rd party programs why we can;t do the same in EQ2?

      Because Planetside 2 is a competitive PvP-only FPSMMO. A player getting an unfair advantage affects everyone else.

      Reply

      • Griffon Lady

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        I’d have sworn there was something in the EULA about 3rd party programs being a bannable offence. o.0 Did it get changed or was i misinterpreting it? (I’ll have to re-read it when i have time.)

        Also, more intricate raids would be cool and definitely break up the boredom for a while till it became muscle memory :lol: , but there’d be more people complaining about how lag or terrain or something would be making it too hard to do than there are people wanting it to be more interesting. :\ And honestly, if there was an ultimate version of every zone with all the complicated stuff, but with the same rewards, would it get any traffic? (yah, i know. Duhh lady, of course it would need incentive…… but that’s my point. People prefer easy stuff more often than not.)
        Would be fun to have options though. XD If they’d just give us more functional tools in Dungeon Maker, we could make our own! XD

        Reply

        • Feldon

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          People quote part of the EULA out of context. The prohibition includes macros (which are built into eq2) but only where said programs ‘impact’ another person’s gameplay.

          What happens inside an instance does not impact other players.

          Reply

          • Taladorm

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            What happens inside an instance does not impact other players.

            Doesn’t that argument fall apart once you take into account that the bot/boxer is just running the instance to SLR? Running an instance with bots to gear themselves up is by its nature off the “radar” only SOE could identify them. Its the ones who sell their items in the auction channel/broker that change the open market and ‘impact’ other peoples gameplay.

            Where would you draw the line, is a bot legal if it’s in an instance and not involved with SLR?

            Reply

          • Sievert

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            How is that effecting your game play vs 6,12 or 24 people doing it from that instance? Its not, so they tend to not care about that.

            The only thing I know they they will really jump on is if you are changing the data packets going back to the server, playing unattended or like FIld said greefing others.

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          • Taladorm

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            How is that effecting your game play vs 6,12 or 24 people doing it from that instance?

            1. Anytime a bot raid sells an item they are changing the servers supply/demand for said item, the person who won the item won’t participate in future auctions of the item and its price will continue drop at a faster rate than real people raids alone. Basically item demand is relatively fixed and bot raids are increasing the supply. If you are on a real raid you will get lower sales and less splits over time than if bots were banned and that is an effect.

            2. By increasing the available supply of items through SLR bot raids drive down the sale prices faster, opening up the market to a much wider range of people. Once people have these items from SLR they lose any motivation to actively raid themselves in search of the items. If you are a raid recruiter having fewer people want to raid in search of gear is an effect.

            3. A raid made up of real people is less likely to fuel as much SLR as compared to as bot raid long term. I know very few people that don’t have several alts each, a raid of 24 people may actually be getting items for 100 or more of their alts which means fewer items will be hitting the auction. The bot raid is there only to sell items and will be doing SLR from nearly the start. Also a real person raid will be less likely to continue to raid the same content over and over as compared to a bot raid. The people are going to get bored and want to advance to harder content once they have their gear. Both of these drive points 1 and 2 above.

            For the same reason Diablo III is closing the AH having too much easily obtainable (SLR) gear removes the desire/need to group. Fewer social interactions and less contact with the environment/zones leads to boredom and people leaving the game.
            How long do you think someone will stick around with the game if there only activity is sitting in their GH watching auction buying gear with plat from Krono sales? Allowing Bot raids is only making it worse.

            TLDR: unregulated SLR is bad, allowing bot raids to add more SLR makes it worse.

            Reply

          • Sievert

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            Your arguments might be valid if there where more then a hand full of bot raids but the fact is there isn’t. There might be a couple of good botters out there that can do hardmode current content but I doubt it, so you can’t even count them. Then there are the hand full that just can do EM, maybe some of the x2 and heroic content. You basically can get that loot with obals. So no, they are not effecting your game play or anyone elses, maybe in you imagination but not in actuality.

            Plus all your argument boils down to is the possibility that botters doing SLR will drive the prices down. That leads me to think you’re just upset because the prices have fallen on items your SLR too.

            Reply

          • Taladorm

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            I never claimed that Bot raids were a rampant problem on every server, but even one bot raid is too many. It’s a obvious violation of the EULA but SOE is willing to look the other way since it just drives more SLR and Krono sales. They even went through the trouble of changing the old raid zones to reduce plat for solo play yet they will allow 1 person with a dozen+ ftp accounts to farm current content without a second look.

            And no my raid force doesn’t SLR and I don’t buy. My issue is mainly around point 2 from my previous post. Its getting harder to recruit and retain members for anything but top end HM content. When people can gear up their characters faster/easier sitting in GH buying from auctions than actually joining a raid force we have a problem. I see the same bot raids selling full zones of gear every night.

            Reply

          • Feldon

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            I will just reiterate my previous statement in maybe a more rude way:

            If 1 person and 11 computer-controlled raiders can clear this content consistently, maybe you should be looking at who you are recruiting into your guild.

            Reply

          • Enrico

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            Since you brought it up, should a human be better than a computer in eq2 raids? Movement is tricky to script, but you can have one player do the tank positioning to take care of that in most fights. I don’t know if prestige counters or ability resets show up in the parse, so that would give a slight edge to humans for some classes. Precuring is a big deal for me, but if a computer can detect the spell casts then it can certainly time pre-cures better.

            Everything else is based on hard timers or reacting to specific text strings. Computers are so much better at these tasks that we need external tools like ACT to convert SOE’s raid scripts into a human understandable interface.

            Reply

  • striinger

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    While this topic would be both easy and fun to troll I think I’ll sit with Feldon on the fence this time. The right balance to be at least tolerable to both the self entitled and the elitist is a razor edge that eq2 seems to do better than most without completely destroying the in game economy.

    Reply

  • Eschia

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    I’ve only played the Demo for D3 so far, but I believe my years playing MMOs should give me the experience needed to understand the auction system used in D3. Usually when I look at YouTube comments I expect a pit of hate and stupidity, but I checked them out for the embedded video and the top comments are of the same sentiments as I have. Good riddance to it. It should have never been in the game to start with. Now people can’t pay to win anymore. They actually have to go out and grind, like so many of us older gamers know about all too well. Perhaps it will encourage a learning curve for newer gamers. Idunno, maybe.

    Reply

  • unclex

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    d3 was a test to see if they could make money off the RMha nothing more nothing less.. Alot of ppl screamed dont do it.. bots/ asian farmer would kill that game and im 100% certin that the projected sales for the D3 expansion was down so much that blizz asked why and got told excactly why ppl wouldnt buy there expansion which is why they are removing The auction houses just my .02

    Reply

  • skippydippy

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    I wonder if we’re slowly,perhaps,starting to see the F2P bubble beginning to burst (in western games at least) surely if Blizzard and activision cant make a cash system work who then can?

    Just musing of course but it does make you wonder

    Reply

    • Aaen

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      …and to add to that: perhaps that is why TESO and FFXIV will be/are subscription based models.

      Reply

  • Arabel

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    Honestly, the parallel isn’t really there. I get the idea behind it, but thought process doesn’t pan out. Removing the AH in D3 isn’t actually going to accomplish anything. It’s more a symbolic gesture than anything else. Why? It’s all still going to exist. Even with the AH in place a lot of the buying/selling of items/gold was done outside of the game on sites like d2jsp.

    Will this vastly decrease the amount of the trading? Sure. Will it stop it? Not even kind of. People are still going to go out there and sell those really amazing items, and other people are going to buy them. Just now Blizzard will no longer sometimes get a cut, they’ll never get a cut.

    It’s symbolic because Blizzard is just burying their head in the sand about the fact that it is still going to exist simply to say “We listened!”

    I’d also like to remind people that through EoF a lot of raid loot, including best in slot items, was tradable and sold on the broker. You could search fabled and find pages and pages of stuff, and that was when it really was limited to raid items being fabled. No one had a problem with it then, and it certainly destroy the game.

    People want something for their work. As a guild we don’t sell gear from our raids. We’ve basically got everyone completely geared out and could stop raiding for the next 2 months and no one would notice. Sure, we could use more wrists from DMP, or cloaks from Bristlebane, or Bows from Pirate Kings, but is that stuff enough to really make a difference? It’s basically all alt loot. At least in KoS we’d be putting tons of stuff on the broker.

    Reply

    • Mentin

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      This is all about thresholds.

      Of course there still will be D3 gear sold for real money outside the game.

      But now it will both be more cumbersome, and a lot more risky since you have no quarantees that the item you have bought actually will be delivered. Also the visibility of the buy-gear option is a lot reduced since you need to go out of the game to do it.

      So instead of having 90% of the D3 players using the auction house as their primary source of gear, now maybe 5% will do it.

      That will no longer affect the game so badly. Mission acomplished.

      You can’t get rid of the outside-game trading as long as you have tradeable gear.

      Reply

  • Malade

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    I don’t play Diablo 3. Do you have to have better gear than the mob drops to take down the mobs in that game? If so, then maybe you have a case.

    Also just because the company thinks it needs to go away, doesn’t mean the players do. it probably just means that Diablo wasn’t making enough money from the auction stuff to justify continued development. /spin /spin

    Reply

  • Skwor

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    Feldon a big difference is being missed in this discussion. I was a devout D3 player and gave up becuase of the real issue associated with AH in D3.

    The gear drop rate was tuned to the aucton house and this is a huge impact on the reward vs risk system. Since most gear from an enormous player base went to AH the chance an individual player would ever see real gear upgrade of quality was VERY low.

    I would play the game for about 40 hours a week and did this for 7 weeks and never saw the equivilent of a raid drop in eq2. This became very discouraging to the entire player base. This got so bad that D3 added a nephilim buff that added to the %chance to get a magic drop that increases\d with each elite encounnter a player defeated. Unfortuantly that did little to correct the the issue.

    As a result of this most gear went to AH. For those lucky enough to see one of those pieces of “raid quality” gear it typically wasn’t tuned for thier class (no smart loot either) So AH became the PRIMARY method and effectivly the only method to get “raid quality” upgrades in game.

    Bottom line the drop rates were tuned to control the amount of quality gear that entered the game via AH, not individual play, resulting in what I described above. EQ2 does not have anything close to that problem even with the SLR we have happening currently.

    Imagine playing a game 40 hours a week for over a month and never seeing a srious upgrade but seeing this gear in AH every day going for 200+ dollars. That is what the AH became and a big reason for D3 becomming the epic fail it is.

    Most players never recieved positive feedback in gear upgrades after reaching the endgame and where driven to pay to win more than any other game I have ever played.

    Reply

  • Tabri

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    I personally like how Neverwinter’s entire ah(broker), zen(SC), astral diamond(platinum) and Zen store(marketplace) setup is, if SOE would fix itemization and plat drop rates it would work in EQII also. Neverwinter has over a 2 million player base and its only 4 months old and growing maybe EQII should look at them and not Blizzard for ideas. The only reason WOW and EQII still have a player base at all now is because there are still guilds left in both that have not left yet, WOW is going downhill fast also. Most people also dont want to wait months on end or a year to get an item they want from a raid due to the horrible RNG still in this game after raiding 20 plus hours per week to try to obtain such item(s).

    Reply

    • Feldon

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      EQ2 did fix plat drop rates.

      Reply

  • Rage

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    I liked the system from KoS and EoF.
    Where you could put some stuff on the broker.

    Reply

    • Feldon

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      I think a percentage of fabled items from any expansion should be brokerable. I think the reason so much from KoS and EoF could be put on the broker is at least some of that loot dropped from contested zones.

      Reply

      • Quabi

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        Instanced drops on the broker will generally lose value pretty fast unless they’re super rare. I don’t see any issue with making avatar loot tradable, though.

        Reply

  • Griffon Lady

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    Cash auction house didn’t seem like a very good idea, tbh. Tooooo many ways to exploit it (mainly hackers). Pay to win kills the morale for the non 1% as well. :\ (Yah, you can farm it, but with luck like mine and my hubby’s, no, you can’t XD)

    Making things 100% tradeable… not to sure about that. Too many people would roll need on every thing, swap it to an alt and sell it or some variation like that. Again, the morale problem. Also, ever had broker lag? can you imagine if every thing in the game were on the broker? /cringe

    Getting rid of SLR though…. noooo…. That would kill morale again by taking away something that people like. Well, all but a small handful like SLR. (I bet lottery winners really p*** that handful of people off. :razz: )

    It’s not so much a challenge to get raid gear as it is to find the time to raid. I’ve raided (while i was unemployed and waiting for the phone to ring). Stand there casting spells/attacks/buffs, move over here and cast. keep casting. Watch for a signal may be to stop casting for a few seconds… then cast some more. Got boring fast. :\ Or is that what people mean by “earning” and “deserving” it? o.0

    I’ve lost a whole lotta friends to raid guilds since they aren’t technically supposed to be chatting. >.> (Sure, you have to pay attention, but no difference there in solo, group or raids.) What kept me and most of the other long term players has been people we got to know in overland zones, doing HQs, PUGs late at night, etc… Gear isn’t what it’s all about… or wasn’t… /..\ seems like a lot of people now stay just to be able to anonymously troll and act like a 2 year old princesses with e-peen. >..> (Gads, there was this one guy who’d get lost every time we took him, just threw his buffs wherever… nice enough guy but geeeez…but you know what i’m saying here, right?)
    Honestly, what kills the fun for me is people expecting others to play one way or another because they don’t like how the other person plays (even though it’s a perfectly valid style of play.)

    I never liked the cash auction house idea though. People come here to escape reality. Not sure about percentages, but i’d assume a lot of those people can’t afford a pay-to-win game based on IRL money. It feels good to buy some fancy thing as a treat knowing you aren’t taking away from your family’s grocery budget or your college savings or the lil pile of cash for your first car, ya know?

    Do the elitists really want to punish people who are good and responsible IRL, but still want to have fun in game? o.0

    Fantasy game. Fantasy. A lot of people’s fantasies are to be wearing the best stuff, riding the best ‘vehicle’ but they might have to work their keisters off IRL and only have sporadic playtime. Mothers with jobs and toddlers, full-time college kids working full-time jobs to afford to stay in college, middle aged folks who are working full time and taking care of their parents with Alzheimer the rest of the time that might have to go AFK at any moment to keep them from doing odd things or walking out and getting lost. Trust me, people need a place to get away from it all sometimes, and being a lil uber in a fantasy game may sound silly to some, but it’s a nice breath of fresh air and travel time with out leaving your home or responsibilities. Having SLR’d raid gear just makes it a lil more fun, running through and smooshing everything in a short solo instance in a few minutes without dying. >.> I used to run through Mercy Hospital in L4D on easy mode after work to release steam after working with a really crotchety nurse. XD It’s just a very uplifting feeling after having to wear a smile all day and be the bottom rung, to breeze through something, to excel. XD There’s also that adrenaline rush to being the winning bidder, and to saving up that last bit of plat that reaches the average going price of the item you want.

    My point is, the wider the variety of player base you can accommodate, the more players you’ll have (assuming it’s an attractive game to them.) So, peeps who want SLR to be disabled somehow because SLR might take the fun out of things for themselves, who care more about how other people shouldn’t have the nice things (Why, I’ll never know…) then how happy people in general are…….tryyyyyy to think of other people, and for that matter, the player base’s game-saving variety of players and playstyles.

    Reply

  • Gourdon

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    When items are fully tradeable, the economy is more efficient. That means that drop rates need to go down for items to retain a desired exclusivity. Otherwise, piles of “rare” items build up as players go farm them. Quite frankly, the biggest problem is a static world where players can optimize their collection of loot. If every dungeon were different in a ecological system with built in mechanics to make loot dropping mobs unpredictable and challenging, then players would have more fun and rare loot could become more distributed and more rare.

    Reply

    • camelotcrusade

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      Everything you said makes a lot of sense to me. And so I wonder: Has this ever happened in any MMO, such that we can validate this hypothesis? It hasn’t in any of the ones I’ve played.

      Instead I’ve seen the same thing you have… rare items get farmed, hoarded and listed for sale in large supply. And then, despite what economics would dictate, the price point doesn’t begin to reach the intersection of supply and demand. Instead I think people just follow the leader, meaning everyone undercuts the first price posted, however illogical it may be.

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      • Gourdon

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        Part of the problem is there is very little limit to the percentage of the population that can get items in an MMO. This means that the supply can very easily outstrip demand. In those circumstances, prices plummet toward a price floor set by the value of an item to a game merchant or the value of the item for materials like transmuting. The problem in an optimized farming environment is that it is hard to keep supply below demand. There needs to be a (preferably fun, but at the least, not tedious) search element to finding that amazing item to help keep supply down.

        Most of the problem is the themepark game form. The rest of the problem is the Devs, who don’t understand economic and ecological models, and the players who want the best right now. For the whole thing to work better, there needs to be some mechanic to give players other things to do than chase gear. Interacting with the game world needs to be the objective and levels/gear a means to do that. This is why EQN has a chance to be a step in the right direction.

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        • camelotcrusade

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          Your perspective is very refreshing to me… it’s almost academic. I’m sure there are many disciplines in addition to economics that could inform good game design (or at least new ideas worthy of testing).

          I doubt there is much collaboration on that level, though, what with all the deadlines, cost pressure, and priority drama most game developers deal with. The last thing they have time (or money) for is having some economic professors examine their game economy (and they’re not usually fast, either). Still, I wish it happened anyway. :)

          Reply

  • Benj

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    I have no problem with people trading for better items. However, there needs to be some obstacle to this, like finding the item you want to sell, and finding enough platinum to pay for it. Another solution would be to only trade those items for other items.

    Note: the following suggestion will not work in EQ2 currently because of the pattern/consumable/achievement approach to loot.

    If we went back to when fabled/mythical items were only drops, and you had to hope that the item for your class dropped, I could understand trading these items. If my paladin ran DMP and looted mage gear, I’d find a mage unlucky enough to loot tank gear. Given my past experience with the RNG, this would happen often.

    Reply

  • Malade

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    As long as we have SLR we have an Auction House.

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  • Bashem

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    As far as RAID being able to be sold on broker in qame I am in favor of it the lower tiers of raid gear being sold but highest gear should be earned by doing zone or maybe an advancement reward so the best items must be earned. I have level 95s char a zerker and I have just done solo and advanced zones gear but my zerker would need to get some RAID gear to be able to get in pug RAIDs. Then with keep getting better gear to do the hardest RAID content. I thing that that how the gear should be gotten

    Reply

    • Mentin

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      If you get the best EQ2 CoE Spirit gear that is very close to EM raidgear.

      Reply

  • Knabbel

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    Trade is a basic fact of life, we couldn’t exist without trade. I think it’s just as important in any MMO community, including being able to trade the super rare items. Artificially restricting trade is in my opinion bad design.

    Reply

  • Abatha

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    Personally I liked how the D3 system of drops worked. The items and money dropped so only you could see it. I think that would work great in EQ2. I also think that there should be a way to lessen a certain drop if a character has already claimed the item.

    i.e. If you’ve run AoA in Raid and your toon got the Famine Charm then the drop rate for Famine (for you) would go down significantly.

    I also thing that things on the broker should have a shelf life… kind of like cars on a car lot. You know the car hasn’t become worthless but it’s just not worth the lot keeping in inventory. After say 2 weeks the item has to come off the broker for 1 week. That would provide others with a way to make money also because perhaps in the week your item is down someone else sells theirs. Of course I know this needs lots of work to be able to work it’s just a rough idea.

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  • badcat

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    I never understood having the rhma in Diablo III. The reason was it was a crawl. I never once ever grouped with anybody In that game. So when I finished at got to max level it just became repetitive. I never understood the need to have gear in a solo based game. Unlike EQ2 where if you want to raid you need the gear.

    Personally I watch channel some nights watch as pieces get bid up to 1k plat for some items, and laugh knowing full well those folks in that raid bid the items up before letting the person buying the item have it at an inflated rate. Personally I love running my toons and getting the gear on that toon at the time of the raid, the reason is I earned it, not used plat to buy something I did not earn. Now earning an item on an alt bid is the same thing as earning it on a main bid for me. You were there put in the effort.

    Reply

    • Aaen

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      Exactly. The feel of accomplishment when you actually work for a piece of gear or reward makes you have more pride in your character than just buying your way through the game. The only time I *EVER* paid a guild plat for something was when EQ2 introduced our ‘Mythical’ weapons and at the time I didn’t belong to a guild so I really had no way of doing all 4 raids and so I did pay 450 plat (back then that was a lot of money) to run me through all my required raid zones for my updates. But, otherwise, everything on my toon has been laborously earned and I feel a sense of accomplishment in that.

      Reply

  • Bhuh

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    What makes SLR and Tradeable Loot so valuable in EQ2? The Random Number Generator (RNG). The random nature of drops is just a bad idea, and is horribly implemented.

    People buy SLR for one of two reasons. Either they are a raider and they’re tired of killing the same mob over and over and never seeing the item they need, or they are a non-raider and it’s the only way they can get the item.

    In my opinion, if you’re not a raider, you shouldn’t ever need raid gear to enjoy solo/heroic content (that’s a whole other problem that also needs to be addressed btw). If you want to be a raider, all of the top raiding guilds will accept you in heroic gear, and will gear you up as long as you show that you can play at their level.

    I think patterns are the answer. It eliminates the problem of killing that same boss over and over and over and never once seeing that plate tank BP drop. If that boss dropped a pattern instead, there would be no more unneeded loot drops. If a guild still has raiders that need BP upgrades, they can kill that boss until everyone has it, then move on to something else.

    If they made ALL raid drops be pattern drops they could take back out the option of letting loot be sold via SLR. It would eliminate the problems caused by bot-farming and SLR-ing in the raid zones. It would instead make the appropriate loot available to actual raiders, but without the infuriating randomness of the current system.

    The drop rate of the patterns can be set/adjusted based on how long SOE intends for that particular raid zone to be relevant. Make them more rare when a raid zone is just released. Then when the next expansion comes out, make it drop every time, so it’s easy to gear up new players with gear from older content.

    If guilds are blowing through content too fast, and gearing up too fast, then put in “mythical” versions of the patterns that are incredibly rare (think old PoW cloak drop rates) so there is still some reason to keep raiding.

    Reply

    • camelotcrusade

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      I think patterns are the answer. It eliminates the problem of killing that same boss over and over and over and never once seeing that plate tank BP drop. If that boss dropped a pattern instead, there would be no more unneeded loot drops. If a guild still has raiders that need BP upgrades, they can kill that boss until everyone has it, then move on to something else.

      That’s an interesting idea and one I haven’t heard of before. Have you seen this implemented anywhere else and experienced the pros and cons?

      Reply

      • Feldon

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        EQ2 had patterns in Kunark, TSO, and SF. We’ll be returning to patterned armor in Tears of Veeshan.

        Reply

        • Numb

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          I think patterns are a good idea as well as long as it’s different then how it was in Kunark, TSO, etc. That is still using the RNG aspect. I would prefer to see it more like the pattern drops in Rift where the pattern mat drops and the player chooses which item purchase from the vendor using the mat. I’d also recommend that if you weren’t there for the kill that the item not be available to you from the chest. I know that some people will complain about going Link Dead, etc during a fight, but I think that could be handled on a case by case basis through petition if need be.

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  • Elunihea

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    I have watched my kids play D3. I saw the AH and was like dam that will put or make everything for all. I play eq2, I use SLR runs from time to time to gear up alts. I also raid all the time with a bunch of people we only gear our toons (alts). Yet the toons I buy gear for are on account 3 or 4 or 5 and I don’t want to hold all up logging it in. That’s where SLR’s are nice. Those that are Boxing Boting as some call it. Think about it are they taking your names? Are they killing stuff so you cant? Or are they paying for 6 or 12 or 18 accounts selling SLR to pay for those extra toons. SOE is getting paid even if they farm plat for kronos. I have noticed on the server Im on that those buying SLR’s are those who raid on mains and are gearing up alts. Remember not all alts are on same account. I have been playing eq2 from the start yes some items could be sold on broker and some not. That has always been things asked from the start. Yet like any other MMO when next pack comes out the old gear is junk. All want the new stuff. That means each alt etc. So SLR’s help and think about it most of the time SLR’s are weeks if not months after a new pack. Why cause ohhhh yeah its all need at first.

    This is just my 2 cents hell might just be a penny

    Reply

  • Hoot

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    Most people who don’t want SLR to be ingame are mostly made out of casual raiders and some part timers who did it once in a full moon. I’m so sick of these vocal minorities acting as if they represent the raid community. My raid guild sells almost everything that isn’t HM or exceptionally rare. We have no need for it, and the money we make from selling stuff is a nice little trade off.

    Reply

    • Sievert

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      This!

      Reply

  • Moose

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    I have purchased my share of SLR and most times I am soloing due to RL constraints but when I could group and raid I waited and hoped for drops. I do wish that they would consider going back to KoS style loot, a few pieces of fabled you could gear up with if you had the plat available on the broker from weapons to jewelry to armor. Now it’s a few weapons and jewelry and a couple pieces of armor. I used broker at the time to fill in missing slots until I got the drop needed for the ideal piece.

    Reply

    • Kruzzen

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      If you look at the new tradeskill stuff you will see that there is quite a bit of really good items that are tradeable and raid quality.

      The whole SLR argument is a bit of a joke. You are either on the elitist side who says you should not be able to get loot unless you were there. In this case they would all be out of the game now because they got there loot and and got bored when they have the stuff and leave so those guilds fall apart. Progression slows.

      You are on the side who likes SLR, in which case only stuff that has alrerady been gotten is being passed down. You still have to be on to get it and hope you have enough plat to bid for it. Yea, it gives others who have not been able to get the loot some higher end loot and maybe they are a newb and still don’t know how to play the toon. Or it could give those people who are trying to change to another toon a way to gear that toon out so a raid force can continue.

      Or you could be on the I don’t care side. These people who are the vast majority just enjoy playing the game. Maybe they buy it maybe they don’t.. They just like grouping and soloing and crafting. Someone buying some loot to gear up a toon does not bother them.

      In the end I feel SOE has gotten a pretty solid grasp on how people get loot. There are multiple ways to get/earn loot. There is some SLR, but due to time constraints and lockout timers it doers not flood the market. There are high end pieces out there and there are tradeskill pieces out there. I like the balance and hope SOE continues to balance it instead of knee jerking like some would advocate.

      Reply

      • Tomoch

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        It took me about 5 months to get a mage robe. I gave in and bought one from a solo instance. Then that night it finally dropped from the raid zone. Sometimes a specific drop is very rare for some people.

        Reply

  • Carnifex

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    Feldon, did you pick up on the interview Carlson did for gameindustry.biz? I’m curious as to what you and others here might think of what she said there, well worth a read imo.

    Reply

  • Kaelric

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    And how sad is it that we need third party apps to supplement the UI and be able to play the game? And that SOE even expects us to be using them and designs encounters accordingly?

    Reply

    • Feldon

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      And how sad is it that we need third party apps to supplement the UI and be able to play the game? And that SOE even expects us to be using them and designs encounters accordingly?

      Welcome to 4 years ago. Actually, all raid encounters communicate hints of what is needed to defeat them. There is no raid encounter in EQ2 that cannot be killed without 3rd party tools. They just make it easier.

      Reply

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