WOO II - Office
The office is where a Crafter handles marketing and sales. It functions primarily as a communications and information center, connecting the crafter directly with customers, and with the Auction House, Farmer's Markets and Banks. Crafters who specialize in sales and marketing, called "Factors", have access to advanced communications and financial tools - and the outlets for these will be available in the Office.
Each Crafter produces a variety of items or services, and in almost every case the items and services are fungible and only bind when used. The intent is to allow the Crafters to supply the bulk of a realm's items and services ... although vendor NPCs should still be available as a backup in case of shortages. NPC prices should generally be set high enough to encourage crafted production.
Crafted items may be sold to NPCs, to other players via the auction house, or directly to other players on the street or in one of the Farmers Markets. In general, the NPC price will establish a public ceiling and players can decide if they wish to pay less at other outlets. In an ideal world, the NPC price can be based on supply and demand and will function as a lever to keep Crafted prices under control. NPC vendors should offer limited amounts of most item ... if important items are not sufficiently available, NPCs can increase their supply to meet the demand.
Sales to NPCs return a profit based on total sales in the realm. For example, suppose a Crafter produces 100 ingots of bonzium. If no one else produced bonzium that week, the Crafter would get a high price from the NPC. If many people were producing bonzium, the NPC price would fall accordingly. This mechanism helps to match supply with demand by raising the price when supply falls.
Sales in the Auction House and Farmers Markets are negotiated on a player to player basis. Crafters who choose the Factor specialization receive access to tools that make the auction process easier to manage, especially for high volumes of items.
Marketing is the art of locating customers, identifying their needs, and matching those needs with suppliers to generate products in a way that encourages sales. Marketing includes statistical analysis, customer surveys, advertising and the like.
Marketing is not far advanced in the current game, in large part because the small number of items for sale does not allow for price discrimination. WOO II allows high level Makers to create brand new templates, which allow them to produce one-of-kind items as well as new strains of existing items. As these proliferate, they should begin to differ in value and the need for advertising and discounting should come to the fore.
To avoid filling the general chat channels with ads, a Catalog of Goods and Services allows Crafters to list their wares. Customers can search the Catalog for particular items and then sort on price. Or they can search for particular Crafters and see what they offer. Note that these will be "list" prices and that substantial discounts may be available in the Auction House or Farmers Markets.
It is likely that a supply chain will develop, with the characters who become Farmers selling materials to Makers who sell items to Factors. This will almost certainly give rise to the need for contracting ... so much of such and such a material to be delivered by a certain date at a certain price with penalties for cancellation or late delivery. Standard contracting forms will be available through the Bank, and Factors can choose to become Middlemen with the ability to hold funds in escrow against the successful completion of a contract.
The Office provides the Crafter with access to his or her bank account.
Rewards and Goals
The goal of a Factor is to make as much profit as possible. Leveling achievements look sales volumes, prices and profit. Ranks are based on these same criteria. Other rewards include enhancements that speed up the sales process and provide interest on funds banked.