The Daily Grind: Do MMO market undercutters grind your gears?


MOP’s Carlo proposed this question for a Daily Grind run: Do MMO market undercutters annoy you? “I undercut the market so I can move my product sooner,” he says. “I don’t care about the game’s overall economy, and whenever someone complains about how undercutters ruin the server’s economy, I laugh.”

I am not as much of a troll as Carlo (<3), but I admit I sometimes have the same reaction to people who clutch their pearls over undercutting on markets – and I live for MMO crafting and trade. But at the same time, living for MMO crafting and trade has taught me that most MMO crafting and trade is broken beyond belief, and it’s not really The Invisible Hand Of The Market At Work when someone with a lot of free time or an app can just auto-drop bids by one copper all day long. The reverse is also highly annoying when you’re trying to price your goods reasonably to help newbies, but the game’s mechanics are easily manipulated and the devs do nothing to stop market exploitation.

Do MMO market undercutters bother you? Is undercutting fair game, or do you see it as merely a symptom of broken systems that aren’t up to the players to fix?

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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James Velasquez

Why can’t you just to buy out their stock?

If you really have an issue at some one selling something cheaper then you then go camp their store or auction house and buy out their stock when they post it and relist it as your own?

Taelon “Great Bird” Boot

When I look at a market board to buy things, I typically opt to buy the cheapest of whatever item I can (unless stacks are sold rather than individual items, then i account for need vs. total price) even if its by a singular copper or gold or gil or whatever form of currency the game runs on.

Therefore, I reason that undercutting at the lowest possible amount is reasonable, not particularly damaging to the economy while also only really a “nuisance” because the undercutters item will sell first.

On the other hand, if people sell much cheaper, then it gets kind of annoying. If you undercut me for something that’s worth a lot and neither of our things are particularly in demand or abundant, all you’re doing is forcing my hand to make me drop my price by a significant margin, especially if the market board shows sale records. I can’t get angry at you really, but I certainly don’t like being forced to sell at a cheaper price just because I don’t feel like buying your junk to resell it at my normal price for profit.

It has less to do with undercutting to sell your stuff first and more with people so desperate to make sales they tank the value of items. It should take more people trying to sell a specific thing than it does to produce significant drops in value


Doesn’t bother me at all, but I do it all the time, so my bias is there.

Here’s the thing: I’m not into the economics game. My main goal is to get rid of junk from my bags; getting the most currency out of it is secondary. So I mark it cheaper than everything else, by about 5 or 10 percent. If its only a little more than vendor price, then I don’t bother and just toss it at an npc vendor.

If its any consolation, a *real* AH Jockey could probably follow the price trends and can just buy me out to re-post them at a later time.

Robert Mann

Doesn’t bug me at all. I have zero interest in playing the market in current MMOs. In fact, I’m more likely to sell to an NPC than to bother with the AH because I dislike bothering with the AH at all. There’s zero fun for me in selling things to an interface or NPC, so I might as well make it convenient.

What bugs me is that things are aimed at players with the huge amounts of gold through that, and then buying those sinks is nigh impossible for a person who doesn’t either do that or play 10/7/365.

Finally, I still think the right economic situation for me would be something where goods and markets are local and must be moved, alongside a lot of variety for craft mastery leaving different areas with specialties and masters who can be sought for their works. I know that’s not for everyone, but it would be for me. Add deeper crafting systems than a click and wait setup… and I’d be a happy workman online!

Bruno Brito

I don’t like undercutters when i’m trying to just sell my crap, but i have not a huge issue with undercuts that are made in a reasonable fashion.

I do, tho, get pissed at the degenerate asshole who undercuts your stuff by half the price. Fuck that guy.

But yeah, i don’t give a shit about the economy of a server if it doesn’t benefit me. Most of the richest players are hoarders, and have a shitload of networking to keep the economy going for them. So, i really don’t care if those players burst in flames or whatever.

Kickstarter Donor

I am the worst nightmare of the MMO greedy as I INTENTIONALLY undercut all the time. It is my little way of kicking back against the false and over the top overpricing we see on Auction houses.
If I earn some loot rare or whatnot I do not need that I sell, I do so for a modest sum always, as It cost me nothing to earn so anything made is profit be it 10 gold or 10,000,000 gold just because I can charge more at least for me doesn’t mean I do.

Far too many games over far too many years have I seen pricing start off sensible and then a few years in everything is priced in millions and noone can afford anything except the endgame folk and those who buy currency.

So if that irks the greedy sellers thinking it is okay to overprice for everything simply because they sold one to some idiot who was probably using purchased currency anyway and thus did not care how much they spent or those who played the game since day dot and ground out ridiculous sums as an excuse for pricing EVERYTHING for them only, well… too bad, suck it up as you only have your own greed to blame for it :P


Opportunity cost. Those things you earn cost you time and effort, which has value. It’s time you could otherwise be earning money, in economic theory, and therefore, the value of those things can be assigned a dollar amount. It’s like you opening a bakery, and me opening one next door and selling everything for .50 less. If we have the same products, the same material demands, the same time investment, and so on, I’m basically just undercutting you to prevent you from getting business. Are you greedy for pricing your goods fairly? Given the time/effort you’ve invested, and the other things you could have done instead and the value they’d have generated (both intrinsic and extrinsic, tangible/intangible)? Would you not be frustrated if your efforts were halted by my inability to price according to demand, and instead undercutting you as a matter of misplaced principle?

Things that are priced highly (in general) won’t sell if there isn’t a market demand for them. But if someone is selling a popular mog for a price that reflects the high demand for it, in addition to the convenience of buying the item from the AH instead of farming for it for what could possibly be hours/days of time (which has real economic value), and it sells that’s not a result of greed. You undercutting that because you happened upon something and are making assumptions about a market and the intentions of others does nothing to change that. You’re just ripping yourself off as if it’s a good deed. And if it’s a product that is artificially priced too high, people would be more likely to go out and farm it themselves, and those items simply wouldn’t sell. A price isn’t too high so long as people are willing to pay it.

Kickstarter Donor

Actually the notion that things won’t sell high unless there is a market for them is something of a misnomer.
For example in many games people rely on apps and mods that follow sales and price trends, that show how many items have been selling and at what price and how regularly, which are wonderful things as they let you see when things have legitimately earned a high price via demand such items I have no objection to, supply and demand in that manner is just simple commerce andprice reflects it.

However it is those other items whose prices are pulled out fo someones backside with literally no basis in relatiy based purely on thier greed and hope thye can get that much for them.

Far too often we see single digit sales and ridiculously high prices and no regularity in sales and not even on rare or desired items but simple crafted stuff, common recipes, easy to get materials etc.etc.. and the reason for this are numerous.

Bur often either one person gets it in their head that there are none of their item for sale so they set whatever price they come up with that has no basis in reality just pure greed, figuring with it being the only item or one of a few available of its sort for sale they are free to set the value in such a way.
Then someone comes along looking for said item and see only the one or few for sale at the ridiculously overpriced value and assume that is its actual value and then stupidly pay it or are using purchased currency and simply don’t care how high the price is. Unknowingly then effectively screwing the rest of us by allowing that overpriced item to then become an “assumed” baseline value for such sales. And then every idiot under the sun then puts said item up for sale at that same overpriced amount.

None of that was due to worth, time spent, the effort put in, or actual value, just one person being greedy and therefore causing future issues for the rest of us. Fast forward a few years and suddenly every idiot under the sun is doing the same thing for every item and then like I stated before then you end up with a situation whereby no one but endgame players and those who buy currency can afford to buy anything off the auction houses.

Which of course plays into the hands of the second group of people also frequently responsible for causing overpricing the currency sellers. They sell things overpriced in order to get currency to sell to the people who buy currency to then buy the overpriced items from the currency sellers thereby also perpetuating the cycle of greedy overpricing.

for me that is intolerable and when I see it happen, I go grind out some of the said overpriced items and I start selling them at undercut prices FORCING the sale price back down to sensible levels and preventing those greedy folks from getting ANY sales. Admittedly the price correction only last for a time before they push it back up again but nevertheless it gives a measure of satisfaction to know it inconveniences them and costs them profits and time in the same way as their rampant overpricing inconveniences us average gamers.

So never confuse need to pay either by necessity or ignorance with want or desire to pay such overinflated prices because they are rarely if ever the same thing. Noone wishes to pay huge sums for things that are not actually worth huge sums however much those selling them at that price would like to convince you it is what people want.

here endeth the rant lol

Taelon “Great Bird” Boot

I think it would have a less detrimental impact on greedier players and more of a beneficial one to the ones who buy and resell the stuff you sell for cheap in order to lash out at them, I think. At least thats what I would be inclined to do, though only when the opportunity seems too lucrative not to

Kickstarter Donor

Nice money spinner in theory, however it doesn’t work, at least not while i’m dropping the bottom out of the price, only after I stop.

While i’m still selling cheaper items you have no opportunity to re-sell those cheap items more expensively as people will always take the cheapest price first which keeps them shopping with me.

It is only after I am done someone can inflate the price again and as stock is effectively unlimited requiring only time to acquire more I can keep a price low as long as I need to :)

Also just to reiterate I do not undersell EVERYONE, only those artificially pushing prices up on items that are not legitimately worth the overinflated prices they are forcing on the games economy.


Undercutting is how the market works, it’s bad enough that we have cartelization in real life, i don’t want it in games.


Meanwhile in other news Disney Plus launched today so Star Wars fans rejoice. 🕺

Castagere Shaikura

In MMO’s if you want to sell stuff you have to sell cheaper. I do this all the time and my items will go quickly. If someone sells something for 50 gold I sell the same thing for 40 gold and it works every time.

Michael Lehner

What’s the problem with undercutting? It’s merely economy at work. If you spot somebody selling too cheap, buy the stuff and sell again at a higher price. He’s happy to have made quick sales, you are happy to make a profit.

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Kickstarter Donor

> He’s happy to have made quick sales, you are happy to make a profit.

And a third person who actually needed that stuff now can’t or doesn’t want to buy it for the high price.