Can’t Stop the Tide

Sometimes I wonder why I ever took the “RMAH combats gold sellers” argument seriously.

Race you to the bottom.

In that screenshot I took over the weekend, 1600 gems would net me an auspicious 4g 6s 66c for basically $20. The gold-seller was advertising in Map chat that $19 buys 10g. Or, 20s 33c vs 52s 63c per $1. That is a 2.5x better exchange rate.

Maybe these developers are going after the middle margins: the people that might of bought gold from shady websites, but give out a sigh of relief over the legit channels. Or maybe the devs simply looked at how much money was changing hands – and how much was sitting on the table! – before deciding that getting more than a $0 piece of the pie would be profit.

As you can tell by my gem count, I am not exactly complaining here¹. That 1700 amount and the four bank slot additions I have unlocked were all procured via in-game currency. I am level 55. Just sell everything, and you will be fine, I promise.

Well, you will be fine unless you enjoy staying in similar locations or doing the same dungeons. In which case, ArenaNet has “anti-farming” protocols to dynamically (!) lower drop rates of items, and other rewards based on… well, rather opaque criteria. Near as anyone can tell, it is based on the type of enemy one is killing, which causes trouble in the endgame Dynamic Event-driven zones that features waves of all the same type of creature.

Who was this designed for again? Because the botters can simply teleport around the map, and banning them is kinda pointless considering they use hacked accounts anyway. If it is to protect the economy or protect players from themselves – which seems odd given how many tokens/Karma/etc you need for things – the snide comparison between GW2 and the “energy management” iOS/Facebook games becomes dangerously apt.

In other news, I am happy to report WvW is working correctly:

Just in time for 7-day long matches!

According to the official rankings, the bottom three realms are…

1074.472 Northern Shiverpeaks
833.028 Devona’s Rest
634.207 Kaineng

There may or may not have been intentional rank tanking going on; at launch we had some major PvP guild, then they left for two weeks, and now it looks like they have returned? I suppose this behavior will level off once the free transfers are closed and the “real” rankings return. But at some point, I almost wonder what will prevent the various realms from simply win-trading their way across the merry-go-round. The incentives are all there vis-a-vis Karma and currency. And I almost think that would be preferable to the sort of Loss Point domination the system allows along the margins.

Has it occurred to anyone else that perhaps the mythical DAoC RvR experience was a time and place thing?

Regardless of all of the above, the wire keeps on humming away. I even did a dungeon over the weekend, and it was fun! Sort of. I will need to investigate further to be sure.

¹ On some level though, I do consider cash shops a mild form of exploitation. Human beings make irrational economic decisions all the time, and I put digital goods right up there with casinos in terms of ethical business dealings. Let’s not pretend ArenaNet is doing that soccer mom dumping $200 into the cash shop any real favors here.

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Posted on September 19, 2012, in Guild Wars 2 and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 7 Comments.

  1. While I agree that “right now” both the issues you presented are pretty bad, I can’t help but feel like a lot of this is due to the systems being very new. In the case of the Gem costs, they are steadily going up in favor of gems and are currently low due to the volume of people buying them at launch; I would imagine that they will steadily rise (especially if people start taking advantage of Gold Sellers prices by buying from them then buying gems that way, thus getting more gems for their money). As for the WvWvW; I think many of the groups are currently stilted, because the 1-day matches did not give the most accurate ratings to each realm. It’s like the first week of a new arena season; ratings need to stabilize.

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    • Replying to myself since reading today I found more: None of the “reduces drop rate” mechanics except the dungeon one have been confirmed by ANet (http://www.reddit.com/r/Guildwars2/comments/105bzo/hidden_game_mechanics_affecting_player_behavior/). This does not mean it doesn’t exist…BUT, accusing them of it feels like a level near Gevlon’s accusations of Wargaming rigging World of Tanks after some basic (and poor) tests.

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      • I accepted Gevlon’s WoT analysis because it made sense for the developers to do what he claims they did anyway, for balance purposes. Similarly, given the volume and velocity of items/gear generated in GW2, it makes logical sense for ArenaNet to put in diminishing returns. Ten people farming a fast-reseting Event could dump hundreds of items into the market in under an hour. I would be very surprised if ArenaNet didn’t have anti-farm protocols up to dampen such behavior, especially in a global AH (rampant botting on a single WoW server is bad, but is mostly self-contained).

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    • Well, on the one hand, ArenaNet specifically had those several weeks of 24-hour matches specifically to get the data (as they mention in the linked post). On the other, as I do acknowledge, Northern Shiverpeaks might have been intentionally tanked. Or perhaps those RUIN folks I keep hearing about transferred over here to crush two weakest servers for giggles.

      I am concerned regardless, as it is imminently possible to get chased all the way to your server’s portal with nary a realistic chance of comeback. Things might be calmer/easier during off-peak hours, but let’s be serious here: most people cannot simply start playing at some other time.

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  2. The issue with RMAH is that gold sellers can use stolen credit card numbers (e.g. from previous customers) to purchase the gold that they are then going to sell to customers. It’s the only ecosystem out there where you can buy $20 worth of gold, sell it to a customer for $10, and come out with a profit because the $20 wasn’t your money to begin with.

    Good to know about the official rankings – so if I don’t care at all about WvWvW(etcetcetc), I should pick the top ranked server because its inhabitants will get the associated buffs for me, correct?

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    • I would wait a bit for the ranking system to calm down (Northern Shiverpeaks will likely be rocketing up at the reset, for example), but even then… I dunno. The top PvP guilds seem to enjoy their mischief more than “realm pride,” which makes little sense with cross-realm guilds anyway.

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  3. “Has it occurred to anyone else that perhaps the mythical DAoC RvR experience was a time and place thing?”

    Naw, it was a good design thing. Match up the differences between DAoC and GW2, and you have your answer.

    If it was a time and place thing, why is it EVE PvP still works 10 years later? Why does DAoC RvR still work?

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