Chat spam is also likely to be an issue. With no centralized system, expect a lot of WTB/WTS spam, especially in cities. It’s inevitable that certain corners will become known for traders with certain items or reputation. Cities are going to likely see a lot of this. A trade chat channel would be nice, but then that would probably undermine some of what we have before us. Additionally, tying the ability to shop for items with participation in Cyrodiil (or at least, entering Cyrodiil) and heading to a keep that’s probably contested is just going to be a no-go for some players. Those on the fence about PvP or active PvPers will likely take their chances, but ESO is expected to have a lot of PvE players and those playing for story. Sure, these people can buy from their own guild shops, but their options will be limited overall, and possibly by a lot.
At this stage, the way ESO’s economy is structured is intriguing. Will it work? There are many ways in which it seems likely to be fresh, but there are multiple potential issues too. There’s a danger of the little guy getting shut out in some ways, yet giving much of the economy into the hands of players again is something notable. It feels more grounded in a world, rather than an automatic process that feels like part of a game. Having merchants in town hawking their goods will bring a bit of atmosphere (and some spam), and out of game guides and trade boards will likely pop up, telling people where to find certain players and what their stocks might be like. Players will find ways to make the system work for them, while Zenimax’ intentions still seem likely to shake things up a bit.
From this vantage point, it seems flawed and in favor of the big versus the small, but there are possible ways to get around some of that, such as a small crafting specialized guild entering an alliance with several large guilds of fighters to help the crafters take and hold a keep. It seems likely to come down to creativity and be more player-driven, which is a welcome change and another sign of ESO feeling like a modern-meets-old school MMORPG.
Christina Gonzalez / Christina is a freelancer and contributor to MMORPG.com, where she writes the community-focused Social Hub column. You will also find her contributions at RTSGuru. Follow her on Twitter: @c_gonzalez