Underoffering on the PC: Crime or Struggle?
The Pound Chat (PC) is a scary place. A fast-moving board filled with acronyms like BD, UFT, WN, VBN, 3L, UC, RW… to a newcomer it’s positively terrifying. Once you learn the lingo and get used to bumping with a smiley or full stop, you might be forgiven for thinking your trial ends there. “But wait!”, you hear the PC cry. What about… values?
Values are the backbone of the PC. Species, paint colour, names, battledome stats… each pet has its own value given its particular combination of these things. A low value is assigned to a pet that is common, cheap or unpopular, whereas high value pets are often super popular, rare, or expensive. Values are arranged on a continuum, from _xx_jIm1nee_cr18933_x the yellow quiggle at one end (the low end, in case you’re wondering), to a very common real name unconverted plushie draik with 2500 HSD (health, strength, defence) at the high end. This value spectrum might seem trivial, but when you are trying to trade your pets, getting your values right is vital.
Offering a high-value pet on a lower-value is known as overoffering, whilst offering a low-value pet on a higher-value is known as underoffering. Fair trades are encouraged, so offering within your trade bracket is desirable. See now why I said that values are the backbone of the PC?
Everyone dreams of an overoffer, allowing you to trade up to your ‘dreamie’. Conversely, underoffers are generally frowned upon, at least in the extreme. I have recently re-entered the PC market, trading names instead of colours, and this has meant I’ve needed to learn a whole new set of PC rules. As part of this I conducted a poll, asking PCers about their habits surrounding underoffers.
I posed three questions:
1) Do you ever underoffer on trades?
2) If you underoffer, do you like to be told its an underoffer? Why or why not?
3) When you trade and someone underoffers on your pet, do you tell them? Why or why not?
73% of the PCers I polled said that they did underoffer. Considering the bad status underoffering seems to have on the PC, this surprised me. The ensuing conversation shed some light on the reasons behind this.
Most of those who said that they would underoffer emphasised that they would only do it if the original post implied that the trader was open to any offers, and that any underoffer would only be slight. This means that if the trader was looking for a specific level of pet, people were less likely to make underoffers. Simply being nice about it, and understanding of a rejection, was the agreed etiquette. Others suggested that it was just worth trying your luck! Most people on the PC seem to be seeking to trade up to a dream pet, and underoffering on occasion was a good way to try and achieve this, as long as the target pet was a realistic step.
One PCer mentioned that they tried to make up for underoffers in one value field by having something extra in another value field. For example, if a trader were seeking a high-painted pet, the “underoffer” could be a medium-painted pet with some battledome stats. Other factors that have effects include whether the trader is looking for a permanent pet, actively seeking underoffers, or whether the offer is merely a value exploration.
The most common reason for underoffering was that values are simply so subjective, especially when names start to get involved. Your ideas of values may not match those of your target trader; an underoffer to one person could be another’s dream pet.
Arguments against underoffering included the fact that people may not know the value of their pet (especially if they are returning from hiatus, or are new to the PC), and therefore deliberately underoffering would be taking advantage. Downtrading to someone’s underoffer can potentially put a trader back months, especially if they are trying to trade up. This is, of course, assuming that the target trader is not completely familiar with the value of their pet; a set of guidelines were therefore proposed by the PCers I spoke to that all traders should make themselves aware of what they need to achieve their goal, follow multiple value guides, always make A/R/B (accept/reject/beat) boards, and generally be empathetic to others.
My second question explored whether people liked to be told their offer was an underoffer. This was something that interested me especially, as, like I said, I was just getting back into trading and figuring out values.
60% of the PCers polled said that they did NOT like to be told they were underoffering. Many people thought that it was rude to tell someone they were underoffering, as the underofferer is usually aware of it. Those who said that they would only underoffer on traders who were welcoming to all offers would be particularly against being told they were underoffering, as this would seem dual standards on the part of the trader. One Neopian recounted a story of annoyance where they were told they were underoffering, but felt that they weren’t. This seems to be another situation where the subjectivity of one’s pet values re-enters the fray.
Another factor to consider is the recent movement on the PC towards rejecting trading brackets, or tiers. The normal consensus is that people should try and offer within their tier, or nearby tiers. However, proponents of the anti-tier movement state that people should trade for pets that they like, regardless of value. This is another reason that traders do not like to be told they are underoffering.
20% of PCers said that they didn’t mind being told they were underoffering, but wouldn’t necessarily actively want it. The opinion of this group seemed to be that it was dependent on the wording, and as long as the advice was polite, then it was acceptable. The “nty glt” (short for “no thank you, good luck trading”) acronym was generally considered unacceptable.
The remaining 20% who said that they would want to be told seemed to mainly be those who were seeking value advice, as their reasons were to get a better sense of values.
My last question was whether the PCers I polled would tell offers that they were underoffers. A huge 83% said that they would never tell someone they were underoffering. Again, the major argument was that traders would feel rude doing so. Similar arguments apply as for the previous question, such as rejection of the tier system, and that values are extremely subjective. Several traders stated that they have knowingly accepted underoffers in the past, and one even questioned the existence of the ‘underoffer’ for names.
It was often felt to be easier and kinder to just reject an offer, unless being asked directly why they did so. Most of the PCers I spoke to wanted to be nice, and this even extended to the opposite end of the spectrum, telling overoffers that they were offerovering. At the very worst, an underoffer was viewed as a free bump on the boards, and any interest in one’s pets is gratifying. It was suggested that there are other ways to let someone know that they are underoffering. Curt answers, such as “no thanks” are often employed, and if an underofferer gets rejected repeatedly over the course of a few weeks, they might start to question why.
The other 17% said that they might tell underofferers under certain circumstances. For these PCers, their response would depend on their mood and how the offer was worded. They also mentioned that they would be quite gentle about it, so if the person seemed new or lost, they would received a hint towards value guides, rather than a reprimand.
In conclusion, most traders believe that trading is so subjective that underoffers and overoffers are acceptable in most situations. Generally, PCers wouldn’t feel comfortable telling people they ware making underoffers, and don’t like being told that from others. The main exceptions to these are when people are seeking value advice; perhaps this should be proactively sought separately from trade offers. So unless you put in your original post that you are seeking something specific, don’t be surprised if the odd person tries their luck, or if you fall in love with a pet valued lower than you expected. Happy trading!
Thank you to all the PCers who contributed to this poll.