Last week I talked about how old videogames have undergone a rather surprising amount of price appreciation. I ended with: “Anyway, if you still have a box full of old games in your own closet, now might be a good time to take stock.” I ended up taking my own advice… and guys…
To save you some math, that adds up to $1871. That’s basically a current-gen gaming PC with a RTX 3080 (on sale). Are these “real” prices? Well, Price Charting has links to sold eBay listings with specific prices listed, so… yeah. I ended up Googling why something like Valkyrie Profile is worth so much, and apparently there were only ever 100,000 (English) disks sold, of which it is assumed 70,000 remain functional. In that scenario, I would have assumed something like PaRappa the Rapper would have been worth more, especially the trouble I went through tracking it down 15 years ago.
Slightly out of frame on the PaRappa case? The $9.99 sticker from whatever family-owned game reseller I found it in. I should probably research how to remove that before listing.
Time will tell if I actually achieve any of these prices. I went ahead and ordered some packing supplies and am committed to actually listing at least the pictured games. There are actually 17 more not shown, but next eight combined are $362, and then it starts getting into the ~$20 range where I’m not sure it’s worth my time. Real shame that something like ICO or Tenchu is only worth $12.
Seeing the physical Xenogears disks did give me a slight twinge, but I am very much in a post-ownership mindset. In the case of Xenogears specifically, I actually own it legitimately on PS+ (should I ever re-subscribe) and have it
illegitimately digitally backed up in other locations. It’s not worth “buying” for $112 just to keep it in a box another decade, especially given the high likelihood that my son and/or uncontrolled climate change will accidentally ruin it.
There was a Reddit post recently titled “I just sold my childhood for $600.” Bunch of photos of multiple old consoles, stacks of games, and so on. Nice vicarious nostalgia trip. Open up the comments section and the most upvoted replies are roasting the OP saying he got swindled, and that his collection was easily worth $3500 or more. Really?
For giggles, I went to Price Charting and looked up… Chrono Trigger:
Now, some of those top numbers are clearly ridiculous collectors items that rich people buy and sell for
money laundering dick-measuring reasons – the rarity of sealed copy of a 27-year old game becoming a thing in of itself. But… uh… guys. I sold my own childhood collection back in 2012 for $375. One of the items? Chrono Trigger with the box and instructions intact. Probably wouldn’t count as “Complete” since I taped the poster to my wall back in 1996, but still. Worth about $300 by itself today.
I’m not going to go through my full list, but for comedy purposes:
- Chrono Trigger + box + instructions = $300
- Secret of Mana = $54
- Super Metroid + box + instructions = $120
- Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past + instructions = $45
- Final Fantasy 3 = $78
- Super Nintendo console = $76
That’s $673 just on the SNES side. Granted, everything else not listed was less expensive. Nothing was worth much on the Genesis or regular Nintendo side. Did see that Super Smash Bros Melee (Gamecube) was $54, which is about what I paid for it back in college.
I’m not even saying that I regret selling those games when I did. That was almost 10 years ago, after all. If you look at the price graph, Chrono Trigger was selling for $42.50 at the time. Plus, I was starting a new phase of my life:
What brought all this up to me again is that I am moving to a new apartment this week. While rummaging around in long-forgotten closets, I came across my NES and SNES collections; the wave of nostalgia nearly rendered me unconscious. While I did act on the daydream of plugging the consoles back up in college one time, these pieces of electronics haven’t otherwise seen the light of day for almost a decade. Was I really going to pack them up and move them to a closet in the new place? Would my theoretical future child have the slightest bit of interest in daddy’s ancient consoles in 2020’s era of (mobile) games? Hell, would these things still even work?
Bit prescient there, eh? I wrote that in 2012. My son will turn 3 this year, so it will be closer to 2025 before he’s playing videogames, I reckon. But sorry, kiddo, you’ll have to play Chrono Trigger on an emulator and not a then-$900 cartridge.
Anyway, if you still have a box full of old games in your own closet, now might be a good time to take stock. Some of them have apparently appreciated very nicely. For some reason.
I successfully purchased my first free month of game-time in Wildstar last week with a buy order of 2.25p. In case you’re wondering, there is indeed a fee for putting up a buy order, because sinkception.
Given how my highest character is level 23, you might be wondering how I did this. In no particular order, here are some of my gold-making methods:
1) Sell all the decor. I’ve gone over this before, but you should also get a feel for what’s on the AH in addition to vendor price. For example, one of the things that put me over the top was a 25g sell order for an Ikthian Holding Tank. I have no idea what that is other than the fact(s) that it vendors for 1.83s, I won it from a Housing Challenge, and there were none on the AH. In retrospect, perhaps I should have put it up for 1p and seen what happened.
2) Similar to the above: selling Dyes. Specifically, selling the Dye Collections (e.g. don’t open them) you can get from Housing Challenge rewards. This actually might be on its way out as a strategy on my server; they used to sell for 5g apiece all day long, but are now approaching 1g. That can still be a lot of money, just like with the nerfed-but-still-75s-apiece Challenge rewards I talked about a few weeks ago. The one that seems to still retain its value on my server is the Ikthia Collection, which hovers around 6g.
3) Tradeskill Reagents. In one of those WoW-esque bizarro scenarios in which you sell things to people capable of making it themselves, I was making a HUGE profit margin with Weaponsmithing, specifically making the Condensers (i.e. Titanium Elemental Condenser). Only Weaponsmiths can make this item and only Weaponsmiths can use it, so… the market for them should literally be zero. And yet it’s not. I actually blame Carbine for this, as their crafting interface is a steaming pile of unintelligible garbage, but I’m not above selling things people shouldn’t really have a need to purchase.
4) Abusing Buy/Sell Orders. This isn’t so much “abuse” as it is “profit-extraction,” but it basically entails noticing when a wide gulf exists between Buy and Sell Orders. For example, many AMPs have a Buy Order of 10s (below vendor price even before fees!) and a Sell Order of 2g or whatever. So I come in, create a Buy Order for 15s out of the goodness of my heart, then turn around and sell any that people inexplicably dump on the AH, for less than the best Sell Order. It’s passive, it’s not guaranteed, and it takes up a lot of your ridiculously limited Trade Orders (25 max)… but it works often enough that I’m on the lookout for such opportunities.
A rather ridiculous non-AMP example I have is with Roan Steaks. I only actually knew about this meat drop because I was trying to figure out if there was any reason to level cooking, and it was one of the requirements in the Tech Tree. At the time, the ~1s buyout price was nothing compared to the money I was making via Challenge decor vendoring, so I put in a 200 item Buy order at like 1.1s. A week later, I noticed that Roan Steaks had a Sell Order of 30s apiece. I sold all of them. To be clear, I turned 2.2g into 57.8g in the equivalent of a penny stock windfall.
Not only is this still occurring, by the way, I’m pretty sure by this point reselling meat has been responsible for half of my total wealth.
5) Vendoring crafted goods. Tobold actually wrote about this several times, but you can occasionally get X profit per cycle crafting and vendoring the product, depending on AH prices. For example, Fine Titanium Cleaver requires 6 Titanium, a Low Viscosity Flux for 5.27 silver, and a Sapphire Power Core. If you use Refined Sapphire Powers Cores, e.g. a blue one, the result is a blue version of the weapon, which vendors for more. In this case, any time the combination of 6 Titanium and Refined Sapphire Power Cores is less than ~55s, you profit the difference.
Even though this is effectively endless profit, I personally feel I can earn more money faster via other means, up to and including just killing mobs in the world. You can usually pack in more profit by creating your own Power Cores, but at some point it might be better to simply sell the Power Cores than adding the extra step.
6) Vendor everything else. Ever complete a Challenge and then get wildly disappointed by randomly getting the Salvaged Loot bag? It’s not actually a disaster: each of the random crap items you receive sells for 5s or more apiece. The last loot bag I opened actually had 45s worth of “vendor trash.” That’s, you know, almost half a gold right there. Also, if you find yourself looking at regular quest rewards and not seeing an upgrade, make sure to pick the one that vendors for more; it’s almost always the Heavy Armor piece. It all adds up eventually.
7) Runes. I only recently discovered this opportunity, and right now it’s both low-demand and low-competition on my server. Basically, Runes are the equivalent of Gems in WoW but, bizarrely, everyone can craft them. All you need are the mats and some idea of which ones are selling high.
In the above example, Rune of Finesse has a current price of 20g. There aren’t any Buy Orders, so theoretically the demand is questionable. Regardless, four Rune Fragments, two Signs of Air, and one Major Sign of Air costs barely 3g on my server AH. In other words, the potential margins can be HUGE.
Rune Fragments are the typical bottleneck for this, as the only really reliable source of getting them is via Salvaging, which necessarily requires you to gamble the vendor price of the item. If Rune Fragments are expensive on your server though, they can be their own source of profit; just follow this video by Noxious. So, really, you should be covered on both end of things – either Rune Fragments are cheap and you can craft a bunch to sell, or they are expensive and you make money creating them.
8) Level Up. Although this is clearly not the route I have been taking, gold is easier to come by the closer to the cap you get. At level 50, you earn Elder Points for each full XP bar you earn, up to a certain weekly cap. Beyond that? All extra XP is converted to gold. This is on top of gold from daily quests, mob kills, vendoring level 50 loot, and so on. Worst comes to worst, you could vendor the tier 4/5 mats you get from mining (etc) to the tune of 50s+ per node.
So there you have it. Between this guide and my first one, you should not really have any trouble getting a comfortable level of wealth in Wildstar, even before the level cap.
All you really need to know about making money in Guild Wars 2 is the following:
This was true before the Trading Post officially came online, and it is especially true afterwards. If you cannot afford your level 40 Trait book (i.e. 1g) at level 40, you are doing it wrong. And not only are you doing it wrong, you are literally throwing real cash money away too.
First, some perspective:
The 100 gem exchange rate has fluctuated up and down since release, but it has generally stayed between 34s and 24s pretty consistently. As of today, it is 25s 25c. Technically you can buy gems in increments as small as 1 gem, but I am using 100 gems as a convenient unit of measurement. As you might have noted, the cash exchange rate (in the US) is 800 per $10, or $1.25 per 100 gems. Useful things like extra character slots will set you back $10, extra bank space $7.5, and so on.
…or you can buy them for 2g 2s and 1g 51s 50c respectively. Which I am about to do as a level 25 character. Here are my main methods:
Step 0: Low-Hanging Fruit
Sell your Unidentified Dye.
At the time of this writing, this item is selling for 6s apiece and you likely have accumulated 5+ by the time you reach level 25. While you may actually be a person who likes tweaking the colors of your character, in my opinion using these items instead of selling them is a losing proposition. Dyes are character-specific NOT Account-Wide, the dye colors you get are random, and since they are selling for 6s apiece, you are paying almost $0.32 each time you double-click.
Many of the “good” colors like Black are going for 2g+ by themselves, but rolling that dice is like scratching lotto tickets. And besides, if you follow this Step and the others, you will likely accumulate enough money on your own to straight-out purchase the colors you want instead of getting yet another Key-Lime Green Dye.
Assuming, of course, you want to spend $10 to make your toon wear a darker shade of black in the first place.
By the way, the Transmog tokens are selling for ~50c as well, which is likely of much better use to you than making your sword look fancy for two levels or less when you get another upgrade.
Step 1: Stop Salvaging
The first instinct you should develop is a desire to VENDOR every non-upgrade piece of equipment you pick up instead of salvaging. Getting 25c for that sword may not sound like a lot of money, but four of them is 1s and that quickly starts to add up. When you salvage, what you are really doing is spending ~3.5c to destroy a 25c+ item into 1-3 crafting components which damn better be worth more than 9c apiece or you are literally throwing money in a hole.
Sometimes Salvaging will indeed net you a profit. Cloth armor below level 20 will typically salvage into Jute Scraps, which are selling for 24c or more. Some low-level heavy armor will similarly salvage into valuable 17c Copper Ore.
Another thing to keep in mind are the Runes/Insignias/etc in Green items – many are generic, but some sell for 1s or more by themselves. You will likely have gotten a few Black Lion Salvage Kits from 100%’ing zones or doing Story missions, so this is the situation in which to use them effectively.
Step 2: Stop Crafting
I can understand that this will be tough for people to internalize – even I’m having a hard time resisting – but between a globalized Trading Post and sanctioned RMT gold-buying, crafting simply makes no sense. Arguably, it never made sense in a game without endgame gear progression, and absolutely makes little sense in the asinine crafting model that ArenaNet is offering.
Just look at what is happening right now:
If that picture isn’t clear, I am buying a massive amulet upgrade for 1 copper over its own vendor price.
A globalized Trading Post means the margins for any crafted good are always going to be razor-thin; it is not about competing with 1-2 Auction Barons, but all Auction Barons everywhere, including the ones willing to work for pennies a day. Supply for most goods is effectively unlimited, so there is no “cornering the market” without cornering ALL the markets. A few niche markets may develop along rare recipe drops (assuming they exist) or legendary materials, but again, they are “niche” across all servers… so not very niche at all.
Think about it for a second. Every weapon or piece of armor you could possibly craft can and will be crafted by somebody else. They will craft said piece multiple times because that is what they need to do to level up their skill, and they will need to sell that piece to pay for all the money they are sinking into the crafting system. Just like 200,000 other people.
When it comes to crafting gear, it is truly a Buyer’s Market.
If you want upgrades every 5 levels like you would get with crafting, simply buy the vendor+1c priced goods instead of effectively paying 10x that amount using mats that you could have sold. Prefer specific stat loadouts that are not represented very well for some reason? Look at the random odd-level gear, e.g. level 21-24 instead of level 25. It might be pricier, but you will have saved an enormous amount by selling your mats. Or, you know, pick up that +Healing +Vitality weapon with the higher DPS and stop trying to twink your very first character.
All of the above ties into the next step:
Step 3: Sell All Your Materials
Tiny Totems are 48c. Tiny Claws are 51c. Vial of Weak Blood is 41c. Jute Scraps are 24c. Copper Ore is 17c.
That last one means each Copper Ore Node is 51c, every five nodes is 2.55s, and every 397 nodes is an extra character slot. That is not counting any of the jeweler pieces you might pick up, or the heaps of other mats you will acquire from killing mobs inbetween nodes. And with GW2’s overall game structure, you can easily collect this amount on your way to 100% map completion in starter zones, no grinding required.
Although, if I’m honest, dicking around Queensdale and other starting zones can be remarkably lucrative. Gear drops are scaled to your own level (e.g. level 25 gear), but the incidental drops like Tiny Totems, Vials of Weak Blood, and those loot bags all drop the same regardless of your higher level. It kinda make me worried in a way, since right now it appears that a level 80 character farming the starting zones might be the way to go given the remarkably low price on endgame ore/wood/etc. We will have to see how it pans out.
Step 4: Never Skip Events
Killing mobs = loot.
Killing lots of mobs = lots of loot.
Killing higher-level mobs = better loot.
Tagging hundreds of higher-level mobs with random AoE in a (badly) scaled Event = Loony Toons amount of loot.
In practice, I imagine there is some behind-the-scenes algorithm that stops Event mobs from dropping loot in the same proportion to random questing mobs. But every since I began to realize that each piece of gear is 10c-30c to a vendor, I will drop everything and run halfway across the zone to “participate” in every Event. What I am looking for are those seemingly endless, bag-filling trash waves where everyone is spamming their AoE buttons. Do the same as them, just spam your Loot key too.
When the boss rolls out though, feel free to tag it and bail. For some dumb reason, Veteran/Champion level mobs do not seem to drop better items (or often any items). So if you have seen this Event before and know there is no treasure chest at the end, there is not much point in sticking around.
Step 5: “Help” Your Neighbors
No doubt this will be controversial along with the boss tag-n-bail I suggested above, but it’s worth noting that you only have to deal 1 point of damage to a mob to get full looting rights when it dies. If you are cruising around the countryside and see a random stranger doing their thing, bust out an instant-damage ranged attack (if you have one) and send it at the mob they are fighting.
If you see some sparkles, congratulations, you win. If not, no worries, continue doing whatever you were doing before.
It might seem unfair, and it technically is from an effort vs reward perspective, but… well, in an absolute sense you did in fact help that stranger and subtracted nothing from them, e.g. their chance at loot remained the same. If this kind of social injustice concerns you, well: don’t blame the player, blame the game.
Step 6: Never Repair
Each time you die, a piece of your armor gets “damaged.” This does not, in fact, mean anything. As the tooltip for the ugly, puke-orange shield states, your items do not start losing effectiveness until they are ALL damaged. While death is a lot more common with the Dynamic Death Trap Events and such, the likelihood of you dying 6+ times in a row before getting an upgrade is actually pretty remote.
Ergo, save your 1s-5s+ repair fees and put it towards replacing said damaged gear with pristine upgrades. Or just pocket it entirely and wait for drops.
Step 7: Be Choosy with Waypoints
If you have not already noticed, the costs for Waypoints is based on your level and the distance traveled. Before too long, they will start costing more than 1s apiece. Needless to say, this starts adding up the wrong direction. The good news is there are a couple of ways to mitigate the sink.
First, instead of using a Waypoint to go from capital to capital, use the Heart of the Mists Express. Press H, go down to the PvP tab, click the Mists button, run into the Lion’s Arch gate, Waypoint your way to the gate area (assuming you have been here before), then take the gate that corresponds with the capital you want to go to. Bam! You just globe-trotted for free. The cool thing about the HotM Express is that you can use it to return to your own capital if you find yourself in some Queensdale cave and don’t want to pay the cover charge; just think of it like a Hearthstone with a 4-loading screen cast bar.
If you need to go from a capital out to the field, you can shave 5-10% off the total cost by simply walking outside the front gates of the capital before using the Waypoint. Since inter-city Waypoints cost nothing, there is really no good reason to not take the one closest to the front door, step outside, and pocket the change.
Finally, well… you may just want to walk sometimes. Some walks are more feasible than others, but all of them will get you out in the general location of resource nodes and profitable random Events. And, hey, I have heard people talk about this “exploration” thing, if you swing that way.
Bonus Step: Buy Some Cheap Food
Seriously folks, crafting is broken:
Whether you are out either adventuring or farming, you might want to stop by your local Black Lion Trading Company representative and browse their 1-Copper Menu. Although I am not level 35, I can still appreciate those noble Cooks who slave away making +18% Magic Find, +40 Power buff treats that last a full 30 minutes and then sell them at a tremendous loss for basically no reason. Know that 1 silver piece I saved you when you followed one of the seven steps? Feel free to purchase 100 of these delicious treats.
For those below level 35, there is still a wide, wide selection of 1 copper buffs, including more +Magic Find ones, if not exactly as high as the Cherry Tarts; you can browse the Wiki entry for their specific names. Some of the other cool ones are the most basic to craft, like Handful of Bjorn’s Rabbit Food (+20 Vitality for 1 hour, no level requirement) if a bit “pricier.” Honestly, when the cash shop is selling 50% XP boosters for 150 gems, getting a 10% XP boost for even 10c is truly a bargain at twice the price.
Considering how much of a Buyer’s Market GW2 has turned out to be (thus far), any concrete “do this to be rich” advice will probably come in the form of where chests respawn or the most lucrative Events are located. I know of at least one sort of “challenge chest” in the Norn area, but I am almost fearful that looting it even once every few days might constitute an exploit. Nevertheless, I will try and collect their various locations in a future post for your own perusal.
If you have your own gold tricks or locations and feel like sharing them in the comments below, by all means do so.