Thursday, February 4, 2021

I Go Shopping

In what could all too easily be seen as some kind of excercise in wilful self-parody following this recent post, touching heavily as it did on my inability or unwillingness either to make or follow plans, this morning I sat down at my PC fully intending to play Black Desert, only to find myself spending nearly three hours shopping for clothes in EverQuest instead. 

All I meant to do was pick up the Overseer rewards I'd failed to collect the evening before because I got wrapped up in Guild Wars 2's Lunar Festival. First doing it then writing about it. All I meant to do in EQ was grab the loot, set the new missions and log out. Five minutes, tops.

Only it just so happened that when I logged in I spotted there were well over two hundred people trading in the Bazaar. Of late, numbers have been down, sometimes as low as a hundred and fifty. I haven't seen the count go over two hundred since well before Christmas. 

I don't really know why it's been quiet on the trading floor but I suspect it may be because when a new expansion comes out people have better things to do than afk in the Bazaar. Not everyone has an alternate account set up just to trade and people want to get out there and play the new content. Also expansions create shake-ups and the market takes a while to adjust. Maybe some people just prefer to let prices settle before jumping in. Who knows?

Whatever the reason, it seemed like a good time to go shopping. The ever-growing pile of platinum I've been adding to since autumn has been burning a hole in my pocket for weeks and there's always the prospect of bargains when an expansion starts to shake out.

In EverQuest, of course, nothing's ever that simple. What might have been a few minutes' browsing and buying turned into a full morning of research. It very nearly turned into an epic excursion into the frozen wastes of Velious, the new, high-level one where a solo player even at the level cap most likely has a life expectancy measured in microseconds.

I wouldn't know from experience just how dangerous it might have been. I have, as yet, managed to avoid finding out for myself. The furthest I've ventured is the safe camp at the entrance to 2019's Torment of Velious. For a while there this morning it seemed like there was a chance I might be making the trek across Eastern Wastes to Crystal Caverns but fortunately sanity prevailed. 

To cut a very long and convoluted story short, after about an hour or so of research I was able to establish that:

  1. My unsubscribed Magician can wear Torment of Velious Tier One armor
  2. ToV T1 armor patterns are tradeable
  3. They're cheap to buy in the Bazaar right now
  4. The items you need to combine inside them to make the finished armor can be bought from NPCs
  5. One of the items is for sale in Plane of Knowledge
  6. The other is for sale in Crystal Caverns
  7. That item is also tradeable
  8. A couple of enterprising players have thought to buy up a bunch of said vendor-sold items in Crystal Caverns and put them up for sale in the Bazaar
  9. And they haven't gouged the price much at all.

I'm aware that some players in every game see the re-selling of vendor-sold items via the broker or auction house as tantamount to explotation. I've even know developers to try to put a stop to it. I have always found that to be a very short-sighted view. 

Yes, it can be a scam or a rip-off, paricularly when the price is jacked up by orders of magnitude or the items are extremely easy to find on vendors. In many games, though, the saving in time, effort and especially risk that re-selling provides fully justifies the practice. Far from being vilified as exploitation it ought to be welcomed as a form of community service.


In this case one of the vendors was re-selling the 25k item for 30k, a mark-up I was more than willing to pay for the convenience of not having to run half-way across Norrath. Not to mention the inevitable painful and humiliating series of deaths that often come with breaking trail in any new high-level zone.

I scooped up enough to make a full set of visible armor. Or I would have if I could have counted up to eight. Then I made the armor. Or I would have if I'd had a spare inventory space for the conatainer. What with having to go back to the first trader three times, then to five different traders for the best-priced patterns, then to yet another because one guy actually repriced the pattern I was going to buy as I was standing in front of him, then having to log in my own trader to swap out all the trade goods and materals my Mage was carrying to make space for the combines, the whole thing took quite a while.

It was worth it. When I was done not only had the Magician's stats taken a significant step up but for the first time in as long as I can remember she was looking pretty much how I wanted her to look. For years she was stuck with a sickly green outfit that looked like a mildewed bathrobe. This last year she's been looking a lot better in red and I've been happy with that but I prefer the appearance of the Flameweaver set. It's deliciously ironic to look icy cool when you're setting the world on fire.

I didn't stop there, either. I went through every non-visible slot and checked to see if there was anything better available. I found upgrades for several slots including possibly the most important and hardest to come by of all for a Magician, an earring with the Enhanced Minion focus.


That alone set me back half a million platinum but it was very well worth it. The Mage's existing earring had Enhanced Minion XVIII, too low to affect the pets she can summon at 115. The new one, the only tradeable, non-prestige upgrade currently available (I checked) is EM XXI. It'll work on her current pets and also, with diminishing effects, on the first few she gets in the next expansion that comes with a level cap increase. I sincerely hope whoever's in charge of itemization will throw her another bone after that.

The only problem is the pet she has right now is so ludicrously overpowered from dozens of raid-level buffs it received when we were sitting in the Guild Lobby for weeks soaking up MGBs that any new pet she summons will be feeble by comparison, even if it's higher level. Before she goes hunting with it she'll need to spend a couple of days afk in the Pile to buff it up.

Which isn't going to be a problem because she's not going hunting any time soon. It's entirely possible she might not go hunting at all until the level cap changes because why would she? She's not going to get any upgrades that way and she certainly can't make money any faster than she's making it right now by standing around, doing nothing.

And money's just rolling in right now. By the time I'd finished shopping I'd spent around a million platinum but I'll have it all back in a couple of weeks. She already picked up a quarter of a million in takings today, when she swapped mats onto her trading partner. 

You might wonder what the point of it all is. I would, myself, if it wasn't for the simple fact that I get as much involvement and satisfaction out of upgrading her gear the way I've just described as I ever got from hunting for it. Quite possibly more.

It's not all about the killing, after all. Sometimes it's just about the dressing-up.


  1. Reselling vendor items is certainly an interesting point -- preying on the ignorant is never nice after all. But if any fixes were to be made here, I think a simple addition to the tooltip stating it can be purchased from a Vendor (possibly even detailing at xyz price) would be sufficient.

    Because like you, there are certain situations in which I'm willing to pay a mark-up for convenience.

    And it sounds like this very much would've been one of those situations!

    1. That would be a perfect solution. There are actually quite a lot of situations where having vendor-sold items available is very much in the interest of the buyer as well as the re-seller and they pretty much all come down to conveninece and accessibility. In my case it saved me a long and possibly dangerous trip but the most common reason I end up buying vendor-sold items from players is for crafting.

      In some games, EQII is a particular example, there are many occasions where a quest requires you to make something while you're in a dungeon or an instance or way out in the wilderness. Usually the quest will have had you acquire the materials needed but very often it will expect you to have brought your own fuel. There have been many occasions where I've been very happy to pay well over the going rate for a stack of coal or candles purchased through the UI and delivered directly to my backpacks rather than taking time and trouble to go back to a city to buy from a vendor at a saving that is absolutely meaningless.

      Of course, developers could design the quests so things like that didn't occur but we all know that's never going to happen, so I'm more than happy for players to pick up the slack.


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