I have good news and bad news. The good news is there is an absolute price cap to gems, where $10 of gold bought from a gold seller will buy 600 gems. The bad news is we’re not even close to that absolute cap.
I received an email from a seller selling 10G for roughly $2.25. The gold seller prices have come down a bit, and they may be able to bring the price lower. Using today’s price using 1G and 77 gems to find out the conversion rates, here’s where the prices stand. (I would have liked to use 10G and 1000 gems, but I don’t have that) 1G can be traded into 56 gems, and 77 gems traded into about 1G.
At $2.25 for 10G, you’d get 44.44G for $10.
To be equal to AreaNet’s 600 gems for $10, that 44.44G would have to buy 600 gems. (roughly, removing consideration for exchange rates being slightly worse when converting gems to gold.) Therefore, 100 gems would cost 7.4G. and 1G would buy 13.5 gems. That’s roughly 4.15 times the current exchange rate. Do you think gems can quadruple in price?
A character expansion slot would then cost 59.2G. (converting the gold into 800 gems) That seems steep, but I think it’s possible. Hardcore farmers could earn that in a week. An addicted player might need a month of farming, and the casual player could buy the expansion for a little over $13. (except they don’t sell gems in that quantity :P)
What it comes down to is: Do you think the price of gems can go up until the gold sellers/botters price themselves out of the market? Or do you think gem prices will stabilize at some point that botters will always be around? As the $10 approaches 600 gems, fewer and fewer people will buy from botters. It’s ingenius, really. And while I really think the final prices will drive many beginning players away, there is a stable end somewhere in the future.