Markets and Merchant Guilds - A Reimagining of the Current System


  • TF#1 - WHISPERER

    After reviewing the most recent Fall 2021 Alpha feature video, I’m proposing a change that I believe will encourage a better sandbox for our pails and buckets.

    Fractured has advertised itself as a relatively hardcore, intricate sandbox MMO experience; a game for guilds, communities, and solo players alike.

    Given the prevailing MMO gaming attitude, however, it’s important for Dynamight to systemically encourage niche playstyles… lest Fractured become yet another clone of Albion Online.

    Though economies thankfully remain local, the augmented marketplace in the upcoming Fall 2021 Alpha test allows users to view the wares of other cities (the developers are rightly committed to requiring players to travel to these cities to complete transactions).

    I’ve long advocated for steps to be taken that promote niche communities and groups and allow them to prosper, distinguishing Fractured from other generic MMOs. To that end, I suggest the following to Prometheus and Dynamight:

    • Create a system mechanic that allows regional Governors to charter merchant guilds/companies

    • Multiple regional Governors could choose to recognize the chartered merchant guilds/company, thus establishing a commercial relationship between those cities

    • The chartered merchant guilds/companies would be able to display their wares between/among the cities that recognize their charter, creating a linked market

    I believe this system would create unique, complex, and rewarding gameplay loops in the form of relationships between multiple parties: the merchant guild/company, the Governors and citizens of their patron cities, and consumers:

    • Commercial-minded players who want to be merchants now have systems in place that actively encourage and reward their niche playstyle

    • Governors would be encouraged to seek out or sponsor such groups for the benefit of their local economy

    • Consumers who only see the exchange of wares as a means to an end would no longer have to dedicate as much personal time to trade and transactions

    • Those who don’t want to interface with merchant guilds/companies could still use the local marketplace to buy and sell wares locally… without the benefit of the linked market view or the infrastructure provided by the merchant guild

    • Merchant guilds/companies, not the player, must then execute transactions between buyers and sellers, even in other cities (thus assuming the risk of transporting goods and funds in an open PvP environment)

    • Regions could generate revenue by taxing the activities of these guilds, to the benefit of city maintenance and upgrades

    • Governors and merchant guilds/companies would be incentivized to have a healthy, reliable relationship; otherwise a Governor could revoke a charter or the merchant guild/company could close shop, depriving that city of linked market view… until the Governor replaces the merchant guild/company

    I just thought of this today so I admit to not having all the details perfectly ironed out. However, I believe the concept is worth considering and debating.

    Some additional concerns/questions I present to the community include the following:

    • Should the merchant guild/company have to purchase the wares from the seller and then become the seller themselves?

    • Should the seller keep the wares but pay the merchant guild/company a flat fee to list the wares and make them viewable among the linked market?

    • Should the seller/buyer hire the chartered company to execute the transportation and transaction of wares and funds?

    • Some sort of mini-skill or tech tree to merchant guilds/companies to better facilitate and incentivize their actions?

    • In order to avoid monopolies by merchant guilds/companies, I propose imposing artificial caps on the number of charters a merchant guild/company may accept
      In order to incentivize niche playstyles, merchant guild/companies should be their own organizational type, subject to unique rules (e.g. a merchant guild/company should be unable to directly siege a city).

    Let’s discuss!


  • TF#1 - WHISPERER

    As we discussed, I freakin' love this idea and I look forward to the feedback from the community. 🙂


  • TF#1 - WHISPERER

    I can see the merit in something like this, but I have the following concern.

    It is too soon to talk about this.
    The last alpha had a really restricted market system. It required a tech, it was local only, only worked with direct posting of the item. The result was that the markets didn't work. In no small part that happened also because gold wasn't useful.
    This next test has swinged the pendulum in the complete opposite direction. No tech required, possibility to have buy/sell orders, possibility to have a global vision on the market offers, gold seems to be a lot more useful.
    I would first look at the effects of this system before looking at alternatives. Even if at a first look I like this idea, it represents a compromise between the old markets completely local and the next ones which are fully linked. Without looking at the issues generated by the next iteration of markets, we can't really devise a good proposal on something like this. We really risk missing something important.


  • TF#8 - GENERAL AMBASSADOR

    I love the suggestion. Adding more risk for a chance of higher profits are always exciting in my opinion. It also allows players or guilds to advertise themselves as mercenaries or guards for hire to protect these merchant groups. All in all it increases player interaction.


  • Content Creator

    @Bardikens Although your suggestion is interesting, it goes against the concepts the Devs have stated for the game.

    They want a player driven economy, where individuals need to spend the time going from place to place to get their goods. The one allowance is the fact that merchant minded players can physically buy goods in one city, physically transport them to another city, then fulfill orders/list goods in the new city, and thus create trade routes.

    In no other way do they want to have a linked marketplace. Shoot, the Global Wallet might even end up going away once they put the current mode into practice, or the ability to search other markets might go away. Finally, the Global Wallet might get changed somehow to restrict it to only Merchant transaction funds being deposited by the Marketplace, but Deposits go into the bank's Gold fund, not the Global Wallet, and the Gold Fund remains local, so you can't as someone said in another thread, 'Search for something on the Marketplace, get the price and quantity, deposit enough gold to cover that exactly, run to the new city, and then purchase" thus keeping the Gold itself safe during the travel aspect of commerce.

    They DO NOT want to turn all the merchanting over to merchant guilds and guild charters, they want individual players to do the work whenever possible. The marketplace is more for selling off your excess locally, and encouraging trade, not for making it easy to get those things that are rare in one area, because someone else joins up with a Merchant Guild to deal in them.


  • Content Creator

    @LordGorgeous No, this would incentivize Guild play, and deincentivize solo play...there are already a ton of advantages to guilding up, and the Devs have said they want to make the game equally encouraging to solo'ists, yet even if you allowed a guild of one to join a commercial charter, what town is going to allow a solo guild to join their charter if they have limited charter space? The solo'ist gets annexed out again.

    To keep the game interesting for both big groups and solo'ists, they need to make sure there aren't too many exclusivity perks on either side of the fence.


  • TF#1 - WHISPERER

    @GamerSeuss said in Markets and Merchant Guilds - A Reimagining of the Current System:

    @Bardikens Although your suggestion is interesting, it goes against the concepts the Devs have stated for the game.

    They want a player driven economy, where individuals need to spend the time going from place to place to get their goods. The one allowance is the fact that merchant minded players can physically buy goods in one city, physically transport them to another city, then fulfill orders/list goods in the new city, and thus create trade routes.

    This is fully possible in my system. In fact, this just expands upon what is already in the game and allows there to be fully codified gameplay for people that dont WANT to pvp or PVE and want to spend their time trading.

    In no other way do they want to have a linked marketplace. Shoot, the Global Wallet might even end up going away once they put the current mode into practice, or the ability to search other markets might go away. Finally, the Global Wallet might get changed somehow to restrict it to only Merchant transaction funds being deposited by the Marketplace, but Deposits go into the bank's Gold fund, not the Global Wallet, and the Gold Fund remains local, so you can't as someone said in another thread, 'Search for something on the Marketplace, get the price and quantity, deposit enough gold to cover that exactly, run to the new city, and then purchase" thus keeping the Gold itself safe during the travel aspect of commerce.

    I am fully against the global wallet AND fully against marketplaces that can be searched globally. The system I created is a compromise of the two systems already in play. I am a proponent of the most realistic, simulator-based hardcore gameplay you can imagine (I would want crafting to be full fledged mini games that take lots of time, for example.)

    What my system does is take what is in the game already and puts in the hands of the player rather than just allowing for a global search by default.

    They DO NOT want to turn all the merchanting over to merchant guilds and guild charters, they want individual players to do the work whenever possible. The marketplace is more for selling off your excess locally, and encouraging trade, not for making it easy to get those things that are rare in one area, because someone else joins up with a Merchant Guild to deal in them.

    Again, my vision doesn't really go against this. What we NEED in Fractured are ways for people to live out second lives in game. If they never want to go out and PVP and want to spend their entire life crafting, they should be able to sit around hammering out steel and have just as much fun as someone grinding monsters.

    The only way in my eyes to do this is to codify gameplay that will encourage these niches to exist. They DO NOT functionally exist in any other game (excepting perhaps Star Citizen which is a second life simulator) with any true depth.

    What I am proposing in no way takes the individual responsibility from the game - just gives more options to those who are playing. You could dump off your wares on the merchant guild for a pittance knowing that you have guaranteed money, or you could run it to another town yourself and make full profit but assuming all of the risk.

    You can even still put your stuff on the local marketplace. Those would be truly local as in previous tests. Previously a lot of the "trade" in the game was between polities (aka guilds set up for conquering and owning land) buying and selling to one another to fund their war chests or PVX requirements. This system adds an extra wrinkle with more opportunity for non-polities to have something to do in the game by adding guilds that aren't focused on death and destruction specifically.

    The "rare" in one area bit will largely be a farse once larger guilds dominate the land and send their 200 hive-members to bully others out of their local resources anyways. The Devs said no one would walk halfway across the map to get resources not in their area but we see how that worked out last test.

    --

    No, this would incentivize Guild play, and deincentivize solo play...there are already a ton of advantages to guilding up, and the Devs have said they want to make the game equally encouraging to solo'ists, yet even if you allowed a guild of one to join a commercial charter, what town is going to allow a solo guild to join their charter if they have limited charter space? The solo'ist gets annexed out again.

    Just to respond to this point, I believe the merchant guild would be limited in charters. The idea would be to have a network of linked cities with different merchant guilds so that one or two could not have a truly "global" marketplace.

    Also, we should be encouraging guild play as much as possible in an MMO. The solo opportunities are still there in my system, but guilds who work together for a common goal should easily be able to crush a single soloist with regards to time and efficiency.

    That's how it always works in MMOs and what differentiates MMOs from single player games. This does not prevent you from becoming the most powerful trade baron in the lands - it just adds the ability for people who want to play as a merchanting guild to do so and be rewarded for it.

    We may fundamentally disagree on solo/guild play in MMOs.


  • TF#1 - WHISPERER

    @spoletta said in Markets and Merchant Guilds - A Reimagining of the Current System:

    I can see the merit in something like this, but I have the following concern.

    It is too soon to talk about this.

    This is really just taking what they announced and reimagining it in a way that puts more gameplay in the hands of the players.

    We'll, of course, have to see how everything plays out, but my idea in Fractured is that there needs to be rewarding gameplay loops for different types of people and organizations.


  • TF#1 - WHISPERER

    @GamerSeuss I know @Bardikens responded to you at length and I don't wanna dogpile you, but I believe you misunderstood aspects of his proposal:

    • Bardikens is an outspoken opponent of global markets and global wallets. The new mechanics that will be introduced in the Fall 2021 Alpha will allow users of local marketplaces to view wares on a global scale; Bardikens' proposal will dramatically reduce that feature by only allowing chartered merchant organizations to view wares on a higher scale... and even then, only in other markets where they share that charter.

    • Solo players will still have the means and opportunity to avoid interacting with chartered merchant organizations if they wish. But they'll be [rightly] at certain disadvantages: they'll have to dedicate more effort of selling or purchasing their wares as well as accruing the risks of transportation.

    • Fractured is a game that should allow solo players paths to success, but it doesn't (and shouldn't) "even the playing field" between a solo player and a community. A community should almost always have a decisive advantage over a solo player and the game should incentivize solo players to get at least peripherally involved with a community. If a solo player wants free reign of a game without challenges or comparative disadvantages, they should play a single player RPG instead of a massively-multiplayer one.


  • TF#1 - WHISPERER

    Let me be clear about one point.
    I don't like the global wallet and I don't like markets being linked by default. I preferred it like in the older version with fully local markets and requiring a tech to allow cities to look into the smaller villages markets. It made sense, I liked it... but it didn't work.

    This next system allows much more freedom and will for sure increase the trade activities. Having many trades going on is the first priority, everything else is secondary. This suggestion adds a lot of flavour to trading, but flavour comes second. First comes actual trading.

    That was the reason of my concern. I first want to see if these changes make the trades happen or not. If they still don't happen, then we must make it even more easy to trade, or try to understand what is wrong. If instead we see that in this coming alpha there is plenty of trading going on, but as we can expect, not much risk involved with it, then we can start thinking about something like this suggestion.

    Previous test was the black and this next test is the white. Let's see what are the features of this white and then we start thinking in scales of grey.


  • TF#1 - WHISPERER

    @spoletta The foremost reason that trading didn't work during the previous test (IMO) was because resources were untethered from cities/regions. This allowed guilds/players/cities to simply go out and collect the resources they desired without the need to trade or interact with other guilds/players/cities.

    However, in the test before that, trade was comparatively quite active and vibrant despite the various bugs and primitive marketplaces because resource nodes were locked to specific cities/regions, systemically compelling people to trade with one another.

    This generation of MMO gamer is relatively unsocial and min-maxy. If you give them the means to get the things they want completely independently, they will do so, even if it takes more time and effort.


  • TF#1 - WHISPERER

    No, during that test, there was very little trading actually happening.
    Only minerals were being traded.
    Minerals are only a small part of the intended trades, so that wasn't a working example.

    The actual reasons why trading didn't work in the previous test are multiple:

    1. No one developed a market because they wanted the tech points of other techs. Now the marketplace is available by default.
    2. Gold was mostly useless. Gold is now in high demand due to all the new gold sinks.
    3. Cities were able to become almost self sufficient, and unlock all important techs. New tech tree prevents cities from having it all, they MUST trade to get all kinds of equip.
    4. Enchants could not be traded. Now thanks to the imbuing system they can be traded.
    5. Gems had no value except for rituals. Gems are now a really important resource.

    As you can see, this test is aiming at removing all reasons for tradings not happening. It is very PVE/Crafting oriented.
    I too do have many ideas on possible changes for the trading, but until I see how this set of rules shapes up, I'm keeping them for myself, since I know that I will necessarily miss something important.


  • TF#1 - WHISPERER

    @spoletta said in Markets and Merchant Guilds - A Reimagining of the Current System:

    No, during that test, there was very little trading actually happening.
    Only minerals were being traded.
    Minerals are only a small part of the intended trades, so that wasn't a working example.

    I said "trade was comparatively quite active and vibrant"... which it was. The previous test had virtually no trade; the test before it, by comparison, had robust trade. This is a fact.

    The additional fact that trade could/should have been even more robust does not change the fact that trade was discernibly better in the test before last than in the last test.

    The actual reasons why trading didn't work in the previous test are multiple:

    1. No one developed a market because they wanted the tech points of other techs. Now the marketplace is available by default.
    2. Gold was mostly useless. Gold is now in high demand due to all the new gold sinks.
    3. Cities were able to become almost self sufficient, and unlock all important techs. New tech tree prevents cities from having it all, they MUST trade to get all kinds of equip.
    4. Enchants could not be traded. Now thanks to the imbuing system they can be traded.
    5. Gems had no value except for rituals. Gems are now a really important resource.

    I said "the foremost reason" trading didn't work during the previous test was because resource nodes were untethered from their regions, allowing anybody to come in and take them. You citing additional, perfectly valid reasons also doesn't change that fact.

    As you can see, this test is aiming at removing all reasons for tradings not happening. It is very PVE/Crafting oriented.
    I too do have many ideas on possible changes for the trading, but until I see how this set of rules shapes up, I'm keeping them for myself, since I know that I will necessarily miss something important.

    Yes, this test is attempting to rectify the mistakes of the previous test which killed virtually all trading. I respect that and look forward to seeing how it works. However, I think @Bardikens was just throwing out a suggestion for long-term niche activity that would incentivize merchant players. Nothing wrong with that. 👍


  • TF#1 - WHISPERER

    Don't misunderstand, I'm not against discussing ideas like this.

    I'm just worried that until we see how this test shakes up, we are bound to be missing too many actual gameplay info to have a clear picture.

    This will be the first time (hopefully) where we see trading actually work like it is intended in a player driven economy.

    Who knows what will happen? Maybe that we discover that it gives too much power to guilds, or to cities or to solo players or... whatever. We don't know the actual issues that come with it. We are trying to fix a car before knowing what is wrong with it.

    I'm a huge fan of Spice and Wolf novels, so I obviously love the idea of Merchant guilds in Fractured as a second power parallel to nations, but until we know in which scenario they are going to deployed, we can't understand if they are a good idea or not for the health of the game. That's where my concern lies.


  • TF#1 - WHISPERER

    @spoletta said in Markets and Merchant Guilds - A Reimagining of the Current System:

    I'm a huge fan of Spice and Wolf novels, so I obviously love the idea of Merchant guilds in Fractured as a second power parallel to nations, but until we know in which scenario they are going to deployed, we can't understand if they are a good idea or not for the health of the game. That's where my concern lies.

    I absolutely love those books. It's also what basically convinced me that trading and merchanting in games needs more depth and gameplay initially.


  • Content Creator

    Also, one thing the Devs said they definitely don't want to do, is allow players to bypass the exploration aspect of the game. Even if you want to primarily be a merchant or a city builder, they want you to have to go out and explore, killing some mobs, and gathering some resources, if for nothing else but to fill up your knowledge points. This means they aren't going to want to put in a system that generally allows a player to bypass exploration, especially when they are already having a hard time coming up with End-Game content to keep everyone interested.

    I am definitely with @spoletta in that I think we should see how the current system works before we try to fix it. I'm not a huge fan of the Global Wallet, and I'm not 100% on searching other markets (although I would chalk that up to hanging at a marketplace and listening to the merchants gossip about where they've been kinda information from a RP standpoint)

    As to the concept of "if you don't want to participate in community stuff, go play a non-MMO/singleplayer game...that's not the point at all. There's a reason solo'ists want to play in MMOs, and it is not just to complain about Guildies. MMOs were always meant for both types of players. Players want the real world possibility of running into a friend in game. They want the chance, on rare occasions to go on a big raid, or group up, but don't want to be locked into having to do it. There is a difference. CHOICE. I've been playing MMOs since they came out too, and MUDs, MUCKs, MUSHes, and MOOs before that. The games have Multiplayer in their title because of the possibility, not the mandate that you should play in groups and join guilds. Guilds are an option. Some want it, some don't, but the Devs have said they want to try to level the playing field between Solos and Guilders all along.


  • TF#1 - WHISPERER

    @GamerSeuss said in Markets and Merchant Guilds - A Reimagining of the Current System:

    Also, one thing the Devs said they definitely don't want to do, is allow players to bypass the exploration aspect of the game. Even if you want to primarily be a merchant or a city builder, they want you to have to go out and explore, killing some mobs, and gathering some resources, if for nothing else but to fill up your knowledge points. This means they aren't going to want to put in a system that generally allows a player to bypass exploration, especially when they are already having a hard time coming up with End-Game content to keep everyone interested.

    At this point, my suspicion is you're not actually reading my posts, since yours address strawmen. Nowhere in this thread or in any other have @Bardikens or I advocated for system mechanics that would discourage, let alone prevent, merchant-minded players from engaging in gameplay exploration.

    The only thing Bardikens' proposed system would do is incentivize and reward a gameplay niche for those players who want to spend more time merchanting and directly engaging in economic activities than in other gameplay aspects; this would not allow players to bypass exploration.

    I am definitely with @spoletta in that I think we should see how the current system works before we try to fix it. I'm not a huge fan of the Global Wallet, and I'm not 100% on searching other markets (although I would chalk that up to hanging at a marketplace and listening to the merchants gossip about where they've been kinda information from a RP standpoint)

    Then revisit this thread after the test?

    As to the concept of "if you don't want to participate in community stuff, go play a non-MMO/singleplayer game...that's not the point at all. There's a reason solo'ists want to play in MMOs, and it is not just to complain about Guildies. MMOs were always meant for both types of players. Players want the real world possibility of running into a friend in game. They want the chance, on rare occasions to go on a big raid, or group up, but don't want to be locked into having to do it. There is a difference. CHOICE. I've been playing MMOs since they came out too, and MUDs, MUCKs, MUSHes, and MOOs before that. The games have Multiplayer in their title because of the possibility, not the mandate that you should play in groups and join guilds. Guilds are an option. Some want it, some don't, but the Devs have said they want to try to level the playing field between Solos and Guilders all along.

    This is yet another strawman. I said that solo players should be at a comparative disadvantage to communities in an MMO, not that they should be barred from solo play if that's what they choose.

    Systems should be created that incentivize and reward communities, be it small groups, guilds, or sprawling empires. To what extent a solo player wishes to engage with these variously scaled communities is entirely up to them, but they may very well (and indeed should) find that total disengagement results in certain inconveniences and disadvantages.


  • TF#1 - WHISPERER

    Ok, since at this point we are discussing about possible alternatives to the full linking of market visibility, then I'm sorry you broke the dam and I'm going to express my idea too!

    I'm going to wait the results of this test, but in principle I'm against the full visibility of marketplaces. As was said, I can attribute that to hearsay... and hearsay it should be! You should have an idea of what is in the other markets, but shouldn't have exact info.
    What I would like to see, is that you can see buy orders, items being sold et similar in other marketplaces, but with a percentage of error on prices and quantities. For example, if town x buys 10 gold short swords at 2000 gold each, I will see something like "Town x buys around 12 short swords at about 1920 gold". You have the info. You know that there you can buy/sell that item, but the exact conditions are slightly randomized in what you see.

    Merchant guilds are implemented as a tech tree element. If your city has a merchant guild, then from any marketplace you can always see the exact data of your marketplace, increasing the trades toward your city, and you also get an higher share of profits on each trade in your marketplace. For example, if usually the marketplace tax is 8%, half sink half to the city, having that tech would turn it into 3% sink, 5% to the city.

    You can never see what is being sold or bought in a lawless city. Those are meant to represent the high risk/high reward content for merchants. They are sure to offer looted items at good prices, and need a lot of things to go by since they have little trades going on, but there are obvious risks in going there and you have little info in what they actually sell/buy.

    Optionally: If we see that there is actually enough interest by part of the players to justify making the system more interesting, then the merchant guild tech allows you to register as a merchant of that city in the city hall. By doing this, you have to pay a fee every week to the city (again, half sink, half to the coffers), but after registering, you can always see the full and accurate info on all products being sold everywhere (except the lawless cities).


  • Content Creator

    @Alexian But Solo'ists should NOT be at a comparative disadvantage. The only disadvantages they should get are those that naturally come from grouping over solo'ing. Solo'ists can't take on the larger mobs, Guilds/Groups can. Solo'ists have no-one watching their backs, Guilds/Groups do. You do not need, and really shouldn't add any extra advantages for Guilds/Groups that widen that already reasonable gap. Merchants, if anything, is a niche that I think should be mostly filled with Solo'ists. It won't be, but that's the fact of the matter. Solo'ists could come together to form caravans for long treks and safety in numbers, and hire guards, but each merchant should for the most part be a free agent, going where the whims of trade take them.


  • TF#1 - WHISPERER

    @GamerSeuss said in Markets and Merchant Guilds - A Reimagining of the Current System:

    @Alexian But Solo'ists should NOT be at a comparative disadvantage. The only disadvantages they should get are those that naturally come from grouping over solo'ing. Solo'ists can't take on the larger mobs, Guilds/Groups can. Solo'ists have no-one watching their backs, Guilds/Groups do. You do not need, and really shouldn't add any extra advantages for Guilds/Groups that widen that already reasonable gap.

    Those are indeed the advantages to which I refer. Have you considered reading mine and @Bardikens' posts in their entirety before responding?

    Merchants, if anything, is a niche that I think should be mostly filled with Solo'ists. It won't be, but that's the fact of the matter. Solo'ists could come together to form caravans for long treks and safety in numbers, and hire guards, but each merchant should for the most part be a free agent, going where the whims of trade take them.

    And such players could be eligible for a city charter as well.


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