Dear Zenimax Online Studios,
This article is to voice my sincerest plea for a regional auction house in the hopes that ZOS will at some point add this feature before or after launch.
This may be premature as we do not have all of the information on Guild Stores but from what we know, you must be in the guild to use it and you’re limited to 5 guilds per account. This means that with the proposed 300 member limit, we will only have a maximum of 1,500 players to trade with at any given time. And we know that most guilds will not meet the maximum allowed number of members.
Many of us MMO veterans enjoy playing the market –buying low and selling high, flipping items for a profit. This form of enjoyment will be severely limited as most people will know who you are and what you’re trying to do. The major problem I see happening is with crafting. There will be a severe lack of supply and demand for most things in such a small market. It will be flooded with items no one needs or wants because everyone already has it i.e. common gathered items or simple crafted goods. As for the rarer ingredients, they will be even rarer as there won’t be enough people willing to sell those items be it for their own crafting or hoarding tendencies. This will then drive prices up for those items. You may even see people guild hopping but I’ll come back to that later. As for crafted goods, the crafter will be suffering to get items they need unless they go farm it themselves and they will have a very limited market of people who want the goods.
How will Guild Stores affect guilds themselves? On the moral aspect, many guild leaders and members feel kind of bad when charging guild mates for items. Yes, it’s a bit more anonymous as they aren’t dealing with you directly; but most likely, the seller’s name will be on the item sold so they know who’s causing the prices to go up or down on the Guild Store, which can cause issues. I simply don’t see what was wrong with just having a guild bank with tabs that allow people to remove or not remove items based on permissions. Another issue we will have is guild hopping by which I mean players hopping from guild to guild simply to peruse their wares and then ditching them to find another with better prices or better items. Enough of this happens and you find yourself with a very unstable guild simply because your Guild Store isn’t up to par. All of these are situation issues of course but the fact that they CAN happen is proof that this system is causing issues that don’t need to be there in the first place.
Now that I’ve explained my issues with the Guild Store system, I wish to propose another system –that being regional auction houses. The auction house itself can be like any other auction house system from other MMOs, though I really prefer a system like Guild Wars 2 uses. It’s very nice. That’s not the important part however. The important part is the regional part. There would be an auction house in each province of Tamriel. So High Rock, Hammerfell, Summerset Isle, Valenwood and so on would all have their own auction houses that would be independent of each other. So if I go to the auction house in Valenwood and put some cabbages on sale there, they will only be on that auction house. If I then go to the auction house in Elsweyr, I will not see my cabbages nor any of the items that were in the Valenwood auction house. This separation will hopefully keep server loads down compared to having to call up items on a single, server-wide auction house. These regional auction houses would also be alliance-specific. So those people in the Daggerfall Covenant could not use the auction houses in the Ebonheart Pact or vice versa. It would also promote usage of your Guild Store system as it would still be the only way to trade cross-faction since guilds themselves are cross-faction. Also, don’t forget that all in-game auction systems charge a fee to use it which is another great money sink for the game.
If you do not include an auction system in your game, I can already see auction sites or forums going up to sell your in-game items. I seriously doubt that you want people going outside of your game to trade items as you want to keep them playing and paying.
So whether or not this influences change, I just wished to voice my proposal and hope that we see Zenimax come out of nowhere with another feature we’ve desired.
Your devoted podcaster,
Kyle of the ShoddyCast