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With the advent of the new city improvement system, the reliance on commodities, and the stress on commodity village stores, has increased tenfold. Cities need these commodities, but they are also in competition with private individuals who purchase them for their own crafting purposes. However, certain commodity types are not produced in sufficient numbers to provide the needs that have arisen with the new system, and nothing so far has been done to correct this.
There are two problems stemming from this:
1) The current system relies on player courtesy, that is the willingness of purchasing players to leave a minimum of commodities in the store to prevent over-inflation. This player-courtesy system is, in essence, the same that surrounded harvesting years ago. Careless individuals would effectively drive the prices of certain herbs up by not caring about leftover quantities, and also diminished stock availability because said resources needed even more time to regrow. Commodity-wise, we are talking about the delay we must allow a commodity to grow back to sufficient numbers so its price starts going back down (equivalent to plant growth).
2) The current system is based on numbers that have nothing to do with today's reality. Cities alone need huge amounts of commodities. The 41 daily obsidian needed to maintain the Scimitar of Yen Sorte, or the 93 daily steel to maintain Targossas' Scimitar and three Barracks (many others are needed, but I'm pointing the most problematic) are also competing with forging and sigil production, and also with enchanting. There are days where I am, per example, unable to acquire more than 15 units of Obsidian for my city, because someone is keeping the village stocks close to 0 as a permanent situation.
As a side note, while Steel is perhaps one of the most represented commodity in stores, it is also the most demanded one because of the sheer amount of forgers around the world, and the quantities that are needed to meet the market's forging needs. In contrast, only two stores sell Obsidian. Steel's price is currently inflated to between 200 and 289% of its value, and sometimes Obsidian goes at around 467% of its base value in the only -two- village stores offering to sell it.
Here are some solutions, but feel free to discuss and offer more:
1) Increase the commodity store restock rate along with the inflation drop rate, this would probably diminish the possibilities of 'locking' the stores both quantities-wise and price-wise.
2) Increase the number of village stores offering the most problematic commodities. I am speaking here of Steel, Leather, Obsidian, mostly. Given the amount of stress the current stores endure, I think this would need to be coupled with another solution to really make it viable.
3) Increase the max reserves of commodity stores from 250 to, say, 500. This would allow those with big needs to more easily fill their rift and move on to other activities.