Moo Tang Clan: December 2008

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Wanted: a bidding mod

My bank alt plays the AH like a battleground.

He'll buy & sell Runecloth constantly, snatching up bargains whenever they appear and flipping to a more regular price. One tactic he also deploys is to bid on all no-buyout auctions. He'll do this even if the item has 48 hours yet to run, knowing full well that someone else will come along and place a higher bid.

So why does he do this? Well, there's a small chance he'll actually win the auction with his bid of course, but more importantly he's forcing the floor price upwards. If his competitors win the auction at a higher price, it means they can't flip it at a lower price. There's also a small psyop element in play in that with constant re-bidding he'll simply exhaust the patience of some other players, letting him win more of the winning bids.

Now, there are auction house mods that facilitate ninja-bids -- placing a bid on items at the last possible moment -- but what I'm looking for is a mod that will place bids from the get go, and do so repeatedly up to some maximum bid, and do so on multiple instances of the same items (eg. those 23 stacks of Runecloth on the AH with a minimum bid of 6 silvers).


Sunday, December 7, 2008

Improving the AH UX

The Moo's bank alt installed a couple of mods this week, to dramatic effect.

The first is AHsounds, a simple addon that will play sounds corresponding to Auction House events. Ka-ching! D'oh! It does nothing to directly improve my profitability per se, but nonetheless it is highly gratifying to now play my bank alt - nothing sweeter than hearing a series of ka-chings! while I'm laboriously running back and forth from the mailbox to the AH, flipping stacks on stacks of Runecloth. While it does nothing in the way of min-maxing the AH activities, it greatly adds to the general user experience – ka-ching! – it now feels more like a game than work.

The second mod is Auctionator - the key features for me is being able to alt-click an item in my bags and have it automatically loaded into the auction interface (saving me from dragging it from the far left all the way to the far right), being able to submit multiple stacks for auction with just two button clicks, and the straightforward price recommendation functionality. If anything, the first two makes it a complete breeze to auction off all manner of junk quickly and simply, and the latter means I'll probably make sales rather than waste my money on forfeited deposits. While this addon, unlike AHsounds, simply improves the UI experience of creating auctions making the work element take less effort (ie. less work, but without making it more game).

Monday, December 1, 2008

Alternative to quest texts

A comment on Kill Ten Rats caught my eye:

But I think there’s more to the problem of quest text than just that people are too lazy to read it and too stupid to understand it. Yes, that’s the basic problem for a lot of people, but quest text seems to me to also be a very awkward game mechanic.

What other ways could it be done? Back in EQ (or was it UO?) you'd interact with the NPC via typed dialog - you'd type something, he'd reply, you'd hope you used the correct keywords, and on it goes.

So here's an idea, inspired by the flavour responses that WoW NPCs have when you just click on them (a sequence of greetings deteriorating into annoyance) ... click the NPC and he mentions he wants help, click again to find out more, and so on. Mix it up a little bit so players don't just spamclick - have the NPC ask a question at some point, to which the player could /agree or /disagree or some other /emote as appropriate. The responses would probably be via text, not voice effects, simply because of the massive volume of content required.

The NPC might react differently depending on if you are mounted or not, right in front of them or not, and so on. Not mysterioius-different, but flavour-different. Some might insist you sit down before they talk, rather than flapping away