On a Serious Note: The Auction House

Are you freaking kidding me?!? WTF!
Are you freaking kidding me?!? WTF!

Hello again, Dimensionerds!  The screenshot above is only a small slice of the Greybriar Auction House window, with names blacked out to protect the innocent (or guilty, depending on how you look at it).  This thread, regarding the Auction House, has been around for a few weeks, and I’ve been stewing over it and stewing over it…and finally decided to hop on my soapbox for an extended rant.

Shal Korva--currently for sale on my home shard for the low, low price of 9k platinum.
Shal Korva–currently for sale on my home shard for the low, low price of 9k platinum.

The Auction House is a vital part of any game’s economy (if the game has an auction house).  New players hope to find cheap gear to give themselves an easier time while leveling, older players hope to sell things they have no use for, and nearly everyone tries to sell crafting mats and crafted items.

In Rift, it’s very easy to be entirely self sufficient so far as crafting goes, since we can have all professions on one character (I have them divvied out between two characters on NA, because I wasn’t about to level Outfitting and Runecrafting a second time on the same cluster).  More to the point, the purpose of this article isn’t to talk about the prices of crafting materials, but dimension items.

Dimension items have been the bane of every non-builder since minions burst into our scene and showered us with their dimension bounties.  A lot of people I know simply destroy their boxes as soon as they receive them, without going to the cost and effort of putting the items in the AH, or dropping them off in the closest Take a Penny.  There are many, many posts on the Rift Forums complaining at length about the volume of dimension items and the limited markets to sell them.

Rare dimension items, however, are another story.

Plushies and gnomes can all be yours for thousands of plat!
Plushies and gnomes can all be yours for thousands of plat!

For as long as there have been dimensions, there have been rare dimension items.  Those items might have been difficult to get, required extensive achievements, or been very expensive in terms of real cash, from the variety of lockboxes.  There are also items that were only available for charity events, or are from short duration World Events.

How much is too much to pay for those items?  Obviously, that varies by the person.

This is a joke, right?
This is a joke, right?

I don’t care too much about how people price rare items, because if they go too high, they’ll soon price themselves out of business and go broke from listing fees.  In the instance of the screenshot at the top, the seller of many of those items is the same person, who makes mules and alts on multiple shards, trying to rip off people across Telara.

If people want to pay his/her outrageous prices, they can feel free to do so, but don’t have a lot of room to complain when s/he continues to engage in that behavior, which I personally do see as predatory.

I do have a problem with blatant predatory selling, such as the example directly above.  The books for sale are sold on the Onir Vendor in Margle Palace, for 65 gold each.  It does require Decorated with the Onir to purchase, however, and I suppose one could use that justification to sell the item for a mark up of the vendor price of several hundred percent.

But it’s really not a justification.  It’s being an asshole, to be blunt.  Or ignorant.  Or possibly both, I haven’t decided which.

We put a lot on the sellers of items to be fair with pricing, when any seller is just trying to make a profit on their sale.  I think sellers should not be jerks, but I also think the buyer has an obligation to research, and to not expect something for nothing.

The Price History tool can help you as a buyer or seller, to gauge what an item should sell at. Pro tip: a rock that usually sells for 50p may not sell when you mark it up to 400p.
The Price History tool can help you as a buyer or seller, to gauge what an item should sell at. Pro tip: a rock that usually sells for 50p may not sell when you mark it up to 400p.

When it comes to dimension items and being a dedicated builder, there are some pretty basic things that can be done to protect oneself from predatory sellers–or even from sellers who can’t be bothered to check that the Evergreen Shrub they’re trying to sell for 5p is on the store for far less.

Don’t be afraid of the Rift Store or the various vendors.  Newer players have gotten so accustomed to receiving items from minions or through trading they have little to no knowledge of what’s directly for sale on the shop, so you’ll see people spamming they want to trade for Orange Corked Jugs (I can’t make that up!).  Those jugs, FYI, are 1g each on the Rift Store–the cheapest one on the AH today is 16g 97s.

During World Events, stock up!  I have complained–at length–about the kits that are almost the only way to get World Event items while the event is going on.  Think Feast Kits and Beach Party Kits, and now various event lockboxes that give a random selection of items you can only acquire during the event.  Since Trion doesn’t seem willing to sell these items by the individual piece, we have options–we can either make do with alternatives, or we can stock up in the hopes that we’ll be able to stretch those items out for a period of time.  I don’t like it, either, but it is what it is.

Learn to fish. I say this not just for Uncle Stan’s Super Secret Lure items, which the chance of receiving at the moment is so low as to be ludicrous.  Every zone with the exception of Tyrant’s Throne and Plane Touched Wilds has a zone specific loot table of dimension items, and most of those items are pretty nice!  Plane Touched Wilds does have fishing boxes, but those boxes have a chance to drop items from every other zone.  If you want Lacy Elven Tables, just for an example, it’s much more efficient just to go to Iron Pine Peak, equip some trophy lures, and get to fishing if AH prices aren’t to your liking.

Dimension Addicts has a database!  Kitasia@Deepwood has spent a ton of time and effort into building a pretty comprehensive database of items and where they come from, on the Dimension Addicts website.  For rare, lockbox and achievement items, this gives a person a place to start on finding out what they have to do to acquire certain items.

Crafted Items.  The materials for crafted building blocks–not the new Matte Black blocks, but plain wood and stone–are cheap and they’re easy to farm if you’re at maximum level.  You can save some money on more expensive building blocks by making your own blocks to prebuild, reskin to the desired material, then re-use those cheap blocks to repeat the process or sell them, because crafted blocks are almost never on the AH.  Each profession also has an assortment of other items you can craft for minimal cost.

Trading.  When it comes to rare items, this is often the best way to acquire them, as people have different tastes and the thing you absolutely have to have is a thing someone else positively hates.  When offering a trade, however, be sure to not be an asshole.  Offer items of comparative value.  A crafted Oval Draumheim Platform is in no way comparable to a White Flagstone Tile (I can’t make this up!), but a Dragon Wall Adornment is.

Hoarding is not a bad thing!  During the Tips ‘n Tricks Live! streams, viewers often get a glimpse into the freak shows that are my bags and my bank on my building alt.  That is only one bank, one set of bags.  Storage solutions are something that varies by person, but one way to alleviate any worry of predatory AH selling is to maintain a pile of your own stuff.  I scan the AH for deals (I picked up a Spiky Droughtlands Rock just this morning for 10p, so they are out there) and stash those things in the bank if there’s no immediate need to use it.  When I see building blocks posted for 2-10 silver apiece, I buy them, and sit on them until I use them.

The Dwarf Mage Statue. Received in trade for my entire supply of Draumheim Benches--and well worth it.
The Dwarf Mage Statue. Received in trade for my entire supply of Draumheim Benches–and well worth it.

Does it sound like a lot of work, time and money to do all this stuff?  Yes, it can be.  Is it worth it to go to the effort rather than be caught scrambling for Dinner Plates six months after Carnival of the Ascended has ended?  Possibly, when the alternative at the moment is buying them from the AH for 15-150p each or morphing your own plates when the item limit may not stretch that far.

I’m sorry this ended up being such a long-winded speech, but there’s been a lot of frustration with both those who sell, and those who buy at such outrageous prices and thus keep those prices high.

There will always be those people who deliberately try to take advantage of others, and those whose sole gameplay experience is to try to profit from buying and selling.  We as buyers, however, have the ultimate power–we can choose to not click the BUYOUT button.  More, we can spread the word of those predatory sellers, so that we can present a united front as a community, and drive them to lower their prices or risk losing all their plat to listing fees.

We can do our research, spend the time to farm our own stuff and educate ourselves to be informed consumers, especially about something we profess to be passionate about.  All the information is out there, either through dimensionaddicts.com, Dimension Gallery, or this very site (check here, for the list of Margle Vendor Items).  People have the right to list things for whatever amount they choose, but you don’t have to buy the items.

/endrant.

Happy Building, and Happy Touring!

 

 

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