I have long been a rather simple user of the match (or slightly undercut) the lowest market price method of pricing my goods for sale in MMOs. This doesn’t mean taking a loss, generally, as I typically gather all my own materials. My cost is in terms of time, and I try not to think too long or hard about how much my “gaming time” is worth in a monetary sense. That is not it’s purpose and would probably suck the life out of it.
Enter Star Wars Galaxies. My primary goal was to goof off with space and/or shipwright. While I have busied myself with a number of other things, I finally got around to building some ship blueprint for sale. It’s a very small market, as they do not need to be acquired or replaced often. At least in my experience, there are few competitors on the bazaar terminal or vendor searches to provide any guideline for how to price my goods.
This led me to opportunity cost as a pricing method. The opportunity cost is the next most useful, next most profitable in this case, thing that we can do with a given resource. When I consider the resource-heavy ship blueprints, then, it makes not sense to price the ship below the market rate of the materials used. Otherwise it would be more profitable to simply sell the materials and a call it a day.
So I created a quick spreadsheet that can calculate the material value of a ship based on the market price of each component.
Now, the scary thing is that this is significantly higher than the only other seller I came across, who was selling them for mostly 60-90k/ea with no real allowance made for increased material usage. I would say theirs are priced in the 1.5-2 credits/resource unit while mine, well, obvious are not. I was using fairly good resources to build mine.
Still, it does not matter how well thought out the price is if the market will not bear those prices. It may be that the demand is so low that selling the resources will always be a more profitable venture. Of course, the resources themselves cost me far less than that to collect, so it’s at least still profitable. Just not as profitable as selling the materials it is made from.
Still, somebody has to do it. Working at a restaurant may not be the most profitable way for someone to sell their time, but if we wish to eat there someone must provide that service. We also get into that wibbly-wobbly grey area that is the utility value of enjoying what you’re doing, or other non-monetary utility values that are harder to price.
I just thought it was an interesting exercise to try pricing goods using a method other than going market rate. It’s an interesting way of considering my options, at least.
Y’all take care, and remember that profit is only part of utility value, not the sole indicator.