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RuneScape - Digging The Virtual Economy 31

Posted by Zonk
from the micro-macro-economics dept.
Inquisitor911 writes "One of the things that is peculiar about MMORPGs are the constantly changing virtual markets. For example, look at RuneScape's Economic Fluctuations after the release of skills allowing players to build in-game houses." From the post: "The initial frenzy started with realtors. Once the announcement about the housing update was made, members flocked to purchase houses (placed in a magical portal, so they don't clutter up the landscape) and then flocked to build. A market sprang up within minutes that catered to those too busy, too intent, or too high-level to bother gathering up resources. Planks, nails, clay, rock, tiles, and more suddenly began to command exceptional prices. Clay went from 10 gold pieces to 1000 gold pieces within minutes. Right now it is hovering between a low of 600 or 700 gold pieces for dry clay to about 1000 gold pieces for wet clay, but the price is fluctuating downwards as the initial demand levels off and more suppliers get in on the action. I expect it will peak again on the weekend as more players become aware of the new function."
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RuneScape - Digging The Virtual Economy

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  • Virtual Economies (Score:5, Interesting)

    by shigelojoe (590080) on Friday June 02, 2006 @07:59PM (#15459122)
    It'd be interesting to see economic indicators such as inflation, GDP, and CPI computed for a virtual economy like just to see what sort of things come up in this type of environment. Or to see market analysis techniques applied to the prices of in-game items:

    "Arcane crystal prices skyrocketed today after Blizzard implemented a series of upgrade quests that require arcanite components, while water breathing potions tumbled after the spawn rate of Oily Blackmouth was significantly increased."
    • Re:Virtual Economies (Score:5, Informative)

      by Rendus (2430) <rendus@@@cox...net> on Friday June 02, 2006 @08:36PM (#15459325)
      There's actually a website dedicated to this in Everquest - www.eqecon.com
    • Re:Virtual Economies (Score:3, Informative)

      by flooey (695860)
      It'd be interesting to see economic indicators such as inflation, GDP, and CPI computed for a virtual economy like just to see what sort of things come up in this type of environment. Or to see market analysis techniques applied to the prices of in-game items:

      There actually is a group dedicated to doing that in World of Warcraft, but their research isn't open to the public.
  • * tile is not a runescape construction material
    * runescape characters may in fact sit (and rock!) in their new chairs.
  • Real Estate Investment Trusts?

    It's one thing to speculate on clay prices, another to supply goods to people heading for a goldrush (why Seattle is bigger than Tacoma), but if they actually allowed you to create a mutual fund to invest in property speculation and rentals to lazy heros, now that's intriguing.

    Wonder how many gold one would have to invest to be able to live off the proceeds and get a new two-handed sword every month in earnings ...
  • ToAU and FFXI (Score:3, Interesting)

    by TheKeeper (212278) on Friday June 02, 2006 @08:53PM (#15459418) Homepage Journal
    squareenix recently did some market control with the expansion ToAU.
    they added npc's that sell some items that were player crafted only, and it short supply.
    they also added many npc's that sell goods that formerly were in short/limited supply due to limited store volumn.

    they also opened up a new worms nest of extortion tho, they have a problem similar to runescape.
    by adding a VERY VERY sought after item used by one of the new very popular jobs (w.cocoons for pup's).
    very low drop rate from kills, and only a small handfull available per game day (about an earth hour) makes an item that costs 100 from the store, sell for 6 figures.

    granted, as people get (from various means, or just shelling out the cash) get the items, the demand and there for the price rapidly falls, which only brings in more demand from people that were waiting for it to fall, which drives prices back up.... and so on.

    in 2 years of playing FFXI, i've seen the market go up, down, sideways,
      and last xmas, even do a quadruple how-now-brown-cow backflip half twist summersault (if you were there, you'd understand)

    MMO markets are very fragile things, and with so many players, 24/7 poking at it, they are almost as fun to playwith as going out and killing things.
  • If you wanted to GM a skill, say like woodworking, or blacksmithing, you'd buy 50,000 boards, or ignots, and crank out whatever gave you the best gains in skills ups. For smithing, it was plate (breastplate). You didn't care how much you failed, you just wanted the dam "Your skill in Blacksmithing has increased to XX.X" message. Everyone I knew was unavailable their first hour of logging, trying to jam their skill during their power hour.

    The thing was, the cost per ignot and board shot up dramatically as
    • Aside, housing was always a problem, since when you placed a house, even a stupid twig would stop you from bein able to place it. Plus it didn't help that the land had to be "flat"

      Of course that didn't stop many areas from looking like a trailer park. A very very dense trailer park with everyone and their blocked in polar bears shouting "get off my lawn!".
    • by jeti (105266)
      I think Runescape is mostly popular because every kid with
      an internet connection can enter it. You don't have to
      install additional software and you can play the free version
      for an unlimited time. Even the commercial version is cheap
      by comparison ($5).

      The majority of Runescape players are teenagers.
  • It's good to know that RuneScape is still spiraling downhill out of control, on fire. PS Cooking lobsters turns them from brown to red, NOT THE OTHER WAY AROUND.
  • Player's note (Score:3, Interesting)

    by FireballX301 (766274) on Saturday June 03, 2006 @12:19AM (#15460176) Journal
    Disclaimer - I assist in running a Runescape help site. A legit one. Google me if you want.

    This happens in any MMO. Demand surges from the rich people with money to blow. The poor people jump in to harvest material to get rich. The rich get a gigantic mansion (the skill construction is little more than a massive goldsink, ex: equipping a dungeon into your house complete with a 'steel dragon' costs you well over fifteen MILLION gold), the poor get cash to spend on supplies.

    This happened in Runescape after any skill release (farming, runecrafting), this will happen in World of Warcraft when Jewelcrafting comes out at expansion, etc. Give it a few weeks, prices will stabilize, and we're back to the status quo.

    I believe that Runescape presents the best MMO economy simply because nothing is ever bound to the user and prices for supplies are generally not set. In other games the best gear, best armor or whatever cannot be resold and typically also cannot be bought (WoW, UO, etc).
    • This happened in Runescape after any skill release (farming, ...

      heh heh heh...

      • Don't laugh. Farming is actually a skill in this game. You can plant herbs and trees and have to water them and protect them from pests for some time until they grow valuable.
    • Re:Player's note (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Swift(void) (655825)

      This happened in Runescape after any skill release (farming, runecrafting), this will happen in World of Warcraft when Jewelcrafting comes out at expansion, etc. Give it a few weeks, prices will stabilize, and we're back to the status quo.

      It already happens. The War Effort to open the gates of Ahn'Qiraj being the biggest example. On Proudmoore, stacks of wool shot up from about 40-50 silver to over 2 gold, silk cloth was even higher. Every resource required for the war effort skyrocketed until the gat

    • "In other games the best gear, best armor or whatever cannot be resold and typically also cannot be bought (WoW, UO, etc)."

      Can you please let me know where did you get the information about UO's best gears can not be resold or bought and why?

      Last time I played UO, any item can be transfered between players in different ways (including dropping on the floor accidentally) and basically anyone can use anything (given that the character's attribute permits). But that was a couple of years ago, things migh

    • "I believe that Runescape presents the best MMO economy simply because nothing is ever bound to the user and prices for supplies are generally not set. In other games the best gear, best armor or whatever cannot be resold and typically also cannot be bought (WoW, UO, etc)."

      However, due to the nature of the general population of RuneScape (younger players, around 10-12ish [note: not all-inclusive]), the entire game's economy and social scene is largely unsound. The more experienced players dominate the ga
  • This "economy" thing is a joke,and i don't want to expand on it.Blizzard can twist the world all they want.It like calling
    software viruses "alive" or nethack a "virtual reality game".
  • I've always wanted the developers to put more emphasis on these types of systems by placing actual specialists on the development team. There are probably a number of graduate students who would be interested in participating in the development of a virtual simulation of their studies, and it would certain add a whole new dimension to the normal gameplay.

    Just think of it: Economists planning actual economic systems that have forethought; politics, anthropology, and history majors all developing a rich sy

You see but you do not observe. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, in "The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes"

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