Trade Manifesto

Thx for this great explanation chris! I was wanting fast trades but now I totally agree - especially if you see both extremes in one game (starts with D and ends with 3) and both ends were/are really bad for that game...

lucksickle wrote:
That was a very interesting read. I enjoyed reading the thought process behind every decision you've made that has shaken up the trade meta. I don't quite get why you opted for 'premium' $$$$ tabs to be the only ones to work with said API, this locks out F2P player, and is honestly the point at which I've started to consider this game more as a freemium game. (not that I mind personally, as I've bought tabs and mtx's)

While I consider the afk/dnd to be a great change, I'm a little bit sad since I often ran PoE on the background while I had work to do on my computer. This was the only way I managed to sell anything, as I try my best to avoid the mess that dealing with trade is (to the point of now making my builds in a way that getting the items I need won't be hard).

Agree 100%
I am hoping for some manifesto more specific about drops.
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Ty for scam <3
After looking at your new trade website GGG I like the feel of it, however I don't like how far the information is spaced out. Poe.Trade has stuff pretty much in the same area, the stats, seller, price etc.

And on an ultrawide monitor the distance is even farther for your site. Making browsing not the most easily done thing. An option to change how many items are on a page, or the scale of the items, number of rows/columns etc would be very useful. And then it lets users choose how they want to view their items themselves.
Last edited by Introplosion on Nov 2, 2017, 8:29:09 PM
Heli0nix wrote:
First of all great read ! This day will be remembered for a long time :D

Do you have any plans on displaying this official website in the ingame's tutorial ( for example ) or not ? Even in bêta.

As you mentioned it only a small % of userbase is actualy performing trades, the thing is there are a lot of players that get their first impressions about the game with trade chat, they don't know there are others ways to perform a trade, some of them won't ever know it after all.

The thing is as you greatly explained it, trading is important in ARPG's, and that's why i would directly suggest to welcome everybody and SPECIALY new players to test this website in it's bêta version, because their feedbacks would give you a more accurate idea of what players really expect around trading, at different levels.

But for that ... it has to be displayed ingame, even if a few users are used to check forums and social networks the largest part in any games just install - try - build an opinion on that - keep playing or leave after few hours without checking any forums or anything except for subscribing part.

I appreciate the effort even if i'm still convinced there are some better ways to improve trading in PoE ( not talking about an AH ) that would save your vision of " not-so-easy" trading while making it more user friendly, ergonomic, and aesthetic.

Eh well, Thank you for this huge step GGG. Really appreciate to see you ^didn't gave up on that.
SPECIALY THE AFK / DND filter. Means a lot ! :)


I will further Heli0nix's point by admitting I didn't know about sites like the official website or until a friend told me. Prior to that, the game was a much different experience (for better or worse). I also never logged into the official website until years later (I had originally purchased a Steam client, so never visited the site prior).

If new players were prompted in-game (via an occasional System message or beginning tutorial pointing out a trade option/button), I have a feeling more would participate. The trade chats can sometimes be a brutal first experience. ;)

Also, for the AFK'ers who still are active sellers, perhaps a toggle button on the searchable page would allow people to opt to include them or not.


Oh, and I would also add another idea of possibly displaying the average values specific trades that were actually completed in the past X hour(s) (specifically Currency, Pages, Fragments, Unique Maps, etc., since raw rare items would be harder to display/calculate averages for). In my opinion, this would help more casual traders to identify the actual current values of items (and hopefully avoid price-fixers/scams).
Last edited by TheInsanitarium on Nov 2, 2017, 8:39:25 PM
Sarno wrote:

Any plans in future to also expose the League they're currently playing in?

Messaging people who are in Standard / on an alt in SSF is a bit of a pain. :/

Not sure if you'll still be stalking this thread, but -

I log out to switch leagues to complete trades pretty much every time someone messages me asking to buy an item. Exceptions are of course if I'm in a Labyrinth, or something like that (Zana one-shot mission?), but that wouldn't change even if I were in the same league, guess I should probably use /dnd if I really wanted to be proper with that.
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Just want to let you know that I fully support your stance on trading not being allowed to become too easy. The current solution with and your newly launched on-site search functionality basically allows us to live in the best possible world. I already had this exact viewpoint before reading your manifesto, it essentially confirmed all my thoughts on this topic.

Good job!


Two quick notes about your new search site:

The "wishper" button has no effect, at least not for me.

I would also like to see the ability to search for a sum of stat values and sort the search results by this sum.

Other than that, it looks really neat!
Last edited by Black_Gun on Nov 2, 2017, 8:38:51 PM
I'm a big fan of incremental gear improvement. I've played games that allowed me to max out my loot early on, and while the initial excitement of being suddenly uber-powerful was fun momentarily inevitably all the enjoyment of finding loot got sucked away by the fact that I was unlikely to find anything better than what I was already wearing.

I also was thinking the other day how my random gear has helped make every playthrough feel very different. Since I don't trade, I can't count on specific gear when I make my build and often have to incorporate very unoptimal gear choices creatively. Sometimes it causes me to change my entire approach to a character.

For example, finding a Wondertrap last league made me shift my Necromancer into a build that kept me at low health permanently using auras and blood magic, which in turn radically altered both the damage I could take as well as the damage I could inflict (through Pain Attunement and the Mana that was no longer reserved by the auras). I had no intention of being such a glass cannon when I started out, and a single random find drastically changed every aspect of my experience.

Of course there is SSF for players like me who don't trade (though I do miss being able to battle with other players, particularly since it feels a bit fairer that their gear is the result of random chance as well) but I really appreciate that GGG takes into account how easy trading would still impact non-trading players indirectly. Players that can get their gear easily want a larger proportion of the game to use that optimal gear on, which would make much of the game frustrating for players who rely on random loot.

There's a very delicate balance there, and I would like to complement GGG on thus far maintaining a good compromise which keeps the game interesting for both trading and non-trading players. Players like myself may not take to the forums too often, but we really appreciate that GGG is considerate of our experience with the game too.
search engine don't support MAX 0 (or 1) as value to remove items from results if they don't match, instead it trying to search for item(s) lets say Energy Shield MIN 1 with some Armor but can't find any item with 0 or 1 Armor.

just compare: search result - any INT base body armor no results
Last edited by krab90 on Nov 2, 2017, 8:50:47 PM
it would be nice to have multiple active searches on the same page.

>> Add Search << button
The minor change has been needed for at least a couple years now, (I'm aware of price-fixing rackets being rampant at least since 2015) but to be honest, this whole manifesto comes across as... Kinda winded... And also showing that perhaps GGG might benefit from seeking further playing experience with game economies.

Chris wrote:
So given that we love trade and feel it is critical to Path of Exile's formula, why is there so much debate around trade in this game?

There's going to be debate over anything, at minimum, because there can be a difference in opinion, and there's few things people hate more than others DARING think differently from their own group's shared mentality.

One thing to be cautious of is that it's all too easy to mistake louder voices for being more correct. Because humans are creatures that like to group together and defend their groups, it's important for any developer or content creator to realize that a lot of those defending them aren't doing so out of logic, but simple loyalty, and will change their tune instantly should their "leader" make an about-face on their decision.

Read: a lot of the folk backing the "status quo" on trading will back whatever decision GGG makes. This is what we saw, for instance, back pre-2.0 when Desync was a huge thing; there were TONS of fans eager to make up excuses for its presence, and agree to developer claims that it was "necessary." Then 2.0.0 came out, GGG announced the effective end to it, and the very same players did a 180° to praise the new status quo.

Chris wrote:
Easy trade reduces the number of times a character improves their items.
People who are heavily engaged in trade perform fewer item upgrades to achieve their final build. They get there in fewer steps, because they can easily buy items that are close to what they need. Simply put, their character progression is more about trading than it is about getting items from monsters. We believe that it is more fun to slowly and iteratively upgrade a character over time and to have a longer journey to gear a character up. Knowing that a monster could drop something that improves your character is a great motivator for playing one more level!

While NOMINALLY true, this is problematic on multiple levels, actually:

  • The "longer journey to gear a character up," has another, one-word term: grind. While it might be considered fun on-paper, for those of us actually playing the endgame, it's a "necessary chore" at best.

  • Endgame character progression has always been about trading. You'd be conceited to think that, in the exact same document where you stress how important you considered trading as central to th game, you bemoan that trading would DARE supplant other mechanics as a means of progression. You can't have your cake and eat it, too. Either PoE is all about trading, and trading is the most important advancement mechanic, or trading isn't available as much.

  • No, for anyone who's actually played the endgame, it's safe to say that a monster is NOT going to drop something that improves your character. Rare loot hasn't been relevant since 2.0.0 came out, item filters became a thing, and Dominus farming CEASED to be a thing. Anyone can watch anyone play either in-party or in-stream, and notice that it's standard to just ignore rare items, even if they are, say, iLvl 84-86 on basetypes like Astral Plate, Harbinger Bows, etc. Grinding loot is not a motivator. There's a REASON we only talk of "exalts-per-hour/day." The expectation is that we might find one of a few possible drops that commoditized enough to TRADE it.

Chris wrote:
Easy trade means reducing drop rates
Compare two hypothetical games. In the first game, trade is very difficult. The majority of items that can't be used by your character are not traded to other people. In the second game, trade is very easy. Many of the items that you can't use are traded to other people for items that you can. In the second game, because of trade, you have a much higher acquisition rate of useful items. While that sounds great if you want instant gratification, in reality it means that the second game either receives reduced drop rates relative to the first, or ends up being a whole lot easier and less challenging to achieve goals in.

  • This is actually a classic fallacy of "affirming the consequent." While it is definitely true that, if you restrict trade, you must allow for better drops to compensate. However, it is fallacious to assume the inverse is equally true: that if you make trade easier, you must make drops worse.

  • There's a confusion of "challenge" and "difficulty" there; "Challenge" means it's a matter of player skill, while "difficulty" merely implies some form of wall, either an arbitrary block (such as a buildwall) that stops one, or just a wall to scale. (through grind) As the latter ("difficulty") has very much been overtaking the former ("challenge") as the primary obstacle in Path of Exile, and increasing number of players are wising up to the difference!

  • As implied above, right now there's not much challenge to be had in Path of Exile, but there's a LOT of various difficulty bumps/walls to be found, that have only been exasperated by a lot of the new content introduced with 3.0.0. While difficulty may achieve the aim to slow player progression, it does so at the expense of their enjoyment, rather than adding to it as challenge does. Hence, it also increases the rate that a player's response to being slowed/stopped is to just give up entirely, rather than gird themselves to push back.

  • The part that makes a difference between SSF and non-SSF, and WHY the inverse assumption made can't work, is the concept that individual items are NOT universally useful, by your own design: Both a Kaom's and a Shav's are rather nice drops, (even post-3.0, when nerfs made Shav's lose a lot of worth) but one cannot simply say one is outright better than the other, because there's zero known viables builds that could have anything CLOSE to comparable use for both.

    If someone's playing a life-based RF build, they'll be excited to see the Kaom's drop, but have no use for the Shav's; if they're in SSF and only care about SSF, it's basically vendor fodder. Therefore, it *IS* necessary, for the sake of being fair, that they need to ramp up the drops to compensate for the fact that the bulk will have absolutely zero value to the player. By contrast, the core concept that makes a market economy work is the concept of equivalent values. pre-3.0, it was widely accepted that a Kaom's and a Shav's were both equally nice overall, even if any specific character would only place ANY value at ALL in one or the other. In fact, this means that virtually ALL uniques have SOME value; even a common leveling unique can often fetch an Orb of Alchemy.

    Hence, the inverse logic fails here because one of the shifts doesn't exist: SSF means items have their values ELIMINATED ENTIRELY, while easier trade simply adjusts values. There's no mathematical counterpart to oppose going to zero, simply because, well, you cannot divide by zero.

Chris wrote:
Easy trade would make the disparity between different players too great
Both of the above points are even worse when you consider that the level of engagement with trade varies substantially from player to player. Most players who play Path of Exile never trade. Out of the players who do trade, most only complete a few trades in a league. The subset of players who regularly trade strongly overlaps with our core reddit and forum communities. Chances are, if you're reading this, then you're one of the top 10% of players in terms of engagement with advanced systems. The difference in magnitude of trading (and hence item acquisition and progress) between non/low-traders and heavy traders is gigantic. While a regular player would be lucky to accumulate a small handful of Exalted Orbs in a league, a trader might reach hundreds in the same timeframe. This enables them to fully-gear Shaper-capable characters while the non-trader is still in mid-tier maps or lower.

The significant differences in character power and player progression caused by trade has already created a situation where Path of Exile is very hard for some players and quite easy for others. Some people never stand a chance of seeing some of the Atlas of Worlds content, while others can rather quickly defeat it and are looking for new challenges. We're tentatively okay with the degree to which this occurs currently, but it would be much worse if trading were made substantially easier.

This is also incorrect, because it follows the wrong line of reasoning, and conflates "more trading" with "more VALUE gained per trade." This is very much false:

  • While it's true most players don't engage in trade, there was absolutely zero thought given in the above writing as to WHY that might be the case. A simple survey would show the real reason: it's too painful. I've managed to get a number of friends I know from outside this game to play, and NONE of them engage in trading on a level remotely close to what I do. Every last one tells me that dealing with running a search, (and often having to modify/refine the search repeatedly) and spamming dozens of players to find one who'll actually respond and trade to be more trouble than they wish to go through with; at times, they'll ask me to acquire/sell items for them, but usually, they just plain don't try. As a result, they just plain play the game less, because trading is effectively mandatory for endgame content.

  • On the other side of the logic, it assumes that easier trading would make the payoff for investing time into the trade metagame would increase. This is patently false, because it fails to understand an economic concept known as "opportunity cost."

    The logic presented in this claim assumes that if a system allowed players (for example) twice as many trades per hour as a prior system, they would see twice the profit, because it assumes the profit per trade would be the same. But this fails to account for this meaning that the ENTIRE SYSTEM would see twice as many trades going on that same hour. This means competition, and fewer unexploited opportunities... An example would include un-met demands made by shifting values in currency, that are a key to a currency flipper's livelihood.

    The truth is that easier trade would actually PUNISH flippers and scammers, as their entire operation relies on there being a HIGH "opportunity cost;" because trading is a pain to sort through, it often MIGHT be easier to pay a big premium to conduct business through Trade chat.

So no, the claim presented by GGG here didn't really offer much beyond an implication that their more dedicated players are somehow people out of touch with the rest of the userbase.

Chris wrote:
Easy trade allows for greater abuse by automation
Another topic is automation. While we work hard to stamp out bots and abusive behaviour, it would be hard to completely eliminate the damage caused by a few trade bots with access to a fast trade system. If they have the ability to search out and buy items without having to talk to another player, then there would be some very large-scale economic consequences that would not be good for regular players.

I do apologize, since I'm not TRYING to be mean, but... This paragraph actually made me laugh:

  • This paragraph contradicts the whole point of the post; the slight API improvement to help weed out AFK/DND sellers does, in fact, make it easier... And simultaneously reduces abuse.
  • Bots have the advantage of never getting tired, and could already simultaneously spam dozens/hundreds of other players at once.
  • Bots have been able to talk to and trade with players for a while now.
  • In short, as I mentioned above about "opportunity cost," the current system's intentionally labourious and frustrating setup actually EMPOWERS bot-users and other exploiters.

Chris wrote:
Trade in Path of Exile

From the start, we knew that Path of Exile needed the ability to trade items and that we had to be careful not to make it too easy. We had seen what happened in other Action RPGs when characters could be upgraded trivially. We added trade chat and a secure player-to-player trade screen so that people could negotiate transactions and complete them without counterparty risk.

I'd like to see an example of one of these cases of what you guys had "seen;" after all, you're the guys that weren't even aware whatsoever of Ultima Online's vendor system until a couple years ago.

Also, that's a bit too much credit to take for basically just copy-pasting Diablo 2's trading windows with only mild improvements.

Chris wrote:
So that's where we are today. It's easy to list items for trade, easy to search for items, and is often quite frustrating to complete a trade. This remaining frustration is the only thing standing in the way of trades being basically instant. While we understand that this sounds like a positive thing, we are very concerned regarding what will happen if that does eventuate. We have to prioritise the long-term health of Path of Exile.

The long-term health is based upon how much people are frustrated, actually. There's a good reason why Path of Exile experiences a steeper drop-off after each major release than other games. It's pretty damning evidence that "an hour added is an hour added" is a really poor philosophy.

Chris wrote:
We officially added support for a Solo, Self-Found mode in Content Update 2.6.0 (Breach League).

2.6.0, as I recall, was Legacy league; Breach was Update 2.5.0. Though yes, it was 2.6.0 when SSF was added.
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