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Regarding Trading


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The solution to your trading problem is to simply not do it. There is no reason to have a trading system in your game. In fact, there's no reason to have a trading system in any game.

If you ask a player why he wants a trading system in the game, he'll tell you he wants to be able to attain Rubedo more easily. Okay... is the rarity of Rubedo intentional? If so, leave it alone. If not, make it less rare. Why would you ever spend time developing a trading system when you could just tweak item drop rates? For that matter, wouldn't you prefer to encourage people to actually play your game rather than playing the trade system?

After being told this, a player will then say "Well, what if I have a mod you need, and you have a mod I need? Luck plays a big part in why we need trading!" Okay... again, is the level of luck (RNG) in the game intentional? If so, leave it alone. If not, make it less RNG. Why would you ever spend time developing a trading system when you could just add a vendor that sells mods at inflated prices?

Consider Guild Wars 2 as one of the most hilarious examples of trading system failure. The GW2 team no doubt spent hundreds if not thousands of man hours, not to mention lots of cash on expensive server equipment, to ensure that their auction house system could handle the simultaneous trading of millions if not billions of items like copper ore. The result? The market was so flooded with common items that every single item sold for the minimum allowed value, which was the vendor sell price plus one.

Instead of going through all the effort to create a trading system, the GW2 developers could've simply had a vendor that sold and bought copper ore. The experience for the player would have been exactly identical. The player would interact with a faceless menu system and buy or sell an item for a perpetually static price. Change for the player? Zero. Change for the developers? Countless hours and dollars saved.

Your game is big. You would need to develop a trading system capable of handling many trades on a very large scale. The end result would be exactly the same as the one in Guild Wars 2. A faceless system that is no different from simply buying mods from a vendor.

People often point to Diablo 2 as an example of trading that worked. But that's not exactly right. Trading in Diablo 2 only felt important and useful because it was the only way of attaining runewords. These items required runes that were not attainable via normal play, they could only be attained by hackers duping items over time. Eventually, supply would outstrip demand and they would do a ladder reset in order to fix the economy. MMOs do this as well, by releasing content patches and expansions that render all previous content obsolete. Unless you plan on doing the same, you cannot have a trading system in your game if you want people to actually play the game instead of just trade for everything and then quit.

Which is an important point. Trading cannot add to a game. It can only replace part of it. It can only cannibalize existing game features. There is a maximum amount of time people will spend on your game, which can only be increased by adding more gameplay features. Trading exists outside of normal gameplay, and will not increase this maximum time. It will only eat into it, replacing 200 hours of gameplay with 100 hours of gameplay and 100 hours of trading. And that's a best case scenario. Extremely bad itemization that results in poor supply/demand ratios can mean trading soon replaces the ENTIRE game. *Cough* Diablo 3 *cough.

The fact of the matter is, when a player asks for trading, he's asking for an "I win" button. He wants some aspect of item acquisition to be easier. If all the players are asking for trading, it means some items in your game are too rare and you need to tweak drop rates. It doesn't mean you spend weeks developing a trading system whose end result is the devastation of your player-base and an influx of spammers seeking to squeeze money from your playerbase.


Okay, lets talk about the social benefits of in-clan trading for a minute. In the latest dev Livestream, you talked about pooling resources as a way of social bonding in a guild. While you didn't speak to what this would mean from a gameplay perspective, its easy to imagine orchestrating groups of players to farm different areas of the game. Certain clan members will farm for Alloy Plate, while these other clan members will farm for Rubedo*, and we'll bring it all together to improve our clan Dojo.

This is all well and good, but you'll note that this only works because the players are pooling their resources towards a common goal (it also requires that more than one type of material be rare.) If you allow resource trading in general, all that means is that one player is playing the game for another, which is going to open the door to the dreaded spammers looking to monetize your playerbase.

You can try to artifically limit this by making trading only in-clan, and having artifical limits on the number of people who can be in a clan, and having limits on how often you can join/leave a clan. But without all those limits in place, you'll just have clans created for the sole purpose of boosting new players. People will exploit that system.

* I still don't understand why Rubedo is the go-to example. Its not rare, Alloy Plate is. I guess Rubedo is just fun to say?


One last thing. I've knocked on trading pretty hard here, but there is actually one way you could do trading that would actually work. You could allow per-mission trading. That is, if four players are on a mission together, allow them to divvy up the loot they find in a mission as they see fit. This would have the added benefit of both encouraging grouping and encouraging pro-social behavior (because if you're a $&*^, people aren't going to want to give you an item no matter how much you need it.)

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