EQ Traders Corner
Merchant Mining

by Ellesidil

(DenMother's Note: the following process will not work for Paineel merchants, other than the newspaper vendor, due to the fact that Paineel merchants refuse to sell back any items that they purchase from players)

I have heard of this thing called "vendor mining" what is that? In order to answer this question, you have to understand merchants and their inventory in EQ. When you sell a merchant an item, if they have an open visible slot, it fills that slot. What happens when a merchant has no visible open slot? The item you just sold them goes "under the counter". It is not deleted, just not visible. Knowing this, it is possible for a vendor to have 100 or more pelts that you may be interested and you cannot see them.

Mining vendors can be a useful way to get a large number of pelts in a short amount of time. I personally do not use it when looking for specific pelts like HQ bear. It tends to be too costly for the return, but if you are looking for any quality pelt, it can be well worth your time. That being said, often the best places to mine are vendors that can have at least two or more of the following in various qualities cat, wolf,and bear pelts, and/or spider and spiderling silks.

Where do I choose most often? The vendor in Everfrost, near the Halas zone line. Why would I travel that far, three major reasons. First and foremost, it is that far away from everywhere else and that will deter most people from going out there to mine. Secondly, there are wolves, bears, and spiderlings killed in large quantities in the canyons nearby. Third there are two vendors on top of each other and when I stand between them, I can buy from one, turn and click on the other and sell directly back to the other.

How do you mine a vendor? Well there are a couple of steps.

  1. Learn the relative value of a product and it's resale value to a vendor. Fine steel weapons are a prime example of a "no-no" when vendor mining. The cost to you is extravagant compared to the resale value to a vendor, can cost 60+ plat and sell for a mere 5 plat. The key to a successful mining mission is to spend as little as possible and get as much as possible in return.
  2. Gather up one (at least) of every item that you are looking to mine. This could include one of each quality pelt you are looking to buy, with a spider silk or spiderling silk. I call these "test" items.
  3. Once you have a relative idea of the cost of a certain item to buy and sell back, and a few "test" items, you look for the cheap stuff in the vendor's inventory that you can sell back for as much as half or more with high faction and charisma. Start purchasing as much as any given "good buy" as you can until a slot opens in the vendor's window. When a slot has opened, sell back one of the "test" items you are looking for. If that item appears in the open window, then the vendor has no more of that item "under the counter" and you should buy it back now. If it does not appear in the window then the vendor has at least one more of that "under the counter". I keep buying and selling "test" items until I have a feel for what the vendor has, then I decide if I am gonna mine the merchant.
  4. When you have determined that this merchant has at least one or more items that you are looking for, it is time to decide if you are gonna take the "plunge" and go for it. It really is a gamble as someone (like me) might have mined that merchant the day before and grabbed the bulk of the useful things that you are looking for, and the merchant only has one or two of each "test" item under the counter. There is no way to know this until you start finding the "test" items.
  5. When you have decided to go for it, there is a decision yet to make. Should you do a shout and ask people not to sell to this vendor, or not? I personally will do a quick "who" on the zone to see whether I think I will have someone try to take advantage of my mining the merchant and come when most of the junk is gone and start buying up all the goodies while I am selling. If not, I will usually announce it and let people know I am mining. Most will ask what I am doing and I will give a quick response, letting them know I will buy the pelts off of them directly for more than the merchant will pay. If I feel I will have competition, I will not announce it and simply keep going.
    Why would I choose to announce it? There is little more irritating than buying up a merchant for half an hour and start getting to the goodies than to have someone come and unload a bunch of fine steel weapons onto that merchant and cause me to buy them up to get back to the product I am looking for. Remember if the slot is open and someone sells something to the merchant that they do not have, it will appear in the open window.
  6. Now start buying all the cheap and good return items i.e. rusty weapons, bone chips, and the like. When you open a slot, close the window and see what appears, if it is not what you are looking for, choose the next item and repeat until you cannot buy any more. Find the nearest merchant and sell the stuff back to that merchant and begin again. Eventually, if noone beats you to it, you will run into the "test" items and any number of others that the merchant has to sell. Buy them up and repeat until you have your fill of items.

Some general statements about mining.

When you sell a "test" item and it does not appear in the window, if you do not mine the merchant you will not be able to get it back. If you decide not to mine the merchant, you will have to kill mobs until you get a replacement "test" item.

I usually will not mine unless I have in excess of 500 plat to throw into it. Nothing more disconcerting then spending your last 200 plat and not finding your "test" items. The main reason for that is if the merchant has that much "junk", most likely noone has mined them for a while, and you could hit the jackpot with another 100 plat. Or not.

Charisma and faction are key to the price you pay and the price you get, try raising faction in the area for a while before mining that merchant, it will cost you less in the long run.

Mining is a result of a lot of luck and some preparation, some things to keep in mind, if your server has been down recently, or the merchant has been killed recently, they will loose their inventory. Never mine a merchant the day after a server comes up, and never mine merchants who are routinely killed for exp (Shady in EC Tunnel on my server).

You can try to mine for only one item, but that tends to be a huge risk, when I am mining Everfrost, I keep the spider legs (baking), the bone chips (necro alt), the med and low quality pelts get made into padding, the ruined get made into patchwork for nearby low level players. The high quality gets made into backpacks (bear) and reinforced leather (wolf)when I needed the skill ups, now they get downgraded for padding), and the polar bear pelts get traded for faction to continually get me to ally status in Halas (better prices). That is how I make the best of it.

You can get as lucky as I have and pull over 200 ruined pelts, 75 low quality, 50 medium quality and 30 high quality bear pelts (same ratio and quantity of wolf pelts), 15 polar bear pelts (good for halas faction), too many bone chips to count (had to stop buying them when I ran out of room), and over 250 spiderling silks like I did in 3 hours in Everfrost once, or you could blow 500 plat and get 15 total pelts like I did one other time in Everfrost. It really is a gamble, but one I am willing to take occasionally in the game.

Good luck, should you choose this method; I only do it when a friend needs padding and I could use some extra cash, we split the cost on the mining and usually make out fairly well.

Created: 2003-05-14 01:27:17          
Last Modified By: EQTC Editor Krazick          
Last Modified on: 2003-05-14 01:27:17          

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