Basil Market

Date Thu, February 11 2010

I thought I’d go in a different direction with this review. Basil Market is a website which serves as auction intermediary for Maplestory users while providing games information (store in their database), forums and other community features (the ability to ‘list’ ads offering or searching for friends, guilds, parties et cetera). It actually offers quite a few services to its members and I have been a member twice now (the first time, my account expired). I suspect that most people only use the auction feature, however. It’s definitely the aspect of the site I use the most.

Using auctions is pretty easy. If I want to sell, I usually use the search feature to find an item’s database listing then click “Sell it.” Doing so directs me to a page which allows me to specify stats, auction length and gives helpful information like the Average Asking Price and, with some items, this page will also tell you the Average Auto Win and
Average Reserve prices. I could have sworn some pages show the in-game NPC price but, if this is the case, it only shows for certain, standard items but I may simply be mistaken. Regardless, it’s easy to see how much you can expect to get and where to start the bidding. If you’d like to see more averages, Basil Market also has a price list page which lists selling prices for popular items.

It’s important to note that users have to set their server preference on the settings page so their auction and price searches are relevant to the servers they play on. As I use mostly Scania, this is handy but if you play across multiple servers frequently, this could be a hassle (unless you have multiple accounts which might just be easier).

Something else to keep in mind is that the price curves on Basil do tend to differ from the prices in game. In my experience, Basil is usually a better deal than buying something from the free market or a user randomly in game but not always.

Buying is also easy as I can simply search the auctions with the search bar. Auctions are also listed on specific items pages and I can navigate to those pages via a number of methods. What I really like is the wishlist; I can add items and all the active listings will show up on this page. However, I cannot view just a list of my wishlisted items because items no available do not automatically show up.

Either way, sellers and buyers have some nice options after items are put up (either can delete bids, sellers can end auctions early) but there are a few perks. The settings on Basil do not allow for e-mails when an auction has ended, whether you’re buying or selling. The only options are to receive and e-mail and/or Basil PM when you are outbid which is pretty weak IMO. You pretty much have to sign on every day to see when an auction has ended and I hope this is rectified soon.

The biggest downfall of Basil is that it only facilitates the agreement between users. It’s up to users to sign on, meet up and exchange goods which is frequently easier said than done, especially when you consider that many people have multiple characters or live in different time zones. I’ve had more than one auction fail to be completed because of this and more than a few headaches when I tried to track multiple characters for one seller.

This wouldn’t be a problem if users could view the auctions after a week (7 days) so they could attempt to complete the auction. However, after this point, the auctions simply disappear from one’s list and users are no longer able to provide feedback. I have completed some auctions after they expired but was not able to give or receive feedback for it which just plain sucks. It would be nice if users had a little more time or if auctions were somehow archived, even if the ability to give feedback was unavailable because the only way you can even know what the auction terms are is if you write them down or save them elsewhere.

Still, I’ve completed many auctions through Basil Market. It’s helped me get some items I never would have found in and for decent prices as well as empty inventory and make more money than I would if I simply tossed or sold an item to an NPC.

Basil’s other features are equally as impressive but a bit harder to get a hang off. I frequently visit the forums and use the guides posted there but the set up is confusing. Topics which are not pinned quickly slip to the end of the list. They may be found via search but just glancing through the list often proves futile. In general, I have come to view the forums as something which lacks permanence and make new topics instead of spending a bunch of time looking for them.

One of the features I do not use but many do is the ability to add friends to a friends list and chat with them via Basil IM, a bar which shows up on the bottom of the screen. (Settings can be changed for this as well). I think it’s a generic script that I’ve seen used on other sites but it does seem to work well with the other aspects of Basil Market.

I’ll admit, I rarely use anything under the “Classes” tab. There are links to information about class specific skills, guides and items but I just search the forums or item database for that information instead. The items database is grouped by class and common items with a page for new items and a guide to making items with the item maker skill. I frequently use this section to get a feel for the items I will want for my characters depending on their class and levels.

The monsters database I use less frequently, simply because I prefer the listing on MapleTip (if only they were updated!) but groups monsters by level, event or boss. Individual monster pages show information like HP, MP, speed and mesos along with item drops but Basil Market lacks a list of locations, sadly.

The general Maplestory tab includes listings (ads for parties, friends et cetera), guides (which users can post to the forums), videos and screenshots which players can contribute, a Gachapon List (I couldn’t even begin to tell you the purpose of this) and a search feature to find friends by server, job and/or level. This miscellaneous items are helpful but I frequently find myself not realizing Basil has feature X or just forgetting about it.

In fact, although many of Basil’s features are displayed on the main page, there is simply so much content there that I never look at it. This means I miss the newest items, listings, forum posts, screen shots and videos. I’m not even sure what the “Maple blog” is but it seems to be updates from Mr Basil (the site admin, I guess. The profile pages need work to include an “About Me” blurb) about game and site topics. Frankly, the tiny text and cramped layouts often hinder my usage of Basil Market. There’s just so much to take in at all times that it’s easy to miss stuff.

I know there’s a whole team of people who work to ensure Basil runs smoothly and I appreciate that. It’s an insanely popular site (when MapleStory goes down unexpectedly, Basil’s servers slow to a snail’s pace!) and not every preference can be addressed but there are many good suggestions in this thread that have never been addressed and definitely should be. Nevertheless, it’s still the best alternative to buy and sell items in Maplestory, gets answers to questions and connect with other players that I cannot imagine not using it (and only grumble minimally when the ads ignore my pop up blocker).

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