Ever since the early days of online games, the ability to trade virtual goods beween players has been one of the most interesting factors of MMORPGs. While some players dedicate a huge part of their time to playing the market, others prefer to spend their time more focused on actual gameplay, but even then you will need to participate in trades every once in a while. This article is going to provide an introduction to the Aion economy and give a few pointers - especially for beginners - to provide a basic understanding of it.
You will encounter a lot of money sinks in Aion, almost everything costs Kinah, the amount depending on your level and the service you want to take advantage of. If you want to bind yourself to an obelisk, or if you want to travel from one zone to the other, you will have to pay a small fee.
Assuming that you are just starting your career in Aion, you probably won't be interested in buying a lot of stuff right away, and you certainly won't be able to afford anything of high value even if you wanted to. But there is plenty of opportunity to sell items and start making some decent cash from the very start.
There are four ways to sell items in Aion:
NPC vendors provide the most basic form of trade. You can sell them items for a fixed - and usually low - amount of Kinah. Some items are worth much more than a vendor will pay for it, but because this is a very simple and fast way to get rid of items you don't need, a lot of players sell items for a very low price to vendors, unaware that they could have gotten a better bargain by selling the item to another player. A prime example of this would be manastones: basic low level manastones sell for only two Kinah to a vendor, while they are worth several hundred or thousand Kinah on the market. So the only stuff you want to sell to vendors are soulbound items that you cannot trade with other players, or grey quality items that are basically junk and can be disposed of quickly by the handy "sell all misc" button at every vendor.
Most other items you will find are useful to another player in some way and should be sold via direct trade (using the ingame trade channel and whispers to find a trade partner), a private shop or the trade brokers.
A private shop can be set up anywhere in the world and allows you to put up some items from your inventory for a fixed price. You can also choose a message to display in a chat bubble to advertise your goods.
Of course, a private shop is only useful if placed in a location where a lot of players come by, and one of their best uses is probably to provide a specific quest item right next to the corresponding quest NPC. The big disadvantage of this trade method is that you can't do anything else while you have your private shop active, besides using the chat, so unless you are going away from keyboard for a while, you might prefer to use the trade broker instead.
Trade brokers are NPCs that are located in every major quest hub and basically give you access to the auction market. You can register up to ten items, for a duration of eight days, that other players are then able to buy from a trade broker - not necessarily the same one you used to register the auction, since all trade brokers of one faction are linked to each other.
One big advantage of the auction house is that you can quickly look up items and compare prices, so even if you have no knowledge of the market yet, you can look up an item you wish to sell to get an idea of what it is worth.
There are several item categories that are always good sellers, and you will encounter low tier items of these categories early on in the game: gatherable materials, manastones, refining stones and of course magical weapons and armor (green quality and above).
The most profitable goods in the start are crafting materials (like Angelica, Iron Ore, Aether Powder etc). Players need them to skill up their crafting professions, and there are also quests that require you to turn in a small amount of materials. If you gather everything you come across, you should be able to keep your gathering skill high enough for later zones.
Refining stones come in several types (weapon, armor and accessory) and tiers (lesser, minor, premium etc) and are used in almost all crafting recipes. They drop from mobs and are always valuable, so if you don't need them yourself, sell them on the market - there is always a high demand.
Manastones can be used to enhance equipment and provide a small boost to various attributes. The price you can get for manastones depends on its type: physical critical hit and magic boosting power usually are more expensive than parry or evasion. All of them can also be used by alchemists or in a repeatable quest that becomes available later and serves to exchange manastones for a different type.
If you decide to take on a crafting profession, you will also be able to craft items that you can sell to other players. Crafted items in Aion are actually very good and valuable. But since it is very expensive to get to the higher skill levels, you will need to sell some of your better crafts to cover the expenses. Getting a craft early on can be very profitable if you manage to stay ahead of the competition, but of course it also bears a risk.
Finally, one advice early on is to consider expanding your cube (inventory). You can do this once in the town of your starting zone for a small fee, and later in your capital in the same building where you can find the warehouse and trade brokers. It will be more expensive the more often you expand your cube, but it's worth it to be able to carry more items while questing.