Just to start with a quick disclaimer, I don't have a thorough understanding of how the market code has changed since I created it, I'm just throwing my thoughts in based on the original concept.
This premium that would occur from setting the base market price at the mean of the store prices seems fair to me.
I'm fairly sure items still have a fixed value. Market values are based off this fixed value, not store values which are (were?) set as a percentage mark-up on a store by store basis. That might have changed, but I've never seen any indication of it.
Personally I'd argue that the market simply isn't there to be "played", it's a lowest common denominator option. That was the original reason for the extremely steep valuations, you're not supposed to turn a profit there.
Selling was a sink for trash items that have no player resale value, it was intended to suck junk out of the game, give the player a slight cash reward and deposit in a store where admin could sort out the useful items and recycle the trash.
Beyond this I think I stand to lose my case. Sindome has changed significantly, I'm sure people will protest, but quite simply it has. Back then the game was far more about RP and less about playing the mechanics, these days there is a definite shift to the latter so I fully expect people want to play the numbers and rack up "points", so the market is expected to reward players for juggling items, boosting skills, etc. The market isn't "useless", it works entirely as intended, rather the players expectations of it have changed.
Ultimately it's nothing to do with me, I'm just musing about it and suggesting it'd be a bad thing if it were changed so that players used it to turn a profit. Dump your trash, take your bounty for cleaning up the game and get the player to player trade in valuable items going instead.
Also the whole idea that a merchant isn't interested in your gear seems ridiculous.
It's a game mechanic, so unfortunately reality isn't always the highest concern. If you fall below the minimum threshold for a skill check you get no reward. From an IC perspective, if you simply have no interpersonal skills (low CHR) and no experience in bartering the trader will simply refuse to deal with you. Essentially you go in acting like a complete cunt, shouting, threatening, demanding unrealistic prices immediately and refusing to budge... and get told to take a hike. There's a difference between getting stung because you're a bad haggler (poor skill check) and being totally impossible to deal with (failed skill check).
Hopefully some of that is useful, helpful or worth discussing further. If not, I guess I'm just being a twat. :)
(Edited by Rastus2 at 5:54 pm on Mar. 12, 2009)