Guild Wars 2: Economy

  By Shamus   Oct 7, 2012   133 comments

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Guild Wars 2 has the most interesting and sane economy of any MMO I’ve played. It is not without the occasional amusing absurdity, but that’s probably inevitable.

To show off how different this is, let’s just do a few comparisons between this game and you know who.

For simplicity, I’m not going to go around expressing large values as “1 gold, 23 silver, 45 copper”, or 1g 23s 45c. We’ll talk about everything in terms of copper, as in: 12,345 copper. Note that a proper apples-to-apples comparison is probably impossible, but for the sake of pretending this makes sense I’m only going to include stuff up to the Wrath of the Lich King expansion, which is where I found the level 80 quests. This will let us compare WoW level 80 to GW2 level 80, which is the best we can do.

In World of Warcraft a level 1 quest pays 25 copper. There are a ton of level 80 quests, but this one – chosen basically at random – pays 132,300 copper. So you will make 5,292 times as much money at level 80 compared to what you were making at level 1.

gw2_economy11.jpg

In Guild Wars 2, your starting quest (which is actually level 2, because level 1 is set in the tutorial zone) pays 45 copper. I haven’t even found a level 80 quest (I’m pretty sure at that level it’s all event-driven) but the quests in the late 70’s pay around 375 copper. We can probably extrapolate while making a hand-wavy gesture and say that if a level 80 quest did exist, it would pay 400 copper. So you will make just short of 9 times as much by the end of the game.

WoW scales up by a factor of 5,292. GW2 scales up by a factor of 9. In WoW, costs that are considerable at level 20 become a joke by level 40. You can solve all money problems by simply leveling past them. In GW2, money always matters. Even though your earnings are eventually multiplied by 9, your increase in expenses will far outstrip this increase. This forms a progressive tax* on your income. In the early game you make less, but keep more of it.

* If you think the words “progressive tax” are some magical pass to start talking about politics, you are about to have your comment visited in the middle of the night by my jackbooted jackass police. Inquiries as to where your comment disappeared to will be met with bureaucratic indifference and accusatory questions.

You have two major expenses to deal with: Equipment and travel. Let’s talk about travel. Here is a scenic little spot in the Human starting zone:

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That blue stuff on the right, in the far distance, is the Western Divinity Dam. That floating glowy sphere to the left of my character is a waypoint. We’re in the area around the village of Shaemoor. Here is a map.

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The blue diamond marker at the bottom center is the waypoint you see in the first image. Compare the first image to what is shown on this map and you should have a rough sense of the scale we’re starting with.

Shaemoor is one section of the zone called Queensdale:

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In turn, Queensdale is just part of the nation of Kryta:

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And Kryta is just part of the larger gameworld:

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I haven’t sat down and tried to work out the square mileage, or kilometer.. age. Or whatever. The point is, this is a pretty big place.

If you wanted to go from the city of Divinity’s Reach to Stoneguard Gate, then you’d be talking about this trip:

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You’d be looking at a short walk through the city, followed by a loading screen, followed by a hike through the countryside fighting the odd trash mob, followed by another loading screen. Note that the loading screens in this game are kind of annoying. On my computer they last for over half a minute. If you travel via waypoint, then you can shorten that entire trip to a single loading screen.

At starting level, the trip costs 8 copper. At level 80, this same trip costs 172 copper. So while your income might increase by a factor of 9 during the game, your travel expenses will go up by a factor of 21. Sort of. There’s a fixed base cost in all waypoint travel and I don’t think anyone has sat down and worked out the arithmetic behind it. So this comparison may shift based on how far you’re traveling. But no matter how you measure it, your travel expenses are going to go up a lot faster than your income.

This is even worse than it seems, since at higher levels you’ll be making longer trips. If you need to go from the city back to your chosen level 80 quest area, it’s going to be a very long trip, which might cost in excess of 350 copper. One trip can eat the income from an entire quest. If you jump out to the field, do one quest, and jump back, you will have lost money.

On the upside, those high-level quest zones look pretty amazing.

Oddly, this means that you become less mobile as you level. In World of Warcraft you’ll get access to mounts, then faster mounts, and eventually flying mounts. The higher level you are, the easier it is to get around. In Guild Wars 2, leveling up means you need to carefully ration your travel because making a lot of trips can bankrupt you.

Thankfully, there’s a work-around to get from the field to the city for free. Unfortunately, it’s an agonizing chain of loading screens. You click the PvP button to go to the Heart of the Mists. Loading screen. Then you walk to the Asura gate to got to Lion’s Arch. Loading screen. You’ll appear in a spot away from the city services, and you can either hike across the city or do another loading screen. If all you need is crafting / trading post / training services, then you’re good. But if you want to do business with one of the faction leaders, then you’ll need to jump through another Asura gate. Loading screen. From there you either hike or go through one last loading screen to get to the NPC. This is a long trip and a lot of time spent drumming your fingers. At low levels, you’ll think nothing of tossing away a few coppers to skip all of that. At level 80, you’ll need to make the hard choice between a brutal travel fee or wasting several minutes staring at loading screens. These are not the kind of choices that delight me in a videogame.

Yes! By hiring a Human to kill the Dredge, the Dredge now fear the Norn. But that’s what I get for questing in someone else’s starting zone. Whatever.  Thanks for the 56 copper.
Yes! By hiring a Human to kill the Dredge, the Dredge now fear the Norn. But that’s what I get for questing in someone else’s starting zone. Whatever. Thanks for the 56 copper.

What about other income? I started a new character and ran to level 10 without opening any of my mail. (Money from quest rewards come in the mail.) So my only income was from loot drops.

The trick in this game is that you can salvage a piece of loot to recover some raw materials. In some hilariously odd situations, these raw materials can be worth more than the item. So, tearing apart a light armor coat worth 4 copper might yield a couple of pieces of jute that are worth 25 copper each. For the purposes of this test, I saved all those materials, which means they didn’t turn into money. Now, everyone is a little different when deciding what item drops to salvage and which ones to sell. I played it a little conservatively, only salvaging things worth less than 10 copper. By the time I hit level 10 I’d accrued 1,200 copper. For contrast, when I finally got around to opening my mail I’d earned 800 copper in quest rewards.

Going by this very rough experiment, it looks like most of your early income is from drops, not from quest rewards. Of course, if you do a lot of story missions you’ll probably end up losing money. The same is true if you do a lot of crafting in those early levels. On the other hand, if you’re doing world events you’ll probably have a lot more money, since those tend to give you a ton of loot.

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Depending on how cynical you are, you can view this tight economy as a well-designed and balanced system that makes play worthwhile at all levels, or a cynical cash-grab on the part of ArenaNet. See, there’s always the gem store where you can pay real money for gems, which can be traded for in-game money. One side-effect of this tight, level economy is that you’re always wanting more cash. (At least, I am.) There are a lot of things I’d love to get. More exotic clothing dye. More bank space. Another character slot. The values for this are all steep, but attainable. You don’t ever need to put down real cash, but it’s easy to see the allure of doing so.

“Man, if I had three more gold I’d be able to get this Shiny New Thing before the dungeon run we’re doing tonight. I could throw down ten bucks and get it now. And you know, since I’m not spending fifteen bucks a month to play this game I can sort of take that money and spend it on gems.”

I’ve certainly used flimsier rationalizations to justify buying stuff when waiting would have been cheaper. It’s not all that different from the “Next Day Air” checkbox in an online shop where you can plonk down some money to get your thing faster.

This balanced economy means that play is meaningful at all levels. You’ll never be playing a low-level alt with the nagging doubt that you should be playing your high-level main because you need the money. I can’t believe those exponential growth economies lasted for so long. This is so much better.


A Hundred!2013There are 133 comments here. I really hope you like reading.


  1. Wedge says:

    My main is 68 right now, and so I’ve just started hitting this problem, and I find it *extremely* annoying. One of my favorite parts of the game is exploring areas, either to 100% them or just for the sheer joy of seeing what all the different areas have to offer. The fact that leveling up makes this harder has significantly impacted how much I enjoy the game.

    • Jamey says:

      I also experienced this issue, but I have sort of “gotten over it” upon the realization that the map completion rewards include quite a bit of silver, and being higher level (even considering the “downscaling”) makes clearing a lower level area quite easy. So yeah, I might spend 6s on a round trip to get to a lower level area, but if I stay there to 100% completion before popping back to town I’ve still done fine in terms of money.

  2. Joshua says:

    There’s a side effect that it impacts low-level crafting materials too.

    In other games, it becomes much more efficient to mine crafting materials as a high-level, as you can generally walk right past the enemies and go straight for the crafting nodes, maybe even with mounts that aren’t available to low-level crafters. However, then it becomes an oddity where a high-level harvester has an option of where they spend their time. Is it more profitable to go kill a bunch of trash your own level for xp, deeds, drops, etc., or go back and mine copper? As a result, price of low-level crafting materials increases, which then turns into new players realizing that they can harvest low-level materials while questing for great reward on the AH.

    In GW2, going back to craft low-level materials is a pain. You can’t simply walk past enemies to get to the nodes as you’re scaled down to those levels, and it becomes just as much a hassle at level 80 as it was as level 8. In addition, it costs too damn much to travel between the waypoints while crafting. So, it’s maybe better to buy your supplies off of the AH, which in turn drives those prices up.

    Um, I think we just utilized two completely different situations and ended in the same place.

    Maybe one exception is that in GW2, in my experience so far, it is almost worthless to actually sell the end result of crafting on the AH, because *everybody* crafts. You’re almost always better off selling the raw ingredients.

    • X2Eliah says:

      I suppose a difference might be that since nodes are instanced and not shared (so everybody gets their unique node to loot, no mining-stealing) in GW2, the overall supply of ore per number of players will be way larger than in WoW (which, as I understand, has global resource nodes you can steal from another?).

      Anyway. GW2 ore costs are slightly weird. The starter ore – copper – is the cheapest, and the ending ore – orichalcum – is the most expensive, which is right. BUT. 2nd tier ore – iron – is +- about the same as copper (or it was a week ago when I last played the game). Silver ore is also somewhat cheap-ish. Then, gold ore, which is expensive. Then, mithril ore which is almost as cheap as copper/iron.

      In other words, as ore tiers go up, the price definitely does not go in the same scale, and sometimes it even goes down as you get higher tiers.
      Part of the reason could be the pure number of nodes in the world, perhaps.

      • James says:

        Its due to availability. In my server Iron is the cheapest this is mainly because half the zones in the game have them, as of writing I have like 300 iron ore, and this is after raising my crafting to lvl 400. by contrast copper(I have like 50 left) and the higher level mats only appear in the beginning areas or lvl 80 areas respectively so they will be more expensive. It’s just supply and demand.

        • Mephane says:

          The trading post is across all servers, so the prices are the same for everyone.

          • James says:

            Relly cause last I checked copper was still not cheaper that iron, but that explains alot

            • Aldowyn says:

              Cloth illustrates this the best, I think. Shamus mentioned this in his post, but jute costs at least 25c. Copper probably costs 5c. These are both the starting mats for their respective professions. In any case the second tier is considerably CHEAPER than the first, which is broken. The reason for this is because of how cloth is acquired – there aren’t any nodes, you get it all from salvaging and quest drops, and you just don’t get nearly enough of it at low levels. It makes tailoring ridiculously expensive or repetitive.

              • Stranger says:

                Jute costs how much?

                I need to go to Queensdale and start a campaign to wipe Bandits off the face of the world.

                For reference, Light Armor of levels 1 to 15 or so salvage into Jute. The next tier of levels (16 to 25) can sometimes salvage into Jute instead of Wool. Moral here? Salvage *everything*.

    • Steve C says:

      It’s even harder to go back and farm cloth. Cloth you can only get by salvaging low level gear. However if you go back to a low level zone after getting 10 or 20 levels beyond it then gear of slightly below your current level will drop. So you can be in a level 10 area at max level and level 74 armor will drop.

      Not all of it will be high level, not all of it will be low level. There will be a mix. But the effect is the drop rate of low level cloth is diminished for high level characters.

      I have nothing but praise for this system even though I’m sure people generally don’t like it. It gives new players, (players with zero gold) a hungry market for them to sell to. It feels balanced. The economy is something Arenanet put a lot of effort into and it shows. It’s one of the best aspects of the game.

      • Peter H. Coffin says:

        at which point you go buy the vendor trash armor at the Black Lion, from the people that are playing at that level, and they get more money than the vendors give.

        that’s what makes it an economy, after all, instead of third-person looter.

    • Mari says:

      Amen to the selling your crafting products being worthless. Literally worthless. My main has the cooking crafting line up to level 350-something right now. I literally throw away the majority of what I craft, though. Nobody wants to buy most of it on the AH and there’s a limit to how much I can spam at my small circle of friends, especially since I’m higher level than all of them. So if I personally don’t get anything out of the end product I check the AH, see that nobody’s buying it, and delete it. At least with most of what I make as a weaponsmith I can turn around and sell it to a vendor for a handful of copper or I can salvage it back into raw materials.

      • Shamus says:

        There’s an achievement for eating 800 things. That’s what I used my food for. My little 5’2, 90lbs warrior would wander into town, put down her surfboard sword, bake 50 pies, EAT THEM ALL, and leave.

        • SKD says:

          Must be some weird branch of the Cuftbert family tree. All that food and no alcohol. . .

        • Mari says:

          That’s a thought. I honestly haven’t looked too closely at achievements. I kind of glanced in after I noticed I was making progress towards some of them, saw a boatload of PvP achievements, and stopped looking because I knew I was never going to get any of those so I might as well not bother, right? LOL This is the problem with being an “all or nothing” kind of person.

          Oh, and I just now picked up my very first surfboard sword. I ended up transmuting it to look like my last sword because I hate that surfboard look. One of my favorite things in this game is the fact that when I get a weapon or armor piece that doesn’t fit my personal visual aesthetic I can transmute it to keep the stats but change the look. It lets me run around in chainmail armor with a sword that matches my size but allows the next guy to put his character in Stripperella armor with the giant surfboard if that’s his thing. I don’t know why but that one simple thing makes me so furiously happy with Guild Wars 2 that I’m willing to forgive a whole lot of other things that annoy me.

          • TSED says:

            If you’re still swimming in wasted food, feel free to spam my in-box. “Urgnot Fourthwarned” is my main (I think I’m on Stormbluff Isle right now? Does that even matter?).

            I don’t play much because of classes, but hey, I’d be pretty okay with free xp + whatever.

    • Jeff says:

      Actually, it’s as much a hassle to a level 80 as it is for a level 30, and both have it easier than a level 8, because of how the down-scaling works. Minor nitpick, but our traits and abilities don’t really down-scale.

  3. Jarenth says:

    So here’s a question for all you level-80-already-man-I-wish-I-played-as-much-as-you-did-shut-up people: are there actually neat things to spend all that money on at high levels?

    I mean, I haven’t been saving money. I teleport from place to place without a care in the world, I tear apart everything blue or green without regard for sell price vs. material price and the notion of ‘losing money on quests’ is alien to me, because I quest for experience. Am I irreparably handicapping myself here?

    • X2Eliah says:

      There’s the unique-looking dungeon armour stuff you can buy from the tp with the monies.

      There’s the expensive dyes (celestial/abyss, iirc).

      There’s the orange-tier weaponry and uniquely-named weapon stuffs that you can buy from the tp. (or craft, but that’s a net loss, plain and simple).

      There’s the mystic weaponry you can make and the mystic forge (30 coins, 5 orichalcum [component1], 5 orichalcum [component2], and that 50-skillpoint-tome. That means about 30×1.5s + 5x~20s + 5x ~20s + 50sp.. which is roughly 2.5 gold and 50 skill points. Or, just 5 gold straight from the tp. … So this is actualy something that was still profitable a week ago. Idk what the tp prices on mystic items are now).

      Oh, yeah, there’s also the plain old cost of getting your crafting disciplines up to 400. Which can be insane.

      That said, I also don’t recommend to obsess over whether it is better to salvage or sell, etc. Just play as you want… The true damper on your income always has been and always will be the moneydump of crafting, hands down (why? Because it is a perpetually lossy endeavour that *everybody* is doing, so there’s no actual benefit to have it at 400 vs. just buying the end-crafts for plain old gold).

      • Grampy_Bone says:

        I’m pretty sure the dungeon armors are bind on acquire.

        Inventory space is a huge gold sink, 100,000 for a 20 slot bag. Cultural armor is 1,000,000 or so for a full set. Want to be a WvW commander? 1,000,000. Feeding rares to the Mystic Forge costs about 10,000 per “wager,” and the Legendary exotic component weapons are upwards of 1,000,000 right now.

        Even if you’re just looking for normal stuff, a full exotic set of crafted gear will cost you 100,000, plus 10-20,000 per rune to upgrade it, plus 5x 20,000 for accessories, plus 40-50,000 for decent level 80 weapons.

        So yeah there is plenty to spend your money on.

        • X2Eliah says:

          Well, I’m pretty sure that either not all of them do, or there are ways to get them without binding. I honestly don’t know if it is truly the dungeon armour in the tp or not – I know it has the same naming scheme and the same appearance, which is all you need for transmutation.

          I can assert that because I have a charater fully decked out in the Level 50 dungeon armour, who has never taken a step in that dungeon. All from the tp.

    • rofltehcat says:

      There is also the crafted exotic armor to buy. It has the same stat level as dungeon, karma and WvW gear (although some stat allocations are only available to some of those).

    • Ateius says:

      Also, in addition to everything else mentioned, you can use your in-game money to buy gems for various creature comforts like more inventory bag slots, more bank windows, boosters like temporary XP multipliers, 100% efficiency salvage kits, insta-repair widgets, or various aesthetic items like dye packs and armour appearances.

      That’s actually pretty much my only major expense now that I’m at 80 and have already bought all three tiers of training manual (total cost 3g 10s, so save up for those – 10s at level 10, 1g at level 30, 2g at level 60) – buying more bank space and such.

      • Lovecrafter says:

        Slight correction: the second manual is at level 40, not 30. That’s 10 whole extra levels to get that first gold!

        • Aldowyn says:

          I had 2.5g by the time I bought that 1g tome. You shouldn’t really need to deliberately save up, unless I’m ludicrously efficient somehow.

          • Zagzag says:

            I actually did have to save up for the second and third time, and I wasn’t spending my money on anything except travel. But then again I salvage everything that can be salvaged and don’t sell my materials, so I probably make less money than I should.

            • Ateius says:

              That’s probably a big factor, yes. Personally I only salvage whites; blue and better I sell, unless I want a rune attached to it. It’s enough to get me by in both crafting and money, even if I can’t always splurge on the gem upgrades I want.

              Also, facepalm regarding the 30/40 tome thing. Look at me, such an expert I can’t even remember when you get the next tier of trait tomes XD

              • Zagzag says:

                I made the same mistake when levelling, and was incredulous that I was supposed to have 1g by level 30. When I actually got 1g I was level 37, (so now that I think about it when not tired I was wrong in saying that I had to save up for both tomes), and only then did I realise that I couldn’t buy the thing until 40.

                • Gildan Bladeborn says:

                  Actually you can buy it whenever you like, you just can’t use it until you meet the level requirement. On my various alts I tend to buy it when they get close to 40 and have it sitting in my bag to use in the field, as I’m also obstinately refusing to teleport anywhere except via means that are free (if I’m in a zone I tend to stay there until it’s at 100% so trips to the bank are infrequent at best).

    • Mari says:

      There’s some cool stuff to spend it on. I haven’t really explored any of the end-game content yet since my #1 priority is getting map exploration to 100% but I’ve already found a couple of things I could sink plenty of money into. For starters there are those superior runes of Balthazar that I desperately want on ALL of my armor pieces that are running 35 silver each at the AH for a total of 21,000 copper. Then there’s how badly I want to upgrade to 10 or 12 slot bags to minimize the travel back to town even more. Twelve slot bags run 2249 copper on the cheaper end and I want 3 more of them for a total of 6747 copper. And, of course, getting my crafting maxed takes money. That’s where most of it has gone so far but I still have plenty of work to do on it. And because I’m a total putz, when I get my current 2 professions up to max I’m toying with the notion of switching to a different 2 and maxing them and then switching off one more and maxing them all out.

  4. Gary says:

    Thanks for the tip on the free travel! I hadn’t thought of that.

    I wish the waypoint travel was cut by about half. I think that would make it a little more palatable.

    I’ve found that I have no need to buy armor. Every time I think “My armor is getting a bit old, let’s see what is available” I take a look at the vendors and find that the stuff I got from the drops is way ahead of the “level appropriate” armor. (I’m only in the teens range though, so maybe that changes with the higher levels.)

    • Ateius says:

      It doesn’t. Particularly because the vendors (not counting cultural/faction vendors) sell nonmagic only.

      You might (since you don’t seem to craft) at higher levels want to look at buying masterwork (green) armour off the AH. It tends to go for dirt cheap and is significantly better than nonmagic (white) or magic (blue) armour up to 10 levels higher than it. One set can last you quite a while.

      • Greg says:

        Yeah, that’s basically what I did when I hit 30, except with blues instead of greens- player-craftable greens don’t start until 35. Felt like it significantly increased my survivability in PvE (as a thief), and one run of the Ascalonian Catacombs story mode more than covered the costs.

        Personally, I do craft, but found that my character level quickly outstripped the crafting level I’d need to craft close to level-appropriate gear. Even making level 10 and 15 weapon sets for my alt (at 11 now) didn’t get me to the point where I could make level 20 stuff.

        • Aldowyn says:

          If you go with greens the time you get new gear will just be delayed by 5 levels, really.

        • Ateius says:

          I had the same issue with crafting armour and weapons, particularly since they both use the same uncommon mats. I’ve let weapons slide since their default models look boring anyway, and although my armoursmithing has tended to lag 5-10 levels behind me, the stuff I make tends to be as good or slightly better than most drops of that level.

          This wouldn’t be a problem if I broke down and bought uncommon mats from the AH, but I’m basically Scrooge when it comes to money.

      • rofltehcat says:

        Jup, things go for very cheap on the TP.

        My Tip: Visit the TP every 5 or so levels (trading posts also seem to be spaced in the regions every 5-10 lvls). Buy green or blue items of your level or your level+1. They tend to be around vendor price +1to5 copper, which is dirt cheap and you can vendor them later without any real losses.

  5. James says:

    Couldn’t agree more on your analysis on the economy. You should also note that finishing map areas give allot of silver, and sometimes rare loot worth a good bit on the auction house, exploration dungeons give at least 26 silver per run along with a decent chance for loot. Also most of my gold has come from high level crafting so their are always ways to make money.

    • Ateius says:

      Or story mode. Going back to, say, Caduceus’ Manor (because it’s short) at level 60 will net you 30+ silver a run, not counting money from selling loot, and it’s orders of magnitude easier than exploration mode.

  6. Grampy_Bone says:

    There aren’t actually any Heart Quests in Orr. Events in the final map give 186 copper for gold completion, though you can run them in quick succession and often get 2-4 times that amount if you vendor the loot drops. +Magic Find is pretty helpful there in doubling your drops and giving you a better chance at rares; after some event chains I fill up my entire inventory.

  7. Amarsir says:

    Let me play devil’s advocate here.

    1) Scaling rewards push people to higher content. Wealth seekers needn’t risk death on difficult stuff when they can grind starting areas for nearly the same benefit. (Admittedly this is a bit less important when resources aren’t competed over, but you still want your mechanics to draw people deeper in.)

    2) A steep scale ensures high-level items are only affordable by high-level characters. From what I’m hearing, I could probably go to the auction house and buy something far superior to gear I’m supposed to have (thus overpowering me a bit and making rewards less exciting). At best this has to be corrected with heavy level restrictions and bind-on-pickup, which have their own drawbacks.

    3) It gently rewards having multiple characters. Even for people like myself who enjoy creating multis, there’s always a twinge of pain at having to start from scratch. When I can start them out with a couple gold, that softens it a bit.

    WoW in particular had it difficult becuase their 1-80 didn’t come as a package. Players reached a level cap and then repeated content a lot in a quest for gear over levels. And then the next content had to jump up so it felt rewarding for those players. Which is why people who’ve come up subsequently have been somewhat surprised that a hard-to-get purple from vanilla raids is easily outclassed by a green in BC. Cash has a bit of the same issue, which is then corrected by creating new kinds of cash. (Marks, emblems, etc).

    But that has it’s own issues as it creates major memorization issues about which currencies come from which places in what order and get spent where. In fact it’s one of the main reasons I abandon an MMO in the endgame, because I don’t feel like tracking all that detail. To their credit, DCUO just undid their separate currency in the most recent update, but in doing so made them more exponential. And I think it was the right call.

    • Ateius says:

      To play devil’s devil’s advocate (antidevil?):

      1) Rewards do scale. Monsters in higher level zones drop more money and higher-level (and thus more valuable) gear and materials, all of which you can sell, salvage or craft with as you see fit. Hearts and dynamic events in higher level zones also reward more karma and money than in lower level zones. In addition, the resource nodes give higher-level resources according to the level of the zone.

      2) No, you can’t pop on to the AH at level 2 with a fistful of gold from your main and outfit yourself with a set of level 50 gear. There are level restrictions on items, just like with WoW and many other MMOs.

      3) There’s nothing for your alt to spend several gold on, unless you insist on outfitting them with 20-slot bags from the word “go” (I’ve never found a need for anything more than the basic craftable 8-slot stuff, thanks to the ability to deposit crafting materials directly from inventory no matter where you are*). A few silver is more than enough to outfit them with salvage kits, gathering tools and starting weapons of your choice, and that’s a level of wealth your alt can earn by themselves in about five minutes.

      * I didn’t know about this until someone told me, so in the event others are unaware: When your inventory is open, click on the little gear in the top-right of the window and you get a drop-down menu that includes “Deposit all collectibles”, which immediately transfers all crafting mats straight into your bank, no matter where you are. Carry around a salvage kit to break down nonmagical loot and you can go a very long time between having to visit merchants or bankers.

      Related: If you’re going to complain about anything in GW2, I think “poor documentation” is the best place to start.

      • Atheos says:

        To expand on the second point: Not only is equipment level restricted, your character is also scaled down to a zone appropriate level. Higher level characters in high level gear adventuring in low level zones are nowhere near as powerful in GW2 as they would be in WoW or most other MMOs. Due to the combat dynamics, nearly every enemy, regardless of level, is still of some threat to you. Additionally, gear progression favors the auction house. It’s the easiest way to get the best gear in the game and the PvE content reflects this. That hardly classifies it as overpowered.

        In closing: Power creep is always an issue with these sorts of games and GW2 will most likely face the same problems if it’s fortunate enough to last so long. There’s no real way around it.

        One final nitpick concerning WoW: The multiple currencies were never terribly confusing. There was always one for raiding and one for dungeoneering. Trading between tiers always felt unnecessary but Blizzard eliminated that problem years ago with the implementation of the Justice/Valor point system. Now it’s no more complicated than coin, karma and token gear in GW2. Simpler, even.

  8. Hitchmeister says:

    They need to introduce an “Economy Waypoint Travel Pass.” For, say $5.00 worth of gems, let you buy a token on the gem store that lets one character use unlimited waypoint travel for free for one month.

    • rofltehcat says:

      Travel point cost and repair bills really seem to be considered too expensive by many people.

      It is not really my opinion since I port around the map all the time but between events, selling loot (mainly vendoring everything… more reliable than salvaging) and running 1-2 exp dungeons a day, I’m always coming out positive on top every day (unless I bought something big of course).
      Imo, people are looking far too much at those few silvers and forget how much time walking around and loading screens actually soak up. Just kill 3 mobs in that time and you’re golden.

      • Even says:

        This. Even with crafting, you can save a lot if you just gather what you need over a period of time. The only reason I see point in leveling crafting at all at this point is the level 80 exotics, and I’m still not really in a hurry to get there.

        Sharing stuff you don’t need within your guild can also make a difference. Give some and get some. I’ve gotten a quite a few 70+ exotics off guildmates they got as exploration rewards that they didn’t need and I’ve passed along mine as well.

  9. Urs says:

    I stopped reading when He has 120 silver at level 10!? Wha?

    My ranger can, I think, barely pay for his first training session… Interesting. My evening will thus be spent in the trading post, methinks.

    (now for the rest)
    (edit: uhm. Yeah. Nevermind. I somehow assumed that Shamus would be much more efficient than I am, so my brain added *10. Probably.)

    • X2Eliah says:

      Err, that’s 12 silver. Plus the 8 from quests, so 20 silver total.

    • rofltehcat says:

      This is the wrong approach, imo. Trying to gamble the TP isn’t worth it in this game because so many people are already trying it and because the TP is kinda global over several servers… at least this is what I heard.
      It simply isn’t worth the effort beyond selling/buying crafting mats and buying equipment.

      If you have some stuff lying around that you know you won’t need later (selling all your copper has a tendency to come back hard when you realise you’de like to craft) then sell stuff as much as you like.
      But the “market controll” games played in WoW or Rift simply don’t work. Most people will make more, easier and more entertaining coin by simply doint normal stuff.

      • Urs says:

        Ah, it is more that I haven’t bothered about the TP – and money in general – at all so far. I think my two characters (10 & 17) have sold 2 Jute-somethings and bought one bow. And up to this point at least, money keeps rolling in. But there’s the feeling that I should fiddle more with this aspect of the game.

        • Mari says:

          Don’t. It will just make you swear like a sailor. My entire family is tired of hearing my tirades about how incredibly stupid it is to have rules like “you can’t sell this item for less than the vendor value” and then turn around and let people BID less than the vendor value. Or the fantastic wit of the people trying to buy and sell stuff on the AH for less than the listing fee (“Why, yes, I would LOVE to sell you this meat and cabbage soup for one copper and pay the AH 3 copper to complete the transaction!”) My advice is to avoid the AH unless you have a reason to deal with it. But I have a low threshold for idiocy.

          • Urs says:

            Update: I didn’t :) Instead I just merrily played on, earned 6 more levels (17 now) and 40+ silver. If I were to give a tip: just don’t buy stuff. All my gear is either made or found and I am not missing a thing. Don’t know how this will be in later levels, but so far I’m doing good.

  10. Sagretti says:

    One thing to consider is that World of Warcraft’s economy has been re-scaled and inflated 4 times now, due to all the expansions. In the pre-expansion pack days, one gold was a lot of money, just like Guild Wars 2 right now. We’ll have to see how Guild Wars 2 works its expansion pack level content once it comes along.

  11. Moriarty says:

    I don’t like how developer-driven the economy in GW2 is.

    In wow, prices for crafting materials like iron are set by players, with the worth of an item mostly determined by the amount of effort it would be for an max lv character to gather it themselves.

    In GW2, prices are set by the developers with the vendor prices. If you look at the availability of iron in the trading post, you see a LOT more supply than demand, with the value of iron forever set at vendorvalue + one to five copper.

    Somehow I like the Wow solution more, even if it makes expanses at low lv trivial, because farming crafting materials or rare pets will get you way more money from other players than anything the game will expect you to have.

    • Mephane says:

      Well in your example, what should be the alternative? If iron had no vendor value at all, it might even drop down to 1 copper a piece.

      • Moriarty says:

        This overabundance of crafting materials of course stems from the overabundance of nodes on the map, compared to the relative use of the material.

        Everyone has access to their own nodes on the map and is even rewarded for mining stuff altough only a section of the players actually need the ressources. Everyone gathers cloth, wood metal and cooking ingeridents altough you usually only use two of those ressource types per character, and it’s entirely possible to gather enough ressources yourself so you don’t need to buy anything from other players but instead have enough materials lying around to completely supply a second character. (Who it’self is of course gathering the same amount of stuff).

        The game needs to either make the ressources more scarce and the trading prices cheaper so players can supply only themselves, or give the players more opportunities to use the surplus ressources to increase the demand for them.

      • Ateius says:

        This, absolutely. There’s already massively more supply than demand; if it weren’t for the hard floor of “vendor price +1″ coded into the market, iron would be going for even cheaper.

        • Greg says:

          The curious thing is that the floor isn’t really “vendor price + 1″ it’s “vendor price plus 15% + 1″, due to the TP fees. I’m not sure how much of the vendor+1 goods are people who want to save the trouble of having to go to a vendor to sell things (since you can sell on TP from anywhere) versus people who just don’t understand the system. (See other comments about documentation)

          • Ateius says:

            The 15% fee comes out of the seller’s profits, and isn’t factored into the price. This means depending on how much the base price of the item is the people doing this are taking losses compared to just going to a merchant.

  12. Mephane says:

    Oddly, this means that you become less mobile as you level.

    This sentence nails the issue. Gaining levels should increase your freedom, not decrease it. Yes, you can go to more zones, but effetively don’t want to go to too many different distant places because it would eat away all your money.

    What is doubly infuriating about this is that

    a) in GW1, those waypoints were free, and it was a strong expectation of many GW1 players that it would be the same in GW2, and
    b) ArenaNet constantly talks about how they don’t want to make players do stuff that is not fun – but the waypoints costs do exactly that – you either pay much of your already tight money just on getting to the actual fun stuff, or you spend a lot of time running from place to place. And to workarounds like the mentioned Mists->Lion’s Arch portal Fort Trinity (which Order of Whispers members get a minute’s walk south of Lion’s Arch, the other orders have to walk longer, Durmand Priory in particular is totally screwed in this regard). Let’s also not forget how they bragged that due to quick waypoints and level scaling, you could aways jump across the world to play with a friend who has a low level character, while in reality doing so costs you money. You’d have to do half a dozen dynamic events with your friend just to pay the travel costs both ways (because at some point you might want to continue what you were doing). After that you might make some plus, unless you die, because dying once during an event nullifies its payment if you get gold-medal rewards (same applies to dungeon bosses – unless you are lucky to have a rare or exotic item drop, dying only once on a dungeon boss means that the entire loot just pays back that one repair bill).

    • Ateius says:

      “(same applies to dungeon bosses – unless you are lucky to have a rare or exotic item drop, dying only once on a dungeon boss means that the entire loot just pays back that one repair bill).”

      You are exaggerating, sir. I died at least 12 times on my first successful run of Ascalon Catacombs (half of those deaths being to The Lovers – screw that fight), and even after repairs I was 15 silver in the black before even getting around to selling or auctioning loot.

      Eventually it does get too expensive, I died about 30 times on my first Twilight Arbour run and ended up ~5-10 silver in the hole after all was said and done. But a single death wiping out all your profits?

      • Mephane says:

        Sorry, maybe I did not make it clear. I was only talking about the results of a single boss encounter, where a single death approximately negates the worth of the loot, if the loot is bad. At two deaths on a boss, blue-only loot is definitely worth less than the repair costs (<1s per blue item at typically 3 blue items per boss, vs 1s60c repair costs at level 80per item – if the boss gives a treasure chest; some bosses only drop loot themselves, then it can be as little as a single blue item).

        Also consider that completing a dungeon gives a considerable end reward, which means that indeed a completed dungeon should usually net positive even if you die often. I should have made that clearer.

  13. Bill says:

    So, if I’m reading this right, the cost of a waypoint trip varies depending on your character’s level?

    If so, is there any lore in the game to explain this? It’s a small thing, but it would crack my immersion a little bit if there wasn’t some reasonable in-game explanation.

  14. Atheos says:

    I used to find the tight economic structure of GW2 a problem at lower levels until I discovered the ridiculously lucrative Trading Post. I’ve taken to selling EVERYTHING on there for considerable profit and haven’t had to worry about coin since.

    I was originally concerned with crafting and it’s expenses, yet seeing as how you can buy all the same equipment you can craft, for CHEAPER than it would average out to produce most of the time, I’ve simply ignored it.

    It’s understandable that not everyone will be familiar with the games economic dynamics, but I find it strange to complain about travel expenses when the cost can be made back in a matter of minutes on the TP. I quest and explore for a couple hours in a zone and on average come out of it with several gold.

    • Shamus says:

      “It’s understandable that not everyone will be familiar with the games economic dynamics, but I find it strange to complain about travel expenses when the cost can be made back in a matter of minutes on the TP. I quest and explore for a couple hours in a zone and on average come out of it with several gold.”

      Some people enjoy crafting for it’s own sake. (I do.) And if you’re going to craft, or you THINK you might, then NEVER sell that stuff, because it will cost more to buy in the future.

      • Atheos says:

        Fair enough. Question though:

        Is there a point to crafting? Some mechanical benefit beyond working towards a legendary weapon and acquiring XP?

        You can’t seem to make a profit and everything you can craft can be bought cheaper and easier than crafting it.

        • Shamus says:

          I’m not seeing benefit to crafting, other than it being fun (for some) and a decent source of XP.

          • Ah, that sounds like 4e. But without the XP. And you can only sell it for… what, 1/4 of retail?

          • Grampy_Bone says:

            Crafting sucks until you’re 80 with maxed skill, then it’s the cheapest and easiest way to get level 80 exotic armor.

            FYI the other ways to get endgame armor are:

            -Complete a dungeon 1 bazillion times
            -Pay 100 gold for culture armor
            -Farm ~250000 karma and buy it at the temples in Orr

            Compared to those options, crafting is a piece of cake. So if you stick with it it is totally worth it. Of course you can also usually find a guildmate to craft stuff for you as well…

        • Stranger says:

          Crafting can net you a *lot* of XP for doing discoveries. You can also sell some of the higher-level gear for a good chunk of copper.

          Edit: To give you a comparison, making a high-tier piece of gear (300+ skill level), your discoveries are something like 10,000 XP + up to twice that as a random bonus amount for a discovery. This can be *VERY* useful if they ever fix the “Lifetime Survivor” achievement :P

          (Rampager’s Noble Coat, level 60 – 145 Copper when I simply sold it for matching the lowest seller. You can probably get better.)

          It also serves as a potential way (early on, and later) to fill in holes of your gear with semi-custom stuff. At the highest tier of crafting you can craft Exotics to wear/wield which are the top tier of numerical values.

          And, again, if you are patient and like to play markets you could probably make a killing selling . . . not finished products, but PARTS.

          • krellen says:

            Actually, the “experience” you see as a number when you make a discovery is CRAFTING experience, not character experience. A character gets 2.5% of a level for each point of crafting ability gained. It’s a flat rate; mastering a craft gets you 10 levels, regardless of which 10 levels those are.

          • Zagzag says:

            Lifetime survivor has been removed (from what I hear due to bugs) and allegedly been replaced with something else, that players have to figure out for themselves. In reality, the achievement is very easy to get, since you continue to gain XP on a level 80 character. The 100k XP you need for the achievement is only about two thirds of a level once you get to level 80, and it isn’t a big deal to earn once per month.

        • Skyy_High says:

          It’s a fantastic source of XP. Crafting lvl80 rares and exotics can be cheaper than buying them, and you are assured of getting the stats that you want. You need multiple lvl400 professions if you ever want a legendary weapon. If you ever want to craft in the future (prices go up, supply goes down, whatever), then you’ll be well equipped to do so. That’s enough for most people.

      • MrGuy says:

        On the other hand, one of the best easy ways to make money is to collect crafting materials that are way below the level you currently craft at and sell them.

        The entry level wood, copper, and the various “tiny” items tend to sell high relative to the cost to acquire them.

        And it’s not like there’s an opportunity cost – once you’re using seasoned wood and silver you won’t need green wood and copper again…

    • Lovecrafter says:

      Also, for some people, the Trading Post has been bugged (and thus unusable) since day 1. Without it (or, as Shamus says, if you’re planning to use the materials), your budget suddenly becomes a lot tighter, and those waypoint costs will give room for pause. At least, at the higher levels.

      • Ateius says:

        The trading post was down for everyone at day 1, and for most of the following … two weeks, I think. Anet had borked something at the back-end and it took them forever to fix.

        • Lovecrafter says:

          It was not fixed for everyone, however. People still report having the “Buy” buttons greyed out, TP eating their gold/gems and not giving the bought items, etc, …

          • Abnaxis says:

            Double check and make sure it’s bugged.

            For the longest time, I though the trading post was eating my items and not giving any gold back in return. Turns out, there’s a tab at the bottom-left side of the Trading Post menu, for “picking up” items, that ALSO stores your gold and gems you get from selling and exchanges. I was a happy camper when I went exploring in the trading menu and saw that 1.3 gold sitting there…

    • Duffy says:

      I can see how the math works out but if you have a crafting system that is useless then why do you have a crafting system? That would indicate one of the things that should be feeding your economy in some way is not and is therefore broken.

      It’s not impossible to find a way to keep/gain money, but it’s unintuitive or relies upon ignoring or not playing parts of the game to do so. Something is broken if that is true. Balancing day to day costs with goals that should be hard to reach is a delicate act. I think GW2 is a little to restrictive at the moment. Particularly if you get into WvWvW pvp, that can be brutal on your wallet if you are losing.

  15. Scourge says:

    I am not sure how or what I did different but my first character was BROKE, in capital letters. I barely could afford the last skillbook. (Bohoo. Such a tragedy ;) ).

    Anyways, my second and third had.. for whatever reason, a lot more money when hitting the same levels as my first.

    I think it helps that I:

    1. Salvage any whites and sell any non white items, either on the AH(Not always profitable) or to the vendors (Always profitable)
    2. If I need to travel across the map I enter the World VS World^2 (B key) map and go back to Lions arch and from there to wherever I need to go. I usually can cut my travelling costs down by 20%.
    3. The only thing that really sells reasonably good at the AH are Rare items. Especially if they are have +Condition as most people go Condition damage.
    4.???
    5. Profit.

    • Lovecrafter says:

      Doing a lot of dynamic events also helps a lot to get to those skillbooks.

      • Stranger says:

        An event at a high-level zone can yield 100 Copper to 190 Copper, and you can find related chains which are at least two events long. If you get into one of the “meta events” which use several events to proceed to a greater goal you can find yourself at least 500 Copper up swiftly.

        Short version: Unless you have good reason to, don’t skip events.

  16. Rod says:

    Is there a thematic justification for travel to cost more when you’re a higher level, or is it just a transparent grab for your real-life wallet? (I recognize that they do need to make money somehow.)

    • Lovecrafter says:

      There’s no justification, but neither is it aimed at your real wallet. It seems more designed to make those coppers matter, even at high levels.

      You know, one could justify this in-universe by claiming the Asura (who made the waypoints) have a price differentiation system in place. They know the high-level adventurers make more money and need to travel bigger distances more often than the lower-level ones, so the Asura can squeeze more out of them.

    • MrGuy says:

      A simpler explanation (though admittedly purely my invention) would be that the difficulty of aligning/jumping to any particular waypoint became increasingly more difficult with the number of waypoints the user is attuned to.

      In other words, I could see it making sense in-world for each waypoint you discover making it harder to use any particular waypoint. This is, AFAIK, counter to fact.

      Come to think about it, who exactly are you paying to use waypoints? And how is that money collected. It’s not like there’s an attendant at the waypoint to collect the toll (unlike, for example, Rift). I guess it’s not inherently less silly that quest-givers mailing you loot, but still.

  17. anaphysik says:

    Bah! Everyone knows that that effective progressive tax is really just a counter-conspiracy formulated by a rogue cell of the clefairies what live in their biodomes on the Moon (I mean the second Moon, the one that the people who live on the inside surface of the Earth see), designed to poison our precious bodily fluids and ruin our purity of essence!

    Purity of essence – isn’t that what the xel’naga believed the zerg had in the Starcraft series? Take that, General Ripper! :P

    Anyway, yeah, kinda sucks to hear that it gets harder to travel as you level. GW2 sounds interesting, but all MMOs sound pretty tedious to me and even this one is starting too as well :/

    Well, still enjoying your coverage, anyway.

  18. Chekhov's Gunman says:

    When I saw that this post was going to include a comparison with the economy of another MMO, I immediately thought the EVE Online economy was the obvious choice. I don’t know if “interesting” or “sane” are terms that can be applied to it, but “vast” and “terrifying for the uninitiated” certainly are.

    • krellen says:

      I’m sorry to say that the only people that ever think of EVE as something to compare other MMOs to are those that already play EVE, whereas WoW is the obvious comparison to anyone even remotely familiar with the industry.

      • Duncan says:

        But comparing an mmo to wow is like comparing your local restaurant to a dumpster. Ooh it’s so clean, and the food is way less rotten! GW2 may be a good game but nothing in this comparison has convinced me of that.

    • Duffy says:

      I would love if someone would combine the EVE market functionality with the aesthetics and mod-ability of WoW’s AH.

  19. MrGuy says:

    So, I think someone else made the point that one issue with the economy is the lack of documentation on “how stuff works.”

    To that point, while the tutorial makes it clear that you get mail when you complete quests, I apparently missed that there was also financial loot attached to the quest (with the non-intutive button “take all” used to mean “get the money from just this one quest).

    I was almost level 20 before I realized there was all this money living in my e-mail. And cursing myself for having deleted a bunch earlier because my inbox was too full.

  20. Tse says:

    Progressive tax? I’ve heard of it, but never seen it. Nowadays, it tends to go the opposite way, people with more money pay less taxes! OK, OK, just kidding.
    On topic, if your money becomes tighter when you level up and you find yourself wasting more time than at lower levels, why do you keep at it? At least in WoW you are rewarded for the wasted time at lower levels by getting everything comparatively cheaper and faster at high levels. You don’t have to worry about money at level 80 there. Why doesn’t GW2 alienate people with its economy?

  21. MrGuy says:

    The other thing I find is that higher-level areas are generally more difficult to play, in part because there are fewer other people around. Level 1-10 areas (and even 15-25 areas) are generally crawling with people. Dying because you walked into a larger den of mooks than you saw originally doesn’t happen often (and, in the worst case, is usually a quick res, saving a waypoint cost).

    In the level 50+ areas, I find that quite a lot of the time, I’m the only player within range when I’m out exploring. If I aggro 3 creatures when I’m only trying to pull one, I’m dead, and I’m paying to res.

    I guess it adds to the challenge of higher level areas, but it does make the higher level areas less “fun to play” and also more expensive.

    When I needed my 2 gold for the last spellbook, I took my level 65 character back to the level 15 areas, where I knew I could beat the local mooks and where I always have support.

  22. swimon says:

    I don’t know how valid I find the comparison between the economies of World of Warcraft and Guid Wars 2. Not because of any real economical reason but because the core goal of either game is clearly different.

    Now I have to admit that I haven’t played GW2 so maybe I’m wrong here but I don’t think they are trying to do the same thing. The “core play aesthetics” (as extra credits calls it, haven’t found a better word) of WoW is clearly a sense of progression and a sense of community. Now I think it crashes and burns on the second one and it’s interpretation of “sense of progression” is dangerously close to a zynga level “sense of milking compulsion for sweet cash” but that’s clearly what it’s going for (a need for optimization, mastery and competition are secondary but present). From what I’ve heard GW2 also seem to go for the sense of community. I’m guessing the other cores are mastery and competition (that’s what GW1 went for).

    My point is progression is clearly not it’s core play aesthetic. The game levels you down to the area you’re in, progression gives you no advantage in PvP (is that right? It’s what I’ve heard but I might be wrong) and most relevant: the game’s financial reward for progressing is a lot lower. The financial ratio between level 1 and 80 in WoW is 5,292 because that makes your progression very powerful and visible whereas the financial ratio between level 1 and 80 in GW2 is 9 because that means the game can remain more balanced which makes the mastery component better. One isn’t necessarily better than the other it’s just a different goal.

    Comparing WoW’s economy and GW2’s economy is sort of like comparing the combat in God of War with the combat in Baldur’s Gate, you could do it I guess but what they were going for needs to be considered.

    Edit: That last part comes of as a lot ruder than I want it too but also illustrates what I mean so I don’t really want to remove it , I mean no disrespect with any of this I just disagree with the basis of the comparison.

    • Greg says:

      There are two kinds of PVP. “Structured PVP” is small team vs. small team that ArenaNet’s trying to make into an e-sport, so progression never gives you an advantage: you start with everything unlocked, and there’s no better gear. (There are some cosmetic benefits that you can only get by doing it) “World vs. world” pits whoever’s online on a server with whoever else is online. If you’re below level 80, it scales your stats up to level 80, so you get broader options as you level up but not necessarily more powerful options.

    • Duffy says:

      I will agree they are not directly similar, so maybe a better question is just focusing on whether the economy supports the gameplay.

      WoW’s economy consists of gear, consumables, gear upgrade items, crafting materials, and vanity items. To master or compete in WoW (complete PvE content or PvP) requires use of consumables, upgrade items, and gear. However, the crafted/buyable gear tends to only be useful in windows before new content drops are acquired, these windows eventually close or lessen. That leaves the regular movement of crafting resources, consumables, and upgrade items as players work through the content. These are always lucrative markets and prices for these items can be steady and somewhat predictable.

      Vanity items in WoW tend to be extravagances compared to the cost of competing or mastering content. It’s is not uncommon for a mount or vanity pet (100% visual fluff) to go for many times what it would cost to master PvE content.

      Unfortunately, I have not invested enough time yet to see how the GW2 economy supports long term gameplay. I will assume for the most part that it mimics WoW in regards to item upgrades, resources, and consumables being the major possible on-going markets. The reason this works in WoW is because end game play supports it. Does GW2? If Yes the economy will even out and probably be like vanilla WoW, or money will start flowing and these complaints will disappear, either way the economy is stable. If the answer is No, and the economy is only bolstered by players leveling through the content, there could be a crash or scarcity of resources once the game’s population plateaus and long term play-styles become apparent. There needs to be a cycle for a good economy to possibly exist.

  23. Adam P says:

    There are few factors that will affect inflation. How many players are currently at level 80 in GW2? Also, how much stuff is there to do at level 80? The biggest reason why WoW’s economy is so awful is because there was a 2-year gap between launch and the first expansion.

    When WoW launched in November of 2004, starter quests awarded about 30 coppers at launch, and not every quest awarded money. At level 60 (WoW’s level cap at launch), there were less than 3 dozen quests that awarded money, and they awarded 18,000 coppers. That’s an inflation factor of 600, but there were a few gold sinks. Flight paths to in high level areas cost 1000+ coppers; more stops meant a higher cost. The first mount you could get at level 40 would cost you a total of 1,000,000 coppers, 90% of which was just for the training; level 60 mounts cost ten times more. Raid bosses, which required 40 players to defeat and can be killed only once each week, would drop no more than 30,000 coppers for each player. And because you’d wipe often, repair costs were an actual gold sink (I couldn’t find historical information about how much it would actually cost you).

    And then once Ragnaros (Molten Core, first raid instance) was “on farm,” players had run out of things to do. Blizzard’s response? Add more content at max level! (It was raid content.) By the time the last content patch for vanilla WoW came out, raid bosses were dropping 50,000 coppers per player. Blizzard didn’t add any more gold sinks, they just added more sources of gold.

    By the time the first expansion came out in January of 2007, max-level players had a lot of gold and nothing to do. Blizzard’s response, once again, was to add more max level content. They also added new gold sinks (flying mounts), added daily quests (which awarded around 98,000 coppers each day), and switched to an alternative currency (Badges of Justice). Max-level players had run out of things to do, so new max-level content was added. There has always been a huge focus on adding new stuff at max-level, and at max-level there is a lot of gold to be found. Aside from the two starting areas added for the new races, Blizzard didn’t touch the old 1-60 content.

    (Also: pandas were going to be added as an Alliance race in the first expansion. The new end game, 60-70, took place in outer space, and Blizzard couldn’t figure out a way to mix pandas and space together. Instead, they added blue space goats. If Blizzard wasn’t so adamant at adding new content for max-level players and had opted to do some touch-ups for 1-60, pandas would have been added to WoW much sooner; there would be more Pandaren (instead of Draenei) and Blood Elf stuff in the old world at every step of the way instead of there being this weird disconnect between starter area and end game where you don’t see your new allies until you go to Outland.)

    So whether or not the economy in GW2 will see inflation or not depends largely on what ArenaNet does. If level 80 players run out of content, where will more content be added? When will new content be added? If level 80 players amass their wealth by the time the first new content comes out (I don’t know if there has been new content yet or not), will there be gold sinks added to balance everything out? Will those gold sinks become mandatory (meaning you need to get money to spend money just so you can keep playing) or just be more cosmetic stuff?

    • Grampy_Bone says:

      This is also what I am wondering; i.e. if Arenanet is going to add some content that will make money/items easier to get and make all the farming people are doing now inefficient or a waste of time. I would be pretty upset if I spent 100+ hours gathering the ingredients for a legendary weapon only to find you get them way easier after buying an expansion–only $39.99!

  24. Stranger says:

    What’s wrong with me that I haven’t ever really HURT for money since around level 5?

    Human Ranger, and I only do Personal Story to progress when I’m bored with Map Completion. I complete Maps, I run event chains (not one event and done, mind you, if it’s a chain I stick it out), and I stay the heck out of the Trading Post. Except, of course, to sell goods I don’t need.

    I mine/cut/harvest almost every node I run by, I salvage whites/blues which aren’t worth more than 60 copper and sell greens. I have a Master Salvage Kit to break down Golds (Rares) for either runes/sigils or materials. I craft only from materials I collect, and if I need more I go run out to where I know I can find some and spend some time in the zone doing events, killing, and searching for things.

    I have made a total of roughly 40 gold since the head start weekend, with about 10 of that spent on things for crafting (some things you just have to buy, like the runes to make bigger bags . . . but bigger bags means more space for loot, meaning they eventually pay for themselves) . . . about 5 of that is repair costs (WvW is expensive). I recently dropped 12 Gold for Gems so I could expand my vault and keep some Gems around for if something cool is offered for Halloween.

    (Note, the Gold-to-Gem conversion is in my mind as useful as the Gem-to-Gold conversion. I don’t *need* to spend actual dollars for the Gems, I could shell out some money I’m not using for anything else.)

    And granted, this is only income measurement. I’m not doing about a dozen of the more expensive things:

    – Chasing the creation of Exotic or Legendary gear. This can get VERY expensive, VERY fast. As in hundreds of Gold, as in 1,000,000 Copper or more to use Shamus’ numbers. This is, note, a conservative “you got lucky” sort of number. You can easily spend *ten times* that amount chasing a particular Legendary or Exotic weapon skin. (NOTE! These weapons are not terribly different than others. Legendaries have roughly the same stat values as Exotics, only different distribution of those points.)

    – Working up crafting by buying materials off the Trading Post. Some particular Ores/Scraps/Leather are worth a lot of money, and those can be found via salvaging . . . the other half of the crafting formulas are simply random drops, and can take a bit to earn enough.

    – Fast travel across the world. Routinely going from one corner of the world to the other will eat your wallet. If you instead have a plan of sorts on how you’re going to proceed when you leave town . . . or village, or outpost out in the wilderness, whatever . . . you can get close enough to one of the major cities to avoid needing a big bundle of coins to make it there.

    Another note – Your experience with loading screens may vary, because I oftne only spend 10-20 seconds on them, or maybe 30-45 when loading into a busy zone. If I go to the World vs World areas, this can sometimes go to a minute . . . sometimes. When it’s full. I am running the game on an Intel Mac Mini two years old and below minimum specs (my amount of RAM isn’t enough). I have no idea how it does that, but it could be that if I plan on spending time . . . I reboot it fresh.

    Anyway, that’s my commentary. Your mileage certainly will vary. Oh, and if anyone on Stormbluff Isle needs excess amounts of Mithril . . . we can work out a material trade.

    • Stranger says:

      Oh, a further thing here.

      Daily Achievements. At level 80, you earn 500 Copper (5 Silver) for finishing them off. (Plus some Mystic Coins which you can sell if you don’t ever intend to play with the Mystic Forge.) Monthly Achievements which right now can’t be finished until they reveal the last criteria . . . give a lot more.

      The Daily Achievements break down into the following.

      – Kill 60 Enemies.
      – Kill 15 TYPES of Enemies. (Risen count as one type, it seems. But critters seem to count as one type . . . each one. Hunt the rabbits, my friends.)
      – Gather 20 Times from Gathering Nodes.
      – Do 5 Events.

      This can charitably be done in close to 90 minutes, but it wildly varies depending on your level. It *still* will yield a good amount of change.

    • Rack says:

      You’ve just made me realise that despite this game having excessive loading, and despite me playing almost nothing else, it’s still not on my SSD.

      I, am an idiot.

  25. Aldowyn says:

    My biggest problem with the economy is the crafting. As others have said before, there is very, very little reason to craft other than the (significant) xp bonus, and the economy makes it difficult for … well, any profession with jute. You mentioned that jute scraps cost 25c. The equivalent metal, copper ore, is about 5c. That’s just ridiculous. It’s a symptom of the low supply of jute, despite that the supply of a starter good should be fairly high at launch, especially jute which is found as a drop instead of a harvested resource.

    In short it just becomes prohibitively expensive to level up a profession that involves significant amount of jute, which is annoying to a light armor wearing class like my elementalist :/

    • Steve C says:

      I’m of the opposite opinion. Crafting and it’s effects on the GW2 economy is extremely well designed. Better than any other MMO. Crafting isn’t supposed to be a money maker. You can still make money by it, (I do) but it’s there as a gold sink and a side game. If you like crafting, you can craft. If you don’t, you don’t have to. You can level from 1-80 solely from crafting but it doesn’t feel mandatory either.

      99% of the time crafting in any shared world game will not have end of production items that are profitable. Why? Because MMOs generally give levels/skills etc for crafting. So for a lot of people the item crafted is the means to the end, not the end of in and of itself. They don’t want the item, ie no demand, the demand is for the points. If you figure out where the demand truly lies, then you can make money.

      BTW you mentioned copper ore being 5 coins a couple of times. It’s always between 13-15. Mine 2 copper, trade it for 1 jute. Comparative advantage.

      • Wedge says:

        In order for crafting to be a profitable activity, demand for crafted items needs to outstrip supply. But when you have a system where everyone can and does take up two crafting professions, you have everyone in the world making crafted items and so supply ridiculously outstrips demand. That means everyone has a huge supply of crafted items that they can’t get rid of, so they dump them as cheaply as possible. In a normal economy, this would drive people away from crafting, because without the ability to make money from it noone would have any incentive to do it. GW2 isn’t EVE, though, so there’s non-economic incentives for everyone to do it: primarily, it’s a fairly easy source of XP.

        The solution would be to make crafting difficult enough that not everyone would want to do it, and don’t provide any reward except the money you can make off of it by selling items to other players. Such a system would look very, very different than GW2’s system.

        I’m not even saying that ANet should do anything to change it; I am enjoying crafting just fine even without the ability to make money off of it. But in general, if a developer wanted to make a game where crafting were profitable, that’s how they’d have to go about it.

  26. Kian says:

    I’ve been focusing on exploring areas and doing story missions (when a mission sends me to a new area, I explore that area completely). I’m at level 70, and I have some 5 gold. That is after buying a full set of rare equipment and runes every 15 levels or so. Should look into jewelry, now that I think about it.

    I haven’t found gold to be hard to hoard, but I’ve also swore off waypoint travel. As far as the lore is concerned, waypoints don’t exist. The only form of teleportation are the Asura gates (kind of a big deal, that). I only use them to join people on events or the like and if I’m in a rush. Handful of times in a month or so of playing.

    I don’t think walking around is as much of a chore as Shamus’ makes it out to be. For one, I don’t ever feel the need to be somewhere in particular. As I walk from one point of the map to another, I tend to get distracted with quests, harvesting every node I come across, events, etc. It also impacts that I get about an hour to play per day and that’s just about enough time to get the daily achievement done, which nets about 4 silver.

    So long as you plan a bit ahead and don’t try to go drop things into the bank or pick up stuff from the auction house too frequently, you should be able to save money. Also, crafting is a huge money sink I ended up giving up on. I might pick it back up once I hit level 80 and have everything else I want.

    • Duffy says:

      Your advice is to not play most of the game, ignore anyone and everything that is not in your direct path. While it might work, I doubt that is how most people play or even what was intended by the existing game mechanics.

      Just following my storyline quests required jumping between zones fairly regularly, walking those distances would severely cut down on time spent actually playing the game. As would trying to help or play with friends in the other parts of the game world, not to mention engaging in any of the WvWvW content.

      Sorry, to be kind of mean about it, but while that solution might be good enough for you, it is not a solution for everybody.

  27. Eljacko says:

    I didn’t know about this leap in travel costs before, and now that I know about it, I think it kind of sucks. I don’t understand why the game would punish you for progress like this.

  28. Rack says:

    The economy of this game is weird. I’ve scrimped and saved until I finally got enough money together to buy an extra couple of character slots. But by scrimping and saving the only thing I’ve not been doing is using the waypoints, equipment, bizarrely enough is mostly free. I bought myself an entire set of level 63 equipment including a spare weapon for 47 copper over their vendor price, one third of one quests worth.

    2 character slots are £16 ($24 but I understand gems are much cheaper in $). To me that seems like way too much to spend, but on the flip side I’ve been getting het up over money for hundreds of hours to avoid that.

    Worrying about money is something I’d rather leave to the real world, but unfortunately If I wanted to just buy my way into being profligate with travel costs I’d have to spend several hundreds of pounds on gems.

    It seems like all of this is going to change, particularly since there is so little to actually buy in the gem shop right now.

    EDIT: Oh, I forgot the weirdest thing of all. When you are scaled down your costs remain static but your income falls through the floor. Getting 100% map completion on a character is another huge gold sink. I think that’s the biggest problem with the games economy, all the gold sinks are avoidable, if you just do less fun things. That’s also where my cynicism goes off.

  29. Zaxares says:

    I expect that at higher levels, the vast majority of your money will come from loot. My characters are around the level 24 mark and already I’m getting items that are worth 25 – 30 copper each on a fairly regular basis. In the process of completing a few Renown Hearts and doing any Dynamic Events that trigger while I’m there, I can probably accumulate about 4 – 5 silver. Of course, I supplement this income by also salvaging items for valuable crafting materials and selling those, but this depends quite a bit on the vagaries of the market. Merching items to NPCs is a constant economic factor.

    That said, I agree that travel is a frustrating choice, especially as you gain levels. While some will no doubt see it as a cash grab by ANet, I would TOTALLY buy an item that granted free (or even just discounted) travel to Waypoints. Even if it cost me 5,000 gems (but only 2000 gems if it was discounted.)

  30. meyerkev says:

    So far, the best way for me to make money has been to

    1) Find event chain that spawns mobs (Harathi Hinterlands seems to be great for this, if you defend the North Camp, attack KingsGate, defend against the counterattack, and then leave when the big bosses show up).
    2) Tag every single person I can (thus earning credit for killing them, even though half the time I never saw them). Radiation Field is great for this.
    3) Run around salvaging their stuff.
    4) Repeat for entire quest chain that spawns mobs. Big bosses aren’t worth it, since they take 10 minutes to kill, wipe you about half the time, and then spawn 3 blue items as loot.

    Also, mid-level parts crafting seems to make money, even if it’s just a couple coppers worth of arbitrage. (So a Seasoned Wood Plank is worth just a little bit more than 3 Seasoned Wood Logs).

    So far, money sinks are:

    1) Travel. At Level 50, I’m just getting to the point where it’s painful, running between a silver and a silver and a half.
    2) Map Completion. If I did 80% of a map the first time, the reward is 20 silver, and I need 15 jumps to do it, I break even.
    3) Crafting. I have never had more than 1 gold, because every time I get about 50 silver, I wander over and start crafting until I run out of money. (Though for the last 10-15 levels, I’ve been using weapons and jewelry that I crafted, so it hasn’t been a complete waste)
    4) Armor Repairs. It’s about 15 Silver from naked to full right now. I’ve actually stopped repairing, and just buying new stuff off the AH, because it’s literally cheaper, especially after I sell my broken armor. This is like saying “It’s cheaper to run to the store and buy a new shirt than run to the washing machine to clean it”.
    5) WvW. So how is “I died 8 times in 10 minutes, killed 3 people, never got to loot the people I killed (because you can’t advance that far), and didn’t even complete an event” supposed to be a break-even proposition?

    Also, fellow Elementalists, SPEC FOR TOUGHNESS AND VITALITY. Ever since I did this, I’ve stopped dying (and since aggro seems to more or less be “How much damage it’s doing to me” (High)/”How long will it take to kill it”(2 seconds), Sort for Max, it’s actually helped there too). I did 4 story missions in a row with 1 death total. Also, Arcane Shield is a god, as are “Spawn random tank” abilities, as is putting 5 points into your Water Traits, because that will give you Regeneration every time you switch to Water. Anything that makes you last longer is good.

    • Mephane says:

      I am playing an elementalist and I specc and equip myself for vitality and toughness (running a 30water/30arcane/10earth support+cantrip build with “cleric’s” equipment), and I agree that it makes a big difference.

      About breaking even in WvW, I just run around without armor. Literally, I put every item that can be damaged in my inventory before going into WvW. With only my weapons and jewelry, I need not fear getting stomped by the zerg, nuked by siege engines or just getting rezzed too late through bad luck. Needless to say I don’t do WvW very often anyway because of this, because it tends to get annoying for myself, too, but I refuse to combine the arbitrariness of dying in WvW with a cost of ~1s60c for each single death.
      In PvE I can pick my fights, I can run if I get too many accidental adds etc; in WvW I cannot run unless I am in front of a tower, keep or zerg of ours where I can hide, I have yet to meet enemy players who give up a chase once they feel they have the upper hand in a small scale or even 1vs1 encounter.
      Oh and then there is the odd cheater or hacker who ports around at random, appears next to you to land two hits and then out of your range again – can’t defend against that but at least it does not cost me money being ganked by one like that.

      • Atheos says:

        The “death penalty” of repair bills seriously needs to be removed from player and siege kills in WvW. That’s just not fair. That whole game mode is intended to chew you up and spit you out. It’s bad enough that ArenaNet charges you COIN for siege engines and fortifications, why charge for repairs? Is it just designed to bankrupt the player?

      • Rack says:

        This isn’t my idea, but its a very solid one. Don’t repair your items, just replace them. If you have items you’re attached to just go on the AH, buy a load for 1c over vendor price, then once they’re worn out sell them.

        • Mephane says:

          That works only when you are levelling, or are at most wearing green stuff at 80 (depending on the actual TP price of the desired items, which can vary between 2s and 5s typically). As soon as you have yellow or better stuff, particularly at 80, just throwing damaged stuff away and buying new items is no option.

          The implication is to carry a second set of low-quality gear for WvW. Well, I’d rather save myself even that bad space and the cost for replacing those throwaway items (after all, it might reduce the cost, not remove it) and run around with only weapon and jewelry.

    • MikalSaltveit says:

      Your loot in WvW drops at your feet in a little brown bag. There is never a need to “advance that far” to loot corpses.

  31. Abnaxis says:

    Dang-blasted post on a weekend don’t see it until already 100 comments grumble…

    I wonder if the exponential growth is still there, but it’s been offloaded into the karma market? I don’t have any high-level toons (terminal alt-itis), but judging from some of the prices I see at some of the karma vendors, I’m guessing there must be some serious explosion in karma income.

    This brings to mind 2 questions. First: what is the ratio for a level 2 event vs a level 80 event on Karma? Second: Has anyone tried converting that karma to gold? It’s difficult, but you could get pretty much your pick of starter-crafting-material for 72 karma (28 karma buys a basic salvage kit with 15 uses, 70 buys gloves made of cloth, leather, or chain, or a torch), resulting in a rough rate of conversion of 1 copper per 3 or 4 karma assuming you can sell mats for ~20c, though the conversion would only be one-way (can’t buy karma with gold).

    With karma-boosting items and massive patience, could you actually make a killing?

  32. Deoxy says:

    * If you think the words “progressive tax” are some magical pass to start talking about politics, you are about to have your comment visited in the middle of the night by my jackbooted jackass police. Inquiries as to where your comment disappeared to will be met with bureaucratic indifference and accusatory questions.

    As one of the people who is currently tempted in this area (it’s on my brain a lot these days), I found that completely awesome.

    Now I’m tempted to do it just to find out what your jackbooted jackass police look like…

    Heh.

  33. Kdansky says:

    Best way to spend money to save on travel expenses are not gems. It’s a solid state disk, which will drop your loading screens down to a few seconds. It’s the single best performance upgrade you can get for very little money. They are at around 1$ per 1GB. That’s 100$ for a system disk and a few games (which you can then move with mklink to a bigger drive when you’re not playing them much any more).

    If you can’t afford a yearly 100$ for PC upgrades, then you should not spend 60$ on a game, period.

  34. Peter H. Coffin says:

    Don’t foget, though, that avoiding loading screens and spending money on fast travel are a choice. There may be time not spent really playing the game, but it’s also time that can be used bio-breaks of various kinds, time to check that you’ve really locked the house doors for the night, time a few minutes of catching up on comments on one of the blogs your read, ppor judt take the opportunity to stretch one’s legs a little bit, shake out the arms, and find some different lighting for a moment or two, to keep the cobwebs at bay.

  35. crossbraindedfool says:

    On a vaguely related note, I’ve been having problems getting in contact with Josh or Randy to join the guild. Is there a time I should specifically be on? Should I send mail?

  36. Abnaxis says:

    The funny thing about this is–even if you choose to be cynical and see this as a cash-grab, it still benefits those of us who don’t want to pay for gem-store items. After all, the more people want to buy gold, the less gems cost, making it easier to buy character slots…

    I think my alt-itis has become a full-fledged problem…

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