Encouraging Trade

Right now the economic situation in Township is pretty dry. There is very little money in circulation, and any that is owned is owned by those who mine gold and convert it into coins instead of gaining their wealth through trade and commerce. There are hundreds of reasons why Township suffers these issues, but I believe one large one is how trade is somewhat discouraged through the implementation of the Trade Decks.

Firstly, you have the scarcity of Trade Decks. Having 15(ish) slots for players to buy and sell items really doesn’t inspire a lively economy, and because very few people exchange goods in person, this is certainly a contributing factor to the lack of trade.

Secondly, the fact that you are taxed for wanting to sell goods doesn’t exactly encourage trade. The labour that you go through to get the goods you want to sell shouldn’t have the extra tax of renting a trade deck slapped on.

My Concept
To fix these issues, I propose a concept that has been featured in many an MMO in the past, and that is a General Market. In Township these would be ATM sized machines where players can choose to either buy or sell items:

To Sell, they would simply select “Sell” in the Market’s menu, and then deposit the item they wish to sell and at their proposed price. This involves no taxation or penalty (as it is inadvertently a penalty) for wanting to sell an item. Unlike a Trade Deck, selling an item would not lock down that Market to only selling that item, instead the item would be sent to the invisible warehouse, and somebody else can come along and sell something else straight after.

To Buy, the player would select “Buy” in the Market’s menu, and then navigate through the categories to find the item they wish to find. If no items are being sold in the category which they reside in, then the category is not displayed as to not clutter up the interface.

I believe that the implementation of a new way of selling items such as my concept would encourage more people to take part in Trade as they do not feel that they are penalised for doing so, and the greater possible stock would encourage more people to buy items. Hopefully if anyone is able to sell without being taxed or restricted then the current existing Coin will be better circulated around the playerbase of a server instead of in a high concentration for people at the top (who go mining).

This is a great idea to improve the township’s (barely existent) economy. I imagine it could be sort of difficult to make the general market work with ATT’s philosophy of minimal GUIs, but I imagine it could look like a trading caravan or an auction house where you go to a specified area and do something and it shows you the model of each item. Of course, if it saves ATT’s economy, I would be fine with a standard menu interface.

I’m sure it could be done with the same elegance as the Screenshot Camera (similar design philosophy), and the models of the items could simply be smaller versions of items we see in docks already. I don’t think this would look too out of place.

There is a reason for the tax, to prevent people from dumping a bag full of loot or valyan bars at like 5000 coins for storage.

I don’t think an auction house would fit, sure it would help with letting more players sell things, but it goes way too far, there is a reason for the taxes and limited stalls (And I assure you a auction house would have a fee on any items you sell there), firstly the tax on owning a stall is a money sink to remove coins from the world and it also makes it so people can’t hold onto the stalls forever, the reason they have limited stalls wouldn’t just be because it would look weird, but that it makes sense to add some scarcity to trading spots, it’s not suppose to be a great bazaar, just a place you can find some new items and sometimes find some well maintained supply stalls.

Also I’d make the guess that the devs want more in person trading then less considering how community based the game is. An auction house is the the result of having millions of players wanting to sell items to millions of other players.

I think with houses we might get the ability to sell items out of the houses (like stalls) and would also make players that are traders a lot more viable, since if you devote your home to trading spots and storage you can buy and sell a lot of different things from/to many different people instead of what we have now which is players that have restricted amount of inventory spots so they only have a few things they’d want to buy and they would have to happen upon the person selling those few things.

  1. If the trade decks were made to be a gold sink then they’re frankly shit at it. The rates for renting are far too low so they’re more of an annoying deterant to trading than a good gold sink.

  2. Limiting trade for the sake of aesthetics is a dumb move and a dumb point.

  3. If the devs wanted in-person trading then the Trade Decks wouldn’t exist. The developers aren’t stupid: They realise that organising trades through purely a the game is a difficult task because this isn’t real life. Township doesn’t work like real life because there’s this little thing called people having a life outside of the game. You can’t depend on somebody to always be ready and waiting to trade. Nobody has the time to work in a virtual shop for their whole day. The game needs to act as a middleman to help commerce happen, to store items, and to make buying and selling easier.
    It already tries to do this, but fails in its implementation thanks to scarcity and taxation.

  4. Oh, so trade can only work after housing, ok, ok. But who, may I ask, are going to be the ones who can afford to buy the land for a house…? Miners! They are the only ones who can get guaranteed money through their work in the game, and that is a fundamental flaw in the system. What we can do to help fix this issue is encourage trade through the convenience, security, and simplicity a machine market would provide. Only when the barriers of entry to trade are broken down can we see thriving commerce, and people able to make a living off of it.

Normally you spread gold sinks across many systems because having it concentrated in one point makes that thing a pain to use and mostly non profitable, sadly we don’t really have any space for other gold sinks, but if we just had stalls work as money sinks for the whole system they’d be mostly not profitable.

Sure it could be increased to make it more of an effective money sink, but why not make it more of a lax system since it really can’t fight all of inflation, sure it makes inflation in a game where whole world wipes sill happen, but if it was all just taken out you’d just be putting it back in to upset the players then, so you either make them a bit upset now or upset when you suddenly start taxing them again.

Also thanks for ignoring my point of “also makes it so people can’t hold onto the stalls forever”.

Splitting up my point into two to make it sound stupid.

Obliviously the devs know that not all trade can be done in person, but you’re just saying “why would an one bother if they can’t have all in person trade?”. The point is you can have in person trading which can be fun dynamic process, but you can’t do it all, you have to have some offline trading, but you limit it since players will just go with the path of least resistance even if it isn’t as fun or have less player interaction, I think it’s Raph Koster who said “Given the opportunity, players will optimize the fun out of a game.”

Also you relise you said the same thing I did here?

If isn’t clear I was referring to how trade doesn’t work in person most of the time for complex stuff, you can buy food or wood, but once it gets to more complex items such as a tool it becomes hard for players to in person trade without a bit of effort on the player’s part.

Never said that, I mentioned “might get the ability to sell items out of the houses (like stalls)” and “devote your home to trading spots…” saying that you’d set up some player run stalls in a house, which requires investment on the player’s end for them to have a service they can sell, mainly selling more variety than what you normally could with stalls and organizing selling (hopefully assisted by stalls that can buy items).

I was thinking there could be some in person sales in the shop since you could actually set up a time for your shop to be manned (could even have more than one person able to man it to increase that time), but I in no way was saying that would be the only way sales would be made in the store nor did I even mentioning manning it in the first place, the idea that it would “depend on somebody to always be ready and waiting to trade” is blatantly not what I was talking about.

Not necessarily, sure on smaller servers it might be needed but as I was talking about, another player can act as the middle man if they are given sufficient tools (as in a store where you can automate some of that and store items so you have a stock).

So, my idea is bad because you can get other players to get houses earlier? Again, I agree that on a small server a player run shop might not work, it would definitely need some system for trade for a server with only a few players that are rarely on at the same time, but thinking about it, stalls would cover that low of a population, I agree that the tax might be a bit annoying since it would mean you might risk coins for selling on a server with so few buyers.

You’re saying that monopoly is “fundamental flaw in the system” (I agree) but then go onto something that doesn’t really fix the issue, it just tries to work around it.

It’s just really annoying we got that miner issue (Sorry that was too funny to pass on), really needs other jobs to have some saturation of coins in the loot pool, possibly dungeons could have enough for warrior focused players can get coin.

Honestly at this point it’s getting hard to see what exactly it needs to improve the system, theoretically a system were only miners get coins can work with enough trade, maybe to the point that you don’t need trade too be that easy, just to get it going a bit were other jobs have enough coins from it to increase the speed of trade.

I do want to point out that “barriers of entry” aren’t all bad, for example there are barriers for doing class related stuff, since you need skills to do it the most effectively, though honestly it feels like the skills aren’t so helpful in that, more of just convinces.

Some barriers of entry can be good in trade as long as it doesn’t cripple the trade from starting, makes an obstacle for players to work around, such as in the way of merchants, make it so trading isn’t all magically handheld by game so that there is a room for players to improve it.

Also I wanted to ask, how would the auction house prevent storage abuse? Right now stalls can be abused to store things players don’t want to sell as long as they put a high enough price on it, sure the auction house could prevent backpacks, but so could stalls and you would still have the problem of single stack storage, even more so with the auction house since you talked about not having taxes on it along with the fact that there would be less limits on how many items could be in the auction house.

Maybe limits on how many things you can sell and/or the highest price you can set something at, but same thing could be done with stalls, and you’re then balancing how much you restrict free trade as well as how much you can sell. More you can sell, the more you can store.

My only idea that might work is a fee for failing to sell, for example if you have to actively take it down from the auction instead of having someone buy it, but even then you could have two dudes buying each other’s items off the store to dodge the fee.

Edit: Jeez, sorry for how long the post ended up being.

  1. I understand that first and foremost the renting system of the Trade Decks is to prevent one person holding onto it forever, but I believe an auction market would have no need for renting.

  2. I wholeheartedly disagree with your point about the Market allowing players to optimise the fun out of the game. I would take the convenience of a market over arranging a 2 minute material exchange with somebody any day, even if it does mean your total time playing the game is reduced.

  3. The issue of how gold is distributed is a delicate issue, and one I don’t have an answer for (and one that I don’t think the developers have an answer for either…). I want a system where people who specialise in other professions can make money easier (not saying they will, and it will probably be nowhere near as guaranteed as mining).

  4. Barriers of entry to a profession are not bad at all, but barriers of entry to trade the fruits of your labour on top of your profession’s barriers are just annoying.

  5. The only anti-abuse system I can think of it preventing players from taking out what they have sold. This system can of course be abused by a player with friends, but so can the current Trade Deck system. Abuse will always be possible in some way or another, and we may just have to deal with it.

Don’t apologise for giving a good response to some of my bullshit and half-thought-out points.

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But you can’t ignore the other problem of needing money sinks when you talk about the auction house, it doesn’t have a need of renting for the fact of players hogging space but it’d have tax to take money out of the economy, a money sink in the trade system is also very important as the bigger the economy becomes the more the tax effects it, it’s hard to compensate for a lack of a tax on trade.

For simpler trades I don’t think you’d need to interact with players, with a shop that could be handled with those stall things, as for more complex trades with tools, weapons and such that are made of a parts. Not as much of a thing, but I do wonder about later on when we have tools and such that have more than just made of x wood and y metal.

With optimizing fun, I’ll say it’s hard to know what would be fun, but I think a system of player managed shops and such could add to the game, the auction house is something that is very convenient but doesn’t have a dynamic to it, in a sense you put item into box and later you get money out of box, it’s in no way a system that would annoy players or get in the way, but it’s more of a short cut of making trade as easy as possible.

Again I don’t exactly know what would be best in the end, but I think we can have a system that adds a dynamic, even if it takes a bit longer, mostly so for certain items that might be hard to identify quality on a auction house without a lot of text and such that isn’t really like the game.

Yeah it’s a tricky one, maybe if there was a way to split up how the Miner can make money into another job or system, It sounds really weird to just have some job that for some reason can turn gold to coins while other can’t but it might work, you could gear that job to have to interact with the economy more than miners do.

Or you could at least make it so a different job is a lot better at making coins so miners are inclined to sell there gold to other for a bit less than they could make, but they then don’t have to go through the trouble of making coins.

For example you could have the coin presses take longer to use, maybe even needing to heat up the gold to press it, then you give a job (maybe merchant) the skill to operate the press a bit faster, maybe even have better machines you can make in your house that take up a lot of space and can make a coin or two more than a normal press and can a bit go faster, then you give the inventive for miners to just sell off their gold for say four coins per bar just so they can get coins out of them quick and easy and they also wouldn’t want to waste so much space making a good press either.

That would give another class some capital and you could engineer that class to stimulate trade, though honestly I don’t know exactly how you do that right now, but I’m sure I could think something up if you want.

There could also be a simple trade house system, don’t have it encompass every item, but you let players easily sell wood, food, metals and other basic supplies with something like a more market focused stockpile, I think that is the main part of trade that needs stimulation since then anyone cutting wood or cooking food could easily sell off that basic supply they can farm in similar way miners can mine gold.

I don’t think that is right, that is more just saying having progression in your class means that there isn’t room for something like it in the market, I mean after you are well past the barrier for entry of the class you don’t interact with that barrier anymore, I can see how starting early on where you can barely chop down a tree and then you try to go to sell it and it’s not a really easy possess could be annoying, but after you get past it all you’d have in a system with no barrier, you chop wood, even more rare wood and just dump it into the auction house box.

With the simple auction house system where it only effects more basic supplies could actual work well with this, you start out getting basic supplies while working since the more complex stuff is down the line so everything you get can be sold pretty easily, but after you (mostly) get past the barrier in your class you then start getting stuff you need to pawn off somewhere, something you have to think about selling since that can add a lot where you find something rare and have to speculate on it’s value and who might be interested in it, but if you can just put it up on the auction house you could see a few other ones up on the market and just put yours at a little bit of a lower price.

But with the trade deck system you are limited by taxes and space, there has to be some restriction, sure there will always be abuse, but I don’t think a system where just having a buddy can theoretical allow you to store infinite amounts of items with the only barrier being having more money than what one unit of the item would cost (so you can buy back the overpriced amount).

The abuse with the system we have now is limited in scope, and even could be (mostly) fixed if they just made backpacks blacklisted from the decks, and sure there will still be some way to abuse it (even being able to store how much of a stack the trade decks can store). We can’t just move over to a system that can be abused near infinitely more because both will always have some way of abuse, there is abuse and there is unacceptable abuse (or at least greater abuse).


On top of the idea of a limited auction house system and separating coin pressing from miners, I do have another idea that might help, but also might need more systems in place before it would work.

I’m not sure what the item would be, but there could be something rare sprinkled into the loot pool of different professions, for example gems, there might be some gems in the mines but in the over world there could be rarer gems (technically rarity would depend from person to person in the way that miners wouldn’t really be able to get forest gems and visa versa). Either these gems could be turned into currency in a similar way that coins can be (so you could make sapphire disk or something that has the value of some hundred amount of coins) but then instead the different classes wanting different gems, they would all create their own gem coins which could be balanced in a way that the ones found by non miners are generally more valuable so they get money on about the same level, and to make these gem coins useful you could add a coin purse, you can hold up to say a 50 coins in it per the four slots, but you can store gem coins in it to effectively store more wealth in it at a time.

The other way this could be done is just replace the gems with some kind of small artifact or trinkets that different classes want so miners will buy those trinkets that are useful to them and get large chunks of wealth moving around with a very simple purchase of something that makes their job easier (for example taking less hits to mine).

I think one of the big parts of the problem is not only can miners making money, I think they farm the most valuable stuff, so they can easily stock pile their profits.

Edit: Oh I wanted to mention one of the things that makes me feel like a straight up auction house doesn’t fit is the fact that stuff just goes into a void till it’s bought, it kind of goes against that idea that storing stuff takes up space. I don’t know if that makes sense.

Oh, I did think of a system that the players can’t really store items in that could work a lot like the auction house, but it might be limited in scale just by how it’d work.

You have message board like thing, if you want to buy or sell something you post a piece of paper with what you want to buy or sell on the board and the someone can send the money for the item being sold through the mail box or send the item through the mail box to get paid, the first one would require the other player to go to their mail box and basically put in the item they said they were selling into the mailbox to redeem the money the other player paid to buy it, while players just buying items would have the money get taken from their bank to pay for it, might not have explained it well.

Though I think this is basically what I said on a different idea post about some quest board.