NPC Merchants

Everquest NPC Merchants

Today’s EverQuest Next Roundtable question asks:

If a player sells an item to an NPC merchant, should other players be able to buy that item from the merchant?

I say absolutely yes.  I actually like NPC merchants — even in a player-driven economy.  In fact, I think merchants should sell decent gear and items to players.  Early Dark Age of Camelot handled this quite well.  Players made the best stuff, and occasionally a good item would drop from dungeons, but players more often than not sold and marketed the best items.

If the weapon sold by a merchant was lower quality, maybe it breaks quicker or does slightly less damage.  Maybe it can’t be repaired fully, and slowly loses permanent durability over time.

The idea of merchants can really be taken further.  What if certain merchants allowed players to put up items on consignment depending on that player’s crafting or merchant status.  Star Wars Galaxies’ merchant class had great tools to utilize both public and private merchant and auction services.

One of the best things about the original EverQuest was being able to find hidden gems on merchants in town.  I would always do a quick check of the merchants in my class training area.  Sometimes you’ll find bone chips, bat wings, and other spell or quest reagents.  One man’s trash is another man’s treasure!  There’s even the rare occasion where I was able to find magical dungeon drops just sitting on a vendor because someone just sold it to the vender to get rid of it.

So yes, merchants are awesome.

  • That sounds like a fantastic idea, I would love to see what that epic geared warrior in front of me is selling to a vendor to cover repair costs.
    One mans trash and all that…

  • I really miss UO merchants. One thing auction houses destroy is the micromarkets you get. They also provided great PvP hot spots,. They played a huge role in house placement and value and helped contribute to a real estate minigame.

  • I wrote about being able to buy other players items off vendors, a feature that was in MUDs and EverQuest, quite a while back. I really miss that. But the idea also shines a light on the ideas of gray items, or vendor trash, and things like bind on acquire and bind on equip items. I think to really get back to the EQ vendor thing, devs have to get away from their dependence on vendor trash as an alternate cash reward system.

    EVE Online is one of the best “no vendor trash” examples at the moment, simply because you cannot just vendor anything and everything. If you want money out of it, you have to put it up for sale and another player has to buy it. I don’t know that EQN has to go completely in that direction, but having fewer completely useless items in the world would be a good thing I think.

  • I had never really thought about this but it makes perfect sense. I mean.. where do those vendored items go? As you say: one man’s trash is another man’s treasure! Perhaps these items would cost a little more than they would via the auction house or trade channels, but then that depends on the economy. I hope this becomes a feature of EQN!

  • “If a player sells an item to an NPC merchant, should other players be able to buy that item from the merchant?”

    One answer suggests a virtual world, the other suggests a video game.

    I miss virtual worlds.

  • Vendor diving is the single lost idea I most miss from modern MMOs. At times going round NPC vendors looking for bargains was my main playstyle in Everquest.

    I don’t believe for a moment they’ll include this in EQN but they should. They also let you give NPCs items that they will equip and use. I used to love giving weapons and shields to skeletons and seeing them use them on me when I killed them to get them back. Not to mention seeding mobs in the newbie yards with (relatively) valuable items to make some unsuspecting and mystified new player’s day.

    When you start to think of all the emergent behaviors EQ fostered it’s shocking to realize what we’ve lost.

  • Almost every EQ tradeskilling guide recommended vendor diving as a means of gathering a few extra mats

  • I think this would be great, particularly if NPC merchants had a notion of supply and demand. If a particular merchant keeps getting sold the same Rusty Blade, and no one is buying it, the price that merchant is willing to pay should drop like a stone and the price a player can purchase it at should also fall.

    This would be a very easy way to create a PC trading “profession” as players would be able to shop around, buy low, and sell high.

  • Wasn’t the player buyback a part of Allods? I seem to remember quest rewards being plentiful at vendors.

  • Some of the comments remind me of going to newbie zones to charm a trash mob, buff the ever living hell out of it and giving it some weapons, and then unleashing it on the newbies. Nothing like a lvl 4 Skeleton with a thousand HP, hasted and duel wielding summoned pet weapons to clear out the yard.

  • Gunkatron – Wasnt it the player shops? Or is that the flying MMO with angels? I remember you could make a player shop, and people would allways set them up near a quest place with the stuff you needed

  • I don’t think so, not at least at the point that I stopped playing. Sounds like an interesting concept though.