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Generally in most MMORPGs1 the role of shopkeepers are assigned to pre-programmed NPCs. However in SAO we see Agil and Lisbeth run their own stores.

Was SAO's community-driven nature (i.e. players assume the roles as shopkeepers) a part of the original specification, or did this only occur because Kayaba trapped everyone?


1: There is one recent MMORPG I am aware of that has a player controlled economy where players have to find their own jobs within the game (i.e. farmer, blacksmith, trainer) but I can't remember the name and it is also the only MMORPG I am aware of that does this.

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While MMORPGs do usually have shop NPCs, it is important to note that they usually don't sell the best gear. (Or even good gear)
The best gear is either from bosses, random drops, or, from crafting. It seems that in SAO, good gear was made via crafting, as we see when Kirito asks Liz to make him a sword, and they go hunting for materials.

So it seems like it was intended to be community driven, as you could raise skills, and craft, and as it is fairly obvious that not everybody wants to have a high blacksmith skill, as you could always buy it with money you get otherwise.

And you say Igneel, but I think you mean Agil.

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    Yes sorry i did mean Agil. i watch the English Dub and i must have confused it with Igneel from Fairy Tail (which too i watched in English) – Memor-X Dec 31 '15 at 9:36

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