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Update on the Economy

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John Smith.4610

Kind of ironically, his work is more applicable to a game economy than a real economy.

I don’t follow – Keynes’ insights flow from introducing transaction lags and breaking the neutrality of money via finance, neither of which applies to a game economy (at least, not to the GW2 economy). What parts do you think describe the GW2 economy well?

I think John’s speaking more along the lines that government (Anet) intervention is necessary to keep the economy in check. This is true with GW2, since Anet is always making adjustments behind the scenes to artificially influence prices. Example: Over abundant Silk? Increase the cost to make bolts, and introduce Ascended recipes that make Silk highly desirable, thus increasing values.

So for Anet to take a step back and let us move the economy on our own, that’s basically anti-Keynesian.

That is more what I’m referring to. Also because in a game economy there is the ability to opt-out of the economy entirely with little cost. This means that death spiral are far more likely and more common without strong regulation, especially with content changes.

Update on the Economy

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John Smith.4610

So, from these basics assumptions, John Smith has decided to follow his former mentor Adam Smith and his invisible hand ?

I know that was bad I’m sorry for that.
Ok, I’ll just be leaving now …

Hi Keynes, sorry for you.

Keynes is an idiot best ignored anyway.

Kind of ironically, his work is more applicable to a game economy than a real economy.

Update on the Economy

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John Smith.4610

Hello everyone, I’m John Smith, the Studio Economist for ArenaNet. We’ve kept pretty silent about the economy recently, but today I’m here to talk about our current strategy.

Guild Wars 2 has an amazing economy, one of the largest and most active in-game economies ever created. ArenaNet takes pride in offering players an ever-changing world that lives and grows with them. As the game develops, the economy must develop as well, and that’s one of the many reasons we’ve made hundreds of changes to economy balance throughout the lifetime of the game.

For the most part the continuous monitoring and balancing has led to an incredibly stable economy with sustainable growth and reasonable inflation levels. However, we’ve noticed a disturbing side-effect of that continuous balancing: For many markets we’ve accidently set the idea of a price, rather than the market setting the idea of a price. Flax is a great example of a market where the prices weren’t really reflective of input or demand, but rather the idea of a value. Eventually players recognized that there was an abundance of flax and the price began to trend in a positive direction. We’ve noticed that a large number of markets are exhibiting this behavior in both directions—resulting in their being underpriced or overpriced—and their prices no longer reflect the average wealth or income of players.

To address this, we’re taking a step back from the standard amount of economy balancing we’re doing; in fact, we’ve actually already started doing that. We hope to see many markets adjust their prices to match the current state of the economy. We do recognize that there are some markets moving to a place where we aren’t looking for them to be; once we see the economy moving we can reassess the markets and make improvements, as we have in the past.

Who will be the villain in the 2nd expansion?

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John Smith.4610

It’s me.

My Bearbow math is stronger than ever before! You are no match for me!

JS levies a 10g tax for every arrow fired from a ranger’s longbow if there’s a bear pet around.

This literally was my plan. No arrows, no bearbow.

Who will be the villain in the 2nd expansion?

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John Smith.4610

It’s me.

John Smith = The Doctor

The villain is the Doctor?

So the villain is me?

Spoilers…

Now i get why Braham is bald

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John Smith.4610

Who will be the villain in the 2nd expansion?

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John Smith.4610

It’s me.

ANet and the case of Insider Trading

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John Smith.4610

Ha, I went right to urban dictionary assuming it was more…slangy? I should have searched better.

ANet and the case of Insider Trading

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John Smith.4610

What is salami slicing?

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ghastly grinning shield skin

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John Smith.4610

We accidentally shipped a MF change that has some rare items like Halloween skins in the tables. So this is WAI just earlier than expected

This is getting annoying...

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John Smith.4610

This game also has a global TP, not a server based TP. As far as I know, there isn’t another game TP that’s within an order of magnitude of scale of this one.

Hi John, just my 2 cents.
I guess the technical limitation has something to do with the database and the amount of querys some amount of players can do before the DB cache queue get fills up (AKA beginning to lose transactions.

I would in your case implement a double queue system: Your TP already have in place one (i guess).

At the client side i would implement an internal queue where the items that the player want to sell are queued. Those items are listed in the TP as soon as possible if the limit is reached it tries in X seconds/minutes.
If the player close the game before those items are listed they are returned to the player to his inventory.

For the player would not be any visual difference and would solve the hindrance of the limit pop up, the TP could get some breather because you could decide what are the limit of quees x second and player could be the limits of the amount of items posted per x time.

And at security level wouldn’t change much, simply would be another “hidden space” were those items could be placed while waiting to be listed in the TP. If those have to be returned because the player closed the game before they could be listed and his bags are full again, it could be given back in a way similar to a daily chest so the player can try to list them again in the TP as soon as he is able to free up the bag.

Sure it will need some coding, but the change shouldn’t be very invasive, is simply creating a queuing interface to handle the listing.

These are some interesting ideas, but I’m afraid they don’t address the root issues. I’m not at liberty to discuss the architecture of the game, but the problems are harder than what you’re thinking. That being said, are they fixable? Yes. Do we know how to fix them? Yes. Are we going to spend man-years doing it so people can sell items faster on the TP? Probably not. There’s just bigger fish to fry.

This is getting annoying...

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John Smith.4610

This game also has a global TP, not a server based TP. As far as I know, there isn’t another game TP that’s within an order of magnitude of scale of this one.

This is getting annoying...

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John Smith.4610

Things YOU know as facts:
1. I can buy unlimited items off the Tp without any server limitations- FALSE
2. I can pick up unlimited items into my inventory from the TP without any server limitations – FALSE
3. I can set arbitrary buy order prices at unlimited speed without server limitations. – FALSE
4. Doing any of these things in reverse (selling) causes an error to pop up – what?
Things devs have stated as facts in the past:
-series of random ad hominems that clearly make your points more valid…right?

Just because you don’t see the technical implementation of some aspects of the systems doesn’t mean it’s magic.

Too simplistic trading post model?

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Putting a time limit on orders is irrelevant and if anything would only make markets less fluid. This is inconvenient and distortionary with no upside as I can see it.

In game market tools? I could take it or leave it. Things like average price over the past 24 hours would be a useful tool, but pulling full graphic price histories are better served by 3rd party sites – that’s not always needed, and would be a big strain on the server to pull regularly whenever anyone looks at an item. There’s an important trade-off between being informative and keeping your UI parsimonious, and I don’t have a strong opinion on the state of the in-game UI in that regard.

Ensign: making me type less since 2013

You should post more so we dont think you’re a reanimated corpse quietly mucking around in databases

This is not the place for your weird prejudices against Reanimated Americans.

Too simplistic trading post model?

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John Smith.4610

Putting a time limit on orders is irrelevant and if anything would only make markets less fluid. This is inconvenient and distortionary with no upside as I can see it.

In game market tools? I could take it or leave it. Things like average price over the past 24 hours would be a useful tool, but pulling full graphic price histories are better served by 3rd party sites – that’s not always needed, and would be a big strain on the server to pull regularly whenever anyone looks at an item. There’s an important trade-off between being informative and keeping your UI parsimonious, and I don’t have a strong opinion on the state of the in-game UI in that regard.

Ensign: making me type less since 2013

This is getting annoying...

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John Smith.4610

This isn’t flood control or anti-bot, it’s a technical limitation. If we could reduce it we would.

I’ve said this elsewhere before, but I don’t remember where.

I suggest improving/clarifying the error message so people don’t get the impression that they’ve tripped bot detection.

This is good feedback.

This is getting annoying...

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John Smith.4610

This isn’t flood control or anti-bot, it’s a technical limitation. If we could reduce it we would.

I’ve said this elsewhere before, but I don’t remember where.

Megaservers

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John Smith.4610

I would definitely back something similar to the old GW1 districts for the maps. Though that system had its own challenges too, it was definitely something workable for large events.

And on a lighter note… John Smith has paired with Susan for this. Please tell me there is a big blue box involved that is bigger on the inside.

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Megaservers

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I’ve recently seen quite a few posts mentioning megaservers. As per standard business, I can’t say anything about release dates or future content, but I can say that we recognized that megaservers were a problem quite some time ago. At that time my squad joined up with the deific ~Susan and her team to begin work on the system. I wanted to tell you that we know there are problems and we’re fixing them. We’ve released some very minor changes already and there will be several phases of fixes applied over the next few months.

Do accounts have "luck", and is it right?

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Every account has the exact same chance on RNG.

Do accounts have "luck", and is it right?

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John Smith.4610

There isn’t such thing is some accounts getting stuck lucky. Yes there’s an RNG, yes it’s random and there are streaks and outliers and an even aggregate distribution.

There isn’t such thing is some accounts getting stuck lucky. Yes there’s an RNG, yes it’s random and there are streaks and outliers and an even aggregate distribution.

Can you confirm whether it is an RNG that uses some sort of value from the user’s account or whether it is purely random/session based? I have a friend who swears that smack-talking an anet dev during a beta weekend pvp match doomed his account to poor rng for life.

Absolutely it does not use anything to do with a user.

Here’s the premise. RNG is evenly distributed on aggregate. On an individual level this means that while almost everyone falls into a reasonable range in the middle, there are outliers on each side of the distribution that are either highly rewarded or not rewarded at all. These individuals become sample cases and spotlights for experiences that maybe shouldn’t exist.

Ironically, the randomness of the system is significantly contributes to these posts continually popping up.

Johanson VS Smith: The Precursor Challenge!

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John Smith.4610

Awesome – some awe.

Awful – full of awe.

Neither word actually says whether the awe is good or bad.

I think the number of bugs introduced with every release is awful. I think that releasing content with simple basic oversights (bugs) in them is awful. I’m an IT professional in the Real World (i.e. not gaming). I’d be fired if I did that as regularly as Anet (and every other gaming company) do it.

I’d like to know why new crafting materials were introduced without appropriate slots in the collection bank. Some have since been patched, not all (why did it take a year for a slot to be introduced for Foxfire Clusters, for example? Are you hoping that people will spend Real Money on extra bank space?). I’d like to know why Legendary collections were released that have items that are simply unobtainable in the game (Scarlet’s Prototype Mechanism for The Predator, and for one other leggie, I believe, as an example). And very, very simple fixes have still not been applied. That’s just dandy.

Are you still reading, John Smith? Or do you only reply to people who tell you you have some awe?

Define Awesome

Johanson VS Smith: The Precursor Challenge!

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John Smith.4610

Every part of this thread is awesome.

Imminent economy crash? Good thing? P2skin?

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John Smith.4610

Couple of replies:
1. Ensign is, as usual, pretty dead on.
2. 12.6 Silver from key output is off from my understanding of that design, so I’m going to look into that.
3. A market like this isn’t going to crash, it could grow unhealthier over time, but that’s why we iterate.

A note about Flax Seeds

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John Smith.4610

Hello everyone, we’ve been tracking a lot of markets closely and I wanted to make a quick statement about flax seeds. At the current price some pieces of guild halls may seem very hard to get. A lot of people are storing the items up in their banks causing some temporary, artificial price inflation. To help out, here are a couple of ways to easily obtain more seeds:

There’s a secret garden under an Itzel Village that may help.
They’re found all over Auric Basin.
Check out the “Torn From the Sky” Achievement.

Cheers and happy trading all.
John.

(edited by John Smith.4610)

Guild Wars 2 Inflation Research

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John Smith.4610

Reposting Izzy’s and my reponses from before:
John Smith:
This is interesting, but I would point out some things to look into if you try this again. As Izzy said, we make a lot of balance changes so you have to keep major changes from balance changes in mind. Running weights on the goods is something you should do, unfortunately the weighting can be slightly arbitrary and that drastically changes the results, so you end up with results entirely hinged on a series of variables that don’t necessarily have a scientific backing. Lastly, be very careful of putting variables in a model that feed into each other, that will cause the model to over-represent changes in a single set. Arguably you could fix this by proper weighting, but this gets really tricky when there’s a lot of variables mixing together. Oh, actually lastly, don’t use precursors, really don’t use anything that doesn’t trade at a reasonable velocity or anything that’s too much of a luxury.
Overall though, I think this is a great effort given the resources you have to work with and a really interesting read.

Izzy:
Neat stuff some things to keep in mind is in a game economy players control then printing of currency irl governments tightly control that.
Also demand on items change greatly based on updates which can look like inflation but is just a shift in demand (this is more clearly seen in the precursors, or silk) this makes it hard to judge purely on an index alone.
We spend a lot of Econ balancing on managing supply and demand of each material and currency and tweak both sides of that equation. For example butter was rock bottom at the start but we rebalanced its in/outs so it’s increase is not from inflation.
Just some other ways to think about this stuff

Economy Questions Repost

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John Smith.4610

Dungeons will stop drop things as well as they will still have some gold, they will just have much less gold.

Dungeons will stop dropping things as well as having a reduced gold output? Is that a typo or are they really being nerfed that hard?

Going by the rest of that statement and the following add-on, I’d say that it’s just a typo.

Yes typo, sorry.

Economy Questions Repost

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John Smith.4610

Dungeons will stop drop things as well as they will still have some gold, they will just have much less gold.

Dungeons will stop dropping things as well as having a reduced gold output? Is that a typo or are they really being nerfed that hard?

Sorry typo, I’ve edited.

Economy Questions Repost

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John Smith.4610

What incentives will players have to run dungeons after these changes go live? The entire game is based around doing what gets you to your goal fastest, and as of right now gold is the end-all-beat-all. If dungeons do not bring players to this goal, what incentive is there to play them??

Hmm … for fun? That’s why I and my friends run them. We pull everything, kill it, banter on Mumble, do as many paths of whatever we feel like and then we stop when we’re tired. It’s certainly not a huge gold source for me and I still have fun doing it.

Question to John Smith, though: Other than tokens, will anything drop in dungeons at all? Tonight’s casual fun run in CoE got my bags choked with things (usually I never see the Inventory is Full message on my dungeon/fractal alt), and I salvaged them for a lot of mats and sold off a few copper of minor runes and the like. Will we now be ending dungeon runs with bags as clear as when we entered?

Dungeons will still drop things as well as they will still have some gold, they will just have much less gold.

Edit meant to say still and said stop, sorry.

(edited by John Smith.4610)

Economy Questions Repost

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John, would you be able to answer if the dungeon rewards are just being brought in line with other content (namely future content), or if it’s going further than that? Also, was there any discussion about the rate of dungeon token earnings with this change?

Edit for clarity: You’ve said the dungeon token rate is staying the same, was there any discussion about increasing the amount of tokens you get per run to go along with the gold reduction?

I’m not prepared to answer the first one. I don’t believe we ever discussed changing the tokens from dungeons.

Economy Questions Repost

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Howdy John! Any plans to reduce the amount of bolts of silk required for crafting spools of silk weaving thread?

Nope

Economy Questions Repost

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Q.
why are you nerfing the income of players who prefer your old content over your new content? I for one don’t care much for raids but really enjoy dungeons..

A.
We don’t intend to nerf income, just shift where most players derive their income. You won’t be forced into raids in order to earn value though.

Players who enjoy playing dungeons will have either lower income or will have to play content they do not enjoy as much in order to maintain their existing level of income.

The only way you can accurately claim that you did not intend to nerf their income is to state that you intended to reduce their enjoyment of the game instead.

Edit for clarification: I did not mean you personally, but rather the collective of those who made the decision.

This is called false dilemma. I think you should probably restate this.

Is the intention to deincentivize dungeons

Is the intention to reduce targeted liquid gold earning, or are you putting that liquid somewhere else thats targetable?

What type of instanced content do you see offering marketable rewards that players can take part in on a regular basis?

do you see players seeking to earn main methods being through open world and tp trading

Is the intention to deincentivize dungeons
Yes

Is the intention to reduce targeted liquid gold earning, or are you putting that liquid somewhere else thats targetable?
The intention is not entirely to reduce liquid gold earning, we’ll be using up the slack we generate in other locations

What type of instanced content do you see offering marketable rewards that players can take part in on a regular basis?
Fractals

do you see players seeking to earn main methods being through open world and tp trading
I don’t understand this one

Economy Questions Repost

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Q.
why are you nerfing the income of players who prefer your old content over your new content? I for one don’t care much for raids but really enjoy dungeons..

A.
We don’t intend to nerf income, just shift where most players derive their income. You won’t be forced into raids in order to earn value though.

Players who enjoy playing dungeons will have either lower income or will have to play content they do not enjoy as much in order to maintain their existing level of income.

The only way you can accurately claim that you did not intend to nerf their income is to state that you intended to reduce their enjoyment of the game instead.

Edit for clarification: I did not mean you personally, but rather the collective of those who made the decision.

This is called false dilemma. I think you should probably restate this.

Economy Questions Repost

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Q.
So John,
As someone with 1250 material banking that has been sitting on materials both rare and selling off overflows of common should I be worried that my savings over years are going to decrease in value?

A.
The idea is for that not to happen, that’s why we’ve had to make a lot of these less popular changes. Because some of our changes drastically changed how much was input vs output, we had to compensate in order to keep materials valuable.

Q.
So It seemed like in the blog post that you are trying to put more power in the hand of the buyers. Can you elaborate on that?
Would it be unreasonable to take this as this is a move against market manipulation by giving players more means to directly obtain materials that otherwise relied on RNG? Making things like the supply of lodestones and fine materials harder to control.

A.
The decision is higher level than that. We aren’t attacking anyone, we’re just adding the option to put some certainty in your rewards. This also adds resistance to items becoming too scarce and too valuable. If item X were to become super popular because of a LW release or something similar, players have the option to farm more item X rather than the option to attempt to compete with prices that have risen too far.

Q.
The way to prevent speculation is to remove all mystery from it, not to add more mystery. If you say “this item will be X% more rare,” or “this item will be needed in these recipes” then everyone is on the same page about what they will need.
Speculation thrives on vague “some items will be more needed, some items less” type responses.

A.
That’s a fair point, but remember this is “American Time” in English only with no warning. Releases are well known when they will happen and people have time to prepare and figure things out, if I were to release that information here it would seriously give an advantage to Americans.

Economy Questions Repost

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Q.
How do you feel about the state of gem exchange? Are you involved in monitoring the exchange, and considering the long term effect of things like sales?

A.
I was part of the original team that created the exchange, I helped write the algorithms it runs on. I think it’s a really cool system and functions nicely. We do spend time looking for the long-run and deciding where we want it to be and how our actions are going to impact that in the future.

Q.
Do you foresee something similar to guild wars 1, where materials like ectos become part of the traded economy with less gold being generated? How would you react if that trend started to develop?

A.
If gold was supplanted by some other trading item it would mean I seriously messed up somewhere. I hope to never see that happen, I plan for gold to always be valuable.

Q.
Do you feel that WvW needs a boost to its gold gain to match the other gamemodes?

A.
I don’t currently feel that way, but it’s another one of the things we’ll be watching after launch to see how everything settles.

Q.
How about mats? If you plan to correct salvage outputs and at the same time introduce mats map rewards in PvE to compensate/balance it further, will WvW have similar mechanism to help out players that play only that mode?
Thank you for your response and please, forgive me any language mistakes.

A.
WvW is getting new drops to help facilitate their income, they’re part of the new legendary journeys.

Q.
why are you nerfing the income of players who prefer your old content over your new content? I for one don’t care much for raids but really enjoy dungeons..

A.
We don’t intend to nerf income, just shift where most players derive their income. You won’t be forced into raids in order to earn value though.

Economy Questions Repost

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Q.
What about dungeon tokens? As it stands, you need ~170 dungeon runs to get the complete armor/weapon skin set. Will they be nerfed as well?

A.
No, they’ll be the same as before.

Q.
Do you feel charge lodestones are overly in demand/undersupplied compared to other lodestones? Or is it a goal that charged lodestones be the most expensive ones?

A.
It was originally the goal that charged be more valuable, but that is one of the markets we’re watching because we aren’t sure we want that to always be true.

(follow-up to previous question and answer)
Q.
Design talking, does that even makes sense? Makes a specific item, that is part of a larger same-tier item be more valuable than another?
The t6 Blood is acceptable, because it is a player-driven economy because of meta stats, but charged lodestones is not a player-driven economy problem, it seens to be a design issue, since charged lodestones are far more recquired for prestige itens than the other itens on its tier.
Mind explain why it was a design choice first of all? I don’t understand where is the consistency in there.

A.
There are two schools of thought, many designers agree with you that items within a tier should be similarly priced. For me, I don’t agree with that, I believe that items within a tier should have representative functionality of that tier, but their prices can vary to make the variation inside the tier more interesting. I could easily see an argument for the other way being valid though.

Economy Questions Repost

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Q.
Greetings, John! In the blog you mentioned there are a couple broken markets. Can you shed some light on which markets you consider broken and why?

A.
I can’t until after release for fear of making those markets go insane with speculation (moreso than they probably already are).

Q.
While I understand shifting the gold income from dungeons more towards fractals, I wonder, what will happen to stuff like Aetherpath. This is (in my eyes at least) a beautiful designed dungeon. The rewards already felt…. well… unrewarding, but with the upcoming changes, i fear noone is going to do that specivic path.
Also, were there plans about splitting the lost income of a party when they are doing them solo or duo (at some point, being discussed, on the table… you get me )
Also, congratulations on the legendaries, they have style!

A. To be honest, the details of content like that are more of a Colin question. Splitting rewards for missing members is tricky business, you definitely don’t want to rewards to become competitive between players, that’s why we don’t share gathering nodes or don’t have mob claiming, it’s not the spirit of what we do.

Q.
Are your efforts more aimed toward bringing down the value of over inflated items such as certain cloths or things like charged lodestones or is the goal to bring up under-utilized and over supplied materials like thick leather sections? or both?
I guess in short. Which one would you be manipulating more? supply or demand?

A.
there is a mix of both, but we swing more towards the latter than the former.

Economy Questions Repost

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John Smith.4610

I recently answered some questions on the new blog post and new economy changes. I’m reposting some of the questions and answers here as well.

Gold to Gem conversion

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Because of minimum fees, and the inability to divide some values lower than standard whole numbers.

Play for Free Confirmed [merged]

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You’ll notice that the items available are easily obtainable and the trading post is anonymous. If RMT wants to try to trade through the TP, our active TPers are going to start intercepting their 250g trades for fun and profit really fast. After that happens there’s no way for the RMT to confirm whether or not their buyer got their gold. The buyers can continue to ask for gold over and over if they want. When all this goes down the market for RMT becomes exteremely unstable, I look at it and giggle like a schoolgirl.

Play for Free Confirmed [merged]

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John Smith.4610

I like all the restrictions except for one….

Guildleaders already can control who accesses the guild vault….

So why are Free accounts locked out of this feature??

If i invite my friends to join GW2 then I want them to “feel at home” within my guild.

This is a weird limitation.. Just allow GuildLeaders to maintain full control of vault access like it has been for years.

Because it would create an opening for wealth transfer to and from those accounts.

Play for Free Confirmed [merged]

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Don’t worry, the economy will be ok. We put a lot of effort into keeping it protected.

HoT Price Feedback + Base game included [merged]

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John Smith.4610

if you look at the world through the cold cynical eyes of economics

You rang?

If you deny diminishing returns as a farmer..

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Cheers sir.

If you deny diminishing returns as a farmer..

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John Smith.4610

I’m not aware of Bandit Chest loot having the concept of DR.

If you deny diminishing returns as a farmer..

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Posted by: John Smith.4610

John Smith.4610

either way, it means what JS is describing doesnt match what players are experiencing in the actual game world.

I’m checking a secondary data set to confirm my DR data, though this can be tricky business.

I should be more clear. I’m DR of Monster Kills.

If you deny diminishing returns as a farmer..

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Posted by: John Smith.4610

John Smith.4610

I checked back to the beginning of April, you haven’t hit DR since that time.

please delete

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Posted by: John Smith.4610

John Smith.4610

Don’t know if it’s been asked or not, but I see the topic come up every so often.
What was the main reason for WvW gear being unsalvagable? What it for an economic reason? Or mechanical?

As it is its fairly easy to get, so I could see having a large influx of ecto because of it. Also having to rebuy runes could be part of the reason. But otherwise it doesn’t make much sense. Instead of being able to salvage directly, what about being able to be forged?

A lot of different factors go into decisions like that one, but economic effects were part of the decision process for sure.

Why is silk going up in price?

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Posted by: John Smith.4610

John Smith.4610

You don’t micromanage markets to maintain equilibrium. Not only is it an incredible amount of work you can never be wrong in, it’s not physically possible inside a live game environment.

You assume that absolute parity is required inside of tiers, I don’t necessarily agree.

Why is silk going up in price?

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Posted by: John Smith.4610

John Smith.4610

First off, ground turkey is amazing. Ground turkey makes you strong.
Secondly, a wild rant != good feedback in any situation.

Let me ask a question, if you could farm silk specifically, but slowly, so the price remained what it currently is or higher, would that be better or worse?