The following is intended to be improved over time through community feedback. Please let me know what you like and dislike through constructive inputs. Help appreciated.
My Topics of Note:
1) Fractional transactions versus larger supply (Plat)
2) Fixed-supply gold versus non-inflationary open system versus inflationary open system
- Gold comes only from PVE play.
- After an initial ramp-up at launch, the supply of gold is very large (to provide currency resolution).
- There is a strong and effective system of NPC gold sinks.
- Gold supply variation, after initial ramp up, is kept very low through monitoring of the supply and the aforementioned gold sinks. On the inflationary side, this means at or below the inflation of USD (Plat).
Discussion: (1) It is important that CZE not sell gold for plat (or vice versa) as this would destroy the ability of the market to regulate the exchange rate. (2) There has been much debate about whether a fixed-supply model would work for gold. In the end, what is important is not whether the system is open (loot tables with gold never change) or closed (loot tables vary based on gold supply), it is that supply fluctuation is curbed. And actually, even "inflation" isn't bad as long as every gold coin represents the same approximate amount of player time investment (this is its intrinsic value). In other words, bots (and other exploits) are the biggest worry, not the particular currency system.
- Plat comes only from CZE for $US at some rate.
- For currency resolution, we need either fractional transactions or a rate of X Plat to 1 USD, where X is a "large enough" power of ten (maybe 1000). Update: CZE stated a ratio of 100:1 (link)
Discussion: (1) Giving out Plat for anything other than USD breaks the intuitive link between the two. (2) High currency resolution ensures ability to handle small transactions like single copies of common cards. (3) I do not recall the trade-offs for fractional transactions versus larger Plat:USD ratio.
Currency Exchange and AH Fees
- Plat and Gold can be traded Player to Player at a floating market rate on the AH. (We'll call this the Currency Exchange, or CurEx.)
- Currency for AH listings (3 choices): gold-only, plat-only, hybrid.
- Gold-only: All listings in Gold. AH fees are a sweet gold sink.
- Plat-only: All listings in Plat. AH fees are CZE profit.
- Hybrid (my current favorite): PVE items list in Gold, PVP items list in Plat.
- AH fees should exist.
- CurEx fees should exist, probably as a gold sink rather than plat sink.
Discussion: (1) True and complete segregation of gold from platinum is nearly impossible. (2) Since gold/plat interaction will exist in some form even if the AH does not enable it, it is desirable to have the transparency of a CurEx so that all players know what the exchange rate is and are thus protected from crooked dealings. Transparency can also help with detection of malicious behaviors. (3) CurEx fees will probably be necessary to cut down on currency speculation. (4) If CurEx exists, there is no reason to suffer the market imbalance of having a divided AH (some listings gold, some plat for the same exact commodity). (5) The hard decision is then which currency to use as the standard. If gold, then AH fees serve as a powerful gold sink since nearly all players will want to use the AH. Also if gold, then the CurEx fees will really bite pure PVP players (bad). If plat, then AH fees are profit for CZE, but you give up a great gold sink. If hybrid, you get the best of both (though lesser in each case). In all cases, fees discourage high-speed and micro-trading (especially bots).
AH Detailed Mechanics (HexBAS)
- All AH listings show prices in both currencies simultaneously using parenthesis and the CurEx market price for the off currency.
- The AH uses HexBAS, a modified Bid/Ask system (GW2), not a traditional auction system (WOW). (See description below.)
Discussion: HexBAS stands for Hex Bid/Ask System, and is an adaptation of the systems used in Guild Wars 2, EVE Online, and real world commodity markets. HexBAS is equal or superior to a standard AH (eBay, WOW, D3) in every way discussed so far, including: use of demand (Bid) information in addition to supply (Ask), uniqueness (e.g. double-back stats), multiple listings (playsets, mixed lots), efficiency for the average user, transparency, tools for advanced users, and more. (Please let me know if I've missed something.)
The Hex Bid/ASK System (HexBAS)
The goal is to avoid the inefficient market formats used in games like World of Warcraft and MTGO and places like eBay. The basis of the HexBAS idea is a system like real world stock markets and games like Guild Wars 2 and EVE, which have been shown efficient and effective.
There is one problem for Hex, however, since the cards are not perfect commodities due to the potential value of the double-back stats. (A card with 98% XP and an achievement or two is likely worth more than one with 5% XP and no achievements.) This can be fixed with some small alterations for how items are listed. Note that other commodities (equipment, currencies) can work under a traditional bid/ask system. If Promo Mercs were to be made tradeable (update: now they are!), then they would either need to be treated like cards so that their XP value can be factored in or would need to have XP wiped at time of trade.
- SELLING: Click on an item you wish to sell, enter a price, and click Sell At This Price. This is called an Ask Limit Order and will remain outstanding until fulfilled, expired, or retracted. The UI can allow entry of multiple at a time as one Order, but they are all listed separately.
- BUYING: Type in a search for what you want. Click on an item type you wish to buy. (You do not select a specific listing.) If you are interested in particular double-back stats, enter the features you want: alternate art (yes/no/don't care), minimum % XP, and must-have achievements (checkboxes). Enter the price you wish to pay and click Buy At This Price. This is called a Bid Limit Order and will remain outstanding until fulfilled, expired, or retracted. The funds for the Bid are taken out of your account immediately, but will be returned to you if the Bid falls through. The UI can allow entry of multiple at a time as one Order, but they are all listed separately.
- SELLING INSTANTLY: Same as for selling, but instead of entering a price, just click Sell At Market Price. (The approximate market price would be listed next to the button.) This is called an Ask Market Order. HexBAS might issue a warning: "Do not use this option if trying to get extra money from double-back stats like alternate art, foil, achievements, or XP. Since those might fetch a premium, you may want to Sell At This Price rather than Sell At Market Price.  Do not show this warning in the future. [Proceed] [Cancel]"
- BUYING INSTANTLY: Same as for buying, but instead of entering a price, just click Buy At Market Price. (The approximate market price would be listed next to the button.) This is called a Bid Market Order.
- TYPES OF ORDERS: You may have noticed that there are two ways to buy and two ways to sell: Market Orders and Limit Orders for both Bid and Ask. A Market Order is executed as soon as possible at the best available price (you get instant gratification but do not get to choose your price). A Limit Order is executed only when it is the best price available and only in response to a Market Order (you must wait, but you get control of your price).
- LIST ASSIST, SELLING: When first entering the Sell tab, there could be a Suggested to Sell list showing things you have in excess of need (more than 4 of for cards, 1 of for other stuff) so you know what your excess inventory is. The list would also show market price (ignoring double-back) and a Sell At Market Price button for each item. Clicking the button or double-click could issue an Ask Market Order for the item (possible HexBAS warning pop-up as noted above under "selling instantly"). Single click could highlight the item and show a price entry box with "Sell At This Price".
- ALL OR NONE ORDERS: A Market Order can be marked "All or None". This will allow it to be grouped with another Market Order (recursively) to create arbitrarily large group orders (mixed lots). "All or None" ensures that either the entire group is executed in trade or they all remain pending. Before you confirm your order, HexBAS will give you an estimated total value based on market price. As with all market orders, your actual execution price may vary.
- THE BOOK: All outstanding Bids and Asks for a given commodity are kept in a sorted list for easy reference (this is the "book" for that commodity). Items are not grouped up; they are all shown individually. The list must show relevant double-back statistics so that a high Bid or Ask has context.
- ANONYMITY: All listings are anonymous.
- INFORMATION: The game should offer every possible bit of anonymous market information that it can in as many useful ways as possible.
Continued in post 7 (hijacked)...