One of the professions a player may choose to design their character around in that of a merchant. The role has been mentioned in numerous discussion and developers journals. The focus is always on the transport their wares from they were obtained back to town. Normally travelling along dangerous roads, their wagons loaded with goods and guards at their sides. There certainly seems to be the chance for adventure as a merchant. However, what do the merchant do once they get to the end of the road, when they find themselves in town? Well that is when they come into their own when they sell their wares.
This chat log focuses on the selling of goods, both through shops and auction houses in the game. Strangely quite a few questions came up this week possibly inspired by the great screenshot of a blacksmith stall in the latest Developer Journal. In fact it was clearly that image that inspired long time community member Lenek as they actually referred to in their question for Monday’s live chat. They wanted to know if we could set up our own stalls just anywhere on the streets like the screenshot showed:
Like in our world, there’s zoning rules. A space has to be zoned for a market for it to be possible. That’ll prevent people from setting up carts in the middle of the street.
That seems like a good compromise to me. Street vendors add character and life, but you do not want every path blocked with their carts. We do not know exactly how market spaces work, who gets which pitch? Is it first come first served? Do you have to rent the space or can you buy it? I think there is still a lot about how we actually interact with the world.
If we do get our stall set up we are going to need someone to run it, do we have to stand there full time? Or as Senleya wanted to know can we employ other people to run our stalls for us? What about an NPC?
Yep. Some NPCs may be looking for work. And of course, you can always hire other PC or OPCs. It could be that a friend and you take shifts, each working the store with your OPC while the other is online. Then you can take turns crafting and selling to make sure you’re open 24 hours!
Though Capsian did question if there would really be a need to be open all hours. I am sure just with life there will be peak shopping times and it might not be financially viable to open the shop around the clock if you are not getting the sales. This along with actually setting up stall in the first place, and any costs associated with that, makes opening a store quite an investment. You are going to want to think through your business plan make sure you are making enough sales to cover your overheads. It means it is less likely that the market is full of junk as the cost to sell it would be too high.
So what if you just have a few items, or perhaps some rather rare items that might sell for more if you could start a bidding war between interested parties? Well you will be happy to hear there are likely to be auction houses. However, this is Elyria. There is no magic auction house that everyone has access to at all times, with items mailed out. There is no E-Bay! Instead the auction houses are actual places in towns you visit. Thanks to Frithgar for asking about these in the live chat:
We do plan to have NPC controlled consignment and AH’s early in the game. However, as new villages/towns are set up in a wider range of locations, there will be need for additional auctioneers. We don’t plan to have a centralized AH like in other games. In fact, AH’s in CoE are LIVE auctions. You’ll likely put items up for auction, and people will show up at a time and place to the auctioning. We really like the way that brings people to the AH at specific times, rather than just congregating there.
This has positives and negatives, just like in ye olde times you actually have to go to an auction. On the one hand you actually have to plan to attend the auction if you want to bid, though I imagine many people will send someone in their place. However, contracts for that sort of thing would be difficult as there is no guaranteed outcome. Unless we take out bounty tokens on them for not getting the item we wanted at the best price!
The positives for me comes in two main flavours. Firstly, less flooding. No one is going to sit through an auction of 500 stacks of a material each with an asking price of 1 copper less than the last, the auctioneer will just tell you to take a hike. The other is the story. Now some people might find this sounds ‘inconvenient’ but I love it. Imagine finding a rare relic, one that positively glows with power, one that seems so powerful it scares you a bit and you would quite like it out of your possession before it curses you. Well you could take it to your local auction house, but that is likely to only show off this item to a small number of people. Perhaps it would get a better price if you took it to the city. Put the item in the top auction house’s fortnightly artefacts auction that they make a catalogue for to advertise the wares in advance. Perhaps then you might get the price it deserves.
Forgive that flight of fancy. That story is of course all fantasy and speculation. However, all the elements are there in Chronicles of Elyria. It is all possible. We can have a world where even going to the shops is a mighty big adventure!