When you get a wardec, the notification tells you who is wardeccing you. When you get shot in space, you can setup your overview so you know the name, the ship, even the corp ticker of the person shooting you. When you accept a contract, you can see who setup the contract.
In fact, I can really only think of one game mechanic that contains an element of anonymity, and that is the market. Prior to purchasing an item off the market, or selling an item to a buy order, there is no way for you to know who you are about to do business with. Only after the transaction takes place can you go look at your transaction logs for the name of the buyer or seller.
Now, because of how certain mechanics work in the market, there is really no need to know who you are about to do business with. You have no control over it anyway.
For example. Say you want to purchase a Damage Control. You are in a market hub so there are 20 different orders up for Damage Controls. Let’s look at the cheapest four orders:
- Seller A is offering 1 for 500,000.00 ISK
- Seller B is offering 7 for 500,001.56 ISK
- Seller C is offering 12 for 500,001.57 ISK
- Seller B also is offering 30 for 500,001.90 ISK
Now, you have no knowledge of the sellers, and there’s no way for you to know that the second cheapest order is being offered by the same individual who is also offering the fourth cheapest, etc. All you see is the quantity, and the prices.
Now, let’s say you want to buy 15 Damage Controls, because you’re fitting 15 different ships. You can’t select the cheapest order and buy 15 because there is only a quantity of 1, so it won’t work. And, being a particularly lazy person you want to complete your order in as few steps as possible. So, you right click the order of 30, and enter in that you wish to buy 15.
What is important to understand here is that you are NOT buying 15 Damage Controls from Seller B, even though you selected Seller B’s order containing 30 at 500,001.90 ISK. What actually happens (and your transaction history will confirm) is you will buy:
- 1 Damage Control from Seller A for 500,001.90 ISK.
- 7 Damage Controls from Seller B for 500,001.90 ISK (which will be subtracted from his cheaper order, not his more expensive order of 30.)
- 7 Damage Controls from Seller C for 500,001.90 ISK
So this means…
- The system always operates on a cheapest goes first basis. Regardless of the order selected by the buyer, the cheapest order will get sold first, etc.
- You may end up, as in the above scenario, paying a seller more then what their items is listed for. By selecting the more expensive order, that is what you will pay regardless of which orders you are actually fulfilling behind the scenes.
Selling to Buy Orders
Selling to buy orders has some equally interesting mechanics. Unlike purchasing an item, you cannot select a buy order with which to sell to. When you select to sell it, it will show you the order offering the greatest amount of ISK.
However, let’s say you want to sell a stack of 20 Damage Controls. There are 5 Buy Orders applicable to the station you are in:
- Buyer X will buy 4 for 450,000.90 ISK each (in-station)
- Buyer Y will buy 13 for 450,000.89 ISK each (in-station)
- Buyer Z will buy 20 for 450,000.70 ISK each (in-solar system)
- Buyer Y will also buy 50 for 1,000 ISK each (in region)
When you sell your stack, you will NOT sell 4 to Seller X, and then 13 to Seller Y and then the rest to Seller Z. Rather, you will sell 4 to Seller X, and the system will create a sell order for the rest of that price. A lot of times, your order will be so much lower than the current sell orders that it will quickly sell, and you may not even notice that this occurred, or that you ever had a sell order at all. (Especially in major market hubs.)
Changing Things Up
Now, I have to offer a bit of a disclaimer before I start discussing mechanic changes. I’m fully aware that what I’m about to propose is probably not remotely practical to do from a coding/lag etc standpoint. However, it is VERY interesting to think about. :)
What if we removed the ‘cheapest goes first’ model, and make it so that the order you select is the order you are doing business with. So, in our above example this would mean that you would simply purchase 15 Damage Controls from Seller B, specifically from their order that contains 30.
Now that you have control over which order you are ACTUALLY doing business with, it makes sense that you can also see who you are doing business with before the actual transaction takes place. So, let’s say that we add a column to the market that includes the owner of the order.
And finally, let’s say that you can control who you do and do not see in your market results. So, you can ‘block’ people from your market, highlight specific alliances and corporations and sellers with color coding, and etc. Basically, whatever you want to do.
While these changes sound somewhat straight forward, the ramifications would be massive. With people able to have control over which orders (and with whom) they do business with, it ultimately means that there is much, much more to fulfilling order and selling items quickly then offering the cheapest/greatest price. Who you are matters. How big your order is matters, and etc.
Let's talk about a few specific things:
This new model would introduce some interesting consequences to scamming. Players can now block scammers –even their entire corporation and alliance, potentially hurting others in their alliance trying to do legitimate trading.
Quantity suddenly matters a whole lot more. Players looking to buy in bulk already gravitate toward the larger orders, depending on how much extra they have to pay. So, there may be certain advantages to selling and buying in larger stacks.
War, PVP, and Loyalty
And, of course the most interesting facet of this model would be that having control over and knowing who you do business with means that politics will come into play in the economy in a much more tangent way. While some players may choose to always pick the cheapest order, some may make an alternative decision because they see a well-known corpmate is selling something for only a slightly higher price, or etc.
And, in larger nullsec politics it stands to reason that if they create coalition ballots for the CSM, they would probably take advantage of these mechanics and create certain white lists and black lists.
Imagine not being able to buy something you need because your enemy has blocked you from seeing their orders, and they are the ones selling the only ones available…
Imagine the ability to set up entire internal markets –offering cheaper prices for your friends without having to deal with the limitations of contracts?
Imagine being able to decide not to buy something because a known enemy is selling it?
The fact that your enemy knows it is you who is attacking them is a taken-for-granted thing in every other aspect of EVE. You don’t take a region of nullsec anonymously. You want people to know that you did THIS, and you are attacking THEM, and you are beating THEM. YOU are taking their stuff. Not some anonymous force.
I think that market PVP could become a lot more interesting to people if it was less anonymous. Manipulating or taking over an enemy’s market would not just be a practical thing, but a part of the war itself –a slap in their face, so to speak.
And finally, I have to mention one more, somewhat funny thought.
You know how industrialists don’t like to get suicide ganked? Well, imagine if someone got it into their head to come up with a sort of shared, industrialist black-list.
All of a sudden, shooting the people mining the minerals to build your ships could potentially have some very real economic disadvantages.
Of course, you can always use market alts to hide your identity. The bottom line though, is that you have a lot more choices as a seller and a buyer, and your actions in the market and elsewhere could have much more concrete economic rewards and/or consequences.
Anyway, crazy, crazy market ideas. But definitely fun and interesting to think about.