Massively asked a Daily Grind question yesterday on the importance of person-to-person trading in MMOs. It’s something that I actually firmly believe should be in MMORPGs as one of several means for players to interact with others in economic terms. For me it is equally as important as having an auction house in some form.
Trading character-to-character is for me, first and foremost, of use for social and group play: when we’re opening all those endless loot bags in Secret World Legends (so many glyph bags…), it’s less tiresome because we can trade the unwanted weapons and glyphs back and forth. With us playing the game in a leveling trio, this allows us to maximise the usability of what we collectively receive.
With the game’s super-grindy upgrade system it helps that all three of us are collecting items and sharing them in this way. In SWL and other games you can also trade items back and forth if one character’s inventory becomes full, which can happen at the most inconvenient of times. Off-hand the one MMO that I’ve played a good deal that lacks any form of trading is Guild Wars 2 – you have to mail items to other characters even if they’re stood next to you.
For my solo MMORPG questing sessions, having character-to-character trading is less of an issue – outside perhaps of the odd pug group that actually is friendly enough that I’d feel like sharing buff consumables or unwanted loot items. Having an auction house though, outside the scope of the linked question article, is also something I usually want to see in-game. I’ve made extensive use of the Broker in Everquest 2 to offload skill upgrades, crafting recipe-books, rare materials and unwanted armour to other players. It’s been a very good way to enrich my characters a great deal.
In some other games that I’ve played, such as Lord of the Rings Online and Black Desert Online, using the auction house in this way has always been a regular and lucrative activity. If I engage in crafting in a given game, then I usually want a means to sell excess items to someone without the need to spam chat endlessly.
Elder Scrolls Online is the only MMORPG that I’ve played with the opposite restriction to GW2 – personal trading is in, but there’s no global auction house. In ESO you join a crafting guild to sell your wares and unwanted items, something I’ve often thought of doing, but haven’t as yet properly investigated.
The lack of auction house in the game does irk me, I have read the justification for this, but the inconvenience of needing to go to a specific NPC guild vendor in the world to sell items is quite the shock when you compare it to games where auction house NPCs are generic and common (WoW, Rift), or even where access is only a mouse click away from anywhere (e.g. GW2, EQ2).
Do you have a preference on trading and auction models in MMORPGs?