Apparently, trading is controversial

Discussion in 'Card Hunter General Chat' started by Sir Knight, May 20, 2013.

  1. Sir Knight

    Sir Knight Sir-ulean Dragon

    I confess ignorance about the nasty possibilities of "trading in-game items between players." But, apparently, they can be nasty:
    (Click the arrow on that second quote to see specific problems.)

    I come from a world where "trading" used to mean "sitting down with a fellow CCG player and trading cards." With electronic "items," I'm aware that any "trading" is a joke: it's absurd to compare a physical card to an arbitrary mark in a database. But when I came to online games, I saw plenty of economies running with trading systems anyway, and folks seemed to enjoy them just fine.

    A CCG is missing out on something if it doesn't let you trade with friends. So if standard trading systems CAN crash and burn, what should Card Hunter do about trading to avoid that? Suggestions?

    TOTALLY NAIVE SUGGESTION WARNING: I have no idea how this stuff works and I'm making a naive suggestion.

    What if "a trade" were defined by strict limits? What if Blue Manchu coded trading to mean, say, "a one-to-one exchange only, where each item is the same rarity"? That way, a new account could not possibly be flooded with farmed Legendaries: it would have to earn at least one Legendary in order to trade for a new one. Further, it would give Legendary Treasure some meaning: "Oh, nice, I just got something I can trade to a collector for what I REALLY want!"

    No? Yes? Maybe? Stop being so naive?
  2. Dugrim

    Dugrim Orc Soldier

    Stop being so naive and kill more kobolds! ;)
    Other than that I don't see the needs to have a trade, not for now.
    Maybe with a very large number of players...
  3. Lance

    Lance Goblin Champion

    One of my all time favorite trading systems was from Monster Hunter 3. Basically, each item had a set value and the items you traded had to meet or exceed the value of the what you were trading for. I'm not sure exactly how this could be adapted to Card Hunter.

    Here is my suggestion: Each level of rarity could be given a trade value (much like the victory point system) and the trade must be balanced. This could even follow the formula for Reward chests from MP. For example: a common=1 star, uncommon=3 stars, rare=7 stars, epic=12 stars, and legendary=20 stars. So, this would at least limit the exchange of high level rarity items, while still making it possible to trade them.

    Obviously, trading is not something we need immediately. Although, it is something I feel is essential to the spirit of the game.
  4. Phaselock

    Phaselock Bugblatter

    Hate to break your bubble. There is currently no known mechanism that prevents one from making an account, playing to max lvl, get tons of cool stuff and subsequently selling it for real $$$. In-game trading simply accelerates this process. Card Hunter's current throttle is managed via loot drops and game difficulty. The value of an online account for a ccg is diluted, this limits abuse but does not eliminate it.

    Trading involves concepts of virtual property and the virtual economy. The naive see trading as in-game constrained. Unfortunately, that is simply idealistic thinking. Reality somewhat skews this a lot. :p
  5. skip_intro

    skip_intro Ogre

    And a new reason for not making your virtual currency linkable to real world currency: NEVERWINTER
  6. Wozarg

    Wozarg Thaumaturge

    I really think trading is needed for this game to really flourish how it is implemented is less important to me as long as i can trad for awesome wizard staff X for awesome heavy armor X and so on
  7. Drew Nelson

    Drew Nelson Mushroom Warrior

    I for one like playing with what has dropped. I'm probably in the minority, but if this were a democracy I'd be voting against any kind of trading.
    Java, TRJA and Runan like this.
  8. The_Mormegil

    The_Mormegil Mushroom Warrior

    I'm in the "trading is bad on these games" field. Remember that you can open up a thousand accounts if you want to and cash in all the items you get from those accounts. Even implementing the requirement for "fair trades" (one item for one equivalent item) it would be possible to just "bank" the items you don't need on other accounts, and place all the items you need on the one you play with. There would be a restriction, sure... but it can still be detrimental.
  9. Sir Knight

    Sir Knight Sir-ulean Dragon

    Yeah, whew, posting this sure got a variety of responses. I was hoping it would be simpler than this.

    Oh, and Phaselock: no bubble here. I'm quite aware of the (questionable) tradition of selling accounts, and I wasn't even trying to prevent that. Let people take stupid risks exchanging accounts (and violating Terms of Service, as applicable) all they wish: hopefully Blue Manchu won't have too terrible a time dealing with such people. But I'm just talking about in-game trading.
  10. Runan

    Runan Mushroom Warrior

    I'm with the trading-is-bad party. Diablo's auction house really ruined trading in electronic games for me - it is way better to play the Auction House than playing the game. Sitting and pressing refresh in case a good deal shows up :rolleyes: (though there is a big difference between auction houses and 1-1 trading, admitted)

    In Cardhunter there already are the Markets where you can get rid of unnecessary copies and have a chance of finding what you're searching for.

    Another reason why I don't want trading, is that the quality of cards that people have is somewhat kept down a bit, which helps the PvP balance.
    And I like the concept that you should (mainly) fight for your rewards. Going on adventure, hope for the good drops. That's the spirit I'd like to see the most.
  11. Neofalcon

    Neofalcon Goblin Champion

    First of all, I'm going to quote my original post in full, for those who didn't follow the link to read it:
    You make a good point here (that people can always sell the accounts), but your implied conclusion that implementing trading changes nothing because you can already trade accounts is somewhat flawed.

    The reason why botting is so hard to crack down on is a result of liquidity and diversification on the part of the botters. A botter will have dozens of accounts (or more) botting at once. They're constantly selling their ill-gotten gains on shady 3rd party sites. When one of their accounts gets banned, they simply create a new one, losing whatever items of value remained in that account's inventory, but keeping the money from all the items they've already sold.

    This means that an account getting banned is barely a penalty for them. They're selling their valuable items as they go along, so when an account gets banned as long as they've made more money selling items than it costs them to create a new account, they're profitable. And since it's not possibly to catch someone botting instantaneously, they almost always turn a profit.

    However, this only works because they're able to sell the items immediately. In the event that they were forced to sell entire accounts, they'd have to farm up that account for weeks or months to get it to the point where it'd be valuable enough to sell. That gives BM a (relatively) huge window of time to catch them. And when they get banned, they then lose everything - in order to make money they have to successfully farm an account and sell it before getting caught.

    Not to mention, having to buy entire accounts is extremely limiting in what botters will actually have to sell. They won't be able to sell an account with multiple copies of every item in the game - an account like that would take a ridiculously long time to make. Also, as a result of having to buy and sell whole accounts, people will simply be less interested (Especially with legitimate in-game ways to buy items). The only people looking to buy accounts will be people who like the game, which means they've already played the game, which means they already have an account. Whereas with trading you could simply buy the items you want, in order to get the stuff you want via account selling you'd have to switch from your current account to the new one. This means giving up all your current items (many of which may not be on the new account), as well as your username (and people are going to be reluctant to just accept whatever account name comes with the sold account).

    Also, while botters can still farm up and sell accounts, not having trading eliminates all forms of casual multi-account abuse. Average players who are willing to make several accounts in order to get more items/get items faster (for example, by farming the first MP win gold chest for easy rares and then trading all the items to their main account) won't be able to if there's no trading.

    Furthermore, buying an account comes with considerable risk on the part of the buyer. If the seller managers to reclaim the account (via email recovery and changing the password), the buyer loses both their money and the account. Normally this would be "resolved" by changing the account's email address, but who knows if CH will even allow for this - it certainly doesn't now. And if they never implement the ability to change your email, then the buying and selling of accounts will be virtually impossible.
    Ineptie and Drew Nelson like this.
  12. Mikael

    Mikael Kobold

    yes to auction hall , no to trading
  13. Pengw1n

    Pengw1n Moderately Informed Staff Member

    I like trading in physical CCG's - not sure I'd be a fan of it in digital versions, unless BM comes up with something clever. I really loathe the AH in D3 for instance, even if it's another type of game entirely - it just removes the loot aspect and turns it into a buying/trading game.
  14. Neofalcon

    Neofalcon Goblin Champion

    I don't really see how that changes anything - I mean, Diablo 3 technically has trading, but since there's an AH, nobody really does "trades". Economically speaking, an AH has the same effect as "trading" - it's just a lot more efficient. When I say I don't want "trading" because it has these negative effects, by trading I really mean "any way for people to transfer virtual items/currency from one account to another".
  15. Phaselock

    Phaselock Bugblatter Sorry for opening a can of worms :p I'm not going to quote every little thing here, just wanna clarify that there was never any implied conclusion that trading changes nothing. Just as there are legitimate businessmen in real, there are also cons/cheats/smugglers. I was trying to put things into perspective and addressing it as a problem that Blue Manchu can do without right now. For an indie developer, in-game trading just takes up a lot more effort and policing than is necessary at this point. Heck, implementing trading changes everything ! and usually at the expense of the enjoyment of the game itself. :rolleyes:

    Trading accounts is simply the tip of the iceberg. Its the fallout after that causes unnecessary community tension, which game devs want to avoid cos its bad for business. Technically, there is nothing to prevent someone from spending $200, opening pizza chests, take a whirl in SP/MP, bloat the account and dump it to a noob for a quick profit. As far as in-game trading is concerned, many posts above have already talked about how it disrupts the loot system. We can throw the random drop formula out the window. ;) So yeah...Im with the crowd that says nay to trading as least for now.
    j-wiz likes this.
  16. Aquillion

    Aquillion Kobold

    I think there are ways to implement trading without causing the problems caused by gold farming. I can think of a few possibilities, at least.

    1. Make all trading anonymous. This could be done in a number of ways, but the basic concept is to lock people into a fairly narrowly-constrained set of trading options where they can post and meet specific kinds of deals without ever knowing who they're trading with. For example, you can post your item with a request for something of a certain rarity and level in exchange; anyone could offer that and the trade would immediately conclude, with no direct interaction between the two of you. This would make it hard to exchange for real-life stuff.

    Some additional failsafes can prevent people from gaming this system. Trades take a random amount of time to go live (so you can't simply synchronize them) and when you look at trades, you get a random selection of them, so it's hard to work out any sort of deal with another specific person offline. This random selection of trades can also be massaged to ensure that it always presents something "reasonable" -- that is, this avoids having massive numbers of offers to trade away one specific item flooding the system, because the random algorithm will try and present you with a balance.

    (Note that I'm assuming there's no way to simply give items or gold -- that should be obvious. It also prevents people from transferring things they've farmed to another account, especially in combination with the blind anonymous trading.)

    2. Limit trades to very specific exchanges -- that is, you can exchange a rare for eg. three commons and nothing else. Don't allow any gold involved at all (it's too tricky), though perhaps treasure items can be traded. Mostly, though, just eg. a certain number of uncommons for a rare of similar level, etc. Perhaps when you choose an item from your inventory to trade, it gives you only two options (three uncommons or another rare, perhaps letting you specify item type) for what you can ask for in response. This prevents the economy from breaking and, again, makes it very hard to make real-money trades into something farmable. It also allows you to ensure a reasonably consistent experience when using the trade interface -- you know in a general sense what users are going to see.

    Note that you can't request a specific item; you can only offer specific items in exchange for general things (which are required to be fair.) This ensures that any trade you can offer has a decent chance of being snapped up by any random user, making it extremely difficult to collaborate in an effort to exchange something for real-world money.

    (Obviously nothing is perfect and it would be theoretically possible to work out a deal, but the massive barriers and complexity to doing so would make it unprofitable, especially compared to other games that don't have barriers like that.)
  17. Oberon

    Oberon Hydra

    In my opinion trading will likely not be possible. No one has yet solved trading in a free to play game. It works in Magic Online precisely because the game isn’t a free to play design (all cards cost money). There are too many recent examples of games with much larger development budgets that have illustrated just how quickly online economies can be hyper-inflated via trading, Diablo 3 comes to mind. These constant issues illustrate that there is no technical solution to this problem.

    While trading may not be possible, players are actually asking to be able to perform two simple tasks.

    1) They want a way to recoup value from their existing collections, much like real world (Magic) players can sell their old cards.
    2) They want a way to acquire specific cards, again much like real world (Magic) players can via trading or vendors.

    The first is already possible in Card Hunters. Players can trade in their items for gold. However, the trade in rates are very severe. It seems to me you get maybe 10% of the purchase price of an item by selling it. While I fully understand that players can’t get back the full value of an item, I think this is far too restrictive at the moment. By reducing the value players can retrieve from their cards (in game currency) it only makes acquiring new items more difficult or expensive.

    The second is a problem not just for Card Hunter, but every other free to play collectible game at the moment. The real issue, in my opinion, is a faulty assumption about real world collectible games. At a highly competitive level, Magic (and other real world collectible games) are NOT collectible. Tournament players aren’t buying boxes of random packs to get the cards to put together their competitive decks. They’re getting the specific cards they need from vendors or other sources.

    This is a critical misunderstanding about collectible games. In order to build a vibrant competitive community, players need the ability to acquire what they need in order to be competitive. For other highly successful free to play games, like League of Legends or World of Tanks, it means they directly sell players the game items they need (Champions or Tanks or whatever). Of course these games aren’t collectible, but as I already pointed out at the competitive level real world collectible players aren’t forced to buy random packs of cards either.

    Forcing players to acquire everything from random packs creates a very costly barrier to competitive play. Players are more or less forced into buying enough random boosters to acquire a complete set of cards. Every time a new expansion is released, you need to buy another complete set. A competitive magic deck is also costly, but a player only needs to acquire the specific cards they need not a complete set. They can also sell their old cards when they no longer need them to recoup some of their expenses when they need to buy new cards. Online collectible games are actually much more costly to play at a competitive level because they don’t provide their players the same abilities as real world games.

    Another issue this causes, is that it’s much harder to adjust to changes in the metagame. Competitive play requires players to be able to quickly adapt their decks with new cards. When the metagame changes for a competitive Magic player they often have a few weeks to acquire the new cards before the next tournament. Online games can move at an even faster rate. It’s far cheaper, and easier, for a real world player to acquire those cards directly. Free to play collectible games don’t provide the same ability, so the only option for players is to already have the cards (have a complete set), buy a bunch of random packs trying to get the cards, or lose to the new metagame. The options available to players are both more limiting and more expensive.

    When a new set is released, it’s also much more difficult in the free to play games. In real world Magic, players may have to pick up a few new cards out of the new set for their deck. If you can only purchase random packs, players need to buy entire sets of each new expansion. This, again, makes it far more expensive for players to maintain a competitive deck in these free to play games. Duel of Champions, another free to play collectible game, just released its first expansion and the amounts players are talking about spending in order to build the “best” decks in the game are truly staggering and much higher than almost anything I’ve seen in modern Magic formats.

    Free to play collectible games actually make it much harder and more expensive to acquire the cards you need to be competitive. These barriers reduce the number of players willing and able to play competitively. This in turn reduces the number of players playing multiplayer and overall interest in the game. Similarly, other free to play games, like League of Legends or World of Tanks, are nowhere near as expensive to play at a competitive level. In the few free to play collectible games that have gone live, Duel of Champions for example, the competitive scene is much smaller and doesn’t appear to be growing (rather it’s mostly die hard players left over from the Betas).

    There is no reason developers need to be so beholden to only selling random boosters. Magic has had vendors selling single cards for most of its 20+ year existence, and it has done nothing to hurt the game. In fact, as I’ve explained, the existence of these vendors has helped foster competitive Magic to the level it currently enjoys. This is why Magic licenses vendors to appear at their tournaments, their presence improves the game. While Card Hunter wouldn’t have 3rd party vendors like Magic, there is no reason they couldn’t also sell single cards alongside random boosters. They’ll have to figure out how to charge appropriately for good rares versus bad rares, much like real world stores need to, but this isn’t anywhere near as difficult as solving online trading. If they stay with only selling random cards, I really don't see how much more than a casual multiplayer will exist.
    Vholes, Dash, Rorre and 1 other person like this.
  18. Neofalcon

    Neofalcon Goblin Champion

    Oberon, I feel like you've really hit the nail on the head with this your post.

    This is an important problem you point out. You can sort of get specific cards right now from the rare items shop, but you need to rely on RNG for the items to appear for sale to begin with.

    However, I don't think selling single items for really high prices is the best/only solution. They could accomplish this in other ways that better complement the "random pack of items" nature of the game. For example:

    1) A crafting system that lets you craft items you don't want into ones you do. It could work with specific recipes, but in order to eliminate RNG it could simply be something like (craft 4 epic weapons to make an epic weapon of your choice, or 20 epic items of any type to make a specific item of any type). This would have the side effect of giving additional value to treasure items (as you could hold onto them to use them to craft specific items). This is how TF2 fixed this problem, prior to implementing trading and breaking everything.

    2) A chest/store that only contains/stocks items you don't have, at a really high price (This would be hard to balance the price though, since the value of the items you receive goes up drastically the bigger your collection of items is)

    Either of these would accomplish the goal of allowing competitive players to acquire the items they need.
    Rorre likes this.
  19. Aquillion

    Aquillion Kobold

    What do you think of the kind of 'rigid' trade environment I mentioned above, where only a few specific sorts of trades are possible? Eg. this item can only be traded for two items of X rarity and at least level Y, or one item of X rarity and level Y. Trades for gold are not allowed.

    That would prevent the kind of inflation you're talking about.

    (In fact, there is a free-to-play game that has avoided hyperinflation -- Path of Exile does it very well.)
  20. Neofalcon

    Neofalcon Goblin Champion

    Path of Exile? I love that card!

    If you're going to have "rigid trades", why have trades at all - why not just crafting, seeing as "rigid trades" are basically just crafting recipes.

    As for PoE, the only part of that game that doesn't have hyperinflation is the hardcore league (aka, perma-death). And that's because valuable items are constantly leaving the economy, because they're lost whenever a player dies (also because the currencies are consumables themselves, which have use in creating valuable items, which then, in turn, leave the economy when players die).

Share This Page