Cornering the Market

Apparently, a couple of guys on World of Warcraft's Elune server managed to completely take over the economy there, back in April.

There are a few things that make this more possible on WoW than in DAoC, I think. The first is that trade goods - the necessary raw materials for crafters - are not available (except for very low levels) from merchants. The second is the auction house interface itself, which is far easier to work than DAoC's rather clunky Merchant Explorer.

The fact that the goods can't be got from merchants means that the market is already under player control - but by lots of players, not just two. This is the case in DAoC for lots of goods - everything from aurulite, rare weapons, artifact scrolls and unactivated artifacts to the respec stones, which allow you to rejig all your characters skills. The respec stones have been known to sell for up to 18 platinum - that's more money than my characters have ever had. So it's possible, with this kind of thing, for one wealthy and canny player to take over the market entirely.

The reason it doesn't happen more in DAoC, as far as I can see, is the interface. The Auction House interface in WoW allows you to buy things quickly and conveniently, at the listed prices. In contrast, the Market Explorer in Dark Age of Camelot requires you to do a lot of running around from building to building - or to pay a 20% surcharge to get the item without the running around. That 20% can be ignored for items around the 100 gold mark, but once you pass that, it starts to be a significant chunk of money.

That said, I'd like to experiment with this at some point. It'll probably have to wait until my characters are far richer, since at the moment, I'd be unable to buy out even a single type of item. And I'd have to choose something fairly specific, with high demand, low supply, and an initial price I can reach. But it's something to keep in mind for the future.

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Posted by Drew Shiel at June 29, 2005 10:37 AM

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