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GW2 Update on Economy

John Smith, the resident Arenanet Economist has an update on the GW2 economy going forward.

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.


By Dulfy

MMO guide writer and blogger. Currently playing and covering SWTOR, GW2, and TSW.

26 replies on “GW2 Update on Economy”

“Guild Wars 2 has an amazing economy, one of the largest and most active in-game economies ever created”, let’s try to fix something that isn’t broke. What can possibly go wrong?

I wonder if John is referring to the new taps for low level cloth and leather that have been introduced via Bloodstone Fen and Ember Bay, and how prices for those haven’t actually changed very much despite the increased supply. He mentioned recently that the price of T6 leather was actually largely due to player hoarding, not an issue of supply. To hear him tell it, there was actually a humongous amount of T6 leather locked up in people’s banks, but prices apparently weren’t high enough to get people to dump them onto the market.

Well, hate to break it to you, John, but MMO players LOVE to hoard stuff. Therefore, the only time prices will drop is when supply is SO oversaturated that players have no choice but to start selling. Therefore, if you want to see prices be more balanced without it getting to that stage, then your only option is to make it so that players can reliably farm what they need, within a reasonable amount of time, without needing to turn to the Trading Post. Something like making mobs in lower-level zones drop level-appropriate gear instead of only level 80 stuff (Rares and Exotics will always be scaled to your level), or giving us the ability to directly salvage karma gear bought from Heart vendors.

The GW2 economy is pretty decent. Though I wish they would create higher prices, ie demand for player generated content, like foods and items or something similar at least. Make crafting a bit more “engaging” I guess…

False! Take a look on ectoplasm. I remember once they sky rocketed into +70silver/unit.
For me, the most gold an account has, the more willing to buy on BL instead of farming it for themselves.

its the same with all the mats on the platinum-tier crafting. its at that weird midpoint between ‘low-level drops’ that are common because they drop from lower level enemies, and the ‘max-level drops’ which are common because they drop from all the max-level events, missions, and expansions.

on top of that, leather and cloth are more difficult to farm because you cant just run around looking for nodes on your map.

It is possible to get the materials even at level 80. A lvl 51-53 character opening bags with a low chance for rare (such as masterwork and loot bags) ; karma to buy karma armor pieces to throw in the mystic forge ; the new cleric farm in bloodstone fen. For what I know of. It is less simple than choping wood and mining ore (and probably hence the higher prices). Cloth has become much cheaper lately, though.

ive always loved the economy in gw2. we dont know how good we have it. a couple years back i booted up WoW for the first time in forever, and my god i was so spoiled by gw2 i just couldnt deal with their archaic and broken economy and auction system.

I would class GW2’s economy as probably the second best, right behind EVE. Sometimes I wonder why they couldn’t just copy EVE’s market mechanics and UI.

I’m disappointed that Anet keeps manipulating the market artificially instead of allowing it to evolve naturally through free market forces.

It’s part of the reason why EVE’s market is so immersive and interesting because it’s controlled by the players, supply and demand, and player-initiated events, instead of having the developers step in to mess about just because they didn’t like how some numbers are showing up.

At the same time though, at least things havent exploded like other MMO economies to the point you have to buy ingame coin to get anything

so… this update, keyword: “taking a step back”
You coulda just stayed silent, you know.. …..and enjoy the beach somewhere in the southern Hemisphere, and everyone still understand your direction without the wall of text.

I was thinking the same thing… We have learned nothing from these statements, I wonder why they have been made. This economy tinkering is behind the scenes we don’t know how they balance the economy in the first place, saying they are going to step away from doing something we don’t know their doing is well… pointless. blah

“where the prices weren’t really reflective of input or demand, but rather the idea of a value”
…like literally everything?

If there’s a valuable looking skin for an exo, it’s 5 times the price even more
if it’s a lower tier mat valuable for making high tier items (ascended/legendary) the price is astronomical..

..and so on.

He practically described the whole market. Or am i getting it wrong?

There probably are some realy expensive items that many people put in the market and not that many buy and some realy cheap items that everyone wants and few people sell. Something like that.

Nope you’re not wrong. Players have noticed this trend long time ago and has already informed ArenaNet, but because they like it so much to dictate every aspect of the game rather than letting the player actually play the game, they ignore the warning and do whatever they want. GW2 would have been a better game than it is now if the Dev stop trying to control everything. It’s suffocating.

the current problem is that they overdid theire manipulation in a few ways:

1. they make leather extremly expensive by changing the whole recipies and increasing the amounts of that stuff to be hard to get anymore.
2. to lower costs for silk they changed the recipies too letting the prices fall extremly fast while other stuff like Mithrill is just dropping like shit and not used that much in the game.

While to boost leather was a very good idea as the old system nearly never used it beside some other recipies like the halloween mystic chests for example they didn’t balanced it they just changed the focus of the market from silk to leather instead and dropchances feel completely off for leather as well (getting up to 300 silk and 30 gaze per day but less then 150 thick leather or 5 hardened leather while mithrill is like 450 in the same time and orichalchum like 40 as u can also gather them)

The most stable prices we have on wood in the moment.

As long as there is no need for the items the prices will not increase and as long as other mats get more rare every day the prices will not fall for them either.

Beside that there is a completely lack for lots of items of lower tiers to be used at all.

A completely other story is the fact of skins which are mostly reflecting theire overall costs to create or get which leads to very high prices in the first place and there is no problem with that because it is also aa simply reflection of the costs and rarity behind it. Prices here fall with the number of the skins getting into the game or the costs for materials to create.

The whole crafting mats story has also a sideeffect with stats when it comes to blood, totems, claws, poison and so on. The Problem here is simply that there is no need for lots of stats right now as the whole game is to much damagebased and lacking all nondamage but defense and supportive stats for most parts meta. Arenanet has to understand that as long as there is no content for those other stats there is no need to even use them. While the start idea was to allow every profession to play the role they wanted to play the game didn’t let them worst with timebased boss and raidfights which told all people u have to go for damage! That system told the people that there is no place for other stats anymore. The biggest impact on the whole game was made when the conditionsystem was changed for the better! It opened up the game so all kinds of people seeing new ways to play the game then just powerbased builds. And we go on with the introducing of the druid specialisation we get a real healer in the game but they didn’t change the statssystem so it was a overpowered healer vs 4 underpowered ones we have with engineer with lots of healing skills that however are not strong enough to help much in the end (Medikit 1 is the worst skill in the whole game!) , elementalist on water with also a few healing effects but none that really impacts the situation and of course guardian and Ventari based revenants) Lowering the base selfhealing on every class would change the need for healers in a very good way while allowing also to specialice for damagebased builds in groups too.

To make the whole economy stronger u would need to start with the baseproblems of the game itself and those are the terrible damageconcentrated statsystem and the lack of content in much parts of the game that really rewards you like underwatercombat that is a fantastic combatsystem that is not liked because it is so stupidly unrewarding and complicated (no automated traitchange for underwater for example like it is with the skills and lots of not useable skills underwater up to the point they even blocked more skills after the grat skill changes (engineer medkit for example was useable before now u can’t anymore leaving u with Elixier H or AED (which no one relly likes in pve)

So what to do?
1. balance the tradepost for materials by changes in the recipies to reflect the gathering of those items as wel las theire need
2. Overwork the statsystem furthermore to increase buildpossebilitys for all gametypes which also includes to think over new content that is not easy to deal with with damage onlybased builds.

3.Overwork underwatercombat with rewarding content and skill and traitreworks so people are not annoyed to go underwater anymore but feel like it is fun to think of that too. (right now there are only 2 rewarding underwatercombat contentbits in the game with underwaterfractal and Rhendak)

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