Thursday, March 26, 2009

Market booths

What is it with Asian games and market booths? After exploring Bounty Bay Online for a while, I finally gave up on that game, mainly because I had problems selling the items I found or crafted. Like many other Asian games, BBO has no centralized auction house. Instead you need to find yourself a busy area, set up a market booth, and go afk. What a horrible, horrible system!

If you want to sell, you can't do anything else while sitting in your market booth. So unless you dual-box with some trader alt, you can't play while waiting for customers. And you can't even turn your computer off, you need to keep it running in away-from-keyboard mode. If you want to buy, you need to find the various places with market booths, and run from booth to booth looking at offers. There is no way to find out if some item is for sale at all, or to compare prices.

My guess is that the player economy is deliberately designed to work as bad as possible, because of microtransactions. The game company doesn't want an efficient player-run economy, because then they would sell less in-game items themselves. In Bounty Bay Online you can buy various crafting resources for real money, so of course the developers aren't interested in you being able to buy them from another player.

But as I am always very interested in in-game economies, I'll avoid games with market booths instead of auction houses in the future.

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