Lately a lot of things have got me thinking about economics. The first of which is that in real world USA, it’s tax season, and I can’t leave my house or watch 20 minutes of TV without being reminded that I have some paperwork to do. But this recent Guild Wars 2 patch brought it around to my gaming life in a new way.
The Legendary weapon I am working for is The Dreamer, and until Monday, I thought I was only two months from completing it. Then the patch hit and Dreamer got an update, an update that made it way more desirable. This sent the price of the precursor skyrocketing until it was the most expensive precursor in the game. I proceeded to throw up my hands and spend all my gold that I had been saving for The Lover on my Icy Runestones. I figured by the time I had re-accumulated that 100g plus all the rest I needed, The Lover would be back into sane territory.
I kept hearing, “That price isn’t fair!” And that got me thinking, “Isn’t it though?”
You see, capitalism, which this game is firmly based around, claims that the price of an item is whatever people are willing to pay. Short supply and high demand allows sellers to set high prices, because the fever pitch of demand means that someone will pay that price. So really, the price is fair because someone is willing to pay it.
Which is, of course, total crap. This isn’t a fair system at all and leads to the rich getting richer and the poor getting poorer. The game is supposed to reward hard work, but instead is pretty much saying if you were rich at the one month mark, you will forever be rich in this game. If not, well, sorry. Work hard and you can afford the things you want, but you’ll always be struggling for the cash to buy whatever you want/need.
We’ve heard that a scavenger hunt for Legendary Precursors is coming sometime, but most people assume it won’t be until summer at the earliest. Meanwhile they are sure to make more updates to more Legendaries, and prices are going to keep going higher on the Precursors.
Why is it bad that precursors cost so much money? Let’s do some math shall we? I’m going to calculate for you, based on today’s market prices, of crafting both The Dreamer and Sunrise. I’m choosing these two for a specific reason, The Dreamer has relatively inexpensive required mats, and Sunrise has extremely expensive mats. This cost will not include the precursor price or the associated cost of all the items you need that cannot be bought or sold.
The Dreamer: 543g 32s
Sunrise: 901g 23s
Yeah…so why do I need to spend another 600g for the precursors of these weapons?
Most folks in the community agree that something needs to be done about this now, to allow for honest hardworking players to benefit economically, or at least keep the rich players (or gold buying cheaters) from always coming out ahead. Here are some ideas of quick fixes they could implement right now.
Another Lost Shores type mass drop: I don’t like this idea much, but it would bring prices down ASAP on all precursors. If they gave players a bit of notice, many people could work hard to make sure they had the gold they need to snag one of these weapons at a low price. However, the change to the economy would not last long, within a month prices would be right back where they were. Also, many of the rich would do exactly what they did last time and buy these weapons at the low price and then resell at the higher price in a few months.
Increase the Mystic Forge/Chest drop rate: This would be the easiest thing for them to do. By tweaking a number in their algorithms ever so slightly they could increase the supply just enough to bring prices down. It still rewards rich players, who are far more likely to have the gold to chuck rare and exotic weapons down the toilet, but the RNG would have a way of leveling the playing field a little bit.
Allow the Precursors to be crafted: This I can see working one of two ways. The first is a recipe that you’d have to get from Miyani that would allow you to craft your precursor just as you would any exotics via your crafting stations. The recipe ingredients could be pricey, but farm-able, using full stacks of T6 mats for example.
The other option would be to allow players to make Account bound “Gifts of The Precursor” i.e. “Gift of Dawn” “Gift of The Lover”. This would be similar to the above idea, but would use the Mystic Forge instead. This would allow for the sale and trade of Precursors to still be profitable because they would not be account bound and can be traded. Gifts would be locked to the account and would simply replace the precursor in the recipe. This would allow players to either farm and gather the items they need, or buy them off the trading post. It would have an effect on the precursors too, bringing their price down to approximately the same as the cost of making the gifts. This way lucky people can still sell their precursors at a good profit, and unlucky people can do the work to make their item.
This, in my opinion, is the best short term solution to the problem. I feel that the scavenger hunt is going to hurt the precursor economy, and end up hurting average players in the long run. I think this is part of the reason that hunt is so far away. Imagine getting Dusk and finding out it only sells for 50g. Yeah, money is money, but still, that would kind of suck. I go back to what happened to Verene, who sold the Leaf of Kudzu she got for only 70g, and now it’s 300g more than that. Who really benefited from the situation? Not her. I think the precursors from the scavenger hunt are going to have to be account bound if ArenaNet has any hope of keeping the market competitive If they aren’t, it will only be a matter of time before precursors are as cheap and useless and Greens became in Guild Wars.
I think introducing a system of allowing more casual players to craft a replacement item would keep the economy stable and allow these players to obtain their legendaries in a more balanced, less cash intensive (if they chose) manner. But what do I know? Tell me your thoughts in the comments below. How would you fix the Precursor system? Oh, and Hi!