Blog Archive

Tuesday, 1 September 2015

Third Year Anniversary: A Look Back at the Economy

Hello guys! On August 28th Guild Wars 2 celebrated its third birthday; today I am going to take a look back over the last three years of the Guild Wars 2 world economy.

The constant

Since the launch of the game, precursor weapons have remained on top of the trading post. Whether they were 50 gold at launch or 1000 gold now, the demand for legendary weapons is a constant that hasn't changed in over three years, but are we on the verge of change? We know that Heart of Thorns will bring precursor crafting to the game; an epic journey through the game chasing the dream, or in this case, a precursor to a precursor! We also know that each precursor weapon can be obtained through this method once per account, and that these precursors are not bound and thus you can sell them on the trading post. What we do not know however is how exactly this will impact the precursor market and the economy overall; will this change depreciate the value of vanilla legendary weapons? Will it make those legendary weapons less desirable or less prestigious?

At the very least, I believe the introduction of craftable precursor weapons will lower their value on the trading post, at least in the short term. This comes about from two major factors: first a drastic increase in supply and second, possibly more importantly, a large drop off in demand. As an example, a player may have the legendary greatsword Twilight - when HoT arrives that player may decide to work towards crafting Dusk for the sole purpose of selling and making gold. This will cause a natural increase in supply across the board. Other players may have no interest in crafting Twilight, and instead decide to craft the precursor Dusk for the same reason - so they can sell it on and make gold. Again this creates a steady supply increase, and notice I say steady - this is because we know precursor crafting will be a long and hard, or at least a time consuming process so players will not all get their precursors at once. So what about demand? Well demand is going to fall off as well. For example, before HoT a player wanted to craft Sunrise but they were only missing the precursor and instead of buying it from the trading post they decided to wait for precursor crafting(this is the majority of players). This player is not buying the precursor from the trading post and thus the demand is non-existent. Another thing worthy of mention is the addition of new legendary weapons and also just new sets of skins in general - other options divide demand and this alone will decrease the demand for vanilla legendary weapons.

In the short term I could see vanilla precursor weapons dropping 40-50% in value. In the long term I believe these legendary weapons will get a second look from some players wanting to go back to get something they may have wanted before. I think this will cause those precursor weapon values to steady up and perhaps even creep up a little, but even in the long term I think they will have a permanent decrease in price post-HoT compared with pre-HoT.

The gem story

Look at those gems fly! I can still remember right back after launch when you could grab a couple hundred gems for less than a gold. Now look at it! 28 gold for 100 gems? That is crazy! Even though there is a gem store sale on right now which is definitely increasing the demand for gems, the reason for the huge hike in their value over the years is much simpler than that: inflation. Gems are probably the most stable measure of inflation in the Guild Wars 2 world economy. Inflation is forever diminishing the value of our gold. But what is inflation in Guild Wars 2? Over time, the amount of coin within the economy is always increasing. This is from many sources but the main two are event rewards and item drops. Whenever you complete an event, you get a few silver and some copper change to boot. Those coins didn't exist in the economy until you completed that event and every player who completed that event also got a coin reward. The same goes for item drops: all those items that clog up your inventory and end up getting sold to the vendor? Yes, more coins being introduced to the economy. All of those coins add up, and the amount of gold in the economy is forever increasing. The supply of coin is increasing, so naturally the value of coins decreases. This is evidenced in a few things, namely: precursor weapons, unidentified dyes and gems. For example, a precursor weapon could of been 900 gold last year, but today it is 1200 gold and this is almost purely down to inflation. More players have more gold to spend and so demand is increased, which in turn increases prices.

Both unidentified dyes and gems are perfect measures of inflation in our game economy. This is because they are what many players will spend their excess gold(disposable income) on. Dyes have an endless demand and a timeless appeal, guess what, the same goes for gems! As a tip then, if you are ever planning a break from GW2 or if you feel like you won't play the game for a long time, it is a great idea to invest your gold in gems. Gems cannot be flipped realistically because of the massive(~30%) cut in exchange. But over a long period of time, gems are the safest inflation proof investment. They probably won't net you a killer profit, but they will ensure your wallet stays relevant.

Stay tuned for most posts this week, have fun in-game!