This post should really be two separate things, but since they both pertain to FF14, I’ll merge them into one.

One of the things I’ve seen repeated from the FF14 team regarding the lack of an auction house in FF14 is that they want crafters to be able to earn a decent wage from the items they craft and to be able to make a profit doing it, and this is why they needed to obfuscate the system in such a way that the buyer cannot get a complete picture of how much an item is worth, and the buyer cannot easily track down all instances of that item that are for sale. They are trying to decommoditize the market through obfuscation because as their (partially correct) argument states, being able to see the price quickly drives the price to the point where with limited buyers, the sellers are making only a slim profit if any at all, and those with poorer crafting skills that can’t produce items for a lower price may be unable to turn a profit at all.

They are correct in a way with the FF11 market. In some areas they had exactly that problem. There were more people producing an item or finding the item from drops than there were people buying the items. Especially with durable items. They want to try something different, which is commendable, but the thing they’re trying has been done before, not in games, but in the real world.

The early 1990’s collectible market was interesting. There were a handful of brokers that stood between the people who had collectibles in their attic and poeple who wanted to buy these collectibles. Because of the hassle, most people who had collectibles would just hang onto them due to the hassle of selling them, or they would sell them to a pawn shop or an antique store for a pittance compared to what it was worth. Those pawn shops and antique stores would turn around and sell it for a higher amount to the collectors that really desired the item. There was tons of friction in the market and the volume was relatively low. The middlemen were quite justified in marking things up so much, because the chances of finding a buyer for that exact item were fairly slim.

Mid to late 90’s, this changed. Haggle.com, Ebay, and a handful of other auction sites opened up and created a paradoxical situation in the collectibles market. Buyers were finding things cheaper there, and more often than before, but at the same time sellers were selling their stuff for higher prices than before. Because these sites greatly decreased the friction inherent in the market, everyone benefited. Even the middlemen were getting a decent profit from the new system.

The FF14 market system is a lot like the collectible market prior to Ebay. A handful of people have the time to work the system and make a profit from it, but most of the crafters just end up stockpiling massive amounts of stuff that they have a hard time selling. To the point where crafters will often give stuff away just to clear up space for more crafting. Buyers have to search around for ages to find something they need, else they will have to ask a crafter in their linkshell to help them. The prices for the buyers are higher, but the prices for the sellers are lower because of the friction inherent in the system.

I would suggest that FF11 developers find other ways of creating the scarcities that drive prices up. WoW has a fairly good system. Soulbound items. It essentially turns durable items into consumables and reduces the supply of people selling stuff they don’t need back to the general public. It’s the equivalent of taking that mint condition enterprise 1701 figure out of the box after buying it… There’s probably tons of other ideas like this around.

This brings me to the other point. Rude people on the internet. There are positive and negative ways of interacting about a game with other people on the net. Here are some examples.

A. I’ve been looking at scores for game XYZ, and they look fairly low. Is there anything the reviewers are missing that might make me buy this game?

Good. They are asking a genuine question about a game and looking for advice from people who have actually played it. Heck, the person may even agree with much of the reviews and let you know which parts are truly accurate and are a problem.

B. You’re playing XYZ? You know that BroGamerDoodz gave that game a 25/100. Nobody’s giving it good scores. You must have atrocious taste.

Bad. You’ve already made up your mind. You’re implying not only that the person didn’t read the reviews, and/or that they are an idiot. Often times, they’ve read all the reviews, have played the game, and may even agree with you and/or the reviews on many points, but have other reasons for playing. At this point, they’ve already bought the game and either are in the process, or have made up their own mind. The reviews aren’t going to sway their opinion because they already have a more powerful tool at their disposal… actually playing it. Your opinion is set in stone, so at this point you’re just trolling for trolling’s sake.

Bringing up the review scores at this point implies that you’re either being a troll, or you’re trying to force someone’s opinion by utilizing conformity and social pressure to bring them under your heel. Either your just a jerk, or you have a very low opinion of the people you’re talking about. Don’t worry, they have a low opinion of you too if you pull this.