Newer players may not realize in the old days you could only see the name of an item that was in your possession, or in a trade window with another player. There was no Bazaar allowing "automated" sales so players sold each other "stuff" live, usually setting up flea-market style in East Freeport or the East Commonlands tunnel to Ro, depending on server preference. Players would announce in chat what they had for sale, with a brief summary of stats. Of course, stats were less involved in those days with most gear only having one or at most two stat enhancements.
How many players remember eqprices.com? That was a site devoted to price reports of items sold in game. Of course there was no Lucy back then so prices were all reported by sellers and buyers and clearly there was rampant opportunity for falsification. But I used eqprices. I remember printing out long reports in 8pt type (tiny!) of items so I could reference it when shopping in EFP on Saryrn server. Eqprices was useful for confirming stats on items, along with allakhazam, of course.
Selling was a major part of "live" gameplay in those days since there was no way to set up an automated trader like today. This was particularly true for tradeskillers. I remember one master jeweler who used to be in EFP seemingly all the time selling his fine array of stat rings, necklaces and earrings. Diamonds, blue diamonds and black sapphires were raid drops back then so the 65hp/mana rings, 45hp/mana earrings and 65hp/mana necklaces were top of the line gear and a skilled jeweler could make a "fortune" at the time if he had access to a guild's supply of these gems and the skill to turn them into fine jewelry. But it could take as many hours to sell as it took to pharm and combine.
Once seller and buyer negotiated a price they would meet and exchange plat for item in the usual trade window. This can still occur today, of course, but with the Bazaar it happens a lot less frequently. Back then such trades happened constantly in the trade zone so this opened the door for a classic scam. The unscrupulous seller would have two items with the same graphic, one valuable, the other valueless. Say, for example, a fungi tunic and a cloth shirt. Usually the seller's price for the valuable item was well under market. The eager seller would confirm a deal, rush to the seller's location (which alone could take some effort in a crowded zone with 100s of buyers and sellers) and eagerly open a trade window with his plat. The buyer would stick the fungi tunic into the window. The buyer would confirm the name of the item and eagerly click to make the trade. The unscrupulous seller would click CANCEL, quickly apologize for hitting the "wrong" button and then reopen the trade window but this time inserting the worthless cloth shirt. The eager buyer, knowing the price was well below market and worried that the seller might have come to his senses and decided to bail on the deal, inserts his plat into the window and eagerly clicks TRADE, not bothering to re-confirm the identity of what he's buying. Deal done, the seller makes haste to log off, leaving the buyer ripped off and fuming.
Sure, GMs were more available and responsive in those days but I do remember knowing more than one player who got ripped off that way so I suspect some GMs took a "caveat emptor" (let the buyer beware) approach to such skullduggery. Of course, the buyer would be sure to malign the seller's rep publicly at every opportunity. Rep is always important in an MMORPG---even today---but back then it was a VERY big deal since having a bad rep could get you shunned by guilds and groups and since leveling was such hard work, starting over again with a new toon, something easily done today, was a stiff penalty to pay for being a cheat. Sure, it was possible to pay for a name change (altho back then it required GM involvement and you had to give a reason, IIRC) and even move to another server but Sony used to maintain a web page listing all player name changes and server moves, so a bad rep could follow you, especially as some players made it their business to track such things.
Hmm... hard to believe we're still playing the "same" game, eh? Edited, Jun 4th 2014 8:25am by Sippin Edited, Jun 4th 2014 8:26am by Sippin