Global Item Search

Discussion in 'Wishlist Requests' started by Templarius, Feb 18, 2021.

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  1. kaeshiva

    kaeshiva Avatar

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    The bit that you're missing is that people already do this -now- by using trade chat, forums, discord, external websites, etc. to identify where things are at lowest prices. So your argument, that access to/availability of/ease of getting stuff will ruin the game, doesn't really work unless a player arbitrarily chooses to "not use available tools and not talk to anyone, and only buy stuff from vendors I happen to run across" which isn't a realistic limiter.

    Yes, a global search will cause item prices to drop as the playerbase works out appropriate values for these items based on usefulness, effort to get, etc. These are natural market forces that should be happening that are stifled by the lack of sufficient infrastructure/systems. To me this is a very good thing, it helps people know what things are worth, it helps new folks know what will be lucrative to go and get and try to sell, and its real time data on pricing fluctuations. It will make it easy to see market impacts of dev changes which are often significant, and help identify low demand/low utilisation items for future implementations/loot/recipes.

    The Race to the Bottom - this already happens in the absence of a global listing, it just happens a lot more slowly. People realise things aren't selling, and lower prices - but don't have the real-time tool to identify when they are higher priced. Is my stuff not selling because its too expensive, or is it not selling because nobody knows its here? Because there is no demand for these items? This just adds a level of frustration that isn't necessary especially with the vendor UI being as cumbersome as it is to make changes to listings.

    The thing about the race to the bottom is, the bottom is where the community decides it is. Things with little use/utility will probably end up selling for a gold over NPC price because they aren't useful. For a lot of commodities, we're already there despite having no central market, it just took awhile for everyone to figure it out. If you're talking about a particular commodity, like say, wood which has a lot of uses - I'd say there's no danger in wood becoming worthless, central market or not. Its needed for too many things. The price will adjust itself to the lowest point at which people feel like its worth it to farm wood for the purpose of selling it, and no lower than that. That threshold's different for everyone. I'd go farm wood for say, 100g per log, but not for 75g per log, I'll keep my wood or use it. Price drops, people move on to different things, supply decreases. As supply decreases, if demand does not change, price will start creeping up until people decide its lucrative to go farm wood. This is how the economy is meant to work.

    And the other side of the coin, is the race to the top. We have buy order functionality, and assuming devs can sort it so people can sell to players like they sell to npcs (ie, as many items as they have not fixed quantity stacks) we have a great opportunity to witness the reverse. Someone's buying wood for 80, someone else wants wood, sees someone paying 80, offers 81, and so on. Price will creep up as long as demand is there. If everyone decides to go become a lumberjack to take advantage of that, price will go back down to where people say hm, maybe lumberjacking isn't such a great idea this week.

    Over the long term, with both buy and sell orders, prices tend to stabilize based on the perceived value of a player's time and effort. The value of player time/effort is something SORELY MISSING in Sota and its a big reason why our economy simply doesn't work.

    The only real argument I can see against global listing would be from the folks who already have front-and-center visibility and use the fact that nobody can find their competition (or the fact that nobody bothers to try and compete because there's no way for them to do so without visibility) without going through several hours of tedium or using external-to-game methods, as a way to essentially hold a monopoly on commodities. Need something? go to big market town, someone will have it, you'll pay a lot more, but if your time is valuable to you, its good enough. So take Bob, the new player, he'd be happy to sell me that stuff cheaper and he probably needs a good way to make gold, but there's no way for Bob to know that I'm buying and no way for me to find Bob's shop. Bob eventually realizes he either needs to sell to a reseller, use 3rd party utililities, or just forget about participating in the economy. The majority of people I know who has played sota for any amount of time eventually end up like Bob. They just stop bothering, and only throw stuff on a vendor in front of their house at random prices (which may sit there languishing for years) as a half-hearted effort, or just start giving stuff away because trying to participate in the market is a really poor way to make gold unless you want to manage a stall in a big market town and deal with all the blockers in the system.

    And I mean, I get it. There are those who have invested a lot of time and effort in CIRCUMVENTING the lack of market tools to carve out a foothold in the economy, and I get why a global listing threatens what they've achieved. But we have to look at what is better for the most players, particularly in a game that is struggling to retain players who get frustrated by the baffling lack of core systems like this one. And I'm completely confident that the people who figured out how to come up on top with no system at all will still figure out how to come up on top - they're playing a market game, and will still be able to do so, just the rules will be a bit different and will force a more fair playing field.

    That and, establishing a brand and customer base, window shopping, all of these things wont go away completely. We're not talking about buy-from-listing-interface, we're talking about show-me-where-to-go. There's still plenty of potential and benefit to manned stores, attractive storefronts, easy to navigate layouts, well labelled organized vendors, to encourage impulse shopping for things people didn't know they needed. People only use a search for finding something specific. Except now, when you are out browsing around and you see something that catches your eye, you'd have a way to see its relative value compared to elsewhere. Chances are, if its a small price difference, I'll pay more to buy what's in front of me to not have to sit through 4 more load screens to go somewhere else. Or I'll pay more to support a vendor who does a good job, maintains reliable stock levels for things I need, and is a fair trader, or is closer to where I live or where I'm headed.

    I just don't get what people are so afraid of.
    Market manipulation? Its already happening. Was evident looking at sales data from the receipts website. Some people like to play the market. The only difference is with real time data these things will be more obvious.
     
    Last edited: Feb 20, 2021
  2. CICI

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    Item Search with prices... within the same town will work too! lol so market towns will still be good...
    I'm a trader in sota an want this added also lol
     
  3. FBohler

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    What do you think about D3 Auction House?
    If you dislike it, how a global one click minimum price would avoid becoming D3 Auction House?

    Also, I thoroughly disagree with your argument that it's already very easy to get the minimum price for any item in SotA.
     
  4. kaeshiva

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    Nobody's asking for an auction house - auctions are kinda horrible.
    I'm not familiar with D3 specifically but I assume it works like most auction houses work.

    For commodities, materials, resources etc. - yes, I'm in favor of seeing minimum price and where it is, and how many they've got to decide if its worth the trip. 100%. That's the point. As I said above, the minimum price is where the players determine it is. If people are willing to spend their time to farm something for the purpose of selling it, and they're happy to sell it at that value, then that's what will happen. If demand outstrips supply, price rises.

    But Sota doesn't just have a commodities market - there's a whole lot of variety when looking at equippables that have varying stats, durability, etc. which would be really hard to quantify at a minimum price.

    We've also got quite a market of "rare" stuff - patterns, cosmetics, stuff from coto store, cotos themselves, etc. Those prices simply aren't going to be "minimum price" - they aren't things you can simply 'go fetch'.

    Here's the way I see it:
    If we have a global market, and everything becomes worth the minimum value i.e. 1 gold over what the NPC will pay you, that tells us something important about the game - it tells us that the npc values are probably right where they should be. It tells us we have far too many "fetchers/producers" and not nearly enough customers. High supply and no demand will make things cheaper, to the point where you create demand - I can go get this myself, but if its THAT cheap, I'll just buy it. Its a better use of my time.

    Things inevitably level out at a place that is a function of the value of the player's time.
    If a player can make 10,000 gold in an hour, and the same player can chop 100 wood in an hour, than paying 100g per log is a good deal for them. Its neutral. Player has to put their own value on the "experience" component which may skew things either way. If they see wood for 50g, they'll likely buy it, even if they don't need it immediately (its a good deal).
    if they see wood for 150g, they'll probably never buy it - they can get it quicker themselves (its a rip off).
    This all changes when new content is added and causes a temporary disruption due to demand spikes for new things of course but ultimately, things will settle around the level where they should: the average price they should be worth based on a player's time to acquire them.

    What throws a kink in the works are external factors like bots.
    If we can't police bots, the value of a bots time is a lot lower.
    Bot can farm loads of stuff and sell it at min price all day.
    (Course, bot can farm stuff now and list it on a vendor and advertise it on discord too, sell to resellers, etc so nothing's really prevented by not having a global listing here).

    I'm not suggesting there's no negatives to a global listing.
    I'm saying that the benefits far outweigh the negatives that seem to impact a small % of players and are better on the whole for market induction, sustainability, participation, and long term player retention. The original plan of regional markets developing through communities is a beautiful dream, but one that falls apart with a dwindling population, poor vendor tools, price obfuscation, and the stifling of natural market forces like supply and demand.

    Don't get me wrong - 15 years ago when the MMO niche was a lot smaller, you saw more small shopkeepers running businesses and spending hours, days, weeks trying to carve out their place in the world, and these sorts of nostalgic systems and challenges had their own value. For some, that was what they did - log on, get on the chat, hawk your wares. Nowadays, players have far too many choices to stick with something long term that causes more frustration than enjoyment.

    And the thing is - the sorts of players for whom community, roleplay, appreciation of a shop, customer loyalty, etc. is important to gameplay? Nothing changes. I'll still probably buy the stuff I buy from the people I know who run things as a business - not because they are cheapest, but because there's a relationship. The search is just for all the stuff I can't find. And this potentially helps me identify new suppliers too. Because it does matter to me. But the reality is for a lot of folks, it doesn't matter at all - they just want to buy their stuff. Those people aren't enticed by attractive storefronts aren't going to suddenly like it because its the only option - they'll deal with it to a point, but it becomes a tick in the "cons" column when they evaluate what game they're going to spend their time playing.

    I think the diminishing interest and population speaks for itself here that what we're doing simply maybe isn't the best solution. It would be nice if we could find a system that had the best of both worlds, but putting arbitrary frustration gates/walls between consumers and buyers is going to cause both types of player to go elsewhere, where no such walls exist.
     
    Last edited: Feb 20, 2021
  5. Cirsee

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    While I agree that price and item listings are a normal occurrence in most games, with the exception of ESO that I know of, the ridiculous and I mean ridiculous amount of time that it takes to fine a single item needs to be addressed. Because of this players may only bother to search one market town. This is unfair for all the other player vendors out there that players don't have the time to search.. I literally have found one ring I was looking for and while searching another town found it cheaper, but had already bought the way more expensive one in the interest of time and maybe not finding it again. Or heck remembering where I found it in the first place.

    You have vendors with "store" names that make it harder to see what you want and you have vendors with names like food/artifact/bandit and they don't have any of that left on them. I would be very happy for a real time just item listing. Searching a couple towns for specific things I want is a fair expense of time and keeps your prices hidden. I think it s a fair point to meet your buyers at. Sure can players buy up your stuff and sell it over yours at that point.. sure, but they still bought your stuff out first.
     
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  6. kaeshiva

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    In ESO, you are able to search for items and see prices, but you're limited in scope to the "guilds" you belong to. Many such guilds exist precisely for buy and sell and end up being quite large - I know I could search something like a thousand shops with a few queries without leaving the bank terminal. And then there are at least two mods that globalize this allowing global search with price, but you had to physically go to that guild's shop if you weren't a member to actually make the purchase.

    I agree that 'anything would be better than what we have now' I just know I will personally get really tired of this "no price listing" leading me to someone's shop who has listed silver ore for 100k each to try to get me to buy their other crap or simply to be a troll. Its almost worse than no listing at all, which just wastes my time - this is blatantly baiting me and wasting my time. And because of all the dead vendors out there with overpriced things, you'll have to try and "remember" all the hundreds of ones to ignore since they'll keep showing up on the listing even though the stuff's been sat there for years.

    Perhaps something like a merchant guild is the answer. All the legacy/glut listings that have been sat forever wouldn't be included because merchants would need to actually join said guild before their items showed up. You could even have like nominal guild dues to add a cash sink. Either that or in the search functionality allow players to ignore listings over a certain age, or flag particular vendors to ignore because they are trolling. A system without prices would need a LOT of refinements to make it really work and I personally just think its over complicating matters. It also doesn't solve the bigger part of the problem, which is that nobody knows what anything is worth. I may see 50 people selling the item I want - I go visit 3, and see 3 highly varied prices. How do I know these are reasonable? How many is a fair sampling? If I start at home and go visit 3 different people in different towns, that's already at least 5 load screens and 3 wandering-about-trying-to-find-the-vendor scenarios so I've probably spent at least 10-15 minutes. And may not even find what I want at a reasonable price. And I have to do this for every single item I want.

    If anything, I'd say that the pricing issue is the more important part. Forget a listing, just have a searchable price database showing prices but not where to find them. Then at least you'd know if the vendor you happen to be stood in front of is fair. The problem is, that 'hiding things' leads to manipulators trying to drive average price up by listing stuff at insane amounts (or insanely low amounts, and hiding the vendor in a basement somewhere nobody can access it).

    It seems simplest to kill both birds with one stone rather than create an extremely complicated system that hides prices, and then create another separate system to help people see prices but not linked to actual live sale listings because this would upset a small handful of people who wont be able to monopolize the market anymore. Because that's really what it comes down to.

    None of this means that you can't "play a merchant." You can still play a merchant. You can still advertise, decorate, and do other clever things I've seen people do, like offer return customers coupons, etc. and build a customer base. I know there's a lot of folks out there who, global listing or not, if they are repeat buyers of a particular item will go to the person they have a relationship with. What a global listing does do, is keep people honest with pricing, since there's a benchmark to check against. Anyone who is saying this is "bad" I question what they're trying to pull.
     
    Last edited: Feb 21, 2021
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  7. FBohler

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    I suggest you to read a bit about the D3 Auction House (it wasn't only about auctions), what it caused in the game and what Blizzard did to it.
    SotA don't need to experiment with something that ruined another game.
     
  8. kaeshiva

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    So some other game (with a completely different set of circumstances, systems, and population, not to mention drastically different itemization) had an auction house, and disbanded it because it made "getting items too easy". There's so many variables not being mentioned that its not even a remotely reasonable comparison. "Because it didn't work for this particular set of circumstances, it wont work anywhere else." Plenty of games have global markets that greatly enhance the experience.

    The question is whether such a system would improve this game.
    There's no question that "what we have now" is not fit for purpose, else this topic would not keep coming up again and again.

    So sure, we can leave things just how they are, for the handful of people who think everything's fine, or who are threatened that market transparency will ruin their monopoly / affect their profitability / de-value their "investment". We can deliberately stifle progress and keep a clunky system that clearly a significant portion of the population is unhappy with. This is kinda like refusing to use electricity because it will put the candle-makers out of business.

    There's also another demographic who wants the nostalgic small-town feel, the ability to roleplay, run a shop, build a brand, advertise, get a loyal customer base, etc. This is a legitimate concern, but honestly, the target audience who appreciates these elements will not cease to exist if there's a global listing. I know I would still visit the well-outfitted shops to browse and window shop because I do appreciate this sort of thing. Not everyone does, or has the time to spend hours wandering the world looking for something and when finding it, have no idea if the price is reasonable or not.

    For just about everyone else - its a good thing. New people can see what things are worth. People not in market towns suddenly have equal visibility. Buyers can find what they need quickly and efficiently. New participants in the market have no blockers for entry. Sellers have real time knowledge of pricing trends to better tailor their shop so as to not have stuff sitting unsold for weeks/months. And so on and so forth.

    With any significant change, some people are going to be upset. But choosing not to implement some sort of market tools makes the sota economy not fit for purpose, not satisfying, frustrating, and awkward. It practically forces self-reliance, as its often easier to go get / make something yourself than struggle to find it - or forces players to use resources outside the game to compensate for this shortcoming. And I've always said, any system that is so bad/tedious/slow/annoying that the best mitigation is to tab out of the game as a solution, needs to be re-evaluated.
     
  9. FBohler

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    You seemingly didn't do the research necessary to discuss the D3 AH failure and how could SotA avoid it.
     
  10. Templarius

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    Perfect! This is a real situation of SOTA!
     
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  11. Templarius

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    This is a diferent game, with diferent type of players, diferent economy, diferent farm and diferent entire situation.
    Dont compare a "players farmers just want sell gold for real money" to regular players of SOTA, this is two diferent worlds.
     
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  12. kaeshiva

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    I'm not sure why you're so hung up on this particular case that is based on a completely different set of circumstances. About the only similarity was that it was an auction house in a multiplayer game - with different itemization methods, different goals, different pretty much everything. In D3 loot=progression, and allowing players to sell progression for cash trivialized gameplay. They didn't just remove the auction house they completely got rid of player to player trades - the auction house made it easier to buy and sell, but their problem wasn't the auction house, it was the buying and selling of items to begin with - which has been completely stopped now except if you were present when the item dropped, and only for a limited time period.

    So I'm not sure where you're going with this. Are you suggesting if we implement a market index (which basically just makes it easier to do what people are already doing now with a clunky outdated system heavily supported by out-of-game tools/comms) we'll end up having to remove trade completely? I don't think that's realistic, viable, likely, or practical. We're not talking about adding player trades where they don't exist, we're talking about saving people pointless tedium spending hours sitting through load screens, waiting for lots to load, waiting for vendors to load, in fruitless searching for items that may not even be there.

    Perhaps it would help if you explained specifically what you are worried will happen? And why would it happen in Sota (which is nothing like D3, in any way other than that its a multiplayer game in which loot exists), and why it hasn't happened in the countless other games that have systems to facilitate player to player trading?
     
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  13. FBohler

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    D3 Auction House did entirely kill the early game because you could get mid-high end gear right off the bat. How to prevent this from happening in SotA?

    I have an idea of how to avoid the D3 fate:
    Make a "heat" measure for items and add a fee to see the sales prices and another fee to see the cheapest available. The fee value will be a function of the "heat" for that item. The more traded and sought after, the hotter is the item.
    I think this should make players think twice before searching global prices, but still being able to do so. And obviously, a good gold sink to help holding back inflation.
     
  14. kaeshiva

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    That makes sense, but I think that's more a symptom of the lack of equip-requirements and such. When we're talking about gear specifically, there's nothing stopping a new player from slapping on high end gear at level 1 and stomping through content. Nothing's stopping them from doing it now, except maybe a lack of understanding on where to find it/ what its worth which yes, a global market would certainly change - especially since there's a lot of pretty decent high end stuff that sells for peanuts because of the crafting system issues.

    Gear itself actually presents another problem - is how do you index it for search? I 'm looking for [equip slot] with [stat] with [durability] it becomes complicated with a lot of filters/headache. And I don't think "gear shopping" is really the main driver for this market, its more resources and commodities.

    I'd be interested in hearing feedback from folks who are against a central market idea, whether or not their feelings would change if centralization only applied to standardized items - a commodities market, if you will, selling ore, wood, crops, reagents, vegetables, consumables such as food, dye, potions, scrolls, - but anything that was custom, (basically, if it bears a makers mark) would not be applicable? So yea to items you get from the game, but nay to items that players produce. Would that alleviate any objections? Perhaps is the way to compromise. You'd still have to shop for gear. We could make a decision on whether to include standard, statless items such as coto store stuff, furniture, deco.

    Gear shopping would still be a pain, but if there were that-many-fewer-vendors-with-random-junk-on it would still alleviate things somewhat.

    Although taking this approach, perhaps its just better to implement a global commodities market over the existing public vendor system, which would award visibility for the cost of commission. Players would still have the option to sell things independently and not have them listed by listing them on their personal vendors. It would require a lot less infrastructure work I reckon. It also creates an opportunity for keen sellers, who see someone's bought something from the commodities market, to reach out to them promiting their private shop location where these items are stocked at better prices. From a dev perspective this would probably be significantly easier to implement as there'd be no need to index stuff on individual player vendors now - just would need to add a global flag to public vendors and restrict item types, then done.

    Thoughts?
     
    Last edited: Feb 22, 2021
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  15. Anpu

    Anpu Bug Hunter

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    I personally do really like the idea of a commodity market. And could either be global, regional or by town, and show highest price sold, lowest price sold and then an average price for all units sold.
     
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  16. oplek

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    The non-commodities are the main motivation for having an item search. Missing that, I wouldn't even bother. Commodities are the easiest things to find.
     
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  17. Wilfred

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    Lots of good discussion here, thanks everyone (and especially @kaeshiva) for all the thoughtful posts.

    I'm not fond of any system that would make player vendors irrelevant. Players have spent a lot to purchase commission free vendors. But if the devs can't make a searchable database work with the player vendors, then I guess I could live with an alternate system, since any search system is better than nothing.

    My preferred solution is still "Regional Vendor Search With Prices", with "Town-Based Vendor Search With Prices" as runner up, and "Global / Universal Vendor Search Without Prices" in third place.

    I still think "Global / Universal Vendor Search With Prices" is a bad idea, because it would take all the fun out of the system. I don't want the whole shopping experience reduced to clicking on an interface.

    More details on my thoughts can be found in these threads:

    Universal Vendor Search without prices
    https://www.shroudoftheavatar.com/f...niversal-vendor-search-without-prices.165508/

    Universal vendor with price
    https://www.shroudoftheavatar.com/forum/index.php?threads/universal-vendor-with-price.166726/

    ----------

    Along with a vendor search system, player vendors also need to be updated to allow buying and selling partial stacks.

    With the current system, it takes way too much time to list sales and purchase orders on vendors. Gatherers who want to sell their beetles, etc. also have difficulty because they can't sell what they have gathered until they have enough to match a minimum purchase order.

    A partial stack system would also allow any POT to create a commodities market by setting up a group of vendors, with each vendor dedicated to buying and selling a few commodities.

    More details in this thread:

    Please Let Players Buy and Sell Partial Stacks on Vendors
    https://www.shroudoftheavatar.com/f...uy-and-sell-partial-stacks-on-vendors.165516/

    ----------
     
    Last edited: Feb 24, 2021
  18. FBohler

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    I think that's a cool idea!

    Maybe start with the commodities to see how things unfold and progress to gear later if ot turns out fine.

    I think there must be some kind of tax related to transaction volumes in order to not make the current vendor system totally worthless.
     
  19. Serr Peters

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    For the majority of us players, it comes down to this: We have limited time to play. Do we want to spend that time shopping, or playing with our friends?

    All we need is assistance FINDING the items we want to purchase, do Not take away hard earned and painstakingly built markets.

    But at current, we are a bunch of villages setting out our wares in hopes that a visitor will see the wares and buy them...not really practical for an MMO that is defined by Avatars with real life memories.
     
  20. Wilfred

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    From the Friday stream today:

    Join Atos and possibly others for some Q&A, updates, and prizes!
    https://www.twitch.tv/videos/938346194

    38:24 WilfredKn: !question
    Have you had a chance to review the forum discussions about Vendor Search options such as town-based/regional/global and with/without prices? What are your preferences for implementing vendor search in SotA?

    - Chris answered about 01:15:25, and said:

    So Vendor Search is one that I do like. Again, having the "it's a one-stop shop where you just go in there and you can find, you know, get everything from the scene, you never have to move around the scene", is something we don't necessarily like the idea of. But having the Town Based or Regional Based, ah having the Town Based specifically is one that we, I do feel works, but still making people move around the town. We do like having the, you know, we're trying not to dumb it down too much in terms of, "you walk into a town and you really don't go into the town". Again, a lot of the towns are super well thought out and beautiful decorations. And, you know, it's, I think it's valuable to the game to have you guys walk around the town, because sometimes you see something you didn't even know you wanted. But wider Regional I'm not sure, Global I'm not sure, but it is one of those things too that I do want to open it up to, many things up to Lua. Pretty much all of that stuff up to Lua. And I'm pretty sure the new person David* is going to also be of that mindset. So we may open things up so if players want to, you know, have some way to extract data and make their own search wider than Town, that might end up happening. I'm personally in favor of having a Town Based search, but not a Global Based search.

    *["David" is a pseudonym for the new programmer who was recently hired onto the SotA team, per other comments in today's stream.]

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