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Daybreak Games | Official Site
MMORPG | Setting:Fantasy | Status:Final  (rel 03/16/99)  | Pub:Daybreak Games
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Editorials: Progression Server Riches

By Laura Genender on August 22, 2006

Progression Server Riches
How I Got Rich On The EQ Progression Server Without IGE

We have been invaded. Despite the efforts of honest players and developers alike, no fragile ozone can contain a virtual world’s economy against real world buyers and sellers. Trying to retake those virtual universes that have been permeated by corporate pests is near impossible. Trying to protect worlds of the future is proving more fruitless and futile than we could ever expect. Systems are easier to break than they are to build – we’re always a step behind.

Even honest players who have never bought or sold are tainted by their brethren. All transactions are sullied, all markets flooded, all prices skewed. There is no escape from IGE and eBay.

Yet in the twilight hours of any given game, before the sellers discover and catalog this new market and the buyers make lazy arrivals in the best gear known to mankind, we have a brief period in which honest players can relive the gaming days of old. Such a brief, eclipsing opportunity presented itself to me and my colleagues in the form of the EverQuest progression server, and we embarked on a task that few gamers get to experience these days. We got rich without the help of IGE.

The world on our arrival was packed. Herds of lowbies poured out of Freeport. East Commonlands and Misty Thicket were populated by hundreds of low levels hacking away at goblins and bears, while Kithicor housed one lone level 2 Halfling, hoofing it to meet his friend in Freeport.

Instead of joining the rush to kill each monster four seconds after it spawned, we stepped back and took advantage of our situation. Here an entire world of consumers had been born, and they were just now attaining the assets to purchase what they wanted.

What did people want? Armor. Everyone wanted armor. It could be cloth, patchwork, tattered – nothing mattered but filling up every lonely, empty spot. We began to pick through NPC corpses left behind in the rush for more EXP. We ran circuits to check all the NPC merchants near hunting spots. We bought anything craft related, and I, the tailor, began to make armor.

A few other enterprising souls had begun the same venture, and I needed a leg up over them. With professional, quick service and rewards for quick service I was able to build a loyal player base. By delivering to a limited number of hunting spots, I was able to attract customers who otherwise would not be willing to leave “the grind.”

At 3.7 platinum per 13 piece set, my income was slow. But over the course of four days I was able to farm up a good two hundred platinum or so, and have a good, full customer base to harvest in the future. All transactions were recorded in Excel, along with class and race information about my customers. Notes were kept on troublemakers, and on fast, easy customers.

The next leap in profit was up to my companion, Draven. Two hundred platinum disappeared quickly as we reinvested in his Smithing skill. Our next goal was Banded armor, with a skill trivial level of 90 to 115. We were a bit behind the leading crafters – a few had already begun to sell Banded at 90 platinum a set – and we needed to find something to offset that lost time and pummel the competition.

That advantage came in the form of carpel tunnel for the smith, and a lot of merchant milking for the both of us. Instead of buying sheet metal straight from the vendors at one platinum a piece, we began to explore all the newbie areas, buying up all rusty weapons from the NPCs vendors. These weapons, bought for between three silver and one gold (dependant on the piece), could be broken down into pieces of ore and resmelted into the sheet metal. The sheet metal cost us, on average, two gold per. This saved us 8 gold to 2.4 platinum per Banded combine, and allowed us to sell at the lower price of 70 platinum without losing profit.

Due to availability of molds, large and small races near our hometown of Freeport were in dire need of large and small banded, and no one was really providing. At first, we worked out a few deals with Halflings and Trolls to fetch us molds from their respective home cities. But this was a temporary fix, replaced soon by a new solution: the shared bank. By putting some platinum and a couple of bags in the shared bank, we could make a new Halfling or Barbarian character, buy some molds, and freight them back to our main characters.

Now, instead of providing the masses with low end gear, we were targeting the middle and upper class. Now we were pulling in 70 platinum per full set, with a 30 platinum or so profit on each full set sold. Customers from my previous tailoring list were contacted and informed of the new wares available.

Draven also began work on a human-only combine: the Seafarer’s Cutlass. This sword, with a 23 attack delay and 7 attack power, was one of the best non-magic weapons available on the server. We were able to sell these for respectable prices on auction chat, and outfit all the melees in our small, still forming guild.

When we hit our first 500 platinum mark, curiosity overcame me and I scoured IGE and similar sites for prices on my server’s platinum. I was pleasantly surprised at the scarcity of sellers, but I did find one site that valued 100 platinum at 90$. The fact that we had so easily gathered 450$ worth of online currency was testament to me and my group: we were ahead of the curve.

Now started the hard part: staying ahead of the curve. While the smith worked up his skill on banded and brought money in to our coffers, I reinvested this money in quick combines that would level my tailoring up. I powered my way from the mid 30s to the low 100s, making the cheapest combines possible (masks instead of chest pieces, quivers instead of armor, etc.) to achieve my goal. With a Smith and Brewer friend, I was never required to buy crafted components (such as Studs for Studded Armor and Heady Kiola for Cured Silk) above cost. Money makers along the way were Reinforced Medicine bags, 10 slot carrying containers with 10% weight reduction, and Tailored Large Bags, the 6 slot equivalent. While not many other tailors were bothering with the large bags, I made a point to target monks specifically, pointing out the lower weight on the smaller bags.

By the time I had reached the low 100s, it was time to start making Wu’s Fighting Armor, a set of armor that customers had been asking me about since day one. Wu’s is the first tailored armor that is magical and has stat bonuses, and thus was in high demand when I reached it. Instead of meeting the prices of the few tailors ahead of me, I made my own calculations to figure out what price points I needed to be at to make a profit. This landed me a few platinum cheaper than my opponents, and I was able to pump out masks, collars, and wristbands to level up my skill.

The initial four or five tailors who made it to 150 mostly dropped out; until later expansions, there was no further tailoring between skill levels 158 and 222, and most tailors were in it for the skill level. But with Kunark looming on the horizon, many Halflings and Erudites were beginning to level their tailoring skills for Cultural crafting. Silk prices were driving upwards while Wu’s prices were dropping. “You make a profit on this?” One incredulous Halfling asked me as he sold his inventory to the vendor.

Meanwhile, in the land of Smithing, Draven was pondering the gap between 115 trivial banded armor and 163 trivial Fine Plate. Ornate Chain armor was expensive to craft and not very efficient to level up on. After some research, though, we found an alternate, cheaper path to our next goal.

Where Ornate Chain Veils (trivial level 116) would cost us 28 platinum at the least and had little resale value, we could craft Embroidering Needles (trivial level 122) at under 2 platinum a piece. Once Draven hit skill level 122 we could use those Embroidering Needles to make Bile Spines (trivial level 132). While none of this was resalable to the store, it was so cheap to attempt that we were content with our losses.

From skill level 132 to 165, Draven was able to make Antonican Sewing Kits. Not only was this useful to me as a tailor, but all members of our guild were able to outfit their banks with the sewing kits, treating them as 10 slot bags instead of crafting containers. Goal achieved, and Fine Plate production could begin.

During this time, I occupied myself with other financial pursuits. I began to level my pottery skill, but while waiting in line at the kiln, I met Burdy, previous tailor now turned potter. Burdy had originally been a tailor, and had used his initial seed money to boost his wife Alley, a jeweler. Alley’s profits and Burdy’s further tailoring investments allowed Burdy to begin work at the wheel and kiln. Alley and Burdy joined our small guild, and we were able to watch as Burdy single handedly dominated the pottery market, being the first to sell Opal Encrusted Steins, Ceramic Bands of every color, and Golden Idols of Tunare. Burdy is currently 44 skill levels ahead of any other pottery skill level on our server.

With pottery solidly covered by a guildmate, I turned back to tailoring. Luckily, Kunark had opened and the rush of tailors had slowed down. I suddenly found myself the sole tailor still producing Wu’s, and I was taking down four orders at a time while I worked busily to produce my wares. I hit the 158 trivial cap during this, and began to gather the components that would be necessary to attempt a Fleeting Quiver (trivial level 222).

At 450 platinum per attempt, the Fleeting Quiver was no small venture for me. But after much gathering of resources (and crossing of fingers) I had what I needed to attempt six quivers. I came out of my attempts with only one Quiver, which sold for 2,200 platinum, but more importantly I was now at skill level 159, one above every other human tailor on our server.

Our investments and hard work have paid off. Draven has a significantly higher Armor rating than any other human warrior of our level, and I have an equally outlandish Wisdom advantage over equivalent Clerics. Official leaderboards on EQPlayers consistently display Secretum Dominium (our guild) members in the top ten of any given tradeskill – and we are but a 20 man guild.

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