What if there was a zone with anomalies that dropped antithorons and verterons more frequently, but they were hazardous somehow? A chance to be pulled into combat with the undine, for example, while you're farming would be one way to balance out the benefit of more rare particle drops. This could be disputed live PvP zone, where a KDF ship could attack a FED ship trying to harvest the same rare particle. Or not. I'm not the boss of you. EB
It might be fun to have a zone where ALL rare traces dropped much more often from the mini-game in exchange for some elevated danger. But I don't think Cryptic has ever intended for certain types of traces to be "magic" or "extra rare" types. It's just worked out like that due to the way the bills of material and quantity of items required interact.
When they've mentioned this in the past, it's always been in the context of ensuring drop rates are uniform (they could have, if they wanted some types to be uber rare, just made those drop a lot less frequently). So I perceive the disparity in demand relative to a uniform supply to be an accident, which a simple balancing mechanism like an exchange NPC could fix, without the need to twiddle with drop rates of individual types.
I think any adjustment aimed at raising drop rates on only certain types would inevitably cause more problems than it solved, since it's impossible to get it "right" in a way that will work for everyone all the time; especially as new gear comes into the crafting system over time. A player driven mechanic for trading excess traces out of the game at a steep exchange rate, in return for bringing ones back in that are on shortage, would be a balanced, simple, long term solution.
How is this different from selling two or three traces on the Exchange in return for the money to buy the one you want?
Because everyone wants the same ones, and has the same ones they want to get rid of, so if everyone tries to do this, the prices will quickly drift apart until the "common" ones are selling for 10k and the "rare" ones for 10m. It's the same reason that just trading within your fleet doesn't work; if everyone is trying to sell A and buy B at the same time, no trades will happen, because nobody wants A and nobody has B. The only trades that actually occur are between the rare seller who has one or two more B than he can find any use for and the rare buyer with far more EC than he can ever spend.
The exchange NPC is no more "artificial" in the game universe than the mini-game that produces the traces to begin with. It's just a simple, sustainable fix for a mechanic that is otherwise hard to get "right." It's totally driven by player behavior, doesn't artificially inflate the supply of traces overall, and doesn't require constant twiddling to maintain a good "fit" for the fix. If the supply of types coming into the game universe matched the actual demand for them, you could still buy and sell through the exchange all you wanted, but the prices on all the traces would be the same (as it seems Cryptic intended at the start, by trying to ensure uniform drop rates for all of them).
If this were really a "market driven" mechanic to start with, then there would be a way for new producers to enter the market when the demand for a particular thing increased. This is how actual economies work; prices on a particular thing rise until it's more profitable to make that thing than other things; new produces enter; prices fall back until profits again reach a consistent level with other goods. That's exactly what the exchange NPC does: allows players to "produce" types in higher demand by consuming types in less demand to make them.
What if there was a zone with anomalies that dropped antithorons and verterons more frequently, but they were hazardous somehow? A chance to be pulled into combat with the undine, for example, while you're farming would be one way to balance out the benefit of more rare particle drops. This could be disputed live PvP zone, where a KDF ship could attack a FED ship trying to harvest the same rare particle.
Or not. I'm not the boss of you.
The PvP idea is suspciously like a suggestion I made in a PvP thread. The idea was an anomaly scan race. either a fixed number of anomalies that players had to race to aquire, or a timed game where the team with the most succesful scans wins. Check it out and post.
Are the prices THAT different? Last I saw, the commonest Rares were going for about 150k, and the rarest Rares 400k.
Don't know when this is from, but it's not recent. Current prices on the exchange are around 5k for all but three types of rare traces; and then they're 300k+ for Antithoron, Chronometric, and Vertion. The demand for these is way out of whack with the drop rates, due to the fact that they're overused in high quantity, high demand items; and all the rest are next to worthless. This is why there isn't a player based solution to it, because the math just doesn't work out farming 5k traces to buy 500k traces. The exchange NPC would balance the supply of the different types coming into game in accordance with the actual demand for them, bringing supply, demand, and prices all back to a more uniform level (a good bit higher probably for the "useless" ones which now go for nothing, and a good bit lower for the ridiculous ones).
I have to agree with Heezdedjim on his viewpoints in this thread. I too would like some sort of "Conversion NPC" for Trace Particles. I'm always short on Chronometrics, in fact, I'm waiting to find a couple more to finally finish crafting up my main character's weapons. I've got lots of other "rare" traces (except Antithorons and Vertions, also slim for me), but I'm lucky if I can get 15k for each of those (5k is more like it), while these "Big Three" go for many hundreds of thousands of EC.
I'm ok with a "handful"-to-1 Converstion Rate to an NPC, but a 100x ratio (5k vs. 500k) is not acceptable.
Please give us an NPC at Memory Alpha who will take surplus traces we have of one type and allow us to receive back any other type of trace in return. This could require that we "pay" two or three traces in order to get one back, which would be well worth it in my view. This would help make the lives of those who farm and craft a lot an order of magnitude easier.
Yes, another universal emblem please. While we are at it, why not tie crafting in to emblems.
And yes, you answered your own question... that's why it's called FARMING .. you have to work for it .. not being handed out on a silver platter