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Columns: Gotta Go Sell

By Michael Bitton on March 02, 2011

Gotta Go Sell

While thinking of a topic to discuss in this week’s column I stumbled upon some comments in the official SW:TOR forum DevTracker discussing the subject of selling grays in the game, something that happens to be a bit of a pet peeve of mine.

So, I am going to get on my soap box this week and we’re going to talk about the exciting subject of selling grays and more importantly, why the heck do we have to do it in Star Wars: The Old Republic?


I’m not sure exactly where this phenomenon began but I’ve always been a bit perplexed by it. Every time I hear “Gotta go sell” it is met with a groan, I even groan when I have to inevitably say it myself. Selling grays just breaks up the flow of whatever you happen to be doing with an unnecessary run back to town to unload your junk off to a guy who is always eager to buy your crap at a super low price with his deep pockets full of gold. Grays aren’t worth much of anything most of the time, so why not just boost the currency dropped by mobs so that it works out to basically the same amount of currency accrued over X amount of kills?

Now what is even more confusing is the fact we sort-of have to participate in this archaic practice even in a next-gen MMO like Star Wars: The Old Republic. The reason I say sort of is because while, yes, we’ll still be unnecessarily looting grays and filling our bag full of junk, it appears BioWare has figured out a solution to the tedium associated with this process (a solution that misses the point if you ask me). Much like Torchlight’s pet dog or cat, players can apparently send their companions off to sell their trash for them, who will return just about a minute later with your precious credits in hand (the game assumes we trust them not to pocket some for themselves).

I know you guys are going to grill me for this comparison, but ArenaNet has come out saying that their approach with Guild Wars 2 is basically not to cling to the certain MMO trappings if they don’t really “work”.  If it doesn’t make much sense, they’ve got no problem letting it go (or revamping it), which is definitely a stance I can get behind. I can think of many things that continuously and inexplicably reappear in MMO after MMO for who knows what reason and I don’t know if ArenaNet will put selling grays on the chopping block, but it seems like as good a candidate as any. It would be great if BioWare adopted that mantra as well. Instead, BioWare is hanging onto the seemingly arbitrary practice of selling grays even though they’ve implemented a solution to address the tedium of it. Yes, selling grays will no longer be as dull in The Old Republic, and I may yet never have to hear “Gotta go sell” again, but given the fact I’ll have my credits with no fuss in about a minute or so, why even have the whole process in the first place? I really don’t get it.

In the grand scheme of things I realize that this is really nitpicky and in no way makes me less excited about the game. But I did say I’d be getting on my soap box this week. Mainly, I’m interested in hearing what you have to say on the subject as I can’t say I’ve seen this issue addressed anywhere else before (cue someone linking to an article bitching about selling grays in the comments).

So, what say you? Do you think the practice of having to vendor grays should be put to pasture altogether? Or do you see some purpose to it that I’m just missing? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

Michael Bitton / Michael began his career at the WarCry Network in 2005 as the site manager for several different WarCry fansite portals. In 2008, Michael worked for the startup magazine Massive Gamer as a columnist and online news editor. In June of 2009, Michael joined as the site's Community Manager.