There might have already been threads about this, if so I'm sorry. I have seen a few streamers talk about this issue recently, and looking at youtube comments and hearing a lot of responses from the stream chat I've heard a lot of casual / newer players saying things like "if they remove the flea market i would quit" etc..
I think its quite possible that removing the flea market in some capacity (how much of it should be removed is another debate) would actually give a better experience, especially to newer / casual players.
For the sake of argument (this is just an example of what you could do), lets say that you remove all flea market functionality, except you are able to buy / sell keys, and barter items for the hideout upgrades. However, for barter trades and hideout crafting (where you make items) you require found in raid items. All other flea market functionality is removed.
As it stands right now, when the better players in the game (who can make good profits consistently from doing raids) reach a certain point, they have enough money to just buy and run whatever gear they want. If they want to run slick + altyn + m4 with m995, 4 60 rd drum mags and 6 grenades, then because they can just buy those items on the flea, they can run it every raid. At a certain point in the wipe, they can run that loadout and never change it.
This means there are more people in raids with these top tier loadouts, which makes the game harder for less skilled players (who already may struggle to make any profit, or at least are making much less, and probably cant afford to run these loadouts at all, much less every raid). This adds onto the fact that the entire reason this dynamic exists in the first place is that the best players are already more skilled in the game which leads to an even bigger total advantage.
Enacting the changes i mentioned would make it much harder or even impossible to infinitely sustain a loadout like that. You could still get it eventually, but you likely wouldn't be able to run it every raid, even if you were really good at the game. You would have to have a really good reason to run that type of loadout (like maybe a labs run… etc..)
This would mean that in general, the number of players in raids with top tier loadouts would go down, and you would see more of the mid-tier gear. Maybe a really good player will run some mid-tier loadouts on maps with the purpose of farming barter items to get the top-tier loadout pieces, then once he has a few loadouts run labs etc… with those top-tier loadouts. It would give a much higher value to both the top-tier loadouts (because they aren't easy to replace) and the mid-tier loadouts (because you would have to run them some of the time with less access to top-tier items)
For this reason I think that it could actually be good for newer / casual players because going from the current system to this example would (somewhat) reduce the advantage that the best players in the game have against them. I'm not saying it would be a huge difference, because a good player with mid-tier gear can definitely kill a worse player with top-tier gear, but in general I think it would be a nudge in that direction.
if you remove the ability for players to just buy infinite numbers of top-tier loadouts on the flea market, but maybe leave some quality of life flea market functionality in, it would mean that top-tier gear would be much more scarce, which would mean more interesting gameplay, and preserve that "early wipe" feel to the game for much much longer than it currently lasts. As a result, mid-tier gear would be much more effective which would help out newer and casual players, and make the "end game" more interesting for everyone, including the really good players.
What do you guys think?