The Daily Grind: How useless does an MMO drop need to be before it’s vendor trash?

    
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Not so ugly now.

Vendor trash is a weird idea in lots of games. There are usually even specific categories of it; any gray item in World of Warcraft is explicitly meant to be vendored and forgotten, it’s disposable trash. Except that there are equippable items in that tier. There are green items in Star Wars: The Old Republic that are more worthwhile to just vendor than bother selling or using. I know that Blue Yarzon Legs in Final Fantasy XIV have an actual function, but I’ll be damned if I can recall that function beyond clogging up my inventory.

The idea of vendor trash is that some things you just want to sell at vendors instead of futzing about with auctioning or whatever, but sometimes the items you’re supposed to sell are things you actually want to keep for whatever reason, and sometimes the stuff that’s theoretically valuable is actually worthless. So what do you think, dear readers? How useless does an MMO drop need to be before it’s vendor trash? What can you think of as the most egregious examples of theoretical vendor trash that isn’t… or theoretically useful items that are vendor trash?

Every morning, the Massively Overpowered writers team up with mascot Mo to ask MMORPG players pointed questions about the massively multiplayer online roleplaying genre. Grab a mug of your preferred beverage and take a stab at answering the question posed in today’s Daily Grind!

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Neurotic

There are lots of things in WoW that I call ‘flavour items’. Technically, they’re trash, but they’re unique or really fun or support the idea of Azeroth as a ‘second home’, so I keep them in my bank forever. Also souvenirs and things. I guess what I’m saying is, I evaluate everything on a case-by-case basis.

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Robert Mann

If you don’t care to deal with the AH, it all is vendor trash… unless it cannot be sold or used. It just might not be vendor trash YET. But the moment there’s something better, it sure enough is!

*Caveat, this is assuming that you aren’t specifically gathering and making just enough stuff to do what you want for something like a consumable item that will be used shortly thereafter.*

The… economic functions?… of MMOs tend to be pretty bland and sucky.

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thirtymil

Vendor trash tends towards 100% as character power tends towards maximum, at least in theme park MMOs with no gear degradation/loss.

Case in point, my main in ESO has full matched-set gear, all crafting skills maxed and thousands of crafting materials in the bank. Everything is vendor trash to her.

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mysecretid

Thanks for taking the time to reply, Thirty!

So-called “vendor trash” clothing items — I can certainly see the value in those.

In a game like, say, Star Wars: The Old Republic, however, I routinely receive grey items with names like “Broken Droid Motivator” or “Spent Blaster Clip”.

These items have no in-game use or value whatever, except to be sold to NPC vendors for credits. They seem like a big waste of everyone’s time — developer-creator and player alike.

As you suggest, it’s probably so that players feel like they’re receiving some form of “loot” from their combats, but at the risk of sounding like everyone’s favorite Corellian smuggler, I’d rather just have the cash. :-)

Cheers!

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Anstalt

If the item is not better/usable compared to my existing items, if it cannot be used in a wardrobe system (or I don’t want to use it for cosmetics) or it cannot be sold easily for a decent profit, then it is vendor trash.

That does mean 99% of all loot in all MMOs I’ve ever played has been vendor trash.

Maybe if I was a crafter it would only be 95%. If I really cared about gold, I might be able to reduce that down to 90% by selling more stuff manually. But still, almost everything that drops as loot is trash. Even when leveling up I still view almost everything as trash because even if it is usable, you’ll be getting rid of it within an hour or two anyway.

It’s only when I reach endgame that loot starts to become exciting, but even then the decent loot tends to be restricted to just a few areas so the majority is still trash.

One day, MMO designers will get things right and we’ll have a system that is both engaging and exciting (when it comes to loot).

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NeoWolf

Just makes me think of Warhammer Online that had class specific loot so a good 90% of all drops ended up not being of use to you directly and became vendor trash.

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Matthew Martinez

Honestly I think that 90% of drops are vendor trash until your you’re about halfway to level cap or over. In most games anyway, of course there are those sanbox MMOs, they usually have a use for whatever you pick up, sometimes you even find yourself farming shit that would, in any other MMO, be vendor trash.

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Stormwaltz

With the cosmetic systems in SWTOR and LOTRO, the only armor pieces that are trash are the ones that don’t look cool.

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Axetwin .

If I can’t use it, or I can’t sell it to someone who can, then it’s vendor trash.

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Danny Smith

Can it be broken down into mats for or itself be used for crafting? if not its vendor trash.

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Daniel Reasor

I’ve noticed a real decline in the amount of gold I’m carrying around in Elder Scrolls Online since they added a crafting skill that can break down unwanted rings and necklaces into crafting mats. Mind you, it’s because I’m a crafting mat hoarder and badly need to give that section of my storage the Marie Kondo treatment. The introduction of the Salvage system in Star Trek Online hit my vendor junk derived income in the same way.

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thirtymil

Odd, because my gold in ESO has gone the other way ever since I set all my alts to go and use that said skill (plus the six other crafting skills) to complete the daily crafting quests every day. And the fact the crafting quest gives out crafting mats makes it practically self-sufficient. It makes every other source of gold in the game look very inefficient.

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Utakata

Pretty much any item I get that requires keys from a cash shop to open.

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zoward

For a while there you could sell LotRO lockboxes for good money on the AH, which made them, well, as desirable as a lockbox could ever hope to be. In many games vendors won’t even take them, which should tell you something.

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Utakata

…the ones in TERA sell for crap on their AH.

And yes, by “vendoring” them…I mean by manually dropping said items outside my inventory UI there. It’s the only way to get rid of the nuisance. So in effect, they are even more useless to me than grey vendor trash in WoW.