First off, I have to say that I am totally shocked at the amount of interest in a crafter's alliance. Since first posting the thread I have gotten at least 20 tells in game asking about it. So, finally, here it is.
Edit: After hearing Eclipe's points I have to agree that charging an entry fee is not going to provide enough benefit, so I took that out.
The Alliance in a Nutshell
The purpose of the alliance is to make money for its members. Initially this will be done primarily through providing materials to members at cost and later by price fixing. We have established a number of rules and guidelines that should help us to do both.
The Alliance will be two parts. First we will have the LS and secondly there will be forums. Randomscrub has offered to host these forums at his LS website for now until ours are ready.
The LS is not likely to act like the normal ones you are already a part of. People are welcome to hang out there if they want to, but the reason for the LS is mostly to host regulary scheduled meetings. We will have a weekly general meeting for all members, a weekly meeting for the representatives, and meetings as needed for all members of each specific craft (all woodworkers for example).
So what is a representative? Each craft will have one person set up as a representative. This person has several duties and its likely to involve some work so be aware before you ask to be one.
Each representative is responsible for identifying final goods in their trade that we can manipulate prices on. For exmaple, the Cooking Rep may decide that Mithkabobs are the way to go. He will use the money collected to manipulate prices. (See below for more details on price fixing)
Reps will also be the only sack holders in the alliance. They will attend a weekly meeting to brainstorm new ideas and new ways for the alliance as a whole to make profit.
Finally, reps act as a contact point. If you need a Woodworker to make something for you, then you would contact me. As the rep I either make what you need myself, or I look through the list of woodworkers in the alliance and find someone to do it for you.
Our primary benefit is cheaper materials. Right now I am at 62 woodworking. I need to make a whole crapload of demon arrows to get to 69 skill, but there is a problem with this. The cost of making 4 stacks of demon arrows is roughly 33k as of this writing. And they sell for 5,800 a stack. This means that I am going to lose around 10k gil for every 12 synths. Ouch.
Here is where the alliance comes in. I contact the Boneworking rep and ask her how much it will cost her to make me demon arrowheads if I bring her all the materials. She tells me she can do it for about 20k. Arrowheads are normally 30k, so all of the sudden I am breaking even.
Then I contact the Clothscrafting rep, and he tells me that he can make black chocobo fletching for 1000gil a stack. They normally sell for 2k so all of a sudden I went from a 10k loss to a slight profit. But wait, it gets better.
Instead of buying the demon horns I contact a few alliance members and ask them to group farm with me. We head out to Castle Zhval and start farming demons. These demons drop scrolls, gil and tons of other goodies that the members helping me get to keep. All I get are the horns. And if we have a smith with us all he gets are the skulls. Everyone wins.
EDIT: While price fixing is something I want to try to practice, I don't know how feasible its going to be unless we get very large...
The next benefit, and the one most people are interested in, is price fixing. Now, obviously we are going to start off small and even if we get large we don't control any of the Japanese market. So how are we going to price fix?
First off, each rep needs to identify items that this process will work on. I'll use mithkabobs as an example. The cooking rep decides to price fix mithkabobs. Most people might think this means buying out all the mithkabobs that sell below a certain price, and then relisting them higher. And that is one way to do it.
But with an item that sells as fast as mithkabobs, any change you have is going to be very temporary if you do that. So instead you go to the source of materials. Your rep will use your entry fee to buy out all the cockatrice meat for sale everywhere. Further, he will encourage other members of the alliance to farm cockatrice meat in the popular spots.
Then all we have to do is wait. Because we control a large chunk of the meat supply meat prices will start to rise. This will naturally cause the price of mithkabobs to rise, but since we have all the meat AND have it at a cheaper price we can pull an OPEC on the whole server and cash in when the time is right.
This has to be done carefully. We don't want your rep to buy up all the meat, then find out that you need some and can't get it. So these events will be posted on the forums in advance so you have warning.
I don't know about you, but I level a lot. When I am not leveling I have a billion other things I am doing. This means that I am never going to be able to drop everything that I am doing to make something instantly for someone, and I don't expect other members to either.
If you need something made, then you post it at the forums. Your rep will watch the forums, and when he sees this will contact you in game and let you know who can help you out. You can of course contact the rep directly, but don't expect them to drop everything to help right away.
If you have an excess of materials the forum is the place to post it. Chances are no matter what you have someone in another craft needs it.
Abusing the LS
The number one problem I am anticipating thus far is abuse of the alliance. By that I mean somebody joining, asking for help and discounted materials, and then giving nothing back.
Thats not cool, and the reps will watch for this sort of behavior. One of the best reasons to have forums is so that you can see who is helping others, and who is not.
Ideally I would like to see members with a minimum of a 40 skill, but I know thats not realistic. So I have a compromise. We will accept people of a lower skill, but they have to raise that skill to 40 in their first month.
The Alliance Mule
Right now the alliance mule is Dolshuv, a little taru with 30 free inventory and 50 slots in his mog house. If you have any oddball items, instead of vendoring them send them to Dolshuv. I know this most often happens when someone has 3 insect wings and doesn't want to wait for a stack.
These wings will sit on Dolshuv until enough show up to make a stack. Once we have full stacks I will post Dolshuv's inventory on the forums, and if you see something you need ask and it will be sent to you.
Going live 8/16
Tonight I am buying the LS, and naming it Crafter's Alliance. If you want in send me a tell, and I will get you a pearl. If you are interested in becoming a Representative let me know.
Right now the following people are interested. This list is far from complete, and if you don't see your name just post below and I will add it:
Randomscrub (Clothcraft, Cooking)
Vitra (Boneworking, Cooking)
So there it is, the Crafter's Alliance. What do you guys think? Still interested? Anything I missed or anything that you would change?
Edited, Mon Aug 16 15:33:35 2004 by Arkelias