Capitalism, RO!

When the English translation for Recettear was announced, I found myself liking the game in a heartbeat, before ever having played it. The reason for this was because I had played this type of game before. Ragnarok Online has a very rich economy metagame, one that still draws me in despite lots of other good alternatives.

One of the questions I asked when I first played Ragnarok Online was “why is there a Merchant class?” You have the Swordman[sic], the Magician, the Thief, the Archer, and then you have the Merchant, which had few battle skills and mostly passives. Not a very adventurous career, is it? But as I played further, I saw their usefulness–they could buy goods from NPCs at a discount, sell loot for a higher price, and vend items while AFK. Pretty soon, my friends were making Merchant alts to take advantage of these benefits.

Every Merchant-class character is playing this “game”, a deeper and more complex version of Recettear. You acquire items, rare or otherwise, by hunting monsters in various locations. Once that’s done, you can sell your goods for money, or trade them for a deal. Somewhere along the line, you get better gear to make your hunting easier, or buy cute hats to outfit your sprite (hats, while giving mostly marginal benefits, are highly-valued in the game). Or start buying things low to sell them for a profit.

Theoretically, you could go from rags to riches without never even leaving towns to hunt monsters. Of course, that would take a lot of time, luck, and business sense. This promotes shrewdness for players–after all, who wouldn’t want to wield that super-strong armor without needing to bring down a very difficult boss? I guess this is why I never got into the WoW way of things, where you could only earn high-level gear by bleeding for it. (Not that it’s a bad thing at all!)

When I relapsed into a legit RO service two years ago (I needed it to stave off thesis-related stress), I would spend real money to buy special potions for guild sieges, and sell those to gain a steady supply of in-game cash. My friend, however, was shrewder and more patient–after amassing capital from the same method, he entered the lucrative buy-and-sell market. I might have been richer than him, but I spent more to get where I was; in the long run, he would come out on top.

In the server that I am playing on, you could raise up money by participating in Battlegrounds, which nets you badges that could be turned in for items, which I sell to NPCs. It doesn’t pay as well as hunting for rares, but the trickle of money is at least more consistent. Kind of a nine-to-five job, right?

A lot of people see this trading aspect of RO as a means to an end–get a good deal on that item you don’t need, in order to get the weapon you’ve always wanted. But I don’t doubt that there are some who just play for its own sake–maybe they just enjoy amassing obscene amounts of in-game currency, or they just love to move the market.

At any rate, isn’t it nice to make customers feel happy with dealing with you?

In that sense, I find Recettear to be absolutely charming. The pure-hearted girl, in danger of losing her house, still works cheerfully without a care. Recette’s enthusiasm is infectious, which is something that could always help in wrestling with other fellow cutthroat capitalists. Not that she has some competition to steamroll, it seems. The dungeon-crawling part is not bad either.

And it’s all good. In the meantime, I’ll continue to hunt rares in RO, while earning the trust of my customers in Recettear. Yayifications!

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11 Responses to Capitalism, RO!

  1. foomafoo says:

    I highly enjoyed being a merchant in RO but I’d say I almost went insane before I turned into an Alchemist. It’s very hard to level them up when you’re only trying to go for their passive skills.

    I guess the way I played my merchant was a lil different though. I hardly sell anything (even Jellopies), they all go to the storage/cart. All I do is stroll around towns trying to complete headgear quests. I always feel so accomplished whenever I complete one, and lucky as well because I already got some of those required items prepared.

    Meanwhile if it’s about the profits, I only depend on blue potion brewing I do. (Although I always dreamt of having my char on the top Alche list, haha). And lol, I still remember that stage when all I do is to discount red potions and silver arrows XD.

    All of these were 2 years ago though. Memories haha. Maybe I’d try getting a copy of Recettear one of these days.

    • schneider says:

      Dood the Alchemist Job is really tough. Not only are potion ingredients a pain to look for, you have to level a really ugly Pokemon. I guess hurling potions of terror and death on others makes it worth it in the long run.

      I think headgear quests are a great means to earn money, as long as you don’t keep the hats for yourself. Which most of us end up doing. I’m actually making a Bunny Band in my server, as simple as it is.

      And yes, Recettear is very worth it.

  2. I remember playing a merchy. It was my main before I quit the server. The server had a relatively low population so you can actually go on solo ‘MVP runs’, where you use the Warper NPC to help get to towns near maps with MVPs in them. Did them all the time. Warp around with fly wings until you get to an MVP, and drive by Acid Bomb them, killing them in 1-4 hits. Good times.

  3. fangzhao says:

    I never played Ragnarok, but I’ve been a merchant in other MMOs (RS, MS, WoW, etc.), and it’s pretty shocking to hear that there’s an actual Merchant class in an MMO. Mindblowing, in fact. You put all those pesky merchants and gold farmers in their own class, and it’s all good!

    On Recettear: I found that the dungeon crawling got very repetitive and was a hell of a lot harder than the actual merching. I got much more than I ever needed for the payments, but I kept going back and loading my game to get past even the easiest dungeons… gah! Archer Elf Girl sucked so much, yet I had to use her because she was so cute.

    • schneider says:

      Pesky gold farmers, exactly! They get useful as they progress, though.

      And yeah the dungeon part is kinda hard. It took me two tries to defeat the first boss 😦

  4. Yi says:

    When I played Recettear, I stayed and did business all day, never bothering to go in the dungeons. There is something oddly charming about making money from behind the counter and making customers happy. ^ ^

    p.s. That recursive merchant image is mesmerizing.

  5. twrwmom says:

    (I know I’m 15 months late but….)

    Elunium….the key for success is Elunium….XD

    Get 5 or 10 kk, buy all the Elunium of Prontera (or, at least, from all the most visible merchants) and create a shop selling these Eluniums for the double of the original price…..take other character and keep buying the Elunium of the other merchants while you sell yours…in 2 days max people get used with the new price….the merchants raise the price naturally because people (you) are buying for higher prices…..for what I remember, it takes 1 week for the price to get back to normal….I did this many times, usually the price was at 60-70k and I was selling at 140k…..

    But be aware, although 10kk is a significant amount ( ~150 Elunium), it’s very easy to someone break your “turn” by selling a massive amount at the usual price or by taking advantage of the higher prices to sell a massive amount at a price “not so abusive as yours”….in this case, just sell it on loss and try again next week…. 🙂

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