I approached the goblin I'd spoken with yesterday. The one who'd been so accommodating. The goblin did a little bow as I approached.
"So do you have news for me?" I asked.
“I do,” the goblin said.
“And what kind of news would that be?” I asked.
"Very good news," the goblin said. "Good news, and something interesting."
"What's that?" I asked.
“I don't want to go giving away any surprises,” the goblin said with a wink. "But maybe do a search for those potions you created. You might be surprised at what you find.”
I wasn't sure what to make of that, but I got a sinking feeling that the moment I started listing those potions other people had seen them and wondered how they could make potions like that themselves. Maybe get in on my action.
So the first thing I did, before I even checked my balance with the Auction House, was run a search for the Nhewb’s Blessing potions. And sure enough there were a hell of a lot more than there’d been yesterday.
Sure any quantity greater than zero would be a hell of a lot more than what’d been on the Auction House before I started listing my stuff, but there was way more than what could be accounted for by what I'd put up on the Auction House. It looked like there was a Buy It Now price that’d been settled on, and it was way lower than I'd been hoping for. Just a few silver pieces.
That sinking feeling only got more and more pronounced as I waved a hand and scrolled down through the list. Then I decided to sorted by price. Sure enough there were more of the things, pages of them, but there was something very interesting.
My name was at the top with one of those listings. There was only the one still running, it must’ve been the last one I put up, and my eyes bugged out when I saw what it was going for.
That amount couldn't be right. my listing which was going for a few hundred gold pieces. I looked back back and forth between my listing and the other listings going for a few silver pieces. What the hell was the big difference between what I was selling and what they were selling? This didn’t make sense!
I closed out the auction window and stared off into the distance for a moment trying to gather my thoughts and figure out what the hell was going on here.
"What's wrong?" Keia asked.
I jumped and turned to see her appear beside me with a huge grin.
“Weren’t you supposed to be patrolling?” I asked.
“Well yeah,” she said. “But it seemed pretty quiet out there and we’ve got Kristoph and the goblins running interference. I want to know what’s happening on the Auction House!”
“Something weird,” I said.
I turned back to the auctioneer for some answers.
"Are you sure those prices are correct?" I asked.
"Certain," the auctioneer said. "We don't make mistakes when it comes to our clients’ money."
"What's going on?" Keia asked.
"That can't be right," I said. "Everyone is selling these potions now. Why is my potion going for a few hundred gold pieces when everything else is going for a few silver pieces?"
The goblin smiled. It was a thin smile, but it was more of a smile than I'd gotten from him so far. Which made me think it was the equivalent of a wide grin for this one.
"Maybe you should do an inspection of what’s being sold and find out," the goblin said, winking at me.
I opened the auction window again. Inspected the potions and compared them to the one potion I still had up. Sure enough my potion had a flat percentage bonus to everything. Then, confused, I did the same thing with the other potion. It had the same bonus.
I went back and forth for a couple of minutes before I finally saw it. I had to go through the text line by line, and that's when I realized there was another line of text at the bottom of the new potions that hit the market overnight. A line that was missing from my potion:
Only works with players with less than 100 skill level in any combat or offensive magic ability.
I frowned. That hadn't been on the potions I'd created yesterday, and it wasn’t on the one I still had on the Auction House now.
I moved back to that potion, and noticed that the price had gone up by another fifty gold pieces in the time it took me to figure out what the big difference was between my potions and the new stuff. The snipers were out in force on this listing.
Maybe they thought it was the last one that didn’t have that restriction. That wasn’t the case, but it backed up my intuition that I needed to create a bit of scarcity.
I shook my head. Amazing. I had no idea why there wasn't the restriction on my stuff, but I also wasn’t going to knock it if it gave me an advantage.
Then another thought occurred to me. I needed to check my inventory. More specifically the potions that weren’t listed on the Auction House at the moment.
“Can I have a look at my vault?" I asked after waving away the auction screen. “Or do I need to walk over to the vault dude?”
"Of course," the goblin said. “No need to tire yourself with the long and arduous trek across our small facility.”
My vault screen came up, and I decided to ignore the not-so-subtle jab. There were stacks of Nhewb’s Blessing potions. Stacks and stacks and stacks of them, because I'd spend the vast majority of my first few hours in the game doing nothing but picking those flowers, and I'd spent a lot of time the day before leveling up my alchemy from those flower petals. It’d resulted in a hell of a lot of the things, even taking into consideration some of the failures when I first started out.
I trembled as I inspected one of those stacks. If they had the same restriction as all the new potions currently on the market then I'd take the windfall I'd gotten from the first batch I put up and be happy, but I was praying that wouldn't be the case. That the ones I'd created before the other stacks got nerfed wouldn’t apply to…
I let out a whoop of joy as I inspected one of those stacks and saw that it didn't have the restriction. I went through each and every stack of potions. Looked at every one, and not a single one of them had the restriction.
Clearly whatever had happened wasn't affecting the stuff that I'd created. I wasn't sure why, but I got the feeling that Trelor might've had something to do with it. I'd have to ask the crazy wizard when we got over to his shop.
When I went back to the Auction House interface the final potion had sold. For nearly five hundred gold pieces. My eyes bugged out, but there was other business to attend to.
I figured I'd been lucky when it came to the potions, but I couldn't imagine that my simple Spellcrafted blade would’ve done all that well. Sure the spell infusion on it was a little better than what players could get from Horizon gear, but I couldn't imagine someone paying that much more for such a small edge.
I moved over to that auction in the interface and my eyes bugged out again. Clearly I'd underestimated how much gamers were willing to pay to get even a slight edge in their leveling, because my simple Spellcrafted sword was going for nearly a thousand gold pieces. I couldn't believe it, yet there was the evidence right in front of me, and as the bidding came to a close it was going up and up and up.
I stared in astonishment. The blade was low-level. Good for a player who was just starting out. Sure that spell infusion would provide one heck of an advantage to someone just starting out, but I couldn't imagine that was enough of an advantage that it would cause someone to spend that kind of money on the thing.
I’d spent enough time playing MMOs that I was well aware of what could happen to a market when players who'd been around for a while, usually higher level players who had some extra money to spend on an alt account, decided to start over. There was a desire to get through the lower levels they'd already seen as quickly as possible, and if they had money burning a hole in their pocket then twinking out a low level character could be a good investment.
I couldn't imagine that being the case in a game like Lotus Online where everything was so intricately tied together and so realistic, but I supposed that in the past month of early access there had to be someone who’d gotten far enough along in the game’s content that they’d be interested in starting a new character and were looking for an advantage for that character.
I pulled away from the auction interface again. Turned to Keia.
"Is it possible for people to have alts in this game?” I asked.
"I think so," she said. "I think they have to pay for a new account or something, but still. I've heard of a couple of people doing that now that the game has gone live. Trying out something new and all that. Why?"
That made sense. A game as popular as Lotus was going to have plenty of people who had more money than sense. All the people who paid for the early access without doing it on Horizon’s dime were a prime example. And if there were people out there who had more money than sense, well I was more than happy to take some of that money off of their hands.
"The why is I'm pretty sure I’m about to make a shitload of gold off of somebody who's buying a sword for their twink character," I said.
"Damn," she said. "How much are we talking?”
I checked my total from the Auction House. my eyes bugged out yet again when I saw the number on display there. I'd had maybe a few dozen gold pieces yesterday, though that’d gone down considerably after buying supplies from Trelor. Now my Auction House balance was showing close to ten thousand gold pieces. Even after the Auction House took their cut. That sword wound up going for a shitload of money.
My mouth fell open. I shook my head and blinked a couple of times to make sure I was seeing things right, but sure enough there it was. The combination of all the Horizon weapons I'd sold at a slight discount, the bidding on those potions, and that sword with the slightly better than normal spell infusion compared to what was on offer from Horizon had given me more money than I'd ever possessed in my life. I didn’t even need to know what the current exchange rate between Horizon gold and real world money was.
"Holy shit," I breathed.
“Are you going to tell me what’s going on here already?” Keia asked.
I pulled away from the auctioneer. I also noted the way the auctioneer hit me with a grin and a considering look.
I leaned in close to Keia. Whispered the amount of money I'd just earned. Her eyes went wide as she stared at me.
"Seriously?" she asked. “You’re not bullshitting me?”
"Totally serious," I said. "Would I lie to you about something like that?"
"Damn," she breathed. "You're rich! I haven't heard of anyone throwing around that kind of money so far. I mean there are people who have a lot of gold, but I haven’t heard of anyone having that much at once.”
“They must be out there if they’re willing to bid on this stuff and send their gold pieces my way,” I said.
"Holy shit," Keia said, repeating it over and over again like a mantra.
"Holy shit is right," I said, shaking my head and double checking the balance again.
Then I realized I had some more work to do. At least if I wanted to keep the money rolling in I had work to do, so I took out some of my stacks of potions that had that special unrestricted bonus. Apparently they were the only ones in the entire game that had that bonus, and I was going to take advantage of my unique positioning in the market.
I only put a few of them up on the Auction House. I wanted it to look like they were scarce. If I put them all up at once then they might think I had plenty and that’d drive the price down. Better to have them go out in a trickle and keep people guessing about what my actual supply was.
I might even have to cut off the supply from time to time to freak people out and shock the market. I was going to have to experiment and play this very carefully.
I figured those potions could turn into a steady income of a few thousand gold pieces a day for a few months if the money kept rolling in. Assuming Lotus didn't decide to get a wild hair up their ass and nerf my potions as well as the ones that’d come after I listed my stuff.
That was the last thing I wanted, but I figured I could at least be happy with the small windfall I got thanks to my flower picking habit. It was a hell of a lot more than I thought I'd get.
"So what now?" Keia asked when I was done listing more stuff on the market and moving my current earnings to my vault.
"I think we need to go pay a visit to Trelor’s Oddments," I said. “Because I have some questions.”
Hi! I'm a working writer who's been doing this full time since early 2015. I got my start in the Kindle romance boom, and I'm finally getting around to publishing stories under my own name!
I live in the Midwest with my wife, kids, and cats. Most days find me sitting in front of my computer typing out stories for your enjoyment!
I'm currently releasing Spellcraft. The tale of Conlan, a gamer who loves finding ways to exploit game systems, and how he uses those unique skills to battle a soulless multinational entertainment conglomerate who killed his sister and is trying to take over the gaming world!
Spellcraft is currently released on a chapter a day schedule.
I hope you enjoy my work. Thanks for reading!