Fuckie Finster Posted September 23, 2018 Share Posted September 23, 2018 Most actual trading is done by soulless robots who will only trade items in exchange for the seller's completely adamant price tag. I often hear people justify these robots because they're sick of bad offers, hagglers, scammers and phishers, but this shit has always been an obligatory part of trading. I don't care if you're an ancient african selling mangoes outside the Sankore Madrasah or a ramen-slurping weeaboo shilling virtual hats in a dead video game, idiots who offer badly or try to scam you are nothing more than the inevitable dross that seeps out from the otherwise productive endeavor that is exchange of goods. If you never speak to a human being, can't negotiate and every moment of the process is automated then it's not trading, it's a vending machine, and the end result of this automated exodus is a stagnant, lifeless, weak and uninspiring economy. The people who aren't bots completely fail at the negotiating process anyway and refuse to learn. Speaking of stagnant and lifeless: being as rigid as an automated robot is precisely as bad as actually being one. It is incredibly common nowadays to find people who put their item up for a specific price in keys and systematically refuse anything that isn't that price (or keys.) If they do accept anything that isn't keys they will demand 30%+ overpay, sweeteners, "easy to sell" items (this term never is never given a definition) and will do everything within their power to wring potential customers with the strength of six million rabbis. Then when the customer inevitably rubs two neurons together and deduces "this seller is trying to fleece me", they leave and the item continues to sit where it is. The item will either be bought for market price in pure keys (extremely rare) or later sell for less than market value in pure once the seller gets sick of advertising it, blatantly devaluing the item. Which leads to... Only excruciatingly rare items interest people or sell (while everything else continues to dip in market value.) The biggest problem with the TF2 trading scene — worse than bad sellers, scammers, or robots — is that the quantity of items never stops increasing. Unusual items don't expire, can't be spent and never stop being unboxed. The appeal of unusuals has always been exclusivity, or the ability to say "I spent a lot of money on this F2P game so I could wear a hat covered in impossible-to-ignore particle effects while killing you," serving as a replacement for the attitude ordinary hats once conveyed. Now, years later, unusuals have suffered the same fate that plain hats did. They aren't rare anymore. Anybody can obtain one for the price of a trip to McDonalds and as a direct result the sense of exclusivity is dulled. Demand for these hats dies, they end up selling for less just so people can unload them (see above) and the only items anyone desires are ones that are bugged, retired or extremely rare. Desirable items sit firmly in the possession of seller cliques, going absolutely nowhere unless some insane person is willing to pay hundreds, possibly thousands, of dollars in overpay to dislodge it. Browse the front page of backpack.tf for five seconds and you will inevitably see a listing for some rare item "worth" thousands of dollars. Click on that seller's Steam profile and you are absolutely certain to find their friends list packed with similar sellers, all of whom deal in similarly-priced rare items. Click on the item's stats page and there's a very, very good chance one of those friends gave a "recommendation" for the item's value, up-voted by other people also present on that friends list. The wealth of these cliques varies but their existence is perpetual; they own every expensive item, said items only change hands between one another and the wider community will never touch any of it unless some mad man takes out a second mortgage to buy one. Any item that is bought will then be niggled down to a drastically lower price, because these seller cliques get the final say in what items are worth, and if they can't profit off the item anymore then why should they allow it to remain valuable? There is no competition for desirable items (or their sellers), nor any way to naturally progress to that level of affluence. You can argue cliques like the ones I mentioned are an inevitable result of any market and you'd be 100% correct. History has dealt with robber barons in varying ways, from increased government regulation to putting them in concentration camps, and yet it will surprise no one that Valve's efforts to tackle the issue have amounted to dick bupkis. Unusual weapons and war paints (the latest attempt) completely failed to get people excited about particle effects again. So many of these worthless things are unboxed that the market has rejected them, either as end-game purchases or trading material. A vast majority are never priced because nobody buys them. The only ones that ever sell are strange quality or supremely rare FN skins. The items themselves must be spent on singular items, which means war paints will always be more valuable than painted weapons due to offering you such a wealth of choice. And to top it all off, their population spike devalued a lot of already-existing unboxed unusual weapons (that aren't energy orb.) Don't even get me started on unusual taunts. All of the above is horribly depressing and dissuades new participants in the trading scene. Every passing day Team Fortress 2 looks more and more like lightning in a bottle. It was developed over the course of nine years by a crew of extremely passionate, extremely talented people who knew exactly what they were doing. The core gameplay remains a lot of fun regardless of skill level, every design choice gleams like a million bucks (even random crits) and 11 more years of content updates have yet to tear down the game's A+ foundation. Valve's decision to let the community do its own thing has saved it from a lot of modern game design pitfalls, from toxicity bans to diluting quirky gameplay elements for the sake of esports cancer. In this sense the trading scene is lucky; the actual act of trading might be in the worst place it's ever been, but the game itself is still so enjoyable that players will tolerate its presence. But if that rock-solid gameplay wasn't there? Nobody would put up with this shit. Not a single person would dive into a market environment so inaccessible to newcomers. Who would invest a large cash sum into an economy that's totally constipated, where everything except rare or retired items perpetually and inevitably lose value with each passing second? How do you have faith in a market where Valve can systematically execute an entire branch of item trading with a single dense fart? Why would you ever tangle with crews of traders who communicate, have seniority, hoard all the wealth and can tip the economy however they want? Newcomers experience all of this (or if they're smart, figure it out from a cursory glance) and say "fuck it, I'll just buy the items I want from this soulless robot." Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.