Here are my two cents regarding the trading, if I may. (I didn’t find any active discussion on trading, yet nothing on the rules which prohibited that, correct me if I missed something please)
This is coming from a RPG fan and vet who would like to see this game succeed. Someone who have seen the rise and fall of some games and has some experience on what can kill a game.
This is assuming two points we can all (or most of us) probably agree on:
1. An auction house is the most convenient, most player friendly way of trading.
2. An auction house, or even direct trading without an auction house, will absolutely destroy the game if implemented at the current state of the game.
So there are two ways of approaching this.
We can’t do an auction house, so we will settle for the next best thing that won’t destroy the game.
We might end up with something weird like a randomize players shop and players won’t be able to trade with their friends unless they both dropped the item together…But ce la vi…
You can look at it the other way around:
We know that an auction house is the best way of trading so what changes do we need to make to the game, so we can implement the auction house successfully?
Trading is such a big part of an online game, maybe its worth the effort.
You might end up with a list of changes to make to the game. for example:
We need to make items more unique, so it will be way harder to find the same item with the same affixes twice:
a. X more item bases
b. X more unique items
c. Items will now have 6/8 affixes instead of 4.
Because of 1c we will need to make changes to our affixes system:
a. Make more tiers, and the difference between tiers will be lower.
b. Need to add more affixes, maybe halfsies on resistances (cold and fire. necro and poison etc) Maybe add accuracy, since we have dodge that makes sense.
c. Decrease the power of affixes by X%. Resistances by Y% (including blessings).
We need to make changes to the crafting system. it should be harder to add an affix, maybe add more instability when adding an affix.
Players will generally be stronger so we nerf blessing by X%. Increase base monsters hp by X%.
We need to make gold more scarce.
Exalted items will be more rare.
Etc etc etc
And then maybe check if these changes are worth it.
Will it add to the game? Will it decrease from the game? If so, how much will it decrease from the game compared to how much trading will add to the game?
What other ARPG games had an auction house? why did it fail? what can we do differently?
You can go with the mediocre approach, but I would really hate seeing this game ends up as a time passer between POE leagues, while having 3-5k player base.
Or you can do something special here that ARPGs currently having a problem to do. And aim a bit higher.
You are facing giants here. POE has been developed for almost a decade. Diablo3, Diablo4 on the way. POE2 on the way… Can Last Epoch afford a mediocre approach?
This game is in beta, not yet online, when you take it online if you decide to go with an auction house you can let the community know; “The economy is going to be funky for a few patches until we nail down the tweaking of the mechanics for the auction house, but we really want a good trading system so bear with us while we make it work.”
The community will love it.
Or - “You will have the bazaar until we will get the game intricate enough to implement a better trading system.”
This is the time to experiment.
I honestly believe that an ARPG with an auction house will draw players to it, And that an online ARPG that doesn’t at the very least have the option to click on a player and then straight up trade isn’t going to survive long, especially with the competition already out there.
I like the game, I want to see it succeed and this is just another player’s opinion and should be treated has such.
Edit: clarification - when I am referring to mediocre approach, I am talking exclusively about trading, not any other aspect of the game.