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Meia.6907
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#1 -

At the beginning of the game, John Smith did an excellent work showing us trends on how the game was going, which profession was the most played etc.

I was wondering if we could have one of those now, after 4 months into the game to see how the economy changed. I am asking that because all the threads on this forum are about how some people control the market, how Anet manipulates gem price, etc etc.

Maybe with some sort of official statistics, we would actually know what to think and all this threads who are only whining ones ( no offense here) could maybe be answered all at once by some stats from the economy team.

For those who don’t know what I am talking about, here is a link to what John Smith posted a while back:

http://media.giantbomb.com/uploads/0/4689/2299985-commerce_infographic_en.png


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ArenaNet Poster
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#11 -

My guess is that it would probably be very similar to real world economics, where 1% of the people own 99% of the wealth.

If they start posting confirmations on this, we’ll end up with an “occupy wall street” movement in game. Players flooding the trading post in protest. Players refusing to buy/sell materials until changes are made to the game. Huge market crashes as the wealthy players try to offload everything they own in response. Chaos.

While there will be some superficial similarities, I seriously doubt the wealth inequality in game will mirror real world inequality as there are a number of factors that drive inequality in real economies that don’t exist in-game

For example, in the real world, having wealth enables you to create/find rent-seeking (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rent_seeking) opportunities that don’t exist in this virtual economy. As a result, those who have already wealth in this game are generally not able to use that wealth to prevent others from gaining wealth.

You are correct. There are several good reasons why wealth distributions in game don’t mimic the US Economy.
Another reason is that the growth of wealth is exponential in many developed economies, where it’s closer to logarithmic in GW2.

The entire set of reasons would be a very interesting discussion…Well for me at least


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ArenaNet Poster
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#16 -

I don’t mean that the wealth of the country grows. I mean that individuals with wealth will create more wealth an a significantly higher rate than those without wealth. It takes money to make money essentially.


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ArenaNet Poster
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#41 -

I don’t know why people here think they know more about the economy than an economist.

A couple reasons, but the main reason is that the study of economics is the study of human behavior and psychology and as such, it is imperfect, incomplete and subject to very different interpretations and perspectives.

It’s the voodoo witch doctor profession of our age.

This is very far from the truth.
Even more so inside of MMOs where there is complete data.


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ArenaNet Poster
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#60 -

it makes my brain cry.

I really laughed at makes my brain cry, going to use that in the future, thanks!


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ArenaNet Poster
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#64 -

I was going to reply to Tallis, but I realised there wasn’t much point… people believe all sorts of crazy things despite evidence to the contrary.


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ArenaNet Poster
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#78 -

I’m really quite confused here. The thread made a very specific request, and yet the actual topic has been avoided. When I see an ArenaNet symbol next to a thread, I usually assume it means they’ve taken the time to provide constructive feedback and answer questions.

Other people have even reiterated the question to John in this very thread after he responded in here. If I sound frustrated, it’s because I am, and it’s a problem that in my opinion is becoming rampant the forums. Why bother posting at all if you aren’t going to address the issue raised in the thread? It drives me up a wall when ArenaNet takes the time to post on a thread that they’ve obviously been reading, and then have unrelated sidebar conversations while completely avoiding the point of the particular thread.

So, I’ll repeat the request again, is this data something you can provide to us again?

A simple, “I can’t provide that for you at this time”, or “it’s something I will work on getting out” is all that’s needed. Even a flat out “No.” will suffice. I feel like it’s a game sometimes (of pulling teeth) to actually get an ArenaNet response on these forums that’s relevant to the purpose of the thread. No one expects you to reply to every thread and post, but if you’re going to take the time to post in one, please at the very least address the heart of the thread, instead of just ignoring it.

I post because I enjoy interacting with the community.


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ArenaNet Poster
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#80 -

You are under no obligation to reveal that information John Smith, ignore these guys :P

I’d much rather talk about the economics of Guild Wars 2.

-How do you feel about controlling inflation? Do you think the gold sinks we have in the game are sufficient enough to keep the value of gold steady overtime?

Inflation is a really tricky topic. One important thing to understand about inflation (the EVE guys have done a great job explaining this) is that it isn’t a change in the quantity of money available, it’s a change in prices (not individual prices). It’s easy to double the money supply and not inflate the economy.
I won’t speak to our specific strategies, but there are a couple of different ways to go. An interesting strategy that not many people think about is allowing the economy to inflate a bit, then pulling the money back out in a cycle ( many countries do this, but not on purpose :P ) There are specific benefits to this, that only occur as benefits in games.


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ArenaNet Poster
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#84 -

Inflation is a really tricky topic. One important thing to understand about inflation (the EVE guys have done a great job explaining this) is that it isn’t a change in the quantity of money available, it’s a change in prices (not individual prices). It’s easy to double the money supply and not inflate the economy.

Somebody get Glenn Beck on the phone! ;-)

But in all seriousness, I have a couple questions, I don’t know if you can give much detail on them…

1) It sounds like you have some sort of target in mind when you “balance” the economy. Is this an inflation target (e.g. we’d like to keep inflation at or around 2%) or is it a price target (e.g. we think 1 gold should buy 3-4 ecto… which is my guess, btw)? And did you guys come up with these targets before the official release or was/is it something you’re constantly refining?

2) People have criticized ArenaNet for being very harsh with the ban-hammer, but I tend to agree with your decisions in the name of protecting the economy. I’m curious as to the size of exploits/RMT transactions that get caught in relation to the size of the economy and the amassed wealth. Meaning: if the snowflake exploit created 2 million “illegal” gold, how does that compare as a percentage to the daily/weekly/monthly gold-creation rate and how does it compare to the accumulated wealth of all players?

It’d be really cool to see numbers like “during the two days the exploit was being used, 15% of in-game value creation came from snowflake salvaging.” I’m not even sure if you guys have the data for that, but it’d be really interesting. Ditto RMT: you guys are regularly banning accounts and undoing transfers, I assume… what percentage of the economy is involved in illicit trade?

1. We have ideas for the ideal scenarios for everything, but they are constantly changing. As we release new content (which as you see is a lot of new content, and a lot more to come) the value of items involved and involved by proxy (substitute and complimentary and transitional goods) in the new content changes.

2. The economy is so massive and filled with good players that RMT holds relatively little total percentage of the economy. To give some perspective on banning for exploits. Our last round of snowflake banning encompassed greater than 275,000 illicitly created ectos.


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ArenaNet Poster
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#88 -

When I say the last round of banning encompassed, I mean those who were banned created that many.


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ArenaNet Poster
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#98 -

Lets not turn this thread into a discussion of one specific exploit.


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ArenaNet Poster
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#102 -

Lets not turn this thread into a discussion of one specific exploit.

I have to say, however, that you have a perfect name for an economist.

Coming from an economist.

Thanks! It’s real


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ArenaNet Poster
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#113 -

Gambling would be fun for some people, but it has a lot of negatives to it, I think we’ll probably stay away from it.


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ArenaNet Poster
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#116 -

Let me transalate this corporate shill-speak for those that don’t speak it:

1. We have ideas for the ideal scenarios for everything, but they are constantly changing. As we release new content (which as you see is a lot of new content, and a lot more to come) the value of items involved and involved by proxy (substitute and complimentary and transitional goods) in the new content changes.

Translation:

Yes we did have some prices in mind for stuff, and we had to revise those when inflation got so out of control and ridiculous. We hope to somehow get a handle on it by introducing more and more junk-sinks where you can get stuff in high demand while taking out some of the over-supply of goods.

2. The economy is so massive and filled with good players that RMT holds relatively little total percentage of the economy. To give some perspective on banning for exploits. Our last round of snowflake banning encompassed greater than 275,000 illicitly created ectos.

Translation:

I’m not going to tell you how much money is injected into the economy by RMT, suffice to say It’s a lot, but most of the money comes in from loot drops. We cull money out of the economy by banning people with a lot of it.

The reason he’s sidestepping the question of can we please see some data about the economy is that it’s embarassingly broken, nothing at all like the proudly-flaunted infographic from the BWE and wealth is even less evenly distributed than in real life.

There is nothing in this post that is accurate.


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ArenaNet Poster
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#136 -

When/if I release a Lorenz curve or something similar to show distribution of wealth you can be sure it will be accurate.
It will also only probably be gold only. Counting the value outside of gold would be interesting, but would be hard to do accurately. I would consider doing both, but would definitely start with gold.
I really wanted to get a new blog post out for the first quarter of the game’s release, but I haven’t had the time, and issues in the game have to come first. It’s on my list of things to publish though.


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ArenaNet Poster
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#140 -

One way of presenting a wealth chart that would be fascinating to me is gold (or other broader account value assessment) vs. hours played.

Not so much an “average gold per hour” thing, but looking at wealth vs. account age to see if there are any distinct bends in the curve. For example, I just finished my master crafter title this week and expect my ability to make gold to go up noticably now that I’m not hording materials for conversion to crafting XP.

I could probably spend a month coming up with meaningful combinations of wealth and income. Your suggestion would be at the top of the list, and the immediate question that comes up is: Do players who spend more time in game have more wealth because they play more, or are they more efficient because they’re really good at the game or both.


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ArenaNet Poster
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#160 -

Just tossing my 2c on why Smith is griefing us all and denying us data.

He has very explicitly avoided the question on purpose, and has made a point of it. It is clear he is trying to convey that he can not, or does not want to, disclose any information. But, I am sure he is physically able to disclose some information – heck, I’m pretty sure he has like 10 charts of wealth distribution glued on all sides of his screen at work. So he does not want to, or someone forbids him to.

I can very well see the reason: for one person on the forums that can actually gain insight from the charts and be reasonable, there are twenty hate monkeys who will jump on the newly acquired data to “prove” that Anet fails @economy, is an evil corporation trying to pass subliminal messages about buying gems, is behind Guantanamo Bay and the Cold War, etc. Sometimes it’s better to leave those people without tools – I certainly would handle stuff this way if I were at Anet. I think John Smith is trying to tell us this with his behavior.

Presenting data for release is a more serious undertaking than you realize. Think of how many languages it has to be presented in, and the graphics have to be universally understandable, and for my purposes that means custom design, timing, approval. I’ve said I haven’t had time to prepare the information for a blog, though I would like to.

Seriously, enough with the conspiracies, I’m not saying anything, except exactly what I’m saying.


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ArenaNet Poster
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#162 -

Now that you’re on your lunchbreak, question!

Is there anything surprising (economically) that has caught you off guard in regards to the game? Perhaps price manipulation?

When I released the blog post about pulling some of the surplus items like butter and soft wood logs out of the market with the Mystic Chest. How fast that took effect and burned those items really surprised me. 7 Million Items in 2 hours, never seen anything like it. It was really cool.


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ArenaNet Poster
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#165 -

As someone who adored that instance of the economy being rebalanced, (I could finally sell Iron Ore to other players w/o losing money!) I keep hoping you guys will do stuff like that again. It’s a personal thing, but I hate selling crafting supplies to vendors because I’d be selling at a loss on the TP, when I know that people could be using the mats that I’m essentially destroying. Are there any plans to do more limited-time mystic forge recipes like that again, or was that a one-off experiment?

Never say never


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ArenaNet Poster
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#169 -

I can’t answer questions about my specific feelings about individual item prices here.


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ArenaNet Poster
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#190 -

I worry less about current prices and more about trends. Overall it takes time, but it’s a solved problem how to fix individual markets (there are lots of solutions).
Just to kill any conspiracies, I don’t WORRY about anything.
A small portion of what I study is faucets and sinks, profit an loss for each section of industry, drops/loot, wealth and income, and RMT.

Here’s my 3 second summary of each of those:
1. Faucets and sinks: It’s a lot easier to make faucets than sinks, this causes problems.

2. Profit and Loss: There is nothing in our game that doesn’t consistently have places where good profit margins exist, including crafting.

3. Drops and Loot: People mistake the sell and buy orders of drops as static, but don’t see the velocity of those items. It often seems like there aren’t new items, when the supply might cycle 4-5 times in a day.

4. Wealth and Income: While there are some super rich, it’s significantly less people than brag about it. There are also very few super poor.

5. RMT: I’ve made my feelings about RMT pretty clear before. One day I hope I’ll be able to release numbers on how much money is wasted and how many people’s lives are damaged by RMT to give people some perspective on who they’re supporting.


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ArenaNet Poster
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#215 -

To make up for my last couple of off-topic posts, here’s a couple of things I’d like to see in terms of statistics:

1) Some kind of index to measure inflation – there may need to be more than one index to cover different groups of items, but it would be useful to have some solid data to prove or disprove claims about how inflation is affecting the economy.

2) Wealth distribution – this may be tricky because it should not just be focused purely on gold held by an account (in real life a person’s wealth isn’t measured solely by their cash assets), but it won’t necessarily be easy to assign values to some items that people are holding onto.

3) Trading volumes/values – As well as the raw figures, I’d be interested in seeing this broken down in a similar manner to a Lorentz curve for buyers and sellers (e.g. percentage of players by both volume and value of activity)

Players can actually measure inflation for themselves.

I got bored in my Public Speaking class today and was determining the Elasticity of certain GW2 items, heh.

With Spidy you could easily track data and determine inflation based on a decent sample size of goods.

You could try, but you’d be wrong 99.9% of the time. You also most certainly cannot measure elasticity through spidy because 1. It updates slower than trading. 2. It doesn’t show actual trades.


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ArenaNet Poster
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#218 -

To make up for my last couple of off-topic posts, here’s a couple of things I’d like to see in terms of statistics:

1) Some kind of index to measure inflation – there may need to be more than one index to cover different groups of items, but it would be useful to have some solid data to prove or disprove claims about how inflation is affecting the economy.

2) Wealth distribution – this may be tricky because it should not just be focused purely on gold held by an account (in real life a person’s wealth isn’t measured solely by their cash assets), but it won’t necessarily be easy to assign values to some items that people are holding onto.

3) Trading volumes/values – As well as the raw figures, I’d be interested in seeing this broken down in a similar manner to a Lorentz curve for buyers and sellers (e.g. percentage of players by both volume and value of activity)

Players can actually measure inflation for themselves.

I got bored in my Public Speaking class today and was determining the Elasticity of certain GW2 items, heh.

With Spidy you could easily track data and determine inflation based on a decent sample size of goods.

You could try, but you’d be wrong 99.9% of the time. You also most certainly cannot measure elasticity through spidy because 1. It updates slower than trading. 2. It doesn’t show actual trades.

You are wrong on both accounts.

Inflation is measured over time. Spidy is perfect for that.

The only problem with measuring elasticity using spidy is the quantity demanded is kind of skewed. As people have ridiculously low bids on the TP. But you can measure it using spidy in a way that gives a somewhat accurate portrayal of the goods. I think you would find with your own data that crafting materials are pretty inelastic.

I’m not sure how to make this clearer. Spidy shows buy and sell orders. Spidy does not show completed transaction at each level. Nor does it represent changes in the game design, content or drops. Properly understanding inflation does not mean picking a bundle of random good in a virtual economy and seeing if the price has changed. This means you cannot judge inflation accurately and you cannot judge elasticity at all.