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Tools for merchants, crafters, gardeners, tamers – Ultima Online

by Kitiara

Here’s a little essay on running a successful UO vendor. It was originally my reply to a new merchant’s question in a forum somewhere. These are the very basics of running your UO vendor. There are tons and tons more tips and ideas and philosophies to be found – this is just a surface-scratcher, if you will. But do enjoy it, and I hope you find it useful!

Choose Your Wares Carefully

What should I sell at my shop? Well, if you plan on running your own vendors (and not sponsoring other people’s vendors at your house), you should probably specialize and be very specific in what you sell (unless you have the time to play UO 24/7). Vendor ownership can be very time consuming (not to mention addictive!) As a shopper, I much prefer a shop with a few very well stocked vendors as opposed to lots and lots of half empty ones.

Keeping your vendors stocked (or making sure the people you sublet space to do the same) is hugely important if you want people to come back to your shop!

If you plan on subletting your space, I’d focus on getting a variety of items, at GM or near quality if possible. Depending on your goals, you may want to focus on the needs of a particular segment of the UO crowd. For example, a warrior’s shop would have plenty of GM armor and weapons available, as well as healing necessities such as bandages, potions, reagents, major scrolls and the like. A interior decoration supply shop would have lots of furniture, house addons, and tinkered home decor. A mage’s pit stop would offer reagents in bulk, scrolls of all circles and in bulk, full spellbooks, runebooks, blank runes, etc. Know who your main customer target is, and gear your inventory to their needs. You may also wish to offer specialty items – custom completed runebooks, collectible UO library books, rare or semi-rare items, shipwreck treasure, lottery vendors, etc.

Appearance is important as well (your store display, if you will). A bunch of plain brown bags filled with random unorganized stuff – not very appealing. A well organized vendor is likely to bring people back. Color code your packs, and use helpful descriptions on your sale items (for example, don’t throw a magic sword on your vendor without adding the description of what enchantment it holds – many people don’t have ID skill, and will only see the description “a magic sword” when clicking the item). Lock a brown book down on your floor near the vendors for special requests and customer service. Group your items appropriately on the vendors. It’s also impresseive (at least to me!) to see multiple vendors dressed in a similar clothing scheme. All of my vendors wear orange dresses and orange floppy hats (I’m a Philadelphia Flyers fan!)

A note on books: the brown books are the only ones that customers can write in while locked down. Also, shoppers can NOT write in OR read the contents of any books if they’re in your vendor’s pack. (Only the title of the book can be seen). So here’s my advice: lock down a brown book for customers to leave notes for you. Lock down a purple book with your latest news, contact information, etc. as well. Customers can’t erase the brown books while locked down – they can only read them, so they’re great for announcements and things of that nature.

As far as running the vendors, realize that you’ve got to make your house public in order to place vendors there. And, if you want to let other people run vendors at your house, they must be made friends of the house, meaning they’ll be able to access any secure containers that you designate as available to friends.

Maintaining your inventory is pretty simple. Simply put, you drop items for sale onto the vendor’s backpack. There are two components of your inventory records – the item price and its description. Enter the two when prompted by the game, separated by either a space, or a comma. For example, if I was selling a broadsword of defense at a price of 250 gold pieces, I would type at the prompt:
250 Defense
or
250, Defense
which would result in a broadsword, priced at 250 gold, with the description of “Defense” shown when the item was clicked. If you would like to leave off the description, simply type a price and hit enter. If I were to do that with my broadsword of defense, for example, I’d end up with a broadsword, priced at 250 gold, that simply said “a magic broadsword” (the UO game default description) when clicked. If you choose to type only a description at the prompt, the UO system will automatically price the item at the NPC vendor current price (typically much less than the player market will pay). The exception to this is if you are placing a book for information, a container for grouping items, or a key ring. Those items can be made “not for sale” by simply typing the description with no price, or hitting the ESC key (which results in a nondescriptive “not for sale” when you click the item).

If you’d like to sell a group of items at a single price (for example, a full set of GM leather armor for 1500gp), put all of the items into a container away from the vendor, then drop the entire container full of items onto the vendor and set the price and description as described above, like:
1500 A Full Set of GM Quality Female Leather Armor

This will result in the container set to sell at 1500gp, and when a shopper buys the container, he or she will get the container itself and its contents.

Here’s a summary of the Inventory options:

Enter Result

Price, Description  
Price Description  

Description  Item will sell for the designated price,
and display your typed description as well as the UO game default
description when clicked.
Price only Item will sell for the designated price, and display the
UO game default description for the item.
Description only If the item is a container, key ring, or book, it will
be “not for sale” and display your description when clicked.
If it’s a salable item, it will sell for the UO game default
price, and display your description when clicked.
ESC Key If the item is a container, key ring, or book, it will
be “not for sale” with no additional description. If it is a salable
item, the game will price it at UO default price and warn
you that only the 3 above types of items are allowed as “not
for sale.”

Show Me The Money!

Here’s a list of the common commands you’ll use on a daily basis to interact with your vendor. (See explanations below). You can also interact with your vendor via his or her context menus (left-click on the vendor in 2D, or shift-right-click in KR).

Command Result
[name] status
[name] info
Shows the amount of gold vendor is holding, his current fees,
and how many UO and Earth days he’ll continue to work for
you.
[name] get
[name] collect
[name] gold
Retrieves your gold profits from the vendor. If you’ve earned more
than 4999 gold, he will cut you a check. If under 4999, he’ll
hand you the max you can carry in gold pieces.
[name] dismiss   Terminates your contract with the vendor. He’ll pack up his things
and be on his merry way, so be sure to collect your gold
before dismissing him!

* [name] should be replaced with either the vendor’s name, or the word “vendor,” or a general greeting word. Capitalization is irrelevant – but spelling is important! Examples:
“Vendor Status” – “Azora Status” – “George Status”

Note – your vendor’s name must be one word in order for verbal commands to work.

To grab your profits from the vendor, use the keywords “get,” “gold,” or “collect.” Vendors keep their gold in two separate accounts – one for their own pay (which is the gold you manually drop on them), and one for the gold they’ve collected for you from selling your wares. If the vendor runs out of gold in his payment account, he will subtract his fees from your profit account as a courtesy. When you request gold from your vendor, he will deposit the funds to your bank account in the form of gold pieces or checks.

Checking vendor status is important! If your vendor runs out of gold, they quit working for you, and all of your items disappear along with the vendor. (You can retrieve your items via the house sign). Pay your vendor by dropping gold onto them.

Keep tabs on your vendors by checking his/her status frequently – use the keyword “status” (like, “vendor status”). This will tell you how much gold the vendor is holding for you, as well as how much he’s holding in his payment account, how many days the vendor will continue to work for you.

Keeping Your Employees Happy

So how much will this vendor cost you? Daily vendor fees are based on the value of the wares your vendor is holding for you. Use your vendor’s context menus to see how long he or she will continue to work for you. If your vendor is not holding enough gold to last at least a few days (or until the next time you plan to log in and check him), drop some gold on his head to pay him. Note: you currently cannot use checks to pay your vendors, nor can you withdraw vendor fees from your bank account. You can, however, withdraw your profits from your vendor, and they will be automatically deposited to your bank account.

Help! My vendor is facing the wrong way!

No problem – make sure your vendor’s name is one word (no spaces). If not, temporarily rename him or her. Stand in front of the vendor in the direction you want him to face. Say, “vendor look.” The vendor will turn to face you, and show you his wares. Rename the vendor back to his longer name, if necessary.

This is just a tiny fraction of the advice available for running vendors. Find a successful shop on your shard and stop by to chat with the owner. See what works for him or her. Good Luck!