So in my spare time I started playing the Free to play MMO Marvel Heroes. It is a nice switch from World of Warcraft (for those that enjoy food it's a palette cleanser).
The game itself is much less involved than World of Warcraft. It boils down to a hack and slash using a modified Diablo 3 engine. It's major drawing power is the vast world of Marvel characters that can be drawn upon (assuming they will add future characters at a later time).
One thing that I noticed that was missing was an auction house or any type of economy. In World of Warcraft a major source of revenue is the excess greens and blues (and even the glorious purples) that can drop in different areas. Whether you disenchant your items, wear and sell your items on the auction or even just vendor them for profit, they are a good source of quick revenue. In Marvel Heroes you basically have the option of either vendoring the extra items or 'donating' them to your crafter or vendors to raise their level. Where this is a novel concept it has a sticking point of some very elite awesome items aren't sold between players.
Once your crafter arrives at a certain level items can be 'converted' to higher items using the material drops that occur along with the green item drops. If you play this game for any sort of time you will spend a lot of time converting base materials to higher and higher levels. Basically everyone just has an enchanter at their home base. This has been used by other games (including Diablo 3) and adds to the hack/slash style of gaming.
The one thing I missed between World of Warcraft and Marvel Heroes is the flexibility of professions as well as the drive to purchase storage space. Having had to put my crowbar into my wallet to put 20 dollars on my account to add storage space (and pick up playing Wolverine to play), it puts a kink in the plan as I had used in Warcraft. One of the goals when Guild banks were created was buying storage space became easy.
So why did I decide to talk about this today? Because there was another game that I was talking to a friend of mine about (Perfect World). I asked them to describe the economy and how things worked. That has been the biggest draw for me in both my writing and my play style. Games come and go, having few interesting tidbits to bring new players in. But the economy and daily gameplay is what keeps them coming. Otherwise you end up with a game that players will pick up from time to time, then realize they have other things to do with their life.
So the next time you are looking at the Auction House and saying 'is this all there is'? Keep in mind that the grass may look greener on the other side, but fertilizer can get very expensive.
Good Luck and Good Hunting
Patch 5.4: Arise Scribe Arise!!!!!
Walking On The Dollars
Bang The Drum Slowly
Five Rules For Dating My Gold Stash
Transmog Me Baby