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farbauti
I deeply respect the players that put all the time and effort into the Master Merchants Guild. I reinc'd into it myself thinking I could do something, but soon found out that I would need at least 50 mil exp to even begin providing the smallest services to other players.
This brings me to my question/suggestion. Why does Bat put so much emphasis on training for the Merch Guild and then belittle them to being the only players that can Prot/ID/Create/Repair Weapons and Armor? This is ridiculously low pay and time consuming. I would imagine a MASTER Merchant being above such duties. Ship work, Chest/Lock Creation, and Pricey Weapon/Armor trading seems more fitting for such a Master. Why not create either a Sub-Guild to Master Merchants or a 10-15 lvl Guild, similar in structure to Squires, which covers the areas of Weapon and Armor Prots/Id/Repairs? Even Mount Gear Creation/Refitting, since mounts are becoming more and more part of the game. Adding 100% to Mining would not be a bad idea either. Instead of selling the materials at Material Exchange, the Miner gets Exp instead. THEN, the Master Merchants can buy from the Material Exchange. With 200+ players usually on 24/7 it seems, IMO that these services are outrageously over priced and increasingly harder to get. After paying 30k in repairs on 2 30k items really made me step back and look at the situation more closely. And a quote of 300k for Saddlebags was the last straw. Master Merch's are well served not doing such Lowbie Tasks. Let them make all the money they want from 20 mil Ships and Diamond Chests, but limit the price gouging on needed repairs. Like I said, Let the Masters Do MASTER Luxury Work and let other Civs do the hard supply and demand work. Just a thought. :)
farbauti
To add more justification to my suggestion... The Journeyman Guild would not be allowed to join Master Merchants (maybe Alchemist, maybe not). This would be a mirror image of the Disciples of Chaos and Lords of Chaos Guilds, since you cannot be a Disciple AND a Lord at the same time. It just wouldn't make sense.

Would it be limited to Civs? Not sure, but probably.

The entire Mining/Refining/Amalgamating process is great in theory and has apparently worked well for the game thus far. Slave Mining for 300 gold per kg is hardly worth the effort. Maybe this is why we see ALL zeros when you look at the Material Exchange list.
Adding exp to the kg's mined/refined would definately be an incentive for Journeymen to keep Materials in supply. How is this incentive different than players mob killing for exp, gold, and eq? It's not.

I really think that Lumberjacking, Mining, and Blacksmithing could be three different paths. Like the mages. You have a core guild then you choose your path(s) from there.

Am I wrong for thinking that if materials are constantly needed to maintain weapons,armors, and items that there needs to be a more focused guild in this area?
Tim
I played a merchant for a fair while. In fact, I have played a merchant twice.

The first time, I had about 20m total exp. That's not really enough for a merchant unless you are happy performing a very narrow set of merchant activities. With around 20m you could specialize as a miner or concentrate only on building wooden chests or perhaps just do scar removals and surgeries.

The second time I played a merchant, I started with around 40m total exp. This was enough for a decent merchant without any additional perks like Bard or Navigator levels and providing you don't try to be good at everything. You'd probably also need to choose to choose a race with 95+ skill max.

I made cash from various activities. However, initially, the main activities that made me cash were mining fairly specific materials or skinning small mobs, then refining and placing the material on the exchange, and making mid to large size wooden (including bamboo and ebony) chests.

As I gained some exp and completed my merchant tool belt, I became a more capable merchant. However, a large proportion of the cash that I made still came from materials on the mineral exchange.

Special workbenches and a fully completed tool belt really help for all the material related activities.

With 60m+ total exp, a few levels in sabres (so I could make some little exp while skinning small mobs), a completed tool belt (master merchant), many mineral boxes, a few chests for storing minerals and a few special workbenches, I could make minerals, the odd bit of armour and some chests relatively easily.
I could also perform repairs and surgery, importantly, with materials that I gathered myself.
At the same time as performing services/repairs and trying to build a small boat for myself, I could have (and probably did) supply the majority of several different minerals that sold reasonably well on the exchange.

As a dwarf, I didn't do a lot of feather weights and prots. However, the basic principle is that a few reasonably well equipped merchants can supply the market with a large proportion of what it needs. Therefore, even master merchants find themselves performing the full range of merchant activities.

It's actually the competition from other merchants that means that even the highest level merchants can't make that much cash from loans, ships and building huge chests. Basically, the top merchants can just do things more easily (more quickly). They can't make significantly more cash for the same service and they typically do have the time to perform a variety of activities.

Merchants is an odd guild really. It's hard to enjoy being a merchant if you don't have the 30-60m exp that is really required. You won't make that much money per hour, even after spending quite a large amount of experience. However, it is (or was) quite easy to just graze minerals and logs etc without paying a great deal of attention for long periods of time.


I would also like to see merchants guild modified. However, this is not because the guild is unbalanced in any way. I happen to think that in this new world, there is space for a much wider range of merchant style activities.

Fishing, hunting, skinning, lumberjacking, harvesting (plants) etc are all activities and skills that I would associate as strongly with merchants as with civilized craftsmen. I think I would like to see some of these skills in nomad guilds and also to see a smallish craftsmen type of guild for nomads and civilized backgrounds. This guild could include all such gathering, crafting and repairing skills (e.g. carpentry, gem cutting etc) and also some skills like brewing.

Then, I would have a, probably smaller, merchants guild with trading, commerce and law related skills. These would need a little expansion, but I think it is workable. One thing I would like to see is mining operations that run in the same style as ship-building is performed. I.e. the merchant is responsible for directing the operation and supplying various require materials/equipment.

Finally, I'd have a guild for civilized and magical backgrounds that encompasses the more magical side of merchants and also alloying and other material transformation skills & spells. I'd probably add some alchemist skills/spells (perhaps alchemists would also be overhauled). Some more eq enchantment type of abilities would also be nice.


Tim
Hair
QUOTE (farbauti @ Mar 21 2008, 09:38 PM) *
the Miner gets Exp instead. THEN, the Master Merchants can buy from the Material Exchange. With 200+ players usually on 24/7 it seems, IMO that these services are outrageously over priced and increasingly harder to get. After paying 30k in repairs on 2 30k items really made me step back and look at the situation more closely. And a quote of 300k for Saddlebags was the last straw. Master Merch's are well served not doing such Lowbie Tasks. Let them make all the money they want from 20 mil Ships and Diamond Chests, but limit the price gouging on needed repairs. Like I said, Let the Masters Do MASTER Luxury Work and let other Civs do the hard supply and demand work. Just a thought. :)


Well the problem with this idea is that chests, and ships even moreso, require ALOT of material, and not being able to mine/lumberjack/etc the mats yourself and having to buy them from the exchange would make building a ship or chest even more expensive, and therefore drive the price up even more. However, having a journeyman guild that disallows joining the master guild is just crazy talk. Why not be able to get the basics and the more advanced stuff at the same time? I mean, in the 'traditional' apprentice/journeyman/master setup, the master has to go through all of the lower level drudgery to be able to learn how to become a master. Just because a master can work on the more difficult tasks of his profession doesn't mean that he can't perform the more basic tasks, even better than less experienced merchants.

Anyway, I guess I'm saying leave it as it is, although merchant fumbles are a total pain in the ass, nothing like alloying for diamond and fumbling and ending up with 5000kg of turquoise or something.

--Hair
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