Chapter 175 - Gu Fei, the Merchant
Accumulating a large amount of products and selling them in one shot was actually something that the ‘merchants’ or business-minded players would only do during special occasions. A good example was when Parallel World transitioned from an open beta game to a full-fledged game, where a large influx of players entering the game had increased the demand for certain goods and subsequently caused the prices of items to inflate. Recognizing it as a great opportunity to earn a handsome profit, the business-minded players seized the chance to hoard all the low-cost items during the open beta period, only to sell them at high prices after the game was officially released.
But since the players themselves were the number one consumers and farmers1 of items in Parallel World, the prices of in-game goods had only spiked for a short duration. The top-level veteran players were able to exploit this special situation first, while low-level veteran players were behind by quite a bit. Top-grade equipment was of course more expensive, so not many players could hoard a lot in bulk. Therefore, many merchants had chosen to accumulate mid-level equipment, instead.
Logically speaking, once the newbie players reached a higher level, they could of course farm for better equipment by themselves instead of buying from merchants. The same equipment could be acquired by either looting from the higher level monsters or obtaining rewards from the harder quests, so the price increase for mid-level equipment only saw a temporary spike of a few days.
When these new players were capable of farming better items for themselves and increased the availability of these items, the prices of goods naturally deflated. Even if the prices did not fall in response to the increase in the supply of in-game goods, increasing the item prices would be hard pressed anyhow.
‘Buying low, selling high’ might seem like a simple concept, yet a lot of knowledge was actually attached to it.
In fact, few players could make use of this concept properly, as seen by how the poor greatly outnumbered the rich inside the game.
Not everyone had a full grasp on the ‘buying low, selling high’ concept, thus their incapability to apply the proper business strategies to actually profit from it, and a sizeable portion of those players who had employed this concept ended up with more items than what they managed to sell off.
The rules of online games were ever-changing, especially when it came to beginner items that would lose their value once the players leveled up further. At the moment, the prices of these beginner items had already hit an all-time low, and those who tried increasing the prices for these items were bound to earn no profit at all. This was because of the existence of the official tradings managed by the system, and the competition was stiff among the system and the merchants when it came to the better market prices for items.
The players with a good eye could tell that the pile of items Gu Fei had just dumped on the ground were mostly for low-level players, causing them to immediately associate Gu Fei to those loser resale merchants that had missed to catch the wave of buyers back then. Just the fact that this person had kept all these trashy items until now was truly a failure among failures! Thus, a whole crowd of men soon gleefully regarded Gu Fei as a lousy merchant without a shred of sympathy.
The new generation of players hated those resellers who had exploited the chance to earn their money, while the veteran players were jealous that the resellers had seized the opportunity to gain some cash. But the one thing these two types of people shared in common was how they would feel a touch of schadenfreude whenever they saw a reseller failing to sell his or her products.
These two types of people were actually the representation of all in-game players, and right now, everyone in Peddlers’ Street 2 was hoping to witness how the loser merchant Gu Fei would make a fool of himself by selling these trashy items.
Gu Fei who did not know about this was currently feeling quite pleased that he had received the surrounding players’ undivided attention, thinking that his business would likely see a great success. With that positive thought in mind, he squatted down and began to carefully tidy up the equipment on the ground.
Although the equipment in Parallel World had no level requirement, it was pretty obvious which grade it belonged to based on the equipment’s trait value. By knowing the additional traits the equipment had, its worth could be determined.
The items Gu Fei had on hand were all blue tier. There was simply no market price for white-tier equipment unless it was of a high grade.
Blue-tier equipment was the most commonly seen items, so a majority of the normal players had full blue-tier gear at the very least. Players usually began the game by equipping themselves from top to bottom with blue-tier gear, and they would slowly try replacing their blue-tier equipment with gold tier one by one by doing all sorts of tradings or quests. As for the purple-tier equipment, the current players could only fantasize about ever attaining one.
Gu Fei quickly sorted out his for-sale items into various slots according to their type. Headgear, chest pieces, weapons, body accessories, footwear – every slot possible filled up the space before Gu Fei. Nodding his head in satisfaction, he wiped the sweat off his forehead and lifted his head.
Many players were watching what Gu Fei was doing, so he quickly flashed them an amiable smile, “Are you interested in any of these pieces of equipment?”
All cheerfully shook their heads. Gu Fei’s smile somewhat became stiff, which made everyone even happier.
The items Gu Fei had on display were obsolete, so none here had any need for them. And even if they did, they would not buy them from him. Peddler’s Street 2 was long; what Gu Fei had were common items, and many peddlers were hawking similar wares. With the let-this-guy-suffer-this-loss-to-death mentality, everyone walked away. Nonetheless, quite a few of them stayed to soak in on the pleasurable sight of Gu Fei’s frustrated look.
Gu Fei was at a loss. Are my items really that obsolete? he could not help but think of this. Most of the items he was selling were drops of level 20 to 30 monsters, which were considered to be pretty low grade as far as equipment went.
Still, he had seen that the stalls lining this very lane had similar common-grade equipment to his, which meant that the items were not completely unmarketable.
I’ll just wait patiently! With such a thought in mind, Gu Fei no longer felt anxious and even found himself a comfortable sitting position to patiently wait for customers.
The common sound that could be heard in Peddlers’ Street 2 was the haggling of players. As Gu Fei quietly waited for customers, he listened to the players’ bartering to gain a better market insight.
Gu Fei had not done any research regarding the pricing of his equipment, as he was only planning to sell every item for 10 gold coins until he obtained the 200 gold coins he needed. But after listening to the haggling all around him, Gu Fei now more or less had an idea of how much his items on hand were currently worth and his pile of obsolete items was hardly worth 10 gold coins each. A nearby stall was selling a pair of footwear for only 8 gold coins even when it had better traits than any of the items Gu Fei had on display. Comparing the traits of his items with the other merchants’ successfully sold items, Gu Fei finally realized how naive he was at item tradings.
Even if he managed to sell off his pile of items, he might not even make 50 gold coins in total. To reach that goal of 200 gold coins, he would have to make a few trips back to the warehouse.
Gu Fei treated selling items just like how he treated his stat point allocation: he only cared for speed. Gu Fei cared not even if he incurred a loss and merely wanted to quickly gather the 200 gold coins he needed for his Job Class Advancement. Fueled by this thought, he raised his voice and said, “Dollar stall here! Every item is only going for 1 gold coin; buy it if you want it!”
Low-priced goods would always be the most tempting items in a marketplace. That one shout of Gu Fei caused many players to bound toward him immediately. Even some of the players who had their stalls set up came by and had a look.
Gu Fei felt delighted as he began calculating in his mind: One piece of equipment for 1 gold coin, so 200 pieces of equipment would give me 200 gold coins! That should be about everything I have in my storage. Just a few more trips and 200 gold coins won’t be an issue anymore.
Unexpectedly, he was still being too optimistic. The players who had been enticed by his ‘dollar stall’ call carefully examined the items in Gu Fei’s stall and almost all of them quickly shook their heads and departed.
It would not matter how cheap the items were if they had no need for them. Furthermore, the items Gu Fei was selling were odds and ends that did not have any worth in ‘buying low and selling high’.
Quite a few players had come with such a thought in mind, yet they could only leave dispiritedly once they realized that nothing was of value in Gu Fei’s stall.
Some players remained, yet they were all beginners. Since equipment in Parallel World had no level requirement, outfitting themselves with above level 20 gear was very tempting to these beginners. Nonetheless, such fresh players would not be that rich and would have silver and copper coins at most. As such, they resolutely haggled with Gu Fei for that 1 gold coin.
Gu Fei stiffly said, “It’s already cheap enough as it is, it can’t be any cheaper!” This caused three potential customers to leave.
The remaining two patiently attempted to wear down Gu Fei. Just the term ‘big bro’ had been tossed about so frivolously by these two customers. In the end, Gu Fei finally came up with a ‘buy three, get one free’ sales pitch, allowing them to only spend 3 gold coins and obtain four items from Gu Fei. The two customers happily left with their successful transactions.
All that just to earn 6 gold coins... Gu Fei emotionally took out his money pouch and placed the 6 gold coins inside it, lowering his head to count his money again. Regrettably, Gu Fei did not miscount earlier. He only had 43 gold coins on him right now, 157 gold coins away from his target of 200 gold coins.
“Are you selling any of these items for 1 gold coin?” A voice suddenly asked Gu Fei as he was counting his money.
“Ah, yes!” Gu Fei hurriedly replied as he raised his head to face the customer.
“It’s you!” The two said the same thing simultaneously.
The person who was asking about the price was actually Vast Lushness. Gu Fei felt surprised to meet someone he was familiar with in Peddlers’ Street 2 of all places, while Vast Lushness felt puzzled that the man who had previously helped her out of a difficult situation on the outskirt of Yunduan City was actually poor. He was an expert who had easily sliced up six players, after all. In online MMOs, most experts were wealthy. Although this was not an absolute fact, they at least would not be this poor.
Vast Lushness was truly surprised to find Gu Fei in such a destitute state that he had to sell a whole pile of trashy items for 1 gold coin each. Why is he here selling these trinkets? With how powerful he is, wouldn’t it be faster for him to earn money by farming for high-grade items from high-level monsters?
The method that Vast Lushness had come up with was truly the most appropriate path to riches that Gu Fei should have taken. Everything in MMOs was dependent on level. As long as a player was at a high level, he or she would have first-rate farming capabilities when it came to making money.
This was especially true if a player was able to farm the highest grade equipment. Player who could do this would be able to conquer the peak of the market. In fact, quite a lot of gaming experts made it rich through this method.
Equipment in Parallel World had no level requirement; this design made such a path to riches all the more attractive to everyone.
Unfortunately, the players were unable to pull ahead too drastically because leveling was also extremely difficult. Thus, not many people could easily walk this path toward prosperity. As for Gu Fei, he indeed have the ability to do so and was also capable of beating monsters twenty levels above his.
 Farming is a term used for players who – well – ‘farm’ or ‘acquire’ items. This is especially true for gold farmers (currency grinders) and item farmers (who usually auction the items they get for more in-game currency).