GW2 - ArenaNet Temporarily Stops Economy Interference
ByDate: Nov 02 2016 Views:
In any sort of environment, adjustments need to be made in order to keep a proper amount of inflation. This is equally true with MMORPGs, and the effects of hyperinflation have been felt across pretty much all of them. With new events, new items, higher levels, tougher content, etc. bringing about the ability to earn more gold, there is almost always a growing discrepancy between those that are new to the game and those that have been at it for a long time. While a lot of games completely ignore this aspect of the economy, ArenaNet has their own economist, who goes by John Smith on the forums, who analyzes the current situation and helps rectify any potential changes that need to be made in order to normalize it. While Guild Wars 2 does not go through all of the same problems a lot of games do – due to its lack of raising the level caps, which would inevitably affect gold drops and item values – updates, additions, and changes absolutely do impact the game. And as of the last few weeks, ArenaNet has been backing away from altering the market, in an attempt to let the markets re-price themselves where they should be.
What Does This Mean?
There is a lot of confusion as to how the game developers can impact a market and raise or lower the prices of items. If you have played Guild Wars 2 for an extended period, you have undoubtedly seen this happen already, and just weren’t aware as to what was actually going on. To help illustrate the process, we will use a hypothetical situation.
So, you have a material that is currently worth 1 gold, but it should, in theory, be worth more or less than this:
• To boost its value, you make it more rare. This can be done in two ways, both of which can be used together. One is to simply lower its drop rate (or gathering rate), and the other is to increase the number that are needed in recipes or add more new recipes. The first lowers the number of these that are available for trading, while the second boosts the frequency of needing them
• To lower their value, you make it more abundant. This can be done through increasing the gathering rate, boosting the drop rates, adding the drops to more mobs, etc., and can be done by removing them from some recipes or adding new methods to obtain them. These leave the frequency of needing them the same, but make them much more prevalent, meaning there are more on the market, pushing the prices down
Essentially, the entire situation revolves around supply and demand. In this case, ArenaNet interferes with the market by directly affecting both supply and demand in order to make items worth what they feel they should be worth. A great example of this is Precursors, which are much easier to obtain than they were when the game was first released. Were they to remain the same, their value would likely go up significantly, as the demand would remain much higher than their supply, and the gold supply would continue going up, thus giving them a higher gold value.
Why Step Back?
ArenaNet has continuously worked to help keep the markets normalized and bring about stable values to items. As changes were made to things and new updates were brought about, it was a constant rebalancing effort on their part. What John has since noted is that this went against the original intentions: rather than the players and the market itself declaring the value of items, it was essentially ArenaNet that did so. What this means is that markets were pricing items based on what they thought may happen in the future (due to the constant changes), as opposed to what they knew for certain, and were following ArenaNet’s lead when it came to pricing things in. Before each large patch, for example, there are discussions among players based on the changes that are coming to the game, where players start to speculate on what is going to happen with specific materials and other items. While it works great in theory, and does bring about a fairly stable market, it goes against the idea of the game having a “free market.” Add in the fact that is a game with a very large player base, a huge buyer and seller market, and is extremely active, and you end up with a situation where it is akin to ArenaNet simply choosing the prices for everything and the players not really having any input.
Will They Get Involved Again?
The simple fact that the game’s economy has been going as well as it is shows that what they’ve been doing is working. While it may not be following their vision for how it actually takes place, it does show that the theories are solid. While they are currently stepping back to let the market sort of find itself, it is extremely likely – if not guaranteed, even – that they will step in again in the future. They just won’t be doing so on such an active, continuous basis. And in the meantime, we get to see how this affects the value of items and materials when there is no intervention!