Trading With Capsule Values
As someone who recently spent months prowling the NC Mall chat board looking for my wishlist items, I often found myself faced with people trading on the basis of “cap value”.
What is “cap value”?
Capsule (or cap, as many people shorten it to) value is basically a system of determining a Neocash item’s “worth”. Capsule values are based on the 250 NC capsules that often contain LE items and rereleases of retired items. Therefore, if someone says an item of yours is 3-5 caps, they think it’s worth 750-1250 of raw NC.
Sounds good as an estimate, right? Right. Because you now know the approximate value of your Snowflake Face Paint, you know that you’re probably not going to be able to trade it for an item that goes for an estimated 10-12 capsules, and should probably try to aim for some of your other wishlist items – the ones that go for 2-7 capsules, for example.
This is fine. That’s what the capsule value system is for – to help traders find out the general consensus on the value of an item, and to therefore make an educated, and hopefully somewhat fair, trade that they’d be happy with. Using this system, you’ve found out that trading your Snowflake Face Paint for that Queen of Hearts Dress was a decent deal, even if the cap values for each item differs slightly.
However, lately cap value has gone too far. A lot of the older traders are gone now, new traders are coming in, and that big green monster called Greed is looming over our heads.
People are living on the basis of capsule values, and won’t trade if they’re even possibly offering too much, instead demanding that the trade be equal, through and through, or even demanding more than what their item should normally fetch.
You want Phantom of the Background? People have deemed it worth 15-20 capsules. It’s often seen being traded for the upper range, about 18 capsules. If someone who has Phantom up for trade sees this going on, they reason, why should I take less? Ladies and gentlemen, Greed has entered the building.
Let’s say you want Phantom, and you’re willing to offer Haunted Mansion Background, which has an estimated cap value of 13-17. Sounds fair enough. And hey, it’s on the Phantom-owner’s priority wishlist, so that makes it even better!
Except the person with Phantom wants more. He’ll take the Haunted Mansion Background, but only if you add another retired to it – and he’s most interested in your Barrel of TNT, which, according to general agreement, goes for 7-12 capsules.
He’s trying to milk this trade for all it’s worth. He’s probably not viewing it from a “Will I be happy with this trade?” viewpoint, but rather a “Am I getting the most I can out of this?” viewpoint.
This is where the problems lie. Sure, maybe he’d be happier with your background and the barrel than he would with just the background, but he’s likely aware that he’s asking you for 20-29 capsules’ worth of stuff, which, as anyone can see, is more than what Phantom would usually otherwise trade for.
This is not the fault of him directly – yes, he’s asking for more than he would probably otherwise get, and Greed commends him for it – but of the cap value system. We are the ones who are vigorously trading based on cap values as the actual value and worth of an item rather just an estimate to build a trade off of, and if anyone else wants to make trades, they need to follow suit. The result? Drastic overoffers. To compete with each other, we need to top other offers, and thus sometimes offer quite a bit more than the cap value estimate of the item we’re offering on.
Meanwhile, someone else, with the same item up for trade, is looking on and thinking, “I can get that much, too, and possibly more!”
If you are willing to overoffer, then that’s great – I’ve done so myself on several occasions, and each time I was happy with what I got out of it, regardless of what other people said I could have gotten.
However, a large part in such offers is the sentimental value, and the personal subjective value, of each item. Someone who opens 15 capsules to get the limited edition item out of it is probably going to want more than the typical 4 capsules it trades for, whereas someone who gets 6 of the limited edition item in their 15 capsules might be willing to trade for less.
Also, someone who looks at an item with a sentimental view will value it more highly. For example, my favourite flowers are daisies, and I received a bouquet of them for a special occasion from a special person. Therefore, I was willing to overoffer to get my Pretty Little Daisy. On the other hand, I had a Cobweb Banner that I saw no use for, had no attachment to, and just wanted it gone, so I traded that away in an overoffer.
What does this mean for the cap value system? It means nobody should take it seriously. A fair trade is not necessarily a trade where the items are both 2 capsules each. A fair trade is the trade where both traders are happy with what they’re getting out it, and neither is getting unwittingly ripped off.
Plus, if you really think about it, cap values are silly when put into perspective. Rarely do people actually trade capsules for the big-ticket items they want – and who really wants to spend $40 for a Thespian Background?
Use cap values lightly, and don’t go by what one person’s view of an item. If you don’t know what would be reasonable to trade your Snowflake Face Paint for, don’t immediately trust the first person who says 2 capsules (especially if they seem overeager and are seeking the face paint; Greed tends to get excited sometimes) – get more opinions, and take them into account, but don’t let it take over your trading experiences.
Capsule values were designed as guidelines, and that’s all they should be used for. And remember – Eliv Thade Makeup Kit may be worth 8 capsules to you, but it’s not even worth 1 to me.
Just make the trades you’re happy with, capsule value be darned.