Trading equipment, potions and other goods between players is the basis of the economy in any MMORPG. While few would argue against trading in general, some players feel that having the top equipment should only be obtainable through raiding or PvP. Others would argue this relegates crafting to a lower, almost meaningless position. Examples can be found in other games that support both positions. One thing we do know, end game gear progression is a part of ESO and it is not crafted.
Past Elder Scrolls games have made player freedom a cornerstone of their design. Players without a MMORPG background will no doubt find it extremely limiting if they cannot trade any item they want.
However, if everything is transferable, there will be fully geared characters that obtained their gear either as a gift from an alt or friend, or traded for the gear. People who raid or PvP for enjoyment stand to become very wealthy since they will come by lots of gear they do not need and can sell it.
This also means the same raids do not have to be repeated as many times because every item dropped will be put into circulation.
Prestige players on the other hand end up with little reason to raid or PvP in this scenario. For some players, it would make more sense to farm lower mobs for money and then buy the high end gear.
If players could sell top end gear, players would trade their old gear as soon as they obtained better gear. For players purchasing the old gear, it shortens the progression and means they can bypass time sinks and content.
This is advantageous in some ways, however, since high end items will need crafted enhancements to really reach their potential, much of the traded gear will have already been enhanced by previous owners. This means over time, high level crafters will be needed less and less since most of the high end gear would have per-existing enhancements. The only solution to this is to have all gear eventually break beyond repair.
Unlike many other MMORPG’s, PvP in ESO has a goal besides personal advancement. The ability to capture territories and thus advance your faction’s interests gives players a means to make some sort of progress without receiving items as a reward.
Is it possible that adventure zones(raids) will also tie into the faction war as well as granting player new gear? Simply trading unneeded raid gear to other players in your faction, in a way, contributes to your faction’s PvP success.
For gear to really be a sign of accomplishment and prestige, the best gear must be nontransferable or unbelievably difficult to obtain. This would please prestige players from other MMORPG’s, but may come as a shock to Elder Scrolls fans.
This is the obvious choice for Zenimax, as the purpose of an MMORPG, from a business perspective, is to keep customers playing as long as possible. That means require players to put in time to get through content.
There are advantages to players as well, though. If gear is nontransferable, looking at a player does not simply tell you what gear they have. It tells you which mobs they have fought, where they have raided, and what they have accomplished.
If PvP rewards players with gear, that also tells you how dedicated they are to your faction. The player’s gear is part of their story, rather than a list of stats.
Do you think top gear should be transferable or bound to the player that owns it?