The Great NPC Merchant Debate

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Sorgin Txakal, Mar 11, 2021.

  1. Atticus Gryphonheart

    Atticus Gryphonheart Legend of the Hearth

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    Hate to play devils advocates here.

    Mention supply and demand...to get the mandrake...you would have to arrange with a mandrake farmer to produce the mandrake and provide the shipments to you....and then set up secure chains of delivery. In the end...this would produce some sort "real-world" like system. Paying X gold to farmer Bob to deliver N amount of mandrake every 3 days. Of course may need multiple sources to get 100 k produced.

    Of course this could (most likely would) lead to monopolies since the established business will probably be buying all the mandrake and if you tried to be an alchemist...tough to break in the business new and be almost impossible for new player to become an alchemist after Episode 3 or 4 (unless they can buy an old guys alchemist business and/or take over his contracts). Probably be better money growing and selling mandrake and setting up these contracts than trying to be an alchemist. So this system will be detrimental to new players who aspire to be an alchemist...and the older and longer this game exist...in theory the ability to strive for such a position will be either more difficult or take even more time to accomplish.

    Spontatanous actions will also be difficult...i.e. "finally have time to play today..Lets work on alchemy"...will no longer work. You'll probably have to spend time gathering resources to a "point" where worth the time for you to do that activity. Guess its a different kind of grind.
     
  2. Sorgin Txakal

    Sorgin Txakal Avatar

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    This is the very thing guilds were set up to address, both in the real world and in most MMOs. If guilds exist, there cannot be monopolies unless a single guild was somehow able to price fix every vendor in the game.

    LAMP has a serious hardcore farmer, and multiple part time farmers. There is nothing that can be farmed that a community working together can't amply supply its members with enough left over to sell on guild vendors to help fund additional land growth.

    You can easily set up vendors in a guild dungeon or guild building with locked doors that only Kindred (guild members) can use and then public vendors everyone can use.


    The biggest complaint I have heard in the past is that there wasn't enough demand for farmed goods which is why some of our guild farming players quit the game, because they just wanted to farm and have steady demand for their crops.


    Had we only known that there were people willing to pay the stupid NPC merchant prices for farmable goods, we would have advertised farmed goods better and a few more farmer players might have stuck around.
     
  3. Atticus Gryphonheart

    Atticus Gryphonheart Legend of the Hearth

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    As said earlier...playing devils advocate. Reality is probably somewhere in between (Being optimistic here, but i see a minimum of a ≤ 5 - 10 % increase in commodity prices across the board).

    To create an healthy economy you need demand.

    The NPCs affect the creation of demand by providing convience.

    Players can probably provide the goods at a reasonable cost, but sometimes getting the goods can be inconvient.

    If the median and mean prices remain steady but there is an increase in production of a commodity being offered by players, this is a good thing.

    I think I am now understanding why Altos said "The plan would be to first double the price on NPC vendors, and after that, remove them completely. That is coming [next release]"

    I guess they want to increase the cost of the convience to be able to purchase from an NPC Vendor.

    (I paid 40000 gp for reagents today cuz i didnt want to go through a couple load screens...might have headed to a market had it cost 80K).

    Still on fence about total removal though....still have those days when you just realized you ran out of paper towels and the only store open is the gas station.
     
  4. SmokerKGB

    SmokerKGB Avatar

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    Sounds like a "Job"... I don't play online games so that I have to be a business owner, besides, there is only maybe 1% of the players who want to be business owners... The rest of us just want to go into town and buy all the resources(that are Farmed now). When I do alchemy(or cooking), I only purchase 10k - 20k of what I need, then go produce potions like G.Heal...

    What the Devs are doing will destroy that type of game play because my only source will be: Gathering(how long does it take you to gather 20k of anything?), for me, I play casually... So, if I really need it, then I'm forced to look at player vendors where I find stacks of 100k for sale(hundreds of stacks) for outrageous prices(many times higher than NPC pricing) and for 100k that's more gold than I have... at least more than I'm willing to spend... Because I can calculate production costs and if I were to pass that cost to my customers, I would have no customers...

    Heck, there are guild monopolies right now and this change will NOT change that, what it WILL do is force the rest of us to buy from guild vendors, at very high prices(guaranteed)... Why else would players want to sell part of a stack, it's so they can hold endless supply in a single stack(I'm not opposed to this idea, but I am opposed to the "reason" they want it)...

    Oh, so I guess they don't want players like me playing this game.... OK, I can take the hint...

    Yes, and the Guilds have taken advantage of this... and your wrong, Guilds control all the resources, therefor they DO have monopolies(buy from them or you won't find it anywhere)...Have you ever seen the phrase "price check" texted anywhere? This IS price fixing... When everyone uses the same Guild for "suggested retail" pricing, then they ARE price fixing all the resources, where no one dare to sell for less because the Guilds want total control over that resource... So, they have Billions in gold, it makes no difference to them to buy your stock out(how long will it take you to restock?)... I'll give you an example: I mine iron ore, I know this one guild vendor in a POT(very hard to get a vendor sight in this POT) and this vendor has stacks and stacks of iron ore, so I buy then out... The very next day that vendor is fully stock again, I would say this Guild is monopolizing iron ore, controlling the price AND controlling the supply... Since my only recourse is to mine the ore myself guess how long it takes me to mine 1000 iron ores(you miners all know how long it takes), playing casually, it takes all month and that's all I would do when playing(very boring grind)...

    My solution is: a Global search engine that lists every player vendor AND their stock/price... But this won't work either, it would just make it easier for Guilds to find their resources, to buy them all out... along with mining members supplying resources as well, so it's a difficult problem...

    I don't think removing reagents/produce from NPC will have a Good effect on the game and I want them to reconsider this change as "Bad for the Game", it will only satisfy a small % of our player base... and be detrimental to the other 99% of players...

    I suppose that IF they increased the yield from gathering to like 5x what we get now, then gathering would be more important activity, when each zone has 1000 yield from gathering(say mandrake), I would be happy... Which brings me back to the algorithm thing, the more you buy(from NPC), the lower the price goes(don't you expect a Discount when buying 100k of anything?) is what should happen... When you sell (to an NPC), they still give you 50% of their selling price(which if someone has been buying their stock out, the price should be going down for future spawns) which means the sellers would be getting less gold, when selling to an NPC(so therefor more important to sell to a Player directly).... I'm talking below 1 gold per, prices could go down to 0.001 gold per... This is what should happen because when there is a "glut" (over abundance, overstock or simply Hoarding), the NPC price should fall to rock bottom... Until the overstock is gone...

    I think this is better than doubling the price, then eliminating it from NPC altogether...

    Are you talking about "Player demand" for farmed goods? Meaning "making sales" of farmed goods... Well, if you ain't getting sales, then your price is too high, players are advising you of what price to sell at AND they're trying to maintain their monopoly on that resources... It's a supply/demand market and free enterprise is working too... Players pretty much know what price they're willing to pay and when it's cheaper to buy from an NPC (because you're price gouging), then they buy from NPC... for farmers who can't make any sales, it's much easier to dump 100k mandrake on an NPC(even 100k at 4 gold per, is still 400k gold quick cash)... and if your trying to get your "Time spent" back, Good luck with that...

    Eliminating a resource from an NPC will NOT drive customers to your store... A Global market place will help in advertising your store AND let you view what others are selling for(called competition)... Now you have a choice: sell at their price(getting no sales) or undercut them a small amount to try and get the most out of your labor... If you still are not getting sales, then sell at NPC pricing (mandrake is 8 gold each) what's wrong with that? If you sell to NPC you only get 4 gold per, but sell on your own vendor for double...

    When you over price things: demand is eliminated because there will always be another source for that resource or you go months without any sales, until the right desperate player (sucker)comes along with millions of gold, then they won't care what price they're charge just as long as they get the resource... I've been there many times myself...

    OK got a wall of text, so I'm stopping...
     
  5. SmokerKGB

    SmokerKGB Avatar

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    Actually, No... What you need is "Sales", if you don't have sales, then you won't be getting any gold(that's 0 gold)... Demand is always there, but sales is different, it relies on Pricing (overpriced items will never sell), no matter how many you have... It will sell to that desperate player who has more gold than they know what to do with, but 1 sale is not going to make you wealthy...

    Demand IS NOT created, its always there... NPC create competition(players in this game and others don't respond well to competition), so eliminating the competition will cause prices to raise(does NOT mean you will increase sales), this will make the problem worse... Now, Farmer won't have any outlet for their overstock(sale WILL NOT change), so they will either leave the game or stop trying to supply mandrake as a resource...

    No, not really... It leads to "overstock", if your not getting sales, then why would you "increase" production? Over abundance usually lead to price drops, but not around here... For some reason the player merchants in game expect to make Billions of gold, they expect to sell everything and anything for whatever price they put on it... This IS NOT reality...
     
  6. Atticus Gryphonheart

    Atticus Gryphonheart Legend of the Hearth

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    Right. When I want to purchase something, I have a set price range in mind I am willing to pay when searching for a product. This may sound silly, but I will literally pay a NPC merchant more money than a player if not withing my range...the NPC town I live in is not very inhabited. Players not willing to drop the price should have low sale receipts.

    The question is will prices become outragous if the NPC merchants are removed? In my situation, I would probably move to a new, especially if the only player who is selling the commodity of interest raised the price to even higher spot in response to the merchant's removal.

    My true feelings is that NPC Merchant shouldn't be removed but should be used as a form of market control. In some cases a commodity price should be doubled and sell back reduced in half....but that may change in 6 months. This may require some serious programing to implement though.

    Regarding the farmer who cant sale his overstock item, is it because of location? Or is he also trying to maximize profit and not willing to go to "the lower range" of the price spectrum for said commodity. Or have market forces got the price where to you break even with what has to be purchased. Either way...all those factors should help him decide whether to supply mandrake. I really hope he didn't only wanted to play this game just to be a mandrake farmer though...cant make a game that niche specific.

    The peeps who are not selling are still contributing to that commodities price by letting them know its overpriced but not to stock that is moving.

    You are right..If they dont want to lower the prices...why would they keep making more...they are not selling.

    The peeps who have the opportunity to increase production will be those who can actually move product. Which means they must be offering a fair price.

    Establishment of guilds, cooperatives, and PoT should have allowed that, especially if peeps in such establishment communicate most likely play a role in determining this.

    The NPC merchant could help prevent exploitation from these cooperatives, especially for more niche based resources.
     
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  7. Jayfire

    Jayfire Avatar

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    One thing I think they should take into consideration

    Before implementing this, implement the abilities to buy individuals from a stack at a player vendor. Also some kind of search feature, maybe you can search a large database and it will then point you in the direction of the vendor
     
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  8. shadowvice

    shadowvice Bug Hunter

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    Am I missing something? We, as players, are able to make the items that will be removed in game already. So although we could rely on other PC vendors, we could also make the very things we need as well. Isn't removing the items from the NPCs vendors just pushing people to either make it yourself or buy it from someone?
     
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  9. Sorgin Txakal

    Sorgin Txakal Avatar

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    I took Water Plants and Sow Seeds from 0 to 102 and 113 respectively last night; just so I could speak knowledgeably about the farming experience as I had never farmed anything before and up to this point have given 99.9% of my business to player vendors for anything that can be farmed.

    I planted a 5 story basement full of garlic so I don't have to watch any clocks, sometime a week from now I will water them again, sometime a week after that I will harvest them. Also planted some wheat topside and it looks like I only need to water it once a day, which isn't much but is the kind of gaming commitment I prefer to outsource and pay a premium for someone else to do it in bulk.


    I really don't see how any fears of a major price hike can be realized. Every player gets a free village deed, and even if they don't want to spend any money on the game, 500k gold will buy you a 5-story village basement you can fill with planting pots and so your startup cost to become a self-sufficient part-time farmer is only like 550k gold (700k with a hoe of prosperity) and your ROI on just a crop like garlic is on like your 44th thousand garlic plant at 4 gold per garlic (NPC merchant price), which sounds a lot more than it actually is considering you can batch sow and water ~16+ crops at once.


    The NPC merchants represented a realistic trade relationship between a grower and distributor. If a farmer doesn't want to play shop owner, advertiser, & distributor (which is often the case), they sell at a price that someone else can then resell at a more centralized location. Considering it costs 1.5 gold per garlic to create, then a sale price to a NPC or player distributor at 3 gold (100% profit margin) to then be turned around and re-sold at market for 4 gold each (33% profit margin) would be very reasonable. The problem is, @SmokerKGB , not that vendors priced things too high, but that the ceiling for where they could price anything was always limited by the infinite supply of NPCs that never changed price.

    And with people batching crops on multiple city lots, both within and independently of guilds, a crop, that has the highest demand of any crop in game, that should be selling for 4 gold each, is produced in such abundance that any new player farmer has to settle for less than one gold in profit per garlic in order to move it directly, leaving alone the opportunities for any middle men.

    [​IMG]

    There is clearly steady player demand for at least ~3,000 garlic per day.

    This is real demand driven by player consumption. When an item is in this high of demand relative to everything else in an economy it should not be difficult to move at a somewhat realistic 30-40% profit margin (2 gold each) if not a 60-70% profit margin (2.5 gold each) leaving alone the consideration that this is a video game based on pre-industrial age tech that should be more rewarding to agriculture than today's factory farming and automated industries.


    Addendum: I do not believe a monopoly can exist under these circumstances of high demand and high accessibility. No one, not even if CICI, Dax, Elrond and The BMC combined in a price fixing collaboration. They would not be able to raise the prices of garlic above 4 gold under current circumstances. I do not believe they would be able to sustain a price hike of 4 gold after the NPC merchants are gone, as the farmers will just keep producing more and more as the prices increase and consumption cannot exceed real demand for extended periods of time.
     
    Last edited: Mar 22, 2021
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  10. SmokerKGB

    SmokerKGB Avatar

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    Yes, and I think once players see the price others are trying to sell, they choose(like I did), to make it themselves, but wait: how long would it take me to grow 100k garlic? If I don't have a dedicated lot for farming, then it would take me a very long time to grown that much...

    Yes, that's right because the NPC is competing with them and they don't vary their prices at all, but they can supply endless quantities(players can't do that)... And this is why the high end merchant players want this change, so they can charge what they wish and the player has no other recourse...

    You lost me here: it's a supply/demand market... The farmers won't be able to keep up with demand, like an NPC can... So, I predict a shortage of every reagent/produce because farmers won't be able to sell their overstock to NPC, they'll stop farming because it won't be worth it(they'll still farm for personal use), then the high end sellers will have a monopoly... Then they will charge what ever they want...

    This is why we need a global search engine, so the little guy can compete with the high end guys(professional merchants)...
     
  11. SmokerKGB

    SmokerKGB Avatar

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    You lost me here: from your data sheet, a single player purchased 3k garlic per day: if that player stops for any reason, then you have zero sales... Having a single player purchasing this much per day, IS NOT an indication of "High" demand.... It IS an indication that player is mass producing an item(what item, I have no clue) and they're probably doing it for guild supplies... This data sheet doesn't show this info... In fact it's pure speculation that they purchased 3k per day, they probably do like I do: purchase until I'm overweight, then mail it to myself, until I have the entire 90k of garlic, which is what I wanted to begin with...

    Having single players purchasing large quantities is NOT an indication of high demand... Having 100 players purchasing large quantities(of garlic) is a better indicator, losing 1 customer won't hurt the market or change the price...

    "Should be selling for?" The market sets the price and when there is no competition(like eliminating NPC items), inflation will happen... Without competition, there is no free market, but rather a monopoly...

    It's like this: I'm a seller, but I have no clue as to what to charge ppl, so I pick a number out of the air... If I sell out all my stock within hours, then my price is too low... If my stock sits there for days & days, then my price is too high... If I'm not willing to do the research to find the "mean" price, then I will ask for a "price check" and hopefully that person giving advise knows what they're talking about, otherwise I fall in the trap of "price fixing"(which is by following their advise, I would be setting the same price and that's price fixing)... In order to get sales, I need to "under-cut" my competitors and then I need good advertising, so my customers know what I have to offer...

    A Global search engine would fix a lot of this, but until we have that, eliminating items off NPCs is a bad move, IMO...
     
  12. Lained

    Lained Avatar

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    That's the total consumed garlic in the last thirty days by all players not just by the person who consumed the most, what constitutes consumed I've no idea as that's a very low amount or garlic.
     
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  13. Sorgin Txakal

    Sorgin Txakal Avatar

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    Ya, I am guessing this is just the garlic consumed as a part of casting spells, and only for players who allow logging of their character's stats for the leaderboard.

    Would be nice if we could see "Total Processes" which would include total used in spells as well as all spent in the creation of potions, foods, etc.

    But looking at that as a fraction of the daily garlic consumption in game, and seeing that in that specific use case it is one of the top used items in game. This indicates that there is significant demand for this good which is entirely driven by player actions.


    The reason, @SmokerKGB that any price hike of a farmable good is unsustainable, is because there are a lot of farmers in the game that could easily continually flood the market, and if the garlic, for example, is just piling up in the inventories of people who constantly use global item search to find a specific good and deplete it from the market, the farming players, so encouraged, will just replenish the good the next day, possibly in greater abundance.

    It's not like COTOs which are a slow trickle into the economy and therefore can be relatively depleted for significant impact, these reagents can literally be grown in the tens of thousands by many individual player every day, and it would be pointless to try to hoard all the e.g. garlic or nightshade or barley in the game, because people will just keep producing more of it, and if you aren't selling the stock you have, then you are just losing money in the long run.


    A global item search would encourage monopolies, not discourage them, as it would allow people with the capital to hoard items to find them faster and with less effort than they are spending now. But it would be pointless to try to significantly inflate the price of a good you can't limit the available supply of.
     
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  14. SmokerKGB

    SmokerKGB Avatar

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    That's not what the data sheet is saying: all players-No... How many players do you think we have? I'd like to think 100,000, but lets use 10,000, if 10% use garlic for all needs, that would be 1,000 players buying only 90,000 garlic over a 30 day period... That doesn't make sense, what does make sense is 1 player using 90,000 garlic...

    Until the person who created the data sheet clarifies thing, I take it to mean just 1 player consumed 90,000 garlic...

    Mmm, not really, I assume you have never played WoW auction house(same as global search), I tried to corner the market as I had 10,000 gold, but that wasn't nearly enough... The more I bought, the more that was listed for sale(you could never buy it all even if you did have the gold)... When I was playing: 10,000 gold was worth something, games like UO had out of control inflation, I just don't want to see SotA going down the same path...

    The thing you want to understand is: there were like 100 listings... 50 of those were way too expensive for me, 25 were expensive and then there was the small fry amounts like 112 iron ore, the bottom 25 is what I was buying and ignoring the high priced ores... The listing just kept coming, I had to bail, couldn't afford it... and the higher priced guys were still there, sitting...

    I don't know the "moral" of this story, so forget it... Trying to corner the market is pretty hard to do by yourself, but with the power of Guilds pooling their resources, that creates large monopolies, and when players look up to these Guilds for advise, the market gets set to a common price... Everyone "thinks" everyone else is getting sales, but I'm afraid that's just not true...
     
  15. Cora Cuz'avich

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    Nobody "made" that data sheet, it's one of the leaderboards. That's how they work; it shows the total amount used by all players, and then names the player who has used the most. Or do you really think a player drank 22,000 potions in 30 days? Or that CICI used 46,000 zone scrolls? That'd be one per minute, every minute of every day, for the entire 30 days. Factor in load times, and that's not even possible.
     
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  16. Anpu

    Anpu Bug Hunter

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    The header for it at the top even specifically states “Most Consumed By” , not “all consumed by”.

    Also Nightshade suddenly is in first place for reagents used. That’s quite a bit!
     
  17. Cora Cuz'avich

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    To be fair, "Total Consumed" could refer to the total amount consumed by the person who consumed the most. That is, if one were looking at that screengrab in a vacuum with no external information. But, we know that's not the case.
     
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  18. SmokerKGB

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    Nightshade is used for making Poisons: so how many players are using it for their weapons? and I think it is used for enchanting maybe(mandrake, nightshade in 20 counts per), so 90,000 in 30 days seems about right(if its total consumed for all players), but you know when I go purchase reagents for enchanting, I purchase 10,000 at a time(whatever my weight will allow) and if I don't use it all, my stack just keeps growing... So, I can see 90,000 being used by a single player too...

    This data chart needs more data: How many did the 1 player buy? How many players contributed to the totals? There should be a sub-sheet where all players who purchased and quantities, dates, times, locations have data...

    Yes, consumed means: destroyed or changed... When you use mandrake to make a potion, the reagent is changed into a new item... The old item mandrake is destroyed... Someone else was asking about "consumed"...

    This is the way I read this data: Total consumed by that person over 30 days... If this 1 guy is working in a Guild or just running his own store, I can see them using 90k over 30 days(I'm just looking at the reagents too) the wording of the headers could be more descriptive and until a Dev jumps in to clarify and change my mind...
     
  19. Duke Gréagóir

    Duke Gréagóir Legend of the Hearth

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    I better become a farmer in the next day before the new release. What §magic reagent plants when you harvest give you seeds to plant again? Are seeds being removed from the seed vendors too?

    I only see nightshade seeds for sale in Brittany. mandrake root in aerie. and garlic seeds in etecter.
     
    Last edited: Mar 23, 2021
  20. Alley Oop

    Alley Oop Bug Hunter Bug Moderator

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    those have always been scattered among the various vendors rather than all available everywhere
     
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