Every time I ask the guys on the team for a new Designer's Den, I hear them say "When are you going to do one?". Since I've been working on Player Run Merchants, our first hireling, I figured this would be the perfect time for me to finally write one of these.
In order to understand how Player Run Merchants are going to work, you must first have an understanding of how our hireling system will work. Hirelings are NPCs in search of employment who will perform tasks for you for a price. Each of them have their own specialty such as gathering resources, crafting, guarding player owner areas of the map, and of course peddling wares.
Unlike animal ken pets, hirelings will stay in the world after you log out and continue to perform their designated task. The fee the NPC charges will depend on the type of task he is performing and his skill level. The more difficult or lucrative the task and the more skilled the hireling, the more they will cost to keep under your employ.
In the case of merchants, you will find one wandering Eldeir Village seeking employment, lead him to your home, tell him exactly where he should set up, place goods for him to sell on tables or in chests, set their prices and you are in business. Additionally, you will be able to talk to him to collect your profits and even change his name and what equipment/clothing he is wearing.
Initially, he will just be limited to selling items, but in future releases, you will also be able to specify specific resources that you are looking to purchase from others.
We did not plan to release Player Run Merchants before Alpha, however it has become evident that they are absolutely necessary even at this early stage in order to have a working player driven economy. You can expect the first iteration to be available in the next release (0.3.2).