Driving the price up = market manipulation. And there can nothing be done about that (there isn't even anything wrong with that, those people take a risk, sometimes it pays of, sometimes it doesn't), unless Anet wants to go put up max prices for certain items (which would be utterly crap imo).
Exploit is where people use a bug in a game to acquire more wealth than other players (the karma items that were extremely cheap, the bone weapons that had a higher chance of getting pre-cursor, and now the recent exploit where people farmed hundreds & hundreds of ectos)
What is the real problem with the economy then, because I don't see one.
The issue is the same in my mind. A select few people (those that successfully manage market manipulation) end up with a majority of the gold, while everyone else loses (because they end up paying much more for materials than the manipulators did).
And let's face it, the manipulators are increasing prices beyond 15% to make a profit. (Probably buying up cheap materials under a silver each and reselling them for 2-10x what they paid.)
We shouldn't need to constantly monitor the Trading Post looking for new deals and investments to be "successful" in a video game.
Now look at the "exploiters"... They didn't even manage to create enough ecto to sufficiently change the market. Ecto never went lower than 25 silver. (When it was far lower before the Lost Shores update -- and all the insane crafting requirements for Ascended gear and infusions.) Thus it's not like the market was flooded with ecto, as supply didn't drown out the demand. (Unless, perhaps, market manipulators are to blame for the ecto prices remaining the same.)
I feel like ArenaNet has probably overstated how much gold the exploiters made (maybe by taking raw profit from ecto sales).
Moreover, I recall people crafting rare weapons and salvaging them into ecto early on in the game. (Back when ecto prices were vastly lower.) So I don't really see how this was an obvious example of an exploit. You salvage rares and sometimes you get globs of ecto. This is an inherent mechanic of the way the game works.
I'm still confused as to how exactly it qualifies as bannable. Yes, you only needed one snowflake to craft the rare and you'd occasionally get it back... But it's not like it destroyed the market. The market shifted to make the snowflakes expensive. Who cares if someone made in-game gold off of it. At least they got it by selling ecto and not by market manipulation (which, in my humble opinion, is just taking advantage of other people).
What I think happened: ArenaNet employees got back from their lengthy vacations and after patting each other on the back for giving NCSoft their best quarter ever (likely due to Gem sales) they noticed that someone, somewhere in Tyria was making gold. How could this be, when they've already nerfed drop rates to hell? Then, enraged by someone "taking advantage of their game", they perma-banned everyone.
I know the difference. Thanks.
In any other freaking market on the planet price manipulation between knowing parties is very illegal and a huge problem.
The problem is that Anet designed the game around a stringent market place where most people have no money and the people that got on the ground floor can manipulate things to keep things that way. Sort of like how our economy IRL is now set up. No upward mobility.
I guess if you design your game around the fact that you want to squeeze gold out so you can sell gems then your plan is going accordingly. Problem is that this is not fun at all and kind of shitty. We were warned by some naysayers when the store was announced but most of us (me included) were just happy enough to get a new GW that we glossed over it. Months into the game and we can see they were right. Game design leans heavily towards selling gems and totally away from just fun content.
But hey, if you got the cash to buy gems and are so inclined then more power to you. DRIVE THOSE PRICES UP UP UP! WEEEeeEeeEE.
I agree completely with this post. I mean, they admitted that the cost of crafting Ascended gear and infusions was obscene... But they only made minor adjustments to infusion recipes.
No change to the fact that Ascended back pieces still require 50 ecto to craft and 250 ecto to infuse.
Yes, they wanted to drive up the price of ecto (and they did) but it's really just an absurd amount. A full set of exotic armor didn't require anywhere near that, and yet they make a SINGLE backpiece require 300 ecto.
It's all just a money grab. They're hoping that people will get pissed off grinding for gold and just spend cash for shiny artwork.
I can't imagine why I would want to spend any more real money in a game where I have to live in constant fear of being banned.