The retainers…right now most just consider them a clumsy idea regarding market and storage. I, in other hand, can see them as the tip of the iceberg! The retainers’ idea was not only a way of merging the “storage mules” concept to your character but also adding immersion to how you buy/sell in market. Also, as an employee, retainers system has the potential to be expanded in many ways, where you pay them a gil/hr (ingame daily fee) so they can do more than just store items for you…they can be your “right arm”!
Regarding the market wards itself, there is a few adjustments I’d do…like merging each ward of every city in one so we could have an active market in all cities. My idea would be having the wards, instead of the linear format, having an “X” format, with a central big room having general theme and then each leg having each city’s theme…like being one leg ul’dahn, one leg lominsan, one leg gridanian and one leg ishgardian. This would offer wards plenty of space for players to place retainers on as if it was a big fair.
About the stands, they should be removed from fixed position and, instead, be added only when the player is willing to pay the stand fee. For sales stands I’d split into 3 groups: -No stand: The retainer will be in the ward free of charge, but will be able to sell only 10 items at a time. -Small stand: A pile of boxes/bags/barrels (maybe leave the player choose the stand style like we do with current ones) will be added by the retainer. While in this mode not only the retainer can sell up to 20 items at same time but also will be able to store a message from the player that will be displayed when someone browse his wares. The fee for this would be 100 gil/hr (ingame daily fee). If the retainer doesn’t have enough gil to pay the fee he would automatically leave the ward and change back to Standby Mode. -Big stand: This is the stand we have now. These stands would be only summonable at halls (would follow the hall theme) and, while in this mode, the retainer would be able to sell up to 40 items at same time. Also, the retainer would be able to not only store a message from the player that will be displayed when someone browse it wares but will also allow other players to leave messages at retainer as well (up to 10 messages can be stored until the player read or discard them). The fee for this would be 500 gil/hr (ingame daily fee). If the retainer doesn’t have enough gil to pay the fee he would automatically leave the ward and change back to Standby Mode.
Also, while in wards we could have interactive environmental content for retainers so they wouldn’t need to just stay there, standing. We should be able to have solo interactions, like spawning the retainer sitting in a chair, leaning at wall, gesticulating like if he was calling someone, reading newspapers, eating at bar…this all depending of the interaction options added (specially at each ward’s main hall for those without stands). And there is even another possibility…when you place the 2 retainers of yours close enough you being able to choose an interaction animation between them…from talking to discussing or even arguing, dating, playing something (like chess) in a box, etc…make different actions for when both are without stand, when one have small stand or when one has big stand. Obviously for this kind of interaction one of them cannot have stand.
A last point is the bazaar itself. It’s important that the items on sale stop leaving the inventory. Stuff being moved from inventory to bazaar is just a source of problems in this game, regardless if retainers or players bazaars. They should just be flagged as “in bazaar” and marked as unusable. Also, we should have the option to manage inventories and manage bazaars merged in one screen. It’s very troublesome you having to keep exiting the options when you have limited space to move an item then put it at bazaar…so being able to move items, out item and remove items from bazaar from both retainers and players in the same screen (just would need to add the bazaar tab at both sides) would make things incredibly easier.
Regarding search, i'd add at search corner extra tabs for each high quality version. Also, with the new map "X" model, i'd not only add the star marker on retainers but also add target markers at minimap, just like guildleve ones. Also for Menders Ward, all retainers seeking repair should always have the star and miniap marker.
Now at part 2 i'll talk about the Retainer List option at main menu and how to improve it!