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I often find myself achieving little things in many different games while other gamer buddies of mine are busily conquering actual gods or dragons within one or two particular titles. Sure, I would love to join a group of battleworn adventurers as they took down one of the final bosses in almost any game, but I rarely find the time to work a character into the ranks of the ascended.

OK, so I have time, but not if I wanted to do what I do here. That is to say, I am not dedicated to one game because it is my job to tell you readers about several games. About every game. About as many games as possible. I can't do that while maintaining a high DPS score. It's a give and take, but I love to explore, fortunately.

Let me tell you about how I love to trade or craft in some of my favorite titles and why it's important to me.

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RuneScape is a very odd duck, or maybe my perception of the public's perception of the game is odd. Almost every time I mention the game, the word "grind" is thrown back at me. Strange, I always think -- do they know that the game has so much to do that grinding is the last thing on my mind while playing? It's true: RuneScape has so many little areas to explore, quests to go through, and "things" to do that I have no idea why someone would want to spend an evening grinding out anything. What's the point? If all that happens is that another skill pops up, mocking the over-achiever into doing it all over again, what's the point?

One of my favorite activities is to poke around in the various trades the game offers. I've always enjoyed playing ranged characters, probably because I prefer to help out a group from a distance and would rather do my part than attempt to lead a group. I just don't care that much about the final outcome as long as we have fun as gamers, so ranged combat usually allows me to play a bit differently on the outskirts of the rest of the players. It also allows me to run away because I solo most of the time.

Mabinogi Fletching came along with ranged combat in RuneScape. Yep, I said fletching. In case you are too young to remember, we used to have to make our arrows and carry them around with us while we played our favorite MMOs. You can run out of arrows in RuneScape. I know, I know; the horror. But making those arrows is fun to do. There's something pleasing and a but hypnotic about chopping down some trees, carving them into shafts, attaching feathers that I plucked from a chicken's body and screwing on an arrow tip that I crafted on an anvil. The best part? I can turn around and sell those arrows, shafts or even feathers in the Grand Exchange, the central trade hub in RuneScape. It all sells, and it sells well. People who might be busy grinding the fletching skill will gladly pay me for wood that they could get themselves but would rather spend the gold to get. In fact, the first real money I made in RuneScape came from the trees that are inside the Grand Exchange itself. I would just walk around the perimeter of the area, chop down trees, and sell the logs or other wood items in the exchange.

I've attempted to do something similar in Wurm Online. I bought a deed for a merchant and planted her at the Freedom Market, the main central market on the Freedom server. Although my old deed had some success selling gems on her, I had given up the deed and had to try and sell something else. I chopped wood, but it was too hard to find pristine land to take wood from. I decided to fish at the water below, stick the fish on the merchant, and name her "Fresh Fish." Even though I asked and was informed that fish do not last long nor sell well on a merchant, I had to try. Why not? Well, it was true, and I ended up eating all of the catch. I'll try something else next time.

I've been finally catching on to Parallel Kingdom lately but still need to figure out how to make money and how that money is used in the game. I did join a local town (one that is based on a real-life neighboring town) and have started to gather oil and crystals. Now, I have no idea what these items are used for, but I have been selling them to the town anyway. I think I've made some money, but I'm not sure how much of it is really profit. I've yet to figure it all out but am trying to sell only to my local town. After all, they were kind enough to let me build a house right on their doorstep.

Glitch skills banner
Glitch is a perfect game for those who enjoy crafting and selling. I'm one of those people, and I rely heavily on apps like Gregarious Grocer to help me sell everything I can. For a long time I would just visit a local NPC and would sell off all of my goods, but it was obvious after a while that I really was not making much doing it that way. The Grocer app allows me to do everything without logging into the game, although the login process couldn't be simpler. My main issue is that I haven't decided on what to specialize in. Should I grow crops and sell my veggies to would-be chefs? Should I try to make items or potions? Time is always one of my main issues, so I have been enjoying logging in, grabbing all of my stuff, selling it, and then going off to explore or quest for a while.

There are many other titles in which I attempt to earn a living. I have to be honest: I enjoy crafting or trading more than I do combat most of the time. The problem with many of today's MMO combat systems is that they concentrate on quantity, not quality. Once you have killed a dragon, everything after that just seems ordinary. I haven't played many titles that really take a chance with your character's life, so combat is normally about as exciting as passively watching a movie.

Trade, however, is something that I could see myself doing in real life. The fact that it can be terribly boring in real life makes it more exciting when I can succeed at it in a virtual life. Trade is also a great tool for roleplay. I can imagine myself as somewhat of a loner character, someone who swears by the sea and makes his money from work, not conquering others. I've always enjoyed playing a character who sort of hung back, someone who was never the star of the show. Trade provides a service to those types who are usually out completing quests. Meanwhile, I get to explore the world, hear the stories, and make some money.

Of course, I am only a mediocre trader. I can make enough money to get by, though, and I always have enough to buy new weapons or items. I'm never at the front of the line, but I'm happy to sell those types a stack of wood or some cloth. Trade can be done on my schedule and be quite exciting.

I think so, at least.

Each week, Free for All brings you ideas, news, and reviews from the world of free-to-play, indie, and import games -- a world that is often overlooked by gamers. Leave it to Beau Hindman to talk about the games you didn't know you wanted! Have an idea for a subject or a killer new game that no one has heard of? Send it to beau@massively.com!

This article was originally published on Massively.
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