Sunday, October 21, 2012

Price Fluctuation in the Spirit of Halloween

The long-awaited Halloween event will start tomorrow! The patch is going to bring a large amount of new content for players to enjoy, some of which will remain even after the holiday event ends. The new content includes at least new story acts, dynamic events, bosses, mini-dungeons, a mini-game called Costume Brawl, and of course lots of new items, including costumes, item skins, tonics and minipets. There's also been rumours about new jump puzzles and it wouldn't be a surprise if there were some new recipes for the Mystic Forge! And of course, as per the tradition of the original Guild Wars, the cities will get a new look to match the holiday season, and will get visited by the Mad King Thorn. Let the trick or treat season begin!

But what does this mean from the crafting and trading perspective? Content patches like the Halloween event can have a great impact on the in-game economy in the form of price fluctuation, which basically means the average price of an item changing significantly. The demand for an item can rise greatly, if the item is suddenly needed or wanted more than usual. This pushes the price higher. At the same time some other item might be obtained more frequently, if a lot of players for example focus on exploring the same area. This drops the price lower than before. It is important to be able to see where these kind of changes in price can occur in the light of future patches, and be prepared. One should keep an eye out for patch notes, buy items which price they think will rise during the patch, and sell items now which price they think will drop.

During the Halloween event there will be six new weapon skins available that can be gotten from the Black Lion Chests. The demand for the chests will rise when people get to see the new skins and decide they want one for themselves. In addition to the chests, people will also need Black Lion Keys to open them. This will get some people to buy the keys for real money, but a lot of people will buy the gems for gold, which leads to the gem prices to also rise. There's also the new constumes, tonics and minipets that can be bought from the Gem Store, which will make the gem prices rise even more.



Because there's just one more day left until the event begins, some people might think that it is already too late to start getting prepared. Even though the prices have already started to rise, it's not quite yet too late. A lot of players don't think about these kind of things before they actually occur. They might not have even heard of the event or thought about getting any of the items that will become available. The only people that are on the move now are the people who are attempting to make a profit out of the situation, and the real demand will show itself after the event has begun.

This kind of flipping (buying low, selling high) of course has its own risks as we can't predict the future. The prices might rise, but will they rise high enough to cover the 15% Trading Post tax? Or will the gem prices actually rise so much that converting gems back to gold yields profit? With great risk can come a great reward, but one should always have a look at their own wallet and think if they can also take the possible losses. And not everyone like taking big risks; instead some people prefer to play safe and accumulate profit slowly via safe and proven methods. If one does not want to stockpile Black Lion Chests or gems, they can still at least hold on to the chests and keys they already have, and wait for the event to launch.

This ideology can be applied to all kinds of future events and content patches, not just Halloween, and people should always study the patch notes in advance. It is not all, however. In addition to buying and selling items at the right time before and during the season, one should also keep and eye out for items which are obtainable for only a limited time – like this Halloween event. When the event ends and the items become unobtainable, the prices for these items will start rising slowly. This is because after the event there will be less and less of the items available in the market, while the people who did not get them during the event still wish to obtain them. Some people are willing to pay a lot of money for items that can no longer be obtained in the game. The longer one waits, the less items there are. The more patience the seller has, the higher the price will rise. Of course if the items will be available during the next Halloween event as well, it'd be a good idea to sell them well before October 2013.

It can't be said for sure yet, if this kind of items that can be stockpiled and sold later for great profit, will even exist the content patch. There's a good chance that all the Halloween weapon skins and other items are soulbound or disappear after the event in order to prevent people from obtaining great profits with this kind of a method (investing). Due to the Gem Store business concept, ArenaNet is always going to be very concerned about inflation. It's still a good idea to keep an eye out for these kinds of items though. Who knows what will end up in your treat bag by the end of the season?