Shopkeeping

KrysalissKrysaliss Member Posts: 213 ✭✭✭
First, thanks Jeremy and assorted other admins for answering our questions. I managed to actually hear the answers to my blind questions after the fact and I'm glad to hear my concerns are on the radar (even if they are on back burner until TBD).

I am full of sass and vinegar and have all of the ideas, but I'm curious about where other folks stand (who are actually interested in the three topics I'm fixing to post about) on these. What frustrates, what improvement ideas do you have, what fairy dream dust wishes do you think will never happen but would love?  

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Quick & Dirty
Good:
  • Expanded shops - the option to build new rooms that can be described (and maybe split shelves into multiple rooms of a shop)
  • Bonuses for well stocked shops - Access to necessary goods can be an issue even with our explosion of shops, maybe provide a bonus for shopkeepers that stay well stocked (like that mob-shopping thing, perhaps, make mobs more likely to shop at places they can get all their adventuring supplies in one handy stop)
  • Simplified stocking - Oh please, please.
  • A Request System - Need something custom crafted and like the look of what's on the shelf? Leave the shopkeep a note.
Bad:
  • Focusing on profitability - Unlikely to happen for all but a rare few. Focus on making shops more enjoyable/useful for those who own them.
  • Limiting shops - Unlikely to fix profitability, likely to reduce available necessary wares, frustrating for people who wanna craft and give you money for the privilege. 

Expanded shops:
I love having a shop because it encourages me to flex creative muscle through crafting without a specific request or personal need. Expanding that into the building of a shop increases enjoyment. Aetolia already does this - allows a player with a shop to build additional rooms. This allows thematic shops like a winery with cozy hangouts, for example. I think we could expand on that and allow shelves to appear in different rooms of a shop. So you could have a theater space with concessions in one room, a bar in another, costumes, props, and accessories in a third, with a stage occupying a fourth.  Or a twisted laboratory with supplies, or a pub, or a hunting lodge, or a tea garden, or whatever floats your boat and finds your lost remote.

Bonus for Stocking:
Even with the explosion of shops since the token shops happened, we still run into a lack of necessary equipment fairly often. The mention of potential future mob purchases gave me an idea. Shops that stock a wide variety of items could have an increased likelihood of mob arrivals. (Orgs that have shops should already be incentivizing well stocked shops and limiting the number of clothes/booze only shops. Hint, nudge)

Simplified Stocking:
The only real idea I have for this is to be able to attach a keyword to shelves and stockable goods. ASSIGN SHELF# KEYWORD FOOTWEAR. STOCK BLUE.SHOE TO FOOTWEAR. PRICE BLUE.SHOE 100. But anything that makes this process less tedious is a big win. 

Request System:
I don't know how much interest there would be for this. I've done a decent amount of direct commissions but I don't hunt it down and I always just design my own crap and have people submit it when I'm on a non-crafting character, HOWEVER, I think it would be nifty to have a way to send a formal request for custom gear via a shop. Or even just a request for stocking stuff. Maybe attach it to a ledger in the shop. Ledger requests can be stored in the shop log. 'SIGN LEDGER REQUEST FOR COMMISSION' leaves a shop log note 'Commission request from Player'. 'SIGN LEDGER REQUEST FOR BACKPACKS' 'Ledger request for backpacks'. 

Profitability:
Very few of us (I think, from my not-at-all scientific approach of knowing IRE shopkeepers over a decade of playing) own shops to make money. That's kind of laughable, tbh. I have 6 tradeskills, 4 crafting skills, and artifacts to match on just one of my characters (and  have multiple characters with tradeskill investment because I'm impatient). That's before we get into the cost of shopkeeping itself (taxes, add-ons, shelves, barrels, artifact flasks, commodities) and before we get into the time consumption of shopkeeping and crafting. Focusing improvements on this area is a waste of time and energy. Focus on making shops a better resource for players looking for things, focus on making shops easier to work with. There are easily half a dozen easier, faster, and more reliable ways to make coin in Imperian.

Limiting Shop Numbers:
I know this has been a debate since I've started playing but I stand firmly in the more shops, not less camp. Limiting the number doesn't improve profitability to the degree necessary to make that a worthwhile consideration. It doesn't improve the availability of goods (it limits them) and it increases the barrier for crafters (who are spending pretty considerable cash for the privilege of creating content) who want to get their crafted goods accessible to the public market. Choice doesn't hurt the playerbase. Please don't do this. 




Druu

Comments

  • WyllWyll Member Posts: 124 ✭✭✭
    All great ideas, especially like the custom request system and the bit about limiting shop numbers. 

    I think Jeremy said he was thinking of allowing mobs to buy items from shops, which would help with profitability. I'd actually like to hear more on this idea if admin has worked it out a bit more.
    Anette
  • GjarrusGjarrus Member Posts: 290 ✭✭✭
    I feel like profitability should be targeted with tradeskills, not shopkeeping. I would make the room for each type of crafting be a 'quest' hub where mobs put in requests for items, paying between some percentage like 150-200% comm costs up to a cap. If you extend item creation times out and scale them to 'complexity' (# comms, types of comms) and cost, you start to both limit quantity and provide a decent variable baseline for crafter gold that doesn't stack with hunting. This would fall over into shopkeeping, since the shopkeepers would then both want to craft quality items for their shops and purchase items from player crafters to improve their stock. Unrelated, forcing crafting to be done in a trade room would also increase the likelihood of players occupying the same space (a very good thing in any MUD).

    ^ does not address major trade skill profitability, but that could be better suited for another 'quest' (or wandering npc shoppers) that sucks up sitting inventories or something. I'm not sure it's necessary, though, since cheap concoctions and toxins was one of the greatest things for PK participation.

    Shop expansion - Sounds like a pointless gold sink. We like those!

    Shopkeeping - Unified inventory, categorization, 'barrels' for comms and other crap




  • SumieSumie Member Posts: 48 ✭✭✭
    I feel like some of the profitability problems of shops is that they are actually meant to be a gold sink than earning for earning.
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    Herbs sell for 3-5 gold a piece...which on one hand is probably good for novices and other people. It is not good for shop owners. In order to sell herbs well you have to be learn concoctions and you have to buy 20 herb barrels. Each barrel is 100,000 gold. So in order to break even you have to sell 20,000 of each herb(unless we're talking breaking even based on selling the barrel afterwards for about 75k which would then mean 5000 of each herb).  You can sell loose herbs in your shop but I feel like doing so makes your shop look a bit messy and loses the convenience for the customer. 

    Flasks for Elixirs and salves it is also a bit costly though has gotten a bit cheaper lately at 1 token(used to be 40 credits). 

    Toxins also has a problem with requiring flasks. But it becomes a much bigger problem when you take into the fact the sheer numbers of toxins and how much less they are sold than elixirs.


    Market Stalls
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    The addition of market stalls has done a quite a few different things.

    First they pushed city shops downwards and towne shops into uselessness. Towne shops are far too obscure, they don't have the market attraction since townes are rarely visited. City shops have to pay city taxes, can be taken from you and still do not get as much visitation as a market stall in caanae.

    Secondly the vast influx of shops has made shops far too plentiful creating a perfect competition market. This has quite diminished prices, forcing shops to lower their prices to meet the competition with far too much supply than demand. 



    Changes I would make
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    New Shelf type for the same price of other shelves - Herb Shelf - Said shelf will allow you to sell herbs from the shop cache limiting the cache capacity to 200-500 herbs.  Herb barrels are then changed that when on the ground they will restock the cache from the barrel. This allows a cheaper way to get into selling herbs, but requires more maintenance of the shop or they could buy herb barrels but can then keep the shop stocked with less effort. 

    Flask shelf could be used as the same idea as above, allowing for only 20-50 refills. Or alternatively a woodcrafting/metalworking that only holds 10-20 refills.  Either of these solutions would solve the toxins problems.

    I feel like it would be interesting to make a bandit system. Ten or more market stalls in an area would cause a bandit problem in the area. Bandits in the area charge shops 10,000 gold a year as -protection money-. Failure to pay the tax would mean that next year bandits will raid your shop, taking a few years at random periods. Bandits will always been seen roaming the area when an area has a bandit problem and killing bandits will cause them to drop items stolen from shops. This will cause market stalls to cut into their profits paying taxes, be vigilant on their wares, or disperse from the market stall cloud of Caanae. I feel like the major problem isn't really the number of stalls, but how closely they cloud together.

    For towne shops, I feel like I've made this comment a few times. Move all council/city houses to townes. This will give towne shops a niche selling furniture and other stuff for houses. This will also clear up some of the map messiness in cities. 


    Anette
  • WyllWyll Member Posts: 124 ✭✭✭
    Sumie said:

    I feel like it would be interesting to make a bandit system. Ten or more market stalls in an area would cause a bandit problem in the area. Bandits in the area charge shops 10,000 gold a year as -protection money-. Failure to pay the tax would mean that next year bandits will raid your shop, taking a few years at random periods. Bandits will always been seen roaming the area when an area has a bandit problem and killing bandits will cause them to drop items stolen from shops. This will cause market stalls to cut into their profits paying taxes, be vigilant on their wares, or disperse from the market stall cloud of Caanae. I feel like the major problem isn't really the number of stalls, but how closely they cloud together.

    Please, no. People don't sub to Iron Elite every month for 13 months(2x token at 13 months = 26, aka $325 ) for the privilege of buying an artifact shop so they could be robbed of their hard earned commodities, designs, etc and pay taxes(in this case to the bandits). The entire point of having that type of shop is so you can slide in and slide out of the game without worrying about falling behind on city taxes and losing your shop.

    Same reason why we don't pay taxes on our artifact houses. I paid real money for that. I don't need it to be taken away because I went dormant. Same reason why we are encouraged to purchase credits/promos from the website so our characters don't get purged and deleted for continual inactivity.
    KrysalissAnette
  • KrysalissKrysaliss Member Posts: 213 ✭✭✭
    Towne shops have never been useful. 

    Location of shops doesn't matter with directories. 

    Pricing is an issue because of some of the utility skills (like commodity duplication. 

    Making shops more irritating to run is not a solution.
    AnetteWyll
  • AnetteAnette Member Posts: 650 ✭✭✭
    Honestly, the economics here are such that shops aren't going to be profitable.  I think we need to accept this, at least until the playerbase expands.  Supply vastly outstrips demand and will for a considerable amount of time.  There are, as has been pointed out, opportunities for specific items that are lacking.  The smart shopkeepers that are making money still, are the ones jumping on those niche markets.

    What I think we CAN do, is make shop-keeping fun and rewarding regardless of the $$ intake.  If you enjoy what you're doing the end result of it being less positive or negative is less impactful because you enjoyed the time to get whatever the reward is anyways.

    I'm optimistic that the SHOP code overhaul will help with this a lot.  Another idea that has been floated around in the OP I think would help to this end is a "made to order" item for bespoke items.  This would simultaneously help drive some sales to shops, increase the value and attractiveness of trade skills, and lead to better engagement between people buying stuff and the people offering to sell stuff, which fosters the whole social interaction thing and helps provide casual (or maybe even not-casual) RP opportunities.
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  • ZerinZerin Member Posts: 41 ✭✭✭
    I run my shop just for funsies. I never expected to make money which is why I chose to invest 200k gold in a city shop, rather than like... 400 credits (or however much tokens are now) into a token-shop. On that note, what I wouldn't give to have things easier to organise, and easier to price. I would love a pre-set price thing. Maybe this exists now... I don't know (If it exists now, please tell me how!). But when I run out of say, leathergreaves, I want to just be able to put them back on the shelf and have it remember the last price I sold them at, instead of me having to manually price them with price all leathergreaves 2500.

    Also, the idea of using keywords is great too.
    GjarrusAnetteKrysaliss
  • AnetteAnette Member Posts: 650 ✭✭✭
    Zerin said:
    I would love a pre-set price thing. Maybe this exists now... I don't know (If it exists now, please tell me how!). But when I run out of say, leathergreaves, I want to just be able to put them back on the shelf and have it remember the last price I sold them at, instead of me having to manually price them with price all leathergreaves 2500.
    Expanding on this, a default pricelist would be a good feature.  Which is to say, an ability to set the default price of a given KEYWORD to AMOUNT - so for example you do something like SHOP PRICELIST SET LEATHERGREAVES 2500 - and then any leather greaves you place on a shelf are automatically set to that price, unless they are manually priced to override it.
    image
    KrysalissOystir
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