Tobold's Blog
Wednesday, June 24, 2009
Aion knocked out

In a strange coincidence, shortly after me posting about knockout criteria, Spinks is posting Aion impressions and mentions one feature I hate with a passion: "There’s no auction house, instead players can populate their own private vendor and set it out for other players to look at. This means that in any populated area, you’ll have to push your way past hordes of players in vendor mode. And if you want to buy, you’ll need to browse all the vendors individually."
[EDIT: Turns out Spinks was mistaken, there is an auction house as well. I'll edit this post, but don't remove it, because the point that I dislike games with only personal shops remains valid.]

I already abandoned several other games with that feature, only because I reached the point in the game where buying and selling stuff became important, and found that I just can't stand visiting a hundred small personal shops to find the one item I need. This feature single-handedly removes Aion from my "games I must play" list. Because in the worst case I'll be forced to search hundreds of small vendors; and in the best case the only reason why I don't have to search the vendors is that there isn't much of a player-run economy. I'm all for player-run shops, but only if you can search them from a centralized data base, or they work in addition to a centralized auction house.

Having to go into vendor mode to sell things not only makes it hard for the buyer to find things. It also means that you can't sell while adventuring. And presumably you need to stay online, afk, while in vendor mode, at least that is the case in most of these Asian games I've seen with that feature. That usually ends up with me setting a vendor up, going to bed, and coming back next morning only to find I got disconnected for some reason during the night and didn't sell anything. For a player shop to work well, and not use unnecessary bandwith, it has to work offline or when the player is doing something else, for example by operating out of player housing. Now there is one thing that Star Wars Galaxies did well, or even Ultimate Online! I won't suffer a worse system a decade later.
I must say, to exclude this game from your playlist because it doesn't have a Auction house is in par with the masses that must claim that Aion must have features from other MMO's just to last. We all need to get over the "last game" we played, and open ourselves to new experiences.

I for one warily went into the beta expecting cloning but left as one who will subscribe, as although there are a few things that I did not like, overall it was a great experience.

Besides, the majority of vendors that I took time to view had it listed above their heads what types of things they had for sale, and thus I had little issue finding things in the sea of people if I needed it.
There is an auction house system in Aion Online as well as personal stores.
Whoever told you that is wrong.

I even have a response about it on my blog when I asked the same thing.

I have to agree with Tobold here. When I played Ragnarok Online, "buying something I need" amounted to moving through the lagging capital city stepwise and clicking literally 100+ shops and scrolling through their contents.

Here's the first google image search result that fit it.

Just imagine this amount of shops for 6 screens worth of ingame walking. Good luck finding anything.
Isn't misinformation grand?


AUCTION HOUSE! about making preconceived notions.
Might as well NEVER play it.

This post is moot so no need to agree.
There is an auction house in the game. They're called brokers, if I remember correctly.

One nice thing about the personal shop idea, is you can setup just outside a raid instance, or other strategic locations with your wares, and make a profit from those people who don't want to travel to an AH.
I have to agree with the learned commenters here, this kneejerk is kind of premature. A simple google search is all that was needed.
Yes indeed, Aion DOES have Auction Houses.
The NPCs are called Trade Brokers. I've seen them, been a customer, and looked through what they have for sale from other players.

So, Aion has Auction Houses *AND* the ability to auction your stuff anywhere you want to set up shop.

Tobold, I don't know you and this is the first blog of your I've read. But I can say that you need to do better research on games if you want a reputation of believability.
Well, tell that to Spinks. The quote is from her. My research in this case consisted of reading somebody else's review, and that review was wrong.
The biggest problem with Aion for me right now is there anti cheating tool. This tool effectively prevents me from opening new browsers (I checked IE, Firefox and Chrome) or new tabs and being able to browse the internet with them. If I had a page open it would work fine, it is just if you want to open a new tab or browser session that it prevents it from being used.

If this "feature" makes it to the retail version I will not be buying the game.
Hi Tobold

Given the number of folks who read your blog and who may have read the first version of this post before the correction, would it not be better to make a new post with the correction? That way folks would see it in their readers again.
Why would you have player vendors AND an auction house? Why would anyone go to a vendor when they can search the AH?

As for vendor-only markets, I think you are forgetting one key thing with the system at least in regards to UO (I agree players having to be afk is stupid and pointless); once you learn the location of a well stocked vendor (say one run by a max skill armor smith who keeps the vendor stocked with reasonably priced armor), you continue to return to that vendor for your armor needs. That creates a customer base, and motivation for the vendor operator to keep them stocked and organized.

I ran a vendor as a crafter, and from inside my house saw the same steady stream of people visiting to do their shopping. This crowd grew as word of mouth spread, and often I would just sit around chatting with them about what they are up to today or their part of the world. That alone made the crafting in UO miles ahead of any other system, even though it was the now boring click and craft. If UO had a global AH, the idea of a vendor would be destroyed, and a HUGE aspect of that game gone.
"Why would you have player vendors AND an auction house?"

Maybe the Korean version just had player vendors and they put the AH in for the western audience? No idea.

And I should grovel and apologise to Tobold. I'm really sorry. That was a mistake. But obv in a low level beta, no one is really using the auction house so I'm going to maintain that:
a) it was an understandable mistake
b) there really were player vendors all over the place last weekend. So if I didn't find the AH, neither did lots of other people
Syncaine, why do people go to Banana Republic when they could get similar stuff shopping online, likely cheaper and quicker? Shoppers don't always exhibit rationality, and the *choice* to do either player vendors or the AH is a good one for the system.

Locking the choice to just player vendors would indeed be silly, but having them as an *option* as well as an Auction House can be useful.
Sorry, as an addendum, among other reasons, player vendoring allows for location to matter in the economy. A player who sets up shop just outside of a dangerous dungeon will provide different business opportunities than city-bound Auction Houses. Other players get the benefit of not needing to slog back to town, and the canny marketer can make more money than competing for undercuts on the AH.
I agree that one thing that the old SWG did right was the crafting/vendor system.

In SWG a crafted item could vary drastically in quality depending on the materials used and the expertise of the craftsman.

I remember having to travel to several very remote locations to purchase high quality weapons and armor from renowned craftsmen. Their shops were all unique and decorated with their wares.

I went back a few months ago and all the shops were boarded up and the craftsmen long gone.
Why would you have player vendors AND an auction house? Why would anyone go to a vendor when they can search the AH?

Unless changed (has been a while since I played it), EQ2 has both of them. Going to the player controlled vendor one can avoid the fee that the auction house/broker would collect. The same items could be bought either way, just two different ways to access them.

Final Fantasy XI also have both of them. In that case it was always active also if you marked items for sale. That made it possible to buy stuff from a player that one encountered pretty much anywhere, as opposed to heading to a major city to access one of the auction houses (and there were multiple independent ones).

There are a number of design choices that could make both approaches viable in the same game.
I'm still highly suspect. I'm not even interested in Aion at this point.

I talked to a few people overseas who played betas of it, and they said beyond the great graphics it sucked. One guy said he quit, to go back to Runes of Magic, which isn't even near the size and scope of most pay to play games.

I don't "believe" them, but I'm gunshy. every game that comes out has so much hype. I'd rather just wait and see.
It could probably be much improved if it used a system more like UO, where the vendors are npcs and you stock them, except with a central something that could tell you where items are being sold.
Tobold, this is the third post you publish about Aion in which you make negative comments about a game you admittedly never played, not even in beta form.

First you said Aion was not worth of your "games on my radar" list because it's a korean MMO and those are notorious grindfests. Which may be true for some titles, but it's definitely NOT true for Aion which is a quest-based game just as much as WoW.

Then in a second thread you simply dismissed Aion as another WoW-clone (stating the complete opposite of your first Aion thread and contradicting yourself) without even mentioning Abyss PvP, which is the main difference between Aion and WoW.

Now you launch into another tirade against Aion (again) because supposedly there's no auction house. Which is just plain incorrect, as someone else already pointed out to you.

Please, before posting about Aion again at least have the decency of playing the damn game.

There's currently a US/EU closed beta, there's going to be an OB in august, and you can still check the chinese client with a translation patch if you feel inclined.
Then in a second thread you simply dismissed Aion as another WoW-clone (stating the complete opposite of your first Aion thread and contradicting yourself) without even mentioning Abyss PvP, which is the main difference between Aion and WoW.

I was not talking about Aion in my post about clones, but about a very different game, which I played, and can't name due to an NDA.
The vendor feature has potential for greatness in another area which you did not mention. Both ways, auction house and seperate vendors have their problems.

With an auction house crafting becomes a joke. There's a list of 20 of the same item with a name and a price attached: You buy, you loot, finished. No need to familiarize yourself with the crafting scene.

Vendor driven economy means you (as in real life) need to figure out where to get your stuff. Maybe you need stuff on a regular basis so you start to develop a relationship to your favorite crafter/vendor. You build trust, you socialize.

I'm not voting for any of those two, I only know how it works in WoW. But maybe the potential for being a great crafter & vendor should be explored.
With an auction house crafting becomes a joke. There's a list of 20 of the same item with a name and a price attached: You buy, you loot, finished. No need to familiarize yourself with the crafting scene.

That is not the fault of the auction house, but the fault of the crafting system, if it only ever produces the exactly same item with the same stats. In Star Wars Galaxies every resource had stats, and those stats and your crafting skill affected the stats of the item you produced. Thus seeking out a specific crafter who has higher skill, or puts more effort into collecting high-class crafting resources is worth it. Regardless of whether he sells his goods on the AH or in his personal shop.

And as far as I remember, SWG *did* have a centralized shop locator. Which I would say is a minimum requirement for personal shops to work.
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