Ethics of LowballingPosted: February 12, 2012
Warning! This post is full of NOTHING about anime! Read at your own discretion, risk, etc.
I’ve been trading around in everybody’s favorite hat simulator recently, using a combination of TF2 Trading Post, TF2 Outpost and TF2 Warehouse to get small profits. I don’t go on trade servers mostly because booting up TF2 itself is a hassle.
But then again, in Maple Story, I never really stood out in the Free Market (or Perion for those older players) with all the other people yelling stuff using towers of “@” symbols. I mostly browsed around the shops already set up, looking for small profits.
And in World of Warcraft, I never tried to dominate the auction house. It was too much work. And trying to find people selling in the middle of Orgrimmar? Hah!
I think I’m too nice a guy.
In order to get rich on an online game (probably applicable to real life, too), you need a certain shark-type personality. You need to be able to trick people into selling unusual hats worth over $800 (they do exist!) for a measly refined metal… and feel good about it. I was a mid-tier merchant in MapleStory, amassing a couple billion of the in-game currency. I was a low-tier one in WoW. But even I know that “merchanting” and “morals” are two completely opposite concepts.
Enter the retards.
On the main page of TF2 Trading Post, arguably the most well known TF2 trading website around, there’s a link to a Google Doc blasting “sharks” and “scammers” and singling them out for community hate and destruction.
This is one hell of a misguided concept. As you can see in the image above, the document creator draws an arbitrary line between the morally “good” traders like himself (who only go for 50% profit) and the dirty scumbag scammers who buy at 20%. This is complete, utter bullshit.
If you want to rid the world of merchants, go uninstall TF2 and give all your items to random people. If you want to trade for profit, go for the lowest price. Don’t half ass it and think you’re a nice role model for the guys who are infinitely richer than you.
Somebody in the elite guild of really damn rich people is really butthurt that his friend just made $500 when he only made $250. Or maybe that somebody just wants to discourage people from entering this elite guild. It’s for the old traders who did things morally and only hurt poor TF2 players halfway instead of finishing them off, huh?
It’s all bullshit.
For lack of a more relevant Auction House picture…
Maple Story had organized crime, in a sense. The richest people on the server used hacks to level up, auto clickers to lag you out so they could take your business, and employed a lot of other dirty tricks. But at least they were honest. You could tell they wanted money, and whether you gave yours to them or not, they would still be rolling in cash.
The Auction House in WoW emphasized the importance of teamwork and of monopolies. To get rich, you had to force people to buy your stuff. And to do that, you had to buy out everybody else who sold for less than you. It was an obvious concept, but one that made it easy to see prices, easy to sell, and kind of tough to buy. But if you had a keen eye, you could get rich pretty quickly. There are a lot of different items around!
Team Fortress 2, on the other hand, has organized merchanting hate. Every trade on TF2 Trading Post or Outpost has the same line: “NO LOWBALLING.” In other words, “NOTHING LESS THAN 100% OF AN ITEM’S VALUE.” Furthermore, you have this abominable thing called the “TF2 Spreadsheet,” which lists the approximate prices of everything in TF2. This only serves to increase the hate against anybody buying things for less than “spreadsheet prices.”
So you have a very wide gap between your normal “plays TF2 to have fun” guy and the “has earbuds and seven unusuals” trader. And the only way to bridge that gap is to either get really lucky (uncrating ten unusuals in a row), or to find somebody who hasn’t heard of TF2 Spreadsheet… yet.
But wait – you have the elite earbuds people who somehow think that what you’re doing is wrong! When they did the exact same thing, and are continuing to rip people off!
Imagine the United States, except Bill Gates and Warren Buffet own Forbes and devote half of the magazine to the “Wall of Shame,” encompassing anybody who got more than two dollars in the past week. And then imagine that Bill Gates has a monopoly over all things computer-related and Warren Buffet can directly control the New York Stock Exchange.
Moral of the story: If you’re an asshole, just admit it. Don’t sit around on the fence and expect anybody to believe that you’re the paragon of virtue.