Posted Tue, Mar 09, 2010 by Medeor
In Star Trek Online players can buy and sell their wares from a central location without having to set up their own shop. The convenience is nice, but the auction-style exchange in Star Trek Online is one of the game systems that wasn’t fully cooked before it left the kitchen. It works, and people can buy and sell, but the system itself could use a few refinements. The mechanics plus the fact that it takes a while for player exchanges to start building up inventory makes the exchange a late bloomer. It took a while for the Exchange to start filling up with useful items, but it is encroaching on critical mass for the low to mid-level items. Let’s review how to get our hands on those items.
The Exchange is located in the Earth Starbase in the Sol System at approximately the 10 o’clock position (if you look at the Starbase as a clock face).
Upon first opening up the exchange, the page is empty yet doors open to thousands of items, it is like going to Walmart online, what the heck do you look for first? Are we buying or selling? Let’s take a look at buying first, we’re all about gathering loot right? Buying is a simple process, shopping on the other hand can be somewhat cumbersome with the current incarnation of the exchange. Since there is nothing on the Engineering Report though, we will likely be using the exchange in this way for quite some time. Back on target, and buying your first item.
Sorting through the morass of the exchange is key to finding what you’re looking for in terms of gear and items. There are two mechanics provided for helping ease the shopping, filters and categories. Using the only two filtering adjusters will allow players to shop for items within a specific rank (Ensign up through Admiral) or rarity (common through very rare). The categories help pare down the items that fit specific slots in the game (Personal Weapons, Ship Weapons, Bridge Officers, etc.).
If by chance you know exactly what you are looking for or can put a few key words into the Search box, the results will be much more relevant. One note of interest, the search button (and page button for thumbing through the search results) can only be used every five seconds. I’m sure this is an anti-pricing compiler and it isn’t a huge nuisance while shopping, just sort of odd at times.
Once the search parameters are set and search results pop up, it’s time to go shopping. The prices are still all over the map, so it’s too early to start any economic discussions on supply and demand. Shop smartly though, there are some decent bargains to be had in addition to ways to waste a lot of credits. After finding that perfect item and hitting the “Buy” button, the item will show up in your inventory immediately. No mailbox racing in this game.
There is really only one tip for buying, search long and hard. There is currently no way to filter search results by price or quality so everyone has to dive into the dumpster and look.
Selling is much more stressful because there are a few gotcha’s that can bite you if you’re not careful. The selling mechanic itself is easy enough, open the Sell window in the exchange and drag an item from your inventory, then set a price. Easy peasy.
The pitfalls are in the fact that exchange auctions have no set time limit or pricing options, it’s one price fits all. At first it may appear that items in the exchange sale bin can’t be removed, but thankfully there is a “Remove Lot” button that allows players to take the items back off the exchange. The price set is the only price for the item, there is currently no way to set a starting type price. This makes it less an auction and more of a take it or leave it at the posted rate mobster exchange.
There is no fee for putting an item up for auction. This plus the lack of a time limit on auction means that the auction house appears to be an extension of the bank. If I put up an item for a billion credits, nobody is going to buy it. So it will be waiting for me when I get back. It’s nice for people that are out of bank space, but horrible for those of us doing some shopping. Cryptic needs to figure out a fix for this soon or the exchange will be completely unusable.
The Exchange is a nice tool that needs some refinement, but definitely worth checking out. There may be some deals in there just waiting for you. Good luck and happy hunting in the player stocked auction exchange. It’s free to shop, what have you got to lose?