With the exception of craft materials, the pre-endgame item economy is broken. As an example, I can buy a L39 coat of green (good, better than blue) quality level for 112 copper coins on the auction house. This is not a rare low sell. As I look at the auction house there are over 1000 items of this type selling at this price. I can sell the same item to a vendor for 111 copper coins. Over 1000 players took the time to sell this item on the auction house at a premium of 1 copper coin over what any npc vendor would pay them. Given that the auction house charges 5%, these players are actually losing at least 4% of the value of their goods by joining the economy. Goods are so badly flooded that it is much cheaper to just sell your equipment and buy new equipment instead of repairing it when it gets damaged.
The item economy is so bad that essentially all items of white, blue, and green quality are junk items. There is a “sell junk” button that lets you sell all items that have no game use. If this button sold all white, blue, and green quality items (which was all the items I encountered up to L64) with one click, this would have been more useful. The only items I encountered as loot that were not junk were those related to craft activity.
Thus the item economy would have been improved if all players automatically got free gear upgrades every 5 or 10 levels and all of those white, blue, and green junk items were just never itemized as loot at all. Any excitement the player feels about loot drops very quickly fades in such an environment, and it all just becomes a pointless loot gathering exercise. In other words, the item economy would have been better if it had been removed.
Thus the pre-endgame item economy in GW2 is one of the worst I have studied in the last 14 years. This acts to further undermine the crafting professions since what is the point of investing heavily in craft skills when you can buy items of similar quality on the auction house for 10% of what it would cost for you to make that item? For the cost of crafting one L20 green con weapon (just the weapon, not the skill to get that craft level) I was able to buy an entire set of green con L35 gear including all armor slots and a two handed weapon.
Last paragraph emphasis mine. Fascinating read.
Edited by MazingerZ, 29 April 2013 - 09:45 PM.